February 26, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Mobile World Congress is happening right now. Chances are your FaceGramTwitterBook Plus feeds are being spammed with all the exciting announcements—everything from Sony’s new devices to Samsung and HTC, and that’s not all! There’s a good chance you missed something or have Kelly Bundyed it. That’s when you hear too much stuff and you loose the older information as it falls right out of your brain.
There is no need to fear because XDA Developer TV Producer Extraordinaire Jordan has scoured the web, RSS feeds, Social Media feeds, YouTube, and a Taco Bell Breakfast menu to compile all the information you need to know about what has been announced at this year’s Mobile world Congress. So, pull up a chair and check out this video.
February 17, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
HTC America participated in a Reddit AMA and spoke about their future plans! 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 the Huawei Ascend P6 is getting an Android KitKat beta and their is now a way to stream your local content on your Chromecast with LocalCast!
Jordan talks about how Google acquired a sound-based login company. Be sure to check out XDA Developer TV videos from last week including XDA Developer TV Producer TK’s Xposed Tuesday video for Complete Action Plus, Jordan’s introduction to ART, and XDA TK’s Android App Review of Quickr. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
February 14, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
There are many more power users running Android than other, more brand-loyal “Sheeple” platforms. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that the Android community is quite familiar with the awesomeness that is Reddit. A while ago, we talked a bit about a Reddit AMA session held by the awesome folks behind the popular Paranoid Android ROM. Now, there’s another Reddit AMA that may be of interest to you, and it’s with the HTC Product Team.
During the AMA session, various Redditors asked a wide variety of questions including update timing and availability, the foundations of Sense UI’s framework, and even the design inspiration behind various products like the HTC One and One X and why “the need/want for removable battery is continually decreasing.” And through HTC’s responses, we learned that HTC plans on righting its wrongs with the HTC One X by supporting the current devices for two years of updates and possibly updating at least certain variants of the One X, and why certain design and product decisions were made. Unfortunately despite being asked explicitely, there is no official word regarding an HTC-made Nexus device.
To check out the whole AMA, you should make your way over to Reddit and read the whole Q&A thread. It’s definitely worth your time if you’re an HTC fan.
January 31, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2,for the AT&T Galaxy S4 and Note 3 has been leaked! 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 the Sony Xperia Z1 received a maintenance release and the HTC One KitKat release for the US carrier versions has been delayed! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for HKThemeManager, Jordan reviewed the RAVPower RP-WD01, and TK gave us an Android App Review of ZDLock. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
I am, and have always been, an early adopter of a lot of things, particularly when it comes to technology. My cell phone voyage started back in the year 2000 with a Nokia 5110. Back then, only a handful of people had phones, and seeing someone on the street with one was a somewhat rare sight. Nowadays, the same cannot be said. Cell phones have become a massive commodity—one that gets a lot of attention, and certainly one that is likely one of the most profitable industries in the world today (in the tech sector anyways).
Every Joe Schmuck and Jane Doe sport the latest Galaxy devices or one of Apple’s latest iconic iPhones (just to mention a few manufacturers). Sure, they all have a somewhat interesting appeal, and many of them are loaded with more unique functions and capabilities that (in theory) make life a lot easier. However, looking at the overall market and trying to overlay an innovation line through the timeline from the early 2000′s (when Nokia reigned supreme) ’til today, we can easily notice a few trends that are worrying and don’t necessarily correlate with what anyone would expect from “progress” or “development.”
Going back to the very beginning of my article, I mentioned owning a dinosaur of a phone, the Nokia 5110. The device was a jewel, and it did exactly what it needed to do (and far more). The device was relatively cheap to get with a 2-3 year agreement. So, the device manufacturer (again, in this particular case, Nokia) knew that in order to have a good customer base, the devices needed to last that long. After all, not everyone could spend $400-600 USD on a phone upgrade while still being locked in the middle of a contract, nor were they willing to do so either.
Nokia designed the 5100 series with a few crucial engineering concepts in mind: good battery, reliable, easy to service, and durable. I had my device for the length of my contract before I decided to upgrade (mainly due to swapping carriers). I have to admit that it must have been one of the best cell phones I have ever had the pleasure of using. Not because of the usage per se, but rather how the device gave me 0 issues in the course of 3 years of ownership. Needless to say, the thing was built to last, as the body was virtually indestructible (exaggerating a tad here, but it was a tough device). When I upgraded, I went with a Nokia 8210. They had done a good job because with their mindset, they created a device that prompted me to want to see what else they could come up a few years down the line—all that without compromising my ability to enjoy the one I currently had. Ah, those were the days.
Fast forward to 2007 (big jump, I know). The iPhone was released and the (back then) current king of smartphones, Windows Mobile HTC devices and Blackberry, were dethroned. Because of silly mistakes, loads of bugs, and a simple yet effective marketing strategy to get people to buy more, the iPhone 1G sees a successor not much later down the line. Seeing how many other manufacturers were now jumping into the bandwagon, stable and decent cell phone manufacturers saw themselves in dire need to release more products in a shorter timespan. This was primarily done to keep up with their competitors, who were quickly gaining market share due to shorter intervals between new products. The next thing that happened (and still does to this day), new models are released every 6-9 months, each one promising to be “better” than their predecessor(s). This last statement is the cornerstone of this entire article. Why are manufacturers releasing devices that are NOT designed to be the best they have to offer? It isn’t that they develop new tech for newer versions. Rather, they make enough (in)significant changes to the existing one, such that it can be labeled the “next best thing.”Does any of this sound familiar?
I myself am an engineer, as many of you are as well (or studying to become). It honestly makes my blood boil when I consider the engineering teams behind the product development of some of these devices. No longer are devices durable. Rather, they have gone entirely to the other end of the spectrum and have become practically disposable. I simply cannot believe that a $500-1000 USD item becomes “irreparable.” Product design basics dictate that any engineered product is designed to have a certain life expectancy under normal conditions, tear, and wear, and even leave some leeway for accidents. If products need repair, they should be perfectly serviceable by the manufacturer without having to charge the consumer exorbitant amounts of money to get the product back in working order. Needless to say, whenever a phone does break this day and age, sending it in for repairs is a fruitless ordeal due to the fact that more often than not, the device will be deemed as “not repairable” due to directions coming from engineering design teams.
Make the world a better place through the application of science? That is what product engineering should be about. Squeezing every last drop of sweat over your own design and making sure that you put your very best efforts into making something that people will have for years (not months) to come is what every engineering company should strive for. Unfortunately, this was quickly replaced with “ooh, look how shiny this new toy is,” which is then followed by “oh, your old one? pfft That is so 3 months ago…. you won’t get two pennies for it on eBay, and don’t even think about repairing it.”
We as consumers have allowed these companies to throw basic engineering practices out the window so that they can squeeze more juice out of us. Now, I have no issues with companies trying to make money. Hell, that is what they do after all. But when greed takes over your most basic principles, I simply have no sympathy. I still recall our friend XDA Senior Recognized Developer AdamOutler doing an unboxing of the new Droid Razr when it came out. His words have been stuck in my head ever since. “Motorola made this device to be disposable.” Why? What was the point of making the device “disposable?” Why did such an important part of engineering a new product (ease of service) gets tossed aside like this? Would it kill you to make your device fixable? Another example: I tried to fix the digitizer of my HTC Titan a few days ago, but ended up destroying the LCD entirely. Why would there be any need to superglue both LCD and digitizer and superglue that combo to the device’s body? To keep them in place you say? There are small, low profile screws that will do the job just as well without jeopardizing the serviceability of the device or its overall design (read: they will not make it any thicker).
The entire world has been sucked into a game that the companies play on a large scale. They are trying to see just how much they can shove down our throats, all while expending the least amount of effort in doing so. These practices not only have the effects mentioned earlier, but they can also have dangerous consequences (bulging exploding battery of SGS2 devices anyone?). The core activities here on XDA-Developers actually somewhat put a damper on this, as the allure of “a new OS version exclusive to a device” is now mitigated. But unfortunately, software is just but a small part of the overall equation.
Next time you are out there shopping for a cell phone, just think about a very important thing that goes beyond specs or pretty colors. Just think about how well the product you are about to purchase was engineered. Let that be your deciding factor, and don’t simply fall in line with the rest of the masses who will jump at anything shiny like fish in heat. There are manufacturers out there that still care about trying to keep their core engineering values. To these companies, kudos. To the ones like HTC, which used to be like this (my HTC Wallaby that I bought in 2003 and that has been through hell and back still works), look at your early years and try again. Get off the path you are in right now because you will lose this race. And to the companies that simply don’t give two flying feathers about engineering, progress, and making the world a better place (looking at you Apple), I sincerely hope that your lack of engineering values comes back with a vengeance and bites you where the sun doesn’t shine.
If I have to choose between a phone that is 0.0001 mm thick but that will break upon looking at it without any way to fix it or my old 5110, I’ll take my old Nokia any day of the week. At least, that has engineering at heart.
It should come as no surprise that here at XDA, we are always calling on the OEMs to do a better job of removing the bloat of their custom UIs (Samsung – we’re looking at you and your now insane TouchWiz size) and improving the overall user experience. What may come as a shock to some, though, is that a recent study by researchers at North Carolina State University says that those same OEMs, and their incessant need to have a custom UI as some sort of “branding,” are directly responsible for most of the security issues found with Android. Cue Home Alone face.
In all honesty, we really shouldn’t be all that surprised. XDA Elite Recognized Developer jcase gave a great talk at XDA:DevCon13 where he discussed “Android Security Vulnerabilites and Exploits.” There, he identified how OEMs (LG was his main example) are directly responsible for many of the vulnerabilities and exploits he finds.
The researchers at NC State found that 60% of the security issues were directly tied to changes OEMs had made to stock Android, specifically related to apps requesting more permissions than were necessary. They looked at 2 devices from each 4 different OEMs (Sony, Samsung, LG and HTC), with one running a version of Android 2.x and another running 4.x from each OEM, along with the Nexus S and Nexus 4 from Google.
Here are a few of the findings:
For the user, this should be a warning to pay attention to the permissions used when you install an app and take steps to protect yourself, like with the Xposed module XPrivacy. For OEMs, shame on you. Consumers place trust, no matter how unfounded and risky that is, on you. For you to be breaking that trust by not being responsible and open in your dealings and development is just plain careless.
The full study, presented yesterday at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Berlin, is definitely a good read, with specific case studies done on the Samsung Galaxy S3 and LG Optimus P880.
Source: MIT Technology Review
[Thanks to XDA Elite Recognized Developer toastcfh for the tip.]
If you own or have owned an HTC device, chances are that you have come across a ROM Update Utility. RUUs are Windows-based utilities that do as their names suggest: They update your mobile device’s ROM. What do you do if instead of installing the ROM directly, you would rather extract the ROM contents from the RUU? Thankfully, XDA Recognized Contributor matt95 has created a series of guides aimed at doing exactly this.
Matt95′s first guide shows you how to build and use the required tool (created by Kenny Millington) to UnRUU your HTC ROM Update Utility. For those who would rather not bother with compiling the tool, matt95 has also included the executable in a later post. Once your ROM.zip has been extracted, you then need to decrypt it to be able to work with it. Thankfully, matt95 has also created a second guide aimed at doing exactly this. In other words, you take the ROM.zip generated by the previous guide, and you then apply a second tool (also created by Kenny Millington) to finish the job.
Do you consider yourself a die hard HTC fan? If so, we can’t blame you. Their latest flagship, the HTC One, has been a great success, combining great build quality, snappy internals, and a remarkable screen.
If you’re a fan, we wouldn’t be surprised if you already have something in your forum signature displaying your patronage to Taiwan’s most prominent smartphone manufacturer. However, having more options is never a bad thing.
XDA Forum Member Sgt-Obst created and shared a collection of HTC-loving banners. Stylish and sleek, these 500 x 100 images are perfectly sized for use in your forum signature. Images for the HTC One, HTC One X, HTC One S, HTC One Mini, and HTC Sensation XE are included, as well as images showing love towards HTC Dev and Sense UI.
Sgt-Obst is also taking requests for future devices to be added to the banner list, so head over to the original thread to show your HTC love.
So it’s been a week since XDA:DevCon 13 passed, and I am still blown away by the excitement, energy, and community that flowed out of the event. With top-notch speakers and sponsors giving their all, and a hotel staff that was committed to making sure everything went smoothly, there was hardly a chance for Uncle Murphy (the bad luck icon, not our amazing opening speaker Mark Murphy) to make an appearance.
Going into this event I didn’t know what to expect—much like when you and your significant other find yourselves expecting a child, you spend months planning something, but you still don’t know what is really in store. Is it going to come out looking like this or more like this?
So many exciting things happened, some of which XDA TV Producer Jordan Keyes spoke about in his recap last week, while others will probably never see the light of day (but have something to do with a dancing video bomb, crazy developer drink shots, and a dancing penguin, to name a few). One thing’s for certain though: without the support of the XDA community, and willingness to take a risk and show up to a new conference, this would have never been a success. Also, a big thanks goes out to XDA Staff, Sponsors, and Speakers who made it possible for this baby to be born.
It’s with that in mind that I want to give a shout out to those sponsors below. Without each and every one of them, XDA:DevCon would not have had the amazing giveaways and allow us the ability to serve amazing food during the conference. We thank you for your commitment and willingness to join us at our first ever developer conference.
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.
April 24, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
If you’ve seen XDA Developer TV Producer Steve’s video on switching from Windows Phone to Android, you know Steve has no problem sharing his thoughts. He has been reviewing apps on the different operating systems. He has been using Samsung Devices to represent Android and Windows Phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Samsung ATIV S, respectively.
However, his satisfaction with his Samsung devices has waned and he is switching to HTC. Steve takes the time to explain why Samsung is not the brand for him. He shares the frustration and quirks he experienced with Samsung. Check this video out.
April 12, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
HTC has released the source code for the HTC One and updated source for the Droid DNA. That story and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is a discussion of the Firefox OS Port for the HTC Explorer and a bunch of forum additions.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Steve had a cross-platform Instagram App Shootout and XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin gave us a demonstration of Dashclock. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
If you are an HTC user, you are more than likely be familiar with RUUs or ROM update utilities, the format in which HTC provides their stock ROMs and updates. For those unfamiliar, they are basically a ROM for a particular device, packaged inside an executable file that is to be run from a PC. While they do provide a safe and easy way for people to update their device, they are somewhat inflexible for anyone who might wish to modify the firmware before flashing it. There’s also the issue that .exe files aren’t all that much use to anyone not running Windows.
HTC ROM Extractor by XDA Senior Member as i9000 however, can help with the issues. It’s a Linux based tool that allows you to perform various different functions to make better use of the RUU in its original form. Some of the features include:
You’ll need to have a working installation of libunshield v0.7 or higher in order to proceed. Instructions on how to install that are provided in the thread. So if you’re looking to tinker with some RUUs on Linux, check out the original thread for more information.