October 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Aside from Active Notifications, one of the Moto X‘s coolest features is undoubtedly its touchless controls. Rather than having to first open Google Now before saying the hot word, this can be done anywhere without ever laying a finger on the device. Now thanks to XDA Forum Member RSenG2x, you can have similar functionality on your own device.
Open Mic+ allows you to use Google Now anywhere. You are able to issue commands by simply saying “Okay Google,” or waving your hand in front of the screen. It doesn’t matter if your screen is on or off; Open Mic+ is always listening. It can even be configured to run at boot, so that you never have to manually initiate Google Now.
Open Mic+ supports integration with Tasker for a greater arsenal of commands. Another cool feature is how it uses offline voice recognition for decreased data usage and potentially faster search results.
Make your way over to the application thread to get in on the action. If you’ve already played with Open Mic+, we’d love to hear how you like it, as well as what effects (if any) it’s had on your battery.
October 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, Google unveiled Android Device Manager, allowing users to locate and sound an alarm to their devices when they have been misplaced or stolen. Recently thereafter, Google even allowed users to secure their devices remotely with the web-based tool.
Having additional options is always nice, though, and XDA Senior Member pacosal created an alternative that allows you to create your own Mobile Device Manager. The aptly titled ownMDM allows you (and only you) to remotely control your devices using two parts: a PHP-enabled web database that issues commands and a mobile app with device administrator functionality.
The real draw in pacosal’s solution, however, is the multitude of commands that you can send from the web interface. After selecting which device you wish to issue a command to, you can select from the following commands, as described by the author:
- Message: Send a notification to device. Enter your message below
- Lock: Will screen block the device
- Ring: The device will sound like a police car
- Enable Admin: The device will receive a popup to activate this App if it is not.
- Ping: The device will answer with a ping to check if is responding (check log)
- Location: The device will answer with its location at google maps and wifi networks (check log)
- Location Alarm: Send you alerts when the device go out or in the actual device location. Enter the number in meters below, for example 5000, (check log)
- Wipe: The device will be completely deleted, only if it is stolen and you can not recover it
- Lock with Key: This command will lock the device with your own PIN from console. Even if the mobile is rebooted the lock will work.
- Force update Model: Will get model data to console
- Record Audio: Will record a 20 seconds audio and will send it to your mail
- Take a Picture: The device will take a picture and will send it to your mail
- Receive a Sms: Perfect for knowing the mobile number of the Imsi inserted in the device
- Track Device: The device will return location, sound and pictures every 3 minutes for 15 minutes
Essentially, you get the functionality of Google’s first party offering, and then some—and this is all done from your own MDM server. Head over to the utility thread to get started.
[Many thanks to our Assistant Forum Admin Sir Scots for the tip!]
October 1, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Many moons ago, a developer known as XDA Forum Member tliebeck released a pretty interesting file manager called FX File Explorer, which among other things, allowed you to view and organize your media files in a more intuitive way without having to guess what you were looking at. This same dev also had another app under the name of WebSharing 1.0. This app along with most of its features was a perfect companion to the aforementioned file manager. As time went by, so did the development of WebSharing and its capabilities, leading us to today and a brand new version of the app. As it is commonplace with the Internet era lingo, the app has reached a level of evolution which grants it the “2.0″ designation.
Ok, so what is WebSharing anyways? Lets just say that if you are one of those people who absolutely hates having to carry around USB cords and who also happens to hate having to choose between MTP and USB Mass Storage mode, you will absolutely love this. The app, in a nutshell, allows the user to transfer files between a device and a computer that are connected to the same WiFi network through nothing else than a web browser. It is that simple. Connect to the WiFi access point of your choice and presto: You are free to roam around your device’s internal folders without the need to physically connect the device to the PC.
The app allows for the transfer of the files through WiFi (so, you know you will get decent data transfer speeds). The use of HTML5 allows for a much faster and more fluid experience. If you are concerned that someone might be able to catch your files during the session, worry not. The app comes with a secure connection that will provide you (on the device) with a randomly generated password that needs to be entered into the browser in order to view the device’s contents.
The app is currently in beta stages, and there are quite a few ways to sign up for the trial (including a direct download in the thread itself). Please help the dev out and provide feedback, bugs, ideas, or whatever you would like to contribute with.
Files can be uploaded by dragging them into the browser window.
You can drag multiple files in at once.
If you use Google Chrome, you can upload entire folder hierarchies by dragging them into the browser.
You can drag in more files while files are uploading, they’ll be added to the queue.
You can navigate to other folders while files are uploading, and then drag files into those locations. They’ll be added to the queue as well.
You can also use the “File” menu to upload files if you’d prefer not to use drag-and-drop.
Older browsers can still use legacy file upload controls.
You can click anywhere in the upload progress area to see a detailed view of upload progress.
In 2.0, the multiple file upload system is now a free feature (in 1.x, only the paid version allowed multiple file upload via a Flash-based control).
All of this is provided in the free version, without any limitations.
You can find more information in the original thread.
September 30, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, Google Now and Google Keep both acquired the ability to set location-based reminders. This is a great feature, as a reminder can only ever be as useful as its predefined triggers. One major issue with the two aforementioned apps, however, is their requirement for relatively new versions of Android (4.0 or greater). Since a sizeable chunk of the Android pie (32%) is made up of Android 2.x users, there has to be a more inclusive solution.
Thankfully for users running older versions of Android, XDA Forum Member safet.me created Location Reminder. As you would expect from an app promising location-based reminders, Location Reminder allows you to set predefined locations to trigger notifications. Unlike other solutions, however, Location Reminder allows for much more granular control of trigger parameters such as radius and transition. Furthermore, different actions can be set to take place upon reaching the destination such as sounding an alarm or sending a text or email message to a predefined address. These two features make Location Reminder potentially useful to any, rather than just those stuck on older versions of Android.
Head over to the application thread to get started.
About a year and a half ago, we wrote about how the much lauded MIUI File Explorer was ported to other devices and given root access capabilities. Since then, XDA Senior Member HootanParsa‘s project has grown and matured in many ways. Along with changing its name to Mi File Explorer, HootanParsa’s app has been completely reworked with an entirely new codebase, rather than the ported MIUI file explorer seen at the project’s inception.
Now, the project has hit its fourth version (4.0.1, to be exact), and it offers a dramatically upgraded feature set. As of version 4, it gained a Holo-compliant user interface, along with two additional list view modes and a visual skin selector. In addition, it also gained useful network abilities such as a SMB (Windows share), SFTP, and WebDav explorer. It also added modules for various cloud services such as Box, DropBox, SugarSync, SkyDrive, Google Drive, Ubuntu One, Copy, iDrive, and much more. And in the app’s minor point revision to 4.0.1, Mi File Explorer gained the ability to search for local IPs in SMB, as well as various bug fixes and optimizations.
From the great visuals to the powerful supported operations, there’s much to love about Mi File Explorer. Head over to the original thread to get started with this great file explorer.
September 28, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re trying to minimize your load times by lowering I/O time, optimizing your applications’ resources may be worth looking into. Naturally, loading smaller APKs leads to less time spent reading the application data. With any form of compressed data, there eventually becomes a tradeoff in compute versus read time in higher levels of compression, but for the most part application loads and general device performance seems to be limited by I/O rather than compute performance.
For this reason, XDA Senior Member gu5t3r created a simple BASH script to help you quickly optimize your applications. It mainly works by compressing your PNGs more efficiently. However, it skips the pesky NinePatch files in order to prevent potential force closes. For PNG compression, the tool uses a combination of TruePNG, pngout, and DeflOpt, and gu5t3r claims that it will result in a net halving of storage space compared to the more standard OptiPNG compression.
The script comes in the form of a Cygwin-based BASH script, and it comes with all of the executables you need to get started easily. Users in the thread have reported significant decreases in file size with no loss in functionality. Will it make any actual noticeable difference in performance? That depends on a number of variable such as your device’s I/O speed, CPU power, and application size. That said, it can’t hurt to try.
Make your way over to the utility thread to get in on the action.
[Thanks to Senior Member ct_moi for the tip!]
As we talked about a little while ago, NFC can accomplish far more than “merely” serving as a replacement for your credit card. After all, while incredibly cool, NFC mobile payments make up just one potential use for the technology—and one that not very many devices support in the first place due to the lack of an NFC secure element.
One such alternative use for the technology is automation. Due to having two young children with a penchant for Netflix viewing, XDA Forum Member odwdinc decided to streamline a method to control various apps by using NFC tags. His guide uses physical tags, as well as a few add-on programs to script many complicated input tasks that would otherwise be difficult for young one (or those otherwise unable to use smartphones).
The guide is currently a work-in-progress, as “only” Pandora, Netflix, Skype, and YouTube are supported. Furthermore, the list of URIs that are used are undocumented, and thus may stop working at any time.
The guide currently is aimed at advanced users and those who can contribute. This is because the individual steps for calling the URIs via Tasker and NFC Task Launcher are not yet described. However, if you have experience using these programs and all you need are the commands, this is a great place to start. And if you know of additional URIs to accomplish more tasks with more apps, please feel free to contribute.
Head over to the original thread to get started on the journey towards NFC-based app access and control.
Not too long ago, we featured a couple of Xposed modules aimed at emulating some of Paranoid Android’s functionality on other ROMs. The first gives you an experience similar to Paranoid Android’s open source Halo interface. The second gives you per-app controls for things like dpi, language, and much more. Due to requirements inherent to the Xposed framework, only devices running Ice Cream Sandwich or later could participate.
Now thanks to XDA Senior Member EatHeat, you can have an experience relatively similar to Paranoid Android’s Pie Controls on any rooted device running Froyo or later. It is important to point out, however, that this is not Paranoid Android’s Pie Controls. As such, you won’t find all of the same features and configuration options. However, EatHeat’s implementation allows for a good amount of tweaking, both cosmetic and functional. EatHeat’s Pie Control allows you to customize visible applications and buttons, color, inner and outer glow, trigger parameters, vibration, and more.
Normally, this is a paid app on Google Play. However, EatHeat has generously made this available for free to the XDA community. Make your way over to the original thread to get started.
September 23, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Blob files for Nvidia Tegra-powered Asus devices are incredibly useful. This is because they allow us to easily flash images to our devices using Nvflash at an extremely low level.
Given the low level at which APX (Nvflash) mode runs and how this is much more primitive than booting into a standard Android recovery partition, a device with the appropriate blobs is practically unbrickable. Thus, blob files can be used to get us out of seriously sticky situations that would otherwise be unrecoverable without major device surgery.
Naturally, you’d want to have the appropriate blobs for your device just in case anything goes wrong. Thanks to XDA Recognized Developer rayman (and the rest of the crew on the AndroidRoot.mobi team), this is now possible on the (original) Google Nexus 7, as well as the Asus Transformer Prime, TF300T, and TF700.
Flatline creates these blobs for the aforementioned devices. A custom recovery image is used to flash a custom bootloader, as well as to generate the appropriate blobs. This solution is unique from other Nvflash solutions in that doesn’t require a working /data partition for image storage. Rather, blobs can be retrieved from /tmp/AndroidRoot, as explained in the guide linked below.
You can get in on the discussion by visiting the original thread. To go ahead and get started on your own device, visit the developer team’s full guide, complete with modified recovery images and all other required files.
[Thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog for the tip.]
Not too long ago, we took a look at an app by XDA Senior Member Akshay (Aky) that simulates smart cover functionality. Conceived originally as a smarter method of sleeping and waking your device, the app was quickly re-imagined to incorporate additional features under a new name: Automaton.
Since our previous coverage, the developer has been hard at work adding in new features, in addition to unlocking (pun intended) previously paid-only features into the free version of the app. Now, essentially all features from the paid version are available in the free version. When asking the developer what were the biggest highlights in the new version, he replied:
New advance unlock option
New Sensor modes
Brand new UI
Say time & it’s advance settings
Both Locking - Unlocking can be used with Gestures too
Ability to change Wakelocks type
Tons of bugs fixes & improvements
Added alternate shake sensor option
Basically, users (especially of the free version) now have much more customization options. While many of these were available in the past for paid users, now free users can partake in the fun. This includes new gesture types, a more easily navigable interface, additional unlock options, and more.
Just as before, you can use your proximity, magnetic cover, ambient light, and accelerometer sensors to lock and unlock your device. However, now a combination of sensors can be used. For example, you can combine the accelerometer and proximity sensors or the proximity and light sensors for fewer false alarms. You can even calibrate the sensors for even greater precision. And if you decide to download the beta version, you can even try out the app’s new air gestures.
Learn more by visiting the application thread.
September 22, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, we talked about the new camera application Focal by XDA Elite Recognized Developer XpLoDWilD that made its debut in CyanogenMod 10.2 nightlies just a couple of months back. At the time, several community members expressed their wishes for the application to be available in standalone form. Now after an interesting turn of events caused in part by a change in direction for the large scale multi-device ROM, the application is finally available for users of any ROM to use.
Just as we described before, Focal brings several key features to the table, all of which lead to a better overall camera experience. The most notable of these changes include an open source replacement for Google’s closed source Photo Sphere, an improved post-shot image review paradigm, spot metering, double-tap to quick capture, and various additional image capture modes. Additionally, device-specific features are available for certain handsets. For example, you can adjust shutter speed on certain Sony devices.
We’re happy to see this camera app distributed in a way that allows for a good deal of the community to enjoy. Make your way over to the application thread to get started. And if you would like to peer into the source, head over to the project’s Github.
September 21, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, we gave praise to the open source application Simple Explorer. At that time, we noted that the app brought a great user interface and streamlined functionality. We also stated that we were left longing for root functionality. Luckily, however, this was on XDA Senior Member DF1E‘s list of features to add.
Now after some time has passed, DF1E has gone ahead and added root-level file management to Simple Explorer. Root-level delete, move, and copy functionality was added in version 1.8 (August 28), with root-level rename and creation added in 1.8.1 (September 12). Other minor tweaks, bug fixes, and optimizations have also been added throughout the revisions since our last article.
Now that Simple Explorer has a much more complete feature set, there’s little reason to not give this open source gem a try. To learn more and download the newly root-friendly goods, head over to the application thread.
September 21, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We’ve given much coverage recently to applications that simulate the Moto X‘s Active Notifications functionality on other devices. Since applications already exist to bring this functionality in a non ROM-specific manner, you may be wondering why we would feature a ROM-based solution. Well, when these additions are made to a fully open source ROM, with commits clearly visible and usable by other developers, we pay close attention.
When deciding what new features to add to ChameleonOS, XDA Senior Member 0xD34D decided that the ROM should incorporate functionality similar to the Moto X’s most known and copied feature. Rather than just adding the code and not sharing it, the developer has opened up the code so that others can use it in their own ROMs. Coming in at five commits (three to android_frameworks_base and two to Settings), the code is easily transplantable to other ROMs. However, since ChameleonOS started off by basing itself on CyanogenMod, ROMs that start from another base may have unresolved dependancies.
So what do you get in this implementation of the feature? The features, as stated by the developer:
- Instantly turns the device screen on and displays notifications as they arrive
- Up to 8 notifications displayed in a horizontal strip that can be viewed by touching the notification icon
- Short notification description can be displayed around the outside of the center ring
- Touch the center ring notification to view the full notification
- Unlock the device, open the app for the current notification or dismiss the current notification
- Set a re-display time to have active display remind you of your pending notifications
- Adjustable brightness level for when active display turns the screen on
- Pocket mode which allows active display to turn on once you remove the device from your pocket or bag
More information about ChameleonOS’s implementation can be found in the feature thread. To learn more about the specific commits the developer added to bring Active Notifications to ChameleonOS, head over to this post.