dimanche 17 décembre 2017

Project Tango is Dead and is Succeeded by Google ARCore

Google saw the potential in augmented reality technology a long way back. The company first announced the Project Tango AR platform in November 2014, and the first consumer Google Tango phone was released as the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro in 2016. Tango relied on dedicated hardware in the form of sensors and cameras to enable a device to see in 3D space. It showed promise, but for multiple reasons, it never really took off.

The Asus ZenFone AR was launched in January as the latest Project Tango smartphone. Now, it will be the last Google Tango certified smartphone ever, as the official Project Tango account on Twitter has confirmed that support for Tango will be turned down on March 1, 2018. The tweet states that Google ARCore will carry forward where Tango had left off.

To recap, Google announced a preview of ARCore in August as its new AR platform. While Project Tango required dedicated hardware such as multiple sensors, ARCore doesn’t require any dedicated hardware for augmented reality. Instead, it relies on the existing hardware of smartphones.

This does result in ARCore being technically less capable than Tango, as smartphones using ARCore can’t see in 3D. However, the adoption rates of ARCore are guaranteed to be higher than Tango because devices don’t need special hardware to provide augmented reality experiences anymore.

For now, ARCore is still limited to Google Pixel smartphones as well as the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and the Galaxy Note 8. However, Google has promised that ARCore 1.0 will have access to 100 million users when it launches in the coming months. Developer Preview 2 of ARCore was released this week with several technical improvements to the SDK. Google has said that it’s working with companies like Samsung, Huawei, LG, Asus, and others to enable ARCore on more smartphones.

Recently, Google also launched AR stickers for Pixel phones, using ARCore. The fledgling platform looks certain to see more developer support, more consumer adoption, and greater awareness than its predecessor did. While Tango won’t be missed by many users, it laid the foundation for ARCore, so the technology will still live on.

P.S. You can enable the AR stickers from Google Pixel smartphones on many Android Nougat and above devices such as the OnePlus 3/3T and the Xiaomi Mi 5.

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The Razer Phone’s Kernel Source Code has been Released

The Razer Phone is the first Android smartphone sold in western markets with a 120Hz display. Although marketed at gamers, its technical specifications should excite any Android enthusiast. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC with 8GBs of RAM and a beefy 4,000 mAh battery which, according to the CEO, is possible due to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. It went on sale last month in the United States for $700, and most early adopters have had positive things to say about the device save for maybe its camera quality which the company promises to address in future updates. The kernel source code for this device was released 2 days ago (scroll to the bottom), which means that developers can now start working on porting TWRP onto the device.

With TWRP set up, that opens up the possibility for users to flash custom ROMs such as LineageOS or to root their device to enable modifications such as the Xposed Framework. That assumes that there are enough developers interested in this device to work on it, though there are bound to at least be a few. At this time, however, development on TWRP has to be delayed because there are no factory images for the device.

This is because the device does not have a dedicated recovery partition, and thus the boot partition must be modified in order to install TWRP. Without a factory image, it’s risky to test TWRP since there would be no way to boot the device if something went wrong. I was told that factory images for the Razer Phone should be released sometime soon, so hopefully development can pick up on the device once those images are made available to users.

Unfortunately, one issue with pursuing custom development on the Razer Phone is the warranty. Razer voids the manufacturer warranty if the user unlocks the bootloader of the device. Although this clause cannot be enforced in the European Union as the EU requires the manufacturer to prove that the device modification caused the malfunction, the clause can be enforced in the United States. If you’re worried about some kind of hardware malfunction within the first year of purchase, you may want to reconsider unlocking the bootloader if you reside in the United States.

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How to Unlock the Bootloader and Root the Honor 7X

Before you can root your Honor 7X or install a custom recovery, you’ll want to unlock your bootloader. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to get the unlock code for your device and how to use ADB to unlock your bootloader.

Backup your data first. Unlocking the bootloader will wipe the data on your Honor 7X.

Get your unlock code

  • Go to this website and create an account
  • Go to Downloads > Unlock Bootloader
  • Fill out the form with the S/N, IMEI, product code and model number
  • Your unlock code will be shown on the same page, at the bottom of the form

Turn on USB Debugging and OEM Unlock

  • On your Honor 7X:
  • Go to Settings > About
  • Tap on Build Number seven times
  • Go to Developer Options
  • Check Enable OEM Unlock
  • Check USB Debugging

Unlock VIA ADB

If you haven’t installed ADB yet, see this thread for instructions.

  • Plug your phone into your computer VIA USB
  • Type the command adb reboot bootloader and hit enter.
  • Once in bootloader mode, type fastboot oem unlock [unlock code]
  • Follow the on-screen instructions

This warning will show on your screen when booting your device, once your bootloader has been unlocked.

If you see this warning when your phone reboots, then you have done everything correctly.

Root your Honor 7X

Shoutout to letschky from the forums for the guide.

For Model BND–L21 Only

Download TWRP and SuperSU

  • Get the Honor 7X TWRP here
  • Get Super SU here
  • Place TWRP file in your adb folder
  • Place SuperSU file on your SDcard


  • Turn USB debugging back on after reset
  • Plug your phone into your computer VIA USB
  • Type the command adb reboot bootloader and hit enter.
  • Once in bootloader mode, type fastboot flash recovery twrp_Honor_7x.img
  • Once finished, type ‘fastboot reboot
  • After reboot, unplug your phone and power off
  • Hold Power + Volume Up to Launch TWRP
  • Swipe to Allow Modifications
  • Go to Install > Select the SuperSU file
  • Swipe to flash
  • Wipe Dalvik Cache then reboot

You are now rooted. You can use a root checker app to verify that you’ve done everything correctly.

Get rid of ads with AdAway once your have root access on the Honor 7X

Remove bloatware and uninstall system apps

Get custom themes with Substratum theme engine

Use a root checker to verify root access

Honor 7X Community Forums

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Huawei P11 may have Camera Technology to Rival Apple iPhone X’s Face ID and Animoji

2017 is coming to an end, which means the technology media is turning their attention towards the Consumer Electronics Show in the beginning of January and Mobile World Congress in the beginning of March to see what’s coming in 2018. Observers of Chinese tech giant Huawei expect the company to unveil the Huawei P11 at Mobile World Congress. The P11 is expected to have a radically different design compared to its predecessor, with an Apple iPhone X style notch. The upcoming Huawei flagship may share more than just a notch with the iPhone X, however, since it may also feature camera technology that rivals Apple’s Face ID.

A writer from Italian technology website NotebookItalia reached out to me with some pretty solid reasoning behind why the Huawei P11’s notch may be used to hold a camera bar with enhanced technology to compete with the iPhone X. At the global launch event for the Honor 7X and Honor View 10, the company unveiled new 3D camera technology it is calling the “Point Cloud Depth Camera.” The purpose of this Point Cloud Depth Camera is to provide facial recognition accurate enough for biometrics and 3D facial mapping for animation purposes.

Huawei P11 Apple iPhone X Face ID

Huawei’s Point Cloud Depth Camera

The Point Cloud Depth Camera is made up of multiple sensors. It uses a structured light near-infrared projector to project a lattice of light onto an object to determine its shape based on how the light deforms. There’s also an IR camera, RGB camera, and a near-infrared illuminator all of which is enclosed between two RGB LEDs. All of these sensors are packed into an external accessory that connects to a Huawei smartphone via the USB C port, but it’s possible that the Huawei P11 may be the first smartphone to integrate this Point Cloud Depth Camera into the device’s frame. If the Huawei P11 does have an iPhone X style notch, then it’s likely that the notch area is where Huawei will pack these sensors.

NotebookItalia was able to record a demonstration of the Point Cloud Depth Camera in action. In the video, a Huawei employee shows off 3D facial reconstruction via the external accessory. It’s clear that this technology can be used to mimic the animoji on the Apple iPhone X, as Huawei demonstrated on stage. Further, Huawei claims that their technology is more accurate and secure than Apple’s. They claim that their facial recognition will be suitable for payment authentication, that their face unlock works in 400ms, and that their facial reconstruction works with less than one millimeter of accuracy.

These are bold claims that will need to be evaluated once a commercial device with this technology is released. We believe that the Huawei P11 may be the first device with this technology, though we can’t confirm that in the firmware files we obtained. Roland Quandt from WinFuture points out that the P11 may launch in Q1 2018 as a Huawei executive promised “exciting new products” in Q1 with a focus on camera and AI. Thus, it would make sense for the “exciting new product” to be the Huawei P11 with the Point Cloud Depth Camera. Given the success of the Apple iPhone X, we can’t imagine that Huawei isn’t already working on a direct competitor with its own version of Apple’s Face ID and animoji.

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Fourth Android Oreo Beta for the Samsung Galaxy S8 Blocks Samsung DeX on Third Party Docks

Samsung’s 2017 Galaxy flagships, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, can be said to have introduced the recent trend in near-bezelless smartphones. Not only has the hardware become even more polished over its predecessors, but the software experience has also improved significantly. Recent Samsung flagships no longer exhibit embarrassing real-world pefformance, so users no longer have to live with frame drops in order to have access to Samsung’s many feature additions. Samsung DeX is one such feature addition to Samsung Experience and it allows for users to experience a full desktop experience powered by their smartphone. Unfortunately, it requires the use of a rather expensive first party dock in order to use the DeX feature.

That limitation hasn’t stopped enterprising users, however. A member of our forums turned his MacBook into a DIY DeX dock. Other users discovered that existing hardware such as the HP Elitebook X3 LapDock can be used with the Samsung DeX feature. However, users are finding out that the fourth beta update to Samsung Experience 9.0 (based on Android Oreo) disables the use of third party docks with Samsung DeX. According to these users, connecting their Samsung smartphones to these docks now only mirrors the smartphone display rather than enabling full Samsung DeX UI mode.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Android Oreo Samsung DeX Third Party Dock

Credits: /u/kazea182

This is disappointing, yet hardly unexpected. Samsung wants to make money by selling the Samsung DeX docks to its customers. The company has previously issued updates which lock down its features. Famously, the company initially prevented users from remapping the Bixby button, though months later Samsung started to allow the Bixby button to be completely disabled. It was only a matter of time until Samsung started to crack down on the use of third-party docks with its DeX feature.

Although Samsung DeX is a killer feature, other device makers are catching up. The Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro offer a similar feature called “Easy Projection” which is powered by Phoenix OS. Unlike DeX, Easy Projection does not require a dedicated dock to use. Instead, the users only needs a USB 3.1 Type-C cable. Hopefully Samsung will follow suit in the future and offer a DeX-like feature without requiring the purchase of an expensive first-party dock, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking of us.

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samedi 16 décembre 2017

Popular Theming App “Zooper Widget” has been Removed from the Play Store

Theming an Android phone has always been popular among our readers. There are full fledged theme engines such as Substratum, but there are also apps that let you customize your launcher, icons, and more. Zooper Widget was one such app. It was a custom widget creator with extensive functionality, allowing users to create custom widgets, wallpapers, animations, and much more. It was one of the most popular apps in its category with over 1 million downloads, and many people still use it to customize their device to this very day.

Unfortunately, development on the app has been dead for quite some time. Zooper had been developed by Richard Blaney, but the app didn’t receive any updates after June 2014. In July 2016, Mr. Blaney stated that Zooper was no longer owned or developed by him and encouraged users to switch to alternative apps such as Kustom Live Wallpaper (KLWP) or KWGT. But now, the app itself has been removed from the Google Play Store.

Why it is gone from the Play Store is currently unknown. The app may have finally been removed by the developer, but we haven’t heard any updates from the creator so it’s possible it was taken down for another reason. Perhaps it violated some Google Play policy, and since it was abandoned there was nobody to address any issues.

Whatever the case, since Zooper Widget was abandoned for quite some time, it’s best that users take this time to switch to an alternative lest they face issues that can’t, and will never be, fixed. Applications like KLWP are more feature-rich, actively developed and supported, and have a flourishing community as well. We have an entire XDA Android Themes Forum set up for users interested in theming their devices, so check that out if you are looking for new ideas to inspire your next setup.

KLWP Live Wallpaper Maker (Free+, Google Play) →

Via: LumiqCreative (Google+)

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“Hey Google” Voice Command is Now Widely Rolling-out in Google Assistant

Users have been able to search Google via voice using the ‘OK Google’ voice command since 2013. In 2016, Google released Google Assistant, although it was initially an exclusive for Pixel devices. While Google Assistant on smartphones continued using the same voice command as always, the company offered another command to wake the Google Home device. The “Hey Google” voice command could be used to wake Assistant on Google’s lineup of smart speakers, but it took quite a while for Google to bring the new command to phones.

In October, we first reported the existence of the ‘Hey Google’ command in the APK of the Google app we found on the Google Pixel 2. The inference from the strings in the app was that you could now use two wake up commands: ‘OK Google’ and ‘Hey Google’.

Then, reports emerged that “Hey Google” had started slowly rolling-out to devices. However, at that time, only Google Nexus and Pixel devices seemed to be able to retrain their devices to listen for the “Hey Google” wake command. This seemed to point towards staged roll-out for the new command, much like the complete release of Google Assistant, which only recently became available on Android tablets.

Hey Google Voice Command Google Assistant Hey Google Voice Command Google Assistant

Now, it seems that “Hey Google” is widely rolling-out to more Android devices. We were able to confirm that the voice command is now available on the ZTE Axon M running Android 7.1 Nougat. It is expected to work on other non-Google branded devices as well. If it arrives on your device, you should see a notification from the Google app asking you to retrain your device so it can recognize “Hey Google” as a wake-up command.

The addition of “Hey Google” brings the total number of voice wake-up commands on Google Assistant up to two, which is good for those who find it easier to say than “OK Google.” Some may see this as an annoying addition especially in households with multiple Google Assistant-enabled devices.

Assistant is increasingly getting more versatile with features such as broadcast, commute preferences for better navigation suggestions, and more. Additions like the new voice command will increase convenience for those who rely on it to answer questions, perform hands-free tasks, or listen to music.

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