mardi 31 mai 2016

Unoffical Systemless Xposed is Now Available — OTAs and Pay Unaffected !

Recognized Contributor topjohnwu has modified the Xposed Framework (V.85) to work alongside Chainfire’s systemless SuperSU in order to also run without modifying the system partition.

This means that you can install Xposed modules on a rooted device running the stock ROM and continue to receive OTAs. Some users have even reported that Android Pay works using this method, including the OP, however as always your milage may vary.

“The way I achieved Android Pay on systemless is the mount script in the ramdisk will detect the disable file created by Xposed installer. If the file exist, it won’t mount the app_process, but the rest of the ART libs and binaries are still mounted, so ART cache will not re-build when disabled.”

Systemless Xposed builds exist for Arm, Arm64 and x86 devices but, systemless root is currently only available on Marshmallow and above, so if you are running your stock ROM and Xposed but miss receiving your updates OTA then head over to the thread now and give it a try. Make sure to read the thread carefully and make backups!

Head over to the thread



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OnePlus Expands Availability to Amazon in UK

OnePlus is expanding its device lineup to Amazon. OnePlus devices (mainly the OnePlus 2 and the OnePlus X) will now be available in the UK through Amazon along with Prime Now service benefits wherever applicable. This collaboration will also extend onto the USA in due course of time.



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Google Home Reported to be a Chromecast Inside of a Speaker

According to a report originating from The Information (paywalled), the new Google Home device shares similar microprocessor and WiFi chip as the Chromecast, and is said to be surrounded by a speaker, microphone, LED lights and a plastic casing. Both the Chromecast and Google Home were created by Google’s VP of Product Management, Mario Queiroz.



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On Abhorrent Ad Practices in Android Apps and Empowering the User

As an internet-reliant society, we are no stranger to ads. Advertisements are used in apps as a way for the developer or service-producer to make money so that they can continue developing and improving their current applications, as well as create new ones.

Of course, there is always the option to create a paid version, where for only a few dollars the user can skip the annoying ad experience and still support the developer’s work. Mobile devices in general seem to be plagued with ads in various forms which adversely affects the Android experience. Carrier apps, lockscreen replacements (that seem to sneak into updates, such as Next Browser, which added a lockscreen replacement plagued with ads in a recent update), and the once-much-respected ES File Explorer, which had the same thing, but removed that specific adware in a recent update.

In fact, Apps2SD and Xender introduced a lockscreen-replacement with ads in a recent update as well. With Xender though, you can turn off the ads in the settings. There could be an issue with the ad provider for these apps, but that is just speculation on my part. Perhaps the Reddit complaints and poor reviews left on some of these apps from users could cause these developers to take action.

The point still stands though that we don’t need additional ads and malware infecting every part of our device, from the lockscreen to the notification bar. It just makes Android look tacky, and unfortunately cheapens the experience for the average user. Not everyone understands where these ads are coming from, or how to get rid of them. I had two customers recently that claimed different issues with their devices, but the solution was the same: uninstalling the plethora of “cleaner” and “booster” apps on their devices. Now, in these cases, the people are installing these apps themselves, but they don’t understand why they are malicious. The average consumer is convinced of the app’s claims that it improves their device, and if there is a problem, assume it is because of some other issue.

es

Rest in peace

Users should be educated enough to make their own decisions about what they download. And Google does have policies in place to try and prevent this type of thing. In fact, Google’s Developer Policy Center states that:

Ads associated with your app must not interfere with other apps, ads, or the operation of the device, including system or device buttons and ports. This includes overlays, companion functionality, or widgetized ad units. Ads must only be displayed within the app serving them.

In spite of this, the aforementioned apps, along with others, are directly violating this policy. The apps that I mentioned above added these malicious tendencies in recent updates, so it is possible that the backlash will cause the developers to remove the ads in the future (hopefully).

But the fact remains is that everyday, more apps are getting these malicious ads in recent updates, or they were like that from the beginning. Why is it allowed? There could be several reasons why, but probably the most obvious one is that it’s impossible to regulate every single application on the Google Play Store. Users do need a certain level of education when downloading, even with the safeguards that Google has in place. The booster and cleaner apps don’t really harm the device itself on the surface, but it could cause users an increase in data charges, or like I mentioned earlier regarding those customers, problems with device performance. The potential issue with the ad provider being the culprit is still valid,  but developers that are interested in upholding their reputation would be checking reviews and the app itself periodically.

Image 005 Image 003 Image 002 Image 004

There is always the inevitable “but iPhones don’t have these kinds of problems!”… For one, it is much more of a process to become an iOS developer, and you need to purchase a license to place your app on the App Store. That may work to weed out some of the riff raff, but don’t get me wrong, malicious apps have made it onto the App Store as well. One thing about the App Store though, is many useful apps are paid. There are free ones, sure, but perhaps if more people saw the value in paying for an app, the Play Store could be filled with more paid, but ad-free offerings. One of the ways that I’ve seen coworkers compare Android to iPhone when talking to an on-the-fence customer is saying that Android has way more free apps. And while that’s probably not the best way to sell one operating system over another, it works because the customer sees it as “if I buy Android, I don’t have to pay for as many (or any) apps!”

That could be a discussion for another time, but it is worth noting that some of the apps I mentioned earlier, like ES File Explorer, have a paid version without ads. Whether it is ethical to make the free version borderline complete with rule-breaking adware is another thing, though. The long and short of it though is that in general, anyone who owns a computer or smart device, whether they are an enthusiast or not should be aware of what they are downloading. The recent updates to Android, like Marshmallow’s permissions, are working toward that goal, but as with anything, education is key.

The question is, how can we make sure users know what they are downloading, and how can these rules be enforces thoroughly? Join the discussion below, and tell us what you think!



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Through Allo & Duo, Google Continues to Send a Convoluted Message

A decade ago, in August of 2005, Google launched an Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) instant messaging service dubbed “Google Talk.” One of Google’s stated goals with the service was “interoperability,” and it showed.

Users were free to chose their client from many applications such as Trillian, Pidgin, Psi, Adium, or simply a Gmail browser tab.

In addition to being application-agnostic, Talk offered tight integration with the exciting, relatively new at the time, Gmail service. Logging was automatic, with users conversation histories being stored in a “Chats” tab within Gmail. This Talk and Google account integration would only evolve as Google continued to integrate features.

googlevoice_logo_shaded_phoneFour years later, in 2009, Google launched “Google Voice.” At its heart, Google Voice is simply a telephony service that offers call forwarding, visual voicemail, and cheaper international calling rates. To function, the service would provide users with a new phone number tied to their Google account. Additionally, the service provided free and archived data connection based texting to and from this new number. Keep in mind, in 2009 texting plans here in the USA (Google’s only Voice market) were sky high — this was a huge added value.

The only downside of the free texting was needing to install and use the Google Voice Android app. Being an early adopter of all things technology, I signed up for Voice immediately. (I have given out my Voice number as a main number for several years now.)

During the next few years Google would be begin to dabble in Social Networking. After a mostly forgetten detour with Google Buzz, Google launched the social network “Google+” in 2011. Initially, Google+ signups were largely a byproduct of other Google service sign-ups like Gmail.

Google has a serious issue with focus, and well-liked services end up canned away

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 7.32.54 AMBy may of 2013, Google was maintaining several similar, but different, messaging services: Talk, Google+ Messenger, Google launched Hangouts. Google announced they would be discontinuing Talk and moving to the new, non-XMPP compliant, Hangouts service. Reactions were decidedly mixed. Some users were upset about dropping the XMPP standard. Other users were excited at the idea of a unified “Google Messaging” platform. Overall, It was refreshing to see Google sorting out their messaging woes.

Fast forward to 2016. Hangouts has been been through several version bumps. Many features like Quick Reply and (so many) stickers have been added. However, one doesn’t have to look very far to see complaints about the messaging service. Hangouts on Android is clunky, it’s downright awful looking on Android tablets, and it’s still not a proper iMessage competitor. Users still have to purposefully sign up for and “log in” to Hangouts and it’s not tied to a phone number. It’s not anywhere near as seamless as the iMessage experience. Also, during these last few years Google launched a standalone SMS application aptly named Messenger, despite the fact that the Hangouts application itself can serve as a device’s SMS app.

At 2016’s IO developer conference, Google decided to convolute the messaging issue even further by announcing Allo and Duo. Allo is Google’s mobile-only, tied-to-a-phone-number, messaging application. Duo is essentially Google’s FaceTime competitor for face-to-face video calling. Google announced these two apps despite the fact that Hangouts can SMS, send data messaging, and make one to one (or many to many) video calling. There’s no arguing that Allo and Duo both offer some interesting and worthwhile features (AI all the things!). Unfortunately, Google insists on further fragmenting their messaging user base to implement them. Google insists that Hangouts will be sticking around. I’m inclined to believe this if only for the fact that Project Fi (and Google Voice) – a paid service – relies heavily on Hangouts.

This leaves us with an increasingly and unnecessarily complicated future regarding Google’s messaging options. Want to talk to bots? Use Allo. Want to use Google Voice? Gotta use hangouts. Want to send an SMS? Allo, Hangouts, or Messenger will handle that. How about using your PC or desktop to send SMS? Hangouts is the only choice here. That’s right, as of now Allo won’t support a desktop client. I’ve been sending text messages from Chrome (via my Google Voice number) for a decade.

Google has a serious issue with focus. One doesn’t have to look far to find a litany of services that were well-liked by users, but ultimately were canned anyway. Google Reader, Google Wave, Google Latitude, and many others were all axed. Now, Google will be asking users to again invest in another set of messaging services and bring their friends along. Are hangouts users supposed to move on to Allo? Should they use both? It’s hard to say what Google’s intentions are. It seems clear that Google’s users would be far better off with Allo features integrated into Hangouts. After all, what good is a messaging app if you have no one to message? At least with Allo you’ll have bots to keep you company.



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What Was The Reason Behind Your First Root?

We’ve all been there. You pick up your wonderful purchase in your hand and just about love it wholeheartedly, if it was not for that one flaw — that one reason which destroys your user experience, and stops you from taking full advantage of your hardware to your liking.

Things would have otherwise been perfect, but they aren’t, and you finally roll up your sleeves and decide to get things done the XDA way. We ask you,

What was the reason behind your first root? Which aspect of your device frustrated you enough to kick your warranty aside and dive in in the perilous world of superuser privileges? Was it to fix a glaring oversight from your manufacturer, or was it for an aesthetic improvement to the UI? Were you simply curious to see the other side?

Let us know the reason behind your first rooting attempt in the comments below!



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Qualcomm Announces the Snapdragon Wear 1100 SoC

Qualcomm is at Computex this week and they have just announced the Snapdragon Wear 1100 SoC. This looks to be a lower spec’d version of the previously released Snapdragon Wear 2100, and will be targeted toward “connected kid and elderly watches, fitness trackers, smart headsets, and wearable accessories.” They also announced new reference platforms thanks to a collaboration with Aricent, Borqs, Infomark, and SurfaceInk at the event.



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OnePlus 3 6GB RAM Variant Passes Through TENAA

The OnePlus 3 passed through TENAA a couple of days ago, and it just about confirmed all that we knew about the unreleased phone so far. However, a few things were still left unanswered, with one of the major questions being: what happened to the 6GB RAM variant that was rumored to accompany the base variant?

Well, the 6GB RAM variant is real, and it is coming along indeed. What was once a passing rumor unsubstantiated by credible sources is now a reality as the 6GB variant has passed through TENAA.

OnePlus3-6GB

What are the differences between the 4GB and 6GB RAM variants? Nothing on the outside, and barely some on the inside. The RAM, of course, receives a bump up to a lofty future-proof 6GB (do we really need 6GB RAM right now though?). The internal storage is still quoted as 64GB on this model as well as its base sibling, so it will be interesting how OnePlus orchestrates the pricing on the variants. Either the base model would have been wrongly mentioned on TENAA as 64GB instead of 32GB, or OnePlus did indeed do away with 32GB of storage. Alternatively, this new variant could be sporting 128GB of internal storage.

There are still no mentions of expandable storage, but storage seems to be plenty on the new set of devices and should suffice a large part of the market and its needs.

If you are willing to look past OnePlus’s past transgressions, the OnePlus 3 is shaping up to be a very good choice in the affordable flagship area. While pricing of the device, for both the variants, is still very much in the air, we do know that the OnePlus 3 will be aggressively priced to compete with the new crop of affordable Snapdragon 820 devices released by other Chinese OEMs. Will the OnePlus 3 turn out to be the real flagship killer of 2016 with its 6GB of RAM? For now, we wait and watch.

What are your thoughts on the 6GB variant of the OnePlus 3? Would you consider paying a premium price for a such a large bump in RAM? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!



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Lenovo Announces the ZUK Z2 with ISOCELL Camera

The Lenovo ZUK Z2 has finally been made official and it will be priced at CNY 1,800 ($275/€245) & will be launched on June 7th. For the money, you’ll get a 5″ (2.5D glass) 1080p smartphone with the Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, 3,500mAh battery, USB Type-C, Quick Charge 3.0, wireless charging, fingerprint scanner, 13MP ISOCELL rear camera, 8MP front camera, Android 6.0 with ZUI 2.0 on top of it.



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Sony Makes the Xperia E5 Official

After all the rumors, Sony has officially announced their latest budget-friendly smartphone, the Xperia E5. The device comes with a Mediatek’s MTK6735 SoC (1.3GHz quad-core), 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, microSD card slot, 2,700mAh capacity battery (with promise of “up to 2 days battery life”), 13MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, Android 6.0 Marshmallow and priced at €199 with an unknown release date.



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Rumor Reveals Samsung Gear Fit 2 Specs

We’ve seen a number of photos of the upcoming Gear Fit 2 from Samsung, but we haven’t heard much about specs until now. A new rumor suggests it will have a 1.55″ curved Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 216×432. Inside, it will have 512MB RAM, 2GB storage, 1GHz dual-core SoC from Samsung, IP68 certified, 200mAh battery, Tizen 2.3, GPS, GLONASS, heart rate sensor, gyroscope, barometer & accelerometer.



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Sony Xperia X Series Prices and Release Dates Announced for the U.S.

It seems Sony is getting ready to launch the Xperia X, Xperia XA, Xperia X Performance and the Xperia XA Ultra in the United States. The Xperia X is said to cost $550 and be available on June 26th. The Xperia XA & Xperia X Performance will cost $280 & $700 respectively, & will be available on July 17th. Lastly, the Xperia XA Ultra will cost $370 & will be available on July 24th.



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YU Launches YUNICORN; 5.5″ FHD Display, MediaTek Helio P10 for Rs. 12,999 ($195)

Micromax subsidiary YU has launched its latest device, the YUNICORN. This device boasts of a 5.5″ FHD display, a MediaTek Helio P10 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage with expandability and a 4000 mAh battery. The device bears an uncanny resemblance to the Meizu M3 Note, and will cost Rs. 12,999 ($195) as an introductory price, before a price hike.



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lundi 30 mai 2016

Corning’s Gorilla Glass Explained

Corning’s Gorilla Glass has skyrocketed in popularity against other strengthened Glass alternatives like Asahi Dragontrail in recent years. Windows Central explores how this popularly mentioned “feature” in smartphone is made, and what makes it special and different from other types of glass.



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Android N-ify Xposed Module Receives Update With New Notifications, Quick Settings & Recents

Android N-ify Xposed Module has received an update that brings in improvements to notifications, to the quick settings panel and the recents screen. Head on over for the full changelog and to try it out yourself!



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LeEco Le2 X502 Passes Through TENAA With Exynos 8870

The LeEco Le2 X502 variant has passed through Chinese regulatory authority TENAA. This variant is the same as the Le2, but bears a 1.9GHz octa core Exynos 8870 chipset. Owing to limited band support, this device is unlikely to be available for international sale.



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Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (SD 650) and Mi 5 Open Sale Scheduled for 1st June in India

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Snapdragon 650 variant has been an elusive device, becoming one of the most sort after phones in the market. As some good news, the Redmi Note 3 and the Mi 5 will both be available in open sale on June 1 from 10 am onwards.



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Tasker Pro: Tag New Photos with the Current Calendar Event

Automation is supposed to be about simplifying everyday tasks to give you more precious time doing the things you love. At XDA, we’ve shown you how you can use Tasker to secure your device, improve productivity, or make driving safer, all a part of our series called ‘Tasker Week.’

But the fun doesn’t end there. If you’ve been itching for some seriously awesome Tasker tasks (and are tired of the boring stuff like telling you how to reboot your phone or shake your phone to wake the display), then our new Tasker Pro series is for you.

We will be posting a series of highly advanced Tasker profiles that will show you just how powerful Tasker can be if you are willing to think outside of the box. Although we’ve done most of the hard work for you and you’re certainly free to import my profiles and use them as-is, I highly recommend you give learning how to use Tasker a shot if you want to be able to customize these tasks yourself. Over on our Tasker Tips & Tricks forums or on Reddit’s /r/Tasker subreddit, you can share and work with others on how to implement an idea you might have (as I have done many times).

This is Week 3 of Tasker pro. Last week, we showed you how you can use Tasker to track your mileage into an IRS compliant driving log. As promised, this week we will show you how to tag all new photos with the current calendar event.


Tasker Pro #3: Tagging Photos using your Google Calendar Events

Memories are a precious, yet transient part of our lives. Though we can only process, store, and remember a limited amount of long-term memories, thanks to modern technology we can digitally preserve our memories using cameras. Unfortunately, there’s always one major issue that we all have to face — how do we properly categorize our photos and videos? Using the technology available in cloud services such as Google Photos, we can automatically sort photos by date, location, and even by face (though that doesn’t always work out so well).

Properly tagging your digital photo files requires editing the image’s metadata which is stored as EXIF data. Most image editors will allow you to manually edit EXIF data so you can tag your own files with all the necessary information, but this can be quite cumbersome if you have a lot of photos and/or you forget to tag your photos soon after taking them. That’s why we can use Android’s native java functions combined with the power of Tasker in order to automatically tag new photos with a description matching the current Google Calendar event.

New Photo 5

Example Calendar Event

New Photo 4

Random Photo I Took Right After the Event Started

New Photo 6

EXIF Data Edited by Tasker


Requirements


Instructions

As this script does not require any third-party plug-ins, we can delve right into making the profile.  Here is an overview of the contexts and the tasks that you’ll be creating.

Write Photo 1

Your first step is to create a new profile named “New Photos” with an Application context. Select the camera app that you normally use to take photos and back out. Now, create an entry task and leave it unnamed.

New Photo 2

This entry task, as shown above, will only have a single action. Variables –> Variable Set. Name: %Start to %TIMES. What this will do is save the current time-stamp (in seconds since the epoch, as this is a format that’s easy to manipulate with Tasker.) We will use this in our main task below to only write to newly created photo files. Exit out of the entry task.

Create an exit task (you can add one by long-pressing on the entry task and then clicking “Add Exit Task”) and name it “Write Description“. Here are the actions in order:

  1. App –> Test App. Type: Calendar Title. Data: %Start. Store result in: %title. This will pull the title(s) of the current calendar event(s) and store it in a variable. Tasker doesn’t allow you to pick which calendar to pull from, but we’ll control for that below.
  2. App –> Test App. Type: Calendar Calendar. Data: %Start. Store result in: %calendar. Get the calendar name(s) of any ongoing event(s). We will use this to only events from calendars we care about.
  3. Task –> If. If %title1 is Set AND %calendar1 ~ YOURGOOGLECALENDAR
  4. Code –> Run Shell. The command will be: ls /sdcard/DCIM/Camera. Store output in %file. This will pull a list of files in your camera directory. Change the directory if you use a non-stock app.
  5. Variables –> Variable Split. Name: %file. Split the file array into individual file variables.
  6. Variables –> Array Pop. Variable: %file. Position: 999. To var: %photo. Label: CHECK NEXT PHOTO. Get the latest photo (assuming your photos are already sorted by time, which they should be unless you manually changed the output filenames.)
  7. File –> Test File. Type: Modified. Data: /sdcard/DCIM/Camera/%photo. Store result in: %timetaken. Determine when the photo was created/edited and store that timestamp in a variable (in seconds since the epoch).
  8. Task –> If. If %Start%timetaken. Compare the timestamp of when you began taking photos to any photos you just took.
  9. Code –> Java Function. Class or Object: ExifInterface. Function: new {ExifInterface} (String). Param (String): /storage/emulated/0/DCIM/Camera/%photo. Return: exif. Initialize a new exif interface object with the data from the photo.
  10. Code –> Java Function. Class or Object: exif. Function: setAttribute {} (String, String). Param: UserComment. Param: %title1. Set the user comment exif attribute to the current event title.
  11. Code –> Java Function. Class or Object: exif. Function: saveAttributes {} (). Save the edited exif description to the image file.
  12. Task –> Else.
  13. Task –> Stop. If the starting timestamp is greater than the current image file’s timestamp, end the task as we’ve reached an older image.
  14. Task –> GOTO. Type: Action Label. Label: CHECK NEXT PHOTO. Look back to check the next photo in the array.
  15. Task –> End If.
  16. Code –> Java Object. Mode: Delete. Name: UserComment.
  17. Code –> Java Object. Mode: Delete. Name: exif. These two actions free up RAM by deleting initialized Java objects in Tasker.

That’s it! Here’s a screenshot of the Task in its entirety:

Write Photo 2


And voila! If you are able to follow along this, then congratulations, you’re pretty much a master of Tasker! Confused on a step and just want to import the script and get on with your life? I can’t blame you, this one took myself a lot of thinking to get it down right.

If you want to import this profile, you can download it from Android File Host hereIn order to import the task, you need to first disable Beginner Mode in Tasker by going to the menu –> preferences. Under the UI tab, uncheck ‘Beginner Mode.’ Then back in the main Tasker menu, click on the ‘Tasks’ tab. Then long-press on the ‘Tasks’ tab and press ‘Import.’ Navigate to where you downloaded my .prf.xml file and select it to import it. Once you import it, you’re free to play around with it as you see fit. This script is ready to be used as-is, however, you should definitely change two things: first, change the app context to trigger based on whatever camera app you actually use (if you use Google Camera, then no need to change it), and secondly change the calendar context to fire only on the calendars you want it to monitor.

Next week for Tasker Pro I will show you how to copy a two-factory authentication code from text messages so you don’t have to leave your current app. Save and categorize your most precious moments!


What would you like to see me make with Tasker? Let us know below and we might feature your idea in a future article!



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Xposed Updated to v85; Fixes Frequent Boot Freezes

Xposed has received an update to version 85, which fixes frequent boot freezes that occurred with modules that accessed numerous files and adds improvements to logcats. Developers are also encouraged to reference the Xposed API instead of including it directly, as the next update will prevent such modules from loading.



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ASUS Unveils the ZenFone 3 Lineup at Computex 2016

At its Computex 2016 event in Taipei, ASUS has taken the wraps off a whole host of new products, and included amongst these is the new ZenFone 3 lineup, which will form the core of ASUS’s smartphone lineup in 2016. All of the 2016 phones so far have Qualcomm as their main SoC provider, a big change over from the Intel chips present inside last year’s models.

ASUS ZenFone 3

ZenFone 3

Starting off the newest generation of ASUS ZenFone phones is the ASUS ZenFone 3. Unlike the previous ZenFone 2, this device is focused squarely on the mid range market, and does not aim to compete for the highest throne. For the design, the ZenFone 3 offers a glass backed device with a metallic frame, with the front of the device bearing the 5.5″ FHD Super IPS+ display. ASUS promises super-thin bezels on this device, with a claimed screen-to-body ratio of 77.3%.

The ZenFone 3 bears Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 SoC, with 8x Cortex-A53’s clocked at 2.0GHz and Adreno 506 for GPU. The SD 625 is the first processor in the 600 series to be manufactured on a 14nm FinFET process, albeit these are still based on the power-efficient-but-not-performance-oriented A53 cores, so we will hold our judgement back on the high end performance of these devices till we can try them out ourselves. Like a lot of other phones being launched in the market these days, the ZenFone 3 will come in two storage variants: 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage, and 4GB RAM with 64GB internal storage. You still get microsd expandability upto 128GB with the hybrid dual SIM card slot.

Other features of the ZenFone 3 include a 16MP Sony IMX298 camera on the rear with Laser AF, a 8MP front camera to accompany it, a 3000 mAh non-removable battery, a USB Type-C port with USB 2.0 and a rear placed fingerprint sensor. The phone runs on Anddroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow below ASUS’s ZenUI 3.0 skin.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe

ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Next up in the lineup is the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe, which fixes a lot of the underwhelming features of the ZenFone 3 to become the flagship device in the lineup. The design and build is shaken up, to give a device which is different in looks from the ZenFone 3, a complaint that we had with the numerous same-looking and confusing ZenFone 2 devices last year. The Deluxe comes with a metallic unibody design, and claims to be the first full-metal smartphone with invisible antenna design on the rear surface.

The ZenFone 3 Deluxe packs in a 5.7″ FHD Super AMOLED display, with a 79% screen-to-body ratio. On the inside, you get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with Adreno 530 GPU. There will be a few choices for RAM and storage, albeit the press release was not clear on the exact combinations. Internal storage choices vary within 64/128/256 GB and the RAM choice on the Deluxe is 4GB and 6GB. You still get microSD expandability up to 128GB if need it.

The camera on the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is also impressive on paper. The rear setup comprises of a 23MP Sony IMX318 sensor with f/2.0 aperture and 4-axis OIS for photos. The OIS also extends onto 3-axis stabilization for 4K video recording. There’s also a myriad of focusing features, with Laser AF, PDAF and continuous autofocus. The front camera is a 8MP sensor with f/2.0.

For the rest of the package, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe packs in a 3,000 mAh non-removable battery. There is a USB 3.0 Type C 1.0 port with Quick Charge 3.0 support. A fingerprint reader sits below the rear camera. The phone runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow under ASUS’s ZenUI 3.0 skin.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra

ZenFone 3 Ultra

If you have the needs and desires of owning a phone that is just about a small tablet, the ASUS ZenFone 3 will cater to your need. With a 6.8″ FHD IPS LCD display, the ZenFone 3 Ultra is unashamedly big bearing a metallic unibody just like the Deluxe. To power this display and all the pixels, the ZenFone 3 Ultra picks it up a notch from the ZenFone 3 (regular_ to replace the SoC to the more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 and the Adreno 510. RAM and storage variants vary within 32/64/128GB of internal storage and 3/4GB RAM, with external microsd expandability upto 200GB.

The ZenFone 3 Ultra shares the camera setup with the ZenFone 3 Deluxe.

The ZenFone 3 Ultra also packs in a fingerprint sensor, but ASUS has placed this on the front of this behemoth rather than on its back. The bigger form factor of the device also allowed for a bigger battery, with the capacity being labelled at 4,600 mAh and being charged with Quick Charge 3.0 via the USB 3.0 Type C 1.0 port. You can also use the ZenFone 3 Ultra as a powerbank with a 1.5A output.


The pricing on all three of these devices also add to their overall value. The ZenFone 3 starts off at $249, the ZenFone 3 Ultra starts off at $479 and the ZenFone 3 Deluxe starts off at $499. Pricing will increase according to the RAM and internal storage models chosen.

Availability of the ZenFone 3 trio and their sub variants has not been announced yet. We will keep you updated as and when it becomes available.

Along with these, ASUS also launched a bunch of other devices. These include the ASUS Zenbo Robot Companion, the ZenBook 3, the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro, the ASUS Transformer 3, the ASUS Transformer Mini and more.

What do you think of the new ASUS ZenFone 3 phone lineup? How do they stack up in your opinion against the previous ZenFone 2? Do you like ASUS’s decision to make modifications on the product design within variants as compared to last year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!



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OnePlus Offering Chance to Peer-Review OnePlus 3 to the Community

OnePlus is offering a chance to its fan base to review the OnePlus 3. 30 people will be selected from the applicants to form a part of the reviewer team and will be expected to perform an in-depth review of the features of the phone. This “competition” is open for all users in all regions.



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Sony Launches Xperia X Dual and Xperia XA Dual in India with Exorbitant Prices

Sony has launched the Xperia X Dual and the Xperia XA Dual in India, but has priced them exorbitantly for their specs and the market competition. The Xperia X Dual is priced at Rs. 48,990 ($730) for a 5″ FHD phone with Snapdragon 650. The Xperia XA Dual is priced at Rs. 20,990 ($312) for its 5″ 720p display and MediaTek Helio P10 processor.



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YouTube App Prepares to Add Additional Filter Options in Search Results

Google’s Android YouTube app has been lacking several of its desktop counterparts feature-set for some time (though the desktop version itself lacks from pretty major features), but it seems that Google is prepared to introduce some new filter options within the YouTube’s app’s search feature that will now allow you to filter by rating, relevance, and view count. These new features were pulled from strings found within the most recent YouTube app update, version 11.20.54. However, we haven’t seen these new filter options show up within the app itself, so it’s anyone’s guess when these new options will roll out to users.

Disclaimer: The evidence we dig up from the APK file of an app is not definitive. Google may choose to pull these features without any indication in a future release.


YouTube Filter Options

youtube2

Filter Options on Android

On the YouTube desktop website, you have a much wider variety of filter options available to you. On the Android version however, you only have the ability to filter by date, duration, content type, or quality. Digging into the APK file for the recent YouTube app update reveals the following strings:

<string name="by_rating_search">Rating</string>
<string name="by_relevance_search">Relevance</string>
<string name="by_view_count_search">View count</string>

These are all fairly straight-forward to decipher, but it’s nice to see that we’ll soon be getting additional search options within the YouTube app. Being able to filter videos by rating, relevance, and view count should open the door for users to take control of what kinds of videos they’re shown and ensure that only highly popular and/or well-liked videos are shown in your search results.

Before, the search options were woefully inadequate on mobile devices, which is major issue for Google seeing as according to their own official statistics over half of all views on YouTube come from mobile devices.


That’s all we’ve found in the latest YouTube update. Stay tuned for future posts in our series when we investigate what’s new and what’s coming in Google’s Apps.



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dimanche 29 mai 2016

ASUS Zenpad Z8 Heading to Verizon; 8″ Tablet with SD 650 in Tow

Leaker Evan Blass of @evleaks fame has leaked the ASUS Zenpad Z8. This 8″ tablet with a 1536×2048 display is heading to Verizon Wireless with a Snapdragon 650 SoC, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage with microsd expandability and a 8MP rear/1.8MP front camera setup.



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samedi 28 mai 2016

HTC 10 XDA Review: HTC Delivers a Delightfully Restrained User Experience

Google Maps Will Soon Allow You to Share Your ETA, Add a Shortcut to Routine Destinations, and Create a Map of Your Location History

Although many of Google’s first-party applications were given a nice update over the course of Google I/O, Google Maps was not one of them. There was a minor update that shipped with the new Android N developer preview which allowed you to see your contacts on Maps and to share your contributions, but apart from that nothing really major was brought to the table.

New evidence found in the latest Google Maps update pushed out yesterday to the Play Store, version 9.26.1, indicates that Google is about to unveil a whole host of new and exciting quality of life and accessibility features. Among the most prominent features we discovered was the ability to share your ETA with other people, create a shortcut to start navigating towards your most common destinations, and the ability to create a private map of your location history.

Disclaimer: The evidence we dig up from the APK file of an app is not definitive. Google may choose to pull these features without any indication in a future release.


Sharing your ETA

The Day Los Angeles Rained (Credits: Imgur user redoakpoison)

The Day Los Angeles Rained (Credits: Imgur user redoakpoison)

We’ve all been there. You’re on your way to a gathering with your friends and family but thanks to some unforeseen traffic incident, you’re stuck in a grid-lock of unmoving vehicles. You’re anxiously sitting behind the wheel and (hopefully not, but probably are) texting updates to your contacts about how long it’ll take you to get there. We all know the statistics – texting while driving is a major contributing factor to motor vehicular accidents on the road. But you really have to let your friends and family know where you are and when you’re going to be there. That’s why Google seems to be adding a button that will allow you to quickly share your ETA with a quick blurb about the current traffic en route. You can also opt to automatically send updates about the progress of your trip in case your loved one is the kind who anxiously texts you multiple times asking you how much longer it’ll take.

<string name="SHARE_ETA_BUTTON">Share ETA</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_MESSAGE_HEAVY_TRAFFIC_FORMAT">On my way to %1$s. Heavy traffic. Should be there at %2$s.</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_MESSAGE_LIGHT_TRAFFIC_FORMAT">On my way to %1$s. Light traffic. Should be there at %2$s.</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_MESSAGE_NORMAL_TRAFFIC_FORMAT">On my way to %1$s. Usual traffic. Should be there at %2$s.</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_MESSAGE_NO_TRAFFIC_FORMAT">On my way to %1$s. Should be there at %2$s.</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_PROMO_DISMISS_TEXT">Understood</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_PROMO_TEXT">"Tap to tell people you've left &amp; send updates about your progress"</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_PROMO_TITLE">Share your journey</string>
<string name="SHARE_SUBTITLE">Shared</string>


Common Destination Shortcut

navigation

If you use Google Maps to travel to a certain place fairly frequently, then you might feel annoyed with having to enter the destination into the navigation menu every time you want to go there. Why not create a home screen shortcut to that destination? (Seriously, why don’t you?) Many people probably didn’t realize they could even do such a thing, so Google will now be advertising the feature to users who travel a certain route fairly often.

<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_DISMISS_TOAST">Add it later from the overflow menu.</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_MENU_ITEM">Add route to Home screen</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_NUDGEBAR_DESCRIPTION">Tap here to add a Home screen shortcut to this route</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_NUDGEBAR_TITLE">Go here often? Add this route</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_POPUP_ACCEPT">Add shortcut</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_POPUP_DISMISS">No, thank you</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_POPUP_TITLE">Next time, get directions to this place faster by adding a shortcut to the device’s Home screen</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_TOAST">A shortcut to this route was added to the device’s Home screen</string>


Map of your Location History

google-location-history

People who use the desktop version of Google Maps might know about Google’s Location History page which overlays your locations in the past few months onto a map. Now, this feature seems to be headed to Android as well. Previously, users could only cycle through a timeline of their location on a day-by-day basis within the Google Maps app.

<string name="MULTI_ILLUSTRATION_LOCATION_HISTORY_PROMO_TEXT">Creates a private map of where you go with your signed-in devices. %s</string>
<string name="MULTI_ILLUSTRATION_PROMO_TITLE">Get more magic out of Google Maps</string>


Accessibility Enhancements

ss+(2016-05-28+at+10.53.51)

As with any other Google app update, there are some more minor enhancements hidden away to improve the ease of use for more special use cases. Given how many people use Google’s services, though, these features will definitely be welcome by many, many people even if they don’t affect the rest of us.

First up, for wheelchair-bound users of Google Maps, the app will now tell you which places are wheelchair accessible so you can quickly tell if the place can accommodate you.

<string name="ACCESSIBILITY_WHEELCHAIR_ACCESSIBLE">Wheelchair accessible</string>

Next up, if you use Google Maps frequently for finding directions for modes of travel outside of driving, then a new feature will prompt you when you can’t travel to your destination by your selected method. For instance, if there is no public transportation route available to your destination, Google Maps will flash a toast message telling you that you can’t get there by public transport. A small, but nifty message so you can quickly refine your trip.

<string name="DESTINATION_REFINEMENT_NON_NAVIGABLE_BICYCLE_TOAST_TEXT">"Can't get there by cycling, using original destination."</string>
<string name="DESTINATION_REFINEMENT_NON_NAVIGABLE_TAXI_TOAST_TEXT">"Can't get there by taxi, using original destination."</string>
<string name="DESTINATION_REFINEMENT_NON_NAVIGABLE_TRANSIT_TOAST_TEXT">"Can't get there by public transport, using original destination."</string>
<string name="DESTINATION_REFINEMENT_NON_NAVIGABLE_WALK_TOAST_TEXT">"Can't get there by walking, using original destination."</string>

Finally, if you’re traveling to a remote area where you’re likely to lose a data connection, then you should probably download an offline direction list to the destination just in case you accidentally exit navigation and need to start over. In case you forget to do so, Google Maps will now automatically ask you to download offline directions to the area if it detects that the area will have spotty data connection somewhere along the route.

<string name="DIRECTIONS_OFFLINE_PROMO_AREA">Tap to download offline directions for this area</string>
<string name="DIRECTIONS_OFFLINE_PROMO_ROUTE">Tap to download offline directions for spotty connections on your route</string>


Miscellaneous Updates

odometer

In our previous teardown of the Google App, we discovered an upcoming feature that will show popular searches in your area. Well it seems that Google is bringing this feature to other apps in its catalogue, as now the Google Maps app will now display new and popular places in your surrounding area. This could be useful for people who have lived for a long time in an area but are looking to try something new and exciting, or people who are visiting a location and want to see what’s interesting in that area.

<string name="ROVER_NOTIFICATIONS_OPT_IN_ACTIONABLE_TOAST">New &amp; popular places notifications turned on.</string>
<string name="ROVER_NOTIFICATIONS_OPT_IN_TOAST">New &amp; popular places notifications turned on. To turn off, visit your notifications settings.</string>
<string name="ROVER_NOTIFICATION_SETTINGS_SUMMARY">Get updates about new and popular places near you</string>
<string name="ROVER_NOTIFICATION_SETTINGS_TITLE">New and popular places</string>

Finally, for people who love to track how your driving (especially those who need to do so for tax purposes), then you’ll love the new Maps feature that will track how many miles you drive and even congratulate you on a new milestone of miles driven. Hooray!

<string name="SWIPE_MILESTONE_SHARE_TITLE">Share milestone to...</string>
<string name="SWIPE_ODOMETER_CONGRATULATIONS">Congratulations</string>


That’s all we found in the latest Google Maps update. Stay tuned to future posts in our series when we investigate what’s new and what’s coming in Google’s Apps.



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Android Pay Now Supports a Modified DPI

With the Android N beta announcement at Google I/O it was also announced that Android Pay would begin to support the Beta program. While an update like this was to be expected, it would seem that the change had another possibly unexpected side effect, Android Pay now supports a non-default DPI.

Screenshot_20160527-174441Changing the DPI is one of my favorite changes to make to a device since you can do it with and without root. This fix is almost required as some phones ship with outrageously high DPI’s like the Nexus 6 and to some degree the Nexus 6P.

I was able to change the DPI by altering the build.prop on my HTC 10 (which is actually running the LeeDroid rom). Samsung users can also rejoice, if Samsung Pay isn’t your forte, because this includes the “Condensed” view I wrote about in March, it was previously blocked.

If you are rooted you can modify your build.prop or utilize a tool like Le DPI Changer on the Play Store. If you don’t have root you can insert your desired DPI in the following code through ADB: adb shell wm density [number]  && adb reboot. If you need to reset your DPI use: adb shell wm size reset && adb reboot. A word of caution, some devices with OEM skins like Sense and older versions of Touchwiz do not react to DPI changes very well, proceed with caution. You can get an easy to download and use version of Fastboot and ADB to install to your PC here.

It seems this change was required due to the fact that Android N supports DPI changing on the fly through the Display Scaling option in settings. Allowing Android Pay to work on an altered DPI seems like it would be a required change for it to work properly. However, it could be patched in the future to only support Android N or to just support preset DPI changes through that menu. The version I tested it on was Android Pay version 1.3 on a rooted HTC 10 running a 600 DPI and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

Let us know if you have the same success I did trying Android Pay on rooted devices or those with a modified DPI.



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vendredi 27 mai 2016

Inside The Growing Rift Between Valve And Oculus

This article by uploadVR explores the history of today’s VR giants, how they got there, and the interactions between the players involved. If you want to gain deeper understanding on how this billionaire industry has begun to shape up, be sure to check it out by following the link!



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Celebrate the Start of Summer with a Giveaway! NVIDIA SHIELD Pro, Jetson TX1 Dev Kit, and More!

The coming holiday weekend in the United States means the ushering in of the unofficial start to summer. This means barbecues firing up, pools and beaches opening – and in the case of XDA it’s only fitting to arm someone with some fun goodies too! NVIDIA pulled out all the stops with this one and is providing not only a SHIELD Pro 500GB Android TV bundle (check it out!) but recognizes our community with a Jetson TX1 Development Kit as well! We’ve also partnered VisionTek Products, AndroidFileHost and Mpow to bring some other great prizes to the giveaway.

Please use the following below or click here to enter! Giveaway is limited to US and Canadian residents only. Our thanks to all of the partners for their support as well!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Image by Android Foundry, used with permission.



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OnePlus 3 Specs Registered, New Pebbles Kickstarting Now, Project Ara Alive!

The OnePlus 3 has been registered with China’s TENAA. Project Ara is not dead and is getting closer to release! Pebble has launched a Kickstarter for the Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2 and Pebble Core! Those stories and more are talked about by TK as he covers the news from the week ending May 27, 2016 at XDA-Developers.com. Check out this video! !

Be sure to check out other great XDA TV Videos.

Stories mentioned:

Please subscribe to XDA TV and Subscribe to TK’s channel.



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Material Improvements (I/O): What Devs Need to Know to Delight Users

Material Design has gained tremendous traction since its launch at I/O 14, and while most developers these days pack a toolbar and a FAB in their apps, thanks to the automatic AppCompat setup in newer versions of Android Studio, a large number of these Material Design manifestations fall short of what is expected.

Material Design is based on a series of core principles, the laws of the Material world if I may, which define the underlying properties of that world and its occupants, and go beyond to suggest and recommend patterns and styles best suited for apps living in it. Following these principles to the T is far from what’s recommended though, with developers expected to use them as a foundation and go on to build wonderful apps reinforced by their product’s branding on top of them.

Material Surfaces

Tangible Objects

surfaces

Objects in the Material word are composed entirely of a digital paper material, which forms tangible surfaces that type and icons live on. Respecting the physical nature of these surfaces while designing is a key factor in establishing the Material paradigm within your app. Following this principle is perhaps the easiest of all, since it requires an imagination of a 3-dimensional material world and common sense, but despite its simplicity, respecting and establishing tangibility of surfaces defines the underlying physical world that they live in, strengthening the idea of a paper and ink world. Respecting tangibility involves basic principles like preventing overlapping at the same elevation, allowing surfaces to appear and disappear through appropriate grow and shrink animations, et al.

Hierarchy

surafces02

The laws of the Material world bring into play a z-index, which enabled objects to elevate themselves and cast a shadow on the object below. Elevated objects are “closer” to the user, and thus are more important in the hierarchy. For example, a Floating Action Button is the most promoted action and has the highest elevation save for the system decor, or an event in the call log is more elevated than its counterparts since it is the one being interacted with. Elevation can be altered using the android:elevation attribute or by using setElevation() on the view, and can be animated using a state list animator as shown. Further reading:

Interaction Cues

cues

Users are often lost in the experience of an app and need certain cues that point them in the right direction. Cues can be  anything from the pull-to-refresh indicator following the user’s swipe down interaction or cards fading away as they’re swiped to the sides. One of the best examples of interaction cues is in Plaid, wherein the entire layout begins to scale down when the user attempts to pull it down, revealing the parent view behind and implying that pulling further will finish the current activity. Such transitions can vary over a wide range of parameters, and often involve writing custom views. However, Plaid’s custom ElasticDragDismissFrameLayout is open source and super easy to implement.

Bold Graphic Design

Palette

matimprov_bgd_001

One of the core features of Material Design is its bright and attractive color palette, a stark contrast to the muted colors that Holo sported. In addition to apps having their primary and accent colors being pre-defined to match Material’s bold standard, numerous apps rely heavily on imagery, and the support library brought a solution for such apps. Called Palette, the library allows views to dynamically set their colors based on the color of the image using a method call.  The output is in the form of swatches with muted and vibrant variants of dark and light colors, allowing for a wide variety of permutations. Further reading:

Typography and Keylines

matimprov_bgd_002

While the concept of aligning content to keylines has gained significant traction in the recent months, the idea that type needs to align to a 4dp baseline grid to provide a consistent, uniform and structured look has been less popular. While playing around with text sizes and line spacing multipliers might achieve the desired result, Google’s very own Nick Butcher has a custom TextView class packaged in Plaid which simplifies this entire process with no extra tweaking needed. Further reading:

Meaningful Motion

Transitions

transition

Transitions are an extremely important part in defining the user’s experience as they navigate across the app. The expansion, fading and moving of elements while transitioning from one state to the other defines their relation and their position within the app’s structure, while at the same time implying their hierarchical level and providing a sense of context to the user. Transitions before Android Lollipop, while easy to write, were extremely limited in nature, but the introduction of API21 brought along with it an entire new transition framework using SharedElements, WindowTransitions and TransitionSets.

Delightful Details

dlt

While minor animations aren’t a necessary component in design, Material Design strongly recommends the use of delightful details in the form of small animations that bring pure delight to the user, either through their clever use of lines like Timely’s famous number morphing, or through inter-drawable transitions such as the cross-to-check animation in the Google I/O app. These small details can be implemented either through regular ObjectAnimators, or through more complex methods like SVG animations and frame animations. However, they should be used sparingly and with proper duration, lest they annoy the user instead. Further reading:

Important Links



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Debate: Modular Smartphones, Are we Ready for Them? Are They Ready for Us?

When most of us were children, we loved taking things apart. I recall my first toy, I took it apart curious to know what was inside and what made the sounds. In most cases, when these things were torn apart, they never worked again regardless of our efforts to fix them.  Our parents would scold us, but we had already achieved our goal.

Google’s Project Ara is the first major move towards achieving consistent, thoughtful and standardized modularity on smartphones. Announced in October 2013, Google envisioned a phone that can be torn apart and brought back together again. The idea is brilliant; think of the possibilities, users can piece together the ideal smartphone to perfectly meet their needs. On paper, this is perfect. Who wouldn’t want to use this?

Until now, phone upgrades have been restricted to smaller and set changes, but with a modular structure in place, it takes things to a whole new level. A manufacturer can focus on creating a base flagship, then pump it up with new add-ons to retain interest and grow followers on the product for a while before making another one. The base model can remain untouched while having a steady flow of modules.

So far no one has managed to do this right, as creating the modular phone hasn’t been easy. For Google’s Ara, it has suffered many delays. Things quietened down, until LG came up with the G5. You see, the launch of the LG G5 brought a fresh awareness and hope to the sustainability of modularity, but how far can this go? The LG G5 is an awesome phone no doubt, with a Snapdragon 820 chip, a dual-lens wide-angle camera, a microSD card slot, high-resolution screen, etc.  On top of that, you have modularity (even if gimmicky)

The concept as it is employed by LG is not devoid of inherent problems. For one thing, this move by LG smells more of desperation to gain market share than truly transforming how we interact with our devices. If not priced right, users can be scared from buying extra modules for their devices. Another big issue is the disparity of modules. If every manufacturer starts making their own modules, that would restrict it to just a particular device. We hope to see a standard through which one module would work on any smartphone, to which everyone (interested in making modular phones) must adhere to. Similar to having phone makers stick with the 3.5 mm audio jack or, a particular charging port.

In spite of all this, there have been encouraging signs. It was heart warming to see the Ara project really kicking off. At I/O held earlier this week, Google, showcased the Ara phone working smoothly (it booted this time!). At one point the representative said “Okay Google, eject the camera.” The crowd applauded as the camera slid free. The modules seem to be controlled directly via software, which is a good thing. There is also information that the Ara developer phone will arrive before the end of this year, with a consumer version arriving in 2017.

ARAGif

With all this said, Project Ara is bound to generate interest and introduce new ideas – particularly to the mainstream – once it becomes available. The modular smartphone has been in the making for years, so at this point in time we expect Google to have something worth showing when the developer edition hits later this year. Until then, we can only discuss, so we ask you:

Can we say that smartphone modularity is still a gimmick, or does it have a clearly useful future? Leave a comment below and join the discussion!



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The UMi Super has 4GB RAM, Stock Android, 4000mAh for $179.99. Win One from XDA!

Gone are the days when you have to pay a lot to get a high-end phone. Look no further than UMi, a Chinese manufacturer making impressively-spec’d phones for not much money. Take their latest, the UMi Super, which offers a full-metal build, octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor with 4GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery with quick-charge and USB Type-C, a Panasonic 13MP camera, and a FHD 5.5″ display made by Sharp. It even has a fingerprint sensor. One of the best parts of the UMi Super, and all UMi phones, is that they come with 100% stock Android 6.0, like a Nexus. We love that. The price for the Super is $249.99, but the company is offering a $70 off coupon if you sign up on their site or keep an eye on their forum post, bringing the price down to a jaw-dropping $179.99.

But an even better price than that is free! And we’re giving away an UMi Super to anyone in the world.

Here’s how to enter the contest: Check out the official UMi Super website, and leave a comment below with your top two reasons for wanting one. On 3 June, we’ll pick the winner.

super-black

 



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Samsung Unveils the Galaxy S7 Edge Injustice Edition

Similarly to the Iron Man Edition that we saw last year, Samsung has come up with a new special edition version of the Galaxy S7 Edge. This time they’ve decided to partner with DC comics and have created the Injustice Edition. This version comes with a gold Batarang, Gear VR, special color Galaxy S7 Edge and a unique UI theme for Batman fans.



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There are Over 1 Million Material Design Apps in the Play Store

Google has been pushing Material Design hard since it’s introduced in Android 5.0 Lollipop. The company has recently made a lot of sample libraries available to developers and they’ve been using them on lots of apps. Google’s own Matias Duarte has announced there are over 1 million apps in the Play Store that use Material Design elements.



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Samsung Pay Mini Reportedly Coming Next Month

ETNews is reporting that Samsung is going to be releasing a service called Samsung Pay Mini. If true, this service is said to be available on non-Samsung Android smartphones, iPhones and even PCs. For those familiar, this service is said to be similar to others like Syrup Pay and Clip.



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Phonebloks Creator Not Happy with Project Ara

It was Dave Hakkens who really put the idea of a modular smartphone in motion when his Phonebloks video went viral. It caught the attention Google and he was even invited to their campus multiple times to talk about it. Hakkens has now published a blog post about the latest iteration of Project Ara and to talk about why he’s not fan of the changes Google has made.



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Official Google I/O 2016 Playlist

Now that Google I/O 2016 is over, and they’ve had time to upload all of the videos, Google has created an official playlist of everything that was recorded. This is a complete playlist that includes 168 videos of content. So if you missed anything from Google I/O 2016, you can now catch up from this easy to bookmark playlist.



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jeudi 26 mai 2016

March of The Droids UK Call for Papers Opens

Droidcon UK is returning to the Business Design Centre in London this October. If you want to meet the best and brightest in the industry, listen to some great talks and of course grab more Android related shirts than you could wear before the next Droidcon then head over and join the largest Android developer conference in Europe. The one downside to this year’s event is that if Android N is really going to be called Nutella then the event will get very sticky! 

We had a great time last year, so if you have never been before be sure to check out Jordan’s tour of the event below.

There will be two days of talks from the top people in their fields, if you would like to join them and give your own talk then be sure to fill out the form below or head to the Droidcon UK site, but remember that the deadline for submissions is Monday, June the 27th.

“Proposals for droidcon London 2016 will be selected by Skills Matter and the Programme Committee on the basis of making this a varied and valuable event. The submission is open to anyone, and we encourage first-time speakers to submit a proposal. The members of the programme committee will offer coaching and assistance if necessary. The chosen speakers will receive two free tickets to the conference; One for the speaker, and another for a guest of their choosing.”

If you are interested in getting a free ticket to the event but do not want to give a talk, then you can still volunteer at the event either by helping set up the day prior to the event or on the day for a few hours. In return, your ticket is completely free. To offer your assistance send an email to droidcon@skillsmatter.com and they will sign you up.



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Jury Announces Google’s Use of Code to be Fair Use

The Google Vs Oracle trial has reached a conclusion. After a heated battle in court a jury has now found the use of Oracle’s code and APIs to be fair use. An exceptional result for what could have cost Google billions. Now we only have to wait for the numerous appeals and so forth.



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PayPal Apps to Drop Support for Windows Phone, Amazon Fire and BlackBerry OS

PayPal has just announced that users will soon be required to update to version 6.0 of the app if they want to continue using it. Sadly, this comes with some draw backs because they will not be releasing this version for Windows Phone, Amazon Fire or BlackBerry OS platforms. These people will have until June 30th before their current app ceases to function.



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Samsung says they’ll Take Countermeasures Against Huawei, Including a Lawsuit

Samsung is not too happy about the multiple lawsuits filed against them from Huawei. So much so that the head of Samsung’s intellectual property division has already responded to the announcement. Ahn Seong-ho said “we will take countermeasures, including a lawsuit (against Huawei).”



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Samsung Shows us the Inside of the Gear 360

Samsung has just given us an exploded view of their 360-degree camera, the Gear 360. They then talk about the case that holds it all together, the industry’s first tempered glass G1 Lens with a circular design, and the 0.5-inch PMOLED display with a 72×32 pixel screen. The camera module uses two CMOS 15 megapixel fisheye lenses that can both capture HD images and videos in 195 degrees.



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Lenovo’s Motorola Acquisition Did Not Meet Expectations

In its fourth quarter and full year report, Lenovo mentions that its Motorola acquisition did not meet its expectations. Shipments in China declined by 85%, with product transition in North America not being successful. Lenovo did learn from the acquisition, and will now maintain separate strategies for China and Rest of the World.



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HTC Launches the HTC 10 in India For Rs. 52,990 ($792)

In a launch event held in New Delhi, HTC has launched the Snapdragon 820 powered HTC 10 in India for Rs. 52,990 ($792), with the phone being available for purchase in June. Along with the 10, HTC also launched a host of other phones, namely the HTC 10 Lifestyle, One X9, Desire 628 Dual SIM, Desire 630, Desire 825 and Desire 830.



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Oracle v. Google Jury has Trouble Viewing Evidence

Now that both sides have finished their closing statements, it’s time for the jury to deliberate on the case. However, the jury couldn’t look at the source code of the Android OS because the files were too big for the supplied PC to open them. Judge Alsup told the lawyers to fix it or they’d have to print out the millions of lines of code.



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HTC Stops Manufacturing the Nexus 9

Earlier this week we learned that Google was discontinuing the Nexus Player and now we’ve learned that HTC will be doing the same with the Nexus 9. This is probably being done so HTC can clear up manufacturing space for the rumored 2016 Nexus devices, but this hasn’t been confirmed. You’re still able to buy the Nexus 9 for now, but only while supplies last.



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Google Reportedly has Plans to Rank OEMs by Update Speed

Bloomberg is reporting that Google is getting tired of Android’s slow update cycle. They claim to know “people familiar with the situation,” and they’re saying that Google will start to highlight the good OEMs while “shaming” the bad ones. Even Sprint has confirmed that Google is tracking when updates go out and are “putting pressure” on those who are responsible.



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ZTE Unveils the latest flagship in the Axon Series — The Axon 7 with SD820 & 6GB RAM

<Beijing, China. 9:00PM CST>

ZTE has just announced the newest flagship device in its smartphone lineup – the Axon 7. Designed in collaboration with BMW’s DesignWorks, ZTE’s Axon 7 promises to bring “high-end smartphone designs and features [that] won’t come at a high-cost.”

AXON 7 engages its users to form an emotional bond with it. Designworks’ premium and innovative approach to color, material, and finish treatment significantly contributes to the phone´s sensuous appeal.

These thoughtful features are presented in sophisticated rich premium finishes, their jewel-like detailing inspired by handmade timepieces. The designers chose authentic materials to create a substantial, durable feel which furthers the perception of superior craftsmanship.

ZTE and BMW's DesignWorks Axon 7 Design Sketch

Axon 7

ZTE promises competitive flagship specifications at half the cost compared to its competitors. ZTE has shared a full specification sheet with us that we have reproduced below, however, we will highlight the most important features of the device. First of all, the device will launch internationally under $500, which is quite a bit lower than other current flagships on the market. What kind of smartphone do you get for that price?

S0010_v0003_Back_GoldPhone S0010_v0003_Front_GoldPhone S0010_v0003_Front_GoldPhone_HomeScreen S0010_v0003_ButtonsSide_GoldPhone S0010_v0003_SimCardSide_GoldPhone S0080_USBTypeCPortDetail_v0003_GoldPhone_OnBlack

 

 

S0010_v0003_Back_GreyPhone S0010_v0003_Front_GreyPhone S0010_v0003_Front_GreyPhone_HomeScreen S0010_v0003_ButtonsSide_GreyPhone S0010_v0003_SimCardSide_GreyPhone S0080_USBTypeCPortDetail_v0003_GreyPhone_OnBlack (1)

 

You get a 5.5″ 2560×1440 pressure-sensitive display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC and a 3140 mAh battery. For a quick top-up of the battery, you will be able to use Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 over the USB Type-C port. Depending on which model you purchase, you can get either 4GB RAM/64 GB ROM or 6GB RAM/128 GB ROM. No matter which option you take, you will be able to expand the storage using the built-in microSD card slot which takes up the second SIM slot on the device. On the back of the device you’ve got a 20MP Samsung ISO-cell sensor (capable of 4K video recording @ 30fps) as well as the embedded fingerprint sensor and on the front of the device you’ve got an 8MP shooter and dual-speakers with two audio enhancement chips – the AKM 4961 and the AKM 4490 (a HiFi chip and an amplifier, respectively). This hardware all runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with ZTE’s own skin on top of the software called MiFavor UI 4.0. Finally, ZTE will be supporting Google’s Daydream VR platform and with its ZTE VR headset you will be able to enjoy the newly enhanced VR experience using this latest flagship.

On the look and feel of the device, you have the option to choose between an Ion Gold or Quartz Grey, both of which are simply colored versions of the Axon 7’s aluminum full-metal unibody. The device is 151.8 x 75 x 8.7 mm and weighs in at 185g, which should make the device quite easy to hold in your hand. ZTE will launch the device initially in China but will eventually launch the phone internationally. In the U.S., ZTE will sell the Axon 7 via retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, eBay, and Newegg as well as through its own website ZTEUSA.com. The Axon 7 supports AT&T and T-Mobile, but plans on working with Sprint and Verizon to bring their device onto these carriers later on in the year (the device already has the radio bands necessary). Each device comes with ZTE’s Axon Passport Program 2.0 warranty and protection plan, which entitles you to a 2-year warranty that protects you against not only hardware failure, but also regular damage to the phone due to drops. Customer support will be provided via the company’s newest call centers located within the United States.


Full Specifications

Colors Ion Gold
Quartz Grey
Modes GSM/EDGE:B2/3/5/8
CDMA BC0/1/10
UMTS/HSPA: B2/B5/B4/B1/B8
LTE: B2/B4/B5/B12/B13/B17/B7/B3/B1/B20/B29/B30/B25/B26/B41
2CA: B2+B4,B2/4+B12,B2/4+B29, B2/4+B5, B41+B41, B25+B25
Weight 185g
Dimensions (HxWxD) 151.8 x 75 x 8.7 mm
Battery 3140 mAh, non-removable

Talk: 16 hours
Standby: 360 hours

Quick-charge 3.0

Battery – Quick Charge Times 5 min: 8%
10 min: 17%
30 min: 50%100 minutes: 100%
Display 5.5″  AMOLED Glass 2.5
Resolution: 2560 x 1440 WQHDPPI 538
Gorilla Glass  Gen 4
OS/Platform Android 6.0.1  (Marshmallow)
UI version MiFavor UI 4.0
Processor 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (MSM8996) with integrated Qualcomm® Adreno™ 530 GPU
SIM Card Size SIM 1: Nano (4FF)
SIM 2: Nano (4FF), also supports MicroSD expansion
Memory Config 1: 4GB RAM / 64 GB ROM

Config 2: 6GB RAM / 128 GB ROM

Expandable up to 128 GB via MicroSD

Flashlight Yes
Wireless Charging No
GPS GPS/A-GPS/SUPL
Accessibility
Adjustable Text Size Yes
HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible) M3/T4
Multiple Languages English, Spanish, French, Chinese
TTY/TDD (Digital) Yes
Connectivity
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.2
Infrared No
MirrorLink No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
NFC Yes
USB Yes /USB 3.0 + Type C
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac  2.4 GHz/ 5 GHz
Wi-Fi Direct Yes
FOTA Yes
RCS No
VoLTE Yes
Contacts
Ringer ID Yes
Voice Dial Yes
Data & Network
Data Tethering Yes
High-Speed Data LTE  Cat 6 (300Mbps)
WAP/Web Browser Yes
Input
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Side Keys Volume on Right/Lock on Right
Touch Screen Yes (Capacitive) + Pressure Sensitive Touch Control
Fingerprint Yes
Messaging
Email Client Gmail, Exchange, POP, IMAP
Music
Headphone Jack (3.5mm) Yes
Photo & Video
Rear-Facing Camera 20MP

·         Samsung ISO-cell sensor, sapphire lens, OIS+ EIS+ PDAF, F/1.8, Close Loop VCM for better auto focus

·         Super Auto mode (contain Night Shot, Auto HDR, Automatic Scene Optimization)

·         Hybrid IS (Photo and Video)

·         Multi-function (Manual, Beauty selfie, Refocus, Slow Motion, Live Photo, Multi Exposure, Long Exposure)

·         Powerful dual LED flash

Front-Facing Camera  8MP
Miracast (Wi-Fi Display) Yes
TV Output No
Video Capture Normal video mode:
4K UHD (30FPS)                                                                                                                             1080p FHD (30 FPS)
720P HD (30 FPS)Slow Motion mode:
720P@240fps                                                                                                           480P@300fps
Voice
HD Voice Yes
Speaker Phone Yes – Dual Speaker

Conference Mode – Dimensional and Omnidirectional recording, Classroom Mode

microphone 2- mic noise suppression
voice recognition Nuance
Audio
headphone jack 3.5 mm
Hi Fidelity Sound Performance Yes
Speakers Yes, dual speaker support
Base support material m base material used around the dual speakers
Playback
Sound Playback Codecs Dolby Atmos®
Sampling Frequency 384 kHz
THD+N -112 dB
S/N 120 dB
Recording
Channel 3 channel (hi-fi), 1 channel (VAD)
Resolution 24 bit
Sampling Frequency 96 kHz
MIC max input 2.02 Vpp
S/N ADC 102 dB
Conference Mode
Directional Recording Dimensional and Omni Directional
Recording Range Up to 7 meters (approximately 23 feet)
Dedicated Audio Chipset AKM 4961 + 4490
4961 – HiFi main chipset to provide HiFi and recording features
4490 – Independent amplifier to enhance HiFi playback (AK380)
Device Materials Aluminum Full Metal unibody
CNC Techniques for accurate and consistency milling of metal exterior
Warranty 2-year limited warranty + Axon Passport Program
Financing Yes, New Solution(Name TBD)

 



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