March 15, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Two days ago, we talked about how Android 4.4.2 was starting to make its way over to Canadian carrier-branded variants of the Samsung Galaxy S 4. This, of course, started with the Rogers variant of the device. But now, the update has begun rolling out to the Bell variant of the device as well.
The update’s release should come as little surprise to our Canadian readers, as the build that was officially released for the Rogers S4 was compatible with all Canadian variants, including those from Bell and Telus. And thanks to efforts by XDA Senior Member 0mega1, the leaked (and subsequently official) firmware was made available for all devices.
Just as seen before on the Rogers OTA, the update brings you to build VLUFNC1, and bumps up your Android version to 4.4.2. But since the update is only gradually rolling out to consumer devices, you may wish to manually update your device to skip the wait.
You can learn more about the update from Bell’s official support pages. And those with Bell and Rogers S4 devices looking to get in on the update a bit early should head over to 0mega1′s thread to download the Odin-flashable update.
[Many thanks once again to XDA Portal Supporter Titokhan for the tip!]
March 13, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Android 4.4.2 has been steadily making its way to all of the different regional and carrier-branded variants of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 over the past month and a half. And earlier today, the Rogers variant of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 started receiving its own official update to Android 4.4.2 KitKat in the form of a staged OTA rollout.
This update, which has already made its way to various other carriers around the world was a long time coming for the Canadian device. But despite all the wait, only Rogers devices in Canada appear to be receiving OTA at this time. The update, which comes in at build VLUFNC1, umps up the Android version to 4.4.2, and brings with it all of the niceties we’ve seen in other KitKat updates for Samsung’s current generation flagship.
Luckily for Galaxy S 4 owners on other Canadian carriers, as well as those on Rogers who have not yet received the update, XDA Senior Member 0mega1 has mirrored the previously leaked (and now official) firmware for all to enjoy. The update has been confirmed working on Bell and Telus devices in addition to Rogers, but it is unknown as to whether the update will also work on I337M devices outside of Canada such as the AT&T variant of the device.
If you own a Canadian Galaxy S 4 and want to get in on the update, head over to the original thread, bust out a copy of Odin, and get flashing.
[Many thanks once again to XDA Portal Supporter Titokhan for the tip!]
Just four days ago, the T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 received an OTA update to Android 4.4.2. This naturally lead many to wonder when Samsung’s other flagship device on T-Mobile would see a similar update. That time is here, folks, as Android 4.4.2 has now started making its way out to consumer devices.
The update comes in the form of build number M919UVUFNB4, replacing the previous Android 4.3-based M919UVUEMK2 build. The update weighs in at a decently sized 388 MB, and it brings all of the same goodies we’ve seen on other SGS4 KitKat device updates such as an ever so slightly changed UI, wireless printing, KitKat-related performance tweaks, and more.
The update is currently making its way to consumer devices in the form of a staged rollout. Thus, not every device will receive the OTA immediately. Thankfully, XDA Senior Member ShinySide was kind enough to mirror the update for those who haven’t received the OTA.
Make your way over to the original thread to get in on the discussion, and those looking for the mirror should visit this post. Kernel developers will be a bit sad to learn that the GPL-mandated kernel source code for the T-Mobile SGS4 has not yet been updated to KitKat. That said, we can’t imagine that it will be too much longer, as Samsung is usually quick to release the required source bits.
Samsung has its moments of glory. The unveiling of Samsung Galaxy S 5 was a big media event, and Sammy is poised to sell millions of their latest Galaxy phones. Some owners of the company’s previous flagship, the Galaxy S 4, had some issues relating to CPU speeds in certain applications. These issues were caused by dynamic voltage and frequency scaling known, otherwise known as DVFS.
If you don’t know what DVFS is for, you may be in for a surprise. Samsung used it to cheat benchmark applications like AnTuTu, and they claimed that they remove it with in KitKat. Naturally DVFS is still there, despite good PR from Samsung headquarters. Disabling DVFS at the kernel level doesn’t solve the problem, as it’s controlled by the ROM. XDA Senior Member mattiadj found a way to disable it and Recognized Developer wanam made an Xposed Framework Module to disable DVFS entirely.
Why is this important? Samsung had the brilliant idea of lowering the CPU frequency after few minutes of intensive usage. Thus after 5-10 minutes of playing an intensive game, your CPU goes down to 304 MHz, which makes the phone barely usable before a reboot resets it. With module made by wanam, rebooting isn’t required and overall performance is improved. Two things are required to use this module though: root and Xposed Framework by Recognized Developer rovo89 and his partner in crime Recognized Contributor Tungstwenty.
If you own a modern Samsung device and are suffering from poor game performance, visit the module thread and give this a try. Please note that while this will likely work for all Samsung devices with KitKat and DVFS, it has only been tested on the S 4 so far.
February 27, 2014 By: Samantha
The S View cases for the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and Note 3 are fascinating products, as they not only protect the device and its screen, but they also feature a topside screen that displays your status bar, temperature, caller ID, and date and time. Not only that, but it’s also recognizes S Pen contact on the Note 3, which allows for some simple actions such as taking notes.
What may come as a surprise to some is that the S View cases don’t allow you to change the screen timeout period, and they also offer very few options for backgrounds and no ability to set your own custom background. Luckily, XDA Forum Member vonerk has written a tutorial on how to set a custom wallpaper and timeout period.
The process can get a bit messy, but overall it is quite straightforward. The tutorial requires you to use the previously featured Android APKTool to decompile and eventually recompile the various files that need to be edited, as well as have your custom background image and Notepad++ ready for all the editing in between. It should be noted that the end result does not allow you to quickly and easily change such settings, so if you want to change them again, you’ll have to go through the whole process again.
So if you’re getting a bit bored of the background options, check out the guide at its original thread to get started.
February 27, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Official Android 4.4.2 has been making its way to various variants of the popular Samsung Galaxy S 4 over the past month. Now, the update has arrived for the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S 4, coming in the form of build I337UCUFNB1.
Aside from bumping up the Android OS version to 4.4.2, build NB1 also brings Galaxy Gear compatibility, drag-and-drop to uninstall / disable apps, and calling improvements. Furthermore, the update also brings improvements to various of the included apps such as the phone dialer, the stock camera, and the gallery app.
The OTA is making its way to consumer devices via a staged OTA rollout. As such, your device may not initially receive the OTA. Thankfully, XDA Senior Member Maribou was kind enough to mirror the OTA, while Forum Member lordnihilusmd provided instructions on how to side-load the update.
To learn more about the MK2 (4.3) and NB1 (4.4.2) updates for the AT&T variant of the Galaxy S 4, head over to guut13′s information thread.
Please note that root is not yet available for the new update. Furthermore, SuperSU survival mode is not able to regain root during the upgrade. As such, you may wish to block the update until a suitable root option is achieved. Thankfully guut13′s thread linked above also shows you how to block the OTA if you desire.
February 19, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Before Motorola was acquired by Lenovo, the OEM released two very interesting smartphones. The Moto X and Moto G were the first and probably the last devices made by the formerly American OEM in a cooperation with Google. Not so long ago, we talked about the Moto G receiving an unofficial CyanogenMod port. Now, however, the G and a few other Motorola devices will receive official CyanogenMod nightlies.
The CM team has released three unified builds, which is a bit of a surprising move, considering that the list of supported devices is quite long. The “mysterious” moto_msm8960 build will work with the Photon Q, Atrix HD, Razr M, and Droid Razr HD. The second build, dubbed moto_msm8960dt, should work with dual-core devices like the Moto X, Droid Maxx, Droid Mini, and Droid Ultra. You need to figure out which phones are which, as builds for other devices will simply not work properly or even can brick your device. So be sure to double check before flashing, and check your home forum here on XDA to get the necessary info.
A build for the Moto G is separate due to its internal hardware. And I can’t can’t write about official nightlies for device code named falcon without mentioning XDA Senior Member dhacker29, who did a terrific job bringing up the device tree for this phone.
Motorola devices aren’t the only receiving these new unified builds. A couple of Samsung devices will receive unified builds as well. The list of phones is quite long and includes following devices:
Builds include only Qualcomm-based devices, as Exynos devices are still using platform-specified builds.
As you can see, the CyanogenMod team are on fire and make things as easy as possible both for developers and end users. The builds are located over on the official CyanogenMod download page. You can also check out the source code by visiting team’s Github and typing the name of the device in the search box.
[Big thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor herna for the tip!]
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 17, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
We first saw a Samsung-created Android 4.4.2 build for the international Samsung Galaxy S 4 GT-I9505 about a month ago with the leaked XXUFNA1Firmware. While the company hasn’t said much about an official KitKat rollout schedule, a leaked memo pointed to the end of January as a possible release date for the S 4 and Note 3. January has now come and gone. And while the Note 3 already received its official 4.4.2 update, the S 4 is still without.
Luckily, another leaked Android 4.4.2 firmware has emerged for the trusty I9505. The new XXUFNAD firmware was originally shared by the kind folks over at Sammobile and posted to the forums by XDA Senior Member kelvyn1995. Just like the previously leaked build, this new leak also lacks the new artistic direction that we saw in some leaked screenshots a while back. However, it does incorporate some of the minor UI tweaks present in the previous build, as well as a few other minor changes.
You can get in on the leak by heading over to the leaked firmware thread. And once you’ve updated your device, don’t forget to leave your feedback in the thread. Are you a fan of these continual leaks or are you a happy AOSP-based ROM user who couldn’t care less about first-party updates? Let us know in the comments below.
[Many thanks to XDA Forum Member Titokhan for the tip!]
February 10, 2014 By: Samantha
Having lived somewhere that’s sunny all year round, I still empathize with fellow Android users who live in places where snow exists. I imagine having a device with the ability to detect touches through gloves would be of great benefit, especially considering how capacitive touch screens work. But the unfortunate reality is that only a handful of devices cater to this, such as the Sony Xperia Sola with its unique “floating touch”, the Nokia Lumia 920, and the Samsung Galaxy S 4. The bad thing for Galaxy S 4 owners, especially those who do are running an AOSP-based ROM such as CyanogenMod, is that the native option to change the screen sensitivity is only available on TouchWiz and GPe ROMs.
XDA Recognized Contributor and Developer broodplank1337 decided to address this issue by developing the aptly named Galaxy S 4 Glove Mode. The app that does exactly what its name suggests, as it allows users to activate and disable glove mode on the Galaxy S 4 running AOSP-derived ROMs. This should work on devices that have a kernel supporting the function, so ask your kernel developer about its compatibility before trying. Credit must also be given to Xio-Long Chen, whose open source commit serves as the foundation of the app.
If you would like to find out more, check out the application thread for more information.
January 27, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, an internal Samsung memo leaked out that detailed Samsung’s planned update schedule for its most recent flagships. In the memo, it appeared as if Samsung was planning on releasing the KitKat update to its Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note 3 smartphones some time this January. And true to form, the international Galaxy Note 3 received its official KitKat update approximately two weeks ago. While the international S 4 still has yet to receive its official update, we’ve seen a highly functional leak, which was then given Triangle Away support by Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire.
While leaks and releases have been numerous for the international variants of these devices, the same cannot be said about all carrier-branded variants. But now, thanks to XDA Recognized Developer designgears, we have leaked builds of Android 4.4.2 for the AT&T-branded variants of the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S 4.
The leak for the Galaxy Note 3 comes in at version N900AUCECMLG, and the leak for the Galaxy S 4 is I337UCUFMLD. At present, there are no known bugs on the Note 3′s leak, but the Galaxy S 4 leak has sporadic reboots related to video codec issues.
If you’re an AT&T Galaxy S 4 or Galaxy Note 3 owner, head over to the threads below to get in on the leak action. Just be sure to be careful when flashing, as you don’t want to turn your expensive device into a paperweight.
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.
January 13, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for quite some time, you’re undoubtedly aware that many modern Samsung devices keep an internal flash counter that keeps track of how many times you flash custom firmware onto your device. Luckily, a fix for this has been available for quite some time thanks to Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire‘s fantastic TriangleAway app. But ever since its release, it’s been a bit of a cat and mouse game where a TriangleAway version would be released, followed by a new firmware update that blocks the app’s functionality.
Now, the next chapter in never-ending war between the community and the OEMs is here, as Chainfire has updated his TriangleAway app to version 3.25. The new version brings support for the Qualcomm-powered Galaxy Note 3 (must be running the now official Android 4.4.2 firmware), as well as for the leaked Android 4.4.2 firmware for the Qualcomm-powered Galaxy S 4.
It is important to keep in mind that TriangleAway’s purpose is only to reset the flash counter. It is not able to reset your KNOX Warranty void status at this time. Furthermore, the Galaxy Note 3 is only supported on Android 4.4. While the OTA has only occurred for certain unlocked variants of the device, it is highly likely that this will also work on carrier-branded versions once they receive their updates.