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Sunday Debate: Heads Up Notifications vs. Ticker

Posted by wicked June - 28 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

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Join us in a fun Sunday Debate on Notifications. Come with your opinions and feel free to read some of our thoughts, then pick your side or play devil’s advocate to get your voice heard and engage in friendly discussion. You can read our food-for-thought or jump straight into the fray below!

 

 

Notifications are a huge part of Android, and Lollipop brought with it a redesign of the age-old notification ticker. The “heads up” system is loved by some, and detested by others — not unlike many changes each version brings, yet in a particularly polarizing way. The main issue with Lollipop’s implementation is that it was not properly worked out for the initial versions. That is, there was no built-in way to disable it, nor revert the system, and once a notification hits your screen during use, your only option is to swipe it away and dismiss the notification from your list. This last bit was addressed in later builds, but many users are still stuck in 5.0.x and left to fix the issues through other means.

 

Now that many months went by, we have more than a few options at our disposal to address this issue. First of all, KitKat users can enjoy heads up notifications through Xposed modules and app options like HeadsUp and others. Lollipop users that want to be able to hide the heads up notifications instead of dismiss them can use Heads Up Hide for Xposed, and now we also have options to restore the notification ticker like XDA Forum Member Productigeeky’s  Ticklr. In short, users can now enjoy heads up notifications or the ticker on both Lollipop and KitKat.

 

But given that most people tend to choose one over the other, we want to ask you the following: Which one is more efficient? Which one do you prefer, and why? Should we incorporate both? For which use-cases? Can their functionality be expanded, and if so, how? This debate can be considered rather opinionated, but we also want you to touch on the matter of usefulness for various use-cases. As always, feel free to skip our food-for-thought and go straight to the discussion in the comments.

 

 

Heads up notifications

 

The premise of heads up notifications is to bring you the information within a tidy presentation, allowing you to read it in full before deciding what to do with the message. While we were teased with quick replies and the like, we are left waiting for Google or developers to implement such a system. The notification can, however, be rather spacious, particularly in landscape mode where it can interrupt a movie. The fact that it is so obtrusive can make media consumption a pain when you are getting blasted with random messages, especially on early implementations where you can only dismiss these. These notifications are in tune with Material Design and can be quick and pleasant, but not all the time. However, a virtue that the heads up system has over the ticker is that you are only one click away of the app.

 

ticker

 

The ticker is an age-old system which many Android fans love for a very good reason: it’s unobtrusive. The ticker presents messages in your status bar, allowing you to almost completely ignore the notification unless you do want to pay attention to it. Moreover, ignoring it is a passive process (no need to swipe anywhere) and you can rest easy knowing that the notification will be there for you to access later. However, problems quickly arise with this system: in certain contexts where one must pay careful attention to the text, this one can switch to the next line too fast for one to fully grasp the important bits of the message (luckily there are ways to tweak the scroll speed). Since it’s a preview, it’s usually not too important, but Heads Up notifications do give you more control over the processing of the preview’s information. Long messages can also be split awkwardly and distort the flow of the message, which can also be detrimental in certain cases.

 

Por que no los dos?

 

Why not both? It is clear that both the ticker and the heads up solution have their inherent strengths and weaknesses depending on what the context is. Ultimately it seems to be a conflict between how intrusive and manageable or unobtrusive and uncontrollable you want the notification preview to be. A black/white list for which apps can send ticker or heads up notifications is not enough, however. Rather, one would need a list for the apps in which you can receive one or the other. This way, media consumption apps like Youtube could, for example, only display the ticker.

 

Debating

 

One one hand, heads up notifications offer you better control over your notification, at the expense of being intrusive. You can, however, quickly take care of the message by directly accessing the app. The ticker is different altogether, and while unobtrusive, it has its downsides as it can lead to a less efficient experience in many contexts where precise intelligibility or quick input are needed. A hybrid system can benefit both options, but you might find said system pointless or overkill if you clearly prefer one over the other. So we ask you the following:

 

  • Which option is more efficient, and for why use-cases?
  • Do you personally prefer the ticker, or heads up?
  • Do you think a hybrid system is better?
  • Would you want Google to build in a toggle for these?

The post Sunday Debate: Heads Up Notifications vs. Ticker appeared first on xda-developers.

Google Set To End Support For ADT In Eclipse

Posted by wicked June - 28 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

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In a move that was predicted since Android Studio was launched back in 2013, Google has announced that they will be ending official support for Eclipse at the end of this year. This specifically includes the Eclipse ADT (Android Developer Tools) plugin and the Android Ant build system.

Over the past few years, our team has focused on improving the development experience for building Android apps with Android Studio. Since the launch of Android Studio, we have been impressed with the excitement and positive feedback. As the official Android IDE, Android Studio gives you access to a powerful and comprehensive suite of tools to evolve your app across Android platforms, whether it’s on the phone, wrist, car or TV.

Back when it was released, Android Studio had drawn mixed reactions. You either loved the new features and polish that it promised to bring along, or you still preferred to remain with Eclipse and the extensive troubleshooting documentation that it had accumulated from the community. However, Google has indeed delivered on its promise of providing a robust development platform for app developers, with Android Studio having matured into a stable and reliable tool. What’s more, Google will be migrating the rest of the standalone performance tools like DDMS and Trace Viewer to Android Studio, along with building additional support for the Android NDK, so little reason will remain to still continue on using Eclipse over Android Studio.

If you are an Eclipse die-hard, you can still continue on using it even after support ends.

Android tools inside Eclipse will continue to live on in the open source community via the Eclipse Foundation. Check out the latest Eclipse Andmore project if you are interested in contributing or learning more.

As a suggestion, it is better to make the switch to Android Studio as soon as you can.

Also, if you want to contribute to Android Studio, you can also check out the project source code. To follow all the updates on Android Studio, join our Google+ community.

The post Google Set To End Support For ADT In Eclipse appeared first on xda-developers.

XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (June 20 – 27)

Posted by wicked June - 27 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

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Apps are at the front and center of any smartphone experience, and with over a million apps on the Google Play Store and new apps being submitted to our forums every day, staying up to date on the latest apps and games can be a hassle. At XDA we don’t discriminate apps – if it’s interesting, innovative, original or useful, we mention them. The XDA Portal Team loves apps too, and here are our top picks for this week.

 

Material Theme for Lollipop TouchWiz [FREE]

 

material themeTouchWiz is not the prettiest skin out there, and although the latest paintcoat it received on the S6 was much better than previous iterations, many found it was not enough. The Theme Engine was promising, but initial offerings were underwhelming and no Stock-like theme came bundled. Luckily, we now have such theme, and it emulates the original Material Design to the best of its abilities. Iconography and panels are all appropriately themed to give you the closest to a Stock Android look you can get without flashing a custom ROM (or theme, like in the past). Find it in the Theme Store!

 

Rover Floating Launcher [FREE]

 

roverXDA Senior Member roshga came up with Rover Floating Launcher (thread here), a floating button that reveals a list of apps and shortcuts for your multitasking pleasure. Rover allows you to switch to or fire up apps quickly and on the fly, and its resting transparency makes it rather unobtrusive. You can also set it to do calls and trigger services like Google Now, which opens up many possibilities and adds an extra layer to navigation. This is very much like Samsung’s toolbox functionality, but cleaner and smoother. If you love navigation or multitasking options, you must give this one a look!

 

Medium [FREE]

 

mediumIf you visit our frontpage, you probably saw us publish external links to Medium. This service is a blog-publishing platform where professionals and passionate amateurs alike publish interesting stories in a sort of social journalism. These can range from short to long, and from in-depth to editorial, but there are many great things to read and there is no shortage of Android-related content either. The app also allows you to quickly write your ideas down for the site and the interface is simple and dynamic. It’s a pleasant blog reading app with a lot of interesting content — readers can’t miss it!

 

Office for Android Phones [FREE]

 

officeMicrosoft Office is a world-renowned document editing platform, and while the Android apps for Word, Powerpoint and Excel came out for tablets a while ago, they now hit phones as well. Here you will find robust editing options that are surprisingly comparable to the desktop version. While Google Docs, Sheets and Slides on Android are decent, Office brings extensive functionality and better synergy with desktop editors. The service will only get better with Windows 10, but keep in mind that you do need a Microsoft account for much of the functionality.

 

Most Recently Used Widget [FREE]

 

mruOur home screens are usually rigid sets of icons, but Most Recently Used Widget (thread here) by registered-user attempts to change that by bringing you a box grid that contains your most used apps. The concept is that simple, and it’s very much like HTC’s solution found in their latest Sense ROMs. You can get quick access to the apps you typically need the most: if you know that your use-case consists of few apps, this is worth checking out. You can also give our review of the app a look in case you are hesitant, but it’s free, so you can just download it and try it.

 

Notable Updates:

  • AutoRemote plugin for Tasker received a massive addition: IFTTT integration. This allows you to come up with all sorts of new automation possibilities. Check out the announcement video to get some nice examples!
  • Google Play Music received a Radio Streaming service that is free, but backed up by ads. The app also received some changes to the navigation drawer and other minor aesthetic tweaks. You can get the updated app here.
  • Steam received a Material Design paintcoat that breathes some life back into this apps’ previously ancient design.
  • Dropbox also received a Material Design update that brings the Beta version’s improvements to the main application. You can get the updated app here.
  • Google Drive’s latest version allows for multiple file downloading and sending and a much better collaborator interface. You can get the updated app here.

 

That is it for this week. We hope that you might have found some of these apps as interesting, useful or entertaining as we did. Whether you are a student, a developer, a designer or a gamer, Android has you covered. We will try to reflect that each week with a variety of picks to spark your interest, and If you see (or publish!) any new apps that you think are worthy of a feature, be sure to send us a tip and we’ll give it a look. Until next time!

The post XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (June 20 – 27) appeared first on xda-developers.

Hydrogen OS v4 Released + Download Link

Posted by wicked June - 25 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

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Hydrogen OS is an alternative ROM for OnePlus One users that quite unlike its Oxygen counterpart — it’s a redesign of many of stock Android foundations, especially in regards to organization and aesthetics. Hydrogen OS features eye-catchy animations and a design that is reminiscent to both Material Design and Aqua with similar behavior to the former but enough differences to make it unique.

While Hydrogen OS is still in beta with a release scheduled for July, you can try out the ROM on your OnePlus One and enjoy it without registering for the beta. XDA Senior Member natheux has now shared with us a download link to the latest v4 release, and this version brings new animations and general improvements to the aesthetics and performance of the phone, as well as better wake-up gestures. However, keep in mind that early reports in both the XDA thread and the OnePlus forums seem to paint this release as a hit or miss — some claim great battery life and performance, while others claim that there are problems with the touchscreen, gestures, crashes, freezes and even an alleged bricking.

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If you do proceed, make sure to read both threads [1][2] carefully so that you minimize associated risks. Those of you who want to jump in might find quite a surprise, and the early reviews and screenshots look really good. You can find a video review of the v4 release below, where you can learn about its performance and features.


 

 

OnePlus One users: do you prefer Hydrogen OS, or Oxygen OS?

The post Hydrogen OS v4 Released + Download Link appeared first on xda-developers.

July 27 OnePlus 2 Launch in VR & Free Cardboard

Posted by wicked June - 25 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

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OnePlus keeps releasing detailS about their OnePlus 2 launch — but this time it is not one about the phone itself but rather its unveiling event. OnePlus claims that all product launches tend to be the same, so they are tying a new way of announcing their phone by “inviting us to their world”. Just what does this mean?

 

Their Virtual Reality launch will let viewers stand right with their team and fans as they unveil the flagship. You’ll be able to look around and feel part of the event in a new, unexplored way. This is a very interesting and innovative idea that can easily benefit these kind of events, so we are eager to see just where OnePlus will take the experience. The streaming is scheduled to begin on July 27,  7:00pm PT — write the date down on your cardboard!

 

If you don’t have a VR headset, that’s fine — OnePlus wants to help users out by making the experience straightforward, simple, and cheap. The company designed their own custom headset (based on Cardboard 2.0), which is mainly tailored to the OnePlus One, and is giving it out for $0 plus  shipping costs. This headset is touted to be more durable, compact and cleaner than other variations. The company claims that they did not cut any corners on this product, but it is not currently available. You can head to their OnePlus Cardboard website regardless, and signup to be notified as soon as it becomes available.

 

Do you think a VR launch is a good idea? Let us know below!

The post July 27 OnePlus 2 Launch in VR & Free Cardboard appeared first on xda-developers.

Sony Smartwatch 3: Call For Battery Drain Bug Reports

Posted by wicked June - 25 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Sony-Smartwatch-3-Black-White

Sony’s Smartwatch 3 is the company’s third take on smartwatches, albeit the first from the company to feature Android Wear. In many ways, the watch is an upgrade from the Smartwatch 2 as it brings along IP68 rated waterproofing along with the switch to ARM’s Cortex A7 for the CPU.

The recent update to Android Wear based on Android 5.1.1 has brought along woes to an otherwise decent device. Users of the Sony Smartwatch 3 have started facing a rather inexplicable battery drain after this update. The pattern to the drain is not clear enough, and it exists on and off. Possible causes have been guessed at being changes to WiFi drivers, as well as wakelocks caused by the Wear Battery Stats app. Users have tried many fixes, but the issue and its fix still remain vague at best.

However, in a rather rare case (for OEM’s) of actively working with power users and utilizing their experience as well as willingness to assist, Sony Mobile has reached out to users on our forums to draw upon bug reports in an attempt to nail down the cause of this drain and provide an update that actually fixes it. Post from the Sony Mobile’s representative calls for bug reports:

Hi all,

My name is Johan and I work for Sony Mobile. I would like to inform you that our SmartWatch team is looking into this as we speak but it would be great if you guys would be willing to help them out by providing bug reports from the watch.

Please do only take and share reports of when the battery drain is happening.

Here are two ways of taking the report.

* From the Android Wear app on the phone:

  • Tap the hamburger menu (3 vertical dots) and select “Report wearable bug”
  • Wait for the notification on the watch saying “Bug report captured”
  • On the watch swipe the notification left and select “Open”
  • Read the information and if you agree, tap “OK”
  • You will get a notification on the phone, when you tap it is possible to (for example) upload the bug report to Google Drive and share the link on xda

* From the watch, using the UI:

  • Enable Developer options
  • Go into “Settings”->”About”
  • Tap “Build number” until you see “You are now a developer”
  • Go into “Settings”->”Developer options”
  • Enable “Bug report in menu”
  • Go back to the watchface
  • Swipe left 3 times to get to the “Speak now” screen
  • Swipe all the way down and tap “Take bug report”
  • Wait for the notification on the watch saying “Bug report captured”
  • On the watch swipe the notification left and select “Open”
  • Read the information and if you agree, tap “OK”
  • You will get a notification on the phone, when you tap it is possible to (for example) upload the bug report to Google Drive and share the link on xda

It is a commendable effort on the part of Sony Mobile to acknowledge the existence of battery drain as well as reaching out to the developer community. They have worked for the developer community in the past, and their continued effort on this path is certainly worthy of praise. We hope other OEM’s also follow along and start working with the community rather than against it.

If you have a Sony Smartwatch 3 and have been facing battery drains, capture a bug report and report it in this thread. Please do follow along the instructions and also help keep the thread clean.

What do you think of Sony’s effort of reaching out to power users for help? Does it help instill confidence in the company as a corporate willing to listen to its users after sales? Or does it reek of another case of an update being pushed but still being “unfinished software”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read on for more related coverage:

The post Sony Smartwatch 3: Call For Battery Drain Bug Reports appeared first on xda-developers.

Stock Lollipop Theme Now Available for S6 Theme Engine

Posted by wicked June - 25 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

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The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge still featured the same-old TouchWiz design language with aesthetics plenty of power users find unappealing. Despite its theme engine, the phone did not come with any themes that truly captured the simplicity and cohesiveness of Stock Android. Nevertheless, given that developers and designers could create their own themes, everyone had their hopes up for one based on Lollipop’s base look. And here it is!

 

This stock Material Design theme took 3 weeks of perfecting (and publishing processes) and has now hit the Samsung Theme Store. It is available for free for all S6 and S6 Edge users. The new aesthetic compliments Samsung’s interface surprisingly well, and it truly brings a breath of fresh air for those that got Samsung’s latest yet didn’t particularly like TouchWiz’s arguably dated aesthetic nor the bundled themes.

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If you like this theme by Samer Zayer you can join his Theme’s Google+ community where you can find more information and discuss the current theme itself and revisions or releases. You can also donate to his Paypal if you feel like rewarding him for his hard work.

 

 

Do you like this new look for TouchWiz? Sound off below!

The post Stock Lollipop Theme Now Available for S6 Theme Engine appeared first on xda-developers.

Huawei Employee Allegedly Confirms Huawei Nexus

Posted by wicked June - 25 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

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Huawei is one of the Eastern giants that the West doesn’t know much about, but with their concentrated efforts on expanding their brand, it will. The Huawei watch is one of the most promising Wear watches, and with flagships like the Huawei P8 – which focus on good bang for buck in a premium package – the company is setting up for a bigger scale. And what better way is there than doing so with Google’s aid?

 

Rumors of a Huawei Nexus have been circling the internet for months, first beginning with talks of a Chinese OEM being in charge of the next Nexus. Speculation grew bigger when rumors stated that the upcoming Chinese Nexus would feature a processor that is not Qualcomm’s, so heads turned towards Huawei as they have their own silicon: the Kirin SoC. We’ve talked about the newer generation of Kirin processors before, but they didn’t make the hit that many (ourselves included) expected them to make in the Huawei P8. Nevertheless, the rumor stuck, and now we hear news of an alleged confirmation.

 

An UK employee from Huawei told IBtimes that the next Nexus will indeed be from Huawei, but no further details were given about a release frame nor specifications. This could indeed be a solid confirmation, and it seems to fall in line with not just Huawei’s desires, but Google’s too (not to mention almost every rumor and alleged leak we’ve been hearing so far). Huawei needs a recognizable phone brand to put its name out there in the West, and Google could use a partnership with Huawei to get back into the Chinese market. Such symbiosis sounds reasonable in theory, but we don’t know enough details to know about how practical it will be.

 

Rumors also talked about an LG-made Nexus, allegedly a Nexus 5 refresh. Speculation has it that (at least) one of these Nexus phones will sport a Snapdragon 810 processor. We remain skeptical given that the Snapdragon 810’s issues can’t be denied any further and even its revised v2.1 variant that’s coming to the OnePlus 2 still doesn’t show a compelling fix as far as we know (and have seen in the Z3+ and Mi NOTE Pro). It is still possible that a revised Kirin (035?) will make it into this Nexus, but their 930 SoC does not surpass the 810 in the first place, not in any metric of power nor power efficiency.

 

If you want to know more about these topics, we discussed some of our thoughts on the upcoming Nexus phones and Android M in a feature, as well as why Huawei can be a force to be reckoned with in the West. If the Huawei Nexus is indeed a reality (and everything heard and discussed so far points towards just that), we can expect not only an interesting phone, but a new interesting relationship between Google and Huawei and a more focused incursion of the latter into new key markets.

 

 

Would you want a Huawei Nexus? Let us know!

 

Source: IBTimes

The post Huawei Employee Allegedly Confirms Huawei Nexus appeared first on xda-developers.

Updated Steam App Brings Some Material Design

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

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The Steam app for Android is hardly the most up-to-date of things: it’s dated in its design and clunky in its navigation, and the value it adds to consumers is ultimately affected by these two things. Whilst the desktop client makes browsing for new games rather easy, the Android app was just not there. Luckily, things get better all the time.

 

The newest Steam app is starting to roll out, and it brings a new paint coat as well as general improvements to the UX. The first thing you’ll notice is that it has Material Design (at least partially), and that many settings have been simplified. Images are now higher-resolution and, despite the new look, the app is more optimized for older devices. You will notice said optimization in its navigation, as changing screens is faster.

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There are many other changes regarding private messaging and the way the application functions in general. Below you can find the changelog. While this might not make Steam the perfect mobile client just yet, it is definitely is a step in the right direction.

 

Changelog:

  • Changing from one screen to another is faster
  • Will not use battery when it is inactive
  • Will not log in unexpectedly
  • If possible, when resumed, the application will return to the screen it was on
  • Startup screen can be set
  • Chat history from other devices is available
  • Chat history for offline friends is available
  • Navigation menu has links to Inventory, Library, going offline for chat and logging out
  • Material design, higher res images, simplified settings, faster on older devices
  • Other fixes

 

You can get Steam at the Play Store, but the update is rolling out slowly (hasn’t hit us just yet!).

 

What do you think of the new app? Let us know!

 

Credit to u/xReptar for all the images in this feature — our devices weren’t so lucky yet!

The post Updated Steam App Brings Some Material Design appeared first on xda-developers.

Google Play Music Gains Free/Ad-supported Version

Posted by wicked June - 23 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

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In what may prove to be a defining move in the war between music streaming services, Google has just announced a free, ad-supported version that is now available in the U.S. This puts the service directly in the path of Spotify (which already offers a free version) and the upcoming Apple Music which is to be launched later this month.

 

It is not an overly large presumption to say that the impending arrival of Apple Music prompted this change in strategy. Another player in the music industry can only be a good thing for us the users, and in this instance the impending competition seemingly brought us a free tier that offers radio stations hand curated by the Google Play Music team, including the people behind Songza. These stations can be browsed by genre, decade, mood or various activities such as “taking the kids to school” or “working out”. Searching for an artist, song or album will create a playlist of music that is similar.

Google play music

 

The primary difference between the free version of GPM and Spotify is a lack of control over specific songs: with the new Google music tier you will be unable to choose the individual songs you hear.  You can of course skip tracks (up to 6 tracks an hour) however the songs you ultimately hear are outside of your control. Whilst not offering the freedom of the paid tiers, it is ideal for people who may just want a laid back experience or those who love to find new artists and songs. Several of the other limiting factors of the free service include: an inability to rewind, save playlists or see what will be playing next. A benefit to the free tier over other services is that they can still listen to music at 320kbps, unlike Spotify which limits your quality unless you pay for premium.

 
Check out the new trailer below:


 

 

What do you think of the free service? Leave a comment below!

The post Google Play Music Gains Free/Ad-supported Version appeared first on xda-developers.