March 8, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
When the Moto X was first announced, many were skeptical about the supposedly flagship device with less than flagship specifications. Then as time went on, it gradually became clear that the Moto X wasn’t exactly about raw hardware specs. Rather, the device’s innovative features were its selling points.
We’ve already seen various Active Display-like implementations for other devices, but for many, the coolest feature of the Moto X is undoubtedly the famous “OK Google Now” wake-up hot word. This lead many to wonder if this same type of functionality could be added to other devices without a massive battery drain. Then came Senior Recognized Developer Xplodwild.
Xplodwild was able to use the dedicated audio processing chip on the Google Nexus 5‘s Snapdragon 800 SoC to handle device wake hot word detection. The results can be seen in the video below.
Since this is only a proof-of-concept, don’t even think of asking for ETAs. However, it’s certainly more than encouraging to see this sort of thing possible. Head over to Xplodwild’s Google+ post and Senior Member barqers‘s XDA discussion thread to learn more.
[Many thanks to my fellow writer Tom for the heads up!]
February 14, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android KitKat 4.4.2 is now available for the unlocked and developer edition HTC Ones! 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 CyanogenMod 11 Milestone 3 is available for 50 devices and their is now a way to turn your Moto G into a Play Edition! 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 Complete Action Plus, Jordan taught us about ART the Android Runtime compiler, and TK gave us an Android App Review of Quickr. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
February 11, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Googorola may now be Motonovo, but this hasn’t stopped the expedient firmware updates for the critically acclaimed Moto X—at least not yet. Now, a wild update appears for the T-Mobile, unlocked, and GSM developer editions of the device, which brings the Moto X to the very latest flavor of Android KitKat, version 4.4.2.
A few days ago, the T-Mobile variant of the Moto X began receiving an incremental OTA to Android 4.4.2 as part of a limited release soak test. Coming in the form of software version 161.44.25, the release replaced the previous 140.44.3 (Android 4.4) software build. Now, T-Mobile has flipped the switch on the update, and stock devices everywhere are starting to receive the latest update goods.
According to Motorola’s release notes, the Android 4.4.2 update brings a few new features and bug fixes. These include added support for printing documents and photos through various services, improved battery life, and fixed email synchronization delays. Also according to the documentation, the update is available to all users on T-Mobile.
But despite the roll out, not everyone has received the update quite yet. Furthermore, there are those who’d rather apply the update manually. And for these people, XDA Senior Member kpetrie77 has something right up your alley, as he not only mirrored the incremental OTA update, but he also created an installation video, which can be seen below.
Head over to the firmware thread to get in on the update.
January 29, 2014 By: Samantha
Although you don’t normally see the boot animation very often, especially on a device with a pretty stable ROM, the inevitable and occasional (or perhaps frequent) reboot prompts you to sit through the whatever flashy wave, colorful pulsating icon, or even a bland Android mascot for those 10 or so seemingly “eternal” seconds. If you’re looking for an easy way to make it that much more interesting on the Moto X, you may want to check out Bootiescreen.
Developed by XDA Forum Member geeksunny, Bootiescreen does exactly what the ‘owners info’ option in Android settings does to the lock screen: inserts a custom text message into the boot animation. Because the app changes clogo, only Moto Xs that are rooted and have a locked bootloader will be able to use Bootiescreen. Unlike ‘owners info’ however, you are allowed some flexibility and customization, including:
Geeksunny has provided a simple method of personalizing a custom boot screen graphic with a message in the original post, but has plans to integrate a more direct method of installing and personalizing custom boot animations in a future update. Additionally, Bootiescreen is open source, so you can tinker with the app all you like.
If you want to check Bootiescreen out, visit the application thread for more information.
January 20, 2014 By: Samantha
So you’ve already cracked the screen on your beloved Moto X when it just ‘somehow’ fell to the ground, and you’re worried that Motorola will void the warranty because you’re phone is rooted. Developer editions aside, there probably isn’t much of a chance the tired and overworked device repairman will discover and immediately reject your device, but it wouldn’t hurt to refresh your device back to ‘brand new’ as a safeguard.
To help with this, XDA Recognized Developer mattlgroff has created a tool called Moto X Restore Utility, and it does exactly what its name suggests. It has three primary functions and they are pretty self explanatory, them being:
Additionally, mattlgroff has made the Moto X Restore Utility compatible with all three major PC operating systems – Windows, Mac, and Linux. To help new users get a grasp of the tool on their PC, mattlgroff has provided detailed written tutorial for users, as well as link two video tutorials for the Windows version. The tool however, only works with the two developer editions of the Moto X (who really have no need to worry), and those locked in with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, so international users may be out of luck.
If you would like to give the Moto X Restore Utility a go, visit the original thread for more information and download.
If you’re an Android device owner who happens to use a Macintosh, you may feel a bit left out at certain times, especially with regards to toolkits and other software for your device. Sadly, the majority of toolkits run only on Windows PC, with Mac and Linux support unfortunately low on the list of priorities. Thankfully, there’s good news for Moto X and Mac owners, as XDA Forum Member mjphillips1981 developed a nice toolkit that helps you perform various Moto X tasks from the comfort of Mac OS X.
Inspired by a previously featured toolkit for the Moto X, the Moto X toolkit for Mac allows you to do pretty much everything you need to get your Moto X all set up (and maybe a bit more). These actions include:
This toolkit should work with any Moto X, even those carrier locked to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. But it should be noted, especially by those with slower Internet speeds, that the tool is quite hefty in size, coming in at 87.15 MB.
If you would like to give this a go, head over to the original thread for more details and download.
LED notification lights are nothing unusual on most Android devices. They are widely available on most devices, ever since the first Android devices saw the light of day. Nevertheless, some devices launch without LED notification lights. A popular example is the Moto X—at least that was what everyone thought at first. Rather, it uses its innovative active notifications system to handle all notifications.
XDA Senior Member Jayrod1980 discovered that the Moto X actually has a green notification light that starts blinking when a device with a fully discharged battery is plugged in. The LED is hidden behind the earpiece, and it can now be used in more situations than just letting you know that your dead battery is charging. Jayrod1980 decided to share his discovery with XDA community, and not too long later, Forum Member carock shared possible commands that can be used to trigger the notification light. With an automation application like Tasker or Llama, you can define custom commands to make this notification light blink under certain circumstances such as a fully charged battery, and more. The whole process is shown on video by one of XDA community members.
To use this method your device must be rooted and you must have Tasker, Llama, or any other automation tool installed. It’s a great finding, which will be of use to anyone looking for a real notification LED on the Moto X.
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 19, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Ever since Sony began its Xperia AOSP experiment on the Sony Xperia S, the company has been a shining beacon of developer friendliness in a sea of almost ubiquitously uncooperative OEMs. Luckily, there are a few other OEMs like Oppo that choose to work with rather than against the developer community. For some time now, Motorola has shown itself to be one of the “good guys” in the Android OEM scene. Now they’re at it again by releasing KitKat code for the Moto X.
The source code comes courtesy of Motorola R&D engineer Gopinath Palaniappan, who announced it earlier on his private Google+ page. Along with the provided code, there are also instructions on how to use the newly released files to create your own vanilla KitKat for the Moto X. Unfortunately, the GPL-mandated kernel source code still comes in the form of source snapshots, rather than a Git-based repo. However, this is still (much) better than nothing.
Developers looking to get in on the action and start should proceed to the SourceForge links below. The different links correspond to the different releases shipped to carriers. And once you’ve gotten started, be sure to share your experiences with other developers over in our Moto X forums!
December 14, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
About a month and a half ago, Motorola decided to remove some of its reliance on firmware updates by putting its camera app on the Google Play Store. And although we’ve seen generally great response times from most major carriers in updating the flagship Moto X, this was a fantastic move on their part because devices could now have an improved camera experience, without having to wait for a carrier-approved OTA update.
Now, Motorola has issued an update to their camera app , bringing some new and exciting features for Moto X and Moto G devices running Android 4.4. First and foremost, the app brings focus and exposure control by allowing you to drag the exposure and focus bracket to anywhere on the screen. These are set together, so you can’t focus in on a certain object while metering for another, but that’s not a huge limitation. And speaking about exposures, they are not locked during Panorama capture, making for an overall smoother picture.
December 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Today marks the final chapter in the Android 4.4 KitKat update saga for the Moto X, a story that certainly packed a few surprises. We were all caught off guard when Verizon became the first carrier to push out the KitKat upgrade for the device. In fact, the Verizon variant of the Moto X actually received the first KitKat update for any OEM-skinned device, beating out even the HTC One and Galaxy S 4 Google Play edition devices and the Nexus 4.
Shortly after the Verizon variant received the KitKat goods, we saw T-Mobile and AT&T follow suit three days later, followed by US Cellular just over a week after that. At the time, we noted that Sprint’s update was still “coming soon.” And now eight days later, it has finally arrived.
The update comes in at version 13.11.3Q2.X-69-3-8, replacing the previous 13.9.0Q2.X-116-MX-17-57-1 that was released on September 25th. Along with the upgrade in Android version to 4.4, the update also brings a few Motorola-specific features that we’ve already seen in the other Moto X Android 4.4 builds This includes drag-able camera exposure controls, a revised camera app, and the new “find my phone” feature. And for those interested, the full changelog can be found at the bottom of this post.
Head over to Sprint’s update support page to learn more about the update, as well as the previous firmware revisions for the device. Once you’ve updated, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Full changelog for Android 4.4 on the Sprint Moto X (13.11.3Q2.X-69-3-8):
December 4, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Verizon and Motorola shocked us mid last month with the rather expedient Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Moto X. Three days later, we saw T-Mobile follow suit. Then later that day, AT&T joined the KitKat Moto X party as well. Curiously, we haven’t seen an official KitKat update from America’s third-largest carrier: Sprint. Now the fifth-largest carrier, US Cellular, has begun its phased roll out to Android 4.4 KitKat on the Moto X.
Just like what we’ve come to expect from KitKat on other variants of the Moto X, the US Cellular version is only very lightly modified from stock Android. As such, Motorola is largely preserving most Google services, only complementing them when beneficial. This can be seen in the revised calendar app, featuring drag-able exposure controls, and the new “find my phone” feature that we’ve seen on the other variants.
According to Motorola’s Version History page the update is also “coming soon” to the Sprint variant of the device. Unfortunately, no timetable has been given–either by Sprint or by Motorola themselves. That said, we can’t see the carrier holding back for too long, especially after every other major US carrier has already begun the rollout.
Finally, the update for Republic Wireless’s version of the device is also coming soon. The carrier stated on its official Twitter account that the update is expected in “early 2014.” Unfortunately, what exactly constitutes “early” will vary depending on who is asked, and only time will tell when the update will finally come.
Even with the mild delays in certain carrier variants, the KitKat update has made it to most Moto X units in remarkable time—no doubt a testament to Google’s influence on the company’s operations. Are you a Moto X owner? What are your thoughts on the KitKat update timing? Why do you think Sprint and Republic Wireless are taking so long? Let us know in the comments below.
Getting a new phone can be likened to a ritual in many ways. After ripping apart the delivery packaging and bubble wrap, delicately removing the sticky tape, opening the phone’s box, finally holding the glorious new device in your hand, and then feeling the slight jolt of vibration when you turn it on for the first time, you come to realize that there’s still quite a long way to go before it’s ready.
So rather than sitting at the PC for the next couple of hours researching the individual steps for the more commonly accessed actions, you may want to check out XDA Senior Member stillthisguy‘s Moto X Toolkit. With this PC-based tool, Moto X owners are able to perform an extensive list of some of the more common actions. Actions include but are not limited to:
If you’ve just received your brand new Moto X and want a tool that streamlines the setup process, check out stillthisguy’s Moto X Toolkit in its original thread for more information and download.