One of the biggest gripes we have with our NFC-enabled devices is the somewhat unnecessary requirement of having to unlock them in order to activate NFC. This requirement effectively reduces the practicality of our many enabled stickers, tags, and gadgets, as it leads to another inconvenient step that limits the use of NFC in the first place.
There is good news, though, as a couple of good folks here have created mods that allows for NFC activation when the device’s screen is off or at the lock screen. This has been made possible by XDA Senior Member StephanSch for the following devices:
This mod is also available for the Samsung Galaxy S4 thanks to XDA Senior Member OptimalKiller. The mods come in some variation of a modified NFC APK that is then moved to the /system/apps directory, thus requiring root access. It’s important to note that the mods are compatible with only certain specific builds, frameworks, and devices. Because of this, you have to make sure to download and install the correct version. Also, make some sort of backup to ensure that you can revert the effects if things go awry.
For more information and detailed instructions, visit the threads for the following devices: HTC One, One X, EVO 4G LTE, Sony Xperia Z, Xperia P, Xperia Sola, Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, and Galaxy S4.
August 5, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
An OTA update of Android 4.3 for the HTC One of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 is available and so are the kernel sources. That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is an article about the new Free Software Foundation completely open source mobile operating system and news about the Google Chromecast OTA that prevents rooting via the current method.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this weekend on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce released a video talking about not calling yourself a programmer. Later, he released a video talking about the pitfalls of creating an Android app. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
August 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Nine days after the release of Android 4.3, the update to the latest flavor of Jelly Bean has started rolling out to the Google Play editions of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One. Whether you’re building AOSP-derived ROMs for their vanilla variants or are simply an end user of their aforementioned Google Play editions, these are exciting times.
The two Google Play edition devices received their updates in a rather timely manner. Though the update wasn’t quite as expedient as it was on Nexus devices—most Nexus devices, that is. And as expected (and legally mandated by the GPL), the sources and framework files were made available before the OTA release.
Those looking to get in on the discussion should visit the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One forums. Inside, you’ll find various captured links for the Galaxy S 4 and HTC One OTAs. I’ve included one for each device in the links below. And if you’re looking to build a ROM for the devices from source, kernel sources and binaries for their respective devices can be found below as well.
HTC One – HTC Dev Center
Samsung Galaxy S 4
August 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
OK, let’s face it. Finding that exact right volume with which to listen to your tunes isn’t always as simple as one would initially believe. With songs having varying average sound levels and dynamic ranges, it’s hard to get it just right every time. Making matters worse, most devices have very coarse software volume adjustment, making it impossible to get it just right on any given song. Thankfully, XDA Senior Member Matt has taken care of the latter issue with his volume step modification for the HTC One.
The volume step modification is compatible with various popular Android 4.1- and 4.2-based ROMs including (but not limited to) CyanogenMod 10.1, AOKP, the Google Edition ROM, Sense-Based builds, as well as several others. He even offers both 30- and 45-step mods for certain ROMs. For most ROMs, Matt has given the option to apply the modification, as well as to uninstall it. However, if there’s no uninstall option for your own particular ROM, you can simply reflash the original ROM zip and reapply any /system partition changes you made after the ROM flash.
To get started, simply head over to the modification thread. Getting started is as simple as flashing the appropriate update.zip through your custom recovery of choice.
We’ve all seen them before. You know, those fancy UI mockups that show how an app would look on a particular device. They not only help put the finishing touches on your app’s Play store listing, but they also help give your app a good first impression of being highly polished—before users even get a chance to try it out. And you know what they say about first impressions.
So how would one go about creating one of these mockups? Well, one way to do this would be to manually take an app screenshot and overlay it atop a Photoshopped image of your target device of choice. However, that could range in quality from excellent to laughable, depending on your skills with your favorite image editor.
This is where XDA Forum Member bydox comes in. Hoping to make the process more streamlined and increase overall end result quality, he released a set of minimal design mockups for five popular devices, the Samsung Galaxy S 4, Google Nexus 4, HTC One, Nokia Lumia 920, and a certain unnamed fruitphone. All phones other than the Lumia and Nexus 4 are available in 2 colors: black and white. The Nexus 4 is only available in black, and the Lumia 920 is available in six different colors. The goods come in the form of 300 dpi PSD and PNG files, allowing you to export high resolution images once you’ve found what part of your app you want to highlight.
Head over to the original thread to start putting the finishing touches on marketing your app.
July 22, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
You can now mod your HTC One device to have a physical camera button. That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is an article about controlling your device without touching it with hovering controls and news about an exciting new launcher called Everything.me.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce released a video talking about the future of Android app development. Later, he released a video giving good news about developer salaries. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
What can we do if phone manufacturers forget to include a physical camera button? “Make” one ourselves, of course! A mod we’ve covered did so on the Sony Xperia Z by substituting the volume buttons as a physical camera button, which allowed for quick launch of the camera as well as fast image capture.
Well, now HTC One users can enjoy this function as well, as XDA Senior Member Matt has created a mod allowing for the volume buttons to act as a physical camera button. The mod is based on the latest version of the Camera.apk and will work with any deodexed Sense-based ROM. Rapid shooting can also be activated by holding down the volume button. Three variants of the mod are made available, them being:
All three variants are compatible with devices running Android version 4.2.2, while those running Android 4.1.2 will only receive the first variant. If you’d like to reverse the effects of the mod, you can do so by flashing the provided zip file.
To learn more, be sure to check out the original thread for more details.
The interwebz are alight. Debate and argument is intense, following the launch of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, Google Play editions. The Google Play edition moniker, for those (such as I) who choose to reside under a rock, refers to the fact these devices come minus the manufacturer skins and modifications users are accustomed to, and instead ship with the “stock” Google experience, most commonly seen from AOSP or Nexus devices. A fair idea, it appears, although the launch has been met with controversy and debate over if these new handsets are a let-down. Why? Let’s take a look:
The final point I’ll cover is a long point. This does’t intend to cover every possible angle of argument over the Google Editions, rather give a flavor of what’s going on. I believe that to sum up the anger and defense being seen from different people, we need to look at a bit of history. The first “Google” phone was the T-Mobile/HTC G1, which brought Android to the market for the first time as part of the Open Handset Alliance. This device ran pure, stock, out-the-box, Android. And boy was such early “pure Android” ugly.
The next “Google” device was the Nexus One. At this time, the Nexus devices seemed to be more developer-oriented devices, used to give developers a reference device to work on the platform, and the latest version of Android. And herein lies the problem: Google has put their name to the “Nexus” range of devices.
I believe the problem is confusion. There are too many similar schemes on the go, with similarly confusing names. I have bolded these names to draw attention to the issue and confusion. First, there’s AOSP, the Android Open Source Project. If you build AOSP for a device, you’ll get a vanilla, plain experience on your device. It’s also entirely open source. Many of the device’s features won’t work without “proprietary binaries,” which are added into AOSP as binaries (e.g. graphics drivers etc). ROMs such as CyanogenMod, AOKP and ParanoidAndroid are generally derived from AOSP, and the sources for these are available to download and modify freely. If a device is supported by AOSP, it’s possible for the user to compile the ROM entirely, and thus ensure their device receives updates to the latest versions of Android (barring compatibility issues with the proprietary blobs, which may need updates for major revisions)
Next up is the Nexus range of devices. As mentioned previously, the Nexus moniker is for the range of (usually) Google-sold devices, which have easily unlocked bootloaders, and ship with vanilla Android, and prompt updates for 2 or 3 revisions of Android. There is an often overlooked distinction between Nexus devices and AOSP. The former has Google proprietary applications installed, and the fact a Nexus device is released does not necessarily mean it is available in AOSP. This was shown by Google when JBQ announced the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (LTE) wouldn’t be part of AOSP (at the time).
Now let’s introduce Google Play Editions. These phones are sold via the Google Play Store (like the Nexus devices currently are), but will have software updates delivered by the OEMs, rather than Google. They also feature modifications to the pure Android experience (e.g. the HTC One has a toggle for Beats Audio, and Sense frameworks in the ROM). To back this statement, the repacked Google Play Edition HTC One ROM weighs in at a whopping 432.29 MB. In contrast, an AOSP build with Google Apps weighs in at around 250 MB, even on an XXHDPI device. Clearly, these devices are not running the same software.
Still with us? I’d honestly be surprised if anyone is still able to make sense of this. I believe the issue here is to do with branding. There are too many terms being used to describe devices that have the “Vanilla Android” experience. Personally, I won’t be buying any of these devices, because I want proper AOSP support for my phones and tablets. Ironically enough, I don’t even run a “stock” ROM on my Nexus 10. Instead, I choose to use a compiled AOSP ROM with some changes. Ironically enough, the only two devices I use the way they came out of the box are Sony devices. Yes, Sony, the company that actively contributes towards efforts to make their devices compatible with AOSP.
Perhaps, just perhaps, I’ve found something here. The OEM with the most “usable” default software is also the OEM who makes it easiest for me to change to AOSP if I don’t like it, giving them a motivation to get their software right. Perhaps these Google Play Experience devices will help, and show OEMs that customers want more choice and the ability to run unmodified software. My biggest concern is that of the updates. Users are still reliant on their OEM for the kernel that Google includes in the updates, and there’s no suggestion any of these devices will find their way into AOSP. As such, I find it impossible to recommend a Play Edition device, at least until things are clearer. OEMs, unless you are Sony, give up on making software, and sell your devices based on the hardware. Put the device into AOSP, and stop worrying about software, let people who understand it deal with it.
Google could sort out this nonsense, and start being more bullish with their suppliers: “Want your chip in our latest phone, which will sell millions of units worldwide? Sure, once you open-source the drivers and agree to put them into AOSP. Not so keen? We’ll just give the contract to your rival then, no loss to us. What’s that? You’re reconsidering. How nice, but since you seem hesitant, we want the chip firmware in AOSP as well”.
The mobile market is frankly absurdly backward and defensive of their source code—almost as much as the graphics chip market. Dear Qualcomm, Samsung, and every other mobile chip maker: GROW UP. Make your code open source. Your rivals aren’t going to copy it or benefit from it because you are all working on the “next generation” right now. And if they do, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
June 28, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The Google Edition HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 had their kernel sources released! That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news are two articles about XDA Elite Recognized Developer jcase and Ubuntu Developer Evangelist Michael Hall talking at XDA:DevCon 2013 and the guide giving an introduction to Android client-server communication.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin released a video talking about floating notifications and HALO, Kevin then released a video all about automatically backing up your device with OBackup, and TK interviews the developers of NinjaSMS and reviews the app. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
June 27, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Earlier today, we wrote about HTC and Samsung releasing the GPL-compliant kernel source code for their respective Google Play edition flagships. We knew that it was only a (short) matter of time, however, before the firmwares would be repackaged for use on standard devices.
The first repackaged Google Play edition firmware for the HTC One has landed. It comes to us from XDA Senior Member bigxie, and is based off of a system dump captured by Jerry Hildenbrand. This version has been pre-rooted with busybox installed, and it remains Odexed. To get the goods on your own HTC One, you first have to own a GSM HTC One (Unlocked, T-Mobile, or AT&T variety). The install procedure is just a simple flash through a custom recovery, though you also need to do a factory reset if you’re coming from any other ROM.
Several builds were also released for the Galaxy S 4 coming from various XDA Forum Members, including jamal2367, janjan, m3dd0g, and HazAnwar. They all appear to be derived from the I9505GUEUAMFD dump, but some appear to be more functional than others. The choice is also yours regarding Deodexed versus Odexed. Similar to the HTC One build, flashing is just a few clicks away through your custom recovery.
June 27, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
For those keeping track, the Google Editions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 can now be purchased from Google Play (HTC One Google Edition, Galaxy S 4 Google Edition). Of course, you know what that means: It’s only a matter of time before we see the stock Google Experience software ported to their more traditional sibling devices.
Until the ports are available and more than likely aiding in the process of bringing the software over, we have kernel source for at least the HTC One Google Play Edition. The GPL-compliant kernel source code for the device was officially released via HTCDev.
Similarly, a new download recently appeared on Samsung’s Open Source Release Center for the “GT-I9505G.” It is unverified as of this time whether this mysterious model is indeed the Google Play edition of the S 4 or just another variant. However, given the coincident timing with the retail availability, we are confident that this is likely the Google Play edition of the Galaxy S 4.
To download the source code for the recently released HTC One Google Play Edition, head over to HTCDev (direct link). To investigate further on this mysterious GT-I9505G, head over to the Samsung Open Source Release Center and give it a download. If you find out anything regarding the I9505G, let us know in the comments. And as always, you can continue the discussion and share your development work in the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 forums.
Social media integration in modern devices is a beautiful thing. This is especially true for those who simply cannot seem to stay away from the likes of Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. All of the aforementioned have evolved quite nicely and have taken root deep within the entrails of our UI. Granted, AOSP in its purest form is free from all this, but the same cannot be said about skins such as HTC Sense. Why do I bring up HTC in particular, you may ask? Sense has, ever since the days of Windows Mobile, been hard at work trying to get you in touch with the world directly from your home screen. Fast forward to 2013 and the release of the HTC One, and we see that we are presently at Sense 5 with Facebook fully integrated into the UI.
That said, there are some downsides to full blown integration like the one in Sense 5. For instance when opened, the gallery application will sync with your contacts’ Facebook profiles and populate your gallery with the pictures. XDA Forum Member Riyal thought that was a bit cumbersome and decided to do something about it. This was done by creating a small mod that prevents the gallery from populating itself with FB contact pictures as well. Moreover, the dev decided to leave the Social thumbnail there, as it serves as a link to open up the part of the gallery that would have otherwise been filled right away with the pics. In other words, the contact pics become an on-demand thing as opposed to automatically loading.
The mod can be either cooked in a ROM or installed by itself. Please take it for a spin and let the dev know if it worked well or not.
By default whenever you are logged in to facebook the HTC Gallery app would download all the profile pictures of your friends and show it in the main window of your gallery thus cluttering the main window of your gallery with pictures that you don’t even own.
You can find more information in the original thread.
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June 7, 2013 By: Pulser_G2
In light of HTC’s persistent refusal to give in, and stop wasting their customers’ money on their failed attempts to lock down bootloaders, it is rather pleasing to note that the Revolutionary team has made its return to the HTC One forums, to present their early-access developer preview of Revone.
Posted by XDA Recognized Developer ieftm, it appears the Revolutionary team have been busy once again. The current tool is clearly labelled as an early access preview, and it is worth heeding the warnings. That said, this appears ready to use if you have suitable experience in working with command line tools such as adb and fastboot.
The exploit takes the form of a single binary, which is pushed to /data/local/tmp (a location where the user has free access to write files to using the adb service, and execute them from within), and run the prepare command (revone -P) in order to prepare the device for the process of gaining S-OFF. The next step is arguably of most interest, where the bootloader can be unlocked, locked (without setting the re-locked flag), relocked (leaving the relocked flag in place), and the tamper flag can be reset.
With the ability to reset flags like the tamper flag, one really must question the usefulness of such a “security” feature. If it can be reset solely using software, does it offer much protection whatsoever? Bootloader locks are a useful security feature when they can only be removed by the legitimate owner, but unfortunately HTC continues to offer incomplete locks to developers, and the community has once again taken it upon itself to right this.
Do bootloader locks help with device security, or do they simply serve to satisfy controlling carriers’ thirst to exert control over devices on their network? Either way in this case, it is clear the Revolutionary team has shown they offer little in the way of security. Those looking to get started should head over to the development thread for more details.