January 28, 2013 By: Joseph Hindy
Given that we focus our energies on development rather than theme creation, we don’t talk about themes very often. However, once in a while, something to aid the process or those looking for something extra appears, which is worth mentioning.
With so many themes shared on the site, it’s often hard to find a specific theme that meets every single aesthetic requirement you may have. T-Mobile and Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III users can now customize their own themes thanks to Morphology by XDA Recognized Themer rompnit, with contributions from many, many others.
The way that it works is that the theme pack is installed via the customization-friendly AROMA installer. This allows users to choose their theme elements individually. You first pick your install type. This allows you to choose between creating a custom theme, installing a prebuilt version, or restoring a backup. Next, you select from 15 different status bars and choose a clock style. After that, you customize the notification pulldown, choose from various icon sets, theme your framework, modify toggles, theme the dialer, and more.
This is one of the most comprehensive “build your own theme” packs ever created. Users practically choose how their entire ROM looks. Each step has a lot of options, so don’t be surprised if it takes a great deal of time deciding which options you want. For more details and the full feature list, check out the T-Mobile thread or the Sprint thread.
If you haven’t heard, and we’re not sure how you haven’t, there has been active development towards an open source bootloader for Samsung devices. In a nutshell, it involves loading the open source bootloader to an SD card, and using some hardware hacking skills to boot from it. All of this had to start somewhere, and among the first things required is finding the UART. It is now possible to identify it on the US variants of the Samsung Galaxy S III.
If you hadn’t guessed, this bit of hardware hacking awesomeness was done by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler. This is very similar to work Adam has been doing for the Samsung Galaxy Camera, which you can find here. Why would this be helpful? AdamOutler explains it best:
UART provides eyes before any other method of debugging (aside from JTAG) begins to work. UART is the first thing to do in order to make a device into a development board.
The process of getting it is a little complicated, and if you’re a beginner, will probably take some time. Users will have to pull the kernel from the device, add some command line parameters to enable UART, and flash the kernel back to the device. Since you’ll need Ubuntu (or at least a Debian based distro) to follow along, you’ll be using Heimdall to do the flashing. Then, it’s a simple matter of tearing down the device without breaking it and probing the correct spot. Adam has uploaded a video that demonstrates the entire process the exact spot for UART. As can be expected, there is some danger because you are tearing open your device. Be sure to use the utmost caution and follow the directions.
As Adam states in the thread, he sometimes does these hacks live via a Google+ Hangouts live stream. They are a lot of fun to watch, give you a chance to learn some new things, and let you watch the magic as it happens. To catch the next one, circle Adam on Google+ and keep an eye out.
For the full video, all the details, and more, check out the original thread. Or, if you want to watch it happen, here’s Adam’s video:
December 18, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Carriers in the United States (other than Sprint) generally aren’t fans of Google Wallet. According to Verizon, it’s because of Google Wallet’s “secure element”, but just about everyone knows it’s really because T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon are getting ready to launch their own NFC payment app, called Isis. US Samsung Galaxy S III variants now have an app that installs and enables Google Wallet quickly and painlessly.
XDA Senior Member Prl91 released an application that takes the Google Wallet installation process and turns it into a one-click solution. Of course, you’ll need root access. The app is free and available in the Google Play Store. Here is the full list of supported devices and requirements to run:
Currently Supports: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular Samsung Galaxy S3′s.
Requires ROOT, an UNLOCKED BOOTLOADER, and BUSYBOX.
Wallet Installer will install Google Wallet on most US based Samsung Galaxy S3′s.
The process to install Google Wallet isn’t difficult, but it’s a little tedious. Users have to edit the build.prop, install the proper NFC libs, set up Google Wallet, then edit the build.prop back to its original values. Depending on whether you are running ICS, JB, and AOSP, the process can differ a little bit. The app does all of this for all of the supported devices by itself. If you’re a fan of Google Wallet, then this is the app you’re looking for.
For additional details, check out the original thread.
The whole subject of whether you should unlock your device from carrier restrictions while under contract is debatable. However, it does have legitimate use case scenarios such as switching to another carrier while travelling in areas where your carrier doesn’t provide adequate coverage. After all, who doesn’t want to avoid hefty roaming charges when travelling abroad?
If you have the Sprint variant of Samsung Galaxy S III and want to switch to another carrier, you’re in luck! XDA Forum Member pid1981 shared a method that lets you change the SPC code on the to 000000, allowing you to use your Sprint Galaxy S3 with other CDMA carriers that support the device.
You can find the complete method in the forum thread. Although it isn’t exactly aimed at newbies, it should be simple enough to follow if you don’t mind doing a radio downgrade, some hex editing, and a radio upgrade.
When it comes to device tinkering, most users are excited by things like root and custom recovery. However, one thing that has become a staple is theming. Back in the good old days, theming took place in ROMs, and users chose ROMs in part because of the themes included. Now, there are various theme engines out there that help make a user’s phone truly their own.
The mods are very diverse. There are some battery mods, SystemUI, notification pull downs themes, notification toggles, clocks, icons, labels, framework mods, and full blown theme packs. It is really a nice set of mods to help users customize their devices. More is planned, as the themers plan on making many more releases. The mods are made for LJ7 Jelly Bean ROMs, but do keep in mind that these could overwrite features in custom ROMs. Because of this, the mods are best suited if you’re running a stock ROM.
For more details, check out the original thread.
November 12, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Voice recognition, voice command, and voice interactions technologies have made great strides in the last year or so. We are getting ever closer to having full blown conversations with our devices. The Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III recently received a mod where the digital voice Linda reads practically everything back to you.
XDA Senior Member Venal_System has released what is called the Linda Sounds Mod. Venal_System explains exactly what it is:
What is Project Linda? It is audio files of a female robotic voice announcing various actions on your S3. I used it on my Vibrant a couple of years ago and thought others might enjoy it. It is also in a Rom I put together, Gigajoule.
Once you install the mod, Linda will read back various information from a number of applications, including:
Included Linda Voice files: Calendar, Email, Instant Message, Messages, Voicemail, Weather, Xda, Ringtone, Charger Connected, Lock, Power off, TW Error, TW Low Battery, TW Unlock, Unlock.
This is useful for those who enjoy having information from their phone read to them. So far, users have reported that it works pretty well. To give it a try, check out the original thread.
It’s always fun to see AOSP-derived, source-built ROMs released for a variety of devices at once. Whether it’s for five devices or for 14 devices, large scale releases mean that if you upgrade, you may be able to run the same ROM you’re already familiar with.
Team Liquid has recently released RC7 of their AOSP ROM to seven devices. The last time we talked about them, it was their RC3 release. The devices that got the release include both versions of the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 7, and all versions of the Galaxy S III except for Verizon’s.
The ROM has undergone a variety of changes. Here are a few of the highlights along with the Team Liquid members responsible for each:
◘ Added Navbar widgets/Resizable Navar Widgets – Zaphod-Beeblebrox
◘ Custom navbar targets for tablets/Tabui – Stevespear426
◘ Addded group mms threading – viekvanasani
◘ UI overhaul including Lockscreen Shortcut Bugfixed and power widget fixes – Danesh
◘ Added special Paranoid Android Sauce – Credit Paranoid Android
◘ Added USB Mass torage support for tablet mode – DAGr8
◘ SystemUI-Fix menu button in landscape – Zaphod-Beeblebrox
◘ Fix H+ and add new navbar widget icon – kwes1020
◘ “Death by subtlety” aka updated holo pngs – ToxicThunder
◘ SystemUI: Recents Ram Bar – Stevespear426
◘ Security hole fix (prevent logging of lock pattern) – CM
◘ Added home button unlock option – invisibleK
◘ Bugfix for samsung usb dock events – StevenHarperUK
◘ Make toggles hidable – Stevespear426
◘ Add setting to allow haptic feedback on toggle press -gdanko
◘ COMPLETE SETTINGS LAYOUT/ICON OVERHAUL – ToxicThunder
◘ Added support for wired headset detection – Sudhir Sharma
◘ Fix for UI LockUP with headset insert/removal – Ravi Kumar Alamanda
◘ Show more info during boot dialog (i.e. “package _ of _ is being optimized”) – JbirdVegas
◘ Fix NFC Toggle not working if it was not on @ boot – sethyx
◘ Huge Liquid Splasher overhaul including strings/summaries, layouts – Liquid0624
◘ KT747 10/28 kernel and Ktweaker for D2xxx U.S. builds – Ktoonsez
◘ Leankernel 4.5.0 for toro, maguro – Imoseyon
◘ Leankernel 0.3 for grouper – Imoseyon
Check out the release threads by XDA Recognized Developer toxicthunder below:
A while back, we brought you a small XML fix to let your Android device see Emoji characters. Emoji is pretty popular, and many people use them—especially on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Now there is a way to get Emoji support on the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III.
XDA Senior Member amiblindyet has released an APK file that gives Sprint Galaxy S III owners Emoji support on the MMS app on AOSP-derived ROMs. This is not the first time such support has been given. However, now most common issues are fixed. This includes errors with portrait photos, force closes, and other miscellaneous errors. Some of the other features include:
[FIXED] MMS works
Increased MMS picture size
Dark theme with ICS blue to match AOKP, etc.
To install, simply download and flash the zip that amiblindyet has provided in custom recovery. It has been tested on AOKP Jelly Bean and CM10, and should work on any AOSP ROMs based on those. Given that the US variants of the Galaxy S III can share practically everything, expect this to work—or at least get ported—to the other three variants soon enough. In fact, this may even work on other devices running AOSP-derived Jelly Bean ROMs as well.
For additional details, check out the original thread.
For what could be the first time ever, Samsung is delivering a major OS update for a device on a US carrier that is less than 3 months old. As of yesterday, Samsung and Sprint have begun to deploy the Jelly Bean OTA for the Samsung Galaxy S III SPH-L710, becoming the first US carrier to do so. The roll out is scheduled to take a few weeks.
According to Sprint, it is only available via scheduled OTA, so there is no way for a user to kick the process off through the normal process (Menu > Settings > Software Update). However, XDA Senior Member jcwxguy has posted a link for you to download the OTA from Google’s servers. Seeing as it is a stock OTA, you will need to be on stock firmware in order for the update to work. You can however use the Jelly Bean stock ODIN tar file that XDA Recognized Contributor sextape posted here to skip the whole OTA waiting game.
Jelly Bean offers users a smoother, faster and more fluid experience with expanded feature functionality, including:
- Google Now™ gets you just the right information at just the right time, like how much traffic to expect before you leave for work or when the next train will arrive as you’re standing on the platform. Google Now can be launched by pressing and holding the menu key from the home screen.
- Expandable, actionable notifications allowing you to take action directly from the notifications shade.
- Android Beam™ now lets you send photos and more.
- Widgets work like magic as you place widgets on the screen, everything else automatically moves to make room; when they’re too big, widgets resize on their own.
Samsung also added new capabilities to Galaxy S III, including:
- Camera Enhancements:
- New live camera and camcorder filters offer a range of new ways to spark your creativity. Warm vintage, cold vintage, black and white, sepia, color highlights (blue, green, red/yellow), and many more are selectable from the main camera screen.
- Pause and resume while recording video allows users to string together multiple captured video clips from a party, birthday, or sporting event into a single file with no post editing required.
- Low light photo mode takes advantage of Galaxy S III’s best-in-class High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities and offers an optimized mode for low light and indoor photos.
- Pop Up Play Update easily resizes or pauses the Pop Up Play picture-in-picture video window, taking full advantage of Galaxy S III’s powerful processor and large 4.8-inch display.
- Easy Mode is a simplified user experience option for first-time smartphone owners, providing large home screen widgets that focus on the device essentials.
- Blocking Mode can disable incoming calls, notifications, alarms and LED indicators for a designated period of time.
- Improved Usability with access to multiple keyboard options and the addition of the Swype® keyboard.
With the Jelly Bean update, Galaxy S III will also add support for some exciting new accessories.
- AllShare® Cast Wireless Hub allows users to wirelessly mirror their phone screen to any HDTV or HDMI® display. It even supports licensed content playback of premium TV and movies.
- NFC One Touch Pairing Support pairs Galaxy S III with supporting NFC Bluetooth® accessories in a single touch.
When the Samsung Galaxy S III was first announced for US carriers, the fact that they all had the same specs was a big deal. This meant that, for the most part, ROMs would work on any of the devices with only minor changes that needed to be made. Now, there is a script that will make those changes for you so it’s not tedious getting ROMs on all the devices.
XDA Forum Member cpu999 released the script in the AT&T Galaxy S III forums. The script files include all the proprietary files so that once you run it, you simply select which Galaxy S III you want and the script will inject the proper files.
How it works is pretty simple. You download the ROM you want to port and a base ROM of the same Android version. Extract both ROMs and place the files in the same folder. Then simply run the script. It’s useful for developers who maintain ROMs on all the US Galaxy S III devices, but it is also easy enough to be used by members who just want a ROM from one of the others. Additionally, cpu999 has mentioned that future updates will simply turn any ROM zip into a universal zip for any US Galaxy S III device. It will require AROMA installer, but having one ROM zip to flash for all the US versions would make everyone’s lives easier.
For more details, check out the original thread.
To quote fellow News Writer and Member Advocate Admin egzthunder1:
Theming has been as popular on XDA as ROM cooking and development in general. The ability to customize the appearance of our devices is always an appealing concept for many of our members.
Theming can be a lot of fun because it helps personalize a device in ways beyond simply changing a wallpaper. You can theme virtually anything on an Android phone. Now, you can learn how to theme your own keyboard if you own one of the US variants of the Samsung Galaxy S III.
XDA Senior Member rompnit has released a manual method to theme your own keyboard. Finding a theme for your keyboard can be tricky because there are only a finite number that themers release. Now those who what something truly their own can simply make their own. The process is a little complicated and requires—more or less—the same steps involved in theming any APK.
To get started, you’ll need APKTool as well as your favorite zip program, like 7zip. From there, you tear down the keyboard APK you wish to theme, theme it, recompile it, and get it on your phone. It sounds easier than it is, as the process will take some time and effort. However, rompnit does an excellent job of keeping the explanations as simple as possible so even beginners can get in on the action.
For more info, check out the original thread.
Who doesn’t like it when development teams launch mass releases? As such it’s not uncommon for us to report a dozen or so devices getting a ROM at once. Another ROM dev team has released their newest release candidate for a staggering 11 devices.
The ROM series is called LiquidSmooth, and the team has quite a few developers. It is a source-built release derived from AOSP, and it borrows from a number of other development teams such as CyanogenMod and Team EOS. The device list includes:
Galaxy Nexus (maguro)
Galaxy Nexus (toroplus)
Galaxy Nexus (toro)
Samsung Galaxy S III I9300
Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III
Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III
T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S III
AT&T Samsung Galaxy S III
US Cellular Samsung Galaxy S III
Google Nexus 7
Samsung Galaxy Note GT-N7000
It’s quite a hefty list. A few of the features included are:
Lockscreen text color, layouts etc, 5-8 Options
Color & Alignment (Clock)
Custom Navbar Targets (Up to 7)
Custom Navbar Ring Targets (Up to 5)
Customizable Colors throughout the Rom
Liquid Launcher (Custom with extra options)
Liquid Splasher (New Liquid Settings)
Framework optimizations to enhance performance
Ultra Slim Size: Deodexed, Debloated, Zip-Aligned and Opti-png
Startup script control (sysctl, cron, zipalign etc)
Forced Tablet Mode with DPI Changer
Status Bar Mods – Battery, Clock, Provider Name Changer and more…
Toggles (Both AOKP/CM style)
So, in short, there are a lot of devices and a lot of features. There isn’t a running list of issues with these ROMs, so you’ll have to check out your device’s ROM thread to see if anyone is reporting any issues. Given that they are stable releases, there shouldn’t be many. For more details, check out any one of the number of device links above.
September 30, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
The last time the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III saw some Jelly Bean leak love, it came from T-Mobile’s leak in the form of a port. Recently a real Jelly Bean leak for the Sprint Galaxy S III was found, and owners can now use a leak meant for their device.
XDA Recognized Developer freeza shared the goods. The leak contains Jelly Bean 4.1.1 and it can be flashed like any other ROM. Freeza also took some liberties with the leaks to make them more flasher friendly. There is an odexed and a deodexed version available. Additionally, there have been a few other changes, including:
-Added Jelly Bean boot animation
-Modified kernel to adb shell @ root, bootanimation support, and a few other tweaks.
This should be safe to flash if you’re looking to keep root. So far, users have reported various minor issues with things such as MMS. However, aside from minor complaints, the leak is stable and no one has had any major issues with it. So if you want to try out Jelly Bean, here’s your chance. Here’s hoping the official release isn’t far behind.
For more details, check out the original thread.
[Thanks goes out to XDA Recognized Themer zanderman112 for the tip!]