April 23, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Plenty of users nowadays have more than one mobile device. And although we don’t always carry these devices at the same time, it’s nice to be able to pull up one of our older devices to flash and mess around with from time to time. Multifunction toolkits exist for the vast majority of popular devices. However, not everyone wants to hunt down the latest toolkit for every device.
Luckily, there are various OEM-specific toolkits that perform most needed functions on devices by a particular manufacturer. XDA Senior Member WindyCityRockr created one such toolkit for quite a few HTC devices. This toolkit is able to unlock your bootloader through HTCDev, root your device, flash a ROM or kernel, pull and push files, install and uninstall apps, create and restore backups, collect system logs, sideload ROM updates, relock your bootloader, and more. Currently, the tool supports 12 unique devices (with many more variants), including all versions of the M7 and M8.
While we like to encourage doing things manually at least once as a learning process, users who favor the simplicity of toolkits can get quite a bit out of WindyCityRockr’s offering. You can get started by heading over to the utility thread and giving this toolkit a shot.
April 22, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Late last week, Google issued a massive update to the Google Camera app, allowing users to experience DSLR-like bokeh and Lytro-like refocusing capabilities with any camera sensor. This was made possible because in addition to image data, the primary camera sensor is also used to capture depth data. The end result is quite similar to HTC’s recently opened Duo Camera System. But rather than using two lenses like Duo Camera (or an array of micro lenses like Lytro), Google’s solution has users slowly move the camera upwards after taking a shot. This parallax effect is then used to interpolate depth data.
Viewing these new depth-laden images from within the provided viewer app is nice, but it’s certainly not as convenient as viewing these same images on your computer with a significantly larger screen. Luckily, GitHub user th7org, Depthy allows you to extract depth data from the new Google Camera app’s images. Once that’s done, you can generate your own parallax images, which through the magic of WebGL allow you to virtually adjust your viewing perspective ever so slightly. Furthermore, all of this is done locally through the webapp, and can even be done on WebGL-compatible mobile browsers such as most recent builds of Chrome.created the open source webapp Depthy. Posted to the forums by panrafal’s friend XDA Forum Member
To get started generating your own parallax images or extracting depth maps, head over to the webapp thread and give Depthy a shot. And if you wish to incorporate this depth map and parallax image creation functionality into a native Android or PC application, head over to the project’s GitHub to check out the code.
There is, and will continue to be, much debate regarding whether to Odex or Deodex a ROM. Some people prefer leaving ROMs Odexed for greater efficiency, while others prefer Deodexed ROMs and their freedom. This becomes even trickier when looking at OEMs, as some Odex their stock firmware, while others don’t. Sony is one of the OEMs that does Odex their ROMs.
If you’ve ever worked with APKTool to modify something in a precompiled ROM, you’ve certainly had to deodex a ROM. This can be done with several kitchens, scripts, or by executing commands in terminal. You can now Deodex the firmwares of new Xperia devices really easily with Kamome by XDA Senior Member RyokoN.
Kamome is a Windows script that pulls all the necessary files using ADB, Deodexes them, and creates a flashable archive ready to be installed through recovery. Kamome is distributed in two versions depending on Android OS version. It should work with all Xperia devices except the Sony Xperia Z2.
If you are a Windows user looking to Deodex a recent Xperia device, head over to the original thread to give Kamome a try.
April 10, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Android applications are pretty easy to use, and some resources can be obtained directly from APK files. Much of this information is available in the XML manifest file that contains all of the relevant information about the app’s friendly name name, version, required SDK level, and more. If an APK has a decipherable package name, you can easily determine what application it is and even its version by looking at just the filename. However, it’s often difficult to determine an app’s true function when looking at com.developername.obscurepackagename.apk.
For these situations, XDA Senior Member dmagician‘s ApkSpy utility for Windows can help. ApkSpy is actually a newer, modified version of a previous application with the same name created by XDA Senior Member ido back in 2011. Thankfully, dmagician decided to give it a refresh, so he modified Ido’s tool and added various useful tweaks.
Once ApkSpy obtains the relevant information for APK files stored on your computer, it can then rename package files in order to help you avoid confusion. And after doing this, it can even install the applications directly to your device using ADB. To use ApkSky on your Windows PC, you must have ADB and AAPT in your system path, or have them in the same folder as the utility’s executable file.
To give this application a try, make your way to the original thread.
March 29, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It should come as no surprise that the cleanest and most robust way to introduce your own modifications to an existing project is through modifying the original source code and recompiling. However, this is not always possible. Often times, we must begin our journey to app or ROM modification from a closed source binary, and then work from there.
Luckily, there are various tools available to make life a little easier when not working with source. One such tool comes from XDA Recognized Contributor ricky310711. As one would expect from a typical ROM kitchen, Ricky’s ROM Kitchen allows you to perform various tasks to existing ROMs such as adding init.d support, busybox, root, and so on.
With this toolkit, you can also extract the ROM’s constituent files, deodex, and add various tweaks. The kitchen even allows you to easily de-Knox Samsung OEM ROMs. In addition to modifying ROMs, Ricky’s ROM Kitchen also allows you to modify APK and JAR files. To that end, you can quickly decompile and compile APK and JAR files, as well as classes.dex.
Although modifying and building from source is always preferable, it’s not always feasible. If you’ve been looking for a very versatile tool to help your non-source built modifications, head over to the utility thread to get started.
Few tools have made ROM installation and customization easier than AROMA Installer by XDA Recognized Developer amarullz. Rather than installing a preconfigured package, AROMA allows users to pick and choose what parts to install and/or what parameters to set.
If you’re a developer looking to incorporate AROMA installer into your flashable ZIPs, there are plenty of guides that we’ve featured to help you do so. However, those looking for an automated method should check out AROMA Zip Maker by XDA Senior Member DC07.
AROMA Zip Maker does what its name states by converting simple flashable ZIPs to AROMA Installer format. This allows you to easily add themes, change logs, and thanks pages to your flashable ZIP. Naturally, you won’t inherently gain the customization options by using this converter. But this is where the aforementioned guides come into play.
If you want an easy entry into the world of AROMA, head over to the original thread to get started.
March 23, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Thanks to the power and freedom of the Android platform afforded by its Linux underpinnings, we are free to execute various BASH, sh, or Python scripts on our mobile devices. Such scripts can accomplish a wide variety of tasks such as setting permissions on boot or keeping track of device power cycles. And given their functionality, many of these scripts are useful to perform upon boot.
Now thanks to XDA Senior Member r3pwn‘s tool BSE, we have an easy way to easily execute various script types on every boot. To use BSE, simply place the scripts you wish to execute in your /system/etc/startup folder. BSE takes care of chmod for you, so you don’t have to worry. Currently, BSE supports BASH, sh, and Python (assuming you have it installed). And as you would expect, you need to have init.d support in order to use this.
If you execute many scripts at boot and don’t want to bother setting permissions manually, BSE can be of use to you. You can get started by visiting the tool thread.
March 5, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Android devices can be controlled from terminal or command line using ADB and other communication protocols. However, using a graphical interface to do some basic operations is significantly more convenient and user friendly than typing long commands with a high risk of typo.
Luckily, there are some tools able to perform some basic operations with point-and-click ease. One such applications is Android Device Manager by XDA Forum Member Al-Mobarmge. The tool can easily install and uninstall applications on internal memory or directly to your SD card, but app-related operations are not only you can do with this tool. You can backup APKs, your /system directory, or even your entire ROM, and then restore it when necessary.
ADM is also very useful if you want to flash a ROM update, recovery, or change your boot animation or kernel. If your device is not rooted, the tool contains a rooting method by XDA Recognized Developer Bin4ry, which is compatible with dozens of devices. This tool enables you to transform your Windows PC into a proper command center.
The tool and a full description of functions can be found in the original thread.
[Big thanks to XDA Forum Member youssef badr for the tip!]
February 24, 2014 By: Samantha
You may remember that a couple of months ago, the Sony Xperia Tipo received an unofficial CyanogenMod 11 port, supporting the fact that even small phones can have Kitkat too. Of course, what’s the use of such a port if you don’t have your Xperia Tipo set up and ready to take a bite of the Kitkat bar in the first place? Good thing for you if this sounds a bit too familiar to you, as XDA Forum Member AlexDroid00 has developed a handy multi-tool called Xperia Tipo Tools.
The aptly named utility packs in some very useful functions, both for new owners of the Xperia Tipo, and for those who have been playing with it for some time. Its functions include:
AlexDroid00 chose to categorize the tool’s functions as primary, secondary and universal, but all of them should work just fine with your Xperia Tipo. Additionally, the tool comes both in English and Italian, and is already version three. It must be noted that as of right now, the root function only works in Italian. So if you can’t read the language, you either have to wait for a future release which may include English as well perhaps other languages, or use Google translate.
If you would like to give Xperia Tipo Tools a go, head over to the original thread for more information.
February 13, 2014 By: Samantha
So now that the second raft of Sony Xperia devices are finally receiving the long awaited Android 4.3 update, I’m sure that there are plenty of folks eagerly glancing at the notification area and Sony PC Companion in anticipation of that firmware update notification. Some of you may also be constantly refreshing your device’s XDA forum page, meticulously keeping track of every relevant tidbit of information. If this sounds just like you, you may want to check out XDA Senior Member Macmol‘s Xperia Update Checker.
A tool for PCs, Xperia Update Checker enables you to check the current firmware of your Sony Xperia device. Besides the initial categorization of individual devices, firmware information is also organized by the region, branding, and customization number of your device, such as “Netherlands; Vodafone; 1266-1618.” Xperia Update Checker also allows you to check for links of firmwares for a particular device that you can download. It should be noted, however, that this tool only supports Xperia devices with Sony branding (e.g. Sony Xperia V) and not the Sony Ericsson branding (e.g. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc), and not all Sony Xperia devices are supported as of yet.
So if your finger’s getting a bit tired of constantly clicking refresh on your browser and Sony PC Companion, check out Xperia Update Checker over in its original thread for more information.
One might say that there really aren’t many perks that the Moto G GPe can offer over its regular counterpart. Thanks to Moto G’s timely updates from the previously Google owned Motorola, the near stock Android platform its running, and the uninvasive and minimal additions (or tweaks) Motorola has included with the regular Moto G, this opinion may not be too far from the truth. But the GPe still does has its appeals, with the most obvious being its undisturbed, intact Android experience.
So if you are after the GPe experience but currently own a regular Moto G, you may want to check out MotoTool All In One (AIO) by XDA Senior Member alonsoch. Much like the previously featured MotoTool, AIO performs a number of functions a new owner of the Moto G, both regular and GPe, needs to do to get started, such as:
What makes AIO different, however, is its ability to also convert your regular Moto G to the GPe with only a few clicks. Just download a GPe firmware, place it in the designated folder on your PC, and press “Convert.” If you come across an issue where there is no signal after conversion, alonsoch has provided the a brief guide on overcoming this.
So if you are interested in giving this tool a go, visit the original thread for more information.
The Moto G is a fantastic low-end device with some great mid-to-high-end specs, so we totally understand why you might be considering the device’s potential for aftermarket development when choosing the next phone you’re going to purchase. Now for those who have already purchased and received the device, a great starting point to your new journey is the MotoTool.
Developed by XDA Senior Member alonsoch specifically for the Moto G, the MotoTool has all the functions all you new Moto G owners will definitely need when setting up your devices. With only the prerequisite of an unlocked bootloader, which can be easily be achieved with the instructions alonsoch has linked, the tool allows you to:
Two downloads have been provided, the first with the restore function with a size of 530 MB, and the second without it but only coming in at 60 M. Additionally, alonsoch has provided additional instructions to help you root the Moto G as the tool does not do that automatically.
If you would like to check MotoTool out for yourself, head over to the original thread for more details.
February 2, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
If you ever wanted to make a flashable ZIP, you certainly know how much work is needed to write a proper updater-script. Not so long ago, we presented a Windows-only tool and Geany add-on to find all your syntax errors, but you still had to enter all the commands on your own.
Your updater-script nightmare is now over, as XDA Forum Member OrglCe created a very useful Windows-only application that automates the process of creating a flashable ZIP with the proper updater-script and binaries. The archive is then compressed with the DotNetZip library.
With Zip Creator, you can easily create flashable ZIPs for user apps, system apps, framework files, and boot animations. You can also use it to edit the updater-script. In upcoming versions, it will be possible to create zips with multiple apps.
The application is pretty easy to use, so even beginners should be able to create a recovery-compatible ZIP. The only disadvantage of this tool is that it doesn’t work properly with KitKat. However, this is due to the fact that Google changed few things in the updater-script handling in the latest version of Android.
Windows users looking to get their hands on the latest version of Zip Creator should make their way over to the utility thread.