April 13, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Theming is an art. As such, making a beautiful theme is an extremely time consuming and challenging task. Preparing resources requires countless hours spent in a graphics editor app. Putting everything together into an application isn’t easy, but within XDA you’ll find a long list of guides and tutorials that help you understand the Android ecosystem better.
If you have some ideas regarding theming and don’t know where to start, you should read a guide written by XDA Senior Member SArnab©®. This guide explains how to create a theme in Eclipse for Xperia devices in step-by-step detail. The guide should work with Xperia phones running Android 4.3.
Every step is explained with screenshots and commentary, so you most likely won’t get lost while making your own theme. The guide author was also kind enough to provide all the necessary files and source code for the Xperia Pink Theme, which can be used for reference. And with a few relatively minor modifications, you can make a generic theme that works with every device—not just those by Sony.
This guide is a great starter for those looking to begin a journey in theming. So if you are planning to modify the look of your device, head over to the original thread and study it carefully. We wish you all good luck and no build errors!
Unlike most other mobile OSes, Android allows users to modify its source code to make the most of it. This is accomplished by editing code from the AOSP or AOSP-derived projects before compiling. However, not all of us build our own ROMs from source. Thus, there’s the world of decompiling and Smali editing.
Here on XDA, developers create amazing things. One new and exciting project allows users to create external controls for SystemUI.APK. The project comes in the form of a guide written by XDA Recognized Developer and Themer serarj, and it allows users to change the look of the status bar and other UI elements on the fly. But rather than simply providing completed applications that accomplish this goal, Serarj decided to share his knowledge and show others how to do this themselves in Eclipse.
If you are a ROM chef and want to add something interesting to your work, or if you simply wish to use it in your own personal builds, your way to the guide thread to get started.
Nothing provides more satisfaction than making something yourself. Learning is a beautiful process. And when you create even something small with your own brain, you feel like a king. The same thing applies to Android, where first you start by using apps created by others and then you may venture to make your own.
Xposed Framework module development differs a bit from that of a regular application. As you know, Xposed Framework allows you to modify many aspects of the Android OS without APKTool, decompiling, pushing back to your device, and all of the requisite clutter. If you are ready for a challenge, XDA Forum Member hamzahrmalik posted a tutorial on how to create an Xposed module.
Before you get started, you should know that this isn’t an easy process. You must know quite a bit about Java. But with a bit of an effort, you should be able to create your own module. The module presented as an example in the guide was made in Eclipse, but you can use an IDE to compile an application. You should be able to create one on every operating system that supports Eclipse.
So if you think that now is a good time to start developing some Xposed module, make your way to the tutorial thread to get started.
April 6, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Many of us don’t have unlimited texting plans. After all, why should we pay for something that essentially costs the carriers nothing? Plus, with practically everyone using some form of smartphone nowadays, it’s often more convenient to simply send an email or Hangouts message.
However, there are still times in which we must send a traditional text. For example, these messages can go through even when there is no standard data connectivity. When this happens, we either pay per SMS message or we eat at a given pool of messages that we purchased in our plan—unless, of course, we have an expensive unlimited messaging plan.
Unfortunately, many special characters reduce the number of characters that can be sent in a single message. This then requires the use of two or more SMS messages to achieve the same message. This then gouges our pockets to an even greater degree. Luckily, an interesting hidden option appeared in our Cross-Device Development Projects for Sony Devices forum.
Recognized Contributor and Themer DaRk-L0rD described the process of enabling a hidden option that converts certain special characters into their more traditional forms in order to make it so that your 160 characters stay at 160.
To perform the mod, you’ll need to decompile the original Sony messaging app, search for and modify a pair of strings, save, recompile, and resign the APK. The whole process is very simple, and you’ll be in and out in a matter of minutes.
If you are sick of wasting money on text messages and want to limit the number you send out without actually changing how you use your device, head over to the guide thread to learn more.
When you hear the word “Android,” you almost automatically associate this with smartphones and tablets baked in top secret Mountain View labs. However, Android isn’t only compatible with the ARM architecture. Rather, it also works with x86 personal computers like netbooks, notebooks, and traditional computers. This is of course thanks to the Android x86 project.
If you’ve ever wanted to try Android on your computer, there’s no better time than the present. Earlier today, we talked about how the Android on Intel project had been updated to Android 4.4.2 and how it was now available for the Dell XPS12 and Intel NUC. But what if you’re running other hardware? How do you get started with Android x86?
To solve all of your potential setup issues, XDA Senior Member F4uzan wrote a guide covering the installation process. With a few simple steps, your device will turn into powerful beast running the latest version of Android. You can easily set up Android as a secondary OS, and it doesn’t even need much hardware power, so it can be used successfully even on older PCs. Furthermore, the guide also covers using Unetbootin to turn your USB stick into an installation volume. If your machine doesn’t support booting from USB, you can use CD-R.
You can learn more about setting up Android x86 flavor by visiting the guide thread.
Playing with custom ROMs and kernels is fun, but sometimes a phone needs to be restored to its stock, vanilla state. With Google Nexus devices, this is extremely easy, as no additional tool other than fastboot is needed. With Sasmung, Sony, and other devices, the situation becomes more complicated and some guidance might be required.
To restore Samsung device, you can pursue two methods: Odin and Kies. You can find plenty of guides on how to use Odin, but using Kies may require some explanation. With a guide written by XDA Forum Member SadEff, you will learn how to fully restore your device with Kies.
The guide also shows you how to unroot your phone and fix various issues that may be encountered. SadEff carefully describes every step of the process, and includes various photos to make the process easy for even total newcomers. After the process is complete, your phone will look it’s straight from the factory—or at least it’s software will. The process can be applied to every Samsung device with firmware newer than Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
To get started learning more about Kies, make your way to the guide thread. You can find all necessary information there.
March 27, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
It’s a sunny, warm day. You are walking in the park, looking at your lovely surroundings. Suddenly, you get distracted and your phone falls down onto the concrete—seemingly in slow motion. All you hear is a loud crack, and the worst-case scenario comes true: Your phone has a cracked screen. I imagine that many of you have undergone such trauma.
In such a situation, many would be tempted to purchase a new device. But selling your existing phone in such a condition would be difficult, so why not repair it yourself? If you don’t know how, you are in the right place. XDA Senior Member hamsteyr described the process of replacing a broken screen broken phone with a simple tools.
Admittedly, the process is not the easiest you can run across browsing our forum. But with a bit of practice, you can replace the screen on your own. The step-by-step guide is full of pictures, so you can see with your own eyes how this should look. After some time and a lot of patience, your phone will be like new and you will be able to back to enjoying your device.
If your phone recently kissed the concrete and your screen is now cracked, you should visit the guide thread to fix it on your own. We can only wish you the best of luck.
March 22, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
A little over a week ago, we took a quick look at the innovative application Recent by XDA Forum Member uuOuu. As its name implies, Recent brings all of your recently accessed applications, photos, and downloads to your fingertips with a handy and user-friendly radial menu.
Given the application’s innovative concept and brilliant execution, Recent amassed quite a loyal following of users. But while Recent offers substantial added functionality, many users found themselves unable to use the application due to its power demands.
After investigating the matter, uuOuu quickly got to the root of the matter and was able to cut down his app’s power consumption dramatically. And for the benefit of other developers struggling to optimize power usage in their apps, uuOuu chronicled his sleuth work. The applications used were WakeLock Detector and DU Battery Saver.
If you’re an app developer and you find your app consuming a bit more battery usage than you’d like, head over to uuOuu’s power consumption thread to learn how he optimized his app’s power consumption.
March 20, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Android is a powerful platform due its various customization possibilities. Practically everything can be modified and pushed back to the device, hence the countless numbers of custom ROMs available in the XDA forums. But there are some things that do not require you to change the ROM, as you can modify them on your own and add them to almost every ROM. Of course you can use Xposed Framework for this, but APKTool can do things a bit different and playing with code is often more educational.
One thing that can be added in this manner is a virtual power button in your status bar, which can be activated by tapping on your clock icon. To add this to your favorite ROM, you should download the newest APKTool and follow a guide written by XDA Senior Member dipesh1502. In this guide, the process of adding a power button to your status bar is thoroughly explained. There are also images illustrating each step so that you don’t get lost.
After the modification has been made, you should be able to power off the screen by tapping the status bar clock. You can also add a few useful options that pop up when you actually press your physical power button. This is very useful if your power button acts abnormally or you preferring to have everything easily accessible from your screen. The modification should work on every Xperia phone with Android 4.3.
The guide can be found in the original thread, so make your way there to learn more.
Google recently added the Quick Settings panel, which displays your profile photo if you’re logged into Google+. This photo can also be used in other places. You just need a few tools and a couple of minutes to do some minor modifications.
One place suitable for this photo is the About Phone page in your Settings menu. Fittingly, XDA Forum Member nightwalker wrote a handy guide on how to add this feature to your personal ROM. One must also mention XDA Recognized Themer b16h22, who originally authored the guide.
To make said changes, you need APKTool (or any variant), a good text editor, your Settings.apk file pulled directly from your device, and a nice cup of coffee. To make the necessary changes, you need to decompile the application with APKTool, replace some PNGs and variables in the XML, and also modify some smali files. After the process, re-compile the Settings.apk, and push it back to your device using ADB.
You can find more information about smali editing and the process of modification in the guide thread. You can also visit a guide by b16h22. Head to these two links to get started adding your own photo to your settings menu!
EDIT: Due to some copyright issues, the owner of the thread was changed. We would like to apologize for any problems.
The Hangouts app is loved by some and hated by others, who prefer the good old fashioned Google Talk. Unfortunately, Hangouts has a few issues that are quite annoying, such as the lack of a return key when returning messages. But fear not because with a bit of patience and a willingness to learn and some new tools, you will be able to change Hangouts to be more usable.
To do this, you need APKtool and a guide written by XDA Recognized Contributor CNexus. To make the necessary modifications, you need to have the Hangouts application extracted from your device. Keep in mind that Hangouts is updated from time to time, so you would need to repeat the process after every update. After decompiling the application, you need to enter few Smali lines and compile it again. With a little dose of luck, your Hangouts application will show your onscreen keyboard’s enter key rather than the smiley key.
To learn more about the process, head over to the original guide thread.
March 11, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Understanding the structure of Java code is key to being a good Android programmer. One topic that should be understood better by most developers is concurrency. Every machine can perform more than one task at a time. For example, you are able to listen to music, browse the Internet, and have Android compiling in the background. Java, which is the main language of Android, is perfectly ready to handle more than one process at the same time.
There are two basic units of execution: processes and threads. New CPUs available both on PCs and phones have more than one thread, that’s why some new Intel chips can run up to 12 threads at the same time. The number of processes is greater, and shared among the number of currently available threads. That does not mean that a single-core processor doesn’t support concurrency. It does, but the performance will be lower than on an eight-core machine.
If you want to learn about concurrency in Java, you should check out a guide written by XDA Senior Member sak-venom1997. Sak-venom1997 put forth tremendous effort to thoroughly explain concurrency handling in Java. By following suggestions from this guide, you can get the most performance from your application and optimize it to use all threads available on your device.
The guide can be found in its original thread. If you are an app developer or you are planning to become one, don’t hesitate to go there to learn more.
March 6, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Aside from being a famous god in Norse mythology, Odin is the name of an application used to flash Samsung firmware onto Galaxy phones and tablets. With this tool, you are able to revert your phone or tablet to vanilla state, and you can also root it using CF-Root or by changing the kernel without recovery.
Creating Odin- or Heimdall-compatible packages from scratch is not easy. But this isn’t challenging anymore, as XDA Senior Member hnkotnis wrote a simple guide that explains how to create an Odin-compatible firmware in just a few steps. To crate said firmware, you need a Linux machine or VirtualBox with Ubuntu or another Linux distribution mounted as the operating system.
Hnkotnis presents three situations for creating said packages. The first is RSF format with simg2img support, the second is an image with EXT4 format, and the last is RFS firmware incompatible with simg2img. Making a compatible image requires a few files and UNIX commands, which thankfully are described in detail in the thread.
If you own a Galaxy device and want to make your own pre-rooted firmware, head over to the original thread to learn more.