April 20, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
This Week in Development, XDA TV Producer and all-around great guy, Jordan covers all the exciting stories you need to know from the XDA-Developers forum. In addition to Chevron Unlocker’s flip-flop, he covers the Ice Cream Sandwich updates for the for the Sony Xperia Line and the Samsung Galaxy S2 GT-i9100.
Jordan then mentions the changes in Google Play and the Facebook SDK vulnerability. Additionally, XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler and XDA Forum Moderator and Recognized Developer shenye‘s video on Setting up Eclipse and the Android SDK and rooting the HTC One X are discussed. Along with other exciting stories found right here on the XDA Portal.
Check out the video below.
While Windows Phone 7 is still gaining somewhat of a name development traction despite questionable actions from Redmond, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t time for some fun. While most consider fun to be playing games, taking pictures with camera apps that make things look goofy, and even theming tiles, there are other ways to get creative with your Windows Phone 7 device. XDA Forum Member jbkkd has found one of those ways in the form of an application that will randomize your ringtones.
The app, known as RandomRingtone, will shuffle your custom ringtones, and will change them randomly every half hour so your calls always sound different. While a fun little app all it’s own, it’s the future releases that will eventually make the app even more fun. Such future plans include:
Optional Toast notification when ringtone is updated
Ability to randomize from built-in ringtones as well
Random SMS Tones
Release of source code(It currently looks like a mess, I’ll probably make it pretty and release it soon)
So while shuffling custom ringtones for calls may not excite everyone, this app promises to eventually randomize every noise that comes out of your WP7 device. And with the release of the source code, it will allow other app developers to add this goofy app’s functions into their own, potentially goofier applications. The application has only been tested on a couple of phones, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work on more. If you want to try it out and your phone isn’t on the list of the officially tested, give it a try anyway. Worst case, you’ll have to reset your ringtone.
For more information and the .XAP download, check out the application thread.
Benchmarks are, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, an important part of the mobile phone world. After all, looking at which devices have the fastest graphics and highest number crunching ability can help factor into the decision of choosing one phone over another. It’s not the end-all be-all, but it’s something to consider.
While processor and GPU are two important features on a smartphone nowadays, another feature that’s increasingly important is the camera. Since photos taken on modern smartphones often rival those taken on low- to mid-range point-and-shoot cameras, it’s only natural to want to compare one device’s camera to the other. Android and Windows Phone 7 users can now do exactly this thanks to XDA Forum Member hulkkii. CamSpeed is a multi-platform camera benchmark that will measure the speed your device’s camera can shoot photos. CamSpeed measures camera speed in a few different ways. To break it down:
Measured variables are
- Focus Time. Time from focus call to successfull focus event.
- Capture Start/Shutter Time. Time from capture call to the moment when the capture sequence has started.
- Capture Image/JPEG Available. Time from capture call to the moment when an image is available.
- Capture Completed. Time from capture call to the moment when the capture sequence is complete.
This is no simple benchmark that simply times how long it takes from hitting the camera button to taking a picture. All of the necessary variables are tested from focus time to capture time. This can not only tell you which devices have the fastest camera, but which devices can focus the fastest and which devices will allow you to look at your pictures the fastest. While it may not seem so important, there is a lot of processor-related instances in these measurements, such as the time from capture call to the moment when the image is available. This can give users a real world example of how the processor handles tasks without using graphics-based benchmarks to determine processor speed.
Of course all the benchmark staples are there, such as uploading your results and comparing them with those obtained by other devices and users. For more information, you can check out the WP7 thread or the Android thread. Keep an eye out though, as hulkkii is promising that this app will also be available for MeeGo users soon as well.
April 16, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Something that has left me speechless just happened this past Friday. I have been at a loss for words about quite possibly the last (note the usage of “last” rather than “latest”) downfall for Windows Phone 7. In case you don’t have a Windows Phone 7 device or simply if you think I am mumbling nonsense (again), let me pull a little background for this so that you understand what is going on before I go into the article itself.
Sometime right around the launch of Windows Phone 7, many developers were concerned about the multiple layers of security that Microsoft had added to their new OS, the successor of the immensely popular (at the time) Windows Mobile platform. A few devs had tried to get old known methods such as HSPL to get the device to become more developer- and hacker-friendly, but the efforts were met with a brick wall, and that brick wall was WP7′s entire system.
The device was protected enough that you couldn’t install apps in the device in the way we were used to: download a .cab, click on it and let it run. First and foremost, applications no longer were in .cab format, but rather in XAP format. Second of all, WP7 lacks a file manager, so even if you somehow managed to make a cab to place it in the device so that you could run it, you simply would not be able to access it (same story for the XAP files).
Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng then released ChevronWP7, which essentially allowed anyone to unlock the device and side-load apps. In other words, users could now install apps by simply installing the XAP from their PCs, similar to what was possible in Windows Mobile with ActiveSync. This allowed for other “missing” things to be installed, such as a Registry Editor, and much more. The world was happy and seriously leaning towards the smooth UI, which had now been unlocked thanks to the efforts of these selfless devs. However, Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, decided to do what any good company with a deemed “impossible to hack” OS would have done. They grabbed some lawyers and went straight into the dev’s house. Shortly after, (with a few letters for C&D), the unlocker utility simply stopped working.
A few months after that, the guys responsible for Chevron made an announcement that they were in fact in talks with Microsoft to bring the tool back under their command and control. They claimed that the tool would indeed get them closer to developers for whom they seemed to care for, considering the exploding popularity of Android. Fast forward to 2011 and sometime towards the end of the year, after a long period of silence, the Chevron team gets back in the spotlight announcing that the planning with Microsoft had gone great and that the unlock service would go back online. Now, mind you that by this time, Mango was already out with even stricter rules and protections such as INTEROPLOCK, which basically would shut down any attempt to install an app to do anything fun with the device, such as, again, a Registry Editor. The way the system was set up was as follows:
Anyone willing to make apps and who wanted to test them on the device rather than an emulator encountered a brick wall. So, Microsoft decided to release the “App Hub”, which is a $99 per year service that allowed the devs to unlock the devices so that they could install their creations in the devices before they were uploaded into the Market. Chevron was set up in such a way that the economic barrier was not putting down potential developers, so the service was released for $9 (a token that would allow the device to have apps side-loaded). The other alternative method was to actively be a student and you could register to App Hub for free, but lets face it, lots of us are way past that stage. In any case, Chevron was back!! And the best part is that there was light at the end of the tunnel in a world where WP may actually be an interesting contender for Android and Apple. After many glitches, Chevron service went live and shortly after that, about 10,000 tokens were sold.
So, here we are today with a set of news that was a complete shocker for all the people who had unlocked their device with Chevron. It turns out that, according to Chevron’s blog, this was never meant to be a final fix, but rather a “test or trial” to see how many people they could get unlocked and how many of these unlocked people would develop and publish something. Since the results were lower than expected, Microsoft decided to order Chevron to discontinue the “experiment” and as a result of that, every device unlocked with this method will revert back to normal in 120 days. This means that if you have any app that were side-loaded on the device, they will simply stop working.
Enraged enough yet? Wait, there’s more! It turns out that since they don’t want to be mean to people who innocently bit into their bait, devs will be given a “free” App Hub account… for one year. This means that at year 2, you have to fork out $99 again. And yes, I said “again” purposely. This is because the App Hub account is not opened for free right away. If you want to take advantage of this, you must pay the $99 up front and have it refunded afterwards. In my humble opinion, if the money comes back in a way other than a credit back to your bank/credit card—such as credit towards Microsoft products—as irate as I would be, I wouldn’t be surprised. Heck, it is bad enough that it will take them an entire 2 months to refund the money, with up to an additional 60 days for the card to process the credit.
Dear, dear Microsoft. What, just what in the name of technology were you thinking? Are you that eager to lose your entire user base (or what’s left of it)? Your numbers compared to Android and iOS are non-existent and getting worse by the quarter. Locking out developers is likely NOT the way to make your OS flourish. We understand that you are not Android, and that you indeed are making a closed source OS. Fine, we can live with that and in fact—we have done so since early the 2000s. But, what you did here by offering an olive branch and taking it away is revolting. On top of all this, you decide to do it right upon the launch of a few more WP7 devices into the market (HTC Titan 2, and a couple of Lumias. I am sure that HTC will thank you for crippling their sales efforts with this). The only ways I can read this move are:
I am not going to blame the people at Chevron, because this is obviously your doing and not theirs. If it was up to them, the original Chevron unlock would have never been stopped and people would be gladly developing applications for your OS in an attempt to make it into something more appealing for the masses. I mean, seriously, your entire market is flooded with “fart noise makers”, flash light, and sound board apps (I don’t mean to disrespect anyone with this). The ones that are remotely useful are paid apps, generally from rather large software developers trying to bridge the gap between Android and WP7. Want to know why? Because you are not letting devs do anything. For the love of everything holy, you cannot even change the color of the live tiles or the background without being at least interopunlocked. My old EVO 4G loaded with Launcher7 gave me a much richer WP7-like experience than my Titan did. Do you honestly think that this is right?
Finally, I sincerely hope that your lawyers are on their A-game. I have a very strong feeling that you will get sued left and right for this. I purchased a token myself for my Titan. At no point in time did either Chevron or Microsoft tell me anything remotely related to a ToS disclosure, nor that this is a test. All in all, if your numbers are right, you essentially just cheated approximately 10,000 people out of $9 a piece, which, if I still remember my math, basically you just made US$90,000 out of virtual sugar pill placebos. Want proof of what I am saying? The token is meant to give you unlimited uses for the device it is purchased for. Unlimited as in: “as long as I need to use it, I will be able.” This post in particular tells me right away that you just monumentally shot yourself in the foot:
After registering, users will have the ability to purchase and manage what we’re calling “unlock tokens”. One token equals one unique Windows Phone device registration. (You get unlimited re-registrations of that device should the need arise.)
Congratulations. If anyone can point me to a EULA, ToS, or anything in written from when the program came out stating that this was indeed a timed trial, I would appreciate it because to be perfectly honest, I do not recall seeing anything at all regarding this, and I would have not spent the money if I knew that this was going to expire. Oh, and since you are willingly giving away “free” licenses for the App Hub, you are actually admitting guilt, congratulations. You are not doing this out of good will, but rather to try and cover your posterior from the hordes of developers that will come after you for lying. One last thing, do not try to blame it on Chevron as you will likely try to do because it was YOU who took over the project, almost taking them to court for cracking open your OS.
All in all, you just loaded yourself with a monumental amount of bad PR and a potential class action lawsuit as you have about 10,000 angry devs (professional and aspiring) cursing your existence right about now. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
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[Thanks andyharney for the tip!]
April 15, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
The Windows Phone 7 platform has been slowly and, for the most port, silently gaining momentum since the release of the first Windows phone. With Windows 8 right around the corner, one can only assume that development for these devices will continue to grow as more devices become available and MetroUI becomes even more widely appreciated. For those carrying the Nokia Lumia 710 and 800, the development has been pushing along just fine without Windows 8.
XDA Senior Member biktor_gj has recently released a ROM that is supported by the Lumia 710 and 800 that is the first of its kind to support NAND Access and InteropUnlock which is a huge push forward for ROM development.
For those who don’t know what InteropUnlock is, it is best explained by the Windows Phone Hacker Wiki:
Interop unlock is a term that refers to the ability to deploy applications using the interop capability on devices updated on Mango or above. Prior to Mango, applications using interop drivers, such as registry editors, could be deployed if the device was unlocked. In the Mango update, however, Microsoft chose to block the capability, preventing the deployment of these applications.
The installation process is pretty complicated and, until someone can port the process to Windows, requires users to be in Linux. Users are also having problems with making sure they have unlocked bootloaders first, as many who do have them are getting incorrect information when plugging them into their Windows PCs. It does take some diligence, and will likely frustrate some, but the end result is well worth the hassle.
For additional information, download links, full instructions, and troubleshooting posts, hit up the original thread.
April 6, 2012 By: egzthunder1
If you ever thought that the lockscreen on Windows Phone 7 devices needed some love from our devs, and quite obviously lots of work, you are probably correct. It may be the simple fact that Android has provided smartphone users with very content-rich experiences with the lockscreen and thus we are used to seeing and being able to do more with them. However, when Microsoft created the one for WP7, they simply went with the “metro” or simplistic approach that a lockscreen is just that, a way to prevent your device from accidentally becoming active while in your pocket, with accidental touches, etc. They threw in some basic information such as missed call, e-mail, sms notifications, as well as weather information, and time, but it is as plain as the day is bright. If you jumped from Android to WP7 and miss a more functional screen, then read on.
If you have ever used lockscreen replacements such as Widget Locker, or any of the lockscreens ported from other frameworks such as the lock ring from Sense, then you will certainly like what XDA Forum Member jayjojayson has found for you. It seems that XDA Recognized Developer jaxbot has been hard at work trying to improve the overall feeling of the lockscreen (as well as several other parts of the OS). He release Lock Widgets and much as its name implies, it will allow you to pin several apps that will fill your lockscreen with all the goodness that you are used to seeing the moment you hit the power button. You can see weather, RSS feeds, information about the available RAM, and much more. Moreover, the widgets can be set to update automatically every 30 minutes.
There are a few requirements such as the need for the device to be dev unlocked, interop unlocked, and rooted via WP7 Root Tools 0.9. So, sorry fellow HTC Radar and Titan owners, but no love for us just yet. Please leave some feedback for the dev.
You can pin weather, rss feeds and ram-info on lockscreen. If someone has problems with tranparent lockscreen, uninstall dynamic background and try it again.
You can find more information in the original thread.
April 6, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Ultimate control over our devices is what we all struggle to obtain here on XDA-Developers. Microsoft has done an amazing job in making sure that this does not happen for owners of Windows Phone 7 devices (some of them anyways) by implementing security measure on top of security measure, and all this in the name of data privacy, protection to the end user, and protection of IP. This is likely one of the reasons why this platform never really got off the ground. Old time WM users will agree that playing with the registry to unlock functions (802.11g on the HTC Wizard anyone?) and to improve the overall feeling over the device and control is what probably kept WM alive and well for as long as it did. On WP7, all that was lost.
Having said that, there are some brave developers out there who put out tools that will enable those missing features and capabilities once again. XDA Recognized Developer Heathcliff74 is one of them and has recently revamped his infamous WP Root Tools to version 0.9, in which he did a complete re-write of the code, thus giving you that “new tool scent”. The set includes a file explorer, a registry editor, policy and permissions handler, and much more. Moreover, he added a SDK (on version 0.1 currently) for those who would like to expand this a tad further by adding their own tools to the mix.
Because of the rights and permissions required to use this app, your device must be dev unlocked and interop unlocked, which means that Nokia Lumia users as well as 2nd generation HTC devices cannot use this. The tool will work for both custom and stock roms, so if you have a device that can accept these, please be sure to take these for a spin and reclaim your God-given right to mess your registry into kingdom come!
WP7 Root Tools 0.9 brings true Root Access to devices with stock ROM’s, but it also works on devices with custom ROM’s and Full Unlock. Your device needs to be Interop Unlocked to use WP7 Root Tools!
You can find more information in the original thread.
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April 6, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Our devices are built to last long and hopefully survive minor to moderate abuse. After all, we tend to bump into tables, walls, people, and many things while our phones are in our pockets. This normally results in dents, scratches, busted screens, and more. There is also the odd time when your hardware buttons (if your device has any) will suffer as well like, for instance, if you decided to take your device apart.
For most of us, this is not a big issue because even if the buttons are indeed convenient, there are ways to control your device, such as reassigning hardware key functions or work through a setting’s shortcut. This is not the case for WP7. Truth be told, the devices running this OS have absolutely no way to control certain aspects of itself without the aid of these keys. Unfortunately, this became painfully obvious to me when I broke the data strip connecting the volume rocker button on my HTC Titan, running on Mango. To make matters worse, there are no apps or settings to control the volume because of the way that the volume control is handled by Mango.
Luckily, and thanks to XDA Forum Member Purushoth, there is now a simple app to control the system’s master volume. While the app in itself may not be the best and most complex in the world, it is certainly a first for Mango. Now, you may be wondering why this is important. Well, if you have been in any of the WP7 forums, you will notice that the devs present in those sections have an incredibly hard time to get anything done due to the multiple restrictions, security locks, and everything that Microsoft has thrown in the batch to protect WP7 from being easily modified like its predecessors were. Being able to operate something that was not possible before is, in fact, a nice leap forward for the advancement of this platform.
So, if you are in the same boat I am and can’t use the hardware keys, now is the time to regain control over your device. Please report any feedback or issues to the dev, so that he can work through them if needed.
I have created a simple app for changing master volume. This app would be helpful for those who do not wish to use physical keys. This app works in dev unlocked device and greater.
Finally, thanks to Fiinix for the dllImport project.
You can find more information in the original thread.
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With the recent influx of new Windows Phone 7 devices into the market, Windows Phone development has steadily increased here at XDA. Because of this, we’re seeing some innovative Windows Phone applications coming from our developers.
XDA Senior Member IzaacJ has created a handy tool specifically for Windows Phone 7 ROM chefs. ROMAbout is a package that enables chefs to include a wide variety of information in their ROMs, which is made available to users via an application located in the phone’s Settings menu.
With ROMAbout, there are no limits as to what information chefs can display in their ROMs. From simple information like ROM version, build date and developer credits, to more technical data such as driver versions and specific registry values. And to top it off, there’s also the ability to include images alongside each item.
The developer is currently working on updates that will allow users to edit certain registry values of the app, that the chef pre-defines as editable. Another longer term goal of the developer is to be able to replace the default Windows Phone “About” screen.
If you are a Windows Phone 7 ROM chef, then you really should head over to the application thread and get cooking!
April 4, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
If you’re and a comic book fan and own a Windows Phone device then this may interest you. Whether it’s Marvel or My Little Pony, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to take your favorites with you wherever you go. XDA Forum Member dieguz has developed an application that will allow you to do just that.
Comx Reader for Windows Phone is a simple, no nonsense comic book viewer with a comic themed Metro UI interface. It handles comics in the CBR, CBZ, and ZIP formats, and also includes native SkyDrive support. This is handy because that’s how you’ll be transferring your comic book collection to your device. Simply upload the files to your SkyDrive space and download them to your device. You are then able to arrange then however you like for ease of reading.
The app has a very small memory footprint, weighing in at a slim 1Mb, and it will run on all Windows Phone 7.5 devices. There is no limit to the amount of comics that can be stored in your library. The currently supported languages are English, Italian, and Spanish, “translated by humans, not automatic translators”.
If you think that Comx Reader might be the answer to your mobile comic reading problems, check out the original application thread
Windows Phone 7 development has been slowly, but steadily, increasing as the platform gains popular. Developers and users alike are finding new ways of adding all sorts of fun things to their phones, and development in general has brought a more open experience to users. This can be said especially for the HTC 7 Mozart, which has had more development than the average Windows Phone, not counting the truly legendary HD2.
Things only get better for Mozart owners, as XDA Recognized Developer Nullstring has brought some awesome and diverse development to the device. A few hardware modifications, downgrading to a different firmware so you can flash custom ROMs, and tricking the Marketplace are all featured in what can only be described as a true all-in-one Mozart modification thread. To begin, Nullstring posts a video that details how Mozart users can downgrade their SPL from 5.xx to 1.xx, which will allow them to flash custom ROMs.
As if that weren’t enough, Nullstring then gives users a diagram to create a Y-Cable along with all the parts and estimated hardware costs and complete with screen shots so users can use a Gold Card. Then, to cap it all off, Nullstring made a 29 minute video that takes everyone through the whole process of downgrading, creating the gold card, flashing a ROM, and making the Mozart everything it can and should be. The thread and video are just that full of win.
For additional info, screen shots, videos, download links, and pretty much anything else you could possibly need for your Mozart, check out the development thread.
March 28, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Here on XDA-Developers, we tend to cater to everyone’s needs and wants. From the most experienced developer to the newest user, who literally just picked up his/her smartphone exactly 25 minutes ago and is curious about what it can do, anyone can find something that will get them hooked on xda and smartphone modding. The latter of the two groups normally tends to either be too busy to try and sit down and read or simply is not interested on how things work, only caring about the final outcome (I can haz root?!). Funny enough, half of these people will likely never understand what they are truly asking for when they are asking for root and likewise will never open SU as they see it as a perfect way to break the devices, almost taboo if you will.
Now, at this point you are all likely wondering what the title of this article has to do with my little opening rant. Well, because of the meteoric rise in numbers of the second class of people stated above, we have seen a large increase in production of tools to simplify the processes that we carry out in this site. Rooting a device, which can be a rather tedious process depending on how well protected things are has become as simple as opening a batch file that you download from a thread on XDA. However, please do not get me wrong, making things easier has been paramount in allowing humanity to advance to more interesting projects, but as with many of these advancements, there is something to be learned, something that should be taking place inside of the user’s head, creation of neural connections that will allow him or her to later retrieve this knowledge if it ever becomes required for other activities. Sadly, this is not the case due to most processes being automated and the end user simply being interested in the final outcome as previously stated.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen some very awesome mods and developments from people who have spent countless hours reading, researching, and risking their investments in the name of science (sort of). One of the most crucial ones was the HBOOT downgrade process for the EVO 3D and the Sensation (I will focus on the 3D one as I am more familiar with it). Out of that thread, if you follow every step as directed by the dev, you will leave with:
This was as of last week. This week we see that there are a few tools that somewhat automate a big chunk of the process, effectively killing the opportunity to learn very valuable information out of the thread. I am not saying that this will make you a developer overnight, but learning bits and pieces of processes like these certainly will aide you in the future. On top of that, if you rely too much on processes like these, what will happen when one of these fail and you end up with a brick? Will you have the necessary know how to fix your device, or even to understand what went wrong? Don’t you think that understanding how things work before proceeding could potentially save you from a quasi-certain catastrophe? Think of it this way, I will release a tool tomorrow that is supposed to give you S-OFF on your device. All you need to do is turn off the PC and boot it back up from MS-DOS and type the following command (having your device connected):
Then simply reboot your computer. If you had previous knowledge of this, you would understand that I just gave you clear instructions to wipe your computer hard drive as opposed to giving you root on your phone. Did I do this on purpose or simply because I didn’t know what I was doing? Obviously, the example is a tad too obvious, but the point I was trying to illustrate is that tools without knowledge can lead to disaster.
So, this takes us back to the original title and point of this article. If automation is a thing that eventually will allow us to be more efficient and smarter, why is it that when you look at the general level of knowledge it is much lower than when things were manual? Do we simply need to step back and sit down to read how we got to where we are? If you go by the ethos of our site, the answer is “yes”. You are here because you are interested in learning about development and how to expand the capabilities of your devices and not simply to make your phone “kewl” (thanks kyphur). If you don’t learn the path that you are following, you are likely going to get lost.
Thanks for reading and please use your time on XDA wisely.
[Thanks to XDA News Writer PoorCollegeGuy for the image!]
With April 1st quickly approaching us, we can’t help but to start thinking about the different kind of pranks that we could potentially pull on friends, loved ones, or complete strangers (no one is exempt). Due to the large influence of electronic media and mass communication, we turn to alternatives like e-mails and such. But, how would one get around using a personal e-mail? Sure, making a new account would work wonders, but having to create it is a process that could take time out of your busy day (even if it is only 5 minutes or so). So, in the search of providing you with the needed tools for this epic day, we came across Fake Mailer by XDA Forum Member Rednasman.
Much as its name implies, the app will allow you to spoof your email address without the need of creating a new account. The e-mail recipients will literally not know what hit them. The app is currently in development and can only send 3 e-mails at a time, but it is bound to grow over time. One thing worth mentioning about this app is that it was developed for both Android and Windows Phone 7, so everyone can rip on the benefits of this no matter what platform they are on. This could very well be the prank generator that you were looking for to have on such special day. Take it for a spin and please leave some feedback for the dev.
By now I am presenting my own application ‘fake mailer’, with this mail application you can send anonymous mails to your friends. I did not build this application to do illegal activities. It’s just for the fun, and trolling your friends.
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