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HappyID Shows You Contact Notes When You Need Them the Most

Posted by wicked November - 28 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off


We’re always on the lookout for apps made by active XDA community members! If you’ve made such an app, let us know by contacting any portal writer.

With the ease of meeting people and adding contacts to your smartphones today, you might have found yourself in a situation where you just couldn’t remember who that “John Smith” in your contacts list was. Was it your classmate, that guy your friend introduced you to once, or someone else entirely? Thankfully, contact notes exist to solve just that problem … except they actually aren’t very useful by default and aren’t shown when they matter the most: when you receive a call.

This is the issue XDA Senior Member nikanorov noticed and decided to fix with his app. Originally called Call Notes Pro, it is now known as HappyID and is offered for free, without advertisements, to everyone.

HappyID’s main goal is to show you your contacts’ notes on your screen when they call you, but it offers several options to make itself as useful as possible; you can pick which fields are shown in addition to the contact’s note field, including the company they work at, their title, birthday, when they last called and more. You can also reorder these fields so that the ones you’re interested in the most show up at the top.

HappyID: call screen HappyID: call screen HappyID: fields selection
In addition to that, HappyID lets you easily add and edit contact notes directly from its “Notes” tab. The editing feature also comes with a handy shortcut to insert today’s date, which makes keeping constant notes of your conversations with a contact much handier. HappyID also comes with several customization options, such as showing you a temporary notification after the call has ended for quick notes, enabling Android Wear support or changing the appearance of the toast. You can even sync all your notes with your Evernote account, letting you access them from all your devices.

HappyID: notes HappyID: settings
HappyID is completely free and has no advertisements! To find more about this app and start using it, make sure to visit the HappyID Forum Thread!

What’s an Android Game You’d Recommend?

Posted by wicked November - 28 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off


Android is full of games, free or paid, with freemium and premium features. Most of us have at least one game to kill time, or liked a particular game at a particular time. Gamer or not, what Android game would you recommend to others, and why?

Growing Pains: OnePlus Turn a Corner With New-Found Maturity

Posted by wicked November - 28 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

OnePlus - carl pei quotes

Close followers of OnePlus may have noticed a recent change in attitude from the company’s co-founder Carl Pei. Of late decisions and announcements have been made that have restored a little faith in the way the company is managed that gives us an increased hope for the future of OnePlus.

In early September, an unexpected bout of modesty arrived in the form of a forum post; in the post Carl was blunt and opened with the phrase “We messed up the launch of the OnePlus 2”. It was a surprising move for a company that previously had focussed on maintaining forward momentum and not looking back. In the following paragraphs, he appeared humbled and genuinely moved by his customers, partners and staff plights. In a bid to ameliorate the situation and assuage the growing malcontent he pledged to make a change to future launches:

In fact, there are very few excuses in this world that are valid. We simply messed up again and apologize for that. We don’t plan on making further promises for future launches, and will instead focus on showing the world how we’ve improved through our actions. – Carl Pei

An unexpected decision followed this during the launch of the OnePlus X, where he informed us that with the X the widely unpopular invite system would be phased out after just a month. Starting with weekly open sales they would then proceed to drop invites permanently once they could be sure that production could meet demand, meaning that like most phones, you would be able to buy the device at any time. This, of course, allows the company to manage their output and availability, whilst still giving the hype and feeling of exclusivity in the beginning of being one of the few people with the phone when you do get your hands on one. This move would surely not leave as many frustrated users feeling alienated when they miss out on a purchase because of the timing associated with the short invite window and difficulty for some people to attain one.
Jordan Mathew and Carl Pei 

Shortly afterwards the news that no company wants to hear came: an engineer at Google had tested OnePlus’ USB type C cable and adapter and had revealed some troubling flaws. When used with some 3 amp devices they could not guarantee that no damages. This would not happen with the OnePlus 2, but as many people have been buying the apparently high-quality cable OnePlus were selling for other type C devices, something had to be done. A spokesperson rapidly stated the cables were compliant, However, instead of giving the reply that we expected, Carl Pei later advised to not use the cable with devices other than the OnePlus 2, gave a thorough summary of the issue, exactly what caused it and then offered a refund to unhappy customers. He continued by explaining that the team had already begun work on developing improved cables and adapters.

Were they in the wrong? Yes. Did they handle the matter better than we expected? Certainly! There are still many understandably unhappy customers out there, the ones that received a cable with the OnePlus 2 are not eligible for a refund as the faulty cable is safe to use with the OP2. However, many customers are hailing this as an honest and open move in the right direction. Customers began claiming that they had received a full refund shortly after the announcement was made and were reporting that they had not been asked to return the cable before receiving their money.

I, for one, feel that Carl Pei and the company he co-founded have turned a corner — for the first time since the company’s inception there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. The issues are still there, but they are being handled as well as many of us could have hoped for and I can see them becoming less frequent as time goes on. It is well worth remembering at times like this that the company has not even celebrated their second birthday yet. As the old saying goes “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you do after the mistake that matters.”

Are OnePlus heading in the right direction? Leave a comment below!

Samsung Galaxy S6 Boots up its First AOSP ROM

Posted by wicked November - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off


Samsung devices are widely recognized by Android enthusiasts to tout superb hardware but unfortunately acceptable software. Touchwiz – love it or hate it, you’re generally stuck with it if you buy a Samsung Galaxy device.

Thanks to the efforts of the development community on XDA, you can have the option to switch over to an AOSP-based ROM – if you’re willing to wait. Most flagship devices on the market have been blessed to operate on Snapdragon SoCs, making it easier for developers to port AOSP over to their hardware thanks to the extensive documentation provided to developers on the hardware. However, Qualcomm’s blunder with the Snapdragon 810 caused Samsung to drop its use of the SoC in favor of exclusively using its own in-house Exynos SoC.

Enthusiasts looking to use Google’s stock Android software in place of Touchwiz have generally had to wait many months for the developer community to port AOSP to their hardware, thanks to complications arising from a lack of documentation for Samsung’s Exynos brand of SoCs. That hasn’t deterred developers from tackling the issue anyways, and thanks to XDA Senior Member tdcfpp we now have our first AOSP-based ROM booting on the Samsung Galaxy S6.

According to a post by the developer responsible for the initial port, the major hurdle that they have yet to get past is getting multi-boot working because the developer cannot continue testing the port as it would require removing the Android HardwareComposer (enabling GUI rendering via the GPU) in order to check the FrameBuffer. Doing so would currently cause the device to enter into a bootloop, making further testing more difficult for the developer.

Clearly, the team’s work is far from over, but it’s important to show them your support if you’re interested in eventually tasting the Marshmallow-flavored fruits of their labour.

Underrated Tech: Moto Hint Proves Form Factor Makes All the Difference

Posted by wicked November - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off


There is one device that I use every day that few people even know is there. And that’s precisely why it’s so good at what it does — the Motorola Moto Hint is the most discreet wearable I’ve used, and its usefulness is often overlooked.

What is special about the Moto Hint? Most would classify it as just another bluetooth headset, and in terms of functionality, it mostly is: the Moto Hint does function like almost any other bluetooth headset or earbud, with a capacitive button-like surface activating Google Now for good measure. Other than that, the Moto Hint allows for many of the hands-free capabilities of other bluetooth speakers. The fundamental difference comes with its form factor.


The Hint fits in the ear cozily and perfectly, and only the observant notice it outright

The Moto Hint is a sole earbud piece; at first, I wished it was two pieces, but the purpose of the Hint is certainly not listening to music. The speaker quality blasting inside your ear will not properly render the majesty of your music playlists, but it’s not designed to make you stop using your headphones.

Rather, it is there so that you can start using your phone more, anywhere. This is where the Moto Hint’s user experience is derived from the form factor.

Because it fits so nicely and is so comfortable, you may forget it’s even there

The Hint fits in the ear cozily and perfectly, with a small protrusion that only the observant notice outright. The earpiece doesn’t block outside audio despite the fact that it covers most of your ear, and because it fits so nicely and is so comfortable, you may forget it’s even there. That is the brilliance of the Hint: it’s discreet and nondescript to the point the wearer himself forgets he has a speaker in his ear, and unlike traditional bluetooth headsets, it does not have the same social interaction impairment. You won’t look any different unlike the appearence provided by other bluetooth headsets or facial wearables.

While it is the same as other bluetooth headsets in that it redirects all audio to your ear, this is the first bluetooth headset I feel comfortable wearing all day, both socially and ergonomically. The result is the ability to play any audio, at any time, regardless of the social context you find yourself in. If, for example, you quickly want to check out a video without bothering those around you, then you won’t have to get out of your way (or someone else’s) to do so — if you wear your Hint often, you can listen to that on the spot without taking out headphones for it. And because of the Hint’s design and form factor, chances are it’s already in your ear when your need it most.


This small earbud is great for all situations, as you can always leave it there. I personally use it for audiobooks and podcasts when walking to and from campus, or when walking to a place to shop for groceries, or when doing house chores. If watching videos in class is your thing, this is your product — nobody will be able to tell you aren’t listening to the lecture. I’ve used it numerous times in situations where pulling out a set of earbuds just for a quick video, or hands-free phonecall, would have been impractical.

The Hint’s form factor virtues and uniqueness stretch past just the actual earbud, though. Very much like with the Moto 360, Motorola introduced a smart and practical charging solution that also helps you protect the Hint. The charging tube allows for multiple charges of the earbud, which already lasts around 3 hours of actual usage (typically a full day on one charge).

A new take on an age-old product can dramatically change the resulting experience

With the tube, you can stretch the charge time to a week or so, and it also helps you protect the Hint and store it in a place where you will never forget it. You can strap the tube to your keychain, for example, to make sure the Hint’s with you every time you leave the house. And like all sliding pieces of tech, opening and closing it is kind of addicting.

Personally speaking, it’s a little saddening that this product didn’t get much success anywhere, yet it remains the most inventive bluetooth earbud I’ve tried. Motorola nailed the user experience with this form factor, which mostly succeeds at what it aims to do — in the best of cases, people don’t notice it, and in the worst of scenarios, they think you have hearing aid. But the usefulness of the Hint comes with the fact that it’s comfortable, ubiquitous and always there when you need it most.

In a world where wearables like Glass failed for lacking these qualities, the Hint shows that a new take on an age-old product can dramatically change the resulting experience, and that form factor and design sometimes make all the difference between a product you use situationally and one that you want with you at every moment.


What is your favorite piece of underrated tech? Let us know in the comments down below!

What is Your Favorite Bluetooth Device Ever?

Posted by wicked November - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off


Bluetooth is absolutely ubiquitous today, and everything from wearables to house appliances relies on it to some some degree. After years of refinement and expansion, this technology is a daily part of our lives. We all use bluetooth devices, but the question is, what is your favorite bluetooth device ever? And why?

Processor Temperature Results for Tens of SoCs — How Hot is Your Chip?

Posted by wicked November - 24 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off


Testbird, a company we’ve talked about previously, reached out to us to share some interesting data regarding processors that they have collected during their extensive compatibility testing. And some of the results that they shared were quite surprising, to say the least.

First off, the data shows the maximum and average temperatures of various chipsets from various manufacturers that the company was using for its compatibility testing. The tests were routine procedures that the company does, where only the testing app and the monitoring app are installed onto stock devices with the latest official OS update. No other apps are installed on the device, save for all the regular amount of bloatware that the devices come with, so the data can be compared with one less variable of installed user apps. The tests were done on as many as 300 devices for a wide variety of client apps, so the data obtained is quite comprehensive and a good indicator of what one can expect.

Most of the testing was conducted for a period of an hour, as games were tested for various aspects like startup, login, closure etc; so we expect the devices to be running on close to their peak performance for an extended period of time. To further pull down variables, the apps (game plus monitoring service) were installed normally and ran in a systematic and uniform manner across all devices. Without further ado, have a look at the data!

First up is a table on the highest temperatures recorded across different manufacturers, along with the average of all the temperatures recorded on the chipsets of the manufacturer.

Manufacturer Average CPU Temp (°C) Max. CPU Temp (°C) Chipset With Max CPU Temp
MediaTek 31.22 50.01 MT6595
Qualcomm 33.14 63.88 MSM8225Q
Samsung 36.21 50.71 Exynos 4210
HiSilicon 32.49 51.56 K3V2
Marvell 35.3 61.65 PXA1088
Intel 38.01 51.03 Atom Z2560
Spreadtrum 35.26 51.86 SC8825

As you can see, as a comparison across manufacturers, the MSM8225Q from Qualcomm, also popularly known as the Snapdragon 200 tops the chart for being the hottest SoC overall. The Snapdragon 200 is a quad core processor with 4x Cortex A5 cores clocked at 1.4 GHz, primarily seen on low end devices like the Samsung Galaxy Win or the HTC Desire 500. Average temperatures for the MSM8225Q were 32.77 °C, so these are signs that devices with this SoC reached such a high temperature and were then very badly throttled down.

The Exynos 4210, Samsung’s “worst” heat performer bears 2x Cortex A9 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, and can be found in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. The SoC averages 36.21 °C which is surprising as the more commonly known devices with the Exynos 4210 were never known to be very hot to handle or had reports of aggressive thermal throttling.

The rest of the comprehensive table shared with us is as below:

An important point to note is that the data has been collected over a period of a year from all the testing activities done. Naturally, this leaves out recent SoC’s which have not had phone releases one year ago, like the Snapdragon 810. The Snapdragon 801 does indeed make an appearance in the table, as it is the common name of the MSM8974 series of SoC’s. Also, the temperatures mentioned are the temperature of the SoC during tasks, and does not necessarily reflect the thermal dissipation efficiency of the physical device. So the same SoC can have different results under different housing conditions.

Nonetheless, the test does offer some insight into data that we as normal consumers would not be able to collect. It is interesting to see that a lot of SoC’s generate a fair bit of heat. The mean value of all maximum temperatures is 45.108 °C, while the lowest max temperature recorded is 32.67 °C belonging to the MediaTek MT8125, an SoC found in some Lenovo and Acer tablets. The lowest average temperature also belongs to a MediaTek SoC, namely the MT6589TD-M. Overall, MediaTek SoC’s did fairly well when it came to temperature under strain. It is entirely possible that the lower heat generation for these SoC’s is because of the absence of the ability of heavy lifting during intensive tasks. It could also be due to aggressive thermal throttling, which would aim to keep the temperature very low in order to keep the device “barely performing” for longer.

We hope you find the data as interesting as we did. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

What Price Cuts, Discounts and Holiday Deals Would You Love to See?

Posted by wicked November - 24 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off


Black Friday and Christmas are approaching, meaning we have the perfect excuse to buy all the tech! What kind of holiday deals would you like to see? Which devices do you want to drop in price? What are you getting for yourself or others?

ES File Explorer – A Short Story of A Fallen King

Posted by wicked November - 23 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off


File managers are still a missing puzzle in a big Android ecosystem. We have Windows Explorer, The Finder and Nautilus or Nemo on our PCs, but Android still has no truly extensive file explorer included in the system.

I’m mostly referring to Nexus software here, which should be treated as a the matrix to all currently available firmwares created by various OEMs. Lack of proper file managers doesn’t mean that we are left with no options for useful management, though. There are numerous applications available on Play Store that can instantly become our first choice. But what should we choose in such a sea of options?

For many years the top choice was quite obvious. There was one king, or rather emperor, to rule them all: ES File Explorer. Users loved its simplicity, intuitive interface and what is even more for XDA users – root access and ability to open almost any type of file. ES File Explorer is still a complex solution to those of you who want to perform some easy file management or even more complicated stuff like modifying /system partition or adding some stuff to build.prop. If you were using this application for more than a couple of months you may have noticed that something terribly wrong is going on with one of your favorite applications. A company behind the app started to add some unnecessary features, which frankly speaking made it a bloated, resource hungry hog. Yep, you read it well – bloated. We all know what bloat means and how XDA hates it.

To show you the difference, I took a trip back to my Eclair days and downloaded an old version of the app dated somewhere in 2013. If you take a look at this forgotten beauty you won’t find material design, or even Holo. I know that Matias DuARTe is our lord and savior straight from Chile, and we should hail his name always and everywhere… but ES File Explorer wasn’t Holo-fied. It looked like MS-DOS – it was ugly yet extremely functional and worthy. Even today, the application is useful as it’s lightning fast, intuitive and uses just a few megabytes of RAM. Despite its age it’s still a good choice if you prefer functionality over look. Estrongs, a developer studio which created that piece of timeless software, had a wise strategy. Its goal was delivering an application that handles all the necessary tasks without being overly intrusive. The app never showed a pop-up or notification — it was always one tap away, ready to fulfill its duties. Even with the storage limitations of those days, it was one of the last applications one could do without — and we loved it for that.


The Holo and Material Design graphical paradigms forced developers to update the app’s UI. While an initial transformation went quite smoothly, the latest versions of the app starting from 4.0.0 are far from being fast and bloat-free. Estrongs decided to put the so called “recommended apps and games” which is essentially bloatware. ES File Explorer also has a cleaner look, which is quite useful, but something that simply doesn’t fit with a modern file manager. Menus are quite decent, but the application itself has become quite complicated due to a number of improperly implemented features. It appears that Estrong is trying to re-invent the wheel, which is always a bad idea.


I don’t like ES File Explorer anymore. I loved it in 2013 when it was so great, but recent changes had lead me to the conclusion that I have to find something different. An open source project which is simple, reliable and does not contain these pesky ads and recommendations that we see in the latest revisions of a once-great ES File Explorer.

Which file manager would you recommend? Share your favorites in comments!

Material Misconceptions: What Developers Get Wrong in Material Design

Posted by wicked November - 23 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off


Google’s annual I/O conference has always been a field day for developers, but I/O 2014 brought what was perhaps one of the most groundbreaking revelations in the history of mobile design.

As Matias Duarte, Google’s VP of Design took to the stage, the screens behind him rippled and revealed the beauty that was Google’s foray into a unified cross-platform visual language, titled Material Design.

The initial days after I/O were a frenzy of developers, designers and users alike attempting to get their fill of paper and ink, modifying their designs, their code, and even their homescreens to reflect the new paradigm that Google had introduced. But as time passed and apps supposedly completed their transition to Material design, it became painfully apparent that numerous parts of the guidelines were being lost in translation.

Floating Action Button


Definitely the most iconic component of the Material Design visual language, the Floating Action Button pattern rapidly gained popularity among both users as well as developers, driven primarily by its easy accessibility and its archetypal nature. Alas, developers went on to misrepresent the FAB’s importance, blatantly ignoring its symbolic representation of a primary action, going on to associate Material Design with the FAB and wrongly using it for secondary and other less important actions. Marissa Mayer, under her “3 Rules of App Design” topic in her book, explains the essence of the FAB rightfully, stating that ” every product should be designed for the way it will be used 98% of the time.”

Functionality > Aesthetics


Up until a while ago, the metric for good design was solely based upon how good an app looked, as opposed to current trends measuring design in how good it feels — the past few years having buoyed the significance of user experience and established its position as a superset of user interface design. However, a host of developers fail to realize the implications of prioritizing UI over UX, and thus go ahead and implement patterns like placing the navigation drawer below the toolbar solely for the hamburger to arrow animation, throwing the hierarchy and app’s experience into disarray. Designers everywhere are gradually gaining ground in the battle for change, and while the transition is a slow one, it’s a steady one, and each passing day sees another step in the direction of a high quality application ecosystem.

Launch Screens


Ahead of a recent update to the Material Design spec, Google strongly advocated against the use of splash screens when launching an app. However, as the design language matured and took into consideration the hardware and network constraints that some users face, the design team expanded the guidelines to allow the usage of splash screens – or launch screens – with a set of acceptable use cases. Despite the spec entreating developers only to use it when constraints prevent the immediate presentation of content, a large number of developers employ launch screens for the sole purpose of branding, a decision that proves solely detrimental to the overarching user experience, forcing users to unnecessarily wait before being able to access the app’s content.

Grid and Keylines


Riveting the focus of app designers on structural and balance, Material Design introduced the concept of an 8dp baseline grid and certain keylines, which combine to give Material apps a certain underlying structure and balance. One such case is the aligning of list item labels at the 72dp keyline, which line up with the toolbar title, forming an associative visual relationship between the two. Unfortunately, many developers dismiss the importance of the baseline grid and the keylines, unbalancing the app’s layouts and unknowingly abandoning the structural integrity of the user interface.

Navigation Drawer


Though they were shunned in their early days by design pundits citing its lack of visibility, the navigation drawer and hamburger button patterns have experienced rapid increases in adoption rates in recent years. With widespread platforms like iOS and Android pushing hard for it, users slowly but steadily got acquainted with the pattern, but as is the case with everything that crosses a certain limit of popularity, developers and designers began misusing the navigation drawer. Depending on the hierarchical structure, navigation can take on various forms, and the Material spec has a section dedicated to deciding what form of navigation is appropriate for your app.

Navigation Bar


Even as Material Design was making its ingress in the designer communities, a number of APIs were being prepared for the API 21 release, among which was the navigation and status bar APIs. While status bar coloring was deemed appropriate, designers everywhere have taken a rigid stance against the tinting of the navigation bar as well, given that it disturbs the visual balance of the screen and “boxes-in” the app, suffocating the design and the app’s content.

Design is a delicate subject. Wrongly used, even the most sound logic can be extremely detrimental to the end-user experience.

What parts of Material Design do you think are often misrepresented? Sound off in the comments section below!


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