November 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
What an exciting day we had yesterday. As was widely speculated, the Google Nexus 5 was finally released, which means that you can finally put that F5 key to rest. However, the new device wasn’t the only important announcement yesterday. We were also given a nice dose of the next version of Android, version 4.4 KitKat. Now the question in everybody‘s mind undoubtedly turns to when their device will get the update. Luckily, we now know the roadmap for certain key devices. READ ON »
October 28, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Verizon is the first major US Carrier to update their variant of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S 4 to Android 4.3 in official capacity. Who would have thought, right? Yes, this is Verizon—the same company that responsible for adding bloatware (albeit limited amounts) to an allegedly Nexus device. The same Big Red responsible for Android 4.3 still not being available for the aforementioned “Nexus” phone, despite Android 4.4 being just around the corner. It’s just a bit ironic that a device lacking the Nexus brand gets the update before a device built on the underlying promise of expedient system updates.
In any case, the update is being rolled out starting today, only a little over a week after it first appeared for the International version of the device. The build ID is VRUEMJ7, and Samsung is calling it Software Update 3. The release brings the device up to Android 4.3, and as expected, it brings Samsung KNOX as well as SELinux. It’s not all bad, though. The new update enables LTE Band 4, and it adds support for the Galaxy Gear.
If you’re running the stock, unrooted ROM, you should be receiving an OTA soon (assuming you haven’t already). Users. And shortly after the update is captured, you can bet that developers will push out pre-rooted builds here.
With the arrival of the Galaxy Note 3, Samsung has also introduced their newest camera software addition, Surround Shot. A mode that draws parallels to Photosphere introduced with Android 4.2, it allows users to stitch together multiple individual photos of the surrounding environment into one, spherical image. The downside? It’s exclusive to the Note 3.
Despite this, XDA Senior Member LastStandingDroid has made sure that users of the Galaxy S 4 will also be able to enjoy such novelty by backporting the Note 3′s camera app to the S 4. Tested to work with Android 4.3 with Samsung’s Touchwiz, it has been reported that all features of Note 3′s camera app are working as they should, including the aforementioned Surround Shot. Installation is simple, requiring users to flash the provided zip file through a custom recovery, and it is always a good thing to make a Nandroid backup before hand. Sadly but somewhat expectedly, users of any AOSP-derived ROM will not be able to get their hands on the port, as LastStandingDroid has made such incompatibilities clear in the forum post.
So if you’re a user of the Galaxy S4 running Touchwiz and Android 4.3, and would like to give give the Note 3 camera a spin without having to change devices, visit the original thread for more information and download.
October 25, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The Official Android 4.3 firmware for the International HTC One is rolling out! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is an article reporting that Samsung posted the Android 4.3 kernel source for the Samsung Galaxy S 4, as well as how to avoid bootloops upgrading to 4.3 on the device.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK gave us an Android App Review of Switchr, Jordan released an an event recap of the Big Android BBQ, and TK gave us an Android App Review of Floating Texts. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
October 23, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Ever since the Android 4.3 (XXUEMJ5) update was released for the Samsung Galaxy S 4, we knew it wouldn’t be long for the kernel source would follow. Now, one week later, Samsung has uploaded the GPL-mandated kernel source files for the XXUEMJ5 update for the GT-I9500 and GT-I9505 models.
Naturally, this means little to end users. But if you’re a GT-I9500/I9505 developer looking to build a custom Android 4.3-based ROM or kernel, this could make things substantially easier.
[Many thanks to Andrew for the tip!]
October 23, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
A little under a week ago, we talked about how Android 4.3 (I9505XXUEMJ5) was starting to roll out for the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Thankfully for those averse to waiting, XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab mirrored the update and gave users instructions on how to use Odin to flash the ROM image. Unfortunately though, some users updating from Android 4.2.2-based custom ROMs have had their share of issues ranging such as bootloops.
To help users who are currently experiencing problems, XDA Senior Members Degrated Shadow put together a list of three device scenarios, each with steps on how to proceed. These include: unrooted 4.2.2 and official status with old bootloader, pre-rooted stock firmware, and rooted with custom ROM or PIT. Instructions for those coming from a custom ROM or PIT make use of XDA Senior Member S.a.M.e.R_d‘s version of CWM and XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire‘s Auto-Root.
If you’ve been experienceing issues while updating to Android 4.3 on your Galaxy S 4, head over to the troubleshooting thread.
October 19, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Earlier this week, we covered the release of the official I9505XXUEMJ5 update to Android 4.3 for the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Although technically intended for the German market first, this update could be downloaded and installed manually through Odin using simple instructions by XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab.
Although it was possible to update manually, many chose to instead wait for a Knox-free ROM to be created. Luckily, XDA Recognized Contributor friedrich420 modified the update to remove Knox, as well as several other unnecessary pieces of bloatware in his modified stock ROM. The ROM also includes a few other modifications such as an aftermarket kernel by Recognized Developer ktoonsez, and a few optional add-ons available in the thread’s second post.
If you’ve been waiting for a Knox-free TouchWiz 4.3 experience, head over to the ROM thread to get started.
[Thanks to Mr. Yawnie and hawke84 for the tip!]
October 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is now available in official capacity for the Samsung Galaxy S 4. With the recently leaked Android 4.3 I9505XXUEMJ3 firmware floating around, we knew that the official release wasn’t far behind. Now, it’s here in official capacity.
XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab has posted the release to our forums courtesy of Sammobile, along with simple instructions on how to get it up and running on your device. This release is intended for German devices, and would normally be installed via Kies or OTA. However, for those living outside Germany, Faryaab has posted simple instructions to flash the firmware on an S 4 from any region using Odin (with your device in download mode).
If you prefer TouchWiz to the various source-built ROMs and have been itching to install official 4.3 on your S 4, head over to the firmware thread to get started.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the Galaxy Note 3 are the Korean OEM’s two flagship smartphones in their respective market segments. Both devices are more than capable of handling just about anything you can throw at them, and they both pack enough software features to keep you reading manuals for days. Despite their similarities, however, the Note 3 packs a few tricks up its sleeve that its less gargantuan sibling lacks.
Thankfully, XDA Senior Member LastStandingDroid has gotten the Note 3-specific apps from the Note’s BMI7 firmware to work on the smaller sibling. Included are the My Files app, Bloomberg+ (complete with Air Gestures), Gallery (though not everything works perfectly), ActiveApplicationWidget, the Note 3 Wallpaper Chooser, the Samsung Alarm Widget, Samsung Wallet, MMS, and more. Keep in mind that for some of these apps, you will need to be running the leaked 4.3 build for the S4 before proceeding.
For those looking to pick and choose which apps to install, XDA Senior Member ktetreault14 then built on LastStandingDroid’s offerings by packaging the goods with AROMA installer. Using AROMA, you can select which of these applications that you’d like to install, rather than being forced to use them all.
Head on over to the original thread to supercharge your Galaxy S 4′s software. And if you’d like to get your hands on a version that can be customized with the AROMA installer, make your way to this post.
October 1, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Envy is a very interesting driver for innovation. Ironically, wanting to have something that others enjoy tends to have a somewhat interesting effect on our developers. After all, the will generated by the lack of newer versions of Windows Mobile available on newer devices was the main driving force that pushed XDA to be what it is today. Our “thing” or hobby (whichever way you want to see it) could be easily called envy. But regardless of how envious we may seem, having the opportunity to do what others do on top of what we do is, after all, what we do best. In this case, XDA Forum Member -Aatif- brings us a little something for all (who do not own a recent Samsung device) to enjoy.
S4/Note3 Lockscreen is a copy (not an APK taken out of the TouchWiz build) of the infamous lock screen app included with the aforementioned devices. In case you are not familiar with it, the newest Galaxy devices come equipped with a rather beautiful lock screen capable of giving you a wide array of customizable effects for unlocking the device. The S III family of devices introduced the “ripple effect” (making water ripples on the screen as the finger slides to unlock it) as well as the ink effect (add-on to the ripple effect in which an ink blob dissolves in the water ripple when the screen is touched); and the S 4 introduced the newer effects such as circles of light, lens flare, and more. All that, plus the ability to change fonts, along with everything else is included in this small package.
The app also has a few options in place to make your screen more you, such as giving you the option to hide the notification bar and even adding your own text to your home screen (not simply carrier text). It also has a few safeguards built in to avoid getting multiple lock screens jumping in at the same time. All in all, while it is a work in progress, it is difficult to argue that this lock screen is very complete and smooth. Please leave some feedback for the dev so that more options can be added down the road.
Exellent copy of Samsung Galaxy SIV, Galaxy NoteIII Lockscreen
Now NO need to “ROOT” now
* Light Effect
* Ripple Effect
* Ink Effect (New)
You can find more information in the original thread.
September 4, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
The lock screen widgets functionality that was introduced with Android 4.2 is incredibly useful. Lock screen widgets deliver at-a-glance information quickly and easily—without the need to fumble across home screens, apps, and menus. Their utility is then compounded when used in conjunction with lock screen security, since you can access this information without having to first unlock your device.
For some reason, however, Samsung decided that this functionality wasn’t important enough, as they have removed the possibility to add widgets when the device is secured. Thankfully, XDA Forum Member MohammadAG has created a quick modification that brings this functionality back. And just like the native Android functionality, it also enables a secure camera mode, where you can take new pictures and view them but not pictures taken previously.
The modification comes the form of a module for XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s fantastic Xposed framework (thread). It has thus far been tested on the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy S III running the leaked 4.2.2 TouchWiz ROM, but it should work on any device running TouchWiz firmwares based on Android 4.2.
September 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
While it’s quite pricey, the S-View Flip Cover for the Galaxy S 4 is a pretty cool accessory. Allowing you to see alerts, answer and reject calls, see what song is playing, and view other vital information; the flip cover helps make your smartphone just a little bit smarter. However, by default the media player integration only works with the Samsung-provided media player.
Thankfully, XDA Senior Member MohammadAG has created an Xposed module (development thread) that allows you to display metadata from the following players: the Stock Samsung Media Player, Google Play Media Player, Poweramp, and limited support for other media players that use the metachanged intent and media buttons. In addition to viewing track information, MohammadAG’s modification allows you to switch songs by swiping left or right. The mod also allows you to play and pause media playback by long pressing the display.
Naturally, you must first be rooted and have Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed framework installed. However, once you have fulfilled those prerequisites, all you have to do is install the module and activate it.
Normally, MohammadAG sells this on the Play Store. However, he has made it available to XDA community members free of charge. You can head over to the application thread to get the goods. And if you would like to take a look at the source code, visit MohammadAG’s Github.
[Thanks to theWaswas for the tip!]
September 2, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
While the Samsung Galaxy S 4 may not exactly be the newest phone on the market anymore, many new owners are just now getting their hands on Samsung’s latest flagship. And for the new (and novice) owner, the device’s feature list may be more than a bit daunting. Thankfully, XDA Senior Member Kremata brings two guides geared towards helping new users get started.
The first guide is intended strictly for the basic user who may not have any former experience with Android. Adapted from a TrustedReviews.com guide for the Note 2, the thread provides usage tips aimed at the novice user who many be new to the world of Android and perhaps unwilling to root and install an AOSP-derived ROM. The tweaks range from using device-specific features like Smart Stay and video multitasking to hiding unwanted media files with the standard .nomedia file.
The second thread, also by Kremata, describes in detail many of the device-specific features found on the Galaxy S 4. These are features such as Smart Stay that many would ordinarily consider to be bloatware. Kremata’s goal is to show that some of them could actually wind up being useful. However, if you find yourself disagreeing, there are always Google Play edition ROMs at your disposal.
While these (extremely basic) guides may not be suitable for much of XDA’s much more technically advanced user base, we all have non-tech savvy relatives who are just getting into the world of Android. These guides can serve as excellent grandma-friendly primers to get them started.