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Android Control Center Becomes Quick Control Panel, Brings Host of New Features

Posted by Will Verduzco April - 19 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

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You may recall that back in August of last year, we talked about Android Control Center by XDA Senior Member Dr.Alexander_Breen. For those who have forgotten, Android Control Center gave Android users something quite similar to iOS 7′s Control Center, but with an Android-centric spin. But in the time since then, Android Control Center has been renamed to Quick Control Panel, and it was essentially rewritten in the process.

Just like before, Quick Control Panel is conceptually similar to iOS 7′s Control Center. Accordingly, it still allows you to switch various settings on the fly such as power toggles and music playback control–all of which is done with an Android-friendly Holo UI look. Now, however, the application has gained many more functions such as the ability to launch from the lock screen, even more customization, and quick access to the related settings page by long-pressing the toggles. Finally, while the old application was nothing painful to look at, the new revision is even nicer looking, as it features both a Holo UI-like color scheme, along with a cards-style control interface.

As was the case with the previous version, Quick Control Panel is available in both premium and lite/free versions. However, the developer has been kind enough to include the full version for free in his thread. However, if you find yourself loving the app, be sure to support the dev with either a donation or by purchasing the paid version. Head over to the application thread to get started.

Polish Your Custom Themes with Theme Debugger

Posted by wicked April - 19 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

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Creating a custom Android theme from scratch can be quite the laborious task. In addition to designing, creating, and editing all the elements yourself, a testing phase is also essential to make sure that your theme is bug-free and working as it should. And unless you’re an absolute master at theming, chances are that you’ll need to rely on community feedback or an Android emulator in order to polish out those bugs.

XDA Forum Member steel89 offers an alternative approach to testing your custom themes. The solution comes in the form of an app called Theme Debugger. As its name suggests, the main function of this app is to expose any hidden bugs and other visual issues that may be present in your theme. It does this by presenting all the theme-able elements of the Android interface, ranging from buttons, radio and check buttons, to alert dialogs, toasts and notifications. Everything is then put in one place for you to test.

The app presents all the theme-able elements in a smooth and logical UI, with horizontally scrolling panels so you can quickly check for any visual discrepancies. And if you want to test another theme, you can do so at the navigation drawer which slides out from the left of the screen.

Both rookie and experienced themers alike will definitely find Theme Debugger to be a very useful app to have in their theming toolbox. If you would like to give this a go, visit the application thread for more information and download.

Pelican and AT&T offer durable protection for your Galaxy S5

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Worried about damaging your new Samsung Galaxy S5? It’s not going to gather many scratches with that band-aid back, but drop it and you might be in trouble. AT&T and Pelican have a lineup of cases that could prevent disaster from occuring, should you clumsily unhand your device.

The Pelican Protector and Voyager cases will keep your Galaxy S5 safe and secure, with “the same product DNA found in equipment used by first responders and our armed forces”. The cases are both of one piece construction, and feature an improved chamfer design on the edges to deflect energy in the event you drop your phone.

Of the two, the Voyager is the bulkier (but safer) design, noting four layers of “rigid polycarbonate and energy-absorbing TPR”. Pelican also says the Voyager will protect against “sharp-edged attacks to its screen”, which we take to mean the corner of a desk as there is a rolled seam over the front edges.

The Pelican and Voyager will cost $40 and $50, respectively, and are listed via the AT&T site (link below). Available now, these are some of the more durable, rugged cases we’ve seen for the Galaxy S5 yet. Both are available in black, but the Voyager is also available in a white/grey variant, as well as a blue/green scheme.

Via: AT&T/Pelican

HTC, Heartbleed, and you: security patch incoming

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Heartbleed, the newest hack affecting just about everything and everyone, recently got the Android once-over from security firm Lookout. Their research found that of the 100,000 users who were implementing their Heartbleed Detector, those running Android 4.1.1 were most susceptible. They also found that HTC devices were especially vulnerable.

 

Of the devices tested, the Evo, One S, and One X — all HTC devices — were the three most often popping up as vulnerable. In response to the claims, HTC issued a statement to SlashGear. Though they accept responsibility, they also want to drive home that current devices need not worry:

Privacy and security are important to HTC and we are committed to helping safeguard our customers’ devices and data. We’re currently working to implement the security patch issued by Google this week to the small number of older devices that are on Android 4.1.1. HTC flagship devices, including the HTC One and HTC One (M8), are not impacted. As part of our normal course of business, HTC provides software updates that include security updates, which is why it is important for customers to download software updates when available.

Lookout notes a handful of Android 4.2.2 devices appeared in their study, so it’s not certain that a flagship device will be your savior, here. HTC also didn’t offer up a timeframe for when this security patch would appear, but we hope they don’t follow their old methodology of watching the bottom line. If recent activity from HTC is any indication, a patch will be issued at the earliest possible time.

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Clean Up Your Logcat Code with Lib Cleaner

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

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Some of you may think that writing code is the hardest part of development. It’s not, as the real fun starts when you have to debug an application or function. That’s why Android Debug Bridge is so important, and you can find images like this in many threads. And obviously, digging through thousands of logcat lines is every developer’s “favorite” activity.

Logcat likes to bombard users with more or less relevant information regarding various issues. To free yourself from mpdecision, thermal-engine and sensors.msm8960.so warnings, you should try out a script written by XDA Recognized Developer and Contributor broodplank1337. Lib Cleaner removes the specific lines of code from proprietary files with the Swiss File Knife tool, which replaces HEX strings and makes the code more readable. Those three files are not the only one that can be modified. It’s possible to add your own scripts and clean even more unnecessary code. The script is designed for Ubuntu-based destroys, and needs some editing to be used with Arch, Fedora, or other Linux branches.

If you are a developer or advanced user trying to find out what’s wrong with an application or newly added code, make your way to the original thread and give Lib Cleaner a try. Just keep in mind that Google added these lines forma purpose and removing them may result in unexpected behavior.

AllCast is now live on the Amazon App Store

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

It’s official: you can cast anything to your Amazon Fire TV. Thanks to Koushik Dutta and his tireless work on AllCast, the app is now available for the latest streaming TV box. With it, you can stream movies from just about anywhere to your Fire TV.


AllCast has its roots in Chromecast lore, with early incarnations being blocked in one ofrm or another by Google. Though likely not meant as a nefarious act, it left the future of AllCast hanging, as Koush became disillusioned with moving forward.

Now, we have AllCast just about everywhere, making it one of (perhaps THE) only cross platform streaming app. The ability to take media stored in your Dropbox or “Google+” account (likely Drive) — as well as files stored locally — and broadcast it to a Fire TV is a feature we’re glad to not have to wait for.

AllCast is available on the Amazon App Store now, so grab it if you have a Fire TV. It’s one of our favorite apps for Android, and Amazon notes it works with the Fire TV remote, so that’s handy. Keep in mind you will also need the app for Android, and it works with Android 4.1 or above.

Source: Amazon

Via: Google+

Flo wants to make you a better driver, free of charge

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

A new Android app promises to help make you a better driver, but also wants to do so without having you pay for hardware sometimes associated with driving apps. Flo is an app that wants to do what many others before it have attempted, but requires little more than the app itself. Unlike competitors like Automatic, there is no expensive dongle to buy.

Flo aims to do what all other driving assistants do, and that’s improve your driving skills. By giving your demerits for things like hard braking, Flo wants to make you better — which could also help with some repair costs, and of course make it safer for everyone else. As you might expect, you earn points for smart driving to offset your terrible habits.

While Flo could have some benefits for your overall driving skills, the reliance on GPS means you won’t get any automotive feedback. Others that support a OBD plug-in for your car can give information on what your check engine light really means, or more accurate info on things like idle or engine temperature.

If you are intrigued by apps like Dash or Automatic, but don’t want to drop $100 on the hardware, Flo might be a good option. Free to use and well reviewed by users, Flo has some promise. We’ll be taking the app for a drive (literally) next week, so check back for our full review then.

Source: Play Store

Motorola may have another mid-range smartphone, the Moto E

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Looking for a new mid-range phone? If the Moto G isn’t what you’re looking for, it seems as though Motorola may be ready to launch another low-cost device soon. Recent reports suggest a device named the Moto E will follow in the footsteps of it’s predecessors, and solve a complaint held by some in slimming down a touch.

 

The device is expected to be a low cost offering to complement Motorola’s other offerings, though little is known about it right now. Xataka notes the device will be “priced between the 2,999 and 3,199 weights” (weight being the translation of “peso”). If true, that puts it right around the $230 mark, given current currency conversions.

Spec-wise, the Moto E is rumored to have a 720p screen like the Moto G, but no sizing is noted. A dual-core 1.2GHz processor is also said to be on board, backed by 1GB RAM. A 5MP camera and 1,900mAh battery keep it running, and 4GB (possible expandable) memory keeps your files safe.

While that sounds a lot like the G, the source notes that the Moto E will check in around 6mm thin — the Moto G is nearly double that. Such a slim size suggests the customization options would go away, since much of the heft we find with the Moto G comes with internals needing to be tucked away so we can change the rear plate — though it’s said to be offered in both black and white options.

The device — which is also touted as very Moto G in design — should be hitting Mexico soon, arriving on TelCel. There is no word on whether Motorola is concentrating on the booming Latin markets with this device, or simply launching in Mexico before bringing it to the rest of the world.

Source: Xataka

Samsung Galaxy S5 ’10 Hidden Features’ revealed

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Plenty of people have been talking about the Samsung Galaxy S5, us included. And while many are still digging their way through trying to find all the hidden gems — Samsung has recently shared 10 hidden features. Having looked through the list we aren’t sure we can consider all of these to be hidden, but regardless, there are a few gems on the list.

One that appealed to our OCD tendencies was the Kids Mode. This means we’ll be able to hand a Galaxy S5 over to the younger kids in the family without fear of having the phone come back with things in a different order, or worse yet, deleted. Kids Mode offers access to the camera and also lets them paint, record voice memos and play with video apps. You can also add additional items, including games.

Kids Mode begins as a widget, but clicking that widget will require a few minutes time. You’ll have to download and then set things up to get going. Once downloaded and installed you create a PIN code, enter some profile information and then begin selecting the apps you want to give permission.

The one we didn’t consider all that hidden is the camera lockscreen access. If you look in the lower right hand corner of the lockscreen you will see the camera icon. To unlock directly to the camera you can tap/hold then drag up on the icon.

Keeping with the camera related features and there was also mention of some of the available modes. Samsung specifically mentioned the Virtual Tour and Shot & More options.

  • The ‘Virtual Tour’ is a feature that allows you to take pictures as if you are giving a tour of the surrounding area to viewers.
  • The ‘Shot and More’ mode allows you to edit pictures and apply various effects immediately after taking your shots.

Another highlight was the Priority Senders option in the messaging app. We realize not everyone will use this app, but those who do will want to look for the “tap to add priority senders” link. This, just as the name would suggest, allows you to add favorite contacts which should make things a bit quicker when composing new messages.

Otherwise, remaining items on the list break down as follows;

  • You can use a pencil as a stylus.
  • Turning landscape when listening to music using the music player will give suggestions for upcoming tracks.
  • Favorite apps can be bookmarked using the “Toolbox.
  • Files can be kept private with Private Mode.
  • You can check caller information while on an active call.
  • Call Notification pop-ups will alert you of a call when you are in another app.

Make sure to keep an eye on the Galaxy S5 tag here on Android Community as we will be offering a bit more coverage for several of these features (and more) in the coming days.

SOURCE: Samsung Tomorrow

Tweak Your Xperia Device’s Camera App Yourself

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

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We’ve come to expect nearly perfect camera performance in our modern day smartphones. If the image quality is just a tad shoddy in one respect, this issue is then multiplied tenfold in our ever so critical eyes. So it’s unfortunate that sometimes a flagship phone’s camera quality is not up to snuff, especially if you’ve paid big bucks for a flagship device. If you own an Xperia device and find yourself in such a situation, you may want to check out XDA Recognized Themer and Contributor Rizal Lovins‘s new tutorial on tweaking your camera app.

Written specifically for use on Sony Xperia devices, the tutorial teaches you how to tweak and modify numerous aspects of the camera app in order to make sure all future snapshots and videos look the way you want them to. The procedures explained do not require much prior knowledge—mainly decompiling and compiling APKs and smali editing—so pretty much anyone will be able to do this themselves. Modifications include:

  • Changing audio bitrate of video recording
  • Changing video recording bitrate
  • Fixing lag during video recording
  • Changing the color format from RGB565 to ARGB8888
  • Enable the inPreferQulityOverSpeed stting
  • Change the resolution of images
  • Enabling the 12MP Superior Auto setting on Xperia devices running the official Android 4.3 update

As can be seen from the list, there’s a whole lot of tweaks you’ll be able to play with thanks to this tutorial, and they’re all relatively simple and straightforward. If you would like to find out more, be sure to check out the original thread for more information.