April 18, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android KitKat for Google Glass has been rolled out! 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 Android 4.4.3 is being rolled out to the Google Nexus 5 (sort of) and that HTC Sense 6 has been ported to the Nexus 5! That’s not all that’s 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 Call Blocker. Then, AdamOutler told you how to hack an Android App. Later, TK gave us an Android App Review of Lockdown Pro. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
April 17, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
The Google Nexus 5 is a great and rather popular device. This LG-produced flagship should receive a 4.4.3 update pretty soon, which will hopefully fix all of KitKat’s remaining bugs. This upcoming version of Android will be the third hotfix released since the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat alongside the Nexus 5 itself back in late October of last year.
One device feature that needs a bit more polish is the ambient light sensor, which currently has a tendency to go haywire when auto brightness is enabled. Most bugs of this type can be fixed relatively easily with Xposed Framework, and the ambient light sensor issue is no different thanks to XDA Forum Member abusalimov.
Abusalimov’s Xposed Module works by intercepting all ambient light sensor readings, and replacing the erroneous 30000 lux value, which occurs due to HAL problems. And since the module intercepts the sensor readings, there is no need to use additional applications as a workaround for the issue.
If you’re unhappy with the ambient light sensor performance of your Nexus, head over to the module thread to give this a shot.
The Google Nexus 5 is regarded as having everything an Android user needs or wants: timely updates, fantastic specs, and a fabulous design. However, one could beg to differ by saying that it being a Nexus device means that it naturally would not have UI of other devices, such as Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense. How sorely wrong they are.
As seen time and time again, if a Nexus device has its eyes set on something it likes, it’s going to have it, one way or another. The recent port of HTC’s Sense 6.0 to the Nexus 5 stands testament to this. This is thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor GalaxyUser, who has managed to port the UI from the HTC One M8. It’s still in its alpha stage, so only a few functions are working. This includes:
Due to its alpha nature, GalaxyUser wants to make it clear that N5 owners looking to try this out should stay away from actually using this port, unless they’re a developer who can contribute to the project in some way.
If you absolutely cannot wait to give this a go, or if you want to find out more about the progress of the project, make your way over to the original thread for more information.
April 14, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that we’ve seen quite a few Android 4.4.3 test builds pop up recently. But now, at least according to US third-place carrier Sprint, it will finally begin rolling out some time today–at least for the Google Nexus 5.
The update was first spotted by XDA Forum Member GiantJay, who noticed a new build on Sprint’s support pages. Thus far, we don’t really know much about this new
KTU48F KTU84F build, other than its build number and what’s mentioned in Sprint’s online update documentation.
According to Sprint, the changes are as follows:
- Enable Sprint Spark band 26 and band 41
- Misc Android updates
In other words, not very much is known about what this upcoming update and its “Misc Android updates” will bring for users not on Sprint. We also have yet to see if this is the same build number for 4.4.3 that will roll out to other Nexus devices, or even if they will also receive an update today.
What fixes and/or enhancements do you think will make their way into 4.4.3? Make your way over to the comments section below and the original thread to get in on the discussion and speculation. The rollout has yet to begin, so obviously there’s no captured OTA to share, but keep checking back here on the XDA Portal because we’ll share the OTAs as soon as they’re available.
Update: As pointed out by reader Akshat Mittal, the previous build number was a typo on Sprint’s part, and has since been corrected on their support forums.
Update 2: Well, “today” has come and gone, and 4.4.3 is nowhere to be found. Looks like Sprint jumped the gun a bit here, guys.
Update 3: Now, Sprint has gone ahead and removed mention of KTU84F from its support page. Hopefully we still see Android 4.4.3 released soon.
March 8, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
When the Moto X was first announced, many were skeptical about the supposedly flagship device with less than flagship specifications. Then as time went on, it gradually became clear that the Moto X wasn’t exactly about raw hardware specs. Rather, the device’s innovative features were its selling points.
We’ve already seen various Active Display-like implementations for other devices, but for many, the coolest feature of the Moto X is undoubtedly the famous “OK Google Now” wake-up hot word. This lead many to wonder if this same type of functionality could be added to other devices without a massive battery drain. Then came Senior Recognized Developer Xplodwild.
Xplodwild was able to use the dedicated audio processing chip on the Google Nexus 5‘s Snapdragon 800 SoC to handle device wake hot word detection. The results can be seen in the video below.
Since this is only a proof-of-concept, don’t even think of asking for ETAs. However, it’s certainly more than encouraging to see this sort of thing possible. Head over to Xplodwild’s Google+ post and Senior Member barqers‘s XDA discussion thread to learn more.
[Many thanks to my fellow writer Tom for the heads up!]
February 19, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Hot off the heels of selling money pit Motorola to Lenovo, could Google be eyeing the new Moto-novo as the next Nexus phone manufacturer? According to sources over at IB Times Australia, this is highly likely. Ignoring the obvious irony in selecting the now third party Motorola as a Nexus device manufacturer, this alleged partnership could make quite a bit of business sense.
For starters, let’s consider a potential timetable. Since Nexus phones are typically released in the Fall, that would mean that R&D for such a device would have to begin a significant amount of time prior. Assuming a one year turnaround from initial design to device ship date, that would mean that the Motonovo Nexus 6 would have been under active development when the OEM was still Googorola. Furthermore, having the now Lenovo-owned Motorola produce the next Nexus device would avoid that nasty conflict-of-interest in selecting a first-party OEM as a Nexus device manufacturer. And finally, since Google now owns a small chunk of Lenovo, this gives Google a vested interest in the future of Lenovorola.
Now let’s consider the other Nexus device successors. Both the first and second generation Nexus 7 tablets have seen great commercial success. Loved by consumers and the media, these wallet-friendly tablets prove that you don’t have to sacrifice build quality in order to get a top notch device experience. And due to their success, they essentially defined what has become the archetypal Android tablet. Because of the nearly unanimous praise seen by the devices, it’s safe to assume that Asus will produce the next mid-sized Nexus tablet. And what about that shift from 7″ to 8″? (that’s what she said) Well, given the popularity of that debunked rumor of an 8″ Nexus device that ended up being a bad device mock-up, it stands to reason that Google saw consumer demand for a slightly larger midsize tablet and changed plans accordingly.
So, what about HTC? It’s no secret that the Samsung-built Nexus 10 has not seen much commercial success. Despite offering a fantastic display and relatively decent internals, many feel that the app ecosystem is simply not there for the 10″ tablet space. And beyond the lack of 10″ tablet-friendly apps, the device still is relatively sluggish, largely due to that massive WUXGA resolution screen. Where does HTC fit into all of this? Well if you recall, HTC recently held a Reddit AMA. And in this Q&A session, the Taiwanese company was asked if it had any Nexus plans. Rather than simply stating that nothing was in the works, they replied no comment.
So what do you make of all of this? What would be your ideal Nexus phone, mid-size tablet, and full-size tablet? Personally, I’d love to see a Motorola Nexus phone, but 5″ is already pushing it for me when it comes to device size. I’d also like to have a slightly bigger mid-size Nexus tablet, as my Nexus 7 v1 and v2 always felt a bit small. And about that HTC Nexus 10? That’d be the One for me! Let us know your thoughts and what you would like to see in the comments below.
[Source: IB Times Australia | Thanks to my fellow writer Tom for the heads up!]
February 17, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Being able to say “OK Google” from the comfort of your home screen was introduced alongside the Nexus 5′s Google Experience Launcher a few months ago. It allows users to control their devices with just their voice, as saying “OK Google” launches the voice command detection mode. With the newest update of Google Search, “OK Google” can finally detect languages other than English, and it works perfectly fine with other devices, but a little “hack” is needed.
XDA Recognized Developer memnoc wrote a handy guide describing how to activate this functionality on a device other than the Nexus 5. The hack isn’t overly complicated, and all you need is root access and a decent file manager.
The method is a chain of copy-paste operations and one simple bin file edit. The described method should work on all devices with Android 4.4.2, and was confirmed on the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, and HTC One S—and even non-AOSP ROMs are supported. It’s definitely great that the hot word detection is finally available for other devices and languages, as not everybody can speak English with a perfect accent.
If you have Android 4.4.2 on your device and want to speak to your device, go to the guide thread, follow the steps, and enjoy your device’s newly found abilities.
It goes without saying that the Google Nexus 5 is one popular device here on at XDA. And given the specs and price point, there’s little reason to doubt why. It’s got some top notch internals, a good build quality, and it is very welcoming to open-source and community development. What the Nexus 5 isn’t exempt from, however, is the great number of bloatware apps that parasitically come alongside the device. A quick and clean fix to purge your device of these unwanted apps comes in simple script form, and XDA Senior Member MoJo has written one for the popular Nexus 5.
As of right now, the script removes 24 bloatware apps, but MoJo does explain further into the thread just how exactly one can customize the script by adding and removing apps if one chooses to do so. Also, if there’s an app listed in the script that’s not actually installed on your device, the script will just skip the app with no consequences.
Two zip files are provided in the forum post: one is intended to work with the Nexus 5, while the second package should work with any device with a custom recovery. To run the script, just simply flash the zip file through a custom recovery such as CWM or TWRP.
So if you’re sick of the bloatware on your Nexus 5, visit the original thread for more information and download.
January 6, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
CyanogenMod 11.0 M2 is coming to over 65 devices! 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 KitKat-based OmniRom for the LG Optimus Black and an article talking about how you can improve the quality of your Nexus 5 photos with a simple mod! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about XDA Senior Recognized Developer AdamOutler’s JOdin3 web-tool to flash your Samsung device. Also, the Custom ROM Central forum has been expanded to include AOKP and SlimRoms. Stay tuned for more CES 2014 coverage. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
January 3, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
The Google Nexus 5 is an undoubtedly great device. That said, its camera’s image quality leaves much to be desired. Google tried to improve the camera by applying some patches in Android 4.4.1, but the camera can still be improved further.
A few weeks ago, we talked about a camera mod for the LG G2 created by XDA Recognized Contributor Jishnu Sur™. This modification fixed a few issues like low video frame rate in low lighting, as well as a few other minor issues. Now, the modified version of the camera app is available for the Nexus 5, and the results are impressive.
Full HD movies can now use 20 Mbit, minimizing compression artifacts. Also, recorded audio has been improved, and according to developer it has no noise cancellation disturbance. This modification can’t be considered stable just yet, as there are a few things not working yet, like the front facing camera. Despite this, the overall improvement thanks to this camera app is significant. Of course, you can always revert to stock if you’d like. All you need to do is to flash a provided update.zip in your favorite recovery. To use this modification, your bootloader must be unlocked and your device must be rooted.
If you wish to improve your Nexus 5′s image quality, you should definitely visit the modification thread and give this mod a try.
December 31, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The end of 2013 is here, and it has been an exciting year in the mobile device world. XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan combed through all the headlines, hardware releases, and device developments that happened this year and identified the Top Five Technology Trends for 2013.
Everything from expanded mobile OS offerings to great independant mobile device choices, the rapid expansion of wearable technology and Google Glass, and much more. So take a moment to check out today’s video and see the top 5 trends in the mobile industry this year. Let us know if we got it right or why we are dead wrong in the comments below!
December 27, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Ever wonder how despite its less than jaw dropping specifications, the Moto X still manages to score quite well in many benchmarks? Unlike some of the other major OEMs out there, Motorola doesn’t rely on benchmark-specific application detection and questionable “optimizations.” Rather, they actually employ genuine speed tweaks, in the form of optimized Bionic and Dalvik libraries.
But before delving further to learn about how you can use optimized libraries to improve the performance on your own Qualcomm-based Nexus device, let’s spend a few minutes talking about these libraries in question. After all, you should know what you’re getting into when incorporating any new system-level tweaks and mods.
Let’s start with Bionic. Bionic (libbionic) was originally created by Google for use in Android, as a derivative of the standard GNU C library originally found in BSD (glibc). Bionic differs from the standard C library in that it is a much smaller library than the GNU C library. Furthermore, it is designed for relatively low powered CPUs like mobile devices. In practice, it is used for various basic math and memory operations.
Now, let’s take a look at Dalvik. Dalvik is the virtual machine used in Android that has much in common with Java virtual machine. But rather than executing standard Java class files, Dalvik relies on DEX files. This is the same DEX that you’ve undoubtedly already heard of when talking about ODEXED and DEODEXED ROMs.
You may also recall how we broke the news on the new ART runtime compiler introduced into Android 4.4 KitKat. ART, which serves as a drop-in replacement for the Dalvik VM, is far more optimized thanks to ahead-of-time compilation rather than Dalvik’s just-in-time compilation. ART compatibility isn’t quite 100% yet, but it is already good enough for many. And while ART necessarily requires greater storage space usage on installed apps, the performance gains may be worth the added storage footprint. Unfortunately though, the popular Xposed Framework is not compatible with ART—and it won’t be for quite some time, if ever.
So what does any of this have to do with the real world performance gains we all crave? Simple: Loading more optimized libraries can potentially result in improved performance. To see this in action, let’s take a look at a particular thread by XDA Senior Member kszaq, which demonstrates how more optimized Bionic and Dalvik libraries can be used on various Qualcomm-based Nexus devices to improve performance.
Where do these optimized libraries come from? The optimized Bionic library comes from the open source Code Aurora Foundation, and the optimized Dalvik library comes from the Moto X. So why weren’t these just implemented into stock Android? That’s a bit harder to answer. The Dalvik optimizations from the Moto X are closed source, so it makes sense that Google would not want to include this in the AOSP and in devices with official AOSP support. The Bionic optimizations from the Code Arora Foundation, on the other hand, are open source. But perhaps, Google simply did not want to have these hardware-specific optimizations a part of the Android as a whole.
If you’ve been wanting to optimize your Qualcomm-based Nexus device’s performance but don’t want to use ART, you should consider implementing these optimized Dalvik and Bionic libraries. Make your way over to the original thread to get started. Just be sure that you have a Nandroid backup before flashing these, as there’s no simple “undo button” when modifying system libraries.
Please note, however, that this only is of benefit to Qualcomm-powered devices. Naturally, CAF’s optimizations will not have any beneficial effect on non-Qualcomm hardware. Furthermore, the Moto X’s Dalvik optimizations are largely unnecessary on non-Nexus devices, as other vendors also use hardware-specific Dalvik optimizations. Basically, you’ll only find this useful for the Google Nexus 5, Nexus 4, and Nexus 7 (2013)—all of which are powered by various Snapdragon chipsets. And it should go without saying that these optimizations are only valid for near-stock, AOSP-derived KitKat ROMs.
December 26, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
As you’re making your way down the list of things to try with your newly acquired tech toys, one thing you’ll undoubtedly get around to is flashing a custom ROM. Those looking for aftermarket firmware now have one more Android 4.4.2-based option, as the AOKP team has just finished incorporating Google’s latest and greatest into their nightly builds.
Currently, Android 4.4.2-based nightly builds are available for the Google Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Nexus 7 (2013), Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, HTC One, Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia T, and Xperia V. More devices will be added to the nightly list as soon as they’re ready. The AOKP team recommends a full wipe when installing the latest JB-MR2 nightlies, but users on unofficial builds released after December 10 may be able to get away without a full wipe.