November 13, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
The past few hours have been quite exciting for Nexus device owners. Earlier today, Google started rolling out the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OTA to the Google Play variant of the GSM/HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus (takju). The OTA update file was shared with us by XDA Senior Member HAKA, along with installation instructions for all GSM/HSPA+ variants of Galaxy Nexus (yakju and yakjuxx). The method involves first installing the latest 4.1.2 takju factory image on non-takju devices, to be able to install the 4.2 update. However, there is no longer any need for that.
Hours ago, Google uploaded Android 4.2 factory images for not just the Galaxy Nexus, but also for Nexus 7 (both WiFi and GSM/HSPA+), Nexus 10, and Nexus 4. While an official yakju image for Galaxy Nexus is still not available, the takju factory images can directly be installed to any yakju or yakjuxx device.
In case the code names have your mind in a jumble, takju is the Galaxy Nexus variant sold by Google in the US Play Store, which comes with Google Wallet pre-installed. Yakju is the exact same device sold internationally by Google, but doesn’t ship with Google Wallet. Yakjuxx is the exact same device sold internationally by Samsung. Google directly updates takju and yakju, while yakjuxx devices are updated by Samsung.
You can download factory images for all these devices at the Android Developers Website.
The wonder of being part of a community like XDA is that it doesn’t take long before someone catches an inspiration and starts finding ways to put different flavors of an OS on their device—or even a different OS entirely. One need only look at the HTC HD2 to find the perfect example of that inspiration with Windows Mobile 6.5, Android, Ubuntu and Meego all making an appearance on what was arguably one of HTC’s most notable devices. Every time a new, more powerful device comes along, it isn’t long before threads talking about how to load Ubuntu on that device start popping up. Most of the time it is in the form of such methods as chroot, but occasionally you’ll find someone like XDA Recognized Developer lilstevie porting full-blown Ubuntu to devices like the ASUS Transformer TF101.
A while back, Ubuntu informed the tech world that they would be bringing the full Ubuntu experience to dual-core Android phones, but the “how” was shrouded in marketing-speak for “we’ll leave it up to the carriers to figure out how to deploy it.” With the release of the Google Nexus 7, the first Nexus tablet, came the natural interest to get Ubuntu loaded onto this device and Canonical rose to the occasion.
Last week, Ubuntu released the Ubuntu Nexus 7 Desktop Installer, a one-click process for installing Ubuntu 12.10 onto the Nexus 7. While it is only a developer preview and not a final release, it has been reported that the process works really well and is relatively stable. Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, was quoted on OMG! Ubuntu as saying:
“We’ve said that the driver of Unity was to build an experience that spans phones, tablets, desktops and tv. I think we can do that by 14.04.
So in 13.04 we’re focused on tuning the performance of the base system in mobile settings - memory footprint, boot performance, battery life, etc.
We’ve ported Ubuntu to the nexus 7 (it’s just the desktop) and will all be focused on that for 13.04.”
It’s always fun to see AOSP-derived, source-built ROMs released for a variety of devices at once. Whether it’s for five devices or for 14 devices, large scale releases mean that if you upgrade, you may be able to run the same ROM you’re already familiar with.
Team Liquid has recently released RC7 of their AOSP ROM to seven devices. The last time we talked about them, it was their RC3 release. The devices that got the release include both versions of the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 7, and all versions of the Galaxy S III except for Verizon’s.
The ROM has undergone a variety of changes. Here are a few of the highlights along with the Team Liquid members responsible for each:
◘ Added Navbar widgets/Resizable Navar Widgets – Zaphod-Beeblebrox
◘ Custom navbar targets for tablets/Tabui – Stevespear426
◘ Addded group mms threading – viekvanasani
◘ UI overhaul including Lockscreen Shortcut Bugfixed and power widget fixes – Danesh
◘ Added special Paranoid Android Sauce – Credit Paranoid Android
◘ Added USB Mass torage support for tablet mode – DAGr8
◘ SystemUI-Fix menu button in landscape – Zaphod-Beeblebrox
◘ Fix H+ and add new navbar widget icon – kwes1020
◘ “Death by subtlety” aka updated holo pngs – ToxicThunder
◘ SystemUI: Recents Ram Bar – Stevespear426
◘ Security hole fix (prevent logging of lock pattern) – CM
◘ Added home button unlock option – invisibleK
◘ Bugfix for samsung usb dock events – StevenHarperUK
◘ Make toggles hidable – Stevespear426
◘ Add setting to allow haptic feedback on toggle press -gdanko
◘ COMPLETE SETTINGS LAYOUT/ICON OVERHAUL – ToxicThunder
◘ Added support for wired headset detection – Sudhir Sharma
◘ Fix for UI LockUP with headset insert/removal – Ravi Kumar Alamanda
◘ Show more info during boot dialog (i.e. “package _ of _ is being optimized”) – JbirdVegas
◘ Fix NFC Toggle not working if it was not on @ boot – sethyx
◘ Huge Liquid Splasher overhaul including strings/summaries, layouts – Liquid0624
◘ KT747 10/28 kernel and Ktweaker for D2xxx U.S. builds – Ktoonsez
◘ Leankernel 4.5.0 for toro, maguro – Imoseyon
◘ Leankernel 0.3 for grouper – Imoseyon
Check out the release threads by XDA Recognized Developer toxicthunder below:
The Nexus 7 screen lift issue is a pretty well known issue on the XDA forums. For those who heaven’t heard, it is when the screen separates from the frame by a noticeable amount. There are many ways to fix it. Some have tried tightening the screws and removing the black foam strip. Others have tried the much more effective washer method. There is another way though—one that involves glue.
XDA Senior Member ckl_88 has posted a method that uses glue—specifically epoxy and not super glue—to fix the screen lift issue. In this method, users take the device apart, use toothpicks to prop the screen up slightly, and administer the epoxy. Once finished, they put the screws back in, and rubber band the device. After checking to be sure that the screen lift isn’t there, drop a phone book on it and find something else to do for about 12 hours.
This method has seen some success and ckl_88 has said that the Nexus 7 was put through a considerable amount of testing afterward without the screen lift coming back. While it is a little more messy than the washer method, it gives users another shot at fixing their device if the washer method doesn’t work.
XDA Forum Member shadeygeezer wrote up a similar method in ckl_88′s thread. In shadeygeezer’s method, you play the Transformers movie—or any other movie—on repeat for a little bit, then wrapped it in rubber bands and dropped a phone book on it. After leaving the movie on repeat for a few hours, leave it sit for 12 hours still with rubber bands and the phone book. Essentially, this is the same method as ckl_88′s but doesn’t involve taking the Nexus 7 apart and breaking the warranty. The logic being that you can reheat the glue already in the Nexus 7 and reset it.
While these will all likely help with the screen lift issue, none of them is really a permanent fix. To see more of the glue fix, check out the original thread. Here’s hoping Google’s next attempt at a tablet doesn’t have this problem.
October 17, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Usually when we think of pairing a wireless controller to an Android device, it is a Playstation 3 or Wii controller. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this, there are those who simply prefer the Xbox 360 controller. While the wired variant has worked on Android natively for a while, there is now a way to get a Wireless Xbox 360 Controller working on a Nexus 7.
XDA Senior Member sleeplessninja has figured out how to get a wireless Xbox 360 controller working on the Nexus 7. Usually, for Xbox 360 controllers, you need a wired controller and a USB OTG cable. There is already a way to get the controller working on the Nexus 7 using a Xbox 360 Wireless Controller Dongle, but there are a lot of games that still can’t register the controller properly.
This issue has been fixed. As sleeplessninja explains:
So when i searched through the /system/usr/keylayout/ I saw there was a profile for the xbox 360 wired controller so I thought why not copy the profile and name it a wireless xbox controller. This idea worked. You name keylayouts by Vendor ID and Product ID which I also was able to get from the logcat. What is nice about this is I think we can use this to solve issues with other controllers as well, but I don’t know of any that are also having problems.
So once the simple modification has been made, you can use a wireless Xbox 360 controller to its fullest potential. And, as stated, this method could be used to fix issues with other controllers. To learn more, head to the original thread.
The main stream media outlets like to say that the tablet market is essentially the iPad market. They often ignore wonderful devices like the Motorola Xoom. They shrug off other devices with awesome features becoming something other than being a “big screen phone.” For example, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, with its IR blaster for controlling your entertainment system and the S-Pen for taking notes. The real issue with the Android tablet market is not the hardware, it is the software.
Google realizes this, and to get more people onto their Android ecosystem they want to change this image. Recently there were two posts, a blog post and an informational post, that show Google’s focus on improving the tablet ecosystem.
The first step towards Android tablet dominance is the Tablet App Quality Checklist from the Android Developers Site. Here. Google lays out some basic items that you should focus on for your Tablet App. Items mentioned include optimizing your app for larger tablet screens, using the right resolution graphics to prevent pixelization that comes from stretching and zooming a phone app. Plus, you have more screen real estate on tablets, and they recommend you use it to offer many content intensive screens. For example, instead of just listing headlines, you can show a thumbnail of a photo in a news article in addition to the headline. Other recommendations include adjusting the size of fonts, icons, widgets and touch targets to match tablet screens. Lastly, Google says to not require items that tablets don’t have, such as telephony. They also say to offer at least the same amount of features and functionality as handset apps, if not more.
The second step towards Android tablet acceptance is the Android Developers blog post by Nick Butcher discussing Jelly Bean and Nexus 7, Google’s current flagship tablet. The full SDK for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is now available to developers. Butcher discusses some tips and tricks for optimizing apps for the Nexus 7, and it pretty much follows the checklist discussed above. With the post talking about the Nexus 7’s screen size and its lack of telephony and rear-facing camera. The most important line in his post is perhaps this one.
A lot of work has gone into making Jelly Bean buttery smooth; make sure your app is as well. If you haven’t yet opted in to hardware accelerated rendering then now is the time to implement and test this.
We certainly hope that these checklists and discussions help app developers create wonderful and buttery-smooth tablet apps or tablet versions of handset apps. Google is making a strong push in the tablet market to shake up the iPad’s share. The recent release of a landscape lock and home screen for the Nexus 7 in Android 4.1.2 definitely reinforces this.
[Thank you to XDA Portal Administrator Will Verduzco for the tip!]
The world of Android moves quickly. It seems like only yesterday Google was announcing the Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at Google I/O in the Moscone Center. Now we hear that Jean-Baptiste Queru and the crew responsible for the AOSP released an update to 4.1.2.
Along for the ride comes an OTA for the Nexus 7, which now benefits from a landscape-capable default launcher. Another feature present, and one that is accessible from all devices, is a one-touch notification center.
Those of us not lucky enough to be running the Nexus 7 don’t have to wait long at all. In fact, in what is perhaps one of the fastest merges ever, CyanogenMod 10 nightlies now incorporate Android 4.1.2. So if you like being on the cutting edge with the latest version of Android, check out the latest official CyanogenMod 10 nightlies for your device.
For those interested, XDA users have reported that applying the 4.1.2 update on a Nexus 7 retains root for devices running ClockWork Mod Recovery and a stock, unlocked and rooted installation of 4.1.1.
October 3, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
The Google Nexus 7 has had its share of issues since its release. There are countless threads of users reporting that they had to RMA their Nexus 7 several times before they got a unit that functioned well enough to keep. Many just got refunds. However, that hasn’t stopped the Nexus 7 from being one of the most popular new tablets. Recently, the updated (JRO03R build) driver binaries for the Nexus 7 were released, and they can potentially fix a lot of problems that people are having.
XDA Senior Member Jay Aristide repackaged the binaries for the Nexus 7 for all to share. The package includes the drivers for pretty much everything in the Nexus 7, including:
* WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS by Broadcom
* Touchscreen by ELAN
* Orientation sensor by InvenSense
* Graphics & CPU by nVidia
* DRM by Widevine
Installation can be a bit tricky. While there shouldn’t be any harm in flashing these, it’s a good idea to check and see if the custom ROM you’re using has these drivers in them already. Otherwise, it’s just flash in recovery like any other flashable zip.
These drivers could be more than most bargained for. Some in the community, including XDA Senior Member Hyperrunner have reported that these binaries can be used to fix issues. Hyperrunner’s thread says that the binary drivers can fix unresponsive touch screen issues. Many testers have confirmed that it does seem to help, while some others have reported otherwise. It seems as though the drivers fix the issue if the issue is software related, while hardware related problems remain unaffected.
There could be many more uses for these binary drivers. For more info, go to the original thread.
Who doesn’t like it when development teams launch mass releases? As such it’s not uncommon for us to report a dozen or so devices getting a ROM at once. Another ROM dev team has released their newest release candidate for a staggering 11 devices.
The ROM series is called LiquidSmooth, and the team has quite a few developers. It is a source-built release derived from AOSP, and it borrows from a number of other development teams such as CyanogenMod and Team EOS. The device list includes:
Galaxy Nexus (maguro)
Galaxy Nexus (toroplus)
Galaxy Nexus (toro)
Samsung Galaxy S III I9300
Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III
Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III
T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S III
AT&T Samsung Galaxy S III
US Cellular Samsung Galaxy S III
Google Nexus 7
Samsung Galaxy Note GT-N7000
It’s quite a hefty list. A few of the features included are:
Lockscreen text color, layouts etc, 5-8 Options
Color & Alignment (Clock)
Custom Navbar Targets (Up to 7)
Custom Navbar Ring Targets (Up to 5)
Customizable Colors throughout the Rom
Liquid Launcher (Custom with extra options)
Liquid Splasher (New Liquid Settings)
Framework optimizations to enhance performance
Ultra Slim Size: Deodexed, Debloated, Zip-Aligned and Opti-png
Startup script control (sysctl, cron, zipalign etc)
Forced Tablet Mode with DPI Changer
Status Bar Mods – Battery, Clock, Provider Name Changer and more…
Toggles (Both AOKP/CM style)
So, in short, there are a lot of devices and a lot of features. There isn’t a running list of issues with these ROMs, so you’ll have to check out your device’s ROM thread to see if anyone is reporting any issues. Given that they are stable releases, there shouldn’t be many. For more details, check out any one of the number of device links above.
Team EOS is an incredibly talented developer group that has brought AOSP goodness to a variety of devices. In the process, they have been featured on the Portal in the past. Now, the dev team has released their latest stable build, version 3, for 5 devices. These include the Motorola Xoom, the Nexus 7, and all three versions of the Galaxy Nexus.
While all builds were released by teameos, the Motorola Xoom version was posted by XDA Recognized Developer solarnz on behalf of the entire team. All 5 builds are, as they claim to be, stable and offer a very large number of features. These include:
Android 4.1.1 AOSP based.
Battery Indicator Mods
Status Bar Color
Navigation Bar Color
Softkeys Long-Press Actions
Navigation Bar Ring Quick Launch Targets
Android Rotation Lock
Hide System Bars
Volume keys switch depending on rotation. So the volume up key is always either on the top or to the right of volume down. (Toggle-able)
Default Volume Control Stream
Advanced power menu with reboot options.
Hiding the status bars via the power menu
Additionally, there are a number of under-the-hood tweaks that help make the ROMs lag less and function better. To learn more, check out one of the thread links below:
There is no doubt that the Nexus 7 is one of the current flagship Android tablets. It’s not the biggest, but it’s a solid, stable device for a great price—and it has great specs as well. However, not everyone can afford to upgrade their tablets, and must stay with what they have. That doesn’t mean that Motorola Xoom owners can’t enjoy some of the feel of the Nexus 7.
XDA Senior Member emofishcake has released a mod that will give the Motorola Xoom many of the elements of the Nexus 7 UI. Currently, the mod includes:
framework.apk for specific device/rom combos (to be pushed to system)
StatBar (same dpi as Navbar symmetrical)
CWM flashable ZIP
use the ZIP to change DPI also
So while it isn’t a major overhaul, it gives you the basic accents to make your Xoom more Nexus 7-like. For now, this is only compatible with the Wingray (WiFi-only) variant of the Xoom, and it has to be running either TeamEOS nightlies, CodenameAndroid, or CM10 nightlies. Support for the other versions and more ROMs is promised in future updates. Additionally, emofishcake is taking feature requests from users to help make the Nexus 7 mod include even more lookalike goodness.
If this is something you’d like to try out, check out the original thread.
Tablet cameras generally don’t live up to their potential. There are a variety of reasons for this, but most notable is that people don’t often use the camera on a tablet. A tablet is too big and bulky to be used as a camera under most circumstances, so OEMs generally don’t put much work into camera software.
That said, this doesn’t mean that the actual camera units themselves are worthless. Rather, they can often be modded to produce better content. Such is the case on the Google Nexus 7, which can now record video at 720p. Installation is simple, requiring that users edit their media_profiles.xml file.
While a flashable zip will most likely come in the future, it’s fun to edit the file manually. XDA Recognized Developer hillbeast who created the guide, includes before and after videos.
For more information, check out the original thread.
We have come quite a long way from the crazy days of chasing thieves in the middle of a crowded marketplace. Nowadays, we typically request refunds on PayPal, call the police to report items stolen,or (on Android devices) use a security app to track your phone down so you can politely ask for it back. What if you could also take a picture of the thief? Now there’s an application that’ll let you do that.
The application is called Hidden Eye. If the perpetrator gets your lock screen pattern wrong too many times, your device’s front facing camera will take a picture of them. This photo is stored on the device, and there is an option to sync it to Dropbox. It can be very, very useful in identifying who has (or had) your device when they shouldn’t have. This is also a great way to catch snooping roommates or other household guests.
Posted to our forums by XDA Senior Member millennium007, the application works for most devices with a front facing camera, including the Nexus 7, despite some early issues with compatibility for the Google tablet. If you have an older device that doesn’t have a front facing camera, the application can still be helpful to you. As the app description states:
Worried that your phone does not have front camera. With HiddenEye, now you can know the someone has tried to snoop into your phone. You can also set alarm if someone is trying to unlock your phone with wrong password. If you have a front camera, then you can see who tried unlocking your phone.
To learn more, head over to the application thread.