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.
In case you are waking up late today, HTC launched their new flagship phone this morning: the new HTC One. The device sets the bar for HTC’s 2013 lineup in many ways including hardware specifications, aesthetic design, build quality, camera image quality, and of course screen. Are you curious to see how it performs in some popular benchmarks? Read on to find out!
Update: Seeing is believing. I’ve added benchmark pictures past the break. I’ve also added in AnTuTu benchmark results below.
February 19, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We’re here live at HTC’s press event in the lovely (and frigid) Manhattan, where we anticipate many important flagship products will be launched. Much speculation has been made regarding the possible official appearance of a certain highly anticipated device. At this point, it seems all but certain.
Update: That’s a wrap. The new HTC One has seen the light of day. Those interested should visit our preliminary benchmarks article. Also, those looking to watch the entire presentation themselves can do so courtesy of a rebroadcast care of commenter/reader siemz.
Update 2: Pictures taken with a real camera added after the break.
Let’s face it: HTC is far from being the model of the open source development world. While they still have a large following, their recent earnings statements are an indication that their followers are no longer following them. Their deliberate snubs at the development community, and the users who depend on them, have ranged from complete lack of required GPLv2 kernel source code to locked bootloaders and then allowing a pseudo-unlock which prohibits the flashing of partitions. With a net profit of only $33mil in Q4 2012 (down almost 90% from Q4 2011) and sales down 7% in January 2013 compared to January 2012, it’s obvious something needs to change. HTC’s CEO Peter Chou seems to think that marketing is the way to solve their problems though. Living in a different dimension, anyone?
Typically we would say that providing OS updates to devices is a great step to keeping the user happy, but this is another area in which HTC continues to falter. They have routinely promised updates to their phones and then delayed them or just flat out said they aren’t happening. Now, as luck would have it, the HTC Thunderbolt, a device launched in mid 2011, is finally getting the ICS update after being promised it would be released back in August of 2012. Verizon notified users a few days ago that an OTA update would be slowly rolling out to those still using this older device, with the software version upping the device to Android 4.04 (HTC Build 7.02.605.06710RD) and HTC Sense 3.6. What is interesting is Verizon has added a new application to the Thunderbolt, “Verizon Remote Diagnostics.” If you look at the description for this application, it sure seems like HTC and Verizon haven’t learned a thing from the CarrierIQ saga of late 2011.
New customer care solution to improve customer service experience. When a customer calls into Verizon Wireless customer care, this solution, with the customer’s permission, allows support personnel to remotely view the user’s device for device training, application demonstrations and troubleshooting.
There is currently a thread discussing the update, with development soon to follow once XDA’s developers get their hands on it.
As many of you know by now, last couple of weeks have been quite intense in terms of what is happening in this little underground world of ours. Just as a means of providing you with a brief tl;dr summary, essentially one of our own devs, who goes by the name of XDA Recognized Contributor and Developer jmztaylor was sent a take down request by HTC of North America. The issue/explanation for this request was two-fold. Part A involved the fact that our dev had his own personal website under the address htcruu.com. Now, Unless you have direct, explicit permission from someone with authority to grant it, you should never use a trade name for your own purposes, even if you are not using them with commercial intent. Part B came a little later, but with a much harsher and almost feared request by many on our site. Jmztaylor was being ordered to take down the RUUs present on his site, as well as any custom ROMs he may be hosting. This, of course, triggered the rage of many in our community whose voices were heard across the tech world.
Now that the background has been taken care of, let us move onto more recent events. Late last week, HTC posted a little explanation in their dev blog. A letter from LEIGH MOMII was posted, which essentially explained how the letter was only meant to tackle the issues with the website’s name and HTC’s logo being used without permission. Furthermore, Ms. Momii explained how they would never do something like trying to shut down custom ROMs for any of their devices. This letter drew much skepticism from across the board, and one can easily spot it in the comments left by people in the article’s comments section. For those of you getting ready to grab pitchforks and torches thinking that this is a nightmare come true, you may want to hold off until the entire situation dies down a bit, and here is why. HTC is no stranger to shelling out take down requests whenever they think their IP is being put in jeopardy. Many of you will likely remember the case of XDA retired developer conflipper and his website www.shipped-roms.com. This site came under heavy legal fire, courtesy of HTC, for sharing virtually every RUU ever released (and not released) with the general public. Most of us were rather enraged about the whole scenario since his site was a unique source where people could look into to obtain RUU’s that were no longer available from either the carriers or even from HTC themselves.
After the involvement from many lawyers and tons of back and forth, the issue was resolved and the site was allowed to stay so as long as it was not sharing “private” or “unreleased” RUUs. Whether HTC agreed to this due to the extremely bad PR being generated or because of their “support to the custom ROM community” is something that we are not really privy to. However, if history has shown us anything regarding sending suits against developers, is that more often than not, thing don’t end well for the attacking party. It would be interesting, to say the least, to see if the statement about their support was coming from a “lesson learned” rather than because of actual support and care.
Having said this, jmztaylor did say that this statement from HTC is contradictory to the letter and subsequent communications by HTC where it is explicitly stated that the RUUs and custom ROMs must come down due to concerns about distribution of IP. So, who would you believe? Someone who has done similar things in the past, or a dev who is freely sharing his work and resources without really trying to annoy or be a nuisance to anyone? Needless to say, this was a rhetorical question. At this point in time, HTC is desperately trying to save face with the community. Developers once loyal to the brand are jumping ship front, right, and center because of the “games” played by the Taiwanese manufacturer (pseudo unlocked bootloaders, lack of kernel sources, etc) and HTC seems to be looking in a different direction or simply ignoring the situation altogether.
Luckily, just like it was the case with conflipper, the issue was peacefully resolved, and jmztaylor’s site is back up and running. HTC explained the entire case to the dev and also went on to elaborate that the reason why action was taken against the files was that they were (mistakenly) told that the RUUs and ROMs were being sold due to a Paypal link on the dev’s site. All the files are being shared as usual, with the exception of leaked RUUs, which HTC does not want to see floating around, mainly due to liability. Having said all this, we have a little something that is directed towards HTC. Something that we feel they should pay close attention to…
If you were really looking forward to working with the community and trying to support it, let me give you a few pointers. First and foremost, drop the bully attitude. Yes, you are the manufacturer, and we know and respect that. However, trying to assert dominance by roaring is simply not going to work with us. Our devs work on your manufactured products because you still have a dash of friendliness with us. However, and make no mistake, devs know each other, and word of mouth is one of the most devastating things in terms of making or breaking your image in a given market. Keep chasing and hunting people down, and it is likely that you won’t have many more devs to worry about.
Secondly, you need to open your eyes and understand that we are not here to steal your proprietary IP. We simply want to make our phones more functional, and ensure that our hard paid hardware gets to live a little longer than 6 months. Point in case, I personally own an EVO 3D running Sense 4.1 with bits and pieces of 4.5. However, due to your internal policies, I am currently unable to use its 3D camera or 4G because you are unable to provide the necessary code to get them going. (Well, 4G does work on a few AOSP Roms, but certainly not 3D, and DEFINITELY not on Sense ROMs). After many months, you decided to release the sources for the Amaze 4G camera. It is obviously possible since you did it, why not do it on a more timely manner? Life has shown me a few things in the professional world, but one of the most important ones is this: You can always sell a box once, but if you cannot/will not support it, you will not sell another one. Plain and simple.
Last but not least, next time you think that someone is using your stuff without permission, just consider your options. Instead of going in full force with lawyers and take down requests, how about trying to talk to the person? This ENTIRE thing could have been prevented if someone from your PR dept would have gotten in touch with jmztaylor and would have talked about a change of name and a different logo due to the reasons you state. Why do you need to prove that you are a bigger entity with deeper pockets than a regular hobbyist who is doing nothing more than sharing stuff on the Internet? Next time your lawyers decide that you have to do something, please take a step back and look at the possible consequences. We don’t want to cut ties with you, but you are certainly making strides for that to happen.
Just something to think about.
Thank you for reading.
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November 16, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Apple is the forbidden fruit in the mouths of virtually everyone in the mobile device world. We have seen the company’s tireless crusade against Android manufacturers due to mainly Android’s ever increasing user base and Apple’s infinite claims that others steal their ideas. One of the longest battles in this saga has been against HTC, which has lasted almost 3 years—pretty much ever since Android was introduced into the world of mobile devices. Apple bombarded HTC with various patent claims, most of which were just being awarded at the time the lawsuit was being shelled out. This took a lot of people by surprise, although not entirely since Nokia and Motorola had suffered a similar faiths not too long before that. As you are all aware, this fruit company is still crusading against others, most notably against Samsung, which has taken stage across the globe.
Fast forward to middle of last week. News reported by The Guardian in the United Kingdom came out with a shocking, and I do mean shocking, turn of events. It turns out that only a few weeks before a hearing, Apple and HTC finally agreed on a licensing agreement, which would cost HTC somewhere between US$5 and US$20 per device sold. For HTC, this means no more blocked imports, no more having to look for work arounds for software functionality, and not having to reinvent the rectangle. They are free to make handsets and sell them throughout the world, so as long as they pay up on patents used/breached/copied (allegedly). However, as much as I would like to jump out of my chair in joy, considering how long this has dragged and that we finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, I cannot help to wonder if that light getting bigger and brighter is actually a train coming our way.
As this was brought to our attention by our friend and XDA Moderator Committee member wacky.banana, he raised a very valid and good point, which I hereby quote:
This agreement with Apple puts HTC’s price points, and therefore their potential profits, under huge pressure. Given their continuing underperformance and the fact that they have lost their way, how long do you think they will survive before some venture company comes in, buys them for a dollar then completely asset strips them before closing the whole lot down.
I am not a doomsayer by nature but HTC have a massive challenge on their hands. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The analysis itself is a little too bleak, but the main point is valid. HTC is now under a monumental amount of financial pressure, as they now have an added cost to their devices, which you can likely expect to see reflected in the price tags of future devices. That said, what arguments will HTC use when trying to explain to customers that their device prices are being raised? Unfortunately, as of late, HTC has lost substantial support from various groups, including many developers who were once loyal to the brand. The increasing lack of dev support has pushed many to others like Samsung and Sony, so there is lost ground from the start. On top of that, having reached an agreement points to the fact that they gave up on defending their own ideals and innovations. Now, from having followed this charade for over 3 years, we have learned a few things—one of which is that most patents that Apple is using against others are/should not be valid, let alone enforceable in court. So, HTC, you have, by throwing the towel, conceded to Apple and told them “you were right, sorry for using your stuff.” You have officially given them more of a case and precedents for other courts around the globe to consider when dealing with these matters.
One last point: Will this agreement cover current and future design considerations? The obvious reason for this is question is a simple. When you release something else and Apple claims it is theirs, will this little truce help? More than likely, the answer to this question is a resounding “no.” At that point, you will back yourself once again into a corner and shell out another $10-$20 per device once again. Where will it stop? Oh, I know! Wacky said it better. Maybe some small player will come and buy you off for a dollar. Hey! Guess what I just found under my seat? Maybe I will buy myself a Taiwanese company for Christmas after all.
You can find more information in the original article. Thanks for reading.
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[Thanks wacky.banana for the tip!]
OK. This isn’t exactly a weekly update, but the battle that seemed to be over just a little over a month and change ago is still seeing some remnants of action. 10/11/12 was a fantastic day for Android enthusiasts as well as Samsung and Google since the patent-based ruling over the Global Search feature on Android was overturned by an Appeals Court in the US. When this happened, we all saw a faint ray of light coming in through the iCloud and hoped that it was only the beginning of something good. As it turns out, over the last week and a half, we can say with confidence that the iClouds are clearing a little, and more hope is coming through. In other words, people are beginning to realize that the entire ruling was absolutely off-base, inaccurate at best, and overall preposterous.
This is the first instance of sanity that we have seen since the Nexus was freed to be imported into the US, and it comes in the shape of a lost appeal courtesy of our friends on the other side of the pond (UK). This is sort of interesting, as it is the second time around that we see this news coming from the UK. The first time around, a UK court had ordered Apple to display ads essentially apologizing to Samsung and stating, in writing, that Korean giant did not infringe their patents. Such a thing must be done for 6 months. The ruling coming from the judge was dripping with sarcasm, as the main statement was that people could not possibly confuse the iPad with the Galaxy Tab due to the latter “not being cool enough.” Quite honestly, this writer is officially confused, as I am not sure if the judge was being serious or simply sarcastic. In any case, the ruling was appealed by Apple and just like it was ruled, the judges preceding the appeal process (all three of them) deemed that the original ruling was valid and will stand. Still, the punishment being imposed on Apple falls short in comparison to the one imparted against Samsung in the US by the country’s High Court. But wait! Don’t go away just yet, because there’s more!
Crossing back the Atlantic over to the US, we have yet witnessed a second sign that the entire thing was poorly handled from the start. The reason for this statement is very simple. If a patent is indeed valid and ruled as such, there should be no “back and forth” on the verdicts. No, with this I do not mean that people cannot appeal to a decision, but the patent is a black and white document that explicitly depicts the design, use(s), and considerations taken when a product is patented. As such, there is VERY little room for interpretation by the law, as the writing is not done in a subjective way that gives room for interpretation, but rather it is a set of solid facts. The first overturned patent, as stated before, was the ’604 patent. Today, we received news that a second patent has been overturned.
Patent number 7,469,381 is being deemed as invalid by by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). This patent deals essentially with the “bouncing scroll” feature that we all love so much. As it turns out, re-investigations on these are revealing that this is not exactly an original feature and as such, the claims on this patent may end up going overboard and invalidated. This would also be fantastic news for HTC who is also being slapped for the same. According to the source, there will be a preliminary ruling on HTC’s case as well towards the end of November (right in time for Black Friday). Now, this is far from being final, as this is just now being investigated by the USPTO. It then needs to make its way to the court, the appeals court, go through the entire process of appealing (which I can only assume is already underway), and finally a ruling can be made based on the evidence. Everything and anything can happen in between, but as stated earlier, it is a ray of hope.
So, where do we go from here? There is the distinct possibility that our beloved justice system will cast the veil from their faces (and their heads from their rear ends), and start looking at evidence with both qualified and objective people, unlike their selection of jury from the past “main event.” Just think about this for a second: The UK justice system is not exactly new (they’ve been around for quite a little longer than its US counterpart), but yet they can see the rather obvious differences between two products, including the fact that one of them has an Apple logo in the back, whereas the other does not. The ruling of “confusing one with the other” is the intellectual equivalent of saying that you bought a Toyota instead of a Ford because it had wheels.
Well, we sincerely hope that the second set of good news amounts to something, and that US courts realize that 1 billion dollars is a lot of money to make someone pay, particularly when you do not even have your facts straight or use common sense while shelling out the sentence.
Thanks for reading.
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October 3, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
On today’s XDA Developer TV, Mad Scientist Erica presents us another short documentary video. Today’s topic is screen display technologies, or more specifically mobile device display technologies. With a bevy of devices sporting differing screen display technologies, Erica delves into this topic showing the strengths and weaknesses of each product.
In this video Erica talks about what LCD and AMOLED screens are, how they are made, and the science behind them. Then, she talks about some common misconceptions of display technologies. Finally, Erica engages in some real world, side-by-side comparison tests. So check out this video, and learn some important information about screen technologies.
A little while back, we brought you news of a universal method that could root almost any ICS device. It was a great guide, and many users still use it, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only universal root method out there right now. Very recently another multi-device root method was released, but this time for any HTC device.
The tool was created by XDA Recognized Developer lyriquidperfection, and does more than just rooting. It gives options based on whether your phone is S-On or S-Off. For S-On devices, it provides a known universal exploit to get the phone rooted with Busybox and SuperSU. For S-Off devices, it provides the option to root using an insecure boot.img. The full list of features include:
Root Using Insecure ‘Boot.img’ (S-OFF Only) or Universal Exploit. (S-ON / S-OFF)
Option to Flash ‘HBOOT’ Image after Rooting, even if your device is ‘S-ON’!
Verify MD5 Checksum of ‘HBOOT’ Image after backing up and after flashing.
Unroot Device by Patching ‘adbd’ binary as Insecure.
Root Tools to Clear Battery Stats and Dalvik Cache.
Reboot device to any mode after Rooting.
Execute Reboot commands independantly.
Thorough Error Checking and Stable ADB Framework implementation.
Includes BusyBox v1.20.2 and SuperSU v0.96
There are some things to take note of. The boot.img and HBoot image flashing requires users to get their own files as those are device specific and aren’t included. Users are also requesting features, so this tool may get bigger as time passes. To learn more, check out the original thread.
September 2, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
As most of us already know, HTC started offering bootloader unlocking support on its HTCDev website mid last year. However, many users have been experiencing problems when trying to unlock their bootloaders using the HTCDev website. The issues include the site appearing to be down much of the time, seemingly due to server overload, or crashing in the middle of the unlocking process.
XDA Senior Member nicholaschum has posted a method that can potentially help with these issues, allowing you to easily unlock your HTC device bootloader. The method requires that fastboot, HTC Sync, and Java installed on your computer. It involves getting your device’s identifier token directly using fastboot and posting it to HTC’s unlocking website to proceed successfully, thus eliminating the need for the website’s script to perform this step.
For more information and the complete instructions, head over to the original thread. Because this method still relies on HTCDev servers, it is not guaranteed to work all of the time. However, it should increase your chances since fewer steps are being done with the site.
July 27, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
Jordan is back today to talk about some exciting and important news from the XDA Portal. A while back, there was an announcement that Adobe Flash would not be supported on Jelly Bean. Jordan covers news on how the Nexus 7 and other Jelly Bean devices can get flash. Jordan talks about the petition to get Ice Cream Sandwich on the HTC Desire HD, after HTC announced this device would not be receiving Ice Cream Sandwich. Jordan mentions XDA Elite Recognized Developer and XDA Developer TV Producer AdamOutler‘s Nexus 7 unboxing video.
In CyanogenMod 10 news, Jordan mentions the preview for the International Galaxy S II. Also, getting a preview is the Galaxy Note N7000. Finally, the ZTE Blade, Galaxy Ace and Gio get unofficial versions on CyanogenMod 10. So grab and handful of Jelly Beans and enjoy this video.