Android is six years old now. One week ago, we presented the first part of the Android story. Now, it’s time to continue the journey.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away—located in Mountain View, the first version of the operating system dedicated for tablets was born. Google called it 3. 0 Honeycomb and presented it alongside the Motorola Xoom.
November 22, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In an interesting twist, the Verizon Moto X is among the first to get the Android 4.4 KitKat update! 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 there is a KitKat-based OmniROM available for the Google Nexus 5. And in another unexpected move, Motorola has reinstated warranties on developer devices. That’s not all that is 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 XuiMod, Jordan gave a device review of the Google Nexus 5, and TK gave us an app review of CloudMagic. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
The community-based OmniROM was first presented at the Big Android BBQ 2013. A few days ago, we wrote about an alpha build for the Samsung Galaxy S III. We have great news for Google Nexus 5 owners looking to get in on the fun: Android 4.4-based OmniROM is available for your device.
Thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor mithun46 and Senior Recognized Developer XpLoDWilD, an official alpha build of this ROM is available for the Hammerhead. Despite being a very early release, almost everything seem to be working, most likely because Nexus 5 has native Android 4.4 support. The only noticeable bug is lack of data for Sprint users. But leave your worries behind, a flashable zip provided in the Original Post with patched files can fix this issue in mere seconds.
It’s worthy mentioning that Omni for Nexus 5 is one of the first builds based on KitKat. Android 4.4-based Omni still lacks a few of major features previously seen in Omni’s Jellybean releases, but it’s just a matter of time before they are ported and new features added.
2pm Eastern time, October 31st, 2013 — Google flips the switch, and the Nexus 5 goes live on the Google Play store. Within minutes, all of the available variants (16 and 32 GB models, in both black and white) are backordered, with ship dates weeks or months out. Somehow, I managed to get my order in. I can’t recall whether it was someone posting about it on Google+ or a passing comment on Twitter that alerted me to the sale, but at 2:12pm I placed my order. Just a few days later, the Nexus 5 arrived, bringing some delicious Android 4.4 KitKat with it to my door.
It’s been just over two weeks since I received the device and, for the most part, I’ve been using it as my daily driver. I’ve taken it on a family vacation, used it for photography, navigation, and work-related reading, and I feel that it’s time to share my impressions of the device.
November 19, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Capping off a busy day chock-full of KitKat news, Google has just released a new build of Android 4.4 to the AOSP servers and various recent Nexus devices. The new build comes in at version KRT16S, and it replaces the older KRT16O build.
The KRT16S update is currently available for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2012 – all variants), Nexus 7 (2013 – all variants), and Nexus 10. Curiously left out, however, is the Google Nexus 5, which features a different build altogether (KRT16M). Also of note, this new KRT16O build is unrelated to the mystery KOT31B build seen a week and a half ago on the Chromium Issue Tracker.
According to AOSP Moderator Conley Owens, the new build is largely a bug fix build. As such, you shouldn’t expect too many user-facing features. That said, users looking to get in on the action can easily do so by going to the Nexus Factory Images page and downloading the latest firmware images. If building from source is more up your alley, head over to the Android Git and Nexus Driver Binaries page.
[Source: Android Building Google Group]
November 18, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
KitKat is coming to the HTC One Google Play Edition! 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 alpha CyanogenMod 11 builds are available for the Sony Xperia P and KitKat-based OmniROMs are available for the Sony Xperia T and the Samsung Galaxy S II.
In other important news, Jordan talks about the article showing you how to fix the low speaker volume on your Google Nexus 5. There is an article talking about how impressive these yields are. Be sure to check out other videos on on XDA Developer TV. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
November 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Remember that interesting hardware mod for the Google Nexus 5 that we talked about yesterday? If not, let me refresh your memory. When XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler noticed that his Nexus 5′s internal speaker wasn’t up to snuff, he decided to investigate.
Long story short, Adam posits that the speaker performance in some units is affected by glue that has snuck its way into unintended areas. This runny glue, however, doesn’t seem to be a problem for everyone. But on some units, it makes even hearing the ringer troublesome.
After reading Adam’s instructions, XDA Senior Member Oli1122 decided to give the modification a shot. In addition to simply performing the steps, he decided to objectively measure the results. They were impressive, to say the least. After performing the modification, Oli1122 observed a 13 dB increase in sound pressure level.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the logarithmic scale used in SPL measurement, let me put that into more understandable terms. 13 dB of SPL increase corresponds to roughly 2.46x the perceived loudness (since perceived loudness doubles with increases ranging from 6 to 10 dB, depending on frequency and loudness). In other words, this will sound more than twice as loud. Not impressive enough? Let’s consider signal amplitude. The modification resulted in 4.47x the sound pressure level on Oli1122′s device. And if you want to consider power (acoustic intensity), 13 dB equates to 19.95x the required power. In other words, to achieve the same volume level on the flawed unit, you’d have to pump nearly 20x the wattage through the speaker. If this isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is.
Now, it is important to keep in mind that your results will obviously vary. Naturally, the modification will only benefit those units with troublesome glue in the first place. In other words, if your volume is fine, don’t attempt this mod. But if you are aware of the risks and want to give this a go, make your way over to the original thread, read all the steps, and share your results. Do be careful, though. Any hardware mod is inherently risky. As good of a value as the $350 Nexus 5 is, it isn’t quite as much of a steal once you turn it into a paperweight.
November 16, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
The Google Nexus 5 was released 17 days ago, and it was met with nearly unanimous praise. Sure, the camera is
a little bit extremely laggy; but for the first time in recent Nexus device history, it’s actually of passable image quality—especially for the price.
One legitimate concern, however, is the rather low speaker volume, which often makes it hard to hear incoming calls. Strangely, this only seems to affect certain units. Luckily, XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler looked into the matter, and found that on some units the glue obstructs the speaker chamber ports.
Rather than complain, Adam did what Adam does best, and he fixed the problem—documenting all the steps and tools required in the process. Yes, you’ll need to open your device to perform this fix. Yes, it’s dangerous. But luckily, the steps are well documented and you only need a few simple tools to perform the fix.
To get the complete details on the warranty-voiding procedures, make your way over to the original thread. Do be careful though. While the steps are well described and relatively safe, you are after all performing a hardware mod, which could legitimately damage your device. Proceed with caution.
November 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re lucky enough to already have your hands on a Google Nexus 5 or a device with a daily driver status KitKat build, you are probably well familiar with many of the new features in the latest and greatest version of Google’s nearly ubiquitous mobile OS. However, not every new feature is exactly fully baked, and one such partially completed new addition requires a bit of trickery to unveil.
XDA Forum Member kroegerama created an application that works with Android 4.4 KitKat to unveil the operating system’s built-in status bar battery percentage readout. This feature is not officially available yet, which is why it’s not selectable from within any stock menu within the OS. However, by modifying one value, you can now expose the work-in-progress status bar battery percentage readout.
Of course, you could always download an aftermarket battery application to display the battery percentage in your status bar. However, this involves a potentially resource consuming additional app. On the other hand, once toggled, kroegerama’s app can then be uninstalled and the enabled functionality remains.
Unfortunately, there’s a catch. The reason why it cannot yet be enabled from within the app is that the feature’s not entirely complete yet. As can be seen from the screenshots to the right, the text color is the same color as the battery icon itself, which means that you can’t read the number until your battery is low. In any case, this may provide a little bit of extra information for those looking to keep an eye on their battery level without the need for an additional app to be installed.
Make your way over to the application thread to get started.
November 6, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re one of the lucky few to already have your hands on the much anticipated Google Nexus 5, you are probably already enjoying many of the new features in Android 4.4 KitKat. Along for the ride with the new OS, comes a new version of Google Hangouts. This new version now incorporates SMS functionality, eliminating the need for the old default messaging app.
While the merging of Hangouts and SMS has been celebrated by many, there are others who find the new interface a bit too cluttered and cumbersome. Unfortunately for them, however, Google removed the default messaging app from the device. Luckily, you can easily get back the pre-4.4 SMS experience with 8sms by XDA Senior Member bengtan.
8sms is based on the Android 4.3 / CyanogenMod 10.2 messaging app. It also has a few added features not found on the old default SMS client such as notification popups, quick reply, gesture templates, emoji, and a dark theme pictured to your right. And thankfully for those looking to get back the old SMS experience, it has been updated to be compatible with Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5.
Make your way over to the application thread to get started.
November 6, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan shows you how to root your Google Nexus 5. The Google Nexus 5 is hot news in the Android ecosystem. It is the first device released with Android 4.4 KitKat, and that is a good thing. But as usual at XDA, we must root all the things, and the Nexus 5 is no exception to that!
Jordan presents step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access and unlock the bootloader on your Nexus 5 using tools from the XDA Forums. First, Jordan shows you how to unlock the device. Then, he gain root access using XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire‘s CF-Auto-Root. If you wanted to root your brand new Google Nexus 5, take a moment and check this video out.
November 4, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire has rooted the Google Nexus 5 with CF-Auto-Root! 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 an article reporting that the source code, factory images, and driver binaries for Android 4.4 KitKat on the Nexus 5 are available and the announcement that KitKat will being coming to the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 10, Moto X, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S 4 Google Play edition.
In other important news, Jordan talks about the source-built version of KitKat for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. There is even a version for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus! Also, if you haven’t already checked out the Goodies from Android 4.4 that are available now, you should. Be sure to check out other videos on on XDA Developer TV. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
November 4, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re one of the lucky few to already have your grubby little paws on the recently released Google Nexus 5, you are probably the envy of all of your Android-loving comrades. But do you know what would make them even more jelly? Rooting your Nexus 5 and adding a little bit of customization.
We recently covered XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire‘s CF-Auto-Root for the Nexus 5. CF-Auto-Root is essentially the easiest way to get from fresh-out-the-box to rooted stock. However, for those looking to do a little bit more device modification than simply rooting, XDA Senior Member ricky310711 created a small toolkit that does all of the basic operations for you.
The toolkit allows you to unlock the bootloader, root the device, install TWRP, modify your build.prop, backup your device, and flash and wipe various partitions. Now, it is important to keep in mind that since this is a Nexus device, you have full access to all of the fastboot commands such as fastboot oem unlock and fastboot flash. Thus, customization is already a breeze on the device when you do it manually.
Make your way over to the utility thread to get started. Then to really get started with device modification, head over to the Nexus 5 Original Android Development section and try out a new custom kernel.