June 16, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
Audio latency has always been an issue for Android, not a massive deal breaker of an issue for the average user, but an issue none the less—especially for those of us who use applications such as VoIP clients or emulated instruments. For those unaware of the problem, audio latency is the delay between an audio event being triggered and the sound emerging from the speaker. For example, if you press a key on a piano application and notice a delay between touching the screen and hearing the sound, that’s latency.
The issue was actually brought up at I/O just over a year ago and the response was this;
“Latency is a big problem. We’re working at, hopefully we hope to be able to do something about it with ICS. As we investigated it it’s actually a pretty complex problem. There are a number of different places where latency gets introduced. Most of the latency is introduced below Android. Basically it’s happening in the drivers or in the chipsets or somewhere in there, and some of these are really obscene amounts like hundreds of milliseconds of latency in the audio path. So, that’s something we’re going to push on. We started/ I think we introduced something in CDD Gingerbread which was a “should” hit certain latencies. But it’s a problem we want to deal with and hopefully the next release will get it. Obviously it’s not going to solve the problems for legacy devices but it’s going to get better.”
Well, unfortunately the next release didn’t get it. Android 4.0 still suffers from this annoying flaw, and for some the problem seems to have worsened. We can only assume that the problem lies beyond the reach of the Android developers, or they simply had more important issues to address. Perhaps somebody will ask the question again this year at I/O. Nudge nudge, wink wink…
However, Nexus S and GSM Galaxy Nexus owners have a modification that improves the audio latency of your device thanks to XDA Forum Members Windows X and vonVideo. The fix is basically a modified version of their respective audio libraries. Although the original mod for the Nexus S is in a much more advanced state than the mod for the Galaxy Nexus, both seem to have had positive effects for users. It’s worth mentioning that these fixes are not applicable to all ROMs and kernels, so make sure to read the original threads and create a backup before making any changes.
May 2, 2012 By: Former Writer
Selecting a recovery can be a chore on certain, more popular devices. Not because the “perfect” recovery doesn’t exist, mind you, but because there are so many good options to choose from. Then, there are recoveries that have several variants. With some offering touch enabled interfaces, while still updating their older variants, users are faced with much the same choice they have to make when choosing a ROM.
For users on the Samsung Nexus S, your choices are probably even more complicated than most, given the breadth of development available for the device. However, you can now search between them with ease thanks to XDA Senior Member mercado79, who has placed the most popular recoveries in a single thread for easy access.
All the recoveries are distributed as recovery-flashable .zip files, so installation is just a simple flash in your existing recovery. Mercado79 also provides detailed information about each recovery and its helper apps, when applicable. Included are the two big recoveries—ClockworMod and Team Win Recovery Project—along with the less popular, but still functional, RZR recovery. Users simply need to choose, download, and install.
If you’re looking to switch up your recovery, check out the original thread and download to your heart’s content.
Many users who have run a custom ROM before, or have been around XDA long enough, have heard of DSP Manager. It’s one of the most popular applications to include with custom ROMs, and it gives users the ability to tweak the sounds coming out of their phones to meet their needs and desires.
Prominently featured in pretty much all CyanogenMod ROMs and a number of other builds, it’s definitely among the top choices for system-level equalizers. Now, Samsung Nexus S users can now experience it on any ROM. XDA Senior Member devgee, with some help from others, has extracted the application from CM9 and posted it for users to install, regardless of what ROM their running.
The application comes with two methods of installation. The first is a recovery flashable update.zip. Devgee also provides the individual .APK so users can adb push the app directly to their devices. In a later post, XDA Senior Member snandlal shared the libraries necessary to get the application working. While these files were originally intended for the Nexus S, you should be able to adb push the .APK and required libraries on a variety of other rooted devices as well.
If you’re looking to get DSP Manager on your device, simply head on over to the original thread for download links, instructions and thread discussion. Don’t forget to make a backup first in case something goes wrong so you can restore!
April 24, 2012 By: Ian Stacy
XDA Recognized Developer lithid-cm has created an extremely simple, and easy to use script to control the CPU of one of the most beloved Nexus line devices: the Nexus S 4G. RemCPU is a script that allows you to ‘set and forget’ your CPU settings. By adding the script to your device and running it once to configure it, you can bypass the need for a separate app to handle control of your CPU. This is both a time and power saver because there is no need for an additional process to run. To install the controller script, flash the update.zip and run the following command in a terminal emulator:
The script sets itself up to start at every boot. Easy to use and efficient, remCPU is worth looking at for any Nexus S 4G users looking to streamline their experiences.
If you’d like to check it out, head over to the original thread and download the update.zip. As always with any mod that must be flashed to your system memory, be sure to back up your entire device first in case anything should go wrong. Don’t forget to leave some feedback if it works for you!
This week on XDA TV, XDA Forum Moderator and Recognized Developer shenye gives us a basic rundown through some of this week’s biggest development stories. In addition to talking about some April Fools news, Shen highlights the release of the HTC One line and how it should not be compared with the OMAP-based Galaxy Nexus. He then talks about CM9 on the Galaxy W, and how CyanogenMod itself has now found itself a new mascot.
Next, Shen talks about development work and ICS updates for the Transformer, Transformer Prime, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S 4G, Xperia Play, and the AT&T Galaxy Note. Finally, Shen discusses the release of Instagram and Swiftkey 3 Beta for Android.
You’ve no doubt seen the UnBrickable Mod pop up on various Samsung devices in the past. For those unfamiliar, the basic premise of XDA Recognized Developer AdamOutler‘s work is to essentially make a standard consumer device function as if it were a development board. By doing this, one is able to then communicate with the system-on-a-chip directly. And because this involves talking to WORM memory, there is nothing that you could do via software to prevent this from working.
Now, thanks to Adam’s efforts, UnBrickable has been ported to the Nexus S. And just as in its other iterations, the end result is essentially the KIT-S5PC110 development board. Why is this important? Simple. Once in this mode, the “development board” essentially waits for software to run, long before firmware is loaded. This makes it possible to load literally anything onto the device, provided that it is compatible with the Hummingbird SoC and we use the appropriate custom bootloader.
In the words of the developer:
I’m not kidding when I say UnBrickable. Modifying the OM pins means you can boot from USB, UART or MMC. This makes the phone quite UNBRICKABLE. There is nothing you can do software wise to prevent the device from booting into this mode. We are communicating with the unrewritable, efused IROM on the processor. It’s the thing that makes the system on a chip into a “system on a chip”.I am here now to tell you how to turn your Nexus S into a KIT-S5PC110 development board. The KIT-S5PC110 development board is the platform used to develop our phones. There are some differences between this mod and the official development platform. The S5PC110 has a removable internal SDCard and no touchscreen.
Why would you want to do this? When you plug in the battery and connect it to the computer in “off” mode, it will become an S5PC110 board awaiting download of a program to run. This occurs long before anything like software or firmware enters the processor. This is the IROM of the device awaiting commands or a power on signal.
Because it is accepting a memory flash, anything may be put onto the device to perform a boot sequence….. Apple iOS (iPhone4 has the same processor) WP7 (mango supports this processor).
This will be a replacement for JTAG once we are able to make some firmware. I was not working with a fully operational unit when I developed this modification so I was not able to test everything… However, it did go into Fastboot and Recovery mode from a hard brick
Hardware modifications are never for the faint of heart, but those interested in giving this a shot, or at least seeing what UnBrickable is about, can get started in the modification thread.
March 29, 2012 By: Former Writer
Earlier we brought you news of some MetroUI goodies for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. However, this wasn’t the only element of Microsoft’s mobile OS that has found its way onto Android. While the MetroUI modification was based primarily on Windows 8, owners of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus are now getting a little Windows Phone 7 action going with a mod that allows for WP7-style multitasking. XDA Senior Member mohitrocks has posted a method that was developed by XDA Senior Member evilisto. It should also be noted that this has also been shown working on the Samsung Nexus S as well.
The mod will install WP7 lookalike multitasking, and give users some of the UI look and feel of WP7. The look is very MetroUI, and users have given very positive feedback about the modification. So if there are bugs, they aren’t a big deal. Users also have the option of grabbing up the SystemUI.apk and framework-res.apk files separately or in a handly flashable update.zip for quick and easy installation.
For additional information and to get started on the Galaxy Nexus, check out the mohitorocks’s thread. The apk files and flashable update.zips are in the first post. For the Nexus S owners and users of other devices, check out evilisto’s thread, where there is an outline of the code required to make it work on a variety of other devices.
As usual, whether you’re testing something you just developed or are flashing it as a user, don’t forget to make a backup.
With the recent news that the Samsung Galaxy Note i717 could be hacked to work on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, many inquisitive and adventurous users on XDA began to wonder if other devices could benefit as well. XDA Forum Member pwneman looked into what other Samsung devices had compatible radios and found that the Nexus S i9020a for AT&T uses its radio hardware much the same way as the Samsung Galaxy S i9000, and to a limited extent, the Samsung Captivate. Flashing the devices with the Nexus S radio image not only worked, but seemed to yield noticeable benefits (at least on the i9000).
So I found out that the Nexus S radios are indeed compatible with our device. I downloaded some of the hot radios for the Nexus S (KB3 and KF1) and opened them up and found that the Nexus S uses radios (similar to how the captivate/galaxy s uses modems). So I just renamed the radio.img from the Nexus S radios to modem.bin, placed it in an existing cm7 modem package and flashed it via CWM (ICS).
I reboot and get a constant 5 bars of signal. My signal hasn’t dropped from this 5 bars of signal in the last 10 hours (usually it fluctuates from 5 to 3 bars). HSDPA speeds are pretty fast as well. I got speeds of 560 kb/s DL at 3 bars of signal and 140 kb/s Upload. I’ve never ever gotten that high speeds.
If you fancy giving this a shot, and have taken all the necessary precautions like donning your own designer tin-foil hat, proceed to the Galaxy S thread to get started. You can also give it a try on the Captivate, however there have been reports that the 850 MHz band may not work after flashing and that connectivity may be a bit sporadic.
You may remember our recent article on how to compile Android 4.0 from source. Whether you’re already a dab hand at the process or you’ve just successfully compiled your first build, XDA Senior Member evilisto has written tutorials for a couple of very useful modifications that you may wish to incorporate into future versions of your ROM.
The first is a modification which allows for the remapping of a devices physical button to access the recently used apps dialogue. For instance, replacing a search key with the ability to view your currently running apps instantly. The second allows you to either alter or add to, the shortcuts in the notification tray. So as well as being able to jump straight to the settings, you could also easily access the recent apps or search options.
It’s important to mention that these modifications cannot simply be added into an already compiled ROM, they require changes to the code so a little knowledge of Java would certainly make this easier. That said, all the required changes are clearly outlined in the tutorials. The developer states that these tweaks have been tested on a Nexus S but should in theory work for most devices. So if you are compiling your own versions of Ice Cream Sandwich, why not give these a try.
March 15, 2012 By: Former Writer
Android phones have long been working their way toward offering a lag free experience. Newer devices with dual core processors and full hardware acceleration, partnered with scaled back and streamlined versions of OEM Android skins have all but solved the problem on newer Android devices. However, some of the older models can always use a little pick-me-up to help compete with their newer, more powerful siblings.
Enter LagFree, a script for the Samsung Nexus S that brings a lot of tweaks to the table to help make it (even more) lag free. XDA Senior Member slaid480 has released the script for devices before the Nexus S so most of the bugs have been worked out. The script, which is also compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S I9000 and its variants, brings a number of tweaks to the table, including:
-Touchscreen sensivity increased
-Zipaligning apps while Booting
-Less aggressive settings for kernel
-Better VM management
-Battery Life improvements
-Wi-Fi and NetWork Tweaks
-A Lot More!!
The only pre-requisites to use the script are that you’re running Android Gingerbread 2.3.x, rooted with a kernel that allows init.d scripts and the ext4 lagfix, which is required for a couple of the tweaks. The installation process is pretty straightforward as well and is basically just flashing it in recovery and using your favorite root file manager app to fix the permissions.
For anyone who wants (even) less lag on their Nexus S, check out the Nexus S LagFree thread for additional info, full installation instructions and links to the other device threads. As per the norm, don’t forget to backup before flashing!
Not long ago, we brought you an in depth study of the battery life of the Nexus S by XDA Senior Member bedalus. It included a very nice spreadsheet that documented battery usage for a variety of things such as benchmark tests and listening to music, and measured—if a little crudely—the actual battery savings from popular features such as deep idle and undervolting.
Despite warnings to not try it at home, XDA Forum Member nathanson666 put together some more sophisticated equipment and had a go at it anyway. Nathanson666’s mission was to prove whether or not Deep Idle, or DIDLE and Screen Off Max Frequency, or SOMF, saved as much battery as previously speculated using this really cool gadget.
Through the study, nathanson666 used the Nexus S music player to gauge the success, or failure, of DIDLE and SOMF by gauging how much battery life a song took and using those same songs to measure with DIDLE or SOMF turned on or off or both turned on or off. The results pretty much speak for themselves, as DIDLE and SOMF used in unison definitively showed the greatest battery savings over either one being one alone or both turned off. In some cases, by quite a bit. Says nathanson666:
DIDLE: no SOMF: no 194.5413mW average power
DIDLE: no SOMF: yes 314.7844mW average power
DIDLE: yes SOMF: no 133.747mW average power
DIDLE: yes SOMF: yes 126.4452mW average power
This basically means both features turned on yielded the best battery life and Deep Idle off with Screen Off Max Frequency turned on yielded the most battery drain. This conclusively proves that both features work to reduce battery drain based on the “race to idle” principle.
For anyone who wants to check out the full study, you can read up on the original thread from bedalus or just skip directly to the post. There you’ll find graphs, and a great .zip with all the data and scripts that nathanson666 used to measure the battery.
And don’t forget, it is absolutely not recommended that anyone do this at home as it can permanently and irreparably damage your device.
March 7, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Lockscreen mods are always a nice way out of the monotonous one that we have to live with on a day to day basis. Because of this, we see that there is a myriad of applications, lockscreen replacement apps, add-ons, and a bunch of other cool things to do with the screen that greets us every time we turn the device on. If you have loaded ICS on your Nexus S and simply feel that it is missing that extra oomph that came from the Honeycomb lockscreen, XDA member evilisto has you covered.
According to the dev, his original objective was to try and port the entire lockscreen to ICS, but was not very successful. So, he decided to try and re-create it from scratch by adding all the effects that we come to love from the honey bee OS. The resemblance to the original thing is quite close, but if you want to take it one step further, the dev has gone ahead and made an extra 3 designs to satisfy your urge for something totally different. Evilisto has been able to create one lockscreen with octagonal ripples instead of circular, one with a droid in the middle (with ripples to match), and one with the Chrome logo as well.
The zip files are device specific, so be careful as to which one you flash (thanks Will for the heads up). Please leave some feedback for the dev if you happen to try it.
frankly, i tried to change lockscreen itself to honeycomb’s one but failed
so i modified lockscreen animation like honeycomb’s wave ripple. the result is far from original but not bad (i think )
You can find more information in the original thread.
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