February 18, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Before today, Samsung has been very cautious in tempering expectations regarding official Android 4.4 KitKat updates for its recent devices. While certain phones have already received the 4.4.2 goods, much of the rest of the company’s lineup is still in Jelly Bean limbo. We’ve seen leaks fly around left and right for the Galaxy S 4, but official word regarding KitKat for the device has been lacking. And since this is just for their latest and greatest, the future didn’t look so hot for Samsung’s older devices.
Some time ago, we saw a leaked internal memo pointing to a potential KitKat release schedule for various devices. Now, however, Samsung has broken the silence by stating which devices will receive official updates to Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Unfortunately, they aren’t stating when, though.
Samsung Galaxy U.S. devices currently scheduled to receive the KitKat update include select carrier variants of the Galaxy Note® 3, Galaxy Note® II, Galaxy S® 4, Galaxy S® 4 mini™, Galaxy S® 4 Active™, Galaxy S® 4 zoom™, Galaxy S® III, Galaxy S® III mini™, Galaxy Mega®, Galaxy Light, Galaxy Note® 8.0, Galaxy Tab® 3, Galaxy Note® 10.1, Galaxy Note® 10.1 2014 Edition.
In addition to the Android version bump, the update will also pack the following additional features:
- Location Menu: An integrated location menu enables users to easily activate GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile networks, while simultaneously checking the battery usage of apps running location service capabilities.
- Enhanced Messaging: Enables users to choose between Messages or Hangouts as their preferred default messaging application, and select from a larger assortment of updated Emoji icons.
- Upgraded Google Mobile Service™ (GMS) apps: Users can automatically back up photos and video and can open, view, rename and share Google Docs and files.
While the update news is a few months later than we would have liked, it’s nice to see that older devices like the Note II, S III, and Note 10.1 will get to enjoy the KitKat goods in official capacity. However, the presence of the word “select” when talking about which carrier-branded devices leaves us more than a bit skeptical about certain US-based carriers with less than stellar track records. Furthermore, we’d still like to know when exactly Samsung plans on delivering the goods!
If you own a Samsung device, you have undoubtedly heard of the EFS partition. If you haven’t, let me explain. EFS is a partition where quite a bit of important radio data is stored. Without this data, you won’t be able to use your phone correctly. It’s extremely important to keep a local copy of your EFS partition, and we’ve already presented a Windows utility and application to backup the EFS partition on Samsung devices.
The two aforementioned utilities are not the only tools available to backup your EFS partition. Rather, XDA Senior Member ricky310711 created another application that gives users the option to backup or restore the EFS partition, as well as reboot your phone in four different modes.
With the appropriately titled Samsung Tool, you can hot-reboot your device, go to recovery, or enter mode. The application stores a copy of the EFS backup in the /data/media/SamsungTool folder. But in future releases, we might see external SD card support. Samsung Tool works with many Samsung devices, but only Samsung Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Note 10.1 are officially supported.
Hopefully, you won’t ever have to restore your EFS partition. However, it’s never a bad idea to make a backup copy. To learn more, make your way to the application thread and give this a shot.
July 6, 2013 By: Samantha
One subtle, yet simple modification to your device is a different battery indicator. Probably one of the most looked at icons on your device, a different battery indicator can bring out pleasant changes to the overall look of your device. And although finding the right indicator and manually changing it is quite a simple process, it’ll still be great if they were all in one place.
Well, good news for users of Samsung devices, as you can now pick and choose all you like from a huge collection of hundreds of different battery indicator mods for your device. Compiled by XDA Senior Member NadMaj, the collection spans (almost) every different color, theme, and animation in the world of battery indicators—or at least enough to last you a lifetime. Previews accompany each one, and animations range from the classic battery and circular indicators to Pacman and Aliens, to Captain America’s Shield and the Pokemon Pokeballs. And even better, each battery indicator is packaged into a convenient flashable zip file, so say goodbye to manual drag and drops.
NadMaj has gathered 600 different battery indicators for Galaxy S3 and S4 users, while owners of the Note 2 and Note 10.1 have over 100 to choose from. So if this has gotten you interested, definitely head over to the original thread for the GS3, GS4, Note 2 or Note 10.1 for more.
XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler is known for his wizardry opening up Samsung phones. However, this also extends to other manufacturers’ devices, such has how he recently dismembered the Oppo Find 5. And he’s not limited to phone devices, as he Poked at the JynxBox Network Streaming Android Device. However, it is often good to get back to your roots. That is why AdamOutler is taking on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.
After tearing down and giving the Note 10.1 an Unboxing the XDA Way. He continues by giving a tour of the device’s components. AdamOuter demonstrates the device setup, as well as installing recovery and rooting the device. The device can be rooted easily, perhaps too easily, using CASUAL. So if you wanted the freedom to do what you want with a device you bought, check out this video. Also, check out the full Teardown Hangout and Jailbreak video.
Owners of the Verizon variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet will no longer feel left out, thanks to the unlock package that XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler posted late Friday night. Although he takes issue with the word ‘unlock,’ preferring to call it a ‘jailbreak’ because that term is exempted by the DMCA.
The process couldn’t be easier thanks to Adam’s CASUAL software. I’m sure you’ve heard of it before since it’s been features on XDA TV and several Portal posts. The software provides a GUI for scripts that use the Android Developer Bridge (ADB) and it works on Linux, Mac, and Windows. The power of CASUAL is well represented in this procedure. Adam’s demo video shows that clicking the Do It button and following the prompts is all it really takes. From there, the script performs an IROM unlock using exploits discovered by Lee Harrison (Recognized Developer Ralekdev).
Get your hands on the unlock package by heading over to the original thread. While you’re there, heed Adam’s warning about flashing once you unlock your Note. The exploit used leaves it vulnerable to being bricked if you flash a file not meant for this specific hardware.
Everyone has a secret place. Perhaps it is a restaurant tucked away on a side street that makes the best pulled pork. Perhaps it is a picnic table at the far corner of the park where you can sit and enjoy the serenity of the nearby babbling creek. Maybe it is not actually a place, rather a secret band or website that you and few select other know about. At the risk of sounding like a hipster, it almost seems like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet is that special secret device.
Originally released at the end of August in 2012 and just recently given the goodness of Jelly Bean 4.1. This device has been eclipsed by bigger announcements, like the Google Nexus 10. However, over the time I’ve had the device I’ve come to enjoy it and believe it is an underrated device.
January 29, 2013 By: jerdog
Anyone who has spent time on XDA, or in the Android community at large, knows that when a device receives inclusion in CyanogenMod’s device tree, it is a beautiful day. This is because CM support ensures that the device will have a longer-than-manufacturer-intended lifespan. This of course depends on the manufacturer providing the tools and documentation necessary for development to occur. In many cases, OEMs do a pretty good job at publishing the documentation for instances in which they deviate from the reference design of a device’s board. Other times, however, manufacturers seem to go into brain fart-mode when it comes to this.
Samsung, in their
infinite wisdom, has made it extremely difficult for devices based on the Exynos 4 reference design to receive CyanogenMod 10.x nightlies. This is not new news, as it’s been well-covered that Samsung continues to fail the community when it comes to devices based on their Exynos 4×12 devices (Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Camera, Meizu MX). The sources from Samsung are consistently missing required pieces in order to be GPL-compliant, and recent investigations have found Gingerbread-remnants in their ICS sources.
All of that has not deterred XDA Recognized Developers espenfjo and Entropy512 from diligently laboring to bring the CM10.1 experience to the Galaxy Note 10.1. There have been obstacles, but they have pressed through. Thanks to their work, the Note 10.1 (N80o0 GSM and N8010/N8013 WiFi) recently began to receive CyanogenMod nightlies. As of the time of this posting, there are issues with Netflix working on CM10.1 but Entropy512 has put together a workaround for all Exynos 4 devices via the Xposed framework.
As is always the case, the typical disclaimers apply as CM10.1 is a work-in-progress, especially on these devices. So if you have a bug to report, make sure you post a logcat in the thread with a detailed description of what you were doing and what happened. In order to flash the builds, you will need to use either TWRP or Entropy’s CWM build because they are the only ones that are confirmed to work at this time. If you receive an ‘assert failed‘ error message, you should first confirm that you are indeed using one of the two aforementioned recoveries.
January 14, 2013 By: Former Writer
Overclocking and underclocking your device’s processor can be very useful in certain circumstances. Overclocking can help aging hardware keep up with newer software, and underclocking (as well as undervolting) can help squeeze more time out of a battery charge.
One of the more popular CPU management applications, Tegrak, received an update recently to make it compatible with Galaxy Note 10.1 and all variants of the Galaxy Note 2. Here are the official change log for the app:
*supports all variants of Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Note 10.1
*fixed bug of the overclock-able max freq on Galaxy S III JB
… more in
There are a few fixes for other devices as well, but the main feature addition is support for the Note 2 and 10.1 devices. What’s more, it can overclock and underclock certain stock kernels to an extent. For instance, users have found that they can overclock their Galaxy Note 10.1 to 1.6 GHz to match the clock speed of the Galaxy Note 2. Reports state that anything higher than that will freeze the device. As with any instance in which you run your hardware outside of recommended specifications, there are risks involved, so be sure to be fully appraised of what you’re doing before doing it.
January 2, 2013 By: Pulser_G2
One of the major features of many recent Samsung phones (or should we say “phablets?”) or tablets with the S-Pen is a suite of TouchWiz additions, such as a keyboard featuring handwriting recognition and gesture typing. While other keyboards might offer handwriting functionality, and some may call this is a gimmick; XDA forum members were clear in their requests that, while they might choose to use other keyboards, they want to retain these features offered by the stock Samsung keyboard—without the hassle of manually changing keyboard.
Enter XDA Recognized Developer LegendK95, with his app SPenBoard Switcher. If your device is capable of detecting when the pen is removed, it should be possible to use this app to change your default keyboard between two of your choice. While it is likely that most users will want to use this application to change from a third party keyboard to the Samsung keyboard when the pen is removed (and back when it is re-inserted), it is possible to select any keyboard for either state.
This app is a good example of the benefits of Samsung’s S-Pen SDK, which is available from the Samsung Developer website. Through the APIs provided by Samsung, it is possible for apps to take advantage of features of the operating system pertaining to the S-Pen, such as identifying if the pen has been removed from the device, the pressure being applied to the pen, or the state of the side button on the pen.
While the app has been mainly tested on variants of the Galaxy Note II, it should work on any recent S-Pen enabled device that is capable of notifying you when the S-Pen has been removed from the holder. If you want to give the app a try, check it out over in the apps sub-forum, bearing in mind that it requires root access to install to the system partition. This is required in order to change the current keyboard input method without prompting you each time.
Apps like this offer users more choice in how they use their devices, beyond what Samsung chose to offer on their stock ROM. There are definitely many more opportunities for anyone willing to dive into the S-Pen SDK. What would you like to see as the next S-Pen utility app?
December 31, 2012 By: Former Writer
Previously, we brought you news about the CSC file on the Galaxy Note. In a way, it is similar to the build.prop in that it can be used to enable and disable certain features and settings. As it turns out, there may be a way to enable the popular multi window feature on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.
XDA Forum Member xperiacle began a thread with an idea that altering a certain part of the CSC file can allow multi window support for apps that don’t usually have it. This would mean that users can make a few simple CSC edits and have their apps work without any mods required. As xperiacle explains:
I came across a smali code fragment that checks for multiwindow supported apps in CSC file as well as excluded apps so I tried to investigate further and found out that you can actually add multiwindow support for almost any app by just adding it’s package name in feature.xml or other.xml in /system/csc folder.
Users have been trying this out and experimenting with similar alternatives. So far, the results have been mixed. However, a few have finally managed to get the ball rolling. It’s slow going, but a few have managed to get Dropbox working as a multi window app without altering the Dropbox APK itself.
To see more and stay apprised of the latest updates, please visit the original thread. Just make sure that once you start modifying your own CSC that you keep a backup in case something goes awry. In fact, it may be a good time to go about making a Nandroid of your /system partition for easy recovery.
The S-Pen is a pretty unique piece of hardware, especially on the latest generation of Note devices such as the Galaxy Note II and the Galaxy Note 10.1. However, the software for S-Pen is a little lacking. There are a number of fun drawing applications and other fun apps. However, there aren’t many killer S-Pen apps. Now, there is an image editing app optimized specifically for S-Pen.
XDA Forum Member lschiedel released a beta for an image editing application designed specifically around S-Pen functionality. As lschiedel explains:
Anyway, the app is a Photo Editor with paint tools, filter tools, and multiple floating layers including Image Layers, Text Layers, and Vector Layers.
The SPen support includes hover emulating moving the virtual mouse (a float brush icon that is see through when trimming layers) and uses the button on the pen to emulate left button/right button by click, letting you change from fore-ground color to back-ground color, as well as toggle between trimming layers by brush and untrimming layers by brush.
It supports large heap (meaning huge multi-mega-pixel images).
It has an image surface on the left, a toolbar on the top right, and a scroll pad/mouse pad on the bottom right.
It only needs some more icons and a little more debugging.
So for those who enjoy photography, image editing, and activities like these, this could be an extremely useful application. This is, of course, an open beta, so users will likely see some bugs here and there. Reporting them is generally helpful, so please report all you find.
December 8, 2012 By: Former Writer
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 multi-window feature started off lacking much functionality, but has since gotten rather useful. If you don’t know, multi-window allows Note II owners to use two applications simultaneously. The first app populates the top half of the screen, while the second populates the bottom half. Now, Galaxy Note 10.1 users can add multi-window functionality to any app.
XDA Forum Member Leppin released a tool for Windows that automatically adds everything needed. This is actually different from the other methods, which change system files so that any app can be used. While it may take longer, users don’t have to worry about messing up other system modifications to get the multi-window mod working for all apps.
The process is pretty simple. Users download the tool and grab the APK they want to modify off of their device. They then run the APK through the tool. Once done, they put it back, install it, and restore data. That application should be usable in multi-window after that. A nifty thing about this process is that users can create packs of apps that are multi-window compatible for future use in ROMs.
For more details, check out the original thread.
As XDA Member Advocate Admin egzthunder1 once said:
Quite possibly, one of the greatest advancements in the Android development world was the ability to run apps on external memory.
Of course, he was speaking about App2SD, which was released a really long time ago. It was only a matter of time before the now-famous script got itself an upgrade and now the next iteration of one of the greatest advancements in the Android development world has arrived.
Developed by XDA Senior Member TweakerL, the new script is called Super Apps2SD. It functions much like the original Apps2SD in that it installs the applications to your SD card to conserve internal storage. However, there is a reason why the word super was added to the title. There is a lot to like about it, but here are the headlines:
#1 Internal Storage remains mounted to the same exact location it was originally, meaning that backups go where they belong, you can still easily access your media by connecting the device to the PC. Bottom line, you have all space in the internal storage truly app free.
#2 No need to worry about backing up all your stuff and restoring after enabling app2sd. The script will move all relevant files to where they need to be so they don’t take any space in the internal storage.
#3 Once enabled, apps will be installed DIRECTLY into the external storage. What this means is that if you have an older device with say, only 512 MB internal storage, you can now install apps that you might have problems installing because they would have to go into internal storage before being moved to external
There is a whole bunch of awesome emanating from this new script. Older phones can now download newer games that have storage footprints larger than the device can handle. With the applications being installed directly to the SD card—and only the SD card—it fixes a lot of issues many users had with the original App2SD scripts. There are even some future features planned, such as the ability to revert to the original internal storage option and move all the apps back.
If you’re a regular Apps2SD user, this is definitely something to check out. Even though it was released in the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 forums, it should be compatible with a large number of devices.
To learn more, check out the original thread.