Slatedroid info

Everything about android tablet pc [slatedroid]

Sony Open Device Program Interview: Opening Much More Than Just Software

Posted by wicked November - 4 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

xperia sony

At the Big Android Barbecue 2015, we had the honor of interviewing Alin Jerpelea from Sony, after his great talk on Sony’s plans to open up the hardware of their devices as well as future plans for their developer programs. You can find the full, highly recommendable talk here.

A notable takeaway is that Sony is now helping developers do much more with their devices, as they are allowing and encouraging the repurposing of the hardware. With the coming Internet of Things and the proliferation of smart home devices, such a program will allow developers and inquisitive minds to experiment in radical ways. That, the new plans behind Sony’s traditional software-related programs and their M concept builds (which we will review soon!), make Sony one of the best OEMs in terms of developer support, and a commendable advocate in the developer scene.

XDA’s Mario Serrafero had a talk with Alin Jerpelea, Open Source Community Manager at Sony, to learn more details about these programs, their inspiration and their goals.


M: [Sony’s] open source efforts now stretch past just the software, you are also opening up the Xperia family in terms of hardware, and it allows people to use components for other modifications, to use as servers, it allows people to repurpose their devices… Over the years, Sony has been opening up their devices in ways that other OEM’s haven’t — in fact, [other OEMs] have been closing their devices to the community. What influenced Sony to begin appealing to this base more and more?

A: if you look at a device evolution from a developer’s perspective, you get the device from the shelf, and you keep it for several months maybe, as it is, without unlocking it. After that, it is human nature to explore and innovate and from there comes the next step in a device life, as a developer will flash a custom ROM and create something new. But think of what happens when 2-3 years have passed and such device is morally old, replaced by another device, or its screen is broken. [The phone] will be discarded in a drawer and forgotten in there for some years, in the end reaching the garbage bin and increasing waste. So, this is how we thought of this repurposing thing. Internet Of Things is coming, so a lot of people will start building small things to control different areas of their life and they already have obsolete devices that can be used for repurposing. You can really build something nice from something old. We are doing the same with everything that we have. When you take a rusty old car and make it work again, you are rebuilding it, you are doing the same. We are trying to encourage people to use the old boards which are powerful enough to power a lot of fun projects and there is no need to to buy a new development board for your project.


Goals and Achievements

M: What is so great to many people about the Xperia family is that the devices are rather similar and you see a lot of people taking inspiration and ideas from these devices, and doing all these ports and modifications, as there are very active development communities including our Xperia forums. We have so many featured posts from the Xperia development boards. But, in a way, you are contributing to Android itself and also catering to developers, kind of taking after the Nexus mantle. How do you see that evolving and what is your purpose towards developers, in particular for software?

A: Nexus is a great inspiration platform because almost everything is open source and this is also our goal, to provide as much open source code as possible with zero patches.

The goal of Open Devices is to provide a stable learning and innovation platform by being always on the latest kernel and android versions. We encourage people to think outside the box, to experiment with different OS, not only Android because there is a lot of innovation waiting to happen and there are more opportunities waiting for you.

M: On the compatibility side, you are pushing for one kernel to make it easy to add features to Xperia devices, to patch and fix issues.

A: If you look on X86 (PC) linux there is 1 kernel for all and we try to provide the same for Xperia devices. I think that we have achieved a major progress in last 2 years from a community perspective. Two years ago we had 9 kernels, on different branches, in Cyanogen, for Sony devices, [and] making maintenance and updates was a nightmare. Now we are providing 1 kernel for 21 devices making patching and maintenance easy. This was my first goal after joining Sony, 1 kernel for all.

M: So, at this time, there is the whole issue with Android vulnerabilities and Google is rapidly iterating on Android with security patches that they promised. Do you see that affecting the development of the project?

A: We are constantly updating build guides for last 2 Android versions, current and last one, the next day after Google has released a new branch. This is agile development and custom ROMs can benefit from it. We hope that by providing a stable base, quality of community work will become better and better.


M: Moving on to devices themselves, Xperia phones have amazing hardware. How can opening up software and hardware in such a way help developers explore their virtues?

A: Everything that we open up is on developer grade level, and it is not intended for daily use. So, this being said, not all these functions are matching the Sony-shipped software. You have limited functionality offered by open source software. And this really important, even if you look on a laptop or desktop side because that is easy to understand. The open source drivers for your audio are not matching the manufacturers one, the open source drivers for your GPU are not matching the manufacturers one. But they offer you all that you need to use your device in proper parameters. With our phones, it is the same. If you want the best camera quality, you use the Sony software. If you want to innovate, you use the open source framework. The same goes for GPS, and for all other hardware areas. We are opening up as much as is possible.

M: How do you think these efforts affect Android in the long run, and how important do you think programs like this are?

A: We have formed a community that understood that contributing upstream is an important long term and that their work can be sent to Google or improving future software quality. This is how Open Source works, everybody can fix and contribute upstream increasing the quality of  the next stable version.

M: And increasing the volume, the amount of developers exposed to programs like this, ultimately benefits the platform as a whole and thus, that trickles down to every device, right?

A: Yes, but here we not just talking about Android, we are talking about every area that is open source. I do not see that only Android will benefit, I see that maybe somebody has a great idea in kernel. Maybe somebody will create a new operating system. You never know when innovation happens.

M: And this leads me to other development platforms and operating systems. You talked about how this will allow developers to play with Sailfish OS and Firefox OS on Sony hardware.

A: Developers are early adopters and they want to look with everything that is now in infancy. On XDA, I saw great ports of different operating systems that were never even intended to be run on a tablet or a phone. Because people want to discover and want to innovate. So this is what is driving the whole thing. We are trying to push innovation. Those Early pioneers have made big progress by porting and creating guides how to build Sailfish and FireFoxOS. I think that more will come from the community in the future.


M: What impact do you hope this has in the developer scene? How do the programs that Sony has put out actually benefit developers?

A: I can take a snapshot of how CyanogenMod was looking two years ago with 9 different kernels, a lot of binary files, and a lot of hacks to get the ROM booted, and how the whole thing looks or can look in the future with one kernel, one set of HALs coming from Google AOSP and hacks. I think that in terms of stability and the ability of people to understand the code, things have improved a lot, [while also] increasing the final software quality.

M: Finally, anything you would like to say to developers at XDA who would be interested in these efforts?

A: You can always join us! Everything that is cleanly written can be accepted in Sony Open Device Program, Google AOSP, or any other OS you are interested in. This program is decoupled from Sony official software and is intended to be build by developers for developers as a learning and innovation platform.

Be sure to check out Sony Developer World to learn more about Sony’s developer-focused efforts!

What do you think of Sony’s commitment to bettering the development scene? Let us know in the comments!

BlackBerry CEO John Chen shows off BlackBerry Priv in cringe-worthy interview

Posted by wicked September - 28 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

So it might be the honest thing to say that we’ve all been marginally excited at the upcoming BlackBerry phone that will run on an Android operating system. It’s been nicknamed the BlackBerry Venice, but we all know now that as per the official announcement, it will be called the BlackBerry Priv – for privacy, or privilege, whatever the case may be. BlackBerry CEO John Chen was seemingly caught in the headlights when he started to showcase the new phone in an interview that went as smooth as sandpaper.

If you’d want to see the video first, click it below. First up, Chen gives a spec rundown of the BlackBerry Priv that’s really, really awkward to watch and listen to. Then he says, “It runs Google,” which is probably his way of saying that the BlackBerry Priv runs Android. The interviewer points out the curved screen, and Chen agrees it is… err, curved. Then he runs into a bit of trouble showing off the Priv’s touchscreen capabilities.

By this time, the interview has gone from awkward to cringe-fest level really fast. He proceeds to boast of the smartphones cameras, and, you know, “all that good stuff.” Then there was the accident waiting to happen – Chrome would not open up. It just wasn’t John Chen’s day, really.


Fortunately enough, he went on to the pièce de résistance, and it was a wonder to see the keypad of the BlackBerry Priv slide out without hitch considering the awkwardness that has already happened. This is a testament to BlackBerry – they know how to do keypads. But we think it would have been better to have someone from the tech or design team of BlackBerry do this interview, so all this awkwardness could have been avoided.


Honor: The Company Behind The Devices

Posted by wicked May - 12 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off


With Honor having recently released several great looking phones and last year showing significant growth, we felt that many people lacked understanding of who Honor were and how they differ from Huawei. In an attempt to resolve this we reached out with a few questions for them to try and help people better understand the company and after much thought they have kindly replied with their best PR and marketing response (which you will surely see straight through).


Can you please tell us the difference between Huawei and Honor?
Huawei has designed a dual-brand strategy by positioning two separate brands, each developing independently. Honor is an internet trade brand of Huawei group, founded to create beautiful, high performing products for digital natives who demand to always stay connected and rely on the web for entertainment, shopping and everything else. The two brands are designed to coexist together to help the Huawei consumer business expand across markets.

Honor’s tagline is “For the brave” can you tell us why?
Honor is a new brand, born for digital natives, dedicated to producing high quality devices that suit their lifestyles and their budgets. Honor is a brand for digital natives who spend their lives online and our business model reflects this behavior. It means we don’t need expensive physical stores, gurus or contracts but provide quality devices at affordable prices through the online retailers digital natives have grown up with and use day in, day out.

Is there anything you can tell us regarding the rumors, that the next Nexus will be made by Huawei?
We don’t comment on speculation.

How do you plan to approach emerging economies in Asia, considering that these markets are price sensitive and are saturated with local brands? Any special plans etc.

In 2014, Honor saw significant growth and traction across the world, including mainland China, Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. We’re focused on Honor in the UK and making an impact on European markets. Each market is very different, even within Europe. We’re seeing a strong appetite for Honor devices across markets, including the competitive emerging economies in Asia.

The Honor 4X has just been launched can you tell us anything more about this device?
The Honor 4X is available across the UK on for the recommended retail price of £144.99. We’re proud of the hardware and software capabilities, which makes it the most powerful affordable smartphone in its price category.

The Honor 4X incorporates many technological advances. The 64-bit octa-core Kirin 620 processor which powers the phone was developed by Huawei. Other patented in-house technologies include the EMUI 3.0.5, SmartPower battery life management, and the SmartImage image processing engine.  Inspired by the fabrics and textures of the fashion industry, the design features a diamond cut casing to produce a metallic finish. Combined with a 5.5” fully laminated black waterfall HD screen and available in white or black.

Do you have plans to expand your Honor VIP Replacement Service worldwide?
We’re trialing this in the UK in the first instance, and depending on feedback from our digital natives, we’d certainly look to roll it out to further countries.

Can you tell us how an interested user would get an invite to the ‘Honor Elite’ club?
This is purely through engagement with Honor. If you’re actively an online fan, be it via following us on Twitter or Instagram, or liking us on Facebook, you coould potentially get an invite. Simply sign up to the Honor Club on our website to receive Honor news 24 hours ahead of the rest of the world, and be in the chance to get exclusive invites to Honor events.

How do you work alongside developers and are there any third-party projects you like?
The developer community is a hotbed of activity that we want to engage with. By definition, developers are driving digital natives and as a disruptive, challenger brand we’re keen to foster our relationship with the developer community.

Will you be aiding the modding community with developing custom roms and kernels for your devices?
<Honor chose to refrain from commenting here>

Finally Is there anything you would like to say to the XDA-Developers community?
We’d love the XDA–Developers to sign up to the Honor Club and really take a look at our handsets already available on sale throughout the UK. We hope you’ll be impressed with the quality of our devices. By signing up to the Honor Club, we’d love to see you all at Honor events to truly engage in the community and listen to feedback so we can grow.


Hopefully this has answered many of the questions you may have had about the company, their marketing department clearly knows how to spin a good tale, but we hope that the story behind the company is clear. If you have been to one of their fan gatherings we’d love to hear how the event went for you in the comments section.

Do you have any other questions about Honor that you would like to see answered? Leave a comment below!

The post Honor: The Company Behind The Devices appeared first on xda-developers.

Interview with Corgi for feedly Developer Stanislav Dmitriev

Posted by wicked March - 15 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

Screenshot 2015-03-15 at 1.03.15 PM

Here at XDA, we focus on highlighting the most promising projects that can instantly become hits. Not so long ago, we showed you Corgi for feedly, which brings the latest technology news to your lock screen. We reached out to one of the developers, Stanislav Dmitriev, who uses XDA as Stan.Dmitriev, to answer us a few questions regarding Corgi and other non-development things. Here’s what Stan had to say.

Hi, Stan! You’re one of the developers of Corgi for feedly. Could you tell us something about yourself?

Hi, Tomek! I’d be happy to. Shortly, I’m a Student living in Helsinki. I am passionate about different design concepts and always try to do something new.

What motivated you to start to develop Android apps?

I was always passionate about everything mobile. Since my first Nokia S60 smartphone to my first Android HTC EVO 3D, I was testing out and playing with some cool apps. Android customization, though, is something I was always excited about. It’s the Android vs iOS choice, where for me personally, Android wins. As a design driven person, I believe, us – users should have the right to decide how their phones should look. This is something that would always make me go Android-first when developing an app.

What was the inspiration behind Corgi?

We’ve found out, that an average person turns their phone ON 110 times a day and it kind of snapped us. Just think about it, in most cases when we turn on our phones, we don’t really get much. A person still needs to unlock the phone and open a specific app to get the content that he/she needs now. That kind of made us think whether that should be changed.

What devices and ROMs did you use for tests?

We went for all possible stock Android devices running pure stock Android. The devices were Moto G 2013 GPE 5.01/4.4.4 and the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 (Our daily drivers). We also had a few Samsung devices including the Galaxy Trend as well as the Galaxy S4 (4.4). But really, we’ve tested it on all of our friends’ devices which pretty much make up most of the new flagships.

I hope that you didn’t smash it against the wall when you got yet another force close.

Well, there actually weren’t that many force closes. It was more about such things as, “Why would it lag if hardware acceleration is on?” more detailed so to say.

Android development could be cumbersome. What was the most challenging aspect of developing Corgi?

One of the biggest challenges is the fact that Android is not pure on many devices. And that can be a huge issue when making a lock screen. For example, our app tracks when the Alarm turns ON so our lock screen would not be on-top of it. But since some of the phone manufacturers put their own solutions, we have to track phone manufacturer specific alarms. Another issue we have is that our app works very fast on stock-Android, but it will lag on Samsung Devices, we are currently trying to figure it out. But it has something to do with the bloatware, which is a bit sad. There are also some issues with Lollipop, due to the memory leak issues of the 5.0.1. It is a bit challenging sometimes, but we are trying hard to figure everything out.Screenshot_2015-03-05-03-05-25

Did you use XDA or any other public forums to find answers for your questions?

Indeed we did, and for all Android developers out there, I suggest to use XDA, it is amazing. Both in the type of material you can find on the forums, as well as how helpful the community is. Thanks for making such a great platform for developers!

Tell us something about the icon. Is that a dog holding a wallpaper or maybe a fox? Who came up with an idea of the icon?

The idea of the icon is a Corgi dog holding a newspaper. If you tried our app, you probably know that we bring your favorite content right to your lock screen. Kinda like a dog fetching a newspaper for you. We’ve decided to use corgi just because of one reason, this dog looks really cool. It was our Android developer’s idea, Sergey, he is a very cool guy!

Would you create Corgi again?

Of course! Despite all of the bottlenecks we have encountered. It’s an awesome app with a great potential. The most important thing though, is that our users see the value in it. We didn’t just want to build an app for ourselves, we wanted to make something useful for the Android eco-system. What made us most proud, was that there are people who started reading news thanks to Corgi. I’d be glad to make this app once again if I could.

What advice would you give for the young developer that wants to commit his/her future with app development?

If you want to make a good app, you have to work with your users. Even if it’s just a mockup or a non-functional demo. The only way to make something awesome is by listening to people.

Thanks for your time and good luck with your projects!

Learn more about Corgi for feedly by visiting its forum thread.


The post Interview with Corgi for feedly Developer Stanislav Dmitriev appeared first on xda-developers.

Joonsuh Kim Huawei Design 2015 -8

The smartphone market is congested no matter where you look – China, Europe, the US – the list goes on. So how do device manufacturers stick out of the crowd? Specifications and internal components can only get a smartphone so far. With that said, we sat down with Huawei’s Mobile Design Vice President Joonsuh Kim, and he spoke to us about Huawei’s vision, inspiration and what the company has planned for the future. Kim isn’t just in charge of design. He overlooks every product that the company sells, whether it’s the Huawei or their Honor brand.

Kim joined the company in late 2012, prior to holding the position of Design Director at Samsung Mobile for the majority of the late 2000’s. He holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute in New York, and achieved his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design from Hongik University in Seoul, Korea.


Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Phablet Hands on AA -4

“Two years before Huawei, many people might have laughed at our vision. It was aggressive, and forced us to make big changes very quickly in the company.” This is a quote from Kim, and it’s an ongoing theme that he touches on throughout his entire presentation.

Two years before Huawei, many people might have laughed at our vision. It was aggressive, and forced us to make big changes very quickly in the company.

Huawei’s vision is to create genuinely great-performing products that not only satisfy the user from a performance and design standpoint, but smartphones that can be offered at an affordable price point. They call this mindset true value, and it’s another theme you’ll be hearing quite a bit from the company going forward.


MBB M2M 4G 5G Huawei 2015 Carrier Signal -1

Simply put, Huawei strives to be a smartphone manufacturer that can sell their products globally without a problem. They don’t want to be marketed as a manufacturer that represents China. Not because they’re ashamed for any reason, but because they want to appeal to the rest of the world as an OEM from China, not a Chinese OEM. To accomplish this, Huawei has set up offices around the world that aim to draw inspiration from different regions. They have offices in China, Korea, Western Europe and in emerging markets to draw inspiration. In terms of marketshare, the company is relatively unknown in the US. They are, however, working with certain US carriers to bring more innovative products to the United States, so it’s clear that Huawei is active in their global design research.

Huawei MBB LTE 5G IoT 2015-2

They also have an office in Paris which they refer to as their “aesthetic design center”, where they consult with the design and fashion industries and follow trends in the fashion world. Based on their feedback, they develop new goals every year to work towards in the design space.

Kim explains where the inspiration comes from for the company’s P Series:

When you see a car passing by out of the corner of your eye, you can easily recognize that it was either a BMW or a Mercedes. In a way, that’s what we’re attempting to do with our devices.

He goes on to say that these days, so many companies are incorporating metal materials into their designs. While it’s important to incorporate new materials into design, they’re still thinking of ways to innovate with plastic, and how it can be more functional and beautiful.

For the company’s flagship line, they tend to use neutral colors – something that will be inviting to the user – but still built in a way that stands out. Relating to users is what the company is all about. Building an emotional connection with the user will help build the consumer base faster than anything.


Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Beautiful

Perhaps the most prominent aspect of the presentation is the ‘true value’ theme. Huawei’s constantly thinking of how exactly they can build beautiful devices and still keep them at affordable price points, which is what true value is all about. Building a smartphone with the best specifications on the market isn’t what they’re striving for. Building a quality smartphone with an astounding user experience, while still being offered at an aggressive price point is the main focus.

In our interview with Mr. Shao Yang, Huawei’s Vice President of Marketing, he explains this in greater detail. When asked about Apple’s rise in the Chinese market and how Huawei will rival them, Yang explains:

Huawei isn’t solely a low-cost device company. With that said, we put a lot of research into making our product the best, rather than the ‘most premium’. If we go head-on with a company like that in the high-end market, we will lose… What kind of quality do consumers expect for a certain price point? That’s a question we ask ourselves often.

This mindset is how the company plans to differentiate themselves from the other OEMs on the market. They obviously don’t have as much money as Apple or Samsung, so they focus on other aspects that are important to users. One example is that they focus on closing the gap between themselves and consumers by offering inexpensive devices directly through their online store. If Huawei can dial in on this idea, they believe that they can truly go far in the global market.


Internet of Things IoT Huawei Zigbee Connected Cloud City -1

Aside from focusing on online sales and true value, Huawei aims to bring a certain design language to their upcoming flagship devices, while still differentiating between the two brands that they’ve worked so hard to build up.

Kim tells us that smartphones under the name Huawei are meant to act as the company’s flagship products. Devices that have top-of-the-line specifications and are generally more premium fit into this category. On the other hand, the company’s Honor brand is meant to appeal more to young consumers. Devices that are more affordable, and therefore accessible but don’t skimp on the goods will carry the Honor brand name.

Huawei Honor 6 Plus-48

Huawei will keep these brands separate going forward. In order to stop the two brands from competing with one another, they’ll continue to differentiate these two by offering different design languages, different features and different price points.

Perhaps Huawei is on to something with their idea of true value. Shipments for the Honor brand jumped from 1 million to 20 million worldwide in 2014 alone. What’s more, the company’s overall smartphone sales grew by a massive 33% just last year. As you can see, it’s clear that the company has a good set of ideals that are already showing some positive results. And whether these standards finally break them into the US smartphone market or not, Kim’s design values and goals will keep making Huawei a big player in the global market.

Interview with Andromium CEO Gordon Zheng

Posted by wicked January - 21 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off


Here at XDA we look forward to newer technologies and the impact they could have in our lives. Lately we’ve been introduced to many enticing possibilities like Ampere and ExoDrive through kickstarter projects that aim towards solving the problems we smartphone users face every day and are very aware of. But Andromium wants to bring a new category of computing into our lives, and with it fix a problem that many of us didn’t know we had: we are wasting the full capabilities of our favourite devices.

I reached out to Andromium Inc. and got in contact with the company’s CEO to get some answers to some questions we had in mind, and he kindly accepted to do an interview with me. Gordon Zheng has been an XDA user since the old Motorola Joy days, and has contributed to the community in the past.  He will be releasing an open beta of Andromium on January, that will last for a couple of weeks to a month.

What kind of software work did you do before Andromium, and how does your past experience affect your development?

“My background has always been enterprise software, but I’ve been doing some consumer apps and products in the last couple of years. It’s a change of environment – enterprise is a lot slower and a lot bigger, and it takes a little more to ramp up and get feedback. On a consumer side, things ramp up fast, and you get crazy amounts of feedback – so it’s good, and bad. You can make changes and update right away, but consumers are very demanding and one little bug can be made the end of the world in the support forums. So it is quite a change of scene. We are keenly aware of this, and we are working on the product until we are confident that we are ready to go.”

The Andromium platform will be priced at $39.99  right?

“It’s actually going to be 39.99 for the package including the OS and the dock. A lot of our users – specially power users – might have an existing dock that will be compatible with the software, so we are releasing just an Andromium OS too. We are still discussing the final target price, but right now the current target price is $15 for the OS only, and then if you pay for the dock, you get the OS on it, so it’d be $40 including the OS and the dock or $15 for the OS only. We are also exploring other models as well, where we can reduce or completely eliminate pricing for our users without having to resort to online ads.”

How did the concept of Andromium come to be?

“This is not a new concept or idea, and other companies have tried it in the past. So, the first one I’m aware of is actually from Motorola, They used to have a phone called Motorola Atrix, that would come with a webdock or lapdock. The webdock is $80, and it is very similar to the Andromium dock. The dock itself hooks up to a TV and a mouse, and you are basically using your Atrix as a computer to go online, surf online, run basic apps, etc. So that was kind of the first iteration where I saw this concept of mobile device as a desktop.

The problem with them is the fact that the technology when they tried it was still a little bit too early.They were working with the first generation dual core phones, so it was a Tegra 2, they were just getting 1GB of RAM, and so the CPU was a little bit too slow and the Android OS a little immature to do what they wanted to do. So it wasn’t the best user experience. They mispriced it a little bit as well. The most popular form factor was the lapdock, where you plug your phone into, and it was like $600. And you had to pay $20 additional premium to AT&T to use it, or else you couldn’t use cellular data on it. So you know, not many people wanted to pay $600 for just a dock for their phone plus additional $20 a month premium. (…) It was a very neat concept, just ahead of its time. People that tried it wanted the concept developed further, and unfortunately Motorola abandoned it in 2012. So they tried it for a year, it didn’t work and then they decided to give up on it. It was unfortunate.

Then the next generation was the Ubuntu Edge. The unfortunate thing about Ubuntu – Chronicle, was they really never wanted to make that phone, they did it more for publicity from everything I gather. So the CEO, they did an interview to him, and he said ‘we want to get the idea out there, make a name for ourselves, and get Ubuntu for Android, get publicity for it, get manufacturers on board.’ It was a great publicity stunt, I definitely give them that. I wanted the phone, I contributed for it, but you know… 30 million was just not doable. But unfortunately Ubuntu for Android didn’t take off either. I had my hopes up, I was waiting for it, they had a couple of ROMs for Nexus devices. They tried it, but in the end they didn’t get the manufacturer support they needed to make it wide. And at that time – about 8 months ago – I decided “you know what? I could do this myself” and decided to learn from the mistakes of these last two projects and maybe try to sidestep these issues and create my own. And this is where the Andromium platform comes in.”

What are the limitations that Andromium OS faces by being limited to an Android APK – for example, you mentioned that there’s no resizing or multi-instancing of Android applications [like in the Note series] and that they can only run in the background layer.

“Well, I think this is a difference and it is a conscious design decision. One of the things we planned for Andromium is that any phone can use it, so you don’t even need root access, and you definitely don’t need a custom ROM for it. So the reason that we chose that route is to have mass adoption; If we limited it to a custom ROM, the number of people that can use it is very small. As big as the [XDA] community and developer community is, we are not a major representation of standard Android users. Most Android users don’t do custom ROMs, they don’t void their warranty, they don’t do S-OFF, and those kind of things. They stick with stock Android. And even rooting, in my opinion, used to be very big back in the 2.0 and even the 3.0 days, but the reasons to have rooting were less and less in the 4.0 days. So the rooting community is not the biggest representation.

So for us, the reason why the app cannot do small screens is that we chose to ignore any API that uses superuser access, or require additional APIs that we have to embed into the OS itself. So we are using just standard Android API that is accessible or is not a hack. We are limited to using the regular app’s life cycle. We cannot inject additional behaviors into the apps. So we respect the sandboxing of the own apps instead of try to hack around it. Which is what [TouchWiz] does, Samsung has additional APIs inside their ROMs that allows them to hijack some of the apps’ life cycles a little bit. And even then they require any apps that do [things like] resizing windows, to at least sign their app for it, like saying “I support this API”. It’s not like any apps can do it on the Android phone. Xposed Module [XHaloFloatingWindow] goes with this, basically they hack around the apps’ default life cycle and they are hijacking some of that functionality, some of the API in order to do it. Which is a really good way to do it, but unfortunately it requires root access and sometimes even ROM support to get all the pieces together and that would restrict our user community too much so we decided against it.”

How do you think Andromium would evolve with [Stock] Android? For example, with this multi-window case, unfinished multi-window code has been found in Stock Android code before, would you implement it?

“Oh, absolutely! We would love it if AOSP had stock windowed apps, we would use it as soon as it becomes available. But [as of now] Google is kind of reluctant to do it (…) they are still reluctant to move from the phone and tablet model for Android.”

I noticed that all the supported devices are not necessarily super high-end at this point, but they are still flagship devices, still Full HD screens and up. And Andromium only supports Full HD screens and up as well. At the same time, Andromiums goal is reaching every possible consumer. So that reach is mitigated by the predominance of lower specced devices in key regions. How will you go about that? Will older/weaker devices be supported too?

“Well I think there’s two points to that. One is that we are a start-up, so there’s a lot of things we could do to support standard resolution TVs as well, it is just we need an HDMI to analogue converter, and it’s a thing we talked to manufacturers about and they could build it. But it is just that we are a start-up and we are just releasing our first iterations of the OS, so we can’t do everything at the same time. So we support the high-end phones because that would give us the most power, and even with areas we can optimize later on, that horse-power would at least mask any kind of issue we might have at the beginning. And at least for now, we want to focus on the developer community and ask them to help us grow our app store later on. For example we support Note 2, Note 3, they are high-end devices, but that kind of tells you about the “entry horse-power” we are aiming for.

One thing about smartphones is that they are evolving so fast. I’m seeing like, the Asus ZenFone 2… 4GB of RAM. The fundamental thing that is exciting for us is that the difference [in hardware] between a high-end device and a low-end device is only one and a half years. So by 2016, entry level phones could have the same specs as a Galaxy S5 or even a Galaxy Note 4.

For us, it takes time to build up a community, and refine the OS – so that it could be a primary computer for everyone, everyday, instead of a secondary computer. And I think [with] that half year to a year to get out there, and get developer feedback and support to grow the ecosystem, by the time 2015 ends, for those phones that’ll come to market ready we will be ready for them too.”

There is competition in the “mobile desktop” space already, like the Microsoft Surface. Will you move Andromium to a tablet form factor, and if the tablet is big enough display it on the tablet with no need for a monitor?

“Yes, that question was actually brought up in our comment section as well, that our users sent us. Originally we never thought about that form factor, but it makes sense, right? With a 10 inch or 12 inch tablet that I can prop up on my desk, with bluetooth mouse and keyboard or even USB using OTG then I can turn my Android tablet into a sort of Microsoft Surface. When that was brought up, we thought “maybe there’s not many users that want it”, but then we got a lot of comments and a lot of messages from people asking for it. So we decided to support that and our current plan is to have that functionality enabled for people.

It’s actually very simple to do, because we’ve already got all the components; only difference is, instead of turning the screen off on the device and displaying it on a larger screen, you just keep the device enabled and dismiss the requirement for external monitors. So we are totally going to support that.”

Will you support older Android versions? What would the entry version be?

“We think it’s going to be 4.4. We rely on a couple of 4.4-specific APIs, mainly it is the web browser. We are using the standard internal rendering framework inside Android, and Android made a huge change in 4.4 for the rendering framework. So because of that, we are supporting 4.4 and above.”

After the recent security controversy, I wouldn’t think you guys would want to support anything older!

“Yeah, exactly! And you know that’s the way it is going to be going forward. Google has never been very good at supporting what they consider obsolete versions. So we are going to start with 4.4 and 5.0 and above. And we think that initially that will be a little bit restrictive for our user base, but again, as time moves on that won’t become a problem.”

On the Kickstarter there seems to be a very strong emphasis on the more philanthropic consequences of the software; how important do you think Andromium could become for developing countries?

“I grew up in China, then came to the US. One of the co-founders is also from Paraguay. So, he used to volunteer at the favelas, teaching children english. Both me and him absolutely see the requirement for this. One is the fact that most of those South American countries, to a lesser extent China, and to a greater extent India, are skipping broadband [infrastructure] altogether, it is a mobile-only kind of situation. And in the mobile only world, it makes no sense to have a desktop or even a laptop because without broadband, wifi doesn’t have huge penetration.

The power of SmartphoneSo everybody has only cellphones, or if they have the money, the USB that lets them hook up to cellular. But when we are talking about an income range of maybe $2000 a year for a family, it makes no sense to spend that much money on a laptop or desktop. And some of the places that we are looking at have even less than $1000 USD a year income. (…) So they would spend money on a cellphone, but they wouldn’t spend money on a $500 or $600 computer, especially when they can’t even get internet access. So for us, mobile is the true way for people to be getting online in emerging markets.

The problem with mobile, the fundamental flaw that I see in mobile only is that it is not a platform geared towards productivity. We can consume media, we can use social media on it, and even read up on news and emails. But I can’t imagine a child spending an hour or two writing a 3 or 4 page essay on a cellphone. Even on a tablet, I just can’t see myself doing it.”

Or learning programming, with programmers being a valuable human resource for economic growth in today’s day and age. It could help the promotion of computer science in developing countries and bring equal tools for them.

“Absolutely! And I think that, fundamentally, you need a different platform than a smartphone to do it. Or at least, not a smartphone by itself to do it. The minimum requirement I see for a developer is a keyboard. You can probably get away away with it without a mouse, having a touchscreen. But without a keyboard, any sort of productivity work is insane.

This is where I think Andromium really makes up for the gap. There’s usually one or two smartphones per family, that’s usually the tool for the adults. But for kids, how are you going to teach them to be productive, online? How are you going to give them tools for education rather than playing games or going on social media? Attaching a keyboard is the best way to do it. And when you attach a keyboard, the next thing you want is a bigger screen to work on. So a 4.5 or 5 inch screen is decent for everything else, but it is horrible for programming!

So you attach it to a cheap TV or monitor and suddenly the smartphone that you have for entertainment becomes a smartphone you can use for work. And that is where I see Andromium having, fundamentally, the most impact. Bringing productivity to the smartphone.”

The internet “globalized” knowledge and opened the gates of it to all of mankind, but at the same time, some people don’t have the tools. And smartphones are mainly designed for media consumption, not for deeper academic pursuits. I see Andromium really bringing these tools for these countries. How do you see Andromium evolving?

“Fundamentally, we are talking about how we enable that kind of tool. Today everybody thinks we need a computer to do development, and we’ve got a cellphone on the side for work or a cellphone on the side for fun and social media, but in reality, the only reason we do that is because we don’t realize the fact that a lot of the tools already exist on the cellphone, to do the same thing. So [if] this is one area that you are interested in, about teaching development to Argentina, to Paraguay… I think, absolutely. Andromium is the right set for it.

As far as long term evolution… so this is something that is actually in the works, and is not done yet. (…) [In developing countries] data is fairly expensive, especially for the income people have. So it is great and all that we have a super-smartphone at our disposal, but people are very stingy about using data because it is still very expensive compared to their income. In the US we’ve got 1, 2, 3 or 4GB of data every month. But a lot of people we’ve talked to have less than 100MB, and they pay as they go. They have to make sure they are using it at the right time of day to keep the cheapest data rate, or juggle between SIM cards in order to get the best rate during that time of day.

It is something that is so foreign to us in the US, but in order to make Andromium a success in third-world markets, this is also something we’ve got to tackle: How to solve a data problem. We give them a platform where they can do more on, but they are still limited by what they can do online. We have to find out how to solve the online issue next.

This is an area where we are focusing a lot of effort on, because we really see it as the next step. Having the platform, having the OS is the first step. The next step is to enable users to take full advantage of that platform. And to take full advantage, you need the internet access, unfortunately. And you have to find a way to get cheaper, if not free, internet access to our users. We are heading for this next step. Right now we are having discussions in Paraguay with content providers as well as telecoms in there, and we got a great feedback. So we are just waiting for signing our first partner on board so that we can announce that next step to our users, and get them excited! (…) We are hoping to have something announced within the next couple of months.”

Do you see Andromium getting competitors, and do you see Andromium-like platforms overtaking traditional desktop computers for most activities?

“Do we envision Andromium get competitors? Absolutely. I’m hoping that the Ubuntu One project will come online and be another player in this market. We are fully aware that this is the evolution of computing platforms in general and we are seeing early leaders becoming online, and we consider us one of the early leaders right now. But Ubuntu will be one of the early leaders coming online, and potentially Microsoft is rumored to plan the same thing as well.

So there’s a lot of players that are interested and [we are] testing the waters of this space. I am glad we’ve got a head start, compared to Ubuntu for example. We are able to have a fully ready OS-to-go, available in 2015. I think where we can make a difference is that Ubuntu is focused on the high-end (…) For us we want to start at the low-end of market, and once the technology is mature enough, move back into the high-end.

So users today can use Andromium in the high-end market, and they can use it to replace their work computer, but a lot of our effort is basically not the high-end developer requiring 10GB of RAM, but supporting low-end users for who 2GB of RAM is enough to go online, to do light development, work editing, homework and all that.

We definitely will see competitors, and we love that we will. It means that this is definitely a right move for the next big thing.”

What features do you want to incorporate later on?

“As the first step on the OS, there’s still a lot of things we’ve got to refine. For example, the notifications framework; we are relying on standard Android notifications, with the drop-down menu bar, which is not the best way to see what message you are getting. For a lot of those, we put an additional UI layer on top. So a lot of it is going to be UI enhancements and refinements, that is kind of our next step.

But in long term, for us, one of the things we are really excited about that we are not dedicating much effort to until at least next year, is multi-monitor support. I have a laptop that hooks up to two monitors, that allows me to do development – that’s my kind of work setup. Andromium currently is one-monitor-only because of the hardware limitations. But that is evaporating. Newer phones coming online in 2015 all have the capability to do external multi-monitor support; so it is a matter of of us spending time in refinement to have a good multi-monitor user experience, specially for our power users.”

What was one of the hardest features that you worked on, or which are you the most proud of?

“I think the hardest feature. fundamentally, is how to create an OS on top of Android. To this day I am not aware of any other operating system that does what ours does. For example, a traditional VM works as a black box on their host system, so they have their own drivers, they have their own reserve memories, they have their own file system and everything. That is a great way to go if you’ve got the computer power for it. For example, on my MacBook Air I require 8GB of RAM to have a good host VM running on top of Mac OS X. That is not possible on a 2GB RAM environment.

In order to do it on Android we had to learn how to write a guest OS. A lot of network management, file systems, underneath file system security, we had to delegate under our host OS, which is Android, and then there’s parts where we have to take over ourselves, for example UI lifecycle rendering, freeing and then allocating memory to Andromium apps or apps that we create ourselves. So a lot of those things we have to do them as an OS, but we have to make the OS as light as possible so that way we don’t have to use as much RAM.

When we first started, our target was 3 GB of RAM, and we optimized it enough to go down to 2GB of RAM. And that is our proudest [feature], the fact that we can actually do that when nobody else could.”

So would you say that, as far as real world usage goes, it is optimized for market release on all supported devices?

“We are optimized enough to give a good user experience most of the time. In the [demo walkthrough] video, we purposely stressed the phone to the max, to kind of show what it can do. Power users can do that on an every-day basis, so they would still see lag like when we demoed it [on those conditions]. For the most part, if you are limited to 3 or 4 apps at the same time. you would have a great user experience.”

What limitations would Andromium apps face as far as memory and processing goes?

“The limitation that they would face would be the same as a standard Android application would face. The Andromium OS does a lot of work in order to hide the memory management issues away from the user (…). If you know how to program a regular Android app, you should be able to use the Andromium SDK as well. That said, it’d still be very difficult to program 3D games, like a Unity game, in Andromium. That is a little further away. But as far as writing an e-mail client, or a light-game like Angry Birds, that is doable for Andromium SDK. I think we can give at least 80% if not more of the native horsepower you would expect from a native Android app.”

How much of Google’s philosophies have you retained from working there? How is being a “Googler” different than running your own start-up?

“When I worked at Google, I had a great experience. There’s a lot of things that I learned from Google. Unfortunately there’s something that I couldn’t take away. As a start-up, we are a lot more resource-constrained. So at Google it is easy to spin up like, a 10,000 different VMs and doing [all kinds of] testing, and you can’t do that in a one-year start-up.

A lot of the development practices, as far as how to write clean code, some light AP testing, we could do, but a lot of heavy-handed testing requires unlimited resources, and [that’s something that] unfortunately as a start-up we can’t do.”


And as far as the more humanitarian aspect goes, would you say some of that stuck with you as well? How much of that is seen in the Google development environment?

“A lot, I think! One of the reasons I joined Google was that philanthropic mission they had, but I would say that comes much more from my MBA background from Georgetown. So Georgetown University is a Jesuit school, and they focus on the religious part as well as doing good for your society. So it is from that background that I got inspired in this mission. Doing a start-up project not only has huge potential as far as the technology goes, but also huge potential for making a greater good.”

What would you say to your followers at XDA?

“Stay updated with our current progress! We are releasing an SDK in June-timeframe, so we are rooting for the developer community to get on board, and help develop apps for Andromium. Right now we’ve got the standard set of apps which is web browser, video player, file explorer, a photo viewer, quick games and stuff like that. But we want more! We want everything that is capable on the Android system… Do it as an Andromium app. It is very fast and easy to convert. We are making our SDK as painless as possible. So please support us when the SDK comes out!”


Learn more about the Andromium project in our introduction article, and head over to the Andromium Kickstarter page to show support.

The post Interview with Andromium CEO Gordon Zheng appeared first on xda-developers.

Xiaomi growth is impressive, but not expected to hit U.S. or Europe for a few years

Posted by wicked January - 20 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off


When Hugo Barra left Google to join Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, many people saw that as a sign that the company might be the next big thing to sweep the globe in the smartphone industry. To some extent, that has proven to be true. Xiaomi has quickly risen to become the third largest smartphone manufacturer. That achievement has been accomplished on the back of their sales success in China and India. With some impressive devices, many are hoping Xiaomi will expand to other markets sooner rather than later, but in a recent interview with the BBC, Barra says not so fast.

Barra did confirm that Xiaomi has some ambitious, or as he puts it “insane,” plans to expand their global footprint. However, despite rumors flying during CES 2015, Barra says it will still be a few years until the company expands to European markets or the U.S. According to Barra, the market saturation and demands from consumers in those markets present some challenges for Xiaomi compared to some of the markets they are working on like India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Mexico.

Do you think Xiaomi will eventually succeed in European and North American markets if they take their time or will they miss a window of opportunity? Would you consider buying a Xiaomi smartphone if they were generally available in the U.S.?

source: BBC

Come comment on this article: Xiaomi growth is impressive, but not expected to hit U.S. or Europe for a few years

Google, Sony Release “The Interview” Available For Streaming Today

Posted by wicked December - 24 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off


International threats, hacking scandals, a major production company brought to its knees and a hilarious Dr. Evil Saturday Night Live bit later, these past couple of months have been a wild ride for Sony’s film The Interview. Starring James Franco and Seth Rogan, the premise of the film is centered around two talk show hosts being tasked with assassinating the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.

It is widely believed, even by the FBI, that North Korea is responsible for retaliating against Sony with a massive data breach that exposed many terabytes of confidential information from Sony’s computers to the world. The data released globally ranged from completed films like Annie to medical records of famous celebrities.

Amid denying responsibility for the hacking, North Korea simultaneously threatened any theatre wanting to show The Interview, as well as delivering a myriad of insults against the United States and its allies.


Sony, stuck with a feature film on its hands that no one wanted to show, sought out a rather interesting approach. On December 17th, Sony reached out to a number of companies, specifically Google, to attempt to bring The Interview to the masses via streaming media.

Today, on Google’s official blog, the company’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, had this to say:

Last Wednesday Sony began contacting a number of companies, including Google, to ask if we’d be able to make their movie, “The Interview,” available online. We’d had a similar thought and were eager to help—though given everything that’s happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds.

Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day. But after discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be).

So starting at 10 a.m. PST in the U.S., you can rent or buy “The Interview” on Google Play and YouTube Movies. It will also be available to Xbox Video customers and via

Based on today’s announcement, the conspiracy mill is already in full-swing with claims that this whole thing has been orchestrated by Sony in order to drum up hype.

So if you want to see what all the fuss was about, check out the link below to rent the movie in HD for $6, or purchase it in HD for $15, on Google’s Play Store.

qr code
Google Play Download Link

Source: Google

Come comment on this article: Google, Sony Release “The Interview” Available For Streaming Today

MWC Interview: ARM discusses plans for expanding the mobile experience

Posted by wicked February - 26 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

MWC 2014 Coverage brought to you by: Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android.

At MWC 2014 Android Authority’s Darcy LaCouvée had the opportunity to talk with John Heinlein, ARM’s VP of corporate marketing. In the interview, the executive spoke on ARM’s plans to continue expanding the mobile experience, particularly focusing on three key areas (which we’ll mention below).

Although there are currently roughly 6 billion mobile subscribers around the globe, about 2 billion of these users are on smartphones with the rest stuck with feature or even voice-only handsets. ARM’s first key goal is to find ways to expand smartphone  capabilities into broader market, and hopes to achieve this by bringing diversity to the different price points in the low and mid-range sector.

Reaching the “next billion” and beyond

The idea of reaching the “next billion users” by expanding to emerging markets seems to be a re-occurring theme not only for ARM and its partners, but also for Google, Motorola, Intel, Nokia and many others. With the higher-end market marching steadily towards an eventual point of saturation, emerging markets and budget users are becoming major targets for smartphone expansion.

While ARM is keen to expand their presence into emerging markets for obvious reasons, the ARM VP is also personally excited about how democratization of accessed information by smartphone can improve day to day life for folks in emerging markets (and for budget-users). As smartphones continue to expand into new markets, users will have access to a vast array of information that many of us take for granted. Heinlein also notes this expansion could also be extremely important for e-commerce.

Technologies that “expand the mobile experience”

The second key area of expansion for ARM is through wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers. Heinlein also briefly mentions the potential of other types of accessories that can expand the mobile experience, which includes automobiles that integrate with mobile technology.

It’s certainly true that we are starting to see many more devices tackle the ‘accessories’ market with examples shown off at MWC 2014 including Sony’s wearable glasses concept, Huawei’s wristband, the Sony SmartBand, the Gear 2 and Gear Fit. At CES we also saw ways that this ‘extension of mobile capabilities’ will also affect the automotive industry.

ARM’s ambitions for datacenter and cloud infrastructure

The third focus might not have to do with mobiles, but it is still very important for the company, and that is ARM’s datacenter and cloud infrastructure ambitions.

ARM says that their solutions can bring improved efficiency to the server world, and that administrators are able to install storage servers based on ARM and get double the density, compared to conventional storage infrastructure.” Heinlein says that while their early attempts at breaking into the server market have revolved around 32-bit processors, ARM is slowly working to bring 64-bit solutions as well.

Wrap up

Moving on from the three key focus points, ARM’s VP talked a little about the upcoming processors from Qualcomm, MediaTek and other partners. Heinlein also talked about ARM v8 and how it is important for both ARM partners and for the future of the mobile world.

The interview concludes by briefly talking about Intel, where John Heinlein states that competition is healthy and that they are keen to continue to push the mobile experience forward, regardless of what Intel dishes out.


Larry Page talks about Motorola’s future in new interview

Posted by wicked January - 17 - 2013 - Thursday Comments Off

None other than Google‘s Larry Page recently had a nice conversation and interview with the folks at Wired, and we heard some neat comments. Talks about Google+, social media, Android of course, and lots about Motorola. Last year Google purchased Motorola Mobility largely for their patent portfolio, but in the interview Larry gently talks about the acquisition, and what is in store for Motorola’s future.


Motorola doesn’t just have a large portfolio, they also have extensive history in the mobile landscape. While they’ve been sliding in the Android world to the likes of Samsung, things are about to get really exciting for the company. During the interview Page made it very clear that even though Google’s idea behind Motorola from the start was “running it independently”, the new CEO Dennis Woodside (former Googler) wants to be “disruptive” in their hardware designs.

The conversation initially started on the extensive patent portfolio but quickly changed directions when Page mentioned how they wanted to proceed with Motorola. Stating they plan to see Motorola take a lead role in the mobile landscape as a whole, not just Android. Interestingly enough while the RAZR HD and RAZR M are nice phones, they all were released without much input from Google. Wired mentions, and Page confirms, that all their devices currently available were “already in the pipeline” and don’t have any of Google’s influence.


“As we said when we acquired Motorola, we’re running it independently, and Dennis Woodside is in charge. But that’s very much what we want to do with Motorola and what Dennis wants to do. There’s a lot of room for innovation in hardware. The phones we use now have glass that everyone worries will break if they drop the device. Five or 10 years from now, that will be different. There’s going to be a lot of change.” — Larry Page

Ever since Woodside took over Motorola we’ve been seeing gradual changes. They’ve slowly turned their Blur UI into a more stock Android look, especially with Jelly Bean. They’ve moved to on-screen navigation keys (which was originally the plan) and their update turnaround seems steadily improved. During the DROID RAZR HD launch they spoke about “the new Motorola” and we have a feeling that’s coming quick. We’ve seen a few reports that Google and Motorola are working together on a cutting edge, next-gen set of phones and tablets called the X-Phone and the X-Tablet — and hopefully we’ll be seeing more of both soon.

With Motorola’s awesome hardware getting the attention to detail and combined efforts from Google, things can only improve. We look forward to seeing their next array of smartphones, and I’m sure you all do too. What do you want to see from Motorola now that Google’s in charge?