January 31, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Ever since Android 4.4 KitKat was released on Halloween of last year, the race has been on for device manufacturers and carriers to deliver the update goods as expediently as possible. OK, fine—that last part (“carriers”) is a bit of a lie. But thankfully, they’re not completely resting on their laurels.
Just two days ago, we talked about HTC’s very public apology letter owning up to missing their self-imposed update schedule on the US carrier-branded variants of the critically acclaimed HTC One. In the public apology letter, John Mackenzie stated that updates would be expected to make their way to consumer devices within the next week or two. Now in a strange twist of fate, the official KitKat update is now available for the Sprint HTC One.
The update comes as software version 4.06.651.4. At present, it is only available for update via “customer initiated request.” In other words, it’s time to start mashing that “Check for Updates” button. Sprint’s support forums also state that the update will officially begin batched rollout on February 11th.
If you’re the lucky owner of a Sprint HTC One, make your way over to your device’s home forum and the 4.4.2 discussion thread to learn more. We’re glad to see that the update appeared on at least one US carrier variant by the end of their 90-day window, especially given the complexity of the update process mandated by carrier approval and the like. Good job, HTC. Now while you’re at it, give us support for the One X and One X+.
January 29, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
When Android 4.4 KitKat was released in the home stretch of last year, many OEMs came forward to announce their update plans for their current flagship devices. HTC was one of these manufacturers, and they were bold enough to announce that all US carrier variants of their flagship HTC One would receive the KitKat goods in 90 days or less.
For the most part, HTC has been quite good about getting updates out to various versions of the One. For starters, the Google Play edition was broken off a piece of that KitKat bar just about two weeks after the OS was announced. Then not too long after, we saw Android 4.4 make an appearance on the Developer and Unlocked variants of the One.
Now, we are approaching the self-imposed 90 day deadline that HTC originally strove to achieve, but it seems as if we won’t be seeing KitKat hit US carrier devices in the next few days. Now before you get ready to pick up those pitchforks and take your digital stampede over to Twitter and other forms of social media, it’s important to realize that not all of this is directly under HTC’s control. In fact, in an effort to boost transparency regarding firmware updates, HTC went so far as to explain why carrier-branded devices lag behind their GPe counterparts.
Now, HTC America’s President John Mackenzie has issued a statement apologizing for the fact that the company will unfortunately fail to meet their rather aggressive deadline. However, there is good news in all of this. First off, it’s commendable that the company is admitting and taking ownership for this issue, as it shows that the ailing company genuinely cares for its consumers. Second, if you take a look at HTC’s software update page, the status for these branded devices states that they are currently undergoing carrier certification. Thus if we take HTC at face value, they have already sent updates to all major US carriers and the delay is now due to the carriers rather than HTC. And finally, Mackenzie states that the update will go live in a couple of weeks.
We should applaud HTC for coming forth and taking ownership of this small setback. After all, it’s better that they’re actively are working on pushing out these updates and keeping their promises, as well as holding themselves accountable for when they fail to meet their self-imposed deadlines. What are your thoughts on the delay and HTC’s apology letter? Let us know in the comments below!
January 28, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Around the time that Android 4.4 KitKat was released near the tail end of last year, many manufacturers made claims regarding planned update timing for their flagship models. HTC made no exception with its highly acclaimed flagship HTC One, when the company promised to deliver updates to consumer devices within 90 days. Accordingly, we saw the update roll out to the developer and unlocked devices, as well as to the Google Play edition some time ago. Now, the update has also begun making its way to various HTC One devices in Europe.
Today’s OTA is software version 4.19.401.8, and it comes in at a rather trim 308.24 MB. In addition to bumping up the Android version to 4.4.2, it also brings security enhancements, cloud printing support, additional Bluetooth profiles, and the removal of Adobe Flash player support. The update itself has begun rolling out in various parts of Europe, but it has also been captured and mirrored for your sideloading and ROM creation pleasure, courtesy of XDA Recognized Contributor patensas.
Those looking to get in on the update a bit early should visit the firmware download thread. And once you’re done getting the update loaded onto your own device or creating a frankenROM from the aforementioned firmware package, head over to the OTA discussion thread to share your experiences with the rest of the community.
Finally, those of you with US carrier variants will be glad to know that your updates are coming up soon as well. These updates are currently undergoing carrier certification, with work also being done on bringing the update to the One Mini and One Max.
Are you a fan of HTC’s update strategy and expedience? Let us know in the comments below!
December 27, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
This generation, HTC has been quick to demonstrate that it is more than capable of delivering timely Android firmware updates for its flagship HTC One. In addition to providing an official KitKat update to the Google Play edition of the device, the Taiwanese OEM has updated its unlocked and developer edition devices to KitKat as well. Despite this, carrier-branded variants of the One are still stuck in Jelly Bean land, with some variants only receiving their 4.3 update as recently as two weeks ago.
If HTC already released Android 4.4 for its unlocked devices, why then is your carrier-branded unit still running an earlier firmware build? Well, HTC decided to shed some light on the process, detailing what exactly goes into the process of delivering Android firmware updates—from when Google’s Platform Developer Kit (PDK) is released and when the OEMs and component manufacturers receive the source code, all the way to when the OTA update rolls out. And whether or not you find comfort in knowing the steps that go into delivering updates, it’s interesting to see the process visualized in infographic form.
Head over to the source link or click on the thumbnail below to check out the entire process. Then, feel free to complain about carrier OTA delays in the comments section below.
December 25, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Once again, all of us here at XDA would like to wish you a Happy Holiday Season! Undoubtedly, many of our happy readers are waking up to some extra Holiday cheer in the form of shiny new tech acquisitions. Luckily, XDA is here and has your back in helping you make the most of your new, Android-powered tech toy(s).
You may remember that a little while ago, we shared with you our Best of 2013 Holiday Gift Guide. Now, we’re going to take some of these “Best” devices that you all voted for, and help you make the most of them. Obviously, we’re going to start with gaining root access and installing a custom recovery. But on some devices, this will even include installing an aftermarket ROM or even enabling multiboot!
Let’s start the day with your top pick as best tablet of 2013, the Google Nexus 7 (2013). With its high end specs and budget-friendly price, we think it’s safe to assume that quite a few Android fans are waking up to a brand new N7.
Since the Nexus 7 is a Nexus device, unlocking and rooting is incredibly simple. You will want to start by installing ADB and Fastboot by downloading the Android SDK (or installing minimal Fastboot and ADB installer, and the associated drivers). Then after you have ADB and Fastboot installed, the real fun can begin!
If all you want is root access, the easiest way to accomplish this is by running CF-Auto-Root for the Nexus 7 (2013). CF-Auto-Root will get you rooted and install the latest version of SuperSU in practically no time and with virtually no effort or hassle.
Not everyone likes it simple, though. For those who’d rather get a bit more hands on, you can unlock your device by turning on USB debugging in developer settings and rebooting your tablet to bootloader by issuing the adb reboot-bootloader command. From there, you can unlock your new device by entering fastboot oem unlock. Then, simply reboot your device with fastboot reboot, reenter your bootloader with adb reboot-bootloader, and flash a custom recovery using fastboot flash recovery <recovery image filename.img>.
After you have your custom recovery installed, your doors are now open to installing some of the more popular custom ROMs, or perhaps you can even give Multiboot a try! All of this and more can be found in our Google Nexus 7 (2013) forum, here at XDA.
Now let’s shift our attention to your top pick as best smartphone of 2013. Surprise, surprise. It was the highly anticipated Google Nexus 5. Just like the Nexus 7, it also offers a wallet-friendly price. But unlike its tablet sibling, it also offers bleeding edge specs like a quad-core 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor.
Just like the Nexus 7, unlocking and rooting the Nexus 5 is a cakewalk. Just like what we covered above, you will want to start by installing ADB and Fastboot by downloading the Android SDK (or installing minimal Fastboot and ADB installer, and the associated drivers).
Once again, if all you want is root access, the easiest way to accomplish this is by running CF-Auto-Root for the Nexus 5. CF-Auto-Root will get you rooted and install the latest version of SuperSU in practically no time and with virtually no effort or hassle.
For those who’d rather get a bit more hands on, you can unlock your device by turning on USB debugging in developer settings and rebooting your tablet to bootloader by issuing the adb reboot-bootloader command. From there, you can unlock your new device by entering fastboot oem unlock. Then, simply reboot your device with fastboot reboot, reenter your bootloader with adb reboot-bootloader, and flash a custom recovery using fastboot flash recovery <recovery image filename.img>.
Once you’ve got your recovery installed, you can now begin flashing any number of custom ROMs and kernels. And for those willing to try something a bit more ambitious, you can even play around with multiboot. Obviously, all this and more can be found in our Google Nexus 5 forum.
Next up, we have the HTC One. Although the device is no longer on the bleeding edge in the specs department, it offers build quality and a design aesthetic simply unparalleled in the Android OEM world.
While the process is a bit more involved than it is on the Nexus devices listed above, it is fully possible to unlock, root, install a custom recovery, and do much more on the HTC One. Thanks to the hard work by ieftm and his team, the device can be unlocked. There are also several custom recovery options available, as well as Official OmniROM and CyanogenMod installations, though you will want to make sure you are installing the appropriate version for your particular variant.
In addition to the custom ROM fun, those who are feeling a bit more ambitious can give Multiboot a try, as well as a Google Play editions conversion. Just like the previous two devices, all this and more can be found in the HTC One forum.
Please note, however, that the above links are intended for the INTERNATIONAL version of the device. If you’ve got yourself a shiny new carrier-branded variant, make sure you find your appropriate XDA forum before getting to work.
Let’s turn our attention over to the popular and powerful Sony Xperia Z1. Unlocking the device is a breeze. From there, you will want to gain root access, as well as flash a custom recovery. Once you’ve gotten that done, Official OmniROM and CyanogenMod builds await. And like the devices above, all of this and more can be found in the Sony Xperia Z1 forum here at XDA.
Now, we will talk about the wallet-friendly Moto G. Although it’s not the fastest device available, it offers a fantastic value that is simply unmatched in other budget devices.
Luckily, it is quite easy to unlock the Moto G directly through Motorola. From there, you can easily achieve root access and install a custom recovery. There’s not much in the aftermarket development world beyond the above, but you can rest assured that this is only a matter of time, thanks to the device’s popularity. And of course, keep your eyes peeled on the Moto G forums to keep apprised of any and all development activity for the device.
This innovative Moto X proves that raw hardware specs aren’t everything and that an innovative feature set can make for a great user experience, even on non-bleeding edge hardware.
Let’s start with rooting and unlocking, which is now possible thanks to jcase’s RockMyMoto exploit. From there, you will want to install a custom recovery. Then, you can try out any one of the source-built custom ROMs and kernels available in the Moto X forum.
Now we have the largest phone on this list, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Packing bleeding edge specs, a mammoth sized screen, and the fantastic Wacom-based S Pen, the Note 3 is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Luckily, rooting the device and installing a custom recovery are quite easy on the Note 3. Development support is also quite widespread on the Note 3, so be sure to check out the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 forum here at XDA. Please note, however, that the above links are intended for the INTERNATIONAL version of the device. If you’ve got yourself a shiny new carrier-branded variant, make sure you find your appropriate XDA forum before getting to work.
Rounding out this article, we have the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Much like the highly acclaimed HTC One, the SGS4 is no longer the king of all of the hardware specs battles. That said, it’s still a great phone, jam packed with plenty of great features.
Thanks to the device’s age and vast popularity, root access and custom recoveries are both possible, with much more available in the Samsung Galaxy S 4 forum. But just like the HTC One and Note 3, be sure to visit the appropriate forum for you carrier-branded variant if you’re not running the international version of the device.
We wish you much Android-powered joy for this Holiday Season! See you in the XDA forums!
December 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, the international HTC One received its official update to Android 4.3. Alongside the Android version update, the OTA also brought Sense 5.5, which allowed users to finally disable BlinkFeed on the device. Then three days ago, we talked about how the Verizon HTC One was slated to receive an OTA update to Android 4.3 very soon. Now, the Android 4.3 (2.10.605.1) update is here, and as expected it does not come with Sense 5.5.
Despite not coming with Sense 5.5, the 2.10.605.1 firmware brings fixes a few key issues. It also unfortunately packs a new dose of bloatware, courtesy of the VZ Cloud App. As stated in Verizon’s support page:
KEY ISSUES HAVE BEEN RESOLVED
• Increased charging speed when using Mophie Juicepack power station
• Corrected faint ringing noise from earpiece
• Play purchased ringtones
• Connection error fixed in the HTC Watch application
• View the correct date using the all day calendar reminder
• Conjunction words are better recognized on device keyboard
• Backup Assistant performance
KEY OS ENHANCEMENTS
• VZ Cloud App is now preloaded
– Back up contacts, photos, text messages and call logs
– Transfer that content to your new phone or if other is lost/stolen
GALLERY>VIDEO HIGHLIGHT IMPROVEMENTS
• Add your own music tracks to Video Highlights video
– Simply tap Menu>Select Music to choose a song from your collection
You can learn more about the update over on HTC’s support page and by visiting XDA Senior Member ak074‘s update changelog thread. And for those of you tired of waiting, XDA Senior Member carm01 has gone ahead and mirrored the 469 MB update over in this thread, so hurry up and get to sideloading!
Are you a fan of the update even though it is lacking Sense 5.5? Are you peeved about the added bloat? Let us know in the comments below!
December 14, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
About a month and a half, we saw the international HTC One receive its OTA update to Android 4.3. The update packed Sense 5.5, and finally gave users the option to disable HTC’s trademark BlinkFeed home screen panel. Then earlier today, we saw a similar OTA roll out to the HTC One Mini in Europe. Now, it looks like the Verizon variant of the full size HTC One flagship will be receiving the Android 4.3 goods in the coming few days.
HTC’s executive director of product management publicly stated on his Twitter account yesterday that the OTA has received technical approval on Verizon, with the OTA being targeted for Tuesday. This is certainly good news for HTC One owners on America’s largest carrier.
Diverging from the previously seen updates, Android 4.3 on the Verizon variant of the HTC One will not come with Sense 5.5. Because of that omission, it is likely that this update will not bring the ability to disable BlinkFeed. That said, the company is planning on bringing Sense 5.5-laden KitKat to the device in January, so the delay shouldn’t be too long.
What are your thoughts on HTC’s update plans? Are you upset that this build won’t pack Sense 5.5, whereas other Android 4.3 builds for other One variants did? Are you looking forward to disabling BlinkFeed once you get your Sense 5.5 update? Let us know in the comments below!
December 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just a few short days ago, we saw Android 4.4.2 roll out to the current Nexus fleet. And two days after that, Google published the source code and factory restore images for this latest version. Now, we’re happy to report that the Android 4.4.2 update has now begun rolling out to the Google Play edition of the HTC One.
The update comes in the form of a staged rollout, so not everyone will receive the update immediately. However, we’ll be sure to report back as soon as the update links are captured. However, that’s not all the news. In addition to rolling out the update to end users, HTC has also released the GPL-compliant kernel source code for the Android 4.4.2 update, as well as proprietary framework files for the device.
Developers looking to start building Android 4.4.2 from source for the HTC One should make their way over to the HTCDev Devcenter download links below:
Good job, HTC, on getting this ready so quickly. Have you received Android 4.4.2 on your HTC One GPe yet? If so, or if you’re impatiently waiting for your turn, be sure to share your experiences in the comments below. Also make your way to this thread in the the HTC One forums to get your hands on the OTA URL as soon as it is captured.
November 30, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Although it may seem like only yesterday, Android 4.4 KitKat was officially launched an entire month ago, alongside the release of the highly anticipated Google Nexus 5. Since then, we’ve seen copious amounts of work to bring these KitKat goodies over to older devices. Most of this effort has come in the form of unofficial ports, but the new Google-owned Motorola shocked us all by delivering Android 4.4 to the Moto X in record time, beating out both Google Play edition devices in the process.
Motorola’s fast turnaround time is certainly quite an impressive feat, and one that bodes well for the future of the company. That said, we shouldn’t expect much different from a Google subsidiary. Furthermore, the Moto X is pretty much as close to vanilla Android as you can get in a phone nowadays, outside of the Nexus lineup and Google Play edition devices.
Now, HTC is leading the pack with its Android 4.4 rollout for the HTC One. The update is now being rolled out to all developer edition devices, as well as unlocked units not purchased from carriers. While this says nothing about carrier-branded devices, we can’t imagine that carriers will enjoy the bad publicity of lagging far behind the unlocked variants.
Naturally, this update to KitKat also features HTC Sense 5.5. This comes as the first official Android 4.4 update to any truly OEM-skinned device, demonstrating that OEM customizations do not necessarily have to result in Android firmware update delays.
Readers, what are your thoughts on HTC’s impressive update turnaround time? Let us know in the comments below!
Good work, HTC. We hope other manufacturers can follow in your footsteps.
[Source: HTC Twitter Account]
November 29, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The Google Play Edition of the HTC One was updated to Android 4.4 KitKat. Then, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Google Play Edition got official KitKat too! 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 kernel source for the previously mentioned KitKat devices are available, and how KitKat was also ported to the Google Nexus One. That’s not all that covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for BootManager, XDA Senior Recognized Developer AdamOutler showed us how to launch an app with Google Now, and TK gave us an Android App Review of Dial2Draw. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
Just yesterday, we covered how Google had finally decided to update the HTC One Google Play edition to Android 4.4 KitKat. We say “finally” because HTC had stated that the update was ready ten days earlier on their official Twitter account.
Regardless of timing, the update is a good thing—even if the Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T variants of the OEM-skinned Moto X managed to receive their updates before either of the two Google Play edition devices. But up until now, this only helped the few who actually purchased the Google Play edition devices. Now thanks to a guide by XDA Forum Moderator and Recognized Developer graffixnyc, you can essentially turn your standard HTC One into an HTC One Google Play edition.
We’re not going to lie to you. This is going to be a somewhat complicated process, and it’s not meant for the faint of heart. As such, you need to already be S-Off. You also need to have a working knowledge of ADB and Fastboot. And as stated in the OP, “This procedure is not easy and is not really noob friendly, well flashing the RUU is not really difficult but it’s the prerequisites that are more complex/risky.” In other words, proceed with caution. And if you’re confused, it’s best to turn around and walk away slowly.
Make your way over to the original thread to get started. Just please do yourself a favor and read through the entire OP and make sure you know what you are doing before getting started. Nobody likes ending up with a paperweight.
November 26, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Yesterday, we saw Google release the Android 4.4 KitKat OTAs for its two Google Play edition devices: the HTC One GPe and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 GPe. While these releases are great for GPe device users looking to experience Google’s latest and greatest on their rather expensive phones, and even for those with standard devices looking to enjoy GPe-based ROMs, they’re not helpful to those interested in creating source-build KitKat-compatible ROMs and Kernels for their devices. Thankfully, HTC and Samsung have both released the GPL-compliant kernel source code for their devices running KitKat.
The Samsung goods can be found on Samsung’s Open Source Release Center, and the link of interest is the one labeled GT-I9505G_NA_KK. For HTC, the goods can be found on HTCDev. From there, simply select the HTC One Google Play edition as your device, and Android 4.4 as your OS. In addition to the kernel source, HTC also includes the framework support files for the device, weighing in at a healthy 371.7 MB.
Were you waiting for Samsung and HTC to release the kernel source? Are you planning on building your own KitKat ROM or kernel? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to visit the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 forums to get in on the action.
November 25, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
The Android 4.4 craziness is ongoing. More and more devices are getting official updates to KitKat. Today, we are happy to announce that the Google Play edition of HTC One is now a member of the KitKat family. A few days ago, we wrote about how HTC had delivered a GPe KitKat code to Google, and they were waiting for Google to push the update. It appears that wait is over, as the first batches of HTC One devices have already received their OTA updates.
Soon, all HTC One devices should receive the update. But if you want to get in on the action early, XDA Senior Member saturn_de posted a link to the OTA zip. This update is 320 MB, and it contains all the KitKat goodies we’ve seen on the Nexus 5 except Google Experience Launcher. Fear not, as it can easily be taken from the system dump of Nexus 5.There are also plenty of alternatives available on the forum with even more customization. The update can be sideloaded or directly flashed to the phone with the stock recovery. All you need to do is put the package on your local storage and apply the update.
If you can’t wait to get the newest update for your HTC One Google Play edition, download the update here and share your opinion with us in the comments.