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EVO 3D Finally Gets Official ICS Update – Unimpressed is the Word of the Day

Posted by egzthunder1 August - 4 - 2012 - Saturday Comments Off

icson3d

So after months and months of waiting, kicking, and screaming from the user base, Sprint has finally decided to provide their EVO 3D customers with a brand spanking new base to play around with. The new official Sprint ROM (base number 2.89.651.2) has been fitted with ICS 4.0.3, Sense 3.6 (as promised), a new radio, HBOOT 1.58, and some new bits and pieces of firmware. As always, this is loaded (and I do mean loaded) with Sprint’s usual bloatware such as Sprint Zone, Nascar, and a few other unremovable (by regular means anyways) bits of Sprint love on the device. After all, nothing screams “we care about our customers” than the bundled Blockbuster app, embedded into the framework with an additional .jar. This rom is an OTA, which means that Sprint is distributing this wirelessly to roms that are capable of receiving the update.

Enough with the formalities about the ROM itself, and lets just go to the core of this article. This is a well known topic as we have covered it before in similar instances. You know, the usual dance where Google announces a new OS, everyone gets excited about promises and ideas and starts looking forward to a reason to hold off on dropping $500-$800 for a new phone (off contract) or for begging the carriers for an early upgrade. Here at XDA, we strive against the inability of the carriers to completely satisfy their customers (us). And because of that, we have had ICS with Sense 3.6 builds for a few months now. Which makes me wonder quite a bit about the entire update. Is it worth having your bootloader relocked just to have to flash buggy software? Yes, buggy software. As it turns out, this new ROM does not have the amount of quality control it should have had for having taken such a monumental amount of time to be released. One such somewhat major bug is Bluetooth, which was either not working or doing so very poorly. Thanks to XDA Forum Member mikeyxda, we now have a fix for this bug. You would think that something like this would have been caught after such a long wait. Lets face it, it was a rather big “opps” considering that Bluetooth is so widely used.

So, what exactly took HTC and Sprint so long? Why did they keep people waiting for this? In previous articles, we had stipulated that perhaps they hold off on upgrades for long enough to not have to explain themselves to the customers as to why they are purposely going against Google’s recommendation about the 18 month promised upgrade. This is not exactly rocket science, albeit you need a good set of skills to whip up a decent ROM. Having said that, developers on XDA probably have far fewer resources than HTC and Sprint, and certainly they don’t have access to most of their “private stuff.” That said, why is it that our site’s devs have the capability to put out better stuff in shorter amounts of time? Oh! I know! HTC has to spend monumental amounts of time and resources because the likes of Sprint and Verizon want them to “protect” the devices and as such, they put in new locked bootloaders so that people cannot fully utilize their devices.  How did we arrive at this conclusion? Quite simple actually, we have had Sprint’s ICS with Sense 3.6 leaks on XDA  for a few months already. The stock RUU was actually not half bad, and certainly something par to what we see in other stock roms. But aside from the official vs leak factor, there is a major difference between the leak and what we just received from Sprint: a new locked bootloader, which unlike previous bootloader versions, will make your device go on a bootloop if you try to flash the ROM without updating it. In other words, if you want to run Sprint’s latest and greatest, you must update your hboot. Is there any reason to believe that this is necessary for ICS or even for Sense 3.6 to run on the EVO3D? Considering that the leaked build runs perfectly well on ENG HBOOT, I am going to dare say no, there is not.

So, what conclusion do we arrive to from all this? EVO 3D owners just waited for well over a year not for ICS and a somewhat outdated version Sense, but for Sprint’s latest attempt to prevent users from using their devices. So, thank you Sprint for making HTC give us a brand new headache version number 1.58 as opposed to a bug free ICS rom with Sense 4.0. Oh, and just an FYI, Sense 4.0 works fantastically well on our EVO 3D.

Thanks for reading.

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Prevent Apps from Using your Camera and Mic – PDroidAddon

Posted by egzthunder1 July - 27 - 2012 - Friday Comments Off

pdroidaddon

Please note that the following is an addition to the infamous PDroid, developer by XDA Forum Member svyat back in December 2011. As its name clearly suggests, PDroidAddon acts along side (and will interact with) PDroid, which was basically a security suite that allowed you to “cherry pick” which apps get access to your personal information. Today, we have XDA Forum Member CollegeDev bringing us an interesting alternative that handles privacy in a different manner, or at least it targets a different source of “leaks.”

The app essentially looks for camera and microphone permissions in your installed apps. In other words, if you have an app that, for no apparent reason, can access and activate your camera and your mic, you are wide open to have someone see and listen to everything you say or do at any given time. This app determines which apps have the permission granted and allows you to switch that permission off, much like PDroid does. The app has a rather simplistic, one-click type interface, so using it is almost a no brainer. On the flip side, getting it in the phone seems to be a tad more involved than simply opening an apk on the device.

In any case, please provide some feedback for the dev to ensure that the app has the necessary feedback to attack the remaining bugs.

 This application allows you to block Camera and Microphone permission of all applications listed inside. It is an Addon app for PDroid and interacts with it. It works in black_list_mode, that means -> Above you can see camera and microphone icon. If you check the checkbox of an app you will block permissions

You can find more information in the original thread.

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Asus Releases Official TF700T Bootloader Unlocker Tool

Posted by egzthunder1 July - 27 - 2012 - Friday Comments Off

asus

Not too long ago, we witnessed the launch of Asus most recent entry into the world of tablets with the shinny, slim, and fully loaded Infinity Pad (a.k.a. the Asus Transformer TF700T). As is customary for Asus, the bootloader on the device was locked upon shipping from the factory. However due to the constant demands, petitions, and bashing from the developer community in similar cases with the Prime (TF201) and the TF300T, they have now released an official tool to unlock the bootloader of the device.

XDA Forum Member zeus34 made a new thread with links and a good step-by-step description explaining how to use this tool to achieve the “nirvana” state for the tab. Conceptually, this is the same as HTC’s dev unlock method, but with less limitations on the kind of unlock. However, the one single disadvantage of this tool is that since it requires you to register the tab with Asus as an unlocked device, you are effectively relinquishing your warranty and handing it over on a silver platter.

What does this mean to you as an end-user? Not much yet, but the good news is that having the bootloader unlocked will open the flood gates to our favorite past time: custom ROM flashing!

Keep in mind that you need to be on ICS to unlock the bootloader. The reason this is an important point is because Asus has promised an update to JB for this device, and for the time being, there are no indications that the tool will work under JB. Please leave your feedback if you happen to use this tool.

 Unlock Device App: Unlock boot loader(Only works with TF700T ICS OS)
Notice: 
1. Only suitable for Andriod4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS version.

You can find more information in the original thread.

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Enjoy Dead Trigger in Full Tegra 3 Glory without a Tegra 3

Posted by egzthunder1 July - 13 - 2012 - Friday Comments Off

Dead-Trigger-Tegra-3_02

If you enjoy gaming in this day and age, you have certainly come across a few FPS (first person shooter) games. In recent times, it seems like the idea of a post-apocalyptic zombie future is prime material for the genre. With this in mind, we now introduce to you Dead Trigger, which for all practical purposes is a game that features you trying to survive against the walking dead. This game was introduced as part of the marketing campaign to further promote Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor, which is featured in several devices such as the One X, Asus Transformer Infinity, and a few others. The extra punch provided by the GPU enables an ultra-rich and nearly lag-free experience, resembling the closest thing to PC gaming with a mobile phone—or so they would have you (and I) believe.

XDA Forum Member sgaheer posted a link in the EVO 3D section with a work-around to enable the ultimate-rich graphics we described previously for this game. As it turns out, you do not need a Tegra 3 device to enjoy Tegra-specific games in their full glory, but the software is written in such a way that these details are hidden when non-Tegra 3 devices are used. Calling this a shady practice would be an understatement, but I guess that is a rant for a different article, for which we may want to invite Linus Torvalds to share his views.

In any case, the guide itself is relatively simple to follow. You will need to have a rooted device and some sort of file manager capable of gaining access to the root folder (Solid Explorer and ES File Explorer are good and free). Also, you will need to do some minor (and I do mean minor) editing of an .xml file.

It’s quite simple, and there are several reports in the thread that the “hack” works wonderfully well. Please provide your feedback and your game experience on your “unworthy” non-Tegra devices.

You can find more information in the original thread.

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Run ADB in Root Mode with ADBD Insecure

Posted by egzthunder1 June - 8 - 2012 - Friday Comments Off

adbd insecure

We are all undoubtedly aware of adb. In fact, most of us use it quite often in order to execute commands on our mobile devices from the comfort of our computers. It allows you to do this such as push and pull files on the device, retrieve logcats to send to your favorite dev when your kernel causes a bootloop, reboot to recovery or bootloader, and many other useful things. It is also the core of most one-click root methods. Ultimately, it is the adbd (ADB Daemon) that is responsible for allowing you to access the shell and all the other cool functions. For most stock kernels, however, it seems that this only allows you to run adb in secure mode even if you have a rooted device.

So, if you have a stock kernel and want to have all the goods that comes with an insecure adbd (write access to /system goodness and much more), you may want to take a long look at a new release by XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire. He has released an APK that allows your device to run adbd in insecure mode, even if you are rooted and on stock kernel. The app doesn’t enable insecure adbd permanently, and will thus revert to the standard adbd upon reboot. However, there is an option to restart insecure adbd on boot.

There is a good chance that if you are running a custom kernel, you do not need this app. Chainfire mentions that this app must be installed on rooted devices, and that it may not work if your device has a locked bootloader. Please take it for a spin and leave some feedback for the developer.

You can find the free application in the original thread. Alternatively, you can purchase a donate version in Google Play.

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[Thanks Chainfire for the tip]



Play with Your Food with Garden Troopers

Posted by wicked May - 27 - 2012 - Sunday Comments Off

gardentroopers

If you are looking for a recipe for fun, XDA Forum Member Dimmerg has a recommendation for you.  He recommends that you try his Garden Troopers dish. To make this delicious dish Dimmerg has made the following recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen yogurt
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 game modes, sliced
  • 5 difficulties, julienned
  • 10 game fields, raised and dried
  • A handful of entertainment

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine tomatoes, cucumbers, frozen yogurt and a handful of entertainment. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 1 hour.
  2. Split into two smaller bowls, and one game mode to each bowl. Mix to combine.
  3. Mix the 5 difficulties in a blender
  4. Take each small bowl and dish onto on to 10 plates with a bed of 10 game fields, add the difficulty mixture on the top of the plates.
  5. Submit the completed dish to Google.
  6. Wait for approval and serve to XDA-Developers.
  7. Optional:  Replace frozen yogurt with a honeycomb or ice cream sandwich, for a unique twist.

To try this fun and exciting game check out the Garden Troopers thread. This recipe for fun will keep you entertained for hours. With different difficulties and game modes, the challenges are lasting.



How to Root the Meizu MX and Install Ice Cream Sandwich – XDA TV

Posted by wicked May - 23 - 2012 - Wednesday Comments Off

willverduzco

Thanks to its international reach, XDA TV gets to try and experiment with some very interesting, and sometimes unheard of phones and devices. The dual-core version of the Meizu MX is really only available in China and parts of Europe. Though there is talk of their next quad-core phone coming stateside. Regardless of the Meizu MX’s stateside popularity, there has been some significant development. Some of that development has been covered by XDA Portal Administrator Will Verduzco in this article.

In today’s episode of XDA TV, Will teaches us how to root the Meizu MX and install Ice Cream Sandwich on the device. Will begins by installing Ice Cream Sandwich on the Meizu MX. He then takes us through the process of getting the Meizu MX rooted using tools from the XDA Developers Forums.

For  more Meizu MX goodness check out this thread. Be sure to stay tuned for our full review of the Meizu MX.

Check out other great rooting Videos on XDA TV like XDA Forum Moderator and Recognized Developer shenye‘s How to Root Videos covering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the HTC One X. Make sure to check out the Samsung Smart App Challenge 2012!



HTC Amaze 4G Gets the Gift of Sense 4

Posted by egzthunder1 May - 22 - 2012 - Tuesday Comments Off

amaze4

Looks like Sense 4.0 keeps going down the 2011 line of devices, filling these devices with new life and a sense of continuity thanks to the wonderful work of some of our developers. The latest case took place earlier on Sunday as XDA Recognized Developer sportsstar89 and his colleagues at Team Nightmare felt confident enough on their work to release it into the wild, granting the Amaze 4G users the option of adding yet another port to their arsenal of ROMs and options.

The ROM in question, much like with other early Sense 4 releases, has very few working features and most of them are nowhere near enough to be considered daily drivers—at least for the early ports that we have covered in their alpha states. Although it still has a long way to go, the devs got this to boot, and there are a few other things working such as Bluetooth, which hardly ever works right off the bat, as well as the touchscreen. However, nothing else seems to work properly at  the moment.

Keep in mind, once again, that this is by no means a finished build. So, please share what you can find in terms of bugs with the devs so that the build can be improved and the quest for Sense 4.0 can be fulfilled.

Working:

  • As of now not much
    Boots
    Touchscreen
    Bluetooth (Strange Enough)

You can find more information in the port thread.

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[Thanks sportsstar89 and dharvey4651 for the tip!]



Extremely Alpha CM9 Arrives for the Droid X2

Posted by wicked May - 21 - 2012 - Monday Comments Off

motorola-droid-x2-group-550px

Now that Motorola has confirmed that it will not release an Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Droid X2 (much to the dismay of many X2 users), it stands to reason that some clever developer would whip together an ICS build for the device. XDA Recognized Developer dragonzkiller has done just that, and released an extremely experimental ICS build for the snubbed device. Even without an official Motorola ICS kernel, the build is on it’s way to being totally functional. From the release thread:

Working:

  • WIFI
  • Bluetooth
  • Data/3G (see known issues)
  • *Maybe* tethering, but I doubt it (turns on, but haven’t tested)
  • HQ and LQ Youtube (used to be a problem)
  • And a lot of little things

Known Issues:
Besides a whole lot of little things:

  • Camera doesn’t work: there is a fix for this for Tegra devices, but it’s not working for us yet
  • MMS rarely works: this probably has to do with how data works with the phone and how i had to “hack” the data to get it to work.
  • Graphics memory sometimes runs out: as we are on less RAM the memory management is a bit whack. Sometimes while rotating an app (noticeably the browser) it will “twitch” and crash. Also systemserver (the main background service) will crash and Android will restart (rarely).
  • Data usage doesn’t work: this requires kernel mods which I haven’t worked out yet (but started on as I have one of them in the build)
  • Chrome beta doesn’t work: it also requires kernel mods which I haven’t messed with yet.

Lack of manufacturer support be damned, if you’d like to install this ICS build on your X2, head to dragonzkillers release thread and download the ROM. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and back up your entire device before installing the ROM because you are required to bootstrap a recovery and overwrite all partitions on your X2. Don’t forget to thank dragonzkiller for his quick handiwork, and a big thanks to XDA Senior Member kenjesse for the tip!



Hard Brick Bug on Galaxy S II and Note Leaked ICS Kernels

Posted by egzthunder1 May - 19 - 2012 - Saturday Comments Off

sammybrick

Since the latest leaks for the Samsung Galaxy S2 line up have been hitting us left and right, people have been jumping between ROMs—mainly between buggy, pre-release ICS builds and very stable GB. This is, after all, what we do on XDA as a habit: We see a leak, we flash it, we use it, and we tweak it. If it doesn’t fly, we simply roll back. Of course, there is always an inherent risk in flashing stuff that should not be on your device in the first place, but the risk of fully bricking a device in this day and age is rather small. Especially, since there are tools available to bring your devices back from the dead, such as UnBrickable Mod by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler.

Having said this, not everything seems to be fine in the world of leaks. Thanks to XDA Elite Recognized Developer Entropy512, we have learned that most devices that are receiving leaks are at a very high risk of never waking up after a flash. It turns out that there is a major bug in the leaked ICS kernel that affects the /data partition in the eMMC chip, which apparently gets corrupted during certain operations such as wiping and flashing. This was originally believed to be affecting only operations performed in custom recoveries such as CWM. However, there have been reports of hard bricks being produced from the flashing from stock recoveries as well. The affected devices are:

Entropy and other devs have posted several warnings scattered throughout the site, in which they explain in detail what is happening. Our suggestion is that users should stay away from flashing ICS from leaks until the bug in the kernel has been completely fixed—unless of course, you are looking to hard brick your device. Remember, this is not something that can be resurrected via Unbrickable Mod or even via JTAG, as this is a firmware error in the eMMC. This is directly from Entropy himself for those of you interested in a bit more detail:

DANGER: Many Samsung ICS leak kernels may damage your device!

Those who pay attention to goings-on with various Samsung devices may have noticed that some devices are experiencing a large quantity of hardbricks when ICS leaked kernels are used. These hardbricks are particularly nasty, in that vendors of JTAG services have been unable to resurrect these devices, unlike simple bootloader-corruption hardbricks. This is due to the fact that these kernels are actually managing to cause what appears to be permanent damage to the eMMC storage device.

Kernels that are confirmed affected are:
[*]All Epic 4G Touch (SPH-D710) ICS leaks[*]All Galaxy Note (GT-N7000) ICS leaks[*]The AT&T Galaxy S II (SGH-I777) UCLD3 leak – and probably all others[*]Korean SHW-M250S/K/L official releases and any kernel built from their source

Kernels that SHOULD be safe are:
[*]GT-I9100 ICS leaks[*]GT-I9100 official releases[*]Kernels built off of the GT-I9100 Update4 source base

Operations that are likely to cause damage when running an affected kernel:
Wiping in CWM (and likely any other custom recovery) (confirmed)
Restoring a Nandroid backup in CWM (wipes first)
Flashing another firmware in CWM (most flashes wipe first)
Wiping in stock 3e recovery (suspected, also wipes a partition)
Deleting large files when running an affected kernel (suspected but not confirmed)

If you have an affected kernel:
Flash a known good kernel using Odin/Heimdall immediately. Do NOT use Mobile Odin, CWM, or any on-device method to flash. Known good kernels include:
[*]Nearly any Gingerbread kernel[*]ICS kernels built from the GT-I9100 Update4 source code

The root cause of this issue has yet to be determined, however, numerous Recognized Developers in XDA suspect it is due to Samsung enabling a feature in the affected kernels, MMC_CAP_ERASE – This is a performance feature that can greatly increase flash write performance, but appears to bring out a flaw in the flash chipset. GT-I9100 ICS kernels do not have this feature enabled and appear safe. However, not enough is known to declare all kernels without this feature safe – the only entity that can confirm the root cause of this problem and declare it fixed without taking great risk (destroying multiple devices with no way to repair them) is Samsung themselves.

In general, until further notice, if you are running a Samsung ICS leak for any Exynos-based device other than the GT-I9100, it is strongly advised to flash something else.

And this just showed up this morning in our forums as well, courtesy of XDA member garwynn. Apparently, Google has been contacted and they are aware of the issue, and working towards a fix.

Well, it’s been some time but thankfully Mr. Sumrall from Android did get back to us on our questions. I think the community will find that this was worth the wait.Issue: fwrev not set properly.
As we suspected the bugfix is not in our build. (The patch applies this unconditionally.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Sumrall
The patch includes a line in mmc.c setting fwrev to the rights bits from the cid register. Before this patch, the file /sys/class/block/mmcblk0/device/fwrev was not initialized from the CID for emmc devices rev 4 and greater, and thus showed zero.(On second inquiry)
fwrev is zero until the patch is applied.

Question: Revision didn’t match the fix
(Emphasis mine in red as it discusses the superbrick issue.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Sumrall
You probably have the bug, but rev 0×19 was a previous version of the firmware we had in our prototype devices, but we found it had another bug that if you issued an mmc erase command, it could screw up the data structures in the chip and lead to the device locking up until it was powered cycled. We discovered this when many of our developers were doing a fastboot erase userdata while we were developing ICS. So Samsung fixed the problem and moved to firmware revision 0×25.Yes, it is very annoying that 0×19 is decimal 25, and that led to lots of confusion when trying to diagnose emmc firmware issues. I finally learned to _ALWAYS_ refer to emmc version in hexadecimal, and precede the number with 0x just to be unambiguous.However, even though 0×19 probably has the bug that can insert 32 Kbytes of zeros into the flash, you can’t use this patch on devices with firmware revision 0×19. This patch does a very specific hack to two bytes of code in the revision 0×25 firmware, and the patch most likely will not work on 0×19, and will probably cause the chip to malfunction at best, and lose data at worst. There is a reason the selection criteria are so strict for applying this patch to the emmc firmware.I passed on our results a few days later mentioning that the file system didn’t corrupt until the wipe. This is a response to that follow-up.As I mentioned in the previous post, firmware rev 0×19 has a bug where the emmc chip can lockup after an erase command is given. Not every time, but often enough. Usually, the device can reboot after this, but then lockup during the boot process. Very rarely, it can lockup even before fastboot is loaded. Your tester was unlucky. Since you can’t even start fastboot, the device is probably bricked. :-( If he could run fastboot, then the device could probably be recovered with the firmware update code I have, assuming I can share it. I’ll ask.

Question: Why the /data partition?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Sumrall (Android SE)
Because /data is the place the chip that experiences the most write activity. /system is never written to (except during an system update) and /cache is rarely used (mostly to receiving OTAs).

Question: Why JTAG won’t work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Sumrall
As I mention above, the revision 0×19 firmware had a bug that after an emmc erase command, it could leave the internal data structures of the emmc chip in a bad state that cause the chip to lock up when a particular sector was accessed. The only fix was to wipe the chip, and update the firmware. I have code to do that, but I don’t know if I can share it. I’ll ask.

Question: Can a corrupted file system be repaired (on the eMMC)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Sumrall
e2fsck can repair the filesystem, but often the 32 Kbytes were inserted at the start of a block group, which erased many inodes, and thus running e2fsck would often result in many files getting lost.

So, while the fix doesn’t apply to us at the moment, we’ve been given a great insight into the superbrick issue as well as information that a fix is already developed (hopefully we’ll see it released!). The bug likely applies to us and assuming the fix for the 0×19 firmware is given then it would apply to our devices.

On a lighter note, I wanted to include his close:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Sumrall
You are getting a glimpse into the exciting life of an Android kernel developer. :-) Turns out the job is mostly fighting with buggy hardware. At least, it seems that way sometimes.

Please stay clear from flashing anything ICS onto your devices until this has been solved.

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[Thanks Entropy512 for all your hard work!!!!]



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