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 30, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Android devices support a lot of external devices. From Bluetooth speakers to external hard drives, there really isn’t much you can’t hook up to an Android device anymore. However, one thing that users may have trouble with is an external microphone.
XDA Elite Recognized Developers AdamOutler and Rebellos are at it again. This time with a hardware mod that will allow better external mic support on most Samsung Galaxy devices. This includes the Galaxy Note II and the Galaxy Camera. AdamOutler explains the mod in more detail:
Elite Recognized Developer Rebellos searched the code, and we figured out that the device wouldn’t recognize my mic because its Ohms are too low. The WolfsonMicro chip uses any value below 1000 Ohms to signify button presses. Above 1000 Ohms, it signifies a microphone. My microphone is a 900 Ohm microphone, so in all actuality, it’s pretty high considering most are around 100-500 Ohms. However, Rebellos and I managed to hack through it. I wanted to share this method.
The result is a hardware mod that allows the use of larger external microphones. There are a few things to note. As Adam stated, in order to be detected, the mic must offer 1000 Ohms of resistance. If it doesn’t, then the device won’t register it as a microphone, but rather, as a button press. Since most of us don’t want to buy an entirely new microphone, a tempting solution is to create an adapter to enable the one you already have to work on the device.
According to Adam, you’ll be building a, “Samsung 4-pole to 1/4″ Mic adapter with a 200 Ohm resistor inline.” The process itself isn’t overly difficult, and for frequent hardware modders, it should be a walk in the park. Since you’re not soldering anything onto your device, you most likely aren’t putting it in direct jeopardy. Just be careful not to burn yourself with that soldering iron.
If this looks like something worth trying, head over to the original thread.
December 17, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Root exploits are often quite a good thing. There are many that only work on certain individual devices. However, there are some that work on a whole bunch of devices. An example of the latter is a root exploit by XDA Recognized Developer Bin4ry that works on a variety of devices. And now we have news of a dangerous, new exploit that works on Exynos 4210- and 4412-based devices.
XDA Forum Member alephzain released the exploit that affects pretty much any device with an Exynos 4412 or 4210 processor. This includes the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Samsung Galaxy S III, Meizu MX, and the Galaxy S II, among many others. Here’s how alephzain explains the root method:
Recently discover a way to obtain root on S3 without ODIN flashing.
The security hole is in kernel, exactly with the device /dev/exynos-mem.
This device is R/W by all users and give access to all physical memory … what’s wrong with Samsung ?
Its like /dev/mem but for all.
Three libraries seems to use /dev/exynos-mem:
Essentially, this exploit can be used to root any device with the aforementioned processors. What’s more, this method wouldn’t require an Odin flash like most current root methods. However, this exploit could be dangerous. Not only could be used to acquire root access, but for malicious applications as well. So developers will have a fun time helping to fix the issues while using the exploit for root.
For more details, check out the original thread. Do keep in mind, though, that this is posted in the new Samsung Galaxy Note II developer-only forum, so don’t post saying thanks or anything as the thread will be used for developers to develop things only.
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.
Getting Google Wallet to work on some devices is harder than one might think. On many devices, Google Wallet is simply not supported. Usually, carriers are to blame, as they would rather use mobile payment apps that they can better control. Luckily, there is usually a workaround. The Galaxy Note II just got its own thanks to XDA Senior Member WarlockLord
There are two ways to install it. If you have an AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint versions of the Galaxy Note II, there is a zip file you can flash in recovery. If you have Verizon’s variant, you currently don’t have recovery because Verizon (once again) locked the bootloader. Because of this, you’ll have to do it manually. Sprint users may have to do it manually as well, as the /data partition is slightly different from the other three variants.
Initially, it was released for just the Verizon variant of the Note II. However, members with other variants have confirmed that it works for them as well. So if you’ve been looking for a way to get Google Wallet on your US Note II, this method seems to be your best bet. Some users are reporting minor issues. However, they seem to be alleviated by deleting something or reinstalling properly. It has also been reported that the S-Pen home screen will no longer pop up, or it’ll be empty if it does. Users may also have to visit this thread by XDA Recognized Developer ogdobber for further installation instructions.
For more details, check out the original thread.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II blurs the line between phone and tablet. As such, user opinions on things like the grid size are quite varied. For some, the good old fashioned four-by-four grid is just fine. Others, however, would rather use that extra screen size to increase the grid to five-by-five or even six-by-six. Now, there is a tutorial to help users change it to whatever they want.
XDA Recognized Developer garyd9 has released a tutorial that lets users change the grid size of the stock TouchWiz Launcher. It’s based on a similar tutorial for the Galaxy S III by XDA Senior Member Toss3. The tutorial was modified to work with the Galaxy Note II and re-released for everyone. As garyd9 explains:
Now, I found I didn’t like these directions as-is. First, I thought the icon labels got too truncated when using this with 5 columns. Second, I really didn’t like how this mod moved the little “page” indicator dots below the docked icons. (The photo’s on this thread don’t show that, but if you follow the directions, they are moved.)
There’s only one thing better than downloading a custom firmware for your phone: Customizing that firmware yourself.
Following that is a laundry list of notes and code examples to help users get the desired effect themselves. If you’re up for modding the TouchWiz Launcher, check out the original thread.
December 3, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Now that all four US carriers have released the Samsung Galaxy Note II, developers have started having some fun with it. Even our XDA TV crew has been having some fun. As the international version and the US versions have virtually the same hardware, it was only a matter of time before development spilled across all of the variants. Now, there is a way to port international Note II ROMs to at least a couple of the US variants.
XDA Senior Member madmack has written up a tutorial to help users port N7100 ROMs to the N7105 and the I317. While it isn’t impossible to do, users should definitely read up before attempting. As madmack explains:
Please do not experiment with this stuff if you’re not familiar with partitions and the way things work. You do run the risk of bricking your device permanently if you don’t know what you’re doing. I’ll write this so that developers can start porting their ROMs to the LTE variants.
The two devices are identical except for the modem (and rild files) and the GPS initialization at bootup.
This is essentially some file replacement. First, there are a variety of files within the ROM that need replaced. For example, you’ll have to take /system/bin from an I317 and place it in the N7100 ROM. Wash, rinse, and repeat for several dozen directories. Then, users will have to grab a I317 or a N7105 kernel and place it in the ROM. Once everything is set up properly, the ROM should be flashable. If this is something you plan on trying, be sure to read all the instructions before attempting.
For more details, check out the original thread.
We’re trying an experiment in the Samsung Galaxy Note II forum that, if successful, will be rolled out to many more forums across XDA. We’ve added a Developer Discussion forum, intended only for high-level discussion between developers. The aim of this new forum is to give developers a place to “talk shop” and help each other with device-specific development challenges and issues.
XDA Recognized Developer garyd9 recently presented the idea for this forum to the administrative team. And because we see it as a new way to keep development strong on XDA, we are eager to try it out. While the forum is public, and thus viewable for the benefit of everyone hoping to learn, please do not post in this new forum unless you’re a developer. Failure to heed this warning will result in the deletion of your post and possibly other actions upon repeated offense.
November 27, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer TK shows you how to root your Samsung Galaxy Note II with Odin and a PC. Recently TK reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Note II and its unique S-Pen. Within a week, TK had his device rooted. There are many features you can gain by rooting your device.
TK presents step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access on your T-Mobile variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note II using tools from the XDA forums. The process may be similar for other variants. You just need to search for the specific files for your variant on XDA-Developers.com. So take a moment and check this video out.
November 18, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Late last month, we brought you news of a wireless charging mod for the Galaxy Note 2. Even though it was labeled as an easy mod, it did require some soldering. While soldering isn’t terribly difficult, there are many who aren’t comfortable with it. Now, there is a method that doesn’t require soldering.
It very simple, cheap, clean, and easy to do. No soldering required… so I will call it Origami Wireless Charging
The mod requires pretty much the same pieces. You’ll still need the Palm stuff, along with the other materials. The key difference is that users will use etching instead of soldering. The new set of materials you’ll need are:
1. copper clad laminate (pyralux) – flexible PCB
2. Copper tape
3. ferric chloride solution – for etching
4. Alcohol or acetone – to clean up pcb after etching
5. Water proof/permanent marker pen, tweezer, nipper/scissor, mobile phone pry tools, soldering iron, bla blah
November 16, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
Although Palm (later HP) devices were the first major smartphones to introduce wireless charging, it has recently become quite the rage—especially since Nokia decided to bring it to their latest Windows Phone 8 handsets. Our developers here at XDA have been busy with it as well, bringing it to the Samsung Galaxy S III and Sony Xperia Arc. Just few days back, we featured a wireless charging mod for the international Galaxy Note II GT-N7100. Now, the T-Mobile variant of the Note II joins the list.
XDA Senior Member vinas1 has built upon the work done by Senior Member Ryan_G on the international Note II mod, and successful made the modifications necessary for making it work on the T-Mo version. It isn’t too practical at present because one of the wires used in the mod hangs out of the USB port. However, it’s a work in progress, and vinas1 is working on a solution for this soon.
To learn how to apply this hardware mod to your device and to follow up on the developments, head over to the forum thread.
November 16, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
The Galaxy Note line has been one of Samsung’s most successful. If you’re a proud owner of this powerhouse behemoth and want to easily root it without tripping its flash counter or switching to another ROM, you’re in luck, provided you’re using the T-Mobile or Sprint variant of the device.
XDA Recognized Contributor mrRobinson has taken the latest stock Odin-flashable factory images for the devices, and injected them with the su binary and SuperSU app, leaving everything else as is. The result is a pure stock ROM, with only root access added. Since nothing else is modified, the flash counter on your device should remain intact.
For those of you who also want a custom recovery, mrRobinson has also provided the method for getting TWRP on the device. Flashing that however will trip your flash counter.
November 15, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
The story of the Samsung Galaxy Note II is an interesting one. When the first Samsung Galaxy Note came out, many people panned it, saying it was too large to be a usable phone and too small to be a usable tablet. The sales must have been good enough because Samsung has released the Galaxy Note II, and it’s bigger than before. So we got our hands on one, and we took it for a test drive.
This is the second part of a two part review series by XDA Developer TV Producer TK. You can catch his full write up here. This part covers an overview of the phone’s power, camera, and the coveted S-Pen. So check out this Review of the Samsung Galaxy Note II.