November 4, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re one of the lucky few to already have your grubby little paws on the recently released Google Nexus 5, you are probably the envy of all of your Android-loving comrades. But do you know what would make them even more jelly? Rooting your Nexus 5 and adding a little bit of customization.
We recently covered XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire‘s CF-Auto-Root for the Nexus 5. CF-Auto-Root is essentially the easiest way to get from fresh-out-the-box to rooted stock. However, for those looking to do a little bit more device modification than simply rooting, XDA Senior Member ricky310711 created a small toolkit that does all of the basic operations for you.
The toolkit allows you to unlock the bootloader, root the device, install TWRP, modify your build.prop, backup your device, and flash and wipe various partitions. Now, it is important to keep in mind that since this is a Nexus device, you have full access to all of the fastboot commands such as fastboot oem unlock and fastboot flash. Thus, customization is already a breeze on the device when you do it manually.
Make your way over to the utility thread to get started. Then to really get started with device modification, head over to the Nexus 5 Original Android Development section and try out a new custom kernel.
November 3, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Probably one of the toughest jobs for anyone trying to get a product into users’ / customers’ hands is the eternal balancing act between trying to be productive, reaching as many people as humanly possible, and not having to deploy an eternity of small/medium/large tweaks to target other markets. Languages are by far the best possible example of this important part of product development. Not everyone around the world speaks the language that the developer is comfortable with, and as a result, many people are left without the possibility of testing a potentially good app or tweak.
While there are people out there, particularly on XDA, who will gladly help out with translations to different languages, a faster solution may be preferable. To that end, XDA Forum Member BalcanGSM brings us an application developed by Artfulbits called Android Localizer.
Android Localizer essentially acts similar to how Google Translate does in browsers—by automatically translating the text of a particular page. Similarly, the program automatically translates parts of the decompiled APK that you would like to translate into other languages. It is simple and rather quick to use, and the translations are quite “spot on,” as it uses Google Translate.
Needless to say, the APK needs to be decompiled prior to running this tool. The tool is small and it runs on a Windows environment, starting from XP and up. So if you were waiting for your favorite dev to translate your favorite games into Amharic, now is your chance to be proactive and learn a thing or two about compiling and decompiling APKs, as well as getting your language skills going. Please leave any and all feedback on the thread so that you can share your experiences with the app. Finally, remember to ask permission of the developer if you are planning on distributing the translated APK.
You can read more information in the original thread.
October 20, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
As our mobile devices grow faster and faster with each passing generation, more people opt for the convenience and ease of customization of deodexed ROMs rather than the (theoretical) speed advantages of odexed ROMs. While we aren’t here to debate the merits of either stance, some people still prefer to use Odexed ROMs. That said, those wishing to learn more about the pros and cons of each should visit XDA Recognized Contributor philos64 excellent information thread.
What do you do once you’ve determined that you want to Odex your ROM and you are away from your computer? XDA Senior Member MatrixDJ96 created a simple recovery-flashable script that does this for you from the comfort of your device. The tool does one thing, and it does it well: odex your device’s ROM.
To get started, visit original thread and give this a whirl in any custom recovery. Just remember to please make a full nandroid backup before you get started. This is useful both if something goes wrong, as well as if you decide you wish to revert to your ROM’s previous state.
Not too long ago, we covered XDA Elite Recognized Developer Adam Outler‘s new website Casual-Dev. The site was built to help other developers leverage his open source offerings in order to use CASUAL as a delivery method for outside development projects.
Since then, we featured a simple recovery flasher for the HTC One that in and of itself wasn’t terribly groundbreaking. However, it handedly demonstrated the viability of using CASUAL as a launching platform for development work. Now, XDA Senior Members enricocid and ivn888 have created a universal image flashing tool that uses the CASUAL platform as its delivery method.
The current implementation isn’t quite the friendliest interface yet, but usage isn’t terribly difficult either. Inside the tool’s JAR package, you’ll find a Scripts folder with four zips that correspond to flashing your bootloader, recovery, kernel, and radio. Once you obtain the image you wish to flash, place that inside the zip housed in the JAR. From there, run the JAR and choose the type of image you would like to flash. It’s as simple as that.
It’s great to see more work packaged using Adam’s CASUAL platform. Head over to the original thread to get started.
October 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We first talked about the Android Everything Tool in June of this year, at which point we noted that the Windows-based tool offered an impressive array of features and functions that could serve useful to those looking to tweak their Android devices. A little over a month later, XDA Senior Member ricky310711‘s toolkit was given a major update, with the ability to install OpenSSL and Curl, as well as access certain device information.
Ricky310711 has kept busy, and as such, another major update to the Android Everything Tool has been released. In response to user request, Ricky has added the ability to decompile and deodex apps, modify update.zip files, install AROMA, and more.
The Android Everything Tool now also has a built-in ROM kitchen to allow you to customize ROMs that you download. Please in mind, however, that simply using a kitchen does not make one a developer. In other words, please don’t share kitchen kitchen ROMs with the community. That said, they may be useful for your own needs, so a kitchen may come in handy.
Make your way over to the utility thread to get started.
October 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, Google unveiled Android Device Manager, allowing users to locate and sound an alarm to their devices when they have been misplaced or stolen. Recently thereafter, Google even allowed users to secure their devices remotely with the web-based tool.
Having additional options is always nice, though, and XDA Senior Member pacosal created an alternative that allows you to create your own Mobile Device Manager. The aptly titled ownMDM allows you (and only you) to remotely control your devices using two parts: a PHP-enabled web database that issues commands and a mobile app with device administrator functionality.
The real draw in pacosal’s solution, however, is the multitude of commands that you can send from the web interface. After selecting which device you wish to issue a command to, you can select from the following commands, as described by the author:
- Message: Send a notification to device. Enter your message below
– Lock: Will screen block the device
– Ring: The device will sound like a police car
– Enable Admin: The device will receive a popup to activate this App if it is not.
– Ping: The device will answer with a ping to check if is responding (check log)
– Location: The device will answer with its location at google maps and wifi networks (check log)
– Location Alarm: Send you alerts when the device go out or in the actual device location. Enter the number in meters below, for example 5000, (check log)
– Wipe: The device will be completely deleted, only if it is stolen and you can not recover it
– Lock with Key: This command will lock the device with your own PIN from console. Even if the mobile is rebooted the lock will work.
– Force update Model: Will get model data to console
– Record Audio: Will record a 20 seconds audio and will send it to your mail
– Take a Picture: The device will take a picture and will send it to your mail
– Receive a Sms: Perfect for knowing the mobile number of the Imsi inserted in the device
– Track Device: The device will return location, sound and pictures every 3 minutes for 15 minutes
Essentially, you get the functionality of Google’s first party offering, and then some—and this is all done from your own MDM server. Head over to the utility thread to get started.
[Many thanks to our Assistant Forum Admin Sir Scots for the tip!]
October 1, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Many moons ago, a developer known as XDA Forum Member tliebeck released a pretty interesting file manager called FX File Explorer, which among other things, allowed you to view and organize your media files in a more intuitive way without having to guess what you were looking at. This same dev also had another app under the name of WebSharing 1.0. This app along with most of its features was a perfect companion to the aforementioned file manager. As time went by, so did the development of WebSharing and its capabilities, leading us to today and a brand new version of the app. As it is commonplace with the Internet era lingo, the app has reached a level of evolution which grants it the “2.0” designation.
Ok, so what is WebSharing anyways? Lets just say that if you are one of those people who absolutely hates having to carry around USB cords and who also happens to hate having to choose between MTP and USB Mass Storage mode, you will absolutely love this. The app, in a nutshell, allows the user to transfer files between a device and a computer that are connected to the same WiFi network through nothing else than a web browser. It is that simple. Connect to the WiFi access point of your choice and presto: You are free to roam around your device’s internal folders without the need to physically connect the device to the PC.
The app allows for the transfer of the files through WiFi (so, you know you will get decent data transfer speeds). The use of HTML5 allows for a much faster and more fluid experience. If you are concerned that someone might be able to catch your files during the session, worry not. The app comes with a secure connection that will provide you (on the device) with a randomly generated password that needs to be entered into the browser in order to view the device’s contents.
The app is currently in beta stages, and there are quite a few ways to sign up for the trial (including a direct download in the thread itself). Please help the dev out and provide feedback, bugs, ideas, or whatever you would like to contribute with.
Files can be uploaded by dragging them into the browser window.
You can drag multiple files in at once.
If you use Google Chrome, you can upload entire folder hierarchies by dragging them into the browser.
You can drag in more files while files are uploading, they’ll be added to the queue.
You can navigate to other folders while files are uploading, and then drag files into those locations. They’ll be added to the queue as well.
You can also use the “File” menu to upload files if you’d prefer not to use drag-and-drop.
Older browsers can still use legacy file upload controls.
You can click anywhere in the upload progress area to see a detailed view of upload progress.
In 2.0, the multiple file upload system is now a free feature (in 1.x, only the paid version allowed multiple file upload via a Flash-based control).
All of this is provided in the free version, without any limitations.
You can find more information in the original thread.
September 30, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
A little over a year ago, we took a look a Windows-based Android management utility created by XDA Recognized Developer DeepUnknown known as Droid Manager. Back then, the multi-purpose Android utility stood out by offering the ability to perform quite a few ADB-based tasks quickly and easily.
Since then, DeepUnknown has been hard at work, dramatically improving his application to bring in new features and more. One of the most interesting new features is Nandroid backup management, where you can easily create a new backup, list current backups, and delete existing backups. You can now also backup and restore installed apps, view boot animations prior to applying them, share files and folders via WiFi, and much more. The new version has even gained the ability to send any file on the connected device to your PC, provided that the included helper application is installed on the Android device. Finally, the utility has been given a completely new UI, in order to best present these new features.
If you’ve been looking for a general purpose Android management utility for your Windows PC that does almost any ADB-related task you could want, head over to DeepUnknown’s utility thread and give Droid Manager a shot.
September 28, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re trying to minimize your load times by lowering I/O time, optimizing your applications’ resources may be worth looking into. Naturally, loading smaller APKs leads to less time spent reading the application data. With any form of compressed data, there eventually becomes a tradeoff in compute versus read time in higher levels of compression, but for the most part application loads and general device performance seems to be limited by I/O rather than compute performance.
For this reason, XDA Senior Member gu5t3r created a simple BASH script to help you quickly optimize your applications. It mainly works by compressing your PNGs more efficiently. However, it skips the pesky NinePatch files in order to prevent potential force closes. For PNG compression, the tool uses a combination of TruePNG, pngout, and DeflOpt, and gu5t3r claims that it will result in a net halving of storage space compared to the more standard OptiPNG compression.
The script comes in the form of a Cygwin-based BASH script, and it comes with all of the executables you need to get started easily. Users in the thread have reported significant decreases in file size with no loss in functionality. Will it make any actual noticeable difference in performance? That depends on a number of variable such as your device’s I/O speed, CPU power, and application size. That said, it can’t hurt to try.
Make your way over to the utility thread to get in on the action.
[Thanks to Senior Member ct_moi for the tip!]
September 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Rooting, as we all know, opens up a world of possibilities. It is the first step that we in the XDA community take towards truly owning our devices. Once rooted, most people flash a custom ROM, recovery, and kernel. In order to easily accomplish these tasks and more, XDA Forum Member yashade2001 created AndRootKit.
AndRootKit performs various flashing tasks such as flashing images to your recovery, system, and boot partitions. It is also able to flash an update.zip file of your choosing, rather than individual image files. The utility can perform various ADB tasks such as rebooting, accessing ADB shell, installing APKs, and pushing files. The app can even be used to directly install an APK as a system app. However, it should be noted that a reboot is required in order for the system app to register.
Written in C# and geared at working with essentially any device, this Windows-based .Net utility helps you do almost everything you could want to do with a rooted device. Head over to the utility thread to get started.
September 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Some time ago, we talked about the importance of backing up the TA partition on Sony Xperia devices. Doing so on Sony Xperia devices saves your DRM keys. Why is this important? These keys are required in order to use a few proprietary software bits such as Bravia Engine in the Gallery app and OTA updates.
As we learned before, however, once you unlock your bootloader for the first time, these DRM keys are irreparably lost unless you previously created a backup. Luckily, there are great tutorials that teach you how to backup your TA partition, given that you do this before the initial bootloader unlock.
Now, thanks to XDA Forum Member DevShaft, there is a streamlined Windows batch file that does it for you. All you have to do is download the latest version, connect the device with ADB enabled, run the batch file, and choose from the menu options.
Obviously, this is of no use if you’ve already unlocked your bootloader without a backup and you have already lost your DRM keys. However, if you’re thinking of unlocking your bootloader for the first time, head over to the original thread to backup your TA partition easily. A list of known and assumed supported devices can be found below.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia ZL
Sony Xperia ZQ
Sony Xperia ZR
Sony Xperia ION
Sony Xperia S
Sony Xperia SL
Sony Xperia SP
Sony Xperia Acro S
Sony Xperia T
Sony Xperia TL
Sony Xperia TX
Sony Xperia M
Sony Xperia V
Sony Xperia P
Sony Xperia L
Sony Xperia U
Sony Xperia Sola
Sony Xperia Miro
Sony Xperia Tipo
Sony Xperia J
Sony Xperia E
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
All Sony Xperia models
All Sony Ericsson Xperia models
September 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We generally try to do things as quickly as possible. If this weren’t the case, we wouldn’t have a love affair with microwaves and instant ramen noodles. Luckily, various utilities also allow us to optimize our connected lives such as apps that help with multitasking and so on. Luckily, there are also various scripts that help us perform various modification tasks more efficiently, and now we have one to more quickly flash kernels and create backups of existing kernels on Sony Xperia devices.
Developed by XDA Senior Member HeadFox, the Windows batch utility is really just an incredibly simple batch script that reboots your device to the bootloader and flashes a new boot.img to the device. The download also includes the essential files for adb and and fastboot access, so you don’t even have to have them installed and added to your path for this to work. While this script is obviously nothing revolutionary, time saving is always a welcome benefit.
If you’ve wanted to make flashing an Xperia kernel an even quicker affair, head over to the original thread to begin.
While most power users have more than a firm grasp on using the Android Debug Bridge, using a command line interface may be intimidating to new users looking to get into basic device modification. While we greatly encourage learning the commands, it doesn’t hurt to also have a GUI for the most commonly used operations.
Now thanks to XDA Forum Member sandix, there is a streamlined Windows utility aimed at delivering many ADB functions through a graphical interface. ADB GUI supports quite a few operations including rebooting (to recovery, bootloader, and fastboot), logcat, remounting, flashing images, rooting (certain devices), pushing files, installing APKs, obtaining system information, and more. The program supports Windows XP and up, and requires for .NET 4.5 or later to be installed. It is compatible with devices running Ice Cream Sandwhich or later, though it may also work on Gingerbread.