January 25, 2013 By: Joseph Hindy
It’s no secret that Samsung has dropped the ball in some areas such as the Exynos brick bug and the lack of proper documentation. However, they managed to keep true to their word that the Samsung Galaxy S II would officially see Jelly Bean. This will put the device on software that is as up to date as the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
The update is official, which means you can get it via Kies or an OTA. Alternatively, XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab has a running thread where you can download firmware updates. The update itself should bring a load of Jelly Bean goodies. This includes Jelly Bean’s beloved Project Butter for a smoother, more consistent UI. Other features that come with the update include:
When it comes to installing the update, there are several options. Users can wait until their carrier pushes an OTA update and install that way. You can also update via Kies, which requires no waiting. If you want the firmware on hand to flash when you need it, as rooted users often do, you can download the firmware directly and flash over Odin. So there is no real preferred method, just pick your poison.
Now for some bad news. Some minor features don’t seem to be working. Members in Faryaab’s thread have mentioned that the 50 GB of Dropbox storage isn’t working properly. In addition, Social Hub is no longer included in the update, including the IM app. Those who don’t wipe /data can expect errors saying that it isn’t working anymore. There are some other minor issues reported, but nothing seems to be a major deal breaker.
To learn more about the update, visit Faryaab’s firmware 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.
December 7, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Since it was released, the Galaxy Note II multi-window mod has been ported to pretty much every Galaxy Note II. However, a feature that awesome shouldn’t be restricted to just the Note II. The multi-window mod is now available for the Samsung Galaxy S II.
XDA Senior Member mythtrandyr has ported the multi-window functionality to the Galaxy S II. Users can get a hold of the mod in two ways. As per the norm, there is the clean way and the dirty way. The dirty way involves decompiling the SecSettings.apk, the service.jar and android.policy.jar files and applying the appropriate mods. There are quite a few mods to make so be sure to follow all the insructions.
The easy is a simple flash. Users will have to be running a deodexed ROM based on XXLSJ, which is Android 4.1.2. There are also some additional features, including:
- 4 icons shortcut on lockscreen
- ripple lockscreen
- Skip songs with volume rocker (thanks to Mirko ddd )
- No homebutton lag (thanks to Mirko ddd)
- 4-Way Reboot (thanks to khavitahra)
Simply flash in recovery with the customary cache and Dalvik wipes to get it running. Once completed, you’ll have the full multi-window functionality, and you can add as many apps as you’d like.
[Thanks to ::indie:: for the tip!]
We’ve recently reported on a number of devices receiving a port of the increasingly popular PACman ROM. The most recent recipients being the HTC Desire S and Desired HD. The ROM, originally developed by XDA Senior Member szl.kiev for the Sony Xperia Ray, is a concoction of the best bits taken from Paranoid Android, AOKP, and CyanogenMod, all thrown together into one awesomely featured ROM.
The ROMs are almost fully functional, with only a minor list of known issues and bugs:
As always, you should read the complete opening post and follow the installation instructions. Otherwise, you may run into problems.
October 12, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
We bring you news quite frequently about launchers ported to various devices. It’s always a good time and gives users a chance to check out what other devices are running. The Samsung Galaxy S II I9100 can now not only run the Samsung Galaxy S III TouchWiz launcher with the Galaxy Note grid, but LG UI 3.0 as well.
XDA Forum Member endrit9 posted the TouchWiz UX launcher for all to use. Using it is pretty easy, as it requires a simply APK installation. Some of the elements are a little harder to get, however. For instance, to get the Galaxy S III icons, you have to use desktop visualizer and put them in manually. However, you’ll end up with the Galaxy S III TouchWiz launcher up and running.
5×4 homescreen grid (instead of the original 4×4)
Slightly modified weather widget
Google search bar and “add to homescreen” button removed from the top
Fixed unread messages count, now works with samsung messaging
And of course all the features that the launcher offers originally (amazing screen scroll effects, fast and smooth, LG themes – see original thread, today display on calendar icon, and much more..
The installation process is nothing we haven’t seen before. Put the APK in /system/app and change the permissions. There are also some optional APKs to install if you want more of the LG look and feel.
September 18, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Let’s face it, there really isn’t a camera on a smartphone that can handle low light as well as most of us would like. Some times the images are too dark, other times they’re too low grainy. And in some cases, there’s even focus stuttering. This unfortunately plagues some Samsung Galaxy S II units. Thankfully, not all cameras are affected—just devices with the CDEF02 camera module. Now, there’s a way to mostly fix it.
XDA Forum Member KINGTATu noticed that when lowering the camera’s ISO setting, the issue went away. As KINGTATu explains:
n iso 100 and 200 u would Never have Low-Light Stuttering and its not dark while recording its just a bit draker even less than setting exposure from 0 to -1
Naturally, lowering ISO makes taking low light pictures a bit more difficult, as you need to have a steadier hand. However, if your main concern is the focus stuttering, this could help.
For more info, check out the original thread.
[Image credit: XDA Forum Member bartekaki]
September 18, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
Have you tried out the Galaxy S III and love the exclusive bundled apps? Do you want those apps, but find yourself satisfied with last year’s Galaxy S II and don’t want to shell out your hard-earned cash just to get those apps? You don’t have to, thanks to your beloved developer community here at XDA.
In May, we shared with you the new TouchWiz Launcher from the Galaxy S III ported to the Galaxy S II, and just a few days back, we brought you news that the floating Video Player from Galaxy Note had been ported as well. Now, the S-Planner app from the SGSIII has also been ported to work on the SGSII.
Ported by XDA Forum Member mythtrandyr, this app has been edited to work properly on the lower screen resolution of the SII. All the features are fully working except for the widgets, which require some changes to adjust to the SGSII’s screen size. The developer is working on a fix, and it will be available in a future version.
You can find more details and download the app in the forum thread.
Do you love the resizable pop-up video player from Samsung Galaxy Note and wish it were available on your Galaxy S II? While Samsung isn’t officially providing it for the SGS II, that doesn’t mean our members here at XDA aren’t doing anything about it. XDA Forum Member mythtrandyr has successfully ported this player from the Galaxy Note to SGS II, making it available for all of us to install on our devices.
The player works on all stock and custom Android 4.0.4 ROMS based on Samsung’s TouchWiz firmware including XWLQ5/LPM/LPO/LPT/LPU/LPX. It will not work on non-TouchWiz ROMs or any ROMs based on Android 4.0.3 or earlier. While it is built for deodexed ROMs, it can be made to work on an odexed ROM by simply deleting videoplayer.odex file from /system/app using ADB, Terminal Emulator, or a root access file manager of your choice.
You can install it by grabbing the flashable zip from the forum thread and flashing it to your device from recovery.
September 12, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
Many Galaxy S II and III owners who do a lot of heavy gaming on their phones have run out of space for game data in internal storage. While both of these devices support external SD cards, there is no official method available to use that instead for the storage. Fortunately, there is an easy solution for this problem now with free tool DirectoryBind.
Originally built for the SGS II by XDA Forum Member slig, DirectoryBind has been confirmed to work on SGS III and Galaxy Tab 2 by many, and may work for more devices too, as long as they are rooted and have a similar partition structure. As the name suggests, DirectoryBind binds a directory in one location on your device to another. While the concept behind it is similar to symlinking, it uses the bind command instead that makes it work across file systems. This is particularly important, as the file system used on the external SD Card is usually FAT or FAT32, and the internal one is Ext 3/4, making symlinking impossible.
The app has a decent GUI that makes it easy to create new directory pairs, manage the existing ones, mount or unmount them manually, choose to automatically mount them at system startup, and even set them to automatically unmount when USB storage mode is activated and remount when it is deactivated.
You can download the app and learn more in the application thread.
September 5, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Around here, many users enjoy various AOSP-derived ROMs. There are quite a few options, including such well known ROMs as CyanogenMod, AOKP, and ParanoidAndroid. There are many more options as well, which is great because the more the merrier.
Now, the Android Developer Alliance development team has released the AffinitySERIES ROM to various devices. Their missions statement is pretty simple, as explained by ADA member, and XDA Recognized Developer, blueHarford:
One of our biggest things is No Drama, no secrets, BIG on communication which i think alot of other teams lack. We are not the best we will not boast ourselves or ever use the word kang. We feel like one of the first teams to start AOSP project to where it truley is part of the open source community. Were not out for recognition were out to make good products.
Fast, Responsive, Intuitive & Professional UI
GLaDOS v2.1 Power Kernel Built In
First of its kind Customized Toggle Icons
Custom Awesome Popup SMS Features
Facebook Contacts Support
Custom Power Widget
4 Way Reboot Menu
Exclusive ADA Wallpapers
5 Way Lock Screen Targets
Beautiful Weather Lock Screen
Voice & Data (SVDO)
Customized Navbar Settings
Modified Navigation Bar Options
Clock Modifications – Left, Center, and Right Clock AM/PM Weekday Abbreviation
Battery Options 6 Styles to Choose
Many, many more…!
Users are reporting that the ROM works well and has very few issues. Most are reporting no issues at all, which is great for a Jelly Bean ROM. Now that the initial release is out of the way, the team is looking forward to the host of other devices they plan on supporting in their second round of releeases. The official list includes:
Asus Transformer TF101
Asus Transformer Infinity TF700
Samsung Galaxy Tab2
Droid RAZR/RAZR MAXX
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (toroplus)
Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung Galaxy SII and SIII
August 11, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
If you have one of the Samsung Galaxy S II variants that shipped with NFC and are currently running a custom Jelly Bean ROM, you might have noticed the lack of functional NFC capabilities on your phone. Fortunately, you needn’t wait any longer. Thanks to XDA Senior Member jthatch12, you can now enable NFC on any custom Jelly Bean ROM on your Galaxy S II.
The hack is quite straight-forward, and all it requires is an SGS II variant that comes with NFC hardware. So if yours is one of those shipped without it, don’t expect it to magically work just by using this hack. Also, it is meant for devices running Jelly Bean only. This mod has been confirmed to be working on AT&T’s Galaxy S II (SGH-I777) and South Korean KT’s Galaxy S II (SHW-M250K), but should work fine on any NFC-equipped variant. As explained by jthatch12:
Devices Confirmed Working On:
….IDK you tell me!
Devices this should work on:
i9100 = NO
i9100P = YES (it’s an i9100 exactly, but with NFC. ROMs for i9100 will work, but need to be modified to show NFC settings, otherwise no NFC options will show)
i9100G = NO, it’s completely different from the i9100 hardware (TI-OMAP instead of Exynos). ROMs from i9100/P don’t work.
T989 (T-Mobile GS2) = YES, but it’s completely different from the i9100 hardware (Snapdragon S3 instead of Exynos). ROMs from i9100/P don’t work.
i777 (AT&T GS2) = YES* , stock ROMs disable it. ROMs from i9100 work because they’re the same phone (it’s really an i9100P because it has NFC) but you need to modify button layout or the buttons won’t work in the ROM.
D710 (Sprint GS2) = NO
Wanna give it a shot? Simply download the file from the forum thread and flash it to your phone from recovery. For more information, join the discussion at the forum thread.
We’ve been bringing ongoing coverage of the Samsung hard brick bug that’s affecting a large number of users. For those unfamiliar, the hard brick bug causes complete and irreparable damage to the eMMC storage device. It came about when the first leaks to ICS on a variety of Samsung devices were released, and they’ve been a problem ever since.
One way users have been keeping track of if they’ve got the brick bug is Chainfire’s Got Brickbug application, which determines if you have good or bad hardware. There has been another way to determine if you have the brick bug if you have the Samsung Galaxy S II. XDA Senior Member Tungstwenty has released a script that helps further determine whether or not users have the brick bug. According to XDA Elite Recognized Developer Entropy512, who continues to be on the forefront of the battle versus brick bug, it functions differently than Chainfire’s app. Entropy512 states:
It detects a different component of the brickbug – Chainfire’s detects bad chips, this will detect some kernels that allow dangerous commands through to chops.
However, all is not well. Due to the way it detects, there’s a very decent likelihood that that it can deliver false positives and false negatives. Again, Entropy512 explains:
It will likely deliver some false positives and false negatives as it’s checking compiled binaries and not source. If anything near the place where MMC_CAP_ERASE is set changes, it may lead to false negatives for example.
So while it is a very helpful tool, it is unwise to declare your device safe or dangerous strictly on what this application says. Given that it has the capacity to deliver false positives and false negatives, it could come up clean even if you have the brick bug. It is used best along with Chainfire’s application (linked above) to double check. If you are still unsure after both tests—and with a bug this dangerous you likely should be—then it’s much better to simply act as though you do have the brick bug. Better safe than sorry.
The second part of Tungstwenty’s thread explains how to patch the issue if you do appear to have it. While this has the capacity to work, once again Entropy512 drops words of wisdom:
If the patch fails, it could lead to users thinking they are safe when they are not. Instead of patching the code segment to render a kernel safe, it may instead just patch some other part of the kernel introducing a bug without rendering the kernel safe. Also, since the modification will trigger the flash counter/modification detection mechanisms, there is not much point in doing this as opposed to just building a kernel from source.
So, once again, if you do decide to try this out, do so with the utmost caution. Both the test and the patch could fail, and if that happens, you could end up bricked. This should not be mistaken as bad development. It is absolutely not bad development, and the script could very well be used to help determine if the brick bug is present. However, using the utmost caution is never a bad idea. Currently, Entrop512 and others are in direct contact with Samsung to get the problem permanently fixed.
For more info, check out the original thread.
[Photo was jacked from egzthunder1's fantastic article on the brick bug. Also, big thanks to Entropy512 for the consultation.]
July 25, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
It’s here! Are you an international Galaxy S II owner watching in slight jealousy as your peers are given official preview builds into the next version of CyanogenMod? If so, that’s understandable, as Jelly Bean certainly lives up to all of its buttery hype.
For those with short attention spans, the international Galaxy S II has already seen some Jelly Bean action, but that experimental release lacked much functionality, and many users simply prefer running builds based on CyanogenMod.
Luckily, XDA Elite Recognized Developer codeworkx of Team Hacksung fame has come to the rescue with an official preview build of CyanogenMod 10 for the device. Naturally, this is a preview build, and quite a bit is currently not working. As described by codeworkx himself:
ATTENTION: THIS IS JUST A PREVIEW. MAY CONTAIN A LOT OF BUGS!
In other words, don’t expect daily driver functionality out of this just quite yet. However, if you’re eager to see what’s next for CyanogenMod and Team Hacksung on the venerable Galaxy S II, by all means go and check this out.
Users looking to install the goods on their own device should head over to the ROM download and discussion thread. Developers looking to build the ROM from source and/or use it as a base for further modification can find the information they need in the development thread.
[Thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor ephraim033 for the tip!]