May 5, 2013 By: Conan Troutman
Little more than a few days ago, there was word from the guys behind Paranoid Android that they were working on a new feature called Halo. Similar in form and function to the “chat heads” feature of Facebook Home, Halo was intended to bring a new level of multitasking to Paranoid Android ROMs by allowing the user to receive notifications from apps and act on them from a floating or “windowed” version of the app in question.
Despite still being at an early stage with a lot of development still to be done, the PA guys have clearly been hard at work over the past few days and decided to release some test builds featuring Halo for public consumption. This is by no means a final version and there will be bugs, some of which are mentioned in a recently posted FAQ for this new feature. There now seems to be a build available for most of the devices officially supported by PA, which now includes the Oppo Find 5. For those of you without an officially supported device, I doubt you will have to wait very long before this makes its way into many of the unofficial Paranoid Android ROMs that are out there.
All that remains now is to see how this functionality holds up in the long run, specifically in regard to playing havoc with Play Store apps, which may not take kindly to being manipulated in this way. There does not appear to be any sort of white list for completely compatible apps in place with Halo, and as to whether or not that results in the same challenges faced by the CyanogenMod after attempting to integrate Cornerstone remains to be seen. For the time being though, Halo seems to be very well received by PA fans.
These most recent builds can be downloaded from either the Google+ post linked above or from the relevant forum threads here on XDA which are linked below. Please note that there is currently no forum thread available for the Oppo Find 5.
Here at XDA, you’ve probably seen us talk about collaboration. The dictionary defines collaborating as “to work with another or others on a joint project.” We take collaboration seriously, so much so that we actually frown when we see members of the community not take it as seriously. What makes us even more upset is when manufacturers don’t take it seriously, though that rant is for another day.
There have been numerous instances of OEMs that have claimed to be “developer-friendly,” but whose actions spoke louder than their words. On the other hand, there are only a few instances of OEMs actually having their actions match their words, with one of those being Sony over the last 12-18 months and another being a relatively new entry to the Android world, Chinese manufacturer Oppo. If you recall we’ve spent some time discussing Oppo’s recent wins in the Android space, not the least of which is their GPLv2-required release of kernel source for the Find 5. On the surface this is not that noteworthy given it should already be done by default, however with Chinese manufacturers that is not a given. Given the negative track record of Chinese manufacturers adhering to licensing, Oppo is doing something extraordinarily rare by signaling a desire to position themselves in the Western market. Unlike other Chinese companies (Huawei comes to mind), Oppo is showing they have some understanding of, or are attempting to learn, what it takes to succeed.
As OEM Relations Manager for XDA, it is my job to contact OEMs and build a dialog with them. This usually starts with establishing a relationship where XDA, with its 5 million users and tremendous independent developers, and the respective OEM can begin to discuss ways to collaborate (there’s that word again) on win/win opportunities. Sometimes it is met with open arms, as has been the case with Oppo. When approached with the idea to work together with XDA in growing development, we immediately began to discuss ways to facilitate collaboration (!) to bring about a good relationship with the developer community. We also knew that in order to make any collaboration a win/win for both parties, there would have to be value for the OEM.
After those initial discussions, I spoke with some veteran CyanogenMod maintainers (and members of the now-defunct Team Hacksung) XDA Elite Recognized Developer Entropy512, and Recognized Developers XpLodWILD and nebkat, about their interest in taking on a new device and bringing CM to it. All three were definitely interested, and I began working together with them and Oppo to make it happen. After a few weeks, CM10.1 was brought to Nightly status by the team.
Oppo was ecstatic, and so recently I reached out to XDA Recognized Developers, and Paranoid Android developers, molesarecoming and aaronpoweruser, about their interest in such a project. As was expected, their answer was in the affirmative. And after just a few days, aaronpoweruser posted on G+ that he was close to having an alpha build of PA soon.
All of this hasn’t come easily though, given the state of Oppo’s kernel source. The kernel source that was released was not fully GPLv2 compliant as it was released late (though better than some other companies we could name), had different config files (debug worked, release didn’t), and the kernel source has not been updated even after they’ve made kernel updates on recent firmware updates. With all that being said, the teams have done a great job bringing their respective projects to where they are today. And with language and cultural barriers between our developers and theirs being what they are, Oppo does appear to be trying to overcome those issues.
We know you look forward to seeing the great things that are bound to come out of this collaboration. And to the other OEMs out there, take this as a suggestion: It doesn’t hurt to embrace the developer community, and only makes your stock rise in the eyes of that community. When that happens, the word will spread, and consumers (who incidentally are highly influenced by what members of that developer community have to say about your products) will follow with their currency. It’s a cycle which can, and should, be repeated. If you’re interested, contact me and XDA.
March 15, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
A new bill was released in congress addressing the SIM unlocking ban. 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 OPPO Find 5 source code release. Jordan talks about the rooting options for the Sony Xperia Z.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Steve gives a Windows Phone App Review of Freda, XDA Developer TV Producer and newcomer Steve released a video on the Basics of Tasker, and XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Android app review showdown with Sidebar taking on Glovebox. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
Often times, device manufacturers seem to think the GPL license that governs the Linux kernel used in Android is merely a suggestion rather than a legal obligation. Unfortunately, these are usually devices coming from manufacturers few of us have ever even heard of. And due to the lack of popularity in regions where GPL is properly enforced, these violations often go unnoticed.
The OPPO Find 5 is an intriguing device. Featuring a powerful 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, an outstanding 5″ 1080p display, and a healthy 2 GB of RAM; the device certainly had the right hardware. In fact, we even took a closer look at said hardware, thanks to Adam. However, even with the high end specs and purposefully designed innards, it was still the odd one out. Luckily, we’ve seen kernel source appear in unlikely places. And now, we get the chance to add one more to the mix.
Ideally, news of this kernel source release wouldn’t be cause for a highlight here on the XDA Portal. In a perfect world, rather, we would see complete kernel source release prior to device launch for every device. However, that’s unfortunately not the case now. That said, these are baby steps towards the goal of overall GPL compliance. Let’s hope that in the future we can continue to see GPL compliance from these lesser known manufacturers. And while the device has only been available for around a month, we wish to see these releases prior to launch. Until then, let’s at least be happy with these efforts.
Kernel devs who fancy the device’s unique hardware and wish to get started with development can get to the goods by heading over to the source links below.
[Image courtesy of XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler's unboxing hangout]
February 4, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
It’s been a slow news week, but there were still great news stories that hit the Portal at XDA-Developers this weekend. Jordan reviews all the important stories from this week, such as the Xperia Jelly Bean lockscreen ported to all Xperia Devices.
In application news, Jordan talks about using a custom DPI without causing Google Play headaches. Also, you can play embedded videos with Airvidplay. Jordan talks about the new rooting procedure for the Oppo Find 5 using CASUAL by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler . Pull up a chair and check out this video. And if you any news to report, feel free to contact a News Writer.
January 30, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Here at XDA, we love devices, and we love to see what we can do with them. We love playing with different devices so much that sometimes we import them from China, like the Meizu MX. In this episode of Unboxing the XDA Way, XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler unboxes the Oppo Find 5. This device was just released for purchase yesterday in China. This device is quite fast, and the 1080p screen is something to be admired
AdamOutler starts by doing what he does best: tearing the device apart and examining the hardware components. However, there are some drawbacks to this device such as how GPL-compliant kernel source is not yet available. Furthermore, you have to use a special ADB binary to access the device. So check this video out, it is not to be missed.