June 11, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Samsung’s former flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note II, has faced a rather long and arduous journey towards Android 4.4 KitKat. Back in April, the international variant of the device received an official OTA update, which was promptly captured and rooted. And about a month later, the Sprint variant of the device received its official update. However, most carrier variants are still left in the cold. Now, Verizon has finally released KitKat to its version of the device.
Today’s update for the Verizon Galaxy Note II comes in the form of software version I605VRUFND7. Strangely though, this update made its way to certain users a bit early. XDA Forum Member datstudandre first received the update late last month, but only now has it begun seeing widespread release.
According to the update’s release notes (courtesy of Senior Member Archon810, of AndroidPolice fame), it brings a few tricks to the table in addition to simply rebasing the firmware to Android 4.4.2. These include support for the Galaxy Gear 2 and updates for several included apps, as well as various bug fixes. Unfortunately, the update also brings with it Samsung’s latest take on device security: Knox 2.0.
You can learn more about the update and get in on the discussion by heading over to this thread.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]
May 29, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Just one week before KitKat’s unveiling in late November of last year, the Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note II received an OTA update that brought the former flagship phablet to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. It’s now six months later, and up until now, the still relatively high-end device had not yet received its official update to KitKat. But thanks to leaked documentation made available last week, we knew an update was on the horizon.
Now, that update is finally here. Launched earlier this morning, today’s update brings the Sprint variant of the popular Galaxy Note II up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat KOT49H. This update comes in at version number L900VPUBNE2. According to Sprint’s Update Support Page, it appears as if all that has changed is the rebase to KitKat, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the update incorporate features we’ve seen in other KitKat updates for Samsung devices.
The update is currently making its rounds out to consumer devices by way of a staged OTA rollout. And as such, not every device will be in the initial wave. Unfortunately, no OTA has been captured at this time, but once a captured OTA is available, it will be posted in this thread. But on the bright side, Samsung posted the GPL-mandated open source kernel files to its Open Source Release Center, and progress has already been made to build an aftermarket kernel based on the NE2 sources thanks to XDA Forum Moderator garwynn.
May 26, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that back in November of last year, we shared a leaked Samsung internal memo detailing the OEM’s tentative plans for updating its Galaxy line up to Android 4.4 KitKat. And with the exception of the canceled update for the International S3, this schedule has mostly held true, as we’ve seen KitKat roll out to many of the Korean company’s newer high end devices. Now, more internal documentation has appeared, giving us a clearer picture of what Samsung’s working on in its internal labs.
First up, we have the Galaxy S5 (SM-G900F and SM-G900H) and Galaxy S4 LTE-A (GT-I9506). According to internal Samsung documentation from five days ago, Android 4.4.3 KTU70 is now being actively worked on for these three device variants. For the S4 LTE-A, the firmware in progress comes in at version XXUDQNE4, and for the two S5 variants, we’re looking at versions XXU0BNE3 and XXU0BNE6. The builds for all three device variants are currently in the integration stage, which means that Samsung is adding its OEM customizations to the firmwares. Assuming all goes well with the integration and testing, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that we may see 4.4.3 arrive on these three devices in the next couple of months.
Next up, we have more information regarding Android 4.4.2 KOT49H updates for various older Samsung devices. According to the leaked documentation, Android 4.4.2 will make its way out to the Galaxy S3 LTE, Note II LTE, and Note 3 Neo later this month. Then some time next month, the S 4 Mini, S 4 Mini LTE, Grand 2, Mega 5.8, and Mega 6.3 will receive their own official Android 4.4.2 builds. Unfortunately, the update for the standard (1 GB RAM) S3 is still marked as “unstable,” and given Samsung’s public statement on the matter, it’s increasingly unlikely that this will change in the near future.
Do you own any of these Samsung devices and are you looking forward to these OEM-provided updates? Or instead, have you rooted and installed an AOSP-derived custom ROM? Let us know in the comments below.
May 13, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Not too long ago, we learned that Samsung canceled its plans to release KitKat for their former flagship device from the first quarter of 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S III. This is due to their failure “to load system apps” because of the limited amount of device RAM—or at least that’s what we’re told in an official statement.
But of course, this is XDA, and our devs immediately undertook the task of getting TouchWiz-laden KitKat onto the device. From the same article linked above, you may have noticed that the Samsung Galaxy Note II has already received a fully functional official KitKat build. And given the similarities in hardware, it didn’t take long to see users attempt to port its ROM for use on the Galaxy SIII.
XDA Senior Member forumber2 noticed that eMMC partition is too small to run bloated TouchWiz properly, so he decided to try his luck booting from the SD card. After swapping kernels, the Note II’s build started properly and almost everything was running as intended. Well, other than sensors, WiFi, RIL, and a few other device features.
Forumber2 made a video demonstrating KitKat on the i9300. Now, it is believed that using some bits and pieces from GT-i9305 (a Qualcomm-based variant of the Galaxy S III) will help solving all of the remaining issues. Hopefully, soon everyone can enjoy TouchWiz-laden KitKat on the not-so-old S III.
The thread demonstrating KitKat on Samsung Galaxy S III can be found here. Hopefully the community will once again show the OEM that “impossible” is just a term to describe their laziness.
Update: If you are eager to try KitKat on your Galaxy S III, XDA Recognized Contributors JustArchi and Kryten2k35 have already released an experimental port of Note II’s KitKat firmware, which can be found in its development thread. It’s still in testing, so keep in mind that there are certain issues that need to be ironed out with RIL and sensors. However, WiFi, 3G, text messaging, camera, and most functions appear to be working fine, so it’s worth a try if you’re looking for Samsung-flavored KitKat on your SGS3.
[Big thanks to XDA Forum Moderator Siberian Tiger for the tip.]
April 28, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2 KitKat has begun rolling out to the Verizon Galaxy S 4! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this weekend’s news is the announcement that KitKat for the Xeria Z has been leaked and that the Galaxy Note II international variant has gotten Android KitKat! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan also talked about understanding cross compiling and Android. So pull up a chair and check out this and other XDA Developer TV videos like, XDA Developer TV Producer TK’s Xposed Tuesday video for PerAppFonts and Tasker on the Galaxy Gear, and his Android App Review of Auto Config Free.
February 25, 2014 By: Samantha
Lackluster battery life is probably one of the biggest downfalls in the modern day smartphone, despite the slow gains being made by OEMs with each passing generation. Putting aside battery saving apps and devices with non-removable batteries, one way of getting more screen time from your device is to simply use a battery with higher mAh rating. This generally means a battery with larger physical dimensions that will not only add more bulk to your device and ruin its beautiful, carefully designed aesthetics, but can also prevent you from using key features.
This is most definitely the case for the 9300 mAh Zero Lemon battery for the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which completely covers the phone’s NFC chip with its ginormous form. Naturally, users can no longer use NFC, which for many has become an integral part of their lifestyle. But thanks to the efforts of XDA Recognized Contributor Bajanman, there’s now a mod that can allow you access to the phone’s NFC again.
One must keep in mind that this modification can be very complicated, especially for anyone who is not experienced or trained in soldering. The process essentially allows contact between the NFC chip and the phone with wires wrapping around the side of the battery. Having gone through and completed the procedure himself, Bajanman documented every step of the way and provided the images as much welcomed visual aid.
This mod is definitely not for everybody, aimed obviously towards those who have the Zero Lemon battery or are seriously considering of purchasing it. If however, you would much rather keep NFC than have a larger, both in regards to dimensions and mAh, it may be an idea to check out something else. If you would like to find out more about this mod, visit the original thread for more details.
February 23, 2014 By: Samantha
The abundance of mods, themes, and tools are, more often than not, scattered throughout the XDA forums in just as many threads. Those looking for a couple of mods and themes to play around with on a whim may end up getting lost between various browser tabs. But if you own a Samsung Galaxy Note II, you may want to check out Powerbox.
Developed by XDA Senior Member mannyvinny, Powerbox is an AROMA-based tool that helps set up and customize your Note II with its extensive list of functions and features. It allows you to root and install Busybox on your device, as well as remove Knox and user-selected bloatware. In addition, Powerbox packs in quite the variety of mods and themes, including:
If you’re interested in checking out Powerbox for your Note II, visit the original thread to learn more.
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!
February 3, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Imagine that you’re flashing the latest nightly of your favorite ROM. If you are performing a fresh install by wiping all of your data, this also means that you have to flash all of your modified system apps, user apps, modules, and so on. And if you’re doing this on a regular basis, all the wasted time really starts to add up. So what do you do? Do you manually install these apps again, or do you add them to your favorite ROM? One of the better solutions is to use Aroma Installer by XDA Recognized Developer amarullz. However, you normally need some experience to configure it properly.
A few days ago, we talked about a Windows-only tool to create flashable ZIP files. Now, it’s time to present yet another tool that can be used on every OS with Java installed. With Android Flashable Zip by XDA Senior Members Nikhil and RajatPatel, you can easily add apps, boot animations, ringtones, and much more to a flashable ZIP. And since the tool uses Aroma installer, you can pick and choose which apps you want installed when applying the ZIP.
Aside from requiring Java to be installed on your PC, tool currently only supports a few devices—namely the Samsung Galaxy R (i9103), Samsung Galaxy Nexus (maguro), LG Optimus 4X HD (p880), and Samsung Galaxy Note II (N7100). That said, the supported device list will surely increase in time. And even if your device is unsupported, you can always give it a try and report your findings in the thread. Just be prepared in the event that something does go wrong.
If you want to easily create AROMA-based flashable ZIPs, head over to the development thread and give Android Flashable Zip Creator a shot.
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.
December 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We first saw official Android 4.3 appear on the international Galaxy Note II LTE N7105 back in the middle of November. Ever since then, it’s gradually been making its way over to other variants of the device such as the Sprint, T-Mobile, and finally the Verizon units. Now, the update has begun rolling out to the AT&T variant of the Galaxy Note II, and it’s about time.
The update in the form of a 696 MB OTA update to I317UCUBMK6 from the previous I317UCAMH3 build. It brings various new additions such as improvements to Multi-Window, a better camera app, “easy mode,” Galaxy Gear compatibility, and Samsung KNOX.
Key additions in the latest update, as reported by Samsung:
Software update includes:
- Android 4.3 OS upgrade
- Samsung Galaxy Gear compatibility
- Premium Suite Features
- Group Play 2.5
- Multi-Window (Note 3 Version)
- Camera – Shot & Sound
- Group Messaging
- Samsung Link (Preload)
- New Easy Mode
- Samsung Apps
The update is rolling out to devices gradually, and it appears to not yet be available through Kies. However, we’ll update this post as soon as the OTA is mirrored.
Have you updated your AT&T Galaxy Note II to 4.3? If so, what are your experiences? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to visit XDA Senior Member wilsonhuang‘s thread detailing his experiences with the update.
December 12, 2013 By: wildstang83
We have seen a few modern Samsung devices receive firmware updates recently. Looking back to November, we brought news that the Samsung Galaxy Note II N7105 was in the process of receiving the Android 4.3 update. The Samsung Galaxy Note ll (i605) from Verizon Wireless is certain not to be left out in this recent batch of Android 4.3 updates.
The update for the Samsung Galaxy Note ll i605 brings the device up from the previous version (Android 4.1.2 – VRAMC3) to version Android 4.3 – VRUEMJ9. Along with bumping up the Android version, a few new features and bug fixes have been included. One notable feature is easy access to Blocking mode, which Samsung had previously hidden from the settings menu.
Verizon has not yet officially begun pushing the update to all i605 owners, but they do appear to be conducting a splash test. It was through this splash test XDA Senior Member kwhodson received the update and was able to capture it. He pulled the files from his device and provided them to XDA Recognized Contributor beanstown106, who then converted the update into a flashable ROM.
While the ROM can be flashed normally, the update does include new firmware that must be flashed through Odin in order to insure that WiFi works. Head on over to the development thread for more info and to check out the ROM.
December 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
To a certain extent, the T-Mobile Galaxy Note II has been living in the shadows of its peers. After all, the first time we saw Android 4.3 appear for the international model was nearly two months ago in the form of a leaked firmware update. Then about a month later, we saw the international model receive its official Android 4.3 update. That was also right around the same time that the Sprint variant received its update. And let’s not forget that the HTC One and Moto X have already received their official Android 4.4 updates—though that should be the case for the Note II by April.
Now, XDA Forum Member fatesealer has let us know that the update has begun rolling out to T-Mobile-branded Galaxy Note II devices. While not quite everyone has received the OTA just yet, it can be manually installed through Samsung Kies. And for those who’d rather install it manually, XDA Senior Member deeznutz1977 has mirrored the update, and Senior Member kozmo21 has extracted and posted the modem and kernel files as well.
1. Webpages are loading a lot faster now; not sure if due to cache, quicker LTE, or what.
2. Applications also appear to be loading a bit faster.
3. I like the slightly different presentation of the Notification Bar at the top of the page.
4. Under my Task Manager, there’s a new option in the toolbar called “Clear default / Launch by default” which apparently let’s you designate and control which default apps to use when performing certain actions (eg. when making a phone call, you can establish the standard Phone app to do so, versus, say, Skype; or the standard Internet browser versus Chrome).
1. According to my Task Manager app, SOMETHING or things are now taking up a bigger chunk of my onboard System Storage. System storage usage went from around 2.5 to 3GB to 7.10GB (out of 16.00GB). When I checked with File Manager, I noticed under /storage a new folder called “emulated”, with two subfolders called “/storage/emulated/0″ and “/storage/emulated/legacy” that appear to be some type of backups of my previous Android environment.
2. Android 4.3 appears to be taking about 250MB more RAM space on my Note II, as compared to the previous version
Have you updated your Note II to 4.3 yet? If so, let us know what you think in the comments below!