February 13, 2013 By: Conan Troutman
Those of you with Nexus devices will most likely have received an update to Android version 4.2.2 by now. The news of the OTA was broken on the forums yesterday by XDA Senior Member kataria.vikesh. Those of you who have not are no doubt on the verge of applying the update manually after a lengthy session of gawping at your status bar awaiting that notification. Nexus 4 owners may find themselves waiting a little longer than the rest, as there doesn’t seem to be any sign of an update for the device yet. However, the changes have already been merged into some custom ROMs. This latest version, build number JDQ39, was also pushed to AOSP yesterday meaning that we should soon see this latest update becoming unofficially available on a whole host of devices.
So what exactly are the changes in 4.2.2? Well, we already know from the version number that this isn’t a huge update, there are however some notable additions to functionality and tweaks to the UI. Most of these are directed more towards the end user, but one of which will no doubt be a welcome addition for some developers out there so let’s start with that one.
ADB Whitelist: Connecting your device to a PC with USB debugging enabled will now bring up a prompt which displays your PC’s RSA key and offers the option to add this information to a whitelist. Unless a specific computer is allowed access via this prompt, the device will be inaccessible via ADB. This of course adds an extra level of security to the device. Providing you use a secure lock screen any potential thief with a little ADB knowledge will be unable to access the prompt and add themselves to the whitelist. Unfortunately, it seems that this feature may not provide much more security for users with an unlocked bootloader, according to the guys at Android Police.
Other changes include:
There’s speculation as to whether the issue of streaming music over A2DP has been addressed. Some users are reporting an improvement, whereas others are not. If anyone is able to spot this in the commits then please let us know in the comments.
February 9, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
By now, you’ve no doubt heard of Paranoid Android. In fact, there’s a good chance that if you own the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10; you’re either running the ROM yourself or you’ve given it a try in the past.
For the few unfamiliar, Paranoid Android’s defining characteristic is what they call Hybrid Engine. Contrary to what many believe, this is not “tablet mode,” though that is one of many things that can be accomplished using Hybrid Engine. Rather, Hybrid Engine allows you to select both dpi and layout on a per-app basis. Rather than being forced to modify the look of your entire device, you can optimize your applications to what works best for each and every one.
A new and important feature that has come to light in the recent beta builds, and now sees light in the official release of PA3 is the PIE control system. What this allows one to do is to disable onscreen buttons and use a swipe gesture to access various common functions, thereby freeing up valuable screen real estate. The menu can be seen in the header image above, as well as the video below.
Per-app color, another significant feature in PA3 and recent pre-release builds, allows you set system UI colors on a per-app basis. Want a black system bar for your launcher, but a blue one for Facebook? No problem. Have more eccentric choices in mind? That’s fine too.
The most recent (and most specific) addition is screen calibration for the Google Nexus 4. While the vast majority of third-party reviews have praised the device for its screen, build quality, responsiveness, and overall value; some have been quick to point out that the screen seems under-saturated, especially to those coming from overly saturated S-AMOLED devices. Rather than trying to offer a simple band-aid solution with RGB calibration, PA3 also corrects for the device’s gamma issues to give it the punch the IPS panel deserves. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who says that the Nexus 4 screen looks “bad,” the calibration has been met with much praise thus far, and the team only hopes that these changes are incorporated upstream.
Are you salivating yet? Those eager to get started should visit the threads below. Naturally, there will also be a plethora of unofficial ports for various unsupported devices. So if you’re looking for a build for your device, be sure to check in your device forum to see if someone’s already attempted porting the ROM. Even better, you could always try porting and building the ROM from source yourself.
January 14, 2013 By: Haroon Q. Raja
Whenever there is mention of custom ROMs for Android, AOKP is one of the first to come to mind. Over the past year, the popularity of this source-built ROM has skyrocketed to make it one of the most recognizable third party development projects. Though over the past few months, several AOKP users (including myself) decided to jump ship to other ROMs because of the delay in a release based on Android 4.2. There is good news: The wait is over, as Team Kang has officially released Android 4.2.1-based AOKP JB-MR1 Build 1, starting with the Nexus line of devices.
As with the changes in Android 4.2 from 4.1, the changes in this AOKP release from the previous one aren’t as many as we’ve seen in previous major releases. However, they are still substantial enough to improve the overall user experience. Apart from all the AOKP features of the previous Jelly Bean builds, you’ll get:
The Nexus line of devices was the primary focus of AOKP since its very inception, and they are the first ones to get this release as well. However, that doesn’t mean other devices will be left out. The team is working on Galaxy S II, S III, Note, and Note II support for the next build, with builds for many other devices to follow. Until then, you can grab the ROM for Nexus devices from the following links:
The team is also planning a return to its (bi)weekly release schedule once builds for more of the officially supported devices are ready. More information can be found at the AOKP website.
Back in October, we brought you news that you could connect a XBox 360 controller to the Nexus 7. That was a nice mod because the more controllers that are compatible with an Android device, the better. This is expecially true for people who don’t have other gaming systems or gaming-capable computers. Now, a very simple hardware mod can be made to make the original Xbox controller compatible with the Google Nexus 7 and presumably other devices running Jelly Bean.
XDA Forum Member Dslrocks10 posted a basic hardware mod tutorial that makes the Xbox controller compatible with Android devices using a USB OTG cable. It’s a relatively simple mod, and it only requires users to have a disposable Xbox breakaway cable. Here are the instructions:
what you do is strip an xbox controller’s cable, or the break away cable(this is smarter due to the fact you can still use your controller later with another break away cable), and strip a usb cable (the male end still in tact) and simply wire the corresponding colors together(Green to green, red to red, black to black, white to white). Now the xbox controller has a 5th wire which is yellow, you can ignore that one.
So far the only issue with this is that the L and R triggers aren’t working. However, Dslrocks10 says that this could be because of a broken controller rather than the triggers not working in Android. So it’s recommended to try on a fully working controller. However, it may also be due to the lack of appropriate button mapping of the analog triggers to digital virtual buttons, which would be alleviated by a button remapper.
For the full details, check out the modification thread.
January 3, 2013 By: Former Writer
Update: Due to questionable gains and inherent drawbacks, we recommend that users please read this explanation before proceeding.
Despite some truly top notch hardware, some high end Android devices still seem to have trouble with some games. There are mods out there to fix these lag issues, as the underlying cause usually equates to some issue with the processor not working to its full capacity. There is now a new fix for Nexus 7 devices to help reduce game lag.
XDA Senior Member lambgx02 originally posted the Seeder Entropy Generator to stop lag on various Android devices. The running premise was that most game lag was caused by entropy. As lambgx02 explains:
So, I was experiencing significant lag as we all do from time to time, and decided I was going to get to the bottom of it.
After tracing and debugging for hours, I discovered the source of 90% of Android’s lag. In a word, entropy (or lack thereof).
Google’s JVM, like Sun’s, reads from /dev/random. For all random data. Yes, the /dev/random that uses a very limited entropy pool.
Random data is used for all kinds of stuff.. UUID generation, session keys, SSL.. when we run out of entropy, the process blocks. That manifests itself as lag. The process cannot continue until the kernel generates more high quality random data.
So, I cross-compiled rngd, and used it to feed /dev/urandom into /dev/random at 1 second intervals.
The result of fixing this issue is that games run much, much smoother. XDA Recognized Contributor bradman117 tested and confirmed it worked for the Nexus 7 and posted where more users can see it. So far, users have have reported excellent results. Installation is easy as well, as it’s a simple zip to flash in recovery.
However, if you do decide to give it a shot be aware of the very real caveats of decreased security due to inferior random number generation, as well as decreased battery life. As stated by lambgx02:
- There is a (theoretical) security risk, in that seeding /dev/random with /dev/urandom decreases the quality of the random data. In practice, the odds of this being cryptographically exploited are far lower than the odds of someone attacking the OS itself (a much simpler challenge).
- This may adversely affect battery life, since it wakes every second. It does not hold a wakelock, so it shouldn’t have a big impact, but let me know if you think it’s causing problems. I can add a blocking read to the code so that it only executes while the screen is on. On the other hand, many of us attribute lag to lacking CPU power. Since this hack eliminates almost all lag, there is less of a need to overclock, potentially reducing battery consumption.
While lambgx02 states that the risk of being exploited due to the urandom -> random seeding is low, any increased risk is too much for a daily driven device in our book. We advise all those who are interested to give this a second thought, though, due to the potential risks. However, we understand why some in heavily controlled environments, where cryptographic strength is not of high importance, may want to give this a shot. To see more, check out the Nexus 7 thread as well as the original thread.
The Nexus 7 is Google’s flagship 7 inch tablet. It represents both the ideals behind the Android Open Source Project and the commitment to quality hardware we have come to expect from Google’s Nexus line of devices. Being on the forefront of the open source realm, it comes as no surprise that the device has seen a tremendous amount of development and modification. The device has seen ports and ROM’s of every type, from Ubuntu to Jelly Bean. The latest groundbreaking piece of software for the Nexus 7 has arrived in the form of an untethered (meaning no PC connection is required to boot and run the firmware) port of HP’s webOS.
webOS suffered an untimely demise when HP decided to axe the TouchPad, but it still lives thanks to a dedicated and enthusiastic community of users who strongly believe in it. XDA Senior Member noahk423 brought the Nexus 7 port to our attention via this post in our forums. It would appear that @webosports and the Open webOS crew have released the build to the public. While previous work in this field ran little risk, the older builds were barely functional alphas that required a steady PC connection (also known as a ‘tethered installation’). The newest alpha build, a modification of the Galaxy Nexus build, requires a PC to boot, but runs on its own after that. Additionally, hardware acceleration has not been fully realized, meaning there is still plenty of work to be done.
The main point of attraction for webOS fanatics is the user interface. Maybe soon Nexus 7 owners will be able to use it as a daily driver. With all the advancements in porting and building new ROMs for the Nexus 7, it stands to reason that webOS would make its way to the device. Who knows? Perhaps the next release of the port will be compatible with the Nexus 7 Multi-Boot we reported on a couple weeks ago. Keep your eyes on the Portal for more information!
December 19, 2012 By: Former Writer
Most of the CM10.1 releases we talk about are unofficial. That’s to be expected, as most of these releases are alphas, pre-alphas, or preview builds that don’t really run well, but show that work is being done. When it’s official, it’s usually more stable. Now, there are official CM10.1 builds out for the Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.
The Nexus 7 release was posted by XDA Forum Member eak1080. As is to be expected for vanilla Android devices, it’s pretty much ready to go. There are a few quirks that are easy to get around. For instance, the GooManager app doesn’t link to the proper GApps. So if you plan on flashing, use the ones linked. There are also separate zips for superuser and Picasa sync. Also, of course, there is the change in SD card path to /mnt/shell/emulated/. Otherwise, the ROM is perfectly stable and daily driver-ready. So if you’ve been waiting for official CM10.1 before flashing to Android 4.2, it’s ready to go.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 official was posted by XDA Recognized Developer noobnl. While it is mostly stable, there are a few issues plaguing users. Some have reported that the camera isn’t working properly, and some are also having problems mounting the SD card. However, the ROM has come a long way since its initial release a few weeks ago.
One of the more talked about features of Jelly Bean 4.2 is the ability to switch users. It started as a hidden feature in earlier versions, and has become a full blown feature in Android 4.2. While it has caused some issues for some, the functionality itself is awesome. Now, there is a method to not only share devices with multiple accounts, but share apps across accounts on the Nexus 7.
XDA Forum Member jeepguy04 released an application that will allow users to share applications across multiple accounts on their Nexus 7. This is much like standard operating systems that lets all users access apps at the admin account’s discretion. The features, known issues, and other details about the app include:
- This is BETA
-You must have ROOT
- This changes system data on non documented files it could screw something up.
- I’m not responsible for any problems this causes or lost data or bricked or broken devices
- please use cation
- it is currently built to run on main user to enable or disable apps on secondary users (once root is fully working on secondary users I will see about making it run correctly on secondary user’s account)
- not tested thoroughly with paid apps*
- does not currently support system apps**
- due to the way I pull the app list from the package manager some installed apps may not show as available to add/remove
- apps installed first on a secondary user’s profile will probably not show in the list to add/remove
For paid applications, jeepguy04 believes that Google’s verification system will prevent multiple users with multiple Google accounts use paid apps. That said, we strongly suggest re-purchasing all apps that are to be shared across the accounts, even if the inherent verification system fails.
To learn more about the mod, go to the original thread.
December 10, 2012 By: egzthunder1
The Nexus 7 is one of the best devices for a few reasons: perfect size, loaded with power, easy to use, and most importantly best bang for your buck. Yes, it has a few quirks, which many of us are annoyed at like the lack of an SD card port (devs are working on this as we speak), but overall this is a great device for people getting started on Android, as well as for those who are more seasoned in the field of Android development. So, how could you make something this good even better? XDA Recognized Developer Tasssadar can answer this question with his latest creation: Multi-Boot for the Nexus 7.
You are likely familiar with the concept of dual booting or multiple booting different operating systems on your devices or your computer. However, more often than not, doing this comes at a price where you have to modify your bootloader, erase all your data, or a slew of other unsavory things that most people outside of our little world would rather not do. This tool saves you from all of the above, as it does not touch the /system partition on your device, nor does it wipe your data. That said, there is an inherent risk of wiping your data or even damaging your device, as it does mess with the /data partition and boot sector. However, if everything works the way it should, your system and data should be safe. So, what can you run with this? Pretty much anything that you want: other versions of Android (as long as the ROM is made for the device, of course), different versions of Linux such as Ubuntu, and more.
Currently, the only caveat is that the ROMs will need to run from the internal storage, but the dev is hard at work trying to get around that issue to enable booting the images through USB.. Oh, and for those of you with 3G versions, you are covered as well. Please take this for a spin and breath new life into this small powerhouse.
MultiROM is multi-boot solutiom for Nexus 7. It can boot android ROM while keeping the one in internal memory intact or boot Ubuntu without formating the whole device. For now, ROM can be only in internal memory of the device, but booting from USB is planned, I am trying to get support for kexec into Ubuntu, which is essential for this.
You can find more information in the original thread.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
[Thanks Diamondback for the tip!]
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you know that Google has released a few new devices (Nexus 4 and Nexus 10), as well as a refresh to the Nexus 7. What makes this different from previous Nexus releases is that there are two new manufacturers added to the mix with Asus (Nexus 7) and LG (Nexus 4) joining Samsung (Nexus 10 as well as Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus) and HTC (Nexus One).
We recently told you about XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire’s new project to automatically root devices and keep them as stock as possible, and we now have an important update to share with you, as Chainfire has added CF-Auto-Root support for the new Nexus devices. What makes this update different from previous versions is that fastboot support has been enabled, as well as an updated version of SuperSU (v0.99).
Follow the links below to learn more and to obtain the downloads.
One of the more fun ways to customize an Android device is by giving it a custom boot animation. OEM and carrier boot animations are lacking most of the time, and many don’t spend a lot of time looking at the boot animation. Some, like flashaholics on the other hand, spend quite a bit of time staring at boot animations. Now there is a very in depth tutorial that helps users create their own boot animations for the Google Nexus 7.
XDA Senior Member AFAinHD has written a very in depth tutorial on creating your own boot animations. During the tutorial, AFAinHD explains various things like what file type the images in the animation have to be, proper naming conventions, proper file organization, and even installation instructions.
Perhaps the best part is a clear and easy explanation on how the desc.txt works. For those who don’t know, the desc.txt is a text file embedded in the boot animation zip file that tells the device the proper information needed for running the boot animation. So users will learn how to do things like adjust the animation frame rate, the resolution, and how many times to play the various parts of the animation. This tutorial can also easily be extrapolated to other devices as boot animations on other devices are assembled the same way.
For additional details, go to the original thread.
November 13, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
Earlier today, we brought you news of the Andriod 4.2 OTA update for GSM/HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus in the US, and Android 4.2 factory images for Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. While that’s enough to get end users excited, Google isn’t leaving ROM and app developers behind either. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean has been pushed to the Android Open Source Project, and the Android SDK has bee updated with 4.2 based API17.
News of the AOSP update was shared with us by XDA Forum Member dilwaala, and soon afterwards the SDK update followed. With the AOSP update, ROM developers can now incorporate the latest Android source code, meaning we should start seeing plenty of 4.2-based AOSP ROMs for a range of devices pretty soon. When it comes to the SDK update, it will allow app developers to utilize the latest APIs provided in Android 4.2 when developing their apps.
Last but not the least, Google has made the latest Android 4.2-based proprietary binaries available for Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. This means full hardware support for these devices in custom ROMs. For some reason, Nexus 4 has been entirely left out of AOSP for now, with no source or binaries published. According to AOSP Tech Lead JBQ, there’s no ETA on those yet either.
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.