July 20, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
We are well into the march of Jelly Bean, and the number of devices that have gotten Google’s latest and greatest is quite staggering. There are so many, in fact, that we are dedicating entire XDA TV episodes to it. A couple of the latest devices to get Jelly Bean—more specifically unofficial CM10 builds—are the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The Amazon Kindle Fire was given unofficial CM10 by XDA Senior Member twa_priv, and the Galaxy Tab was given its goods thanks to XDA Recognized Developer cdesai. In both instances, as has become typical for new builds, the ROMs have quite a bit working and quite a bit broken.
No list of things not working is provided for the Kindle Fire, but given that the change log is based almost entirely around adding features and fixing bugs, it’s safe to say that twa_priv is well on the way to fixing everything. Things not working in the Galaxy Tab port include:
Auto-Rotation animation looks weird.
Isn’t really smooth
External sd doesn’t work (isn’t mounted)
Will add more as they are discovered
The Kindle Fire version also features some additional modifications to include features from the SGT7 project. However, one should note that while they are fun to play with, neither of them is really geared yet for daily use.
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.
January 29, 2012 By: liwen
Android tablets have increased their marketshare in 2011, from 29% in late 2010 to 39%, but not because of the strength of the Android ecosystem. Sure, us geeks like them for their powerful hardware, but most normal consumers are rather drawn to the Kindle Fire. The Amazon tablet runs a forked Android version, as we explained earlier, and has proven to be extremely popular. Even though there are still more Galaxy Tabs in the wild, the Kindle Fire already sees the same amount of user engagement.
The data from Flurry, a mobile analytics provider, shows that both Kindle Fire and Galaxy Tab are now responsible for 36% of all application sessions, defined as “the launch and subsequent exit (or pause for more than 10 seconds) of an app”. Compare that to last November, when 63% of all application sessions were tracked on the Galaxy Tab – the Fire, which only launched at that time, was at a mere 3%.
While impressive, this does not mean that the Kindle Fire already caught up in terms of marketshare. Due to a headstart of more than a year, Flurry estimates that the number of active Galaxy Tabs is still over twice as much as that for the Kindle Fire. However, this makes the above statistics even more impressive – clearly, those who own a Kindle Fire use it much more frequently than those who own other Android tablets.
Kindle Fire owners are also much more willing to buy apps, as they download over 2.5 times as many paid applications through the Amazon Appstore than Galaxy Tab owners through the Android Market.
In the end, while ‘traditional’ Android tablets do offer a lot of functionality, they haven’t really caught on in the marketplace, nor are they being used as much as other tablets. While one might have speculated that many only bought the Kindle Fire because of its extremely low price, without actually using it a lot, these numbers tell a different, and rather troubling, story. At least for Google.
Read the full report at Flurry.
January 4, 2012 By: liwen
A Samsung spokesperson has told The Next Web that it will not bring any major updates to last year’s best-selling Galaxy S smartphone and the original Galaxy Tab, finally putting rumors of a ‘Value Pack’ update to an end.
After leaving out the Galaxy S and Tab when initially revealing its plans for ICS-updates three weeks ago, Samsung took to its Korean blog to explain that TouchWiz and other customizations would not run smoothly on the limited amount of memory available on the two older devices. Following a huge backlash, a report on a Korean website revealed that Samsung was reconsidering the move. Only a day later, another Korean website claimed that Samsung was preparing a Value Pack update, originally misunderstood to be adding ICS-specific features on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but later corrected by one of our readers to be an actual Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version with some TouchWiz-specific features removed. Well, no more.
What makes this especially disappointing is that both Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab are perfectly capable of running stock, AOSP Android 4.0, as evidenced by various ports in our forums and the similarly-specced Nexus S already getting its update, thus unnecessarily obsoleting a device that isn’t even two years old. At the very least, to preserve its software differentiations, Samsung could’ve opted to go ahead with the planned TouchWiz ‘Lite’ version, similar to what HTC has done with its Gingerbread update for the HTC Desire.
But then, for a handset maker that gains absolutely nothing by providing software updates, there’s arguably little economic incentive to do so.
December 28, 2011 By: liwen
Update: reader msgfromside3, who speaks Korean, pointed out that the “Value Pack” is supposed to be ICS-based, but with some features removed. So both Galaxy S and Tab will almost definitely get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, possibly with a “lite”-version of TouchWiz.
The article also mentions that Samsung considered porting ICS plus full TouchWiz, without providing end-user support, but decided against it for fear of customer complaints.
Big thanks to msgfromside3 for the clarification!
Original article below:
After first denying, then reviewing an Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab, Samsung is now said to be providing a “Value Pack”, according to Korean website Daum (via Unwired View).
The value pack would presumably include some Android 4.0-like features, such as enhanced multitasking, faster web browsing, new widgets, and improved camera, but on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. In the report, Samsung said that, due to the limited amount of RAM available, an Android 4.0 version wouldn’t be able to include all TouchWiz features. With previously available features removed, customers would be dissatisfied, which is why it has now instead opted for another Gingerbread update.
Of course, without being officially confirmed, take all of this with a grain of salt. However, considering Samsung’s track record with their Bada devices, this solution doesn’t seem too unlikely.
But there’s still hope, right?
December 27, 2011 By: liwen
After announcing last week that two of its most popular devices of 2010, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab, wouldn’t get official updates to Android 4.0, Samsung seems to be backtracking and reviewing the viability of these updates, according to MSN Korea (via The Verge).
Despite continuing to emphasize the limitations of only 512 MB RAM, Samsung is said to be working on ways to get the Ice Cream Sandwich update out to users, presumably due to negative reactions and widespread criticism.
We can only hope this turns out to be true, and will keep you updated.
December 24, 2011 By: liwen
So, you’ve been wondering why the original Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab aren’t getting Ice Cream Sandwich, like Samsung’s newer models? Why, of course: because they’re too slow. No, not for Android 4.0; the almost identically-specced Nexus S is getting its OTA as we speak.
Of course: for TouchWiz, carrier services, video calling, and, in some countries, mobile TV. Not that anyone actually cares for TouchWiz or carrier services. And, we’re not sure how an OS update is going to slow down video calling or mobile TV. I mean, either you have a front-facing camera, or you don’t. Same with TV antennas.
Anyway, hit up Samsung Tomorrow (uh, that must be Yesterday!) for the original statement in Korean, then check out one Verge user’s excellent translation. Finally, show your outrage for this decision by posting in our forum thread.
All hope is not lost: as many of you may remember, HTC also originally said they wouldn’t bring Gingerbread to the Desire, but later backtracked. Let’s hope Samsung does the same.
December 20, 2011 By: liwen
Samsung has officially announced its roadmap for Ice Cream Sandwich updates: the bestselling Galaxy S II and ubersized Galaxy Note will be the first devices to get their Android version bumped to 4.0, beginning in the first quarter of 2012, while the Galaxy S II LTE, Galaxy R (a Tegra 2 version of the S II, only available in Taiwan), and various Galaxy Tabs (10.1, 8.9, 7.7, 7.0 Plus) will get their Ice Cream Sandwich treatment later, at unspecified dates that are going to be announced seperately “according to market situation and carriers’ requirements”. Same goes, we presume, for the carrier-branded versions of the Galaxy S II.
Ice Cream Sandwich ports are highly sought after, given the hype and price of the phone that runs it. However, providing there is support behind development, there is every chance you can run it on your device. This article is here to list the current ICS ports on our most popular forums and their individual stages in progress. Should your device not be listed below, you can always visit your device’s development forum on XDA and search for any ROMs listed with “Ice Cream Sandwich”. Check out our list! READ ON »
The original Samsung Galaxy Tab is a
good great device. In fact, it was the first noteworthy Android Tablet—and as an Android user, it was our first real answer to the iPad. Sure it rocked a phone OS, and its 7″ display left many users wanting more, but it was a very good first effort.
However barring the interesting faux Fire experiment a couple of days ago, the original Tab doesn’t seem to generate very many headlines these days. In fact, many people seemingly lost interest when they realized that Samsung would simply not upgrade the device to the tablet-friendly Android 3.0 Honeycomb. While quite a few valiant efforts were made to bring Honeycomb to the device, the lack of first-party support was nonetheless a sore spot for Tab owners everywhere.
However, everything’s different now. With the release of the Ice Cream Sandwich source code, the real fun could begin. In seemingly no time, we now have a bootable ICS port, thanks to the work by XDA forum members Angel_666, koxudaxi, ani55, and several others.
If you’re interested in getting in on the action, be sure to check out the ROM thread. While there are still quite a few kinks to work out, the port’s mere presence demonstrates the dedication of the Tab developer community. As a Xoom owner, longing for the day Googorola shares its latest tasty treat, I must say that I am jelly.
November 21, 2011 By: Will Verduzco
We’ve recently seen a great deal of Kindle Fire activity in the forums. With root achieved on launch day and Google Apps access the following day, it’s certainly quite a hacker-friendly device. In fact, development has taken off so quickly that we even questioned whether the Fire would steal the Nook Tablet’s thunder in the budget tablet battle.
However, what happens when someone tries to approach the hacks from the other direction? GigaOM staffer Kevin Tofel decided to do exactly this. After purchasing his Fire, Kevin realized that there was a substantial functionality overlap between his aging first generation Galaxy Tab and his brand new Fire. Rather than trying to eek more functionality out of the Fire, he decided to load some of the Fire software onto his Galaxy Tab. After discovering that the main interface of the Fire was simply a replacement launcher and glorified skin, the rest was a cinch. And with a little bit of tweaking with the Fire’s preinstalled apps, Kevin even managed to get Amazon Prime videos to play on the Tab! Unfortunately, all was not perfect. Kevin experienced frequent Fire UI crashes, which ultimately lead him to uninstall the alternate interface and return to standard Galaxy Tab operation.
If you’re interested in learning how Kevin was able to achieve this logic-defying feet, visit his post on GigaOM. If you’re only after Amazon Prime Video functionality, visit this thread. And if you’re interested in turning your own tablet into a Kindle Fire, make a quick pitstop at the Kindle Fire ROM dump thread first. If you do attempt to modify your own device into a Fire, please let us know how it goes!
A bricked phone. No JTAG. Modify hardware, upload a bootloader, and the phone lives. Pure development.
That’s what I think of the work of AdamOutler and Rebellos to breathe life into dead devices. A couple days ago, WillVerduzco wrote an article on Rebellos’ method of unbricking Hummingbird devices by uploading your very own custom bootloader to your device. A couple weeks ago, AdamOutler asked for help getting the official Samsung bootloader for Galaxy devices. Since then, the two teamed up to put Rebellos’ Resurrection Bootloader on devices modified according to AdamOutler’s UnBrickable Mod.
Now they’re finding the fun doesn’t stop at unbricking phones. They’re flashing bootloaders built for other operating systems. ”I used UnBrickable mod to install Bada OS bootloaders on my Captivate,” AdamOutler says. ”Totally bricked it. Messed up partition tables and everything. It assimilated my Captivate. I used UnBrickable mod to load up a secondary bootloader while holding the key combination, then flashed it.” He goes on, “I was worried for a bit because it would not download, but eventually we got it! It works!”
This means the months of hard work put into this project finally paid off. AdamOutler working on hardware, Rebellos working on software. Once the hardware side of development finished, Rebellos stepped in. ”You see,” AdamOutler says, “Rebellos is a developer working on a port of Android for Bada OS. He’s 18 years old, from Poland, just got his driver’s license, and he’s a badass behind the assembly language console.”
Samsung Galaxy devices normally boot using a primary bootloader to load a secondary bootloader that, in turn, loads the Linux kernel. Rebellos replaced the primary bootloader. That means they should be able to load non-Linux systems, like Windows Phone 7 or iOS. Rebellos says that will take, “tons of work in pure assembler, as they aren’t opensource.” He adds, “I’d say for SGS family you can count on Bada and any opensource OS, like Ubuntu.”
To put it clearly, the work these developers put into this project means the beginning of HD2-like development on any device with a CORTEX-A8 processor in it, including the iPhone 4 and Nexus S. And that’s exactly what AdamOutler and Rebellos plan to do. ”We basically created a whole new system for developers to use for developing and noobs to use for unbricking after playing with the big kids.” Pure development.
The developers are currently looking for bricked and broken CORTEX-A8 phone donations, such as these:
Samsung I9000 SGS
Samsung S8500 Wave
Samsung S8530 Wave II
Samsung SGH-i997 Infuse 4G
Samsung T959 Vibrant
Samsung SGH-T849 Galaxy Tab 7.0 inch
Samsung GT-P1000 Galaxy Tab
Samsung GT-i9010 Girogio Armani Galaxy
Samsung GT-i8350 Omnia 7
Google Nexus S
If you would like to help out with this historical work, please see the development thread.