April 16, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Android development can be a tough hobby to jump into sometimes. While some Android devices have a number of guides telling users how to do everything from theming to ROM building to kernel development, there are other devices that just don’t have that kind of support for aspiring new developers. Thankfully, the gaps are being filled by those who have the patience to teach. Now, aspiring developers for the Samsung Galaxy S II I9100 can get in on the fun as well thanks to XDA Senior Member superatmos, who has begun writing guides on a number of development topics from ROM building to kernel compiling.
The guide is a work-in-progress, but there are already a couple of great tutorials to get new devs started. The second post in the thread guides users through completely deodexing a ROM, which opens it up for themes and further modifications. The following post runs the full gamut of compiling a kernel from setting up the toolchain and getting the kernel and initramfs ready for compiling, all the way down to the actual compiling process. The only part currently missing from the trifecta is ROM building, but superatmos says it is coming soon.
Additionally, users are already asking questions and doing some experimenting of their own, such as attempting to deodex ICS .APKs. Even if you only show up for the first few posts, it’s worth reading through the whole thread just to learn from other users’ experiments and mistakes. For additional information, the full guides and more, check out the development thread. As always, be sure to make a backup before testing anything you make.
April 15, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
One of the most irritating things about the Google Play Store, is trying to install an application, only to be thrown back by things like country restrictions. Granted, some apps wouldn’t work in some countries anyway, but there’s quite a few out there that have nothing to do with your geological location, which would work perfectly fine if downloaded.
This is a problem that XDA Senior Member Deeco7 is looking to solve with a modified Google Play Store .APK which, among other things, removes country restrictions. This allows anyone, anywhere to download what they want—as long as their phone is compatible, that is.
The mod, which is posted in the Samsung Galaxy S II I9100 forums, has had mixed reviews so far. For many users, the modified Play Store works just fine but many others are experiencing minor bugs. XDA Senior Member xinfinityoO has released a 2nd modified Google Play Store apk for users to try out, which has also had mixed success. Deeco7 has been diligent in updating and attempting to fix such problems, and only time will tell if all the errors can be fixed. Currently, the .APK is based on the latest version (v3.5.16) and Deeco7 has fixed a few bugs already. The best way to avoid these bugs is to follow the installation instructions provided and to check out the thread to see how other users have troubleshooted the issues.
For additional information, screen shots and download links for both xinfinityoO’s version and Deeco7′s version, check out the original thread. Be sure to make a backup of your Vending.apk before attempting, so you can restore if needed.
April 12, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
There’s comes a point in the development of every device that users and devs alike will start rooting through their device—pun intended—and find and modify previously unknown files. Often times, these uncovered files don’t do much at all, but occasionally a diamond in the rough is found and brings some real benefits.
This is the case for the Samsung Galaxy S II I9100. XDA Senior Member Crescendo Xenomorph has stumbled across sirfgps.config within the system files that seems to have some bearing on GPS. The interesting part is, none of the current GPS enhancement mods even touch this file. Testing is still being conducted, but preliminary results show that modifying the SiRF file may yield faster and more accurate GPS locks.
Results are still mixed, and users are still trying out the various variables and seeing what each one does, but the progress and testing support from the Galaxy S II community has been nothing short of impressive. While no users have reported that their houses burned down or phones exploded, there are a few who aren’t getting the results they wish out of their modding and testing.
For additional information, check out the original thread. You’ll need to read through the whole thread, as the download links, what others have modified, and most of the information is spread out over the course of many pages. As usual, be sure to make a backup before attempting to modify this, just in case you need to restore it to stock values.
We all like customizing our Android devices. In fact, for many of our 4.4 million members, that is the main reason we chose Android in the first place, rather than going with some unnamed fruit company. It is in this customization that we make our mobile devices truly our own. Many prefer to do the customization with themes and other mods, but sometimes it can go even deeper.
We’ve covered methods of customizing ROM installations in the past using the Aroma Installer. The installer, which is similar to nLite for Windows power users, allows end users to customize how exactly their ROM of choice is installed. However, this requires both a porting effort to your device and implementation into the target ROM. Unfortunately, this leaves many users out in the cold. Furthermore, other users would like a modular ROM that can be tweaked well after installation.
Luckily for Samsung Galaxy S II owners, however, XDA Recognized Developer D4rKn3sSyS has released a CyanogenMod 9-based ROM that includes some modular functionality. Using the built-in control app, you can easily modify things such as battery style, LCD density tweaks, enabling or disabling system sounds, switching recording video format, switching USB mode (UMS or MTP), and much more.
D4 ROM goal is to offer the maximum stability possible, and easy-to-user features, like changing LCD density, Recorded video format and so on. But it’s main aim is allow user to choose what mods he wants, and enable them with just a tap.
Have in mind, that what differs from this rom, is not the base, but the options that can be added via OTA. Some of the features are:
*OTA App for adding features on the air, like:
-MP4 / 3GP Recording
-MTP / Mass Storage
*Minor inbuilt tweaks
Those lucky SGS2 owners looking to get started with D4 ROM should head over to the ROM thread.
The ever popular Fruitcake Maker also known as ROM Factory has been quietly making its rounds around XDA over the last several months, and as it’s been gaining momentum as a fun and useful tool for devs and users alike. However, it was only a matter of time before this tool starting hitting bigger and better phones. XDA Senior Member samcripp, creator of ROM Factory, has been bringing the application to new devices,the popular Motorola Atrix 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S II I9100.
For those who don’t know what ROM Factory is, it is an application that will take the /boot and /system partitions on your phone and create a perfectly functional, fully flashable update.zip out of them. There are a million and one uses for a tool like this, and users and devs alike are grounded by nothing more than their imagination, but the obvious two that come to mind are helping with ROM development and creating flashable backups.
Because the tool basically takes a copy of the /system partition, any modifications such as themes or tweaks are copied as well so developers can actually mod their ROM and then just use the ROM Factory to pump out a ROM with all the needed tweaks, ready for immediate flashing. Similarly, once a user gets their ROM customized how they like it, they are only a couple of clicks away from making it ready to re-flash at any time. Pure win.
April 3, 2012 By: Adam Outler
Heimdall Suite, an Open-Source Cross-Platform set of tools designed to flash firmware to Samsung devices, has received an incremental update to version 1.3.2. This latest update supports Galaxy S II GT-I9100, Galaxy Player, Captivate, Vibrant, Fascinate, Mesmerize, Epic 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G, GT-I9000T, Galaxy Tab (7 and 10.1 inches) and of course the Galaxy S GT-i9000. If your Samsung device is not listed here, testing is required.
Heimdall has always been a favorite among kernel developers and those who frequently flash the latest kernels because no flashable update.zip or Odin packaging is required. A Heimdall user can simply put their device into Download Mode, and click a button to flash a new zImage directly. XDA Recognized Developer Benjamin Dobell‘s latest release improves compatibility with Loke (the flash receiver on the device) and expands comparability to several new devices.
In the words of the developer:
Version 1.3.2 addresses some compatibility issues with several devices i.e. the Galaxy Player 5.0 and Galaxy S II. In particular the “Failed to confirm end of file transfer sequence!” error should no longer occur under regular use. This was fixed by mapping a previously unknown protocol parameter, which I’ve now called “chip identifier”, to information in a device’s PIT file. A big thanks goes out to XDA developers user ambrice, who helped identify the cause of the issue.
March 26, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Most tools help users and developer add things to their Andorid devices—be it themes, mods, or even GUI interfaces that flash kernels and ROMs. However, there’s another genre of tool that is just as essential to the Android experience: applications that backup essential system files that can easily be broken when flashing development work.
XDA Senior Member HellcatDroid created one such tool for Samsung Galaxy S II, allowing users to perform numerous tasks including backing up and restoring EFS, dumping the kernel, flashing kernels, and verifying that your EFS partition is intact. The tool has been out for awhile, and most of the bugs have been worked out.
One of the major changes in the newer versions is that it now supports all of the US carrier-branded variants of the device, including Sprint’s Epic 4g Touch, the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II and the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II. This means pretty everyone with a Galaxy S II can partake in .
For additional information, screen shots, a full change log and feature list, check out the utility thread. Now before anything goes awry, backup your EFS partition. If it’s too late for your device, and you have already borked your EFS and IMEI, you’ll need a more manual method.
Cell phone usage while driving is understandably a hot topic. Many users want to remain connected, or simply access their device’s GPS navigation, but dealing with cumbersome buttons while driving is more than a little risky. With this in mind that Android, major OEMs often bundle driving-optimized layouts and voice control capabilities.
For those who don’t know, Driving Mode is a safety feature that makes most of the functions on your phone much more car-friendly. However, Driving Mode isn’t always the easiest thing to access. Most times you have to select it in settings, open an app in the app drawer, or activate it using Vlingo on the Samsung Galaxy S II. For XDA Forum Member hirak99, that just wasn’t enough.
Have been looking for a stand alone widget for this for a long time but didn’t find any. Hence I made one… a widget that allows you to switch Driving Mode on/off with a touch.
The widget, intended for those who don’t want to use the other methods or have uninstalled Vlingo, is a simple 1×1 widget that toggles Driving Mode. Accessing Driving Mode is now simple and efficient. The widget is currently only available for Samsung Galaxy S II users.
Those looking to get started should head to the original thread. Remember to always practice safe driving!
March 19, 2012 By: jerdog
Kernel source is always a much sought-after commodity in the Android custom development world, and the source for Android 4.0 has been in high demand and rightfully so. The kernel source provides developers with the files and libraries needed to tweak and improve the OS for a device so as to improve things like battery life, processor overclocking and undervolting, and much more.
There are few manufacturers who fully adhere to GPL standards for releasing the kernel source for their devices, and some even wait until the last minute or later (read HTC) to do so. Samsung however has been bucking that trend for quite awhile now. They are well known for releasing the kernel source for their new handsets on, or sometimes even before, launch date.
A week after releasing the Stock ICS ROM for the Samsung Galaxy S II GT-i9100, Samsung has released the kernel source for it and you can download it from Samsung’s Open Source Release Center or from this direct link. Discussion can be found on our forums.
[Thanks to XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab for the tip!]
Now is the time for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen dozens of devices receiving ICS, RUU leaks, and so on. And when we first heard news that Samsung was starting to roll out ICS for its immensely popular Galaxy S II line, we knew that it was only a matter of time before the OTA would be captured and instructions on how to root the tasty treat were released to the wild.
Now thanks to the work of XDA Forum Member Faryaab, this is a reality. Using the previously covered CF-Root for the Galaxy S II by Recognized Developer and Senior Moderator Chainfire, Faryaab has posted instructions on how to get your newly updated device rooted and ready for all the root-only action that you can find on these forums. And if your SGS2 isn’t lucky enough to have received the update already, the instructions even walk you through manually installing the update as well.
I9100XXLPQ (Official Final Build) DO A WIPE BEFORE FLASHING!
Base Firmware: I9100XXLPQ (4.0.3)
Build Date: 8th March 2012
Change List: 223505
Kernel Version: 3.0.15
Chainfire’s CF-Root XXLPQ
To get your SGS2 up to date and rooted with the latest in Google-flavored tasty treats, head over to the development thread. You know you want to. This is like peer pressure, only in the absolutely best way possible.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]
March 8, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Sometimes bad things happen and you don’t even know it. Flashing modules can wreck your WiFi, kernels can bork your camera and, and flashing some ROMs can mess with your EFS folder—and thus your IMEI—on Samsung devices including the popular Galaxy S II I9100.
XDA Forum Member vaskodogamagmail has posted about a method that may help users restore their IMEI if the all-important EFS folder is modified by accident. In a nut shell, restoring your backed up IMEI involves deleting the corrupted EFS folder, creating a new one, and doing a few file modifications with a root-enabled file explorer. In the words of the developer:
so I researched. searched all the forums and didn’t find anything that could cure my phone’s IMEI and set it to the original IMEI number. so I experimented and after some hours, I fixed my IMEI.
one thing that led me to the conclusion that ” .nv_data ” file is the thing that I need to fix the IMEI is that they share a very look alike name, and they have the same 2MB size.
While the guide was written with the Galaxy S II in mind, the method should work on all Samsung devices with EFS folders. Those looking to restore their IMEI should visit the original thread for additional information and the full method. Just be sure to back up your device, including the contents of your EFS folder, before getting started.
March 2, 2012 By: ElCondor
Perhaps you remember the days of the very first Android ports to Windows Mobile phones such as the HTC Touch Diamond and HTC HD2. Beside the fact that this groundbreaking development was one of the factors that ultimately led to the end of Windows Mobile development on XDA, it did bring some innovative features to the table. Dual boot for example. It was revolutionary to be able to choose between Android and Windows Mobile. After a few months, when people started to move to newer phones, and this innovation ultimately got buried under the huge
mess mass of development for Android phones.
It seems there is currently only limited active development for a dualboot system for native Android phones. There have been projects in the past, for example for the Samsung Galaxy S II, Droid Eris, Xperia Play and LG GT540, but it seems development is more focused on individual ROMs nowadays. Multi-device development – and yes, we use the word development a lot – is more and more subject to development on individual devices. In the past, developers collaborated to put together something great (Ervius Visual Kitchen, anyone?). The Android port to Windows Mobile, called XDANDROID, and the dual boot innovation are just few of the many examples of this.
Although it isn’t a bad thing that developers have a strong focus at individual ROM development, we probably all share the dreams of being able to boot into a clean, battery-saving and light-weight Ice Cream Sandwich ROM while also having the option to boot into another ROM, one that might be an experimental ROM or a ROM that is more focused on performance. Or any other combination. The open-source Android OS allows for many dramatic changes to be made to its structure, dualboot on Android has been proven to work on the Droid Eris, so why hasn’t development started yet? Why seems development of such innovative systems at a standstill? I say we fire up that innovation engine as soon as possible.
February 27, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
You could be forgiven for not having heard of Mozilla’s new project called Boot to Gecko. Truth be told, I knew very little about it until XDA Senior Moderator and Recognized Developer pulser_g2 revealed that he had it running on a Samsung Galaxy SII.
So what is Boot to Gecko? It’s a completely open source project from the nice people behind Firefox and the aim is “to pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web”. Check out the official Mozilla Wiki for a complete run down of the project. It’s also being widely reported that B2G will be showcased at MWC 2012.
B2G is not a new version of Android, nor is it based on Android. Although it shares some of the same low level building blocks such as the Linux kernel. This does not however, mean that B2G will run Android applications.
The team behind this are currently developing the project using Galaxy S II and information on how to build B2G for yourself is available via the Mozilla developer network. If you just want to jump in and try it out for yourself though, pulser_g2 has taken care of that for you already.
Obviously due to the project still being in it’s infancy, functionality is limited and this won’t be suitable for daily use. Confirmed as working though are;
Pulser_G2 states that he has set up an automated build system an hopes to build this daily, which will allow you to follow the development of this exciting new project as closely as possible.
The thread containing the build and instructions on how to get started can be found in the original thread.