January 29, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Back in September of last year, the Chrome team made Chrome apps a little bit more powerful. Rather than just being glorified web-apps, September’s update allowed Chrome apps to work offline, function outside of distracting tabs and text boxes, receive desktop notifications, interact with connected peripherals, and launch directly from your computer like any other application. One way of thinking about this could be that the update brought many elements of Chrome OS (including the Chrome App Launcher) to Windows PCs. And essentially what this meant was that Chrome apps were going to start being treated (and acting like) first class applications already on your computer.
At present, many of the core Chrome APIs are available to Chrome Apps running on mobile. These include features like OAuth2 sign-in, mobile payments (alpha), push messaging, file system and storage access, alarms, TCP and UDP socket support, Android notification support, and power controls. Obviously, many more APIs are in the works, including Bluetooth, USB, hardware info, permissions, and much more.
So what does all of this mean? It’s simple, really. This new breed of mobile apps will enable an entirely new class of developer to create applications that look and function just like the apps you’re already using. To end users, this means that more interesting and groundbreaking ideas that would otherwise be relegated to the web will be translated to actual Android application releases. And for developers, it means a lower cost of entry into application development on Android and iOS. Yes, native code will always have its place—particularly when a high level of performance is paramount. But this level of performance is not always required, and an easier point of entry may allow us to see the next simple utility that ultimately changes how we all use our devices.
Developers looking to get a preview of what’s to come should first hit up the project workflow on GitHub, and then get stet started by installing the dev tools, creating a project, and going from there using either command line or an IDE such as Eclipse. Your work in progress project can then be built and even uploaded to the Play Store if you so desire. And if you’d rather look at sample projects rather than diving into code just yet, head over to the sample apps section.
While this may seem like an incremental change–and in many ways it is–the future potential is exciting. And in a way, this can be seen as the first small step towards the further unification of the Chrome and Android platforms. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet with the dev links above, head over to our App Development forums and share your experiences. Also, don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
December 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
There are many things in our mobile devices that are mildly and unintentionally annoying. Many of these are so subtle that we don’t even realize that they’re a problem—until there’s a solution. One such nuisance is the artificial 300 msec click delay when browsing websites on practically all mobile browsers.
You may have noticed that when browsing, there is a noticeable delay between when you click on something and when something actually happens. This click delay was put in place to allow for double tap-to-zoom. But in certain circumstances, such as mobile websites that do not allow for zooming or when the viewport is set to width=device-width, this artificial delay has overstayed its welcome.
While the delay may not be the biggest annoyance in your daily life, it does make for a reduced user experience that is immediately noticeable when comparing to a browser without it. Case in point, the latest Chrome Beta for Android. As of version 32, which is currently available in beta form through the Google Play Store, this artificial delay is now gone on websites that do not allow zooming. The results are pretty dramatic, as can be seen in this video:
Obviously, this change only affects websites that don’t allow zooming, something most commonly seen in mobile optimized sites. That said, it has quite a bit of potential to make your browsing experience a bit smoother.
Make your way over to the Google Play Store to make sure you’ve got the latest version of Chrome beta installed. Once you give it a shot, be sure to share your experiences with the latest beta.
For those who aren’t aware, keeping up to date with the latest XDA Portal posts while browsing the forums is as easy as glancing to the sidebar on the right of the screen. However, users of Google Chrome and Opera on the PC can now see the latest Portal happenings from any part of the web with the unofficial XDA Portal Browser Extension.
Developed by XDA Recognized Contributor - Swift -, the unofficial XDA Portal Browser Extension works with Google Chrome and Opera. The extension adds a subtle XDA icon to your screen, which when pressed, pops up the ten most recent XDA Portal posts. Clicking on a post will open up the article in full in a new tab. There’s also a text box at the top, enabling you to quickly search for previous articles and posts.
The extension can be found in Opera’s web store. Google Chrome users have to manually install the extension, as it is still not yet available on Google’s store. Fear not though, as installation is as simple as a couple of clicks and a drag-and-drop.
If this has you curious, check out the original thread for more details.
June 22, 2013 By: Samantha
Threads dedicated to screenshots, wallpapers, signatures, and the like are always quite fun to browse through—either for the creativity boost for your next home screen set up or just to get a taste of what layouts other XDA forum goers have on their devices. Of course, in the format of a forum thread, you’ll most likely continuously click through pages and pages of responses just to do so. However if Google Chrome is your PC browser of choice, you may want to give the XDA Gallery extension for Chrome a go.
Developed by XDA Senior Member RubenRybnik, XDA Gallery fetches all images from a thread in a new tab, allowing you to view them in one scrolling page, without the thread pages and responses. With each image, there’s a link to the post that it is originally a part of, as well as a link the to the page of the thread that the post can be found in. Pressing on an image enlarges it, and with the pop-up image gallery, you can navigate left and right, much like how the forums display image attachments.
This will no doubt be useful for many forum goers, allowing a quicker and more convenient way of browsing screenshots, wallpapers, icon packs, and so forth. So if you would like to try XDA Gallery out on Chrome, visit the original thread.
I’m pretty sure most of you have at least one tab on your browser dedicated to XDA whenever you’re online. If not, you’re doing it wrong. We previously brought you news of a handy browser plugin to improve your browsing experience from within the XDA. However, there may be times when you’re forced to drag yourself away and visit another site. Yes, apparently there is more to the Internet than XDA Developers. Wouldn’t it be great if you were somehow able to keep track of what was happening in your device’s forum while you were tending to your other Internet activities?
XDA Senior Member toxicthunder has developed a Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer add-on that allows you to do just that. Although at the minute it’s designed specifically to cater for the needs of GT-N7000 users, there may be features that other users find useful. Some of the main features include:
It would be great to see if this could be tailored to suit the specific needs of other device users. So if you have experience with this kind of thing, head over to the release thread and inquire about creating a version for your own device. What better way to make the rest of the Internet feel like home.