February 2, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
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.
February 1, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
The Google Nexus 4 is a very popular phone. A powerful CPU, combined with 2 GB of RAM and a relatively low price at launch made it an ideal choice of many XDA community members, myself included. Despite being a great device, and one which is still extremely popular, the Nexus 4 has some issues with LTE. As it never officially featured LTE connectivity, you need to do some tweaking to enable it, as ever since radio 0.48, LTE has been disabled.
Luckily, the community managed to find a solution by creating a hybrid of newest radios with 0.33, which was the last radio with LTE capabilities. Those hybrids were created by XDA Senior Member morrislee. They previously needed to be flashed with the PC, which increased difficulty and hassle for many. Luckily, this is all in the past, as XDA Senior Member bpear96 created an application to flash your desired radio with just one click. With this application, you can do three things: flash a stock modem starting from version 0.24 up to 0.98, flash an LTE Hybrid Modem, and enable/disable LTE support in your build.prop. If you plan to flash your modem with this application, you naturally have to make sure that your device is rooted. That’s pretty much the only requirement.
To try out this app you should visit the original thread. So if you’ve got a Nexus 4, make your way there and enjoy super fast LTE connectivity.
January 23, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
BusyBox is a small executable that allow Android (and other OSes) to use various common Unix/Linux commands and utilities. It was released in 1999 by Eric Andersen and originally developed by Bruce Perens in 1996. In Android, BusyBox is used to execute various Unix files and commands. The main disadvantage of BusyBox is that the utilities are striped down versions and provide less features than the originals.
BusyBox is not the only project that offers such functionality. XDA Senior Member alireza7991 created an alternative project that offers more commands than standard BusyBox. Currently, GNU CoreUtils on Android allows you to use 105 utilities, but 2 of them don’t work. It’s pretty impressive number, and it is growing.
The GNU Core Utils package is built with the Linaro toolchain in order to be optimized for the greatest performance. The utilities can be executed by adding cu at the beginning, and this was done to avoid conflicts with the current version of BusyBox. To test this set of tools, you need to have a relatively new phone compatible with the ARMv7 instruction set, as well as support for ARM NEON—and most modern SoCs other than the Tegra 2 support both. Your device must be also rooted and have a custom recovery installed.
To get more information regarding this project, make your way to the development thread. It’s still pretty early, but this project seems to be extremely interesting.
January 20, 2014 By: Samantha
So you’ve already cracked the screen on your beloved Moto X when it just ‘somehow’ fell to the ground, and you’re worried that Motorola will void the warranty because you’re phone is rooted. Developer editions aside, there probably isn’t much of a chance the tired and overworked device repairman will discover and immediately reject your device, but it wouldn’t hurt to refresh your device back to ‘brand new’ as a safeguard.
To help with this, XDA Recognized Developer mattlgroff has created a tool called Moto X Restore Utility, and it does exactly what its name suggests. It has three primary functions and they are pretty self explanatory, them being:
Additionally, mattlgroff has made the Moto X Restore Utility compatible with all three major PC operating systems – Windows, Mac, and Linux. To help new users get a grasp of the tool on their PC, mattlgroff has provided detailed written tutorial for users, as well as link two video tutorials for the Windows version. The tool however, only works with the two developer editions of the Moto X (who really have no need to worry), and those locked in with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, so international users may be out of luck.
If you would like to give the Moto X Restore Utility a go, visit the original thread for more information and download.
If you’re an Android device owner who happens to use a Macintosh, you may feel a bit left out at certain times, especially with regards to toolkits and other software for your device. Sadly, the majority of toolkits run only on Windows PC, with Mac and Linux support unfortunately low on the list of priorities. Thankfully, there’s good news for Moto X and Mac owners, as XDA Forum Member mjphillips1981 developed a nice toolkit that helps you perform various Moto X tasks from the comfort of Mac OS X.
Inspired by a previously featured toolkit for the Moto X, the Moto X toolkit for Mac allows you to do pretty much everything you need to get your Moto X all set up (and maybe a bit more). These actions include:
This toolkit should work with any Moto X, even those carrier locked to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. But it should be noted, especially by those with slower Internet speeds, that the tool is quite hefty in size, coming in at 87.15 MB.
If you would like to give this a go, head over to the original thread for more details and download.
A couple of months ago, we talked about the beta release of CyanogenMod installer. The installer, was intended for new users otherwise unfamiliar with the custom ROM world. It essentially serves as the fastest and most streamlined way of installing CyanogenMod onto your device, with little to no effort expended. CM Installer was removed from the Google Play Store not too long after due to developer agreement violations, but that did nothing to halt the project’s development.
One major limitation of the CM Installer previously was that it was only compatible with Windows. While the vast majority of the world runs on Windows, quite a few of us enjoy alternative platforms like Linux and Mac OS X. Now, the CyanogenMod Installer has reached opened its doors to a whole new world of users by offering beta support for Mac OS users.
If you’re a Mac user, you can get started by joining the CyanogenMod Installer for Mac Google+ community. From there, follow the directions in this post and install the top post (“About this community”), and get cracking. The currently supported devices are the same as on the Windows version, and it can be found on the CM Installer Wiki. Then of course, don’t forget to head over to your device’s home forum on the XDA-Developers forums to get in on the discussion.
January 2, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is the most important and widely used debugging tool on Android. With ADB, it’s possible to push a file to the /system partition, make a backup, or even get a logcat for debugging. The official way to install ADB is to download the ADT Bundle or SDK tools, which are nearly 100 MB.
Configuring the ADB on Windows is not the easiest as well, as you need to add its path in order to access it from anywhere on your PC. Downloading a huge package and the troublesome installation process may discourage new users from installing these tools, but there’s now a handy solution thanks to XDA Forum Member snoop5, who created a simple tool to install ADB on a Windows machine in approximately 15 seconds.
The Windows-only tool automatically installs ADB, Fastboot, and the required device drivers, so nothing more is required and your device should work like a charm. The package comes in at only 9 MB, so it’s quite a bit smaller than the original SDK Tools. You don’t need to worry about your system being 32- or 64-bits, as this tool will take care to determine which version are you on.
If the process of installing Fastboot and ADB have been holding you back from further tweaking your device, make your way over to the tool thread and give this a try.
January 2, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Android is meant to be open source. And most components, despite being covered by the Apache license, have publicly available source code. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that only Nexus devices owners can do Java modifications without digging into Smali assembler language, which is not simple and needs much more effort than Java. Also, decompiled applications can’t be imported to Eclipse or Android Studio.
There are some tools like GetJava that already can do the job, but in most situations the result isn’t 100% accurate and some files still need to be translated to Java. XDA Senior Member darkguy2008 decided to start a project aimed to provide a better solution than JAD or JD-GUI.
The project is still at a very early stage, but most things are working already. This project is written in C# and needs Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5 installed to work properly. Hopefully in the future, it will be possible to use it on other operating systems like Linux or Mac OS X. Undoubtedly, this project has terrific potential and with help of other developers, the Android development can be significantly improved.
More information regarding this converter can be found in the original thread, so don’t hesitate to go there and give some input to the developer. Of course, you can also contribute by pushing some patches to the Github repository.
Bear in mind that tools like this should not be used to get some freebies from paid apps and re-release it under your name. Developers sell their work for a reason, so you should use it only for educational purposes.
January 1, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Over this past year, we’ve seen loads of innovative tools/utilities, applications, and games created by the talented members of our community. These creations have given new life to our devices by letting us accomplish simple tasks more easily, tailor our devices to our own tastes, and giving us a bit of entertainment when we have some down time.
Thanks to all this hard work by these developers who call XDA home, we’ve seen applications that change the way we perform everyday tasks, help us stay connected, and keep our devices safe. We’ve also covered some fantastic utilities that allow us easily theme our apps, transfer files wirelessly to and from our devices, rid our devices of proprietary Google files, and build our own ROMs from source. We’ve even seen innovative games that allow us to relive the past, travel the Matrix, become extremely dizzy, and even use our noggins.
Now, we’d like for you to tell us your favorite utilities, applications, and games that you found here on XDA in 2013. Leave us your favorites in the comments section below, as well as what you’d like to see more of in 2014!
December 28, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
Theming has become an art on Android. Changing the look of your device is a complicated process, as sometimes very small elements need to be modified. To accomplish this, many themers often use really advanced graphical tools like Photoshop. But editing elements one-by-one is a time consuming task, so an automated process would be handy.
PNG files used in Android are saved as a NinePatch PNGs, which are a bit different than regular PNGs. The border has to be transparent and use a black one pixel width. In short, they differ. That’s why the batch tool presented by XDA Forum Member F4bioo might be useful.
This Windows-only tool gives themers the ability to work on several .9.png files simultaneously. F4bioo made a short tutorial detailing how to use this tool, along with screenshots and a YouTube tutorial video. 9Compile also has some extra features like InjectTheme, which allows you to apply the changes directly into the APK without breaking zipaligning.
If you are planning to start some theming, you should make your way to the tool thread and download the latest version.
December 26, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
Changing the look of open source apps is relatively easy. All you need to do is to download the source, add new images, and compile. Things get more complicated when the application’s author does not provide the source code and the app needs to be decompiled and recompiled using something like APKtool.
Aware of this situation, the XDA Forum Member Ankush menat created a tool to ease the process of changing the look of your favorite apps. This Windows-only tool allows you to modify application contents by extracting them to a specified output folder. Then, you can use popular applications like Gimp or Photoshop to edit the PNG files. After you’re done editing, you recompile the application and push it back to your device through ADB (or simply install it for non-system apps). The tool creator also provides a short guide on using the utility. The only things you need to use this tool are Windows OS and Java Runtime Environment 6 or 7.
More information and download files can be found in the original thread. So if you’re looking for a way to change the look of your favorite applications, go there and give this a shot.
December 26, 2013 By: Samantha
Wires can be such a mess. You trip over them, you go nuts trying to untangle them, and many times they simply stop working—and these things only happen once you actually find them. So it’s no wonder that we’re gradually moving towards a more wireless technology, such as wireless charging, wireless entertainment systems, and wireless data transfers.
A great tool for facilitating this wireless shift is Fast Push. Developed by XDA Senior Member pesiran, the same developer of the tool APK Organize, Fast Push runs on your PC and allows users to transfer files and other data over ADB without the hassle of wires.
Consisting of just a PC client, the user interface is straight forward and easily navigable while providing the available transfer options and other settings. You can add shortcuts to your favorite or most accessed folders on your device, navigate your device with an extensions-based system, and push text to your device. If things go wrong, such as a failed transfer, there’s also a handy log panel to help identify and diagnose the issue.
Additionally, pesiran has created and uploaded three video tutorials to help new users understand the tool’s basic functions including UI navigation, pushing texts to the device, and receiving files from your device.
If Fast Push sounds like something you’d be interested in, be sure to check out the original thread for more details and download.
ADB is an incredibly versatile and useful tool for everything from simple tweaks to major modifications, and even sometimes averting a complete disaster. It is relatively easy to set up, and it is simple to use for anyone with a little knowledge. Traditionally, ADB is used over USB. But in this day and age, how many of us have time to rummage through drawers and connect devices manually? It is possible to use ADB over your local WiFi network and save yourself the hassle and a little desk clutter at the same time.
While the wireless option is not much more complicated than the USB option to set up, that process can be made even simpler with the help of ADB Over WiFi Helper by XDA Forum Member extremewing. This nifty little tool comes in two parts: a JAR file to run on your PC and an APK file for your Android devices. Once installed and set up, you’ll be able to switch devices between a USB or TCP/IP connection with the click of a button, and instantly see which devices on the network are ready and listening.
This is usually a paid application, but extremewing is generously making it available here on the XDA forums for free to all XDA community members, so be sure to check this out the thread for more information if you use ABD frequently.
It’s worth mentioning though that although using the wireless option is in some ways more convenient, it is by far the less secure of the two methods. This option should probably only be used on your own secure network, and you certainly don’t want to use it on a public network, so don’t go throwing out that micro USB cable just yet.