All Android – xda-developers https://www.xda-developers.com Android and Windows Phone Development Community Fri, 09 Apr 2021 17:14:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.1 Are you satisfied by OEMs promising 3 years of Android updates? https://www.xda-developers.com/android-update-3-years-generation-discussion/ https://www.xda-developers.com/android-update-3-years-generation-discussion/#respond Sun, 11 Apr 2021 15:00:30 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=422047 Smartphones are getting more powerful, and the performance gap between a flagship and a mid-ranger is getting shorter. With fewer hardware features to stake their claims, OEMs are now turning their attention towards software updates. The latest trend in this area is to promise a certain number of Android generational upgrades and use it as

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Smartphones are getting more powerful, and the performance gap between a flagship and a mid-ranger is getting shorter. With fewer hardware features to stake their claims, OEMs are now turning their attention towards software updates. The latest trend in this area is to promise a certain number of Android generational upgrades and use it as an argument against the competition. Samsung and HMD Global are two brands that have recently promised three Android version upgrades to their mid-range phones, and we think more companies should follow suit. What do you think about it?

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A72 last month. The Galaxy A series has been among Samsung’s best-selling smartphones in the last few years, and the Galaxy A51 topped the charts as the most-sold Android phone of 2020. Naturally, the Galaxy A52 is likely to fill those shoes — and its new upgrades have positioned it well in that regard, as we learned in our Galaxy A52 review.

But along with the new hardware improvements, Samsung has also guaranteed three years of incremental Android version updates for the Galaxy A52 and the Galaxy A72. Given Samsung’s recent commitment to prompt software updates, we see that panning out very well.

Simultaneously, HMD Global recently announced three generations of Android updates for its new mid-range devices — the Nokia X10 and the Nokia X20. Nokia’s mid-rangers may trail far behind the Galaxy A series, but 5G connectivity along with this promise of extended updates, including monthly security updates for the next three years, will definitely help the brand’s sales proposition.

Meanwhile, some other smartphones, notably the Google Pixel lineup, guarantee three software version updates. While this may not be as enticing as Apple’s five years’ worth of iOS updates for iPhones and iPad, it is still a rare sight when it comes to Android phones.

Would you be satisfied by your phone’s manufacturer delivering three Android updates, or do you want this duration to extend further? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Rocket League Sideswipe is a new free-to-play game coming to iOS and Android https://www.xda-developers.com/rocket-league-sideswipe-ios-android/ https://www.xda-developers.com/rocket-league-sideswipe-ios-android/#respond Wed, 24 Mar 2021 18:05:59 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=415087 Psyonix, the team behind the immensely popular Rocket League, has announced a new game called Rocket League Sideswipe, and it’s coming to iOS and Android later this year. The new standalone title adapts the formula that made Rocket League such a worldwide sensation. Instead of a third-person perspective, matches unfold from a side-scroller view. The rules

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Psyonix, the team behind the immensely popular Rocket League, has announced a new game called Rocket League Sideswipe, and it’s coming to iOS and Android later this year.

The new standalone title adapts the formula that made Rocket League such a worldwide sensation. Instead of a third-person perspective, matches unfold from a side-scroller view. The rules of the game are still the same: drive the soccer ball into the opposing team’s goal.

“In Rocket League Sideswipe, players compete from a new perspective on the field in 1v1 or 2v2 matches,” Psyonix said. “Games will be fast-paced, 2-minute matches that you can play with friends near or far thanks to online play.”

While Rocket League Sideswipe offers a relatively pared-down experience compared to its older brother, Psyonix said the game still offers advanced mechanics, including vehicle customization and an online ranking system for competitive play. Based on the gameplay video, the spirit of Rocket League is very much intact on mobile — complete with the same heart-pumping soundtrack. With matches that are two minutes, this looks like the perfect way to kill time while you wait in line.

Since its release in 2015, Rocket League has become one of the most popular games globally, particularly in the esports scene. Recently, the game transitioned to a free-to-play model, making it more accessible to people worldwide. Considering how prevalent smartphones are these days, Rocket League Sideswipe has the potential to become an even bigger phenomenon than the original. It’s just surprising that it took this long to happen.

Psyonix said it’s targeting a worldwide launch for the game later this year but didn’t share an exact timeframe. However, players in Australia and New Zealand will soon have the opportunity to join a limited-time regional alpha test on Android via the Google Play Store. Once that’s available, we’ll let you know.

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Texas detective says the data encryption of modern Android phones is superior to iPhones https://www.xda-developers.com/data-encryption-modern-android-phones-superior-iphones/ https://www.xda-developers.com/data-encryption-modern-android-phones-superior-iphones/#respond Thu, 30 Jan 2020 08:47:46 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=291653 The US government has been trying to pressure companies like Apple to create a backdoor in its smartphones to help law enforcement agencies access encrypted data when needed. Such a backdoor could help agencies gather crucial information about a detainee, which can then be used as evidence in a court of law. However, critics have

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The US government has been trying to pressure companies like Apple to create a backdoor in its smartphones to help law enforcement agencies access encrypted data when needed. Such a backdoor could help agencies gather crucial information about a detainee, which can then be used as evidence in a court of law. However, critics have argued that giving the government easy access to smartphone data defeats the entire purpose of encrypting it in the first place. Apple, among other companies, has refused to cooperate so far. But a recent report from Vice claims that the government has been doing a decent job of cracking smartphone encryption even without their help when it comes to most iPhones. Android smartphones, however, have been getting increasingly more difficult to crack.

The report cites statements from Detective Rex Kiser, who conducts digital forensic examinations for the Fort Worth Police Department. In his statement, Kiser said, “A year ago we couldn’t get into iPhones, but we could get into all the Androids. Now we can’t get into a lot of the Androids.” The report further reveals that Cellebrite — a company that government agencies hire to crack smartphones — already has a tool that can crack iPhone encryption all the way up to the iPhone X. The tool can successfully get investigators access to data such as GPS records, messages, call logs, contacts, or even data from specific apps like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, which can be used to prosecute criminals.

However, the same Cellebrite tool hasn’t seen much success with Android encryption on a variety of handsets. For instance, the tool wasn’t able to extract any social media, internet browsing, or GPS data from devices like the Google Pixel 2, which features a tamper-resistant hardware security module, and the Samsung Galaxy S9. And in the case of the Huawei P20 Pro, the software didn’t get access to anything at all. To this Kiser told Vice that, “Some of the newer operating systems are harder to get data from than others … I think a lot of these [phone] companies are just trying to make it harder for law enforcement to get data from these phones … under the guise of customer privacy.”

But the aforementioned information doesn’t mean your Android device is uncrackable. Even though Cellebrite’s tool doesn’t work on some Android devices, it doesn’t mean investigators can’t extract the data they need for an investigation. The process is just a bit more labor-intensive and takes more time. According to Vice’s sources, even brand new devices like the iPhone 11 Pro Max can be cracked, but the process isn’t as easy as hooking up the device to a cracking tool to get the job done. Nonetheless, the report still does suggest that some Android phones are more difficult to crack than iPhones, making them a safer alternative if security and privacy are major concerns.


Source: Vice

Via: Android Authority

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HMD Global’s Nokia 400 could be the first feature phone with Android https://www.xda-developers.com/hmd-global-nokia-400-4g-feature-phone-android/ https://www.xda-developers.com/hmd-global-nokia-400-4g-feature-phone-android/#respond Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:45:25 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=291526 Android was originally designed to be used with keys but the introduction of the iPhone tipped the balance of the smartphone industry towards touchscreens. So, since its launch in 2008, Android devices has relied on touchscreens. With the growing demand to be online, smartphone companies have previously launched super-affordable Android Go edition smartphones and even

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Android was originally designed to be used with keys but the introduction of the iPhone tipped the balance of the smartphone industry towards touchscreens. So, since its launch in 2008, Android devices has relied on touchscreens. With the growing demand to be online, smartphone companies have previously launched super-affordable Android Go edition smartphones and even feature phones that support 4G. HMD Global is among the companies that set foot early in this segment and dished out feature phones running KaiOS as well as cheap smartphones running Android Go edition. But now, HMD Global could be preparing the Nokia 400 4G which is a feature phone that runs on a touchless version of Android.

The supposed Nokia phone with model number TA-1208 was spotted on the Wi-Fi Alliance website. The phone originally appeared on the website in August 2019 but the listing was updated very recently adding more information. It is interesting to see that the operating system in the listing is as “GAFP.” While we’re not sure what GAFP implies, the acronym was last seen on a leaked feature phone last year.

In July 2019, 9t05Google shared an image of the first feature phone running Android, claiming it was sent to them by an anonymous tipster. While there was no branding on the phone, the keypad looked “suspiciously similar” to a Nokia feature phone. Two months later, 9to5Google secured a hands-on video of the allegedly Android-powered featured phone and under the About Phone header is where we came across the mention of “Iron GAFP.” In the video, the interface looked a lot like Android. While the full video has been deleted from both – Vimeo and YouTube, we still have a 6-second snippet that shows how the Google Assistant might work on the phone.

Joining the dots together, we strongly feel that Nokia is working on this project and expect to see a glimpse at MWC 2020. If that doesn’t happen, we can surely expect to see something at Google I/O conference which is scheduled for May 2020. As for the full form of the abbreviation, we have an inkling it might be “Google Android for Feature Phones” or “Google Apps for Feature Phones” but we’d like to wait until we have more reliable information about the project.


Source: Wi-Fi Alliance

Via: LoveNokia

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Google Chrome is getting a grid tab layout, tab hover previews, in-search answers, and themes https://www.xda-developers.com/google-chrome-grid-tab-layout-tab-hover-previews-themes/ https://www.xda-developers.com/google-chrome-grid-tab-layout-tab-hover-previews-themes/#respond Thu, 19 Sep 2019 17:00:41 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=276234 With Made by Google 2019 just around the corner, you would expect all the announcements coming out of the tech giant to be hardware-related. But the latest news from the company is that Google Chrome is getting some pretty significant updates this Fall. And it’s not just to the desktop browser, we’re seeing changes to

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With Made by Google 2019 just around the corner, you would expect all the announcements coming out of the tech giant to be hardware-related. But the latest news from the company is that Google Chrome is getting some pretty significant updates this Fall. And it’s not just to the desktop browser, we’re seeing changes to the Android app, too.

Chrome Tabs

It can be very easy to lose track of tabs in Chrome for Android. The current cascade-style can result in a lot of information getting lost, and if you have a lot of tabs open, it can be difficult to navigate quickly. This new update changes the style from cascade to a grid. The grid layout is far easier on the eyes and conveys a lot more information. You can easily see thumbnails for all the tabs and it’s far less clumsy to select a tab.

Grouping tabs has also been introduced. Grouping is simple, just drag and drop one tab on top of another. After opening a tab from one of the groups, you can easily switch between other tabs in the group using a new switcher located at the bottom of the screen.

Chrome Tabs Grid

Tabs are also getting some updates on the desktop version of Chrome. If you use your PC a lot, you might have run into the issue where you have so many tabs open in your browser that you can no longer see their titles, just the icons. This new update brings the ability to preview tabs by hovering over them with the cursor. Currently, it only brings up the page title, but Google plans to implement a preview of the full page very soon.

Chrome Tab Previews

The final change that we’re seeing to tabs is what’s essentially tab sharing. Chrome will now allow you to send tabs from one device to another – provided that you’re signed in to the receiving device and have sync enabled. This much-needed feature eliminates the classic – but clumsy – “send the link to myself” method. We’ve seen this feature already begin to roll out to Chrome for Android.

A more useful search bar

We’re used to seeing some instant answers in the search bar. Stuff like basic addition provides answers where you would normally see the suggestions bar. Google is adding to this functionality in this latest update. Now, you can get updates on the weather, sporting event results, and even translations for foreign words – right in the search bar.

Speaking of translations, Chrome prompts translation tools when it thinks you need them. There’s now also a translation button in the search bar and in the Chrome menu.

Chrome Themes

Keeping the focus in and around the search bar, Google is adding new customization options to the tab page. New designs – so far we’ve only seen a floral one – are being included, alongside the ability to change the color of the entire browser UI.

Chrome Color Customisation

Of course, similar options have been available for years now through the Chrome Web Store, but it’s nice to see Google adding a little more in-house customization features.

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The History of Printing on Android and how the Mopria Alliance made it better https://www.xda-developers.com/history-of-printing-in-android/ https://www.xda-developers.com/history-of-printing-in-android/#respond Mon, 07 May 2018 19:00:48 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=216920 Prior to the debut of Android 8.0 Oreo’s Default Print Service, printing documents on Android was easier said than done. Google’s mobile operating system didn’t gain native printer support until Android 4.4 KitKat, and with the exception of third-party solutions from the likes of Samsung, setting up a printer required vendor-specific plugins and drivers. But

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Prior to the debut of Android 8.0 Oreo’s Default Print Service, printing documents on Android was easier said than done. Google’s mobile operating system didn’t gain native printer support until Android 4.4 KitKat, and with the exception of third-party solutions from the likes of Samsung, setting up a printer required vendor-specific plugins and drivers. But thanks to the Mopria Alliance, a consortium of smartphone and printer manufacturers, Android’s compatibility with printers has improved by leaps and bounds. Android Oreo supports an astounding 97 percent of the printers on the market—over 100 million—plus features such as duplex printing, Wi-Fi Direct printing, orientation, and paper size adjustment.

But just what does the Mopria Alliance have to do with mobile printing, and what’s in store for future versions of Android? Here’s a brief history of the Android print framework, and a preview of improvements in the pipeline.

Printing on Android with Android 4.4 KitKat

Android KitKat print menu.

Early versions of Android didn’t natively support printing. Printing a document, image, or anything else from a pre-KitKat Android smartphone or tablet required downloading a third-party tool such as Google Cloud Print, pulling up the document in another app, and using Android’s Share menu to pass it to the aforementioned tool. Needless to say, it wasn’t an elegant solution—especially compared to Apple’s AirPrint and other up-and-coming competitors.

Android’s printer service needed a makeover, and Google got around to it in 2013. Android 4.4 KitKat marked the debut of APIs for managing printers and a native Android printing platform. The nascent Android Print Framework had a UI with drop-down menus for printer and page selection, and a print manager that passed printing requests from apps to available printer services.

Printer manufacturers weren’t constricted to the new print manager, of course. They could use the APIs to develop their own print services and distribute them through Google Play, and many did, including HP, Canon, Epson, and Brother. App developers, meanwhile, had the freedom to add print actions to apps or implement the new print APIs to create, cancel, and check the status of ongoing print jobs.

Here’s how Android’s print stack worked back then (and how it still works today, largely): When a user fired off a print job from within an app, the app made API calls to the Android Print Framework, which in turn made calls to a print service. (One of those API calls was to Google’s PDF renderer, which generated a paginated PDF version of the file to be printed.) The print service then completed a handshake with the printer, which began the printing process.

Unfortunately, KitKat’s new printing platform was the very definition of bare bones. Android 5.0 Lollipop improved on it with a Material Design-inspired menu with a print preview and drop-down selectors for paper size, color, orientation, and page range. And Android 7.0 Nougat brought with it new API calls that surfaced the status of print jobs, allowing apps to display indicators of printing progress. (In previous versions of Android, it wasn’t immediately apparent.) But Android’s print stack didn’t come into its own until Oreo.

Improvements in printing on Android 8.0 Oreo thanks to the Mopria Alliance

The Mopria Alliance, a global non-profit mobile printing standards body, might not have much in the way of brand recognition, but it’s hardly the new kid on the block. In the five years since its founding, it has recruited printer and productivity heavyweights including Adobe, Konica Minolta, Qualcomm, Lexmark, Kyocera, Dell, and Toshiba, all of which have committed to supporting core printing technologies, features, and services across mobile devices.

Brent Richtsmeier, chairman of the Mopria Alliance Steering Committee, told XDA-Developers that Mopria’s technology is installed on over 750 million devices different mobile devices, and that it delivers 1.4 million pages to printers every day. “As the world becomes more connected […] it’s very clear that everything is interconnected and more mobile, but people still need to print,” Mr. Richtsmeier said.

To that end, Mopria teamed up with Android OEMs such as Samsung—a founding member of the Mopria Alliance—ZTE, Huawei, and Amazon to ship tablets and smartphones with the Mopria Print Library (MLP), Mopria’s suite of developer tools. One fruit of its labor is the Samsung Print Service, a mobile printing tool for the Android Print Framework that comes pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, S6, S7, S8, and S9. (Mr. Richtsmeier says that it has approximately 400 million monthly active users.) Another is ZTE’s Axon 7 and Axon 7 Max, which shipped in China preloaded with the Mopria Print Service.

Simultaneously, Mopria embarked on a collaboration with Google to merge its technologies with the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) codebase. In the years following the release of KitKat, it contributed thousands of lines of code culminating in Android Oreo’s new and improved Default Print Service.

The Default Print Service in Android 8.0 Oreo supports standard print settings such as color adjustment, media type selection, and copying. It’s free and easy to use, but also doesn’t preclude developers from creating their own Mopria-certified products.

Going the custom route is relatively easy, according to Mr. Richtsmeier. Joining the Mopria Alliance is the first step—a small licensing fee’s involved. Then, developers have a couple of options: (1) Compile the Mopria Library with their own code, (2) use the codebase that Mopria licenses to all members of the Mopria Alliance, or (3) use Mopria’s existing AOSP code to write a custom solution.

Once the code is in place, next comes the testing. Mopria Alliance members have access to toolsets for compliance testing, including automated device-specific and printer tests. Once the necessary tests have been run and the data collected, the results must be sent off to a Mopria engineer, who reviews them to ensure that the code behaves as expected and checks all the necessary boxes. If all goes well, the app’s deemed Mopria-certified.

The Future of Printing on Android

Android’s printing platform has come a long way since the pre-KitKat era, when janky workarounds (usually involving the Share menu) were the only way to print something—short of transferring files to a printer-connected PC, of course.

That said, Android Oreo’s Default Print Service conspicuously lacks enterprise features such as punching, folding, stapling, PIN authentication, or accounting features. It also doesn’t support “share to print”—there’s no easy way to print something from Android’s Share menu. (Mr. Richtsmeier blames the latter problem with a bug in Android’s WebView class a year ago, which delayed implementation.)

Android Printing Mopria

Feature difference between Android Oreo’s Default Print Service and the Mopria app. Source: Mopria.

Third-party print services such as Mopria’s own standalone Mopria Print Service, which is available for free from the Google Play Store, help to fill the functionality gap, adding features such as input tray selection, Bluetooth printing, ad hoc Wi-Fi printing, and direct USB-OTG printing. But that’s not much consolation for users in countries with spotty internet infrastructure, or where the Google Play Store isn’t available.

Mopria Print Service (Free, Google Play) →

Signs of improvement are on the horizon, thankfully, as Android P will be bridging the feature gap somewhat.

Several commits in the Android Gerrit submitted late last year by Mopria developers point to support for IPPS-only printers. IPPS is an HTTPS-based secure implementation of the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) that allows apps to send print jobs, query print job status, and more with internet-connected printers.

And in January, Mopria developers began laying the groundwork for another nice-to-have: Wi-Fi Direct printing. Currently, the Default Print Service on Android supports only local wireless infrastructure connections through a router or hotspot, but new commits add support for connections directly between Android smartphones and tablets and Wi-Fi Direct-compatible printers. With Wi-Fi Direct, there’s no pairing required, and unlike Wi-Fi hotspots, some printers don’t even require a password.

Mr. Richtsmeier said that Mopria developers have also supplied code for manually adding printers.

“There have been studies done that show that eighty percent of millennials, who make up the majority of the workforce, do their jobs with mobile technology, but that only 33 percent of them say that those mobile technologies are meeting their needs,” Mr. Richtsmeier said, “and printing is something people look at as a key thing that happens in the office. Mopria is trying to fill that gap [and] meet [those] needs.”

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Google’s Former Head of Android Platform Security is now working on Fuchsia https://www.xda-developers.com/google-head-of-android-platform-security-fuschia/ https://www.xda-developers.com/google-head-of-android-platform-security-fuschia/#respond Fri, 23 Feb 2018 21:44:11 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=209113 While most of us are focused on Google’s Android operating system, Google has quietly been working on another operating system called Fuchsia. We’ve seen it slowly progress over the years to the point where it can actually be installed on existing hardware—namely, the Google Pixelbook. We have a lot to learn about the fledgling OS

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While most of us are focused on Google’s Android operating system, Google has quietly been working on another operating system called Fuchsia. We’ve seen it slowly progress over the years to the point where it can actually be installed on existing hardware—namely, the Google Pixelbook. We have a lot to learn about the fledgling OS and what Google plans to do with it, so we’re keeping up with every little piece of information that we can learn about the OS. Some big news regarding Fuchsia’s future has been unveiled today, but it’s not about the OS itself. Rather, it’s about the people who are shaping it.

Today, Nick Kralevich, Google’s Head of Android Platform Security for 9 years, has announced that he is no longer working on Android. Instead, he has shifted his focus towards Fuchsia. He is succeeded by Rene Mayrhofer on the Android Platform Security team.

The ThreatPost article quoted in his farewell mentions how Google has closed the gap between itself and Apple in regards to security on its mobile OS. With new initiatives like the Android Enterprise Recommended program which will ensure that certified smartphones remain up-to-date on security patches, we can look forward to a future of more secure Android smartphones.

As for Fuchsia, what exactly this personnel change means for its future is something we can’t really predict, but regardless it is clear that Google is putting together a team of really talented people to oversee its creation. We hope that as time goes by, we will see more functional versions of the OS on usable hardware, so we can really get a taste of what it will offer. Whether or not it will be the rumored successor to Android is something that only time will tell. For now, I think Android, and Fuchsia, are in good hands.

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Textto lets you send Text Messages through your PC without changing your SMS app https://www.xda-developers.com/textto-sms-messaging-app/ https://www.xda-developers.com/textto-sms-messaging-app/#respond Thu, 22 Feb 2018 19:30:46 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=208887 Tight integration between the devices you use every day contributes to a great overall user experience. While SMS might not be as popular in many countries around the world, it’s still extremely popular in the United States. That’s why many Americans were pleased at the news that Google might bring Android Messages to the web.

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Tight integration between the devices you use every day contributes to a great overall user experience. While SMS might not be as popular in many countries around the world, it’s still extremely popular in the United States. That’s why many Americans were pleased at the news that Google might bring Android Messages to the web. It’s nice to be able to text someone without having to pull your phone out of your pocket, after all. For those of you who don’t want to wait for Google to update Android Messages, there’s a new application called Textto that makes this possible already, and it’s free to use.

Apps that let you text from your PC have been around for a while. In fact, several popular SMS applications have companion apps for Windows that offer this feature. But most have a downside: they require you to switch from your default SMS app. It’s a dealbreaker for some people. Luckily, Textto doesn’t.

The application comes from XDA Junior Member textto, and it’s available for free. Setup is easy: just download it and sign into your Google account, then visit https://textto.io/login and sign in with the same Google account you used earlier. That’s it.

For those who’d rather avoid a web solution, Textto has a dedicated Windows program you can download from here.

Textto may not be unique, but it stands out from the competition. Pushbullet allows you to send SMS messages from a PC, but the feature is behind a paywall—you’re limited to 100 texts per month. Join is another popular application that offers sending SMS from your PC, but it’s not jam-packed with options.

Textto, by contrast, offers features like group conversations, emoji search, and more.

Here’s a full list of features:

  • Works with any texting app
  • SMS messaging
  • MMS messaging
  • Sending photos from your computer
  • Group conversations
  • Searching for emojis
  • Simple sign in

…and more are on the way. According to the forum post, native apps for Linux and Mac are nearly finished, and the mobile app will soon get a dark theme, improved contact syncing, and link previews. You can download Textto on your Android phone from the Play Store, but be sure to check out the forum thread to give feedback to the developer directly.

SendLeap - Text From Your Computer (Free, Google Play) →


Check out Textto in our Apps and Games forum

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Chrome OS and Android Integration may go beyond SMS according to the latest commits https://www.xda-developers.com/chrome-os-android-integration-sms/ https://www.xda-developers.com/chrome-os-android-integration-sms/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:53:12 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=208426 When the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were released, there was a rather interesting system app that was pre-installed on the two devices. Called “SMS Connect,” the app will presumably help you sync your SMS with a Chromebook. While the app is currently non-functional, its setup activity can be accessed which allows us

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When the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were released, there was a rather interesting system app that was pre-installed on the two devices. Called “SMS Connect,” the app will presumably help you sync your SMS with a Chromebook. While the app is currently non-functional, its setup activity can be accessed which allows us to see exactly what the app does. Furthermore, we can also enable a flag on Chrome OS that reveals the corresponding setting that toggles SMS Connect on Chromebooks.

Android Chrome OS SMS Sync Integration Android Chrome OS SMS Sync Integration Android Chrome OS SMS Sync Integration

SMS Connect app on the Google Pixel 2 XL running Android 8.1 Oreo

Android Chrome OS SMS Sync Integration

SMS Connect setting on Chrome OS

Although the SMS sync feature is not yet live, there are hints that Google is planning to integrate an Android device with a Chromebook even further. According to a commit we found in the Chromium gerrit, Google is working on a set of features they are internally calling “Better Together.”

Android Chrome OS SMS Sync Integration

A new flag is being worked on, that, when enabled, will show a menu in Chrome OS settings for “unified Better Together settings.” The flag description states that it will allow a Chromebook to “setup all Better Together services in a single workflow.” Note the “service” that I emphasized—thus far, all we’ve known about is SMS integration, but there could be more coming such as notification or files sync (at least, we hope so).

So how do we know that this flag is related to SMS Connect? That’s because it is filed under the label [CrOS MultiDevice], which also refers to the flags to enable SMS Connect (or at least, show the settings UI for it). Hence, it’s clear that “Better Together” is related to SMS Connect, though we don’t know what kind of “services” may fall under its purview apart from SMS Connect.

The addition of this flag is rather curious, as we’ve previously seen hints that Android Messages may allow for texting over desktop browsers. In addition to that potential feature, it looks like Google may give Chrome OS owners some added benefits if they also own an Android device. It’s possible that Google may restrict “Better Together” features to work only on the Google Pixel phones—at least initially. If you are among the many who own a Windows 10 PC, you can use apps like PushBullet, Join, or Cortana to sync your Android smartphone right now with your computer.

Pushbullet - SMS on PC and more (Free+, Google Play) →

Join by joaoapps (Free+, Google Play) →

Microsoft Cortana – Digital assistant (Free, Google Play) →

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Opinion: Android is a Mess, But the Solution is Simpler Than You Think https://www.xda-developers.com/andromedaos-modular-android-proposal/ https://www.xda-developers.com/andromedaos-modular-android-proposal/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:00:25 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=197508 Android is a mess. Don’t get me wrong — there are definitely wonderful and beautiful things about Google’s mobile operating system. However, the amount of fragmentation between stock Android and OEM skins has gotten out of hand. Depending on whether you use a phone from Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo, ZTE, or OnePlus, you’re guaranteed to

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Android is a mess.

Don’t get me wrong — there are definitely wonderful and beautiful things about Google’s mobile operating system. However, the amount of fragmentation between stock Android and OEM skins has gotten out of hand. Depending on whether you use a phone from Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo, ZTE, or OnePlus, you’re guaranteed to get a massive difference in user experience – and that’s not always a good thing. Besides the obvious discrepancies in user interfaces, the availability of software updates, security patches, and major version upgrades varies immensely manufacturer to manufacturer.

It’s not uncommon to see a company put out a phone, keep it up-to-date for a couple months, and put it on the back-burner in favor of the “next big thing.” Take the Moto E (2015), for instance. It launched with Lollipop, and it hasn’t been updated to Marshmallow or newer since. The OnePlus 2 was touted as a “flagship killer” in 2015, but it never tasted Nougat. Worst case scenario, OEMs feel that major updates are “optional” — Lenovo saw no reason to update the Moto G4, for example, despite the fact that its hardware supports newer versions of Android.

Android

The heavy skins that some OEMs slap on their phones undoubtedly slow things down. It’s how they differentiate their devices from every other Android smartphone out there. And to be fair, some are pretty darn useful — Samsung’s TouchWiz, Xiaomi’s MIUI, Huawei’s Emotion UI, and others have their advantages. But they often come at the cost of battery life, performance, and storage space. Back in the early days, Android may have needed a bit of help from OEMs to fill in the feature and functionality gaps, but now it’s matured to the point where it can stand on its own.

Sometimes, manufacturers aren’t the ones to blame. Carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint sometimes get in the way of updates. They often take their time certifying new software for their respective network. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, for example, was updated on Verizon before it was updated on AT&T, and Sprint’s historically taken twice as long as AT&T with updates.

So we’ve established that Android devices don’t offer a consistent experience, aren’t always supported by the manufacturer, and are subject to the whims of carriers. What can be done to get them back on track?

AndromedaOS, a Top-Down Redesign of Android

I propose what I call “AndromedaOS”, a complete redesign of the way Android and Google Mobile Services — the collection of Google applications and APIs that support functionality across smartphones — is handled.

(Editor’s note: Despite the name, AndromedaOS idea has nothing to do with Chrome OS and Android’s rumored merger, nor is it related to Andromeda of rootless Substratum fame.)

Many things about Android would stay the same. Google would announce new versions of Android early in the year, as it does now, and release the source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) in the fall. And Google’s Commercial Test Suite — the tools that ensure smartphones and tablets adhere to Android’s hardware guidelines — would remain mostly the same. Finally, Android Go, Google’s optimised OS for lower-cost phones in emerging markets, would be renamed AndromedaGo for the sake of consistency.

Android

Credits: Google

But some things would change. The distribution of Android with Google Play Services — that is to say, any firmware preloaded with Google Maps, Gmail, and Google’s Android application framework — would be renamed AndromedaOS, and Google would handle it much the same way it handles ChromeOS. Releasing software updates, both minor and major, would be Google’s responsibility. No longer would you have to wait for an OEM to get its act together and release a new version of Android for your smartphone — you could update as soon as Google rolled out the new version

If you prefer skins like TouchWiz and MIUI to stock Android, though, AndromedaOS would have you covered, too. Thanks to Android Oreo’s built-in theming engine, OEMs and users could customize the look and feel of their devices to their liking. But every phone no matter the skin would be required to offer a “stock” alternative, and in order to address UI changes in newer versions of Android, Google would allow OEMs plenty of time to update their themes as part of an “AndromedaOS OEM Preview” period (think Android Developer Previews, but for OEMs).

Android

Source: Google

For OEM-level changes to Android more than skin deep, there’d be the Andromeda Module System, a well-documented and extensive set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that would make it extremely easy for OEMs to safely customize their devices. It’d work sort of like Project Treble: Apps, themes, and system frameworks would be updated via the Google Play Store.

TL;DR: AndromedaOS would hand the Android update reins to Google. It’d be much faster and more predictable than the current system, but wouldn’t force OEMs to do away with in-house customizations.

AndromedaOS might sound like a pipe dream, and it’s certainly easier said than done. But look at ChromeOS devices: They’re made by a bevy of third-party partners but get automatic, coordinated updates from Google. That begs the question: Why can’t Android be like that?

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Tips on Making a Killer Game: Interview with the Creators of Trivia Crack https://www.xda-developers.com/trivia-crack-etermax-interview-creator/ https://www.xda-developers.com/trivia-crack-etermax-interview-creator/#comments Mon, 04 Sep 2017 18:00:50 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=185077 The world of mobile development is filled with the ingenuity of coders from all over the globe. In their quest to contribute to what is already out there, sometimes you can come across something so unusual and unique that it takes the world by storm. It happened with Angry Birds, Pokemon Go, Temple Run, Trivia

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The world of mobile development is filled with the ingenuity of coders from all over the globe. In their quest to contribute to what is already out there, sometimes you can come across something so unusual and unique that it takes the world by storm. It happened with Angry Birds, Pokemon Go, Temple Run, Trivia Crack and even with Flappy Bird . All these brought something completely out of the ordinary to the mobile landscape as we know it today, creating new paradigms and spawning thousands of clones.

The question is, how do the creators of these ground breaking titles do it? Or more importantly, how can I do something like that? To answer these and many other questions, we had a talk with the company responsible for one of these games.

Etermax is an Argentina-based company and it’s the creator of Trivia Crack (among other offerings), a quiz game where you challenge friends and strangers to determine who knows more about all sorts of subjects. This game was the most downloaded game in the world shortly after it was released in 2013, and has been downloaded over 250 million times ever since. Because at the time there was nothing quite like it, the game became an instant sensation — and with players from tens of countries joining in the fun, the platform grew at an unprecedented rate. As time went by, the developers started adding more unique features as other similar games started surfacing. These additions allowed the game to sit at the top for quite some time.

Since we wanted to know exactly what Etermax did to appeal to so many people for such a long time, we decided to ask them!


Q: Thank you very much for taking the time to enlighten us into the world of Trivia Crack. What is your name and your role in the company?

A: Hi! glad to be here :). My name is Martin Dominguez and my role is the Chief Infrastructure Officer in Etermax. I take care of the Infrastructure issues for the company along with the developers.

Q: For those people out there who may not be aware of what Trivia Crack is, would you mind talking a little bit about the game?

A: Trivia Crack is a quiz game the involves competing with your friends and other players from around the world in various subjects. You can also suggest your own questions to the game, translate questions into another language or rate other users’ suggested questions. You can even complete unique card series with gems that you obtain by answering questions correctly or buying them through the shop.

Q: How did you/the company come up with the idea for the game? What was the inspiration behind it?

A: We love to make games that ignite a person’s competitive fire. In Argentina we have a whole culture of trivia games (quiz shows, etc) ,so we grew up with that. For us, it was a natural choice.   

Q: How many users/players did the game originally have? (for the first year)

A: The game started slowly until we added the question factory feature, which gave the users the ability to create their own material for the game. We reached a million daily active users near the end of the year, and the growth from that was massive, ultimately allowing us to reach 25 million daily active users.  

Q: What kind of bugs or problems were most common in the earlier versions of the game?

A: When the game started growing rapidly, we had to get rid of some features in the dashboard due to performance problems (nothing vital, just a friends list). We didn’t have any major bugs on the client side, but on the infrastructure side we had to formulate a plan in order to get the architecture working for the huge user base.

Q: Did you/your company expect the sustained growth in its user base?

A: We expected growth, of course, but not at this level. We had the first wave of users from Latin America and when the numbers started to normalize we thought “ok, so that’s it”. Then America and Europe started playing, blowing all of our expectations out of the water.

Q: Piggy backing on the previous question, what is the current player base world wide?

A: We have a lot of users playing trivia crack, not as much as the peak, but still a couple million, with our main player base stationed in the U.S.

Q: How do you upkeep such a massive online platform? What kind of services do you use?

A: We use Amazon Web Services, and if this happened 10 years ago we probably would have crashed from the traffic of the first million users. We needed servers, fast, and without the elasticity of cloud computing the process would have taken more time than we could have afforded to wait to be operative.

Q: In your opinion, what was one of the most crucial factors (from a designer’s/engineer’s perspective) that made the impact which launched the game into stardom?

A: Definitely, the question factory. It gave our users control over the content and that was the game changer that allowed us to enter markets where we didn’t have the manpower or cultural insight to create the right content ourselves.

Q: One of the most important factors for most gamers out there is developer support. In other words, players do not want to feel like they are stranded in a deserted island when they try to report a bug. Do you/your team keep in touch with your user base? How often and by what means?

A: Yes! We do our best to answer all of our users, in any way that they try to reach us. It’s hard work, but we have a whole team dedicated to this task.

Q: Describe one thing that you believe will continue to make the game popular in the foreseeable future.

A: A commitment to progression. If the user feels “stuck in a moment” without any foreseeable signs of an update, they will just quit. We think the users want new experiences every time they open the game and we intend to give those to them.

Q: There are obviously millions of games, many of them even similar to what Trivia Crack has to offer. What do you believe set your game apart from the rest?

A: I think the most successful feature that we offer is the ability for the user to provide their own content. That and a good geographical localization of the users, who helped us to expand the market into countries where we didn’t even know the language, culture, etc.

Q: What advice do you have for starting programmers trying to create the next “Trivia Crack” (popularity wise)?

A: Don’t be afraid to use things (technologies, methodologies) in a different way than everyone else. Try to give your users the capacity to create their own experience and you’ll have a winner on your hands.

Q: Anything exciting planned (that you can freely reveal) for next major revisions?

A: We have a couple of exciting releases for Pictionary (our newest game) and a few others during the year involving experiences in real time.


So, there you have it! If you are willing to move into game development and would love to put out the next king of games, take this sage advise to heart and code away!

(We would like to thank Noah Sandberg and Martin Dominguez for their time and willingness to share their experiences with us. From all of us at the XDA Portal, we wish you all the best of luck!)

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Making a Wrong into a Right: After Violating GPL and Filing for Bankruptcy, Chinese OEM IUNI Releases Source Code https://www.xda-developers.com/gpl-iuni-devices-source-code-release/ https://www.xda-developers.com/gpl-iuni-devices-source-code-release/#comments Sat, 26 Aug 2017 16:10:10 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=183289 There are times in life when making the wrong decisions can have major repercussions in all the spheres that surround you. These repercussions can be so severe that they can literally turn your life upside down and nothing you say or do can change the self-consuming spiral that they set you on. Smartphone company IUNI

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There are times in life when making the wrong decisions can have major repercussions in all the spheres that surround you. These repercussions can be so severe that they can literally turn your life upside down and nothing you say or do can change the self-consuming spiral that they set you on. Smartphone company IUNI learned this the hard way, and as a result they’ve finally decided to comply with the GPL.

This was the case for a relatively small Asian manufacturer called IUNI, which was a small subsidiary company of the much-larger Gionee. As was the case with many Eastern OEMs, IUNI was the proud manufacturer of entry to mid range devices, with phones closely resembling those from Xiaomi, which coincidentally also resembles other manufacturers as well (plagiarism is the ultimate form of flattery after all). The company, unfortunately had a rough start, which ultimately led to its impending doom and eventual demise about a year ago.

One could attribute the death of the brand to the fact that every business has ups and downs, particularly during the first years when most start up companies do whatever they can to break even. IUNI was rather promising with a few devices at very decent and competitive prices and they were, in fact, beginning to make an impact. However, due to the saturation of the Asian market with similar business models, the company couldn’t hold on for too long before giving up. Stake holders began losing their patience, and the rest is history.

If you have read up until this point in the article, you are likely wondering why the closure of a relatively unknown cell phone manufacturer is relevant to GPL. As you are probably aware, GPL is the very foundation on which the entire Linux kernel is based on, which happens to power our devices. This wonderful piece of software is the result of years of world wide collaboration of coders.

Every person who has improved the kernel in any way, shape, or form has shared the fruits of their labor with other coders, who in turn, improved it a little further, and so on and so forth. The continued growth of this chain is what has gotten us to the point where we stand today. We at xda-developers have upheld the GPL and the spirit of open source since Android first came to be almost a decade ago.

Having said all that, there are some people who, due to completely different (and some would say twisted) view of the world, believe that things like the Linux kernel (and really most open source code) is there for the taking. We all know who to blame and because it would take a rather long time to mention all of them in this piece, we will not be focusing on individual companies. However, as I stated at the beginning, actions have consequences. IUNI thought it would be simple to just grab the open source code that makes Android what it is today, add their own modifications, close it off, and try to profit from it. After all, lots of bigger players were doing that at the time. Lo and behold, two years into it and the company went under — perhaps not from wholly-related reasons, but went under all the same. Closing themselves in like that in this case prevented, though, the company from having the necessary reach into the open source community, which ultimately is what made the very thing they were working on.

While this may seem like it is my personal opinion on the matter, it isn’t (although, I completely agree with it). The reason for this article altogether is because a few days ago, a representative from the (now defunct) company reached out to us, and this is what he had to say:

We want to convey to the community that we had unfairly kept the open source code instead of sharing it.
If we had shared it from the start we would surely not be there right now.
The IUNI U3 would surely have been the biggest One Plus rival at this time if the sources had been released.
We might not be dead at the present time…
However, before completely disappearing, we must repair injustices.

We release the source code of devices that we still have in possessions:
https://gitlab.com/iuni

And we call on the former developer to share the sources of the society in their possessions to the community.

Download it, distribute it, study it, modify it and let the company keep on living through sharing!

Finally, we have a game, a challenge to launch to the community!
If using these sources you (the community) manage to bring the IUNI U3 to the latest version of android stock we will share a last surprise that will be grand before we completely disappear.

For it is in uniqueness that we forge our own personality.
That each of us is unique.

With love,
IUNI

There are several points to take away from such a message. The first, and likely the most obvious one, is that despite the fact that the company went under, people working on IUNI were conscious enough to understand that what they were doing was fundamentally wrong (more than likely due to directives from the top of the food chain). Most open source coders understand this concept, no matter where they are from. Choosing to follow the correct path is what separates the ones who continue on from the ones who do not.

Whether or not this particular offering (speaking strictly about the U3) would have been a direct contender to OnePlus is something that we cannot really answer (not without having done a side by side comparison anyways). However, on paper, it could have given OP a run for their money (big emphasis with the “on paper”). The openness of manufacturers like OnePlus with the open source community is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the main reasons behind the company being where it currently sits and not buried along the rest of the lesser Asian OEMs. It helped them tremendously with word-of-mouth, and it continuously enables the company to “secure” a subset of customers interested in modifying their devices. If IUNI wanted to be like OnePlus, but missed that crucial community-building element, then not abiding by the GPL might’ve negatively impacted their strategy.

Last but not least… the challenge. At this point in time, IUNI has absolutely nothing to lose (nor to gain), so they figured they’d release all the source code they had to feed back into the open source community.

So, moral of the story: the GPL (and open source in general) is there for a reason. It can be your best friend and together you may grow old together. However, if you cross it (and all the millions of coders behind it), you will likely fail the endeavors you try to embark on — especially if you think you can attract customers interested in mod-friendly devices.

If you are interested in taking this new source for a spin, please visit the announcement’s official thread.


 

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Sony Loses Class Action Lawsuit in Waterproof Claims for Original Xperia Z Line https://www.xda-developers.com/sony-lawsuit-waterproof-xperia-z/ https://www.xda-developers.com/sony-lawsuit-waterproof-xperia-z/#comments Mon, 21 Aug 2017 17:30:52 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=184378 Arguably, one of the pioneers in the consumer sector for more “rugged” devices (or at the very least IP certification) has to be Sony. Back in 2012, they introduced the Xperia Z line of the devices, which marked a turning point for Sony in most of its philosophy as well as its design language. They completely

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Arguably, one of the pioneers in the consumer sector for more “rugged” devices (or at the very least IP certification) has to be Sony. Back in 2012, they introduced the Xperia Z line of the devices, which marked a turning point for Sony in most of its philosophy as well as its design language.

They completely overhauled the look and feel of the devices they had in favor of the glass slab that they offer even in today’s phones and tablets. Despite its fragile appearance, most of their offerings were drop-tested and were able to withstand a substantial amount of mistreatment. On top of all that, the Sony Xperia Z was the first commercially available phone from Sony to me, marketed as “water resistant” with an IP56 rating for water and dust ingress (which isn’t really much, but at least it would keep your phone going in spite of an accidental drop in the beach or in the pool). However, the phone was advertised in such a way that it it looked as if the device was waterproof and not water resistant (there is a big difference). This led to a lot of water-damaged devices, which Sony did nothing about and eventually, a class action lawsuit was filed (and won) against Sony.

People used to do all sorts of crazy things with the phones. Everything from dropping them on concrete, to dunking them on glasses of water, wine, beer, hot chocolate, and there is even a video in Youtube of someone cooking the device in soup (because why not, right?) Then, you had the more “sane” ones (like yours truly) who would simply use the device, at most to take pictures in a pool (at around 2 inches in depth) to test how the camera would perform under water. There were some precautions that needed to be taken before the water activities took place, like for instance making sure all the access ports were securely closed to prevent water ingress. Personally, I always did it with my phone. However, one day, my Xperia Z simply stopped working.

I decided to have a close look at the ports (which had multiple water detecting strips) to see if maybe I had forgotten to close the lids as per manufacturer instructions. The water indicators were white as snow, which means that either the device was failing for a different reason or water had gone in through a different place. Upon closer inspection of the device, I noticed that the back glass panel of the phone was raised and could actually be pressed back into place only for it to pop up again. The area was right around where the processor was placed (a Snapdragon S4 Pro) and it was no surprise as there were reported overheating issues with the device.

Upon closer inspection, I found that the glass on the back was warped, likely because of the heat coming from the chipset, which also likely loosened the glue thus compromising seals in place to prevent water from getting in. With all this information (as well as a myriad of complains about similar issues in our forum as well as Sony’s official forum), I decided to send my device over to Sony for a warranty repair. About 2 weeks later, I received an e-mail update from Sony stating that my device was on its way back to me and that I was correct in my assumption as the technicians had found rust caused by water shorting some components inside the device. However, because it was me who used the device under water, they said the damage was my fault and was not covered under the warranty (despite the device supposedly being able to withstand light water immersion). In case you are wondering, they also included the pictures of the water indicators being white in the report, which means that it was not really going in through a user-accessible area (in other words, water did not go in because I did not follow directions). Since my phone had turned into a glass covered paper weight, I decided to sell it on eBay for spares (as the screen and everything else was immaculate.)

Fast forward a few years, as it turns out most other people who suffered a similar fate did not sit idly and decided to file a Class Action lawsuit against Sony. According to the settlement, there were 24 models affected (ironically, the original Z is not listed as being one of them) starting from the ZR, which was a close cousin of the original Z and going all the way to the Xperia Z5, along with a few tablets as well. The settlement goes on to state that there are a few things that, if you were affected, you can opt for:

  • Warranty extension for up to a year if the device is within warranty period;
  • Warranty extension for up to 6 months if the device is no longer under warranty;
  • Up to 50% of MSRP as refund for compensation if the device is listed among the ones on the Sony lawsuit;

If you are going for the cash alternative, you do have a deadline to meet, which is January 30, 2018. Whichever course of action you do decide to take, please make sure that you understand the entire lawsuit document before doing anything!


Did you get affected by this or any other similar marketing claims? Please share your experiences in the comments below!

Source: Landes v. Sony Mobile Communications site Via: PhoneArena

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Easy Lock Brings Double Tap To Sleep To Any Device (No Root) https://www.xda-developers.com/easy-lock-double-tap-to-sleep/ https://www.xda-developers.com/easy-lock-double-tap-to-sleep/#comments Wed, 05 Jul 2017 14:00:10 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=178974 The popular double-tap-to-sleep feature has been a staple of custom ROMs for a while. Unfortunately, users of locked devices can’t make use of the feature if their device lacks such functionality in its stock ROM. XDA Senior Member aravindsagar created an Easy Lock app, to replicate the function so that it can be utilized on unrooted devices.

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The popular double-tap-to-sleep feature has been a staple of custom ROMs for a while. Unfortunately, users of locked devices can’t make use of the feature if their device lacks such functionality in its stock ROM.

XDA Senior Member aravindsagar created an Easy Lock app, to replicate the function so that it can be utilized on unrooted devices. The app runs on every device with Android 4.0+ and offers a host of configuration options. To use the application, you need to grant it special permissions. Head over to the forum thread to find more details.


Get Easy Lock app!

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Latest Alpha Build of CrossOver Android Released With Android Nougat Support https://www.xda-developers.com/latest-alpha-build-of-crossover-android-released-with-android-nougat-support/ https://www.xda-developers.com/latest-alpha-build-of-crossover-android-released-with-android-nougat-support/#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:36:21 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=177770 If you are familiar with GNU/Linux-based operating systems, you have almost certainly heard of Wine. This great project allows you to run Windows applications without the need of installing a virtual machine. CrossOver Android is a similar concept, but it’s made for Android tablets and Chromebooks running Intel hardware to allow these platforms to run

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If you are familiar with GNU/Linux-based operating systems, you have almost certainly heard of Wine. This great project allows you to run Windows applications without the need of installing a virtual machine. CrossOver Android is a similar concept, but it’s made for Android tablets and Chromebooks running Intel hardware to allow these platforms to run full-fledged Windows software. The latest alpha build, version 4, has been released with support for Android Nougat.

CodeWeavers, the company behind the project, released an initial alpha of the CrossOver Android project almost a year ago. Since then, this project has matured and now the fourth Alpha is available. Here is the full change log for the CrossOver Preview application from the Google Play Store:

We now support Android N!

Several fixes for Office on Chromebooks are included in this release.

We also now support 64-bit file offsets, allowing for use of very large files.

CrossOver’s UI has further enhancements, and we have improved our feature for gathering debug logs during testing.

We have many other fixes in this release.

Although the hardware within Intel-based Android tablets or Chromebooks isn’t sufficient to run many modern Steam games, there are still plenty of Windows games and applications that you can take advantage of. You can easily use Microsoft Office 2013 or play some lighter games for Windows.

CrossOver looks like a decent solution for those users who need Windows just to run a few applications. Chromebooks are cheap and relatively efficient devices, so enhancing their compatibility with CrossOver seems to be a wise decision. Just note that as of now, only the Acer R11 and Pixel 2015 Chromebooks running the Developer channel can use CrossOver Android until the project expands support for other Chromebooks that support Android applications. If you do have a device that supports CrossOver Android, all you need to do is sign up for the preview on the project’s website.


Source: @CodeWeavers Via: AndroidPolice

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It’s Now Possible to Boot Android on i.MX6 Platforms Without Proprietary Blobs https://www.xda-developers.com/its-now-possible-to-boot-android-on-i-mx6-platforms-without-proprietary-blobs/ https://www.xda-developers.com/its-now-possible-to-boot-android-on-i-mx6-platforms-without-proprietary-blobs/#comments Mon, 12 Jun 2017 19:30:49 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=176370 In order to make Android boot on most hardware platforms, developers usually have to mix open-source code with proprietary files. These so-called blobs are distributed by vendors to support some platform-specific features. Robert Foss from Collabora reported that is now possible to boot Android on i.MX6 platforms without the use of proprietary blobs at all. Support for buffer modifiers

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In order to make Android boot on most hardware platforms, developers usually have to mix open-source code with proprietary files. These so-called blobs are distributed by vendors to support some platform-specific features. Robert Foss from Collabora reported that is now possible to boot Android on i.MX6 platforms without the use of proprietary blobs at all.

Support for buffer modifiers has been added in both Mesa and gbm_gralloc. Mesa has had support added to many of the buffer allocation functions and to GBM (which is the API provided by Mesa, that gbm_gralloc uses). On the other hand, gbm_gralloc in turn had support added for using a new GBM API call, GBM_BO_IMPORT_FD_MODIFIER, which imports a buffer object as well as accompanying information like modifier used by the buffer object in question.

The NXP’s i.MX6 is one of the many embedded SoCs that no longer requires proprietary blobs at all to boot Android. This makes the i.MX6 more attractive as a development platform, and also lays the groundwork for supporting the i.MX8 platform in the future.

When modifiers are in place they are used to represent different properties of buffers. These properties can cover a range of different information about a buffer, for example, compression and tiling.

For the case of the iMX6 and the Vivante GPU which it is equipped with, the modifiers are related to tiling. The reason being that buffers can be tiled in different ways (Tiled, Super Tiled, etc.) or not at all (Linear). Before sending buffers out to a display, they need to have the associated tiling information made available, so that the actual image that is being sent out is not tiled.

To better understand how all this works, please take a look at the video below to see ZII RDU2 board (i.MX 6QuadPlus) booting Android using the Mesa open-source graphics stack.

While this is a huge win for the open-source, we should not expect many OEMs to start sporting this SoC in their devices. One of the major drawbacks of the platform is its age. The platform was first unveiled in 2011.


Source: Robert Foss at Planet Collabora Via: Softpedia

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Play Music Through Your Phone’s Earpiece With Stealth Audio Player https://www.xda-developers.com/play-music-through-earpiece-with-stealth-audio-player/ https://www.xda-developers.com/play-music-through-earpiece-with-stealth-audio-player/#comments Tue, 30 May 2017 16:30:04 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=175306 Usually, there are two ways of playing music on Android device. You can either use your headphones or a speaker. But how about a third option? XDA Senior Member usman farhat created an interesting app that allows you to listen to music via the built-in phonecalls speaker. This is useful not just for music, but also podcasts,

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Usually, there are two ways of playing music on Android device. You can either use your headphones or a speaker. But how about a third option?

XDA Senior Member usman farhat created an interesting app that allows you to listen to music via the built-in phonecalls speaker. This is useful not just for music, but also podcasts, and comes in handy for when you forgot to bring headphones and do not want to disturb those around you. Currently, the application supports MP3, OGG and WAV files, but the developer plans to enhance its functionality with other formats.


Get the Stealth Audio Player

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Google Is Working On A Chromebook Emulator to Test Android Apps on Large Screens https://www.xda-developers.com/google-is-working-on-a-chromebook-emulator-to-test-android-apps-on-large-screens/ https://www.xda-developers.com/google-is-working-on-a-chromebook-emulator-to-test-android-apps-on-large-screens/#comments Sat, 20 May 2017 15:20:18 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=174488 Google is working on an emulator that will allow developers to test their applications on large screens without an actual Chrome OS device. This plan was announced during Google I/O 2017. Chromebooks are not as popular as Google would like them to be outside of education. Most developers focus on app development for phones and

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Google is working on an emulator that will allow developers to test their applications on large screens without an actual Chrome OS device. This plan was announced during Google I/O 2017.

Chromebooks are not as popular as Google would like them to be outside of education. Most developers focus on app development for phones and tablets but Google wants to change that lack of attention by giving them special tools. It’s some sort of encouragement to start optimizing apps for the new platform.

Most applications will already work on large screens. Nevertheless, Google would like to encourage developers to optimize the applications for a the better experience. Developers should move to API level 24 or later for their apps to take advantage of the latest windowing features.

Chromebooks are not the only Android/Chrome OS devices with larger screens. We have to mention the likes of Lenovo Yoga Book or Samsung DeX for the Galaxy S8 and S8+. With windowed apps on tablets, Android is seeing a lot more multi-tasking capabilities on bigger screens.

 

The emulator is expected to enter the development stage soon. It’s still in beta and under “heavy development”, but developers can already sign-up for early access. If you would like to participate, please use this link or scan the QR code above.


Source: 9to5 Google

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Linux CLI Launcher Transforms Your Home Screen Into A Terminal https://www.xda-developers.com/linux-cli-launcher-transforms-your-home-screen-into-a-terminal/ https://www.xda-developers.com/linux-cli-launcher-transforms-your-home-screen-into-a-terminal/#comments Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:00:34 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=172434 The Google Play Store features many launchers of all kinds ready to make your life easier. Whether it’s Nova Launcher, Apex Launcher, or Evie Launcher, there are a ton of third-party launchers out there for you to try out. At the base level, though, these launchers start out thematically quite similar although you can customize

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The Google Play Store features many launchers of all kinds ready to make your life easier. Whether it’s Nova Launcher, Apex Launcher, or Evie Launcher, there are a ton of third-party launchers out there for you to try out. At the base level, though, these launchers start out thematically quite similar although you can customize them with beautiful icon packs, themes, widgets, and more. As you might know, Android is built on the Linux kernel. Thus it has a hidden shell functionality which fans of GNU/Linux might be pleased to try. A full Linux terminal environment on an Android phone? That sure sounds interesting. But what if you could replace your stock launcher with a launcher that mimics the Linux terminal interface? Luckily, you can thanks to the Linux CLI Launcher.

Linux CLI Launcher for Android replaces your home screen with a minimalist terminal-style interface that uses commands to control basically everything. You can call, text, or manage your contacts using simple commands. Besides supporting some basic GNU/Linux commands, the application offers the ability to create handy aliases. Running your favorite games or applications is effortless.

You don’t have to be a GNU/Linux nerd to know all the commands, as the launcher provides a built-in command suggestion feature. Maneuvering the launcher is relatively easy, and with practice helps you to understand some of the more basic terminal commands should you try to run a distribution on your desktop or laptop later on.

To control the device you can use the following commands:

  • uninstall (app)
  • call (name)
  • sms (contact name) (text)
  • restart
  • free
  • calc
  • search (-p, -f, -g, -y, -u)
  • wifi
  • flash
  • rate
  • time
  • share (file)
  • mv / cp (file) (destination)

If you are looking for an interesting, fast, and completely different launcher, head over to Play Store to install it.
What do you think about this launcher? Will you give it a try? Let us know in the comments!


Via: Reddit

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A Look Back: 2016 Has Been One Of The Most Exciting Years For Android Enthusiasts https://www.xda-developers.com/2016-the-most-exciting-year-for-android-enthusiasts/ https://www.xda-developers.com/2016-the-most-exciting-year-for-android-enthusiasts/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2016 19:05:54 +0000 http://www.xda-developers.com/?p=157348 This is part 1 in my three part series reviewing 2016; the good, the bad, and an outlook on what 2017 may hold for smartphone enthusiasts and Android fanatics his year will likely go down as the year of few compromises, the year of the flagship, the year where Android OEMs tried something entirely new

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This is part 1 in my three part series reviewing 2016; the good, the bad, and an outlook on what 2017 may hold for smartphone enthusiasts and Android fanatics


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his year will likely go down as the year of few compromises, the year of the flagship, the year where Android OEMs tried something entirely new or just put out the best smartphones they could. But to really understand just how good and different 2016 has been, one has to have a little context.

Last year was a bad year for Android smartphones, there is just no other way to put it… While there were some shining points like the above-excellent Nexus 6P and the new premium focus of Samsung, it also was full of controversy. Things like Android OEMs inability, or unwillingness to provide timely updates was brought to the fore with security flaws like StageFright. LG started fighting with a boot-loop problem it still is facing, and the “2016 Flagship Killer” simply wasn’t. HTC saw profits continue to decline past what anyone thought was actually possible… and who can forget the Snapdragon 810, and almost-equally poor 808. If you were a smartphone enthusiast, 2015 was a year where you likely saved quite a bit of money. But just a year later the entire Android landscape has changed for the better and is ending with a bang (heh).


galaxys7Samsung really got the year off right with its Galaxy S7 — love it or hate it the S7 is one of the best phones released in years. It sported a stunning screen, amazing fast camera and more bells and whistles than one could ever use, and the return of the mighty micro SD card support. They also added IP68 water resistance back to the lineup, showing that you simply don’t have to compromise on design, with flaps or the removal of ports to achieve this feat. Even on the software front it was a vast improvement over prior years, despite having plenty of room to continue that pace. Later on in the year HTC finally got around to releasing the HTC 10, a phone that absolutely does not get enough credit. It would not be a stretch to say that the HTC 10 was one of, if not the best, while also being the most forgettable phone of the year. Google, working with HTC, launched its Pixel phones which despite their prices and “missing features” are two of the best Android phones ever.

oneplus_3_db1It wasn’t just Tier 1 OEMs that saw success this year. How often can you say that there are multiple outstanding phones you can recommend with little reservation that don’t cost an arm and a leg, or a kidney… OnePlus rebounded in spectacular fashion with the OnePlus 3, a phone that feels and performs far beyond its price bracket. ZTE shot back with the Axon 7, a phone that packed feature on top of feature, despite its questionable software decisions which are slowly being rectified. The Honor 8 is also an easily recommendable phone for the price. The Android SOC space also went from one where finding a good chipset meant going back a year, to really having your pick of the litter. Qualcomm offered a range of excellent performing chips from the 617, to the 652 to the top-tier 820 and faces stiff competition from the Exynos 8890 and the Kirin 950, 955 and now the 960. The proliferation of faster storage solutions like UFS and EMMC5.1 along with DDR4 and the optimization of Android in general has made even skinned devices surprisingly snappy. While speaking of the optimization of Android, we cannot skip over the impact that Nougat has had.

The Nougat rollout to older Nexus devices has not been without its share of issues, but largely Nougat has brought a more responsive system, more features pulled from other OEM skins like multi-window, and 7.1.1 looks to improve the longevity of batteries. Huge improvements were also brought to notifications, Doze and overall system smoothness. Many OEMs have yet to update or ship with Nougat preinstalled, but as 2017 rolls in more and more devices will benefit from one of the best Android updates in years. More so than in any other year, a good, solid and in some cases a great smartphone can be had at any price, and 2016 isn’t even over yet.


True though, the camera could be better on the OnePlus 3, the DAC could be better on the Pixel, and the screen could be better on the HTC 10… but here is the kicker, despite those things each of those phones offers an above-standard level of performance across the board. You are really grasping at the wind complaining about the things that those devices do not do “as well” as its competition. Choosing the Pixel does not mean you have a bad DAC, because it is great, it just means the HTC 10 and V20 chose to focus on this experience. Choosing the OnePlus 3 does not mean you have a bad camera, it has a fantastic one, but the Galaxy S7 and Pixel have one even better.

Going out and buying a great phone across the board has never been easier, regardless of how much you have to spend and it all boils down to choice. Choosing what matters to you in a smartphone no longer means you have to choose an audio experience at the cost of a poor display or camera, and that is an amazing feeling.

So is it safe to call 2016 the year of no compromises? Not quite, and I will be looking into this in Pt 2 of this article, but Android OEMs largely rebounded from an awful 2015 to deliver one of the most exciting times to be a smartphone enthusiast.

So what devices stood out to you in 2016? What OEM really kicked it up and just delivered? Sound off in the comments and be on the lookout for Pt. 2 of my series coming soon!

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