November 15, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4 KitKat factory images and driver binaries are now available for the Nexus 4, 7, and 10! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that CyanogenMod installer is now available in the Play Store and signups for Google Glass is open. That’s not all that covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for App Settings, Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler showed us how to build a one button keyboard, and TK gave us an Android App Review of 8Sms. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
November 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
The vast majority of our readers are more than capable of manually unlocking, rooting, and installing a custom ROM. In fact, most of us here prefer doing things the old fashioned way. After all, the fun’s in the journey, not the destination. However, the same certainly cannot be said for the general population. With that in mind, the CyanogenMod team created the CyanogenMod Installer. This serves as the fastest and most streamlined way of installing CM onto your device, without much user effort required.
The installer comes in the form of two parts. The first is a phone client that is available on Google Play. The second is a connected desktop client that is installed on any computer running Windows Vista or later. Naturally, you also need to have a USB cable and have USB debugging enabled.
Importantly, root is not required to get started. Further, your bootloader doesn’t even have to be unlocked to use the desktop client. Rather, the installer unlocks and roots your device for you. There shouldn’t be any issues if you’re running a custom ROM either, as long as the installer can correctly identify your device.
Unfortunately, restoring back to stock is still a manual affair. That said, most users reading this will already be more than capable of running a Nandroid restore themselves. Finally, the CM Installer is currently compatible with the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, HTC One, and various variants of the above devices.
If you’ve been looking for an easy way to get CyanogenMod onto your device, it doesn’t get any easier than the CM Installer. Make your way to their Play Store entry and Installer Wiki Entry to get started.
November 11, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Unofficial CyanogenMod 11 releases for Samsung Galaxy S3 variants appear! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that new TI OMAP4 GPU drivers binaries have been found that could aid in KitKat development and you can find the rollout schedule for the Sony Xperia line Android 4.3 and 4.4 releases. That’s not all that covered in today’s video!
In other important news, Jordan talks about the KitKat versions of Google Keyboard and Hangouts showing up in the Play Store. There is an article talking about how to change the boot logo on the Moto X without root. Be sure to check out other videos on on XDA Developer TV. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
November 8, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Source-Built Android 4.4 KitKat is now available on the LG Optimus G and the Sony Xperia Z! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that CyanogenMod 10.2 M1 is here and KitKat-Based CyanogenMod 11 is coming soon, and you can find a KNOX-Free Android 4.3 leak for the Samsung Galaxy S III (GT-I9300). That’s not all that covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for the GravityBox, Jordan released a video detailing How to Root the Google Nexus 5, and TK gave us an Android App Review of Call Popout. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
With choice comes power, and with power comes responsibility. And in the world of custom ROM flashing, that responsibility means choosing the right ROM and kernel combination to fit your needs—well that, and making sure you read all of the instructions so that you don’t brick your expensive device.
We recently featured a simple, yet powerful Xposed module that brings many previously ROM-specific features to any ROM, as long as you have XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed Framework (thread) installed. However in certain circumstances, there’s no replacement for
displacement running the feature’s original ROM. And in these cases, it’s important to know about your available options.
To help new users determine which ROM they might want to try first, XDA Senior Member nimrodity created an intricate ROM database, which lists various features broken down into different categories and other specifics. Before users take this as canon, please note that there is a rather large issue preventing this from being an even more useful resource: The currently available list only examines recent builds of CyanogenMod, PACman, SlimBean, Carbon, and Revolt. Unfortunately, this means that other fantastic options such as AOKP, Paranoid Android, and Omni are nowhere to be found.
Head on over to the database thread to learn more. Despite the omissions listed above, this can be a great into primer for new users not yet sure about which option to try first.
[Thanks to benkxda for the tip!]
August 16, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
CyanogenMod 10.2 nightlies are now available for various devices. That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is an article about an Android Bitcoin vulnerability and news about an Ubuntu Touch app for browsing the XDA forums.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin released a video showing how to root and install a custom recovery on the Oppo Find 5, Jordan reviewed XDA:DevCon, and later, TK showed how to get back the AOSP Browser. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
August 14, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Ever since the release of Android 4.3 a few weeks ago, most device owners have been impatiently waiting for their slice of the pie. No, not key lime pie; but sweet 4.3 goodness, nonetheless. Of course, with dedicated teams of aftermarket firmware developers such as CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, and AOKP, we all knew that it was only a matter of time.
Well, that day is now here, as Android 4.3 has made it to various handsets by way of CyanogenMod 10.2 nightlies for various devices. So what devices are supported? Quite a few, actually. A full build roster is not yet available, but according to the CyanogenMod Google+:
Tonight, we are not building for every device we support – there are always some stragglers. The rest will come when they are given the green light and that will happen when they are ready. …
As these builds are in progress (and some may fail) a full 10.2 build roster will be posted later.
And a quick glance at the CyanogenMod Mirror Network shows that quite a bit of progress has been made in the migration. However, this is all old news to at-home builders and kang-bangers, as stated by the CyanogenMod Blog on August 9th:
In the meantime, the majority of our 10.1 roster have transitioned to being 10.2 capable. This means for you at-home builders, things should be in a fairly good spot for your own personal builds.
To get the (prebuilt) goods on your own device, hit up the CyanogenMod Mirror Network to see if your handset is one of the chosen devices. Be sure to leave your thoughts in your home device forum, as well as in the comment box below. Developers looking to merge the changes into their own builds or just in it to learn a bit more about what went into 10.2 can head over to the CyanogenMod Gerrit.
A list of the devices that have already received the goods can be found below.
July 29, 2013 By: TheRomMistress
Coinciding with the release of Android 4.3 and and an updated stock camera, stage one of the CyanogenMod team’s top secret “Project Nemesis” was finally unveiled on July 26. According to the development group’s weekly wrap-up on www.cyanogenmod.org, the goal of this project is to bring users the best custom operating experience possible. As such, Focal, a feature-packed camera application, was announced as the first component geared towards reaching that goal. CyanogenMod developer Guillaume Lesniak (XDA Recognized Developer XpLoDWilD) posted details about the new camera on Google +, explaining almost a dozen new and improved features that were integrated into the Open Source app.
Included in the announcement was a video showing Focal in action. It’s no doubt that you have all heard the expression, “being in the right place at the right time.” CyanogenMod has expanded on that by claiming Focal will provide you with “the right pixel, look, path, spark, and feeling at the right time.” There are two key components at work within the UI that help backup that claim: a side bar and personable widgets within the sidebar. With a simple swipe, widgets can be reordered and hidden depending on your preference. When the screen is rotated, all widgets and the sidebar stay in place to avoid cluttered distractions while trying to take a picture. “It just feels natural,” said Lesniak. Doubling tapping on the viewfinder will turn it into a Quick Capture mode that allows you to take pics no matter where you tap on the screen. By use of a “rule of thirds” grid that helps frame your shots, you can achieve a more professional looking photo with Focal.
Those who have a tendency to take “selfies” will love the timer and burst mode features, which are sorely lacking in the stock camera. Not only does the timer allow you to set up a delay after pressing the shutter button, but it also has a built-in voice trigger that snaps your mug as soon as you say, “cheese,” “cid,” or “whiskey.” The burst mode takes a series of shots in increments of 5, 10, 15, or more without the need to press the shutter button multiple times.
Light metering is a major component to getting the proper exposure of your subject. With the addition of a meter ring alongside the standard focus ring, your subjects will be less likely to turn out too bright or too dark. Depending on your device, different metering modes are available including frame average, spot metering, and weighted point.
A swipe-enabled review drawer has been implemented for quick reference to your recent photos. Wherever you are in the app, swiping down in portrait mode of left in landscape will allow for easy access to your pics. When shooting in burst mode, a mini review drawer is available in real time. You can also take a picture while the drawer is open and it will slowly fade out of view. Like stock, swiping gestures also allow you to instantly delete unwanted photos; and tapping on a photo will automatically open it up in gallery.
The ability to take video snapshots while recording is now available to all devices by simply double-tapping the screen or pressing the volume up key. By using the volume down key or tapping the screen, Focal also allows you to refocus your video. Different effects can be added/changed while shooting by keeping the corresponding widget open while recording.
Google’s new “auto-awesome” feature has been extended to Focal by adding an automatic picture enhancement system. Within five seconds of taking a picture, Focal will automatically enhance all new pictures you take. Panorama mode has also been enhanced so your pictures come out better than ever! Rather than the previous 160 degree panoramic, the new app allows you up to 360 degrees of landscape.
The CM team has also created a better software HDR algorithm that according to Lesniak, first matches the shots before blending them together and then applies them as a real tone-mapping. “It takes a little bit more time to process than our previous implementation, so you might not want to use it on all your pictures, but it’s definitely worth it on your special occasions,” he said.
One of the great new features added to the Android 4.2 stock camera was Photo Sphere. Unfortunately, not every device is compatible with it, and those who really wanted to use it had to exchange all CM enhancements in order to use it. With Focal, a similar feature called PicSphere has been introduced. PicSphere is an opensource replacement for Google’s PhotoSphere, and allows for complete 360 degree panoramas.
While Focal is not available quite yet, the team promises to publish the source along with its official repositories as soon as the last few bugs are worked out. Once the source has been released, you can expect to find it in subsequent CM nightlies. The source code is split into two different repositities: android_packages_apps_Focal and android_external_Focal. As an open source app written under version two of the General Public Licence, the android community is being strongly encourage to contribute to the success of Focal by adding new widgets and settings. Lesniak said that this is to “achieve the final goal of the app” which is to “have a complete camera software, opensource, that is both powerful and compatible with every device.”
As this is only the first phase of the Nemesis project, Steve Kondik said in a Google + post that there will be much more to follow. “My goal for CM has always been to break open these mostly proprietary mobile devices so we can turn them into the product we really want…What’s most important to me is that anyone can get the code, hack on it and change whatever you want, build it, and flash it to your device.” he said. “Nemesis is our plan to improve the user experience in the right places. The new camera app, Focal, is just the start. Without giving too much away, invoking teaser videos, or giving ETAs, I can confidently say that awesome things are going to keep coming.”
May 10, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
CyanogenMod 10.1.0 RC1 has been released for various devices. That story and more are covered by Kevin, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the Windows Phone 7.8 updater tool Sharp7Eighter and FireFox OS making an appearance on the juggernaut device, the HTC HD2.
Kevin talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Steve talked about unlocking the bootlader of the new HTC One, Kevin talked about spring cleaning for your Android and TK released an Android App review of Pocket Converter. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
April 8, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
XDA held a roundtable discussion with Nvidia and Project SHIELD. That story and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is a discussion of the CyanogenMod Stats debacle and the Multifunction script for the Asus PadFone 2.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Steve had an App Shootout between the Twitter Apps of Android, Windows Phone and iOS and XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce rapped to us about Ranking Hacker Schools. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
I’m going to guess that you heard about CyanogenMod no longer giving users the chance to opt out of providing anonymous usage statistics. You did not however, hear it from us. This is simply because right before our article about the change was due to be posted, we received word that this was being reverted. Here’s a little of what you would have read:
“Recently, it was announced that a change has been merged into CM stats that removes the ability to opt out of having anonymous usage data reported. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “ZOMG, OH NOEZ! My privacy!! Won’t somebody think of the children!!1!!11!” Okay maybe not, but there does seem to be some confusion over this decision.”
Apparently my assessment of some people’s reaction as “confusion” was a little off. A more accurate description would have been something along the lines of an uninformed, foot stamping tantrum—one which resulted in the reversal of the change and the CM team’s quest for realistic and usable usage statistics being sent swiftly back to square one. We were going to explain to those concerned precisely why you shouldn’t be bothered about the change and exactly what information was being collected and why. That seems like a bit of a waste of time now, but you guessed it, we’re going to anyway.
The reason behind the change, according to Google+ posts by various members of the CM team including Koush and Cyanogen himself was simple. This data is useful to them. They don’t feel that they are getting an accurate depiction of the user base by offering the ability to opt out. And guess what, they’re probably right. There are three devices in my house alone which have run various versions of CyanogenMod, but never once had the reporting option enabled. Don’t judge me, I’m a habitual “opter outer,” and I’ll bet I’m not alone. Those CM Statistics would probably take a huge leap if this had been non-negotiable from the beginning. Not only would this have allowed the CyanogenMod team to get a much better grasp of their user base but – in the opinion of one Elite Recognised Developer – being able to show a substantial potential market of users who do not care about software differentiation to OEMs is bound to give them food for thought.
Now, of course I understand people having concerns about privacy; and I appreciate the point of those that wish to retain the chance to opt out for whatever reason. That said, it is incredibly frustrating to see a group such as the CM team effectively being railroaded into reverting this change by people who (in a lot of cases) don’t fully understand exactly what they are complaining about. The data collected is completely anonymous, and probably pales in comparison to the wealth of information already siphoned from your device by Google themselves and numerous third-party applications readily available in the Play Store. Vigilant readers will remember our article on enabling anonymous usage statistics on any ROM. This mod is based on the CM stats application itself and could mean that any number of ROMs available all over the Internet are already sending this information back to developers without your knowledge. There’s a reason that people want to collect such information and ultimately that is because it helps them to provide you, the end user, with a better final product.
The official reason for the reversal of the decision according to Mr. Kondik himself was that:
“I do not want CM to ever be perceived as a group who doesn’t respect the privacy of it’s users”
You can’t really argue with that, and the rest of his post explains that the change was for purely analytical purposes that seem insignificant in light of the “incredibly dubious things” carried out by some other applications. He also acknowledges that this is more than likely the reason for most people’s concern.
If you are somebody who objected to this without a full and thorough understanding of exactly how it would (or more accurately, would not) affect you, I implore you to take some time, look into the subject further, and enable that reporting option next time you flash. That may sound a little hypocritical from the guy who has never previously opted in, but I certainly will be from now on. The bottom line here is that there’s no need to worry about your privacy, having your IMEI number funneled directly into the hands of maniacal super villains, or being woken up in the middle of the night to find Cid looming over you. That probably won’t happen, probably…
Let us know how you feel about this in the comments below.
March 29, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
CyanogenMod now comes with pie. Not cherry pie or apple pie, but it now features gesture controls similar to what’s found in Paranoid Android. That story and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news, is an article about configuring ADB and compiling from source on Fedora KDE.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Steve gives us an App Shootout of the Facebook app for the different mobile operating systems, XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin shows us even more about Tasker, and XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Android app review of C Widget. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
If there’s one Android project out there that needs no introduction whatsoever, it’s CyanogenMod. The name itself has become synonymous with aftermarket development and is without a shadow of a doubt, the single most popular custom ROM available. At the time of writing, they can claim 3,960,665 unique installs across over 70 different devices with dozens more supported unofficially—and these are just the ones who have chosen to enable the usage statistics. The roots of the project can be traced back to the original HTC Dream/G1 and a modified version of Android 1.5 (otherwise known as Cupcake) posted right here on XDA under the title, “CyanogenMod – Optimizing the crap out of Android 1.5.” Amazingly, this device still has an active development community and has even been graced with the latest version of CM, 10.
Over the years CyanogenMod has continued to evolve and push the envelope of what the Android operating system is capable of. It boasts numerous features that many users would love to see incorporated into stock Android and the ethos of “optimizing the crap out of Android x.x” remains as true today as it did back in 2009. The only difference is that nowadays these optimizations are made by an international team of developers over dozens of devices. It’s this open source nature and ability for anyone to submit code to the CM repository that has helped make it such a success. There have been numerous additions to the ROMs features, some of them developed in house such as the Apollo music player and CM File Manager, some of them from outside sources, the latest of which is the popular Pie Controls first featured in the Paranoid Android ROM series.
Paranoid Android is another popular third party firmware which may not have been around as long or gained as much of a following as CyanogenMod, but certainly puts as much effort into taking the Android OS that little bit beyond its original capabilities. It was the first ROM to offer the “Hybrid Mode,” allowing user to choose between a phone or tablet UI on an app by app basis, and even alter the DPI value for certain applications. It was also the first ROM to incorporate Pie Controls, a similar version of which has recently been merged into the CyanogenMod project. While the code used in the original Paranoid Android Pie Controls is a unique creation, its conceptual origins though should probably be credited to Google, as this style of menu has been an experimental feature of the stock Webkit-based Android browser for quite a while now. Pie Control analogs have also been available outside of Paranoid Android ROMs for anyone running a rooted device, originally thanks to LMT Launcher and other third party apps since, proving to be incredibly popular with users.
It’s important to note that although the version of Pie Control in the latest CM nightlies is based on the one from Paranoid Android, it has been completely rewritten to minimize the possibility of any conflicts with existing CM code. What Pie Control actually does is allow the user to disable the ever present on screen software keys and use a gesture to activate a radial menu at either bottom or side of the screen, thereby enabling access to some of the most commonly used functions such as back, home, menu etc. It’s also possible to have information such as the current time and remaining battery displayed when the menu is triggered. This allows the user to free up valuable screen space previously occupied by those annoying (in my opinion) on-screen buttons. While these changes have been integrated to CM already, they might not be available for all devices just yet, and those devices with dedicated hardware keys will need to manually enable the on screen keys before they can utilize the new Pie Control. If it can be done, there will be a guide to doing it in your device specific forum.
Now, I don’t think anyone was ever in any doubt that the development community were ever going to stop trying to take Android to a level of functionality beyond the vanilla offerings from Google, but this certainly shows that the likes of the CyanogenMod team aren’t above incorporating the ideas of those outside of the project and giving us, the end user, the choice of using the best features out there. There’s even speculation that the upcoming Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, will make use of these easy-on-the-eye, yet sometimes frustrating-on-the-fingers, radial menus. That would just be too obvious though, wouldn’t it?
Like it or not, hardware buttons are on their way out. Despite them still making an appearance on the latest flagships from HTC and Samsung, it’s pretty safe to assume we won’t see them on a future Nexus device, and it is these devices along with their latest updates that drive the development community. The currently used system of static, ever present software keys is a fairly inefficient use of real estate—even on the monster screen sizes we are now seeing devices released with—and I’d be highly surprised if Android 5.0 didn’t offer a better solution. Whether that’s full on gesture navigation similar to the recently unveiled Ubuntu Touch or something halfway between the two like, well, like Pie Control I guess, remains to be seen. No doubt the rumor mill will be working overtime in the lead up to Google I/O in May.