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Snapdragon 620 Spotted, Out Performs SD810

Posted by wicked June - 24 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

snapdragon-image

The upcoming mid-range chip from Qualcomm just appeared on Geekbench with better single-core performance than Samsung’s flagship Exynos 7420 & Qualcomm’s own flagship 810. Scores trail slightly when all eight cores are firing, but this impressive feat is still one to watch. Check out the numbers for yourself after the jump.

The post Snapdragon 620 Spotted, Out Performs SD810 appeared first on xda-developers.

XDA Recap: This Week In Android (Jun 14 – 20)

Posted by wicked June - 21 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

XDA News Roundup

Another week, another recap. The Sunday tradition marches on this week with a fresh no-nonsense look at big-picture news. Here in the digital XDA writers’ room, we spend our days poring over an average of 2,500 news items and forum threads every 24 hours. Only the most timely and interesting bits survive the editing process, but the portal’s front page still sees weekly counts in excess of 100 posts. This is a glut of content to absorb, especially if following the news cycle isn’t your full-time job. However, the tech world is vast, and the information must flow. With this in mind, let’s dive into a slimmed-down version of this week’s news that’s the perfect size for easy Sunday afternoon consumption!

Notable Links & Announcements

Best of XDA (BoX)

The XDA Developers community covers a wide range of topics at many skill levels, so navigating the forums can sometimes be challenging for the veteran and uninitiated alike. As Portal writers, our goal here is to make the best and most frequently referenced topics easier to understand at a glance, providing an overview of everything from rooting to Viper4Android. We’re calling the project the Best of XDA, or BoX for short, and it’s just now getting underway. More features will follow in the coming days, but these first two should get you started:

All BoX articles can be found at this link, but they are sure to pop up all around the site before long.

This Week in XDA TV

Jordan Keyes covers the Monday through Friday grind each week on XDA TV, most of which is also discussed below. Check out his video for the five minute rundown in 1080p.


 

Full annotations for this video can be found in the main XDA TV post from Friday. For more from the TV team, Monday’s recap of last weekend highlights noteworthy community announcements that didn’t make it to the Friday feature. However, if you’re already two deep into these YouTube videos, you might as well settle in with some popcorn and fire up the complete archive (found here).

For the written roundup, continue on below.

Android 5.1 Roll Out Continues

Lollipop Cyanogen

CyanogenMod 12.1 Nightlies for Android One are now live thanks to XDA Recognized Developer varun.chitre15. Downloads: sprout4 (4GB without emulated storage, including Symphony Roar A50) and sprout8 (8GB with emulated storage).

Cyanogen OS 12.1 for the YU Yureka and Yuphoria should be arriving “soon.” More info here.

oneplus-cyanogen-micromaxCyanogen OS 12.1 Nightlies for the OnePlus One should fix touchscreen issues. The 566 MB build  YNG1TAS2I3 also includes a fix for in-car bluetooth connectivity and MMS sending on some carriers. Read our full rundown for instructions on how to update depending on the version you are running right now.

The Rest of Lollipop

Mi Note – Android 5.1.1, TWRP, and CWM have arrived on the Mi Note thanks to the developer community. One or two bugs still plague the system, but none are particularly game-breaking. Learn more!

Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge – T-Mobile has begun pushing Android 5.1.1 to the Samsung flagships, and this version bump brings redesigned camera exposure controls and a new wallpaper parallax effect along for the ride. It is still unclear as to whether the poor memory management has been addressed, but you can read our full story here for the rundown.

Moto X (first gen) – Original Moto X owners in the US, Canada, and Brazil will be treated to 5.1 in short order. Check the release notes for more.

Oppo Find 7 and 7a – The Lollipop-based ColorOS v2.1.1i Beta is now available, though don’t expect it to look anything like Google’s stock experience. Along with the usual batch of stabilizations and bug fixes, the latest version includes better homescreen management, a suite of camera filters, longer screenshots, and a cool Lockscreen Magazine feature that changes your wallpaper every time the phone wakes up. Learn more!


 

As always, the best source for device-specific news is the XDA-Developers Forum for your handset, so consider subscribing to the appropriate general threads for up-to-the-minute content.

Phone Announcement & Discounts

Sony Xperia Z3+ & Z4v

sonyxperiaz4v_1The Z4 is finally arriving in the US under the Verizon-exclusive moniker of Z4v. This upgrade differs from the Japanese Z4 and the (now available) European Z3+ by increasing the display density to 2560×1440 and compensating for the battery hit with a beefier frame and larger 3000 mAh power pack. Wireless charging also comes standard, unlike the Z3+, but the remaining specs are as we have expected – 5.2” display, hot-headed Snapdragon 810, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of ROM, microSD support, and a 20.7MP rear shooter. Pricing is up in the air, but both the black and white handset are set to drop later this summer. Get the full scoop here.

Motorola Nexus 6 and Moto X go on sale

Motorola is kicking off its summer sales event by lowering the supersized Nexus to £399 in the UK, and the 2nd-gen Moto X to £229 (UK) or $299 (US) until June 29/30. The US offer also includes a 30 day risk-free trial, so the phone can be returned within the first month for a full refund with no strings attached. For more on these offers, head here for the US, and here for the UK discounts.

Asus Zenfone 2 Bootloader Unlock

Industrious XDA Forums Member shakalaca has discovered a way to unlock the Asus Zenfone 2 bootloader with only root access (no contact with Asus). Check out our detailed breakdown post for more, including links to a step-by-step guide.

Snapdragon 810, Yet Again

Qualcomm-Snapdragon-810The big device news this week was confirmation that the upcoming OnePlus Two will pack a Snapdragon 810 v2.1 under the hood. What this means for device performance and cost is yet to be seen, but the chipset’s checkered past leaves us skeptical of results. Just this week, the 801 in Sony’s Xperia Z3 was seen running neck and neck with it’s 810 cousin in the Z4, then cleanly surpassing the newer handset once temperatures rose. Version 2.1 brings significant changes to thermal control, memory bandwidth, and the GPU, as evidenced by the latest Anandtech analysis, but will this be enough to bring the OnePlus on track? Read our deep dive for the latest, and stay tuned – this evolving story will be with us for a while.

The Future of Phones

Android 5.1 on Blackberry Passport

Rumors of Blackberry’s planned Android push have been strengthened by a new photograph of Android running on an old Passport. The image comes courtesy of Blackberry developer D’Amico’s Twitter account on Wednesday, but very little else is known. Check the tweet for more, though you may need to run the comment section through Google Translate if you don’t speak Italian.

Samsung GPUs Delayed By Up To 5 Years

Samsung’s plan to launch an in-house GPU and move away from ARM-based Mali chips has reportedly seen a significant setback. Samsung GPUs were expected to first appear mid-2015, but industry sources claim the timeline is closer to 2020 and will coincide with the rumored conclusion of the company’s AMD contract. Learn more!

HTC Executives Eeny Asustek Acquisition Rumors

News stes wiere abuzz last week when struggling handset maker HTC was thought to be eyeing the rising star of Asus. However, it seems that HTC took slight offence to the rumor and has issued a curt rebuttal. “We strongly deny the news. We didn’t contact Asustek and will not consider the acquisition. As an international brand, HTC will continue to design world-class innovative smart devices through its pursuit of brilliance brand promise.” Read more.

Miscellaneous Hacks, Happenings, & Bug Fixes

LG Touchscreen Issues [Partially Fixed]

LG fixes the spotty tap recognition within the G4’s keyboard, though other touchscreen issues remain. Check our complete article for a list of fixes provided by LG and the XDA Developers community.

Missing Samsung Quick Settings [Fixed]

Samsung fixes missing Quick Settings on the Galaxy S6. The solution takes the form of a dedicated app released by Samsung, and you can read more here.

Samsung Keyboard Vulnerability [Waiting On Carriers]

Security firm NowSecure indicates that a bug related to the keyboard updating process within Galaxy handsets could allow a hacker to read texts, listen in on calls, and manipulate the microphone for nefarious purposes. Samsung claims that a patch is in the hands of carriers, but so far no tested devices have received the update.

AT&T Fined $100 Million for throttling unlimited data

attvsfccThe FCC has ruled that AT&T did not disclose accurate pricing information to its unlimited data customers when choosing to throttle such customers’ data rates down by a factor of ten. Corrective action will include amending the plan’s language, informing affected customers of the changes, and allowing them to cancel without penalty. You can find our complete breakdown of the ruling here.

Developers’ Corner

Topeka – Material Design Examples for Mobile & Web

20150616204513421Between the Polymer session at Google I/O, the Polymer Starter Kit, and a variety of video tutorials, Google is making a concerted push for a Materialized world. The latest effort comes in the form of an open-source example called Topeka – a Polymer prototype in two parts. Whether on the web or on in a dedicated Android app, this example shows how to create a consistent experience across devices. You can start learning from Topeka here.

Android Security Rewards Program

Have you found a security flaw in the latest version of Android? Google has a check with your name on it! The new Security Rewards Program aims to make Android an appealing enterprise OS by attracting talented security experts to the platform. Vulnerabilities in AOSP code, OEM libraries and drivers, kernel code, TrustZone OS, and modules are all fair game, and will net cash prizes between $500 and $2000. Fixes for the above can range up to $30,000 at the discretion of of the reward panel. Only the latest Android version running on Google Play Store Nexus 6 and 9 units from the US are eligible thus far, and non-AOSP Google apps are excluded from scrutiny, but this is a promising start to the program. Learn more from our full writeup here.

Amazon Fire OS 5 Developer Preview

The Lollipop-based version of FireOS will hit Amazon devices soon, but developers can already opt in for a sneak peek. Among the touted benefits are greater app compatibility, and an accompanying 90 second compatibility checker, so sign up to test your app on a Fire HD 6 or 7 today. Learn more here.

Elephone P8000 Source Code

The Chinese upstart Elephone is breaking into the developer world by uploading source code for its recently released P8000, but the pot is sweetened by an offer of free phones to developers willing to deal with its MTK chip. Applications for the free phones are subject to review, so head over to Elephone’s site for the latest info.

 

That is it for this week, but we will be back next Sunday for another round of recaps. After all, the news never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your own rest to stay informed!

The post XDA Recap: This Week In Android (Jun 14 – 20) appeared first on xda-developers.

XDA Recap: This Week In Android (Jun 7 – 14)

Posted by wicked June - 14 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

XDA News Roundup

Another week, another recap. The Sunday tradition marches on this week with a fresh no-nonsense look at big-picture news. Here in the digital XDA writers’ room, we spend our days poring over an average of 2,500 news items and forum threads every 24 hours. Only the most timely and interesting bits survive the editing process, but the portal’s front page still sees weekly counts in excess of 100 posts. This is a glut of content to absorb, especially if following the news cycle isn’t your full-time job. However, the tech world is vast, and the information must flow. With this in mind, let’s dive into a slimmed-down version of this week’s news that’s the perfect size for easy Sunday afternoon consumption!

Notable Links & Announcements

  • Last week’s news roundup, or click here for the bookmark-able archive page of our regularly scheduled recaps.
  • Saturday’s usual app list took the week off, but a handful of contenders did make their way to the Portal homepage. Check out all of our “Get It Now” recommendations here, or browse the archive of past “app of the week” threads for more great suggestions..

New Writers Join The Team

Eric HulseEric Hulse

Eric is a Mechanical Engineer by day, and a self professed technology lover on the side. Buyer of (way too) many flagships and fan of all things mobile. XDA member since 2010.

You can find his work here, including three excellent summaries of specific events from this past week: Apple Music’s imminent launch, AT&T’s surprise no-prompt updates of the G4, and a fix for memory issues on the Galaxy S6

JackJenningsJack Jennings

Jack is just your regular technology enthusiast from London who enjoys writing, playing and listening to music. After purchasing an HTC Desire in 2010, his affection for Android has steadily grown; his phone is probably in recovery mode, right now…

Only one week in, and Jack Jennings already has two editorials and a handful of posts and features under his belt, the first two of which you can find here: Audio-Focused APIs Mark Promising Direction for Android, and Should Google Open Up Android Wear?

Be on the lookout for the talent filled work of both Eric and Jack in the weeks to come, and help us welcome these two into the XDA writing family.

A New Breed Of Review

asus-zenfone-2-3XDA is home to many reviews, and we have covered the likes of the Zenfone in the past, but it’s safe to say that Mario Serrafero’s examination of the Asus Zenfone 2 is a cut above the rest. This review marks the start of a new era in XDA device analysis – one driven by data and objective measurement, yet published with flair. We can’t wait to share our plans for the next go around, and hope this series opener proves useful to developers and shoppers alike.

Asus Zenfone 2 Review: Cheap, Fast, Big, Flawed

For The Community, By The Community

XDA: All IT-Guys, Right? Challenge your preconceived notions of XDA readers and writers in this guest editorial from Recognized Developer laufersteppenwolf.

 

This Week in XDA TV

XDA covers more than just news, and nowhere is that more apparent than Jordan Keyes’ weekly posts to XDA TV. Here’s the latest round of ROM updates and phone tweaks mixed with a dose of current events; enjoy!


 

 

Full annotations for this video can be found in the main XDA TV post from Friday. For more from the TV team, Monday’s recap of last weekend highlights noteworthy community announcements that didn’t make it to the Friday feature. However, if you’re already two deep into these YouTube videos, you might as well settle in with some popcorn and fire up the complete archive (found here).

For all the news and only the news, read on.

 

New & Upcoming Device Launches

The device market is a crowded place, and finding the perfect handset can be difficult for even the most well informed shopper. Google’s newly launched Which Phone site aims to simplify the issue through a series of quick questions about how you intend to use your new phone. The tool is geared towards casual consumers, but the survey and filters on offer manage to pair phones with needs remarkably well. Check it out!

For more options, and to keep apprised of the latest up and coming smartphones, read on.

India

The LG G4, available for pre-order now, will sell for Rs. 51,500 when it hits shelves in India this Friday. Pre-orders include perks like a free metallic back cover, extra battery (with charging cradle), and one-time screen replacement. Order here.

Xiaomi Mi 4 (16GB) drops to Rs. 17,999, with the 64GB model similarly reduced to Rs. 19,999. Order here.

Xiaomi Mi 4i goes grey. The new color option follows its white counterpart in selling for Rs. 12,999, and packs all of the familiar specs along for the ride. Flash sale registration starts June 16. Learn more.

OnePlus will now extend the warranty on any One by three months if a support ticket has gone unanswered for more than fifteen days. Read our coverage here.

Elsewhere Around the Globe

oneplus-one-silk-whiteIn more OnePlus One news, prices continue to fall and perks begin to stack up in advance of the expected OnePlus Two announcement next month. Recent flash sales have seen $249 and $299 price tags for the 16 and 64 GB models, respectively, and now a partnership with Dropbox upps the ante with 1 TB of Pro storage and a 64 GB phone for $349 combined. This offer is only valid in the US, Canada and EU for a limited time. Check out our coverage for the full scoop. Current owners also have something to anticipate on the horizon – Android 5.1’s arrival courtesy of OxygenOS. Discussion in the OnePlus forums points to the update being on its way, although an OTA push may hold off after the Two has arrived.

galaxy-s6-active-001Galaxy S6 Active launches on AT&T with a shock and water resistant shell, but the showstopping change is an upgraded 3,500 mAh battery that adds an additional 40% capacity to the non-removable S6 power pack. Read the rundown of changes here.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua can be found in the US via Amazon. The 8 GB M4 is priced at a reasonable $349 and comes unlocked with free shipping, though keep in mind that only 1.26 GB is free to use. Sony is known for making quality devices, but make sure to research the field before putting down cash – this year has seen many capable handsets at similar price points. Order here.

Andromax Q is the latest upstart powered by CyanogenOS, and can be had for Rp. 1,599,000 in Indonesia. Order here.

Elephone P8000 is now on the market for $209.99 during today’s flash sale, with additional discounts available in the form of ELE codes. This 5.5” octa-core device is a compelling low or mid-range purchase with 3 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, two high resolution cameras, and a massive battery. Do your research first, though, as the Elephone is not alone in the high-end budget space. Order here.

Gionee Elife E8 is now on sale, and weighs in with a 24 MP rear camera. This 6” Quad HD device from bit player Gionee is only for sale in China at the moment, but rumors abound about a potential July 15 launch in India as well. Check out our full feature for more info.

NVIDIA Shield Pro Android TV has arrived. The 4K capable Shield comes with all the necessary internals for hard-core media consumption, and two flavors of storage – 16 GB for $199.99, and 500 GB for $299.99 with a copy of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel thrown in for good measure. Both versions also add $30 of Google Play credit and a three month subscription to Play Music to get you started. Order here.

Upcoming


OnePlus_Competition_1The OnePlus Two
to arrive in July, according to the most reliable rumor yet. The long awaited device is said to possess an updated Snapdragon 810 processor 3 GB of RAM, a 1920 x 1080 display, 3300 mAh of battery capacity, and a 13 MP camera, though most of these specs lack confirmation. For a chance to win a trip to the Hong Kong factory, check out our complete contest explainer, then read up on what we know about the release thus far.

Pebble Time pre-orders start June 22 through an exclusive agreement with BestBuy. Full Pebble coverage can be found here.

Oculus Rift is finally approaching consumer sale in the first quarter of next year. The latest VR headset iteration was shown off at a press conference on Tuesday, where games, controllers, and new OLED panels were all on display. Read our full coverage of the event here.

Samsung patents a new “automatic ejectable pen” for upcoming Note devices that locks the stylus in place until released with a voice command or gesture. Learn more!

ZTE to go 4K with upcoming flagship launch, bringing the company head to head with Samsung’s rumored high-resolution Note 5. Learn more!

 

The Snapdragon Saga Continues

Qualcomm-Snapdragon-810It should come as no surprise by now that the writing staff here in the XDA newsroom has a less than favorable opinion of the Snapdragon 810, and this week’s announcement of heat issues in the Xperia Z4 only solidify the view. However, progress marches ever onward, and it was just revealed that the Xperia Z3+ will carry a revamped Snapdragon 810 “v2.1” when it is released. Will the new phone suffer the same fate? We await news with bated breath. The full story of the Xperia Z4’s meltdown can be found here.

 

Google Product Updates

Google Search becomes location aware, and packs a bonus for the data conscious in India. Contextual phrases like “call this conference center,” “how long is this river” and “how tall is that building” will now serve up answers based on your location, pairing the power of Google Now with the precision of smartphone GPS. Check out our primer, and give it a try! In other search news, Google is now saving 2G users in India a bit of time and bandwidth by serving up “light” versions of websites through Chrome while on slow connections. No word yet on international availability. Learn more!

Image 093Take an early look at Hangouts 4.0 through an Android Police exclusive. The refreshed messenger features Floating Action Buttons galore, a polished Material UI, and a long awaited Wear overhaul that adds conversation lists and hints at voice actions to start messages. A few bugs still exist, but we can’t wait to get our hands on the new features. Learn more about the smartphone app and Wear integration here.

 

Apple Updates (Yes, They Affect Android As Well)

Apple Music – the streaming music space is growing increasingly more cluttered with each passing month, and soon Apple will be joining the fray on both Android and iOS. Features are set to include curated radio-like stations from BeatsOne, Connect, and Siri integration (on the iOS side). Check out our initial writeup for the specifics of this June 30 release, and keep an eye open for Mike McCrary’s upcoming technical comparison of streaming services.

“Move to iOS” App – on the off chance that you have grown tired of Android and wish to ditch the XDA lifestyle for iOS, Apple is making the move easier than ever with a new set of apps – one for each platform. Simply fire up Move to iOS on your Android, and a helpful wizard will walk you through transferring files, contacts, messages, photos, videos, bookmarks, and more with no wires needed. Learn more!

 

Potential Acquisitions & Corporate Restructuring

Asus is looking to acquire HTC – Chairman Jonny Shih of Asustek confirmed this week that the two Taiwanese companies may have a bright future together, and the possibility of acquisition has not been ruled out. Learn more!

Blackberry may adopt Android – Four unnamed sources claim that Blackberry is set to shift its focus to software and device management, with Android playing a possible role in future growth. The first hardware fruit of the new direction may even be a sliding keyboard phone to fill a market niche long abandoned by other OEMs. Learn more!

Developers’ Corner

Google Developers

Google’s developer outreach portals have been spitting out content at full tilt ever since I/O, but perhaps the most prolific posting source is GoogleDevelopers on YouTube. If you’re not already subscribed to this channel and the related feeds, now is a great time to catch up. Content ranges from tech tips to hilariously informative Play Services updates, but this week focused on a series of coffee shop chats, and daily mini lessons flying under the banner of “100 Days of Google Dev.” Check out the representative video below, then grab a bite to eat and spool up the entire playlist over on YouTube.


 

 

Android Auto

Creating and showing off apps for Android Auto in the cramped confines of a car is no easy feat. Thankfully, Instructables user Joel Aguila has a solution in the form of a DIY dev box to put all of the features of a car within one tidy package. Learn more!

Are you all set for development, but lack the cash for an official Android Auto powered touchscreen? XDA Recognized Developer mikereidis has reverse engineered Auto to run on any smartphone or tablet, so any spare device can transform into a head unit. Learn more!

 

 

That is it for this week, but we will be back next Sunday for another round of recaps. After all, the news never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your own rest to stay informed!

The post XDA Recap: This Week In Android (Jun 7 – 14) appeared first on xda-developers.

An Early Look At Hangouts 4.0 On Wear

Posted by wicked June - 11 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

img_5579d79c2d6d2

Android Police is back with another sneak peek at Hangouts 4.0, this time detailing Wear features like opening, reading, and replying to past conversations. Asking the watch to “send a message to <contact-name> on Hangouts” crashes Wear at the moment, but hopefully this will be fixed before release.

The post An Early Look At Hangouts 4.0 On Wear appeared first on xda-developers.

Google Maps Adds Photo Gallery & More

Posted by wicked June - 9 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Google Maps Gallery View

Maps v9.10 may not include offline mode, but you will see an improved gallery that tiles multiple pics into one view, a manager for your uploaded photos, prompts & popups for previously scheduled car rentals, and an “always on” mode for the scale bar. Check it out!

The post Google Maps Adds Photo Gallery & More appeared first on xda-developers.

Kindle Fire HD 6 and 7 Receive Bootloader Unlock and TWRP

Posted by wicked June - 7 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

Kindle-Fire-HD-6

Amazon’s efforts at producing a budget-friendly tablet yielded the Kindle Fire HD 6 and 7, and despite the online retail giant’s substantial efforts at marketing the devices, enthusiasts weren’t impressed, their judgement buoyed by the tablets’ desolate scene in the modding community.

However, it looks like things are finally looking up for owners of the HD 6 and 7, as XDA Recognized Developer jmz made a breakthrough and managed to unlock their bootloaders. With that barrier knocked down, it was only a matter of time before a custom recovery hit the devices, and sure enough, jmz ported TWRP 2.8.6.0 to both tablets. The bootloader unlocking procedure is fairly complex, but jimz has detailed every step thoroughly, guiding users eIDZthrough every step. Flashing TWRP, on the other hand, is relatively easier, and only needs a single command to work its magic.

Given that the Fire HD 6 and 7 are MediaTek devices, the bootloader being unlocked and TWRP being ported are stellar advancements in what previously seemed to be a bleak future. Head over to the bootloader unlock thread and the TWRP thread to get started with modding your tablet. Happy flashing!

The post Kindle Fire HD 6 and 7 Receive Bootloader Unlock and TWRP appeared first on xda-developers.

XDA Recap: This Week In Android (May 31 – Jun 6)

Posted by wicked June - 7 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

XDA News Roundup

Another week, another recap. The Sunday tradition marches on this week with a fresh no-nonsense look at big-picture news. Here in the digital XDA writers’ room, we spend our days pouring over an average of 2,500 news items and forum threads every 24 hours. Only the most timely and interesting bits survive the editing process, but the portal’s front page still sees weekly counts in excess of 100 posts. This is a glut of content to absorb, especially if following the news cycle isn’t your full-time job. However, the tech world is vast, and the information must flow. With this in mind, let’s dive into a slimmed-down version of this week’s news that’s the perfect size for easy Sunday afternoon consumption!

Notable Links & Announcements

For The Community, By The Community

  • The Path of Curiosity (Voices of XDA) – Start your journey into the depths of the XDA Forums with this beginner-focused primer that’s an excellent read for all community members. Voices of XDA is an ongoing series of features from forum members like you! Find out how to bring your voice to the portal’s front page here.
  • Forum Member Opinions on I/O and Android M (XDA News) – I/O brought a little something for everyone, but reactions are often colored by our areas of expertise. This feature brings a sampling of reactions from around the forums into the spotlight.
  • Extreme Battery Life Guide (XDA Forums) – This week’s featured forum thread guides you through improving battery life on any device, and is well worth the read.
  • AMA with Android Developer MohammedAG (Reddit) – Noted Xposed developer MohammedAG answered dozens of questions about his apps and coding process over on Reddit. Join the conversation!

This Week in XDA TV

XDA covers more than just news, and nowhere is that more apparent than Jordan Keyes’ weekly posts to XDA TV. Here’s the latest round of ROM updates and phone tweaks mixed with a dose of current events; enjoy!

Full annotations for this video can be found in the main XDA TV post from Friday. For more from the TV team, Monday’s recap of last weekend highlights noteworthy community announcements that didn’t make it to the Friday feature. However, if you’re already two deep into these YouTube videos, you might as well settle in with some popcorn and fire up the complete archive (found here).

For all the news and only the news, read on.

Lollipop Marches Onward & Upward

Sony announced this week that 21 of their devices will make the jump to 5.1 during July, including those on the previously announced 5.0 roll out list being pushed to the likes of T-Mobile’s Z3 as we speak.

Samsung’s 5.1.1 update is still a little ways off as well, but a preview firmware for the S6 and S6 Edge has surfaced at SamMobile, complete with multi user support and new camera modes – video and writeup available here. In related news, the same update is expected to land on the Note 4 in late July.

Motorola’s smartwatch is conspicuously absent from the update list this time around, even though 5.1.1 was promised to the Moto 360 more than a month ago. However, a recent tweet points to performance issues as the root cause of the delay, and hopefully the end product will be worth the wait.

For the most up-to-the-minute news about these and all other devices, be sure to subscribe to the relevant general thread within the XDA Forums proper.

Modular Watches & Android Cars

Gunmetal GrayZenwatch 2 – the latest square Asus watch leans heavily on style, and comes in two sizes to fit a range of wrist types. Both models feature 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3, AMOLED displays, and Qualcomm chips, but very little is known about the internal specs. Check out our feature post for pictures, videos, and the complete rundown.

tag-heuer-carrera-pressTag Hauer Carrera Wearable 01 – Swiss watchmaker Tag Hauer’s upcoming Wear watch is set to be available in October or November for an astounding $1,400. For that price, CEO Jean-Claude Biver plans to fashion a truly upgradable watch from his company’s partnership with Intel, though what that means is anyone’s guess. Read up on the full story here.

BlocksBlocks Modular Smartwatch – Speaking of upgradability, the Blocks smartwatch adds components like batteries, sensors, and screens into the watch band links themselves, treating the device like an Ara prototype you can strap to your wrist. This Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 powered watch will be available in seven to eight months, but you can browse our early analysis here.

Two Indian Cars Gain Android Auto – Mahindra and Mahindra, the Indian automotive manufacturer behind the Mahindra XUV500 and Scorpio, has signed on to the Open Automotive Alliance and announced its intentions to include Android Auto. Read more.

Miscellaneous Announcements

Security CheckupGoogle Privacy & Security Hub – take a privacy checkup, change which apps can access your account, and alter your ad preferences from a newly unified account page. Google’s revamped settings hub places familiar tools in a more manageable context, and attempts to allay concerns about data collection; learn more!

Samsung Galaxy S6 Teardown – Have you ever wondered what’s under the hood of a Samsung flagship? Find out in this newly released teardown on SamsungTomorrow.

LG G4 International Gains TWRP – Minor announcement that is what it says on the tin. Learn more!

ARM and Samsung Sign Agreement for Mali GPUs – Thanks to a new partnership, Mali GPUs from ARM will make their way into Samsung phones at all price points. Learn more!

Windows10_v2Windows 10 – Microsoft’s newest OS is set to release on July 29 for the low low price of “free.” Retail copies will run from $119 to $199 for the desktop and tablet versions, but upgrades from Windows 7 or 8.1 within the first year will come at no charge. Once on Windows 10, reinstalling the OS and receiving updates will remain free for the lifetime of your hardware, though Microsoft has yet to nail down the meaning of that language. The operating system itself offers a number of multi-tasking improvements such as virtual desktops, along with more intuitive switching between tablet and desktop modes, and Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant. Expect deeper coverage to follow, but here’s a quick peek at what Windows has to offer.

New & Upcoming Device Launches

Orderes Open Now

Elephone S2 and S2 Plus – The Chinese bit-player Elephone is back with two devices now up for pre-order. Both the Elephone S2 and S2 Plus sandwich 2 GB of RAM and a MediaTek 6735 processor between two sleek panes of glass, and feature Android 5.1 out of the box. You can pre-order the 5” HD version for $159.99 direct from elephone.hk, or the 5.5” model from the same site coming in at reasonable $10 markup.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Emerald Green) – Shoppers in India finally have the option to buy Samsung’s latest flagship in Emerald Green for Rs. 58,900. Only the 32GB model comes in this trim color so far, and the Blue Topaz version is still MIA, but expanded purchasing options are always welcome. Buy now, if this strikes your fancy.

Launching Soon

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active – AT&T is now hinting at the release of a new S6 variant that earlier popped up in support pages with a 5.1” 2560 x 1440 super AMOLED display and a 2550 mAh battery. Unfortunately, very few specifics are known about the device so far, aside from the usual expectations of a rugged frame and comparable specs to its namesake S6. Read our full coverage here for more.

HTC “Hero Product” – October could see another HTC flagship launch in a bid to make up for the tepid response to this year’s M9. No specifics were given alongside this revelation during the annual general meeting, but HTC CEO and Chairwoman Cher Wang appears confident that the new strategy will put the company back on track. Learn more!

Developers’ Corner

Market Share Stats

App development runs on numbers, and the latest batch of usage statistics is now up for grabs.

Screenshot2Google’s worldwide metrics on phones pinging the Play Store show that Lollipop has now reached 12.4% of all Android phones – up 2.7% over last month. KitKat and Jelly Bean unsurprisingly still take the lion’s share at 39.2% and 37.4% respectively, but it’s nice to see incremental losses across the board for older versions. Screen size and density breakdowns remain largely unchanged, and the OpenGL standards in use likewise saw little improvement – normal HDPI and XHDPI phones with OpenGL 2.0 and 3.0 are the norm. Read the full story here!

Comscore also released April numbers, but with a focus on OEMs in the US market over the last quarter. Android maintains its slim majority lead over iOS by a nine point margin, down slightly over last quarter’s nearly twelve percent lead in the States. While Apple is the sole purveyor of iOS and thus controls 43% of the device market, the rest is split among Samsung (28.6%), LG (8.4%), Motorola (4.9%), and HTC (3.7%), most of which comes from Android. You can check out the full story here, including a breakdown of the top 15 apps that shows Snapchat and Pinterest each installed on one in five phones.

Android Nanodegree Q&A

Knowing the lay of the land is one thing, but breaking into the world of Android app development is another. In an effort to help out, Google launched a new development course at I/O through a partnership with Udacity, and now the team is back with a 45 minute Q&A session on YouTube to explain the course basics. Check it out here if you’re still on the fence about dedicating the next 9-12 months and up to $2,400 to the program.

What’s New in Development Tools

Are you still working through the backlog of recorded talks from I/O? The folks over at RoboVM have compiled a handy written summary of the dev tools section to speed up the process. Bone up on the improved Gradle plugin and build system, enhanced emulation suite, and host of new additions to Android Studio including C/C++ support, profiling tools, annotations, and more over on the full site.

Android Studio 1.3 Preview 1

AndroidStudioLogoSpeaking of development tools, Android Studio has reached version 1.3 in the canary channel. Among the new features are SDK update notifications, an allocation tracker, additional code inspections, live code templates, and the usual round of bug fixes. Read more and grab your copy here.

Chrome for Android Adds App Install Prompts

Chrome has allowed users to create website shortcuts on their homescreens for a while, but version 44 now brings similar functionality to websites with native Android app counterparts. Assuming a few site conditions are met, the familiar “add to Home screen” menu item can now walk users through the app installation process, complete with permissions screens and opening prompts. News of this feature first broke last month, but somehow it slipped through the cracks. To find out how to upgrade your own site, check out the Google Developers Blog here.

 

That is it for this week, but we will be back next Sunday for another round of recaps. After all, the news never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your own rest to stay informed!

The post XDA Recap: This Week In Android (May 31 – Jun 6) appeared first on xda-developers.

XDA Recap: This Week At Google IO (May 24 – 30)

Posted by wicked May - 31 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

XDA News Roundup

Another week, another recap, right? Not so fast; this week was home to Google’s annual developer conference, and announcements ran wild! We have a lot of line-items to cover, including the deluge of features in Android M, a suite of assorted Google product updates, Android Pay, stereoscopic 3D virtual reality, and more. Without further ado, let’s get down to business and see what goodies Google brought the developer community this year.

Notable Links & Announcements

Highlighted Guides

This Week in XDA TV

This has been a very busy week in the tech world, and not all of of the news came from Google. However, only so many line-items will fit in one roundup, and I/O is the largest and most densely packed story of the year. To fill in the gaps, here is a quick summary of developments in the wider Android ecosystem provided by Jordan Keyes.

Annotations for this video can be found in the main XDA TV post from Friday. Now, let’s get on with the main event: Google’s yearly two day developer conference, Google I/O.

This Week at Google I/O

Read more about the XDA TV feature on its dedicated and annotated page.

The full Google I/O keynote can be found here, but it’s two hours long and you surely have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon. With this in mind, here’s the rundown of everything Google announced.

Android M Preview

Android M, codenamed Macadamia Nut Cookie in internal repos, is finally here! System images have been posted for the latest preview build (links below), so let’s unpack what the newest Android version is all about.

Fingerprint Support – Android now comes with API hooks to support a variety of fingerprint sensor tech. The move comes as part of the larger push for Android Pay, but also allows for device unlocks and Play Store purchases thanks to integration with open authentication APIs. Learn more!

Android PayAndroid Pay – Google’s latest mobile payments rebrand is its most compelling version to date. Android Pay has the backing of major US carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, works across more than 700,000 stores, and can be used for in-app purchases including Lyft rides and GrubHub meals. In terms of security, credit card numbers never change hands during transactions, and fingerprint authentication is finally along for the ride – two features previously holding back Wallet in comparison to other payment solutions. Learn more!

App Permissions – grant (and revoke) permissions on demand in Android M. Starting with this preview build, Android will no longer ask about permissions when installing or updating apps. Instead, permission popups will appear as each service is needed, and decisions about each can be changed through system settings after the fact. This approach may finally smooth out the app update process and give users the granular control for which we have spent years pleading. Is this the Xprivacy killer, or just a neat extension of App Ops? Learn more!

App Link Enhancements – As it stands now, links to Twitter.com and other websites with app counterparts are handled by the cumbersome “App Chooser” dialog through a system of intents. Starting with M, developers can choose to bypass this dialog by using a string of code to “verify” that certain links should redirect to specific apps. Details on precisely how this will work are still a bit fuzzy, and this is a topic that deserves further scrutiny, but a good place to start is reading our primer found here.

DozeDoze – eke out up to twice the standby time on your Android M devices through an intelligent “deep sleep” mode called Doze. The feature uses your onboard gyroscope to identify periods of inactivity, then shuts down nonessential systems without affecting notifications and other high priority alerts. Learn more!

Custom Chrome Tabs. WebView works well enough for now, but sometimes apps need a more fully featured browser to handle links – a browser they can control and brand. This is where Custom Chrome Tabs come in. The new feature allows for a range of tweaks to make the Chrome experience look and feel like a native part of your app, complete with colored toolbar, custom address bar button, injected settings in teh overflow menu, and enter/exit animations. The icing on the cake, however, is that content in these tabs can be pre-loaded into memory, speeding up the opening process. You can find Custom Tabs on the Chrome dev channel now, with wide scale release scheduled for the third quarter of this year. Read more on the Chrome Developer blog.

Multi-Window Mode (Experimental) – Google stayed silent on the topic of this highly anticipated feature, but Android M appears to ship with a rudimentary multi-window mode. The current version pales in comparison to the more elegant solutions from Samsung, LG, and others, but we are excited to watch the feature progress on our own handsets. You can try out multi-window for yourself by installing M and modifying your build.prop file, so follow the link to take this buggy multi-tasker for a spin today.

Now On Tap – context-aware searching on any screen. Are you reading an email that mentions a film? Hold the home button for a card that shows everything you need to know. Have you come across a word you can’t pronounce? Google knows which words are on-screen while you are fumbling through asking for a definition, and can better interpret your gibberish. Some may rightly argue that having this level of access to the contents of your screen is a serious privacy concern – stay tuned for an upcoming analysis – but it’s hard to deny the utility of Google Now showing up when and where it is needed. Learn more!

M app drawerNew app drawer design – the system app drawer may see a lot more white space in M, thanks to an alphabetically grouped, vertically scrolling layout. We aren’t fond of the three-column approach here at the office, but having a search button within easy reach is a marked improvement. Check out the new look here!

Automatic Backup of App Data – Google has backed up data for some time, but Android M will finally add app data to the mix (for better or worse). Currently, users rely on third party solutions like Titanium Backup to safeguard game saves, user dictionaries, and other local information, but now that Google is getting involved it is time to revisit the security concerns implicit in handing over information to the search giant. For more, check out Pulser’s words of caution, here.

Settings toggles can be rearranged! Not much more to say about this one, other than “good job, Google,” and perhaps the obligatory sigh of “finally” heard ’round the world.

Dialer has been replaced with Voice Search on the lock screen. Lollipop’s lockscreen introduced two swipe gestures – swipe left to take a picture, and right to make a phone call. Apparently no one ever swipes right.

SD cards are treated as internal storage. The KitKat microSD crackdown is finally at an end.

Text selection now jumps by word and adds a floating toolbar.

Volume Controls add media and alarm sliders.

Dark theme! Unfortunately the theme only covers Google’s settings menu for the time being, but watch this space for future developments.

For more information about Android M, keep an eye on the XDA Portal over the coming weeks as we work our way through the preview build and the finer points of I/O. If you would like to get a jump start on the process and dive straight into the features outlined above (and more) here are the links to get you started:

M will officially launch later this year, and OEMs are already pledging support for their current lineups. First up, HTC’s Senior Global Online Communications Manager took to Twitter to share that the One M9 and One M9+ will make the jump. No timeline has yet been given. Expect other manufacturers to follow suit in the near future.

 

Other I/O News

Check out Google’s video streams for the full I/O experience, but here’s the brief rundown:

android-shield-tv-710x441NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV – The Nexus Player, Razer Forge, and a handful of smart TVs do exist as 10-foot Android experiences, but this week’s announcement of the SHIELD console sets a new bar. Onboard, you will find an NVIDIA Maxwell 256-core GPU capable of DX-12 and the latest OpenGL standards, an 8-core 64-bit ARM CPU, 3GB RAM, 16GB flash ROM (or 500GB HDD), two USB 3.0 ports, and microSD expansion. As for video playback, the unit can output H.265 video at 4K, 60Hz or 1080p, 120Hz. This machine is a beast. You can pick one up for $199 (or $299 for the pro package) via NVIDIA, Amazon, or BestBuy. Find out more about the SHIELD TV and its accessories here!

Two Google apps saw significant updates as well – Google Photos and Inbox by Gmail. The former ups the resolution of pictures stored for free, and puts a machine-learning spin on finding faces, places, and things through search, while the latter comes out of Beta and is available to all. Check them out in the companion article: XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (May 15 – 30).

Brillo is Google’s software contribution to the Internet of Things. Projects Brillo and Weave function as scaled down operating systems and communications schemas (respectively) based on the Android kernel. Through these systems, smart home devices like thermostats, security cameras, refrigerators, and remote sensors can talk to one another and to Android itself using a shared Hardware Abstraction Layer, and suit of communications standards. Learn more!

Android Auto comes to the Hyundai Sonata – The 2015 Sonata becomes the first car to run Google’s automotive infotainment system. Learn more!

Project Tango – Pick up a dev edition of the 3D mapping Tango tablet for $512 here.

Google Jump RigCardboard v2.0, DIY 360-Degree Stereoscopic VR Rigs, & more – last year’s conference brought us the original cardboard VR viewer, and this year’s update now fits larger devices, works with older phones, and runs on iOS as well as Android. However, the new viewer was not the star of this year’s show. After showing off Cardboard and the new educational VR program called Google Expeditions, Google unveiled an open source rig on which 16 cameras can capture video to be stitched into the most immersive VR experience to date. The real kicker? Google will do the background 3D processing for you, and the resulting video works with YouTube. GoPro will launch a commercial version of the video rig in the coming months, but industrious builders can make an ad-hoc version from almost anything, including cardboard. Learn more!

Android Developer Nanodegree – Aspiring developers have a new resource for getting up to speed with Android. Udacity and Google collaboratively launched the Android Developer Nanodegree at Google I/O, and the flexible 9-12 month course covers everything a novice programmer with some Java background will need in order to build an Android app. Enrollment ends on June 8, so check out the course page now if you’re thinking about signing up. Fees will run $200 per month while enrolled, but the end result is an official certification from Google.

New account management page for Google accounts. The new manager divides content into sign-in & security, personal info & privacy, and account preferences to simplify navigation. All of the usual features and data logging toggles are included, though we’re still sifting through the menus to compare the old with the new. Check it out!

Google Maps Works Offline – we will have to wait for the switch to be flipped on this one, but voice search, place search, and navigation will all work without a data connection in the near future.

flat_youtube_wallpaper_by_oscagapotes-d6o637wYouTube works offline without a music key – the key feature of YouTube Music Key for Play Music All Access was the ability to download tunes for offline listening. Now, offline music and video playback comes to the whole community with no key required.

Projects Soli and Jacquard – new and intuitive input methods anywhere you need them, courtesy of the advanced research group (ATAP). Soli is a miniature radar device small enough to fit inside a smartwatch, and can interpret any finger gesture imaginable in thin air. Jacquard, on the other hand, is a smart fabric that can be made in any color, sewn into any pattern, and function as a clothing-size touchscreen. The position of your hand, as well as distance away from the fabric, are tracked, so Jacquard is a truly 3D touch input device… that you wear. In other words, Google is working with Levi’s to make your clothes smart.

Project Abacus – enhanced password-less security through analysis of webcam footage, typing patterns, and other factors. The best part? Abacus could be enabled through a simple software update. Like all projects coming out of the advanced research group, this one is a little ways off, but has on the edge of our seats.

Project Ara, now with hot swapping demos.

The world is coming online fast; here’s how Google is preparing to bring the next Billion people online and into the Android ecosystem. The strategy? Polymer 1.0 to make the web more material, a consistent API chain to ease the development burdon, Cloud Test Lab to automate app testing, developer pages on Play to market your brand, family friendly filters to target different age groups, and more. This topic is too expansive to cover in just one blurb, so read on for more in-depth coverage.

 

That is it for this week, but you haven’t heard the last of the Google news. Stay tuned to the XDA portal as we unpack the Android M preview and learn more about each service listed above, then come back next Sunday for another round of recaps. It’s an exciting time to be part of an Android development community, and we’re here to deliver the action right to your front door.

The post XDA Recap: This Week At Google IO (May 24 – 30) appeared first on xda-developers.

I/O Summary: Google Cardboard Virtual Reality

Posted by wicked May - 29 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Google Cardboard

One year ago, Google introduced cardboard. Amazingly enough, that was all it took to fire up the Virtual Reality scene on Android, and what began as an open design concept exploded into thousands of apps and dozens of headsets from big and small vendors alike. Now, there are more than 1 million cardboard viewers/handsets – a Google-quoted number that might not even be accurate given the ease with which headsets can be rigged through off-the-shelf equipment. This year, cardboard returned to steal the show once again, but this time the updated peripheral is not alone.

The new Cardboard design mercifully supports screens up to six inches in diagonal, such as that on last fall’s Nexus 6, and the upgraded control button works with even the oldest of handsets. In short, nearly every smartphone on the market can run Cardboard, including  Did I say any phone? That’s right, the Cardboard SDK for Unity now runs on iOS as well as Android.

Google ExpeditionEarlier in the year, Google partnered with toymaker Mattel to reboot the ViewMaster franchise as an educational tour guide to locales such as the great barrier reef and Alcatraz. Now, it seems the same magical treatment is coming to the classroom. Google Expeditions are prepackaged sets of Cardboard viewers and a teacher-side companion app for controlling the experience.

 

Google Jump RigCamera rigs for 360 degree videography are expensive. To Google, this is a market opportunity. In the same way that Cardboard jump started a chain of innovation last year, Project Jump looks to democratize wraparound video making with open source 3D printed plans and a software backend for processing the resulting video. Ordinarily this would be enough for one day, and such a move would fit right in line with YouTube’s earlier support for 360 degree video, but Jump takes things a step farther with stereoscopic 3D. Now, any creator can capture truly immersive VR video. The gear’s main innovations are in the camera geometry, the assembler, and the player. Jump features sixteen camera modules, and Google is making an effort in opening up the camera geometry to make it available to anyone this summer. This means that anyone can build a JUMP-ready camera.

Google Jump VideosThe assembler is where the “Google Magic” begins. This software recreates the scene as viewed from thousands of viewpoints to synthesize stereoscopic VR image for each frame. First, raw camera data is taken in for rough alignment. Following this, global color correction and 3D alignment are applied to interpolate between the touted thousands of viewpoints. Google claims that this process is a fundamentally different and more advanced approach than anything they’ve seen so far allowing for not just an image suited for VR but also one showcasing depth of field.

The company has built a set of these cameras and sent them across the world to begin a YouTube video collection in stereoscopic 3D, allowing users to explore places like never before. The full experience is coming to a screen near you this summer, but non-stereoscopic versions will land on YouTube sometime this week; stay tuned to the XDA portal for links as soon as they are up.

We will no doubt eventually see stereoscopic 3D pop up in Google’s other services soon (like street view), so treat this announcement as the beginning of a much larger story. It may not be the rumored Android VR we were expecting, but it’s impressive none the less.

For more Cardboard news, check out the 16 minute keynote clip below, and remember that I/O is an ongoing event full of techies – we likely haven’t heard the last of VR this week.

Do you use Google Cardboard? Will you buy (or build) a VR camera rig? Leave a comment below!

The post I/O Summary: Google Cardboard Virtual Reality appeared first on xda-developers.

Google Photos

Posted by wicked May - 28 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Google Photos

Unmilited storage of 16MP and 1080p media, visual search of the people, places, and things in your gallery, automatic montages, advanced editing, and instant sharing with anyone through a simple web address. This is the new Google Photos, and you can pick it up on Google Play today!

The post Google Photos appeared first on xda-developers.

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