September 23, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Some older devices still remain very popular. Phones like the HTC Desire, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, and HTC HD2 are considered legendary and have many developers still actively working on ROMs, kernels, and tweaks to keep these old devices kicking. All of these old devices feature the first generation Snapdragon SoC with the Adreno 200 GPU. And although top-notch back in its time, the SoC has long since been forgotten by all but just a few who keep these older devices.
It goes without saying that devices that use the QSD8x50 platform could stand to have their performance improved. Luckily, the Adreno 200 and Qualcomm Scorpion CPU can be overclocked. XDA Senior Member FeraVolt has shared the results of his research regarding hacking this platform. By following this guide, you will learn how to overclock the GPU and CPU to play the newest games. You will also learn how to get the most performance out of the Adreno 200. While some changes require kernel hacking, the others can be done by build.prop and hw_config.sh editing.
This guide is aimed to provide performance improvements for the older line of devices, but with the proper changes they can be useful with newer phones and tablets–and not only with Gingerbread. If you own an older device with a first generation Snapdragon CPU, you may want to give it new life. You can find the tweaks by visiting the Overclocking and tuning Adreno200 GPU & misc qsd8k development hacking thread.
September 18, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Almost every OEM adds its own unique flair to their stock firmwares. While some of them focus rather on applications and small tweaks to enhance user’s experience, others bring the level of customization to the next level. Without a doubt, Sony prefers to do the latter, because their UI differs greatly from the AOSP-like firmwares in almost any kind.
With the release of the Sony Xperia Z2, Sony added an incredibly good looking lock screen. Basically when you tap on the screen, small sparks start to shine and then the screen is unlocked. This looks pretty nice but you don’t have to own Sony device to try it. If you ever wanted to have the same effect on your device running KitKat, you have a great chance of achieving this effect by following a guide by XDA Senior Member gamzekal.
The porting process is pretty simple and can be achieved by almost everyone who has had a chance to work with Apktool before. Gamzekal provides all the necessary resources to complete the porting. You need to decompile your framework2.jar file, add some smali resources, recompile it, and copy it to the flashable zip which can be applied in recovery. The whole process can be done in a few minutes and is pretty simple.
If you are using CyanogenMod (this mod is designed for it) or any other AOSP based ROMs, you can now mimick the lock screen of the Xperia Z2. All necessary information can be found in the Xperia Z2 lock screen mod guide thread.
If you follow the custom ROM world closely, you have certainly noticed that some developers or teams use Gerrit to verify and implement the code that goes into their ROMs. It’s a popular way of controlling and reviewing code, as well as enhancing it, since the commits can be reviewed by other developers. Incoming commits can be merged, rejected or amended and then merged. This all combines to make the project better.
This handy tool can be hosted by almost any PC running Linux. If you are a project leader and you don’t know how to use this code verification system, XDA Senior Member codexc prepared something that you might find useful. He gathered most of the available Gerrit resources on the Web and converted them into a handy guide that explains how to set up and use Gerrit. If you are facing some difficulties, codexc provides the answer for your most frequently asked questions. Last but not the least, the guide shows you how to install plugins that add new functions into existing copies of the system.
There are many benefits that can be had by using Gerrit. Projects using it can be easily expanded by valuable code contributions coming from external developers. By following this guide, you will learn many valuable things that may make you a better developer.
Turn your project into more easily managed one and verify its code by using Gerrit. You can learn how to install it by visiting the How-to installation and configuration Gerrit v2.10 with GitHub oAuth thread.
September 11, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Every country is different, and I’m not referring to the British having steering wheels on the right side of their cars. Sometimes, you might go to another country and find that your phone does not work. This is often caused by OEMs blocking the available or usable frequencies on the device. So called bands differ in every part of the world. For example in North America, GSM operates on the primary communication bands 850 MHz and 1900 MHz, while in Canada 1900 MHz is primary and 850 MHz is a backup. In Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia the bands providers use 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. Sometimes it’s really hard to figure whether your device will work or not.
Some OEMs decide to release devices that work only with a limited bands. Many times, these limitations are implemented in the software layer and can be lifted relatively easy. If you are using a Qualcomm device with such arbitrary software limitations, you can now make your phone work throughout the world. Thanks to XDA Senior Member BlackSoulxxx and XDA Recognized Contributor olokos, you can enhance the list of supported bands in just few minutes. The whole process is carefully described in a guide with 36 simple steps. After following them, your phone should work without any issues everywhere.
The only requirement to use this method is a rooted device because you have to modify some system files. Olokos’ guide explain the process for Sony devices, but this method should work with the majority of Qualcomm devices available on the market–assuming the radio hardware is physically up to the task. Before playing with your phone, be sure to backup your data in the event of unforseen complications. In addition, keep in mind that messing with the radio hardware on many devices is a one-way ticket to irrecoverable device bricking. So before you try this on your device (even if others have had success with your particular model), be sure to read every step carefully and be prepared for the worst.
Don’t let your phone be arbitrarily limited to certain regions or carriers. Unlock it to support all the available bands. Head over to band restrictions removal guide thread to learn more.
Despite introducing many useful features and overall great performance and enhancements, Android 4.4 KitKat is not without its flaws. For many, it’s not quite the most stable OS released by Google, and one of the “features” that drive people crazy is the intermittent WiFi drop. It unfortunately hasn’t been fixed in the various releases since KitKat’s original unveiling.
If you suffer from intermittent WiFi connection drops, XDA Recognized Developer M_J_Nazari provides a solution for this rather frustrating situation. In many cases, the whole issue is caused by nothing other than the OS checking for the connectivity status of our devices. When the client can’t be reached, the connection is reset. This can be fixed with a simple trick in your router’s configuration or WiFi settings on your Android device.
It’s still a bit of a shame that Google hasn’t managed to fix this issue in their product, despite how many other hotfixes have been released. Hopefully the upcoming Android L(emon Meringue Pie) will finally resolve all these problems related to connectivity, since it’s one of the critical functions for any mobile device.
While we all wait for an official fix, you can fix your own WiFi drop issues by following the instructions provided in the WiFi Drop Fix guide thread.
In the last few months, we’ve talked about quite a few Sony Honami-related projects. The Sony Xperia Z1 is quite a popular device, due no doubt to its aesthetic UI that has been ported to other devices by many developers and themers.
Changing the look of your device’s framework to match the Honami isn’t as difficult as it may initially look. The situation gets even easier with a guide by XDA Senior Member KuaQ, which thoughtfully explains the process of transformation. KuaQ’s guide is place where you can learn how to make simple modifications like changing the theme accent color in Settings, the system progress bar, and more. All modifications can be done within minutes and they require no special skills in smali or other programming languages. To apply these modifications, you need to use one of popular APK extractors, and thankfully, all of the required information is presented in text and image form, so you won’t get lost in the middle of the process.
The available modifications can be applied to Sony devices, but if you don’t have one, worry not. You can make use of them on other devices as well, if you only want to make your OS look like the Honami.
If you are willing to sink your teeth into simple modding, you can find necessary resources by visiting the Honami transformation guide thread.
Nothing tastes better than the product of your own hard work. This applies everywhere, from cooking to Android, where you can modify almost every element of the UI either by editing smali code or by using an Xposed Framework modules. XDA is your source for a limitless supply of guides explaining what needs to be done in order to achieve the desired effect on your device.
One such guide was recently published by XDA Senior Member DanielFlorin who showed what could be done with the Sony Xperia phones to make their UI more beautiful. DanielFlorin’s guide contains instructions about how to make the status bar semi-transparent, how to move the toggles under the clock, and how to change the separator background in Settings. All these modifications can be done at the XML level, so you don’t have to dive into smali code, which is the result of old school APKTool decompilation.
The lack of smali edits make this guide easier than most to follow. Your device will instantly change its look after pushing the SystemUI.apk back to your device and rebooting it. And with some time and effort, the effect is sure to please.
If you want to learn about modifying your Android device’s look, this guide is a good place to get started. You can find it in the SystemUI, Settings small mods guide thread.
APKTool has been one of the main, and probably most influential application editing tools for quite some time on the Android platform. It has been available for Android users ever since devices had physical keyboards, back when Android seemed like just an experimental project. The first versions of the tool were released in 2010, so this was at the time when the Eclair ruled the world. APKTool in its many variations is still one of the most popular ways to change the contents of an app or stock firmware.
Using APKTool on Windows is very easy and doesn’t require much in the way of technical skills. All you need to do is download the script, executing it, and you’re done. Setting up this tool on different operating systems requires a bit of a work. XDA Senior Member nilac8991 has shown how to use APKTool on the one of the most popular Linux distributions, Ubuntu. The guide contains the basic information about installing Java, Android SDK, and essential libraries needed for APKTool to work.
The whole process is very easy and can be done by every Linux beginner in no more than 5 minutes. Keep in mind though, that some distributions use different package managers like AUR or RPM, so you need to change the commands accordingly.
If you are new to Linux and you would love to use APK Tool, head over to the APK Tool on Ubuntu thread to learn more.
The Sony Xperia Z1, also known as the Honami, brought many interesting solutions for end users with regards to UI styling. Sony is well known for delivering a good looking OS that is stable, reliable, and easy on the eyes, and many of the people here on the XDA forums will agree.
If you didn’t purchase this formerly flagship device, fear not. Some elements from the Honami’s interface can be easily added to other Android-powered devices. One such UI element is the loading animation that is used in places such as the stock Gallery app, Browser, and so on. XDA Forum Member ljg211314 shared a thorough guide explaining the whole process of theming.
The guide is presents all the various resources needed to replace the XML files in your current ROM and the instruction on what needs to be changed.To make use of this guide, you need to use the good old APKTool, which still is in use in many modification available on XDA.
The modification is designed to work with Sony devices, but you can try to use it on your own on device of a different manufacturer. Change your AOSP experience by adding some quality stuff from Sony’s Xperia UI.
You can learn more about theming your ROM with some Honami elements by visiting the Honami UI Elements guide thread.
August 5, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
The Sony Xperia Z1 is undoubtedly a beautiful device. Nice hardware design coupled with a good looking UI makes this smartphone one of the top choices for those who like their phone to be beautiful more than anything else. As such, this former flagship still is quite popular among XDA users.
The phone codenamed “Honami” has a unique Xperia UI, which looks attractive to many. If you want to have parts of this UI on your device, XDA Forum Member ljg211314 created a guide explaining how to change the tab indicator style to match the Honami.
The guide shows you what changes are needed in your ROM’s framework to get the expected result. To make said changes, you need to use APKtool, which then allows you to extract the contents of the files in question and re-compile them after adding changes in XML. Ljg211314 provided all resources necessary to complete the process.
Adding Honami UI elements to any Xperia ROM isn’t too difficult. Everything can be done in just few minutes. To use it, your device must be rooted, since the modified files must be pushed back to /system partition.
If you would like to change the style of your tab indicators to those used on the Sony Xperia Z1, head over to the Xperia Z1 Tab Indicator guide thread to learn more.
July 15, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Every developer, even the most capable, was at one point a newcomer. When you are a new to development and need light to show the way, there’s little better than a guide showing you where to start your journey.
If you want to try your luck with developing for Android, XDA Recognized Contributor jackeagle offers you a nice ride through the depths of coding. Jackeagle wrote a complex guide, in which you can find information about Android and its basics, as well as what is even more important, instructions on setting up a build environment using Linux. You will find a step-by-step tutorial about how to install Ubuntu on Virtualbox and configure it properly to build your very first ROM compiled from source. Every step is illustrated with a screenshot, so it’s really hard to get lost.
This guide was meant to serve a vital purpose for newcomers who haven’t yet had a chance to play deeply with Linux and Android. If you know how to use Linux, it’s still a good reminder about all commands needed in setting up process.
To find out more about Linux and Android and eventually build your own ROM from source, head over to the guide thread to get started.
Around the time of the OnePlus One‘s release, the CyanogenMod team decided to use refresh their Theme Chooser. One of the new functions that has been added is an ability to change the font, system-wide, without messing with /system/fonts folder. To change your system fonts using this new functionality, the font must be made as an application. If you have a favorite font somewhere on your PC and want to use it on Android, now you have a chance to do it really easily.
Even if you are relatively new to Android and development, you can create your own font package without too much hassle. To help you out, XDA Senior Member codekidX created a handy guide that shows all the changes that need to be made.
To start playing with fonts, you need some IDE installed. You can use either Android Studio or Eclipse, since both of these programs can compile an APK. After installing an IDE and finding a font file that you want to use on your system, you need to follow just four steps to get the font ready to install. This guide is only useful when you are using a CyanogenMod 11 or its forks with newest Theme Chooser, so keep that in mind before starting your learning process.
Is your OS looking a bit boring? Why not giving it some new life! All you need to do is visit the original thread to get started.
Much of the Android’s beauty is in the ability to change practically every part of the OS—both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. There are several ways to go about this. One way is to modify apps before compiling them from source. Another involves decompiling and editing already compiled, ready-to-use binaries.
Theming your ROM is one way to make it look cooler and more personalized. Many custom ROMs use the T-Mobile Theme Engine, which allows the use of external themes prepared by third parties. Stock ROMs usually don’t allow the use of such themes, so you’ll often have to resort to APKTool or equivalents.
If you’re a Sony Xperia user, you can now easily change the color of Phonebook and Dialer applications thanks to a thorough guide by XDA Senior Member Rajeev. This guide explains how to change the XML files to get rid of the stock values. Fear not, no Smali knowledge is required, so even the freshest newcomer will be able to do it with the available tools. Rajeev’s method method works only on Xperias with Android 4.1 or greater, but you can easily adapt it to work with other stock ROMs like Sense or TouchWiz.
Naturally, you need to be rooted in order to push some files back to the /system partition. APKTool or a similar utility is needed as well in order to decompile and recompile the APK files. If you find the stock dialer and phonebook colors boring, head over to the guide thread to get started.