vendredi 21 juillet 2017

Sony Xperia XA Ultra Simple Rooting Guide

Remember those days when rooting was a simple set of steps that anyone with basic computing knowledge could follow? Pepperidge Farm XDA Developers remembers, and especially XDA Senior Member rrvuhpg who has kindly put together a very easy-to-follow rooting guide for Sony’s phablet, the Xperia XA Ultra.

Every device manufacturer has its own set of quirks and hoops to jump through when it comes to liberating its software. While Sony was, in many occasions, labelled as one of the most developer friendly OEMs in the market, its products are not without their complexities. In the particular case of Sony devices (most/all devices released after the Xperia Z back in 2012), they come with a little drawback when it comes to unlocking: while most devices can lose their warranties when you unlock them, Sony takes things a few steps further and effectively disables features (proprietary to Sony Mobile) by virtue of deletion of DRM keys. This was something that earlier developers on our site figured out and despite discussions with Sony Mobile employees, it is something that stayed behind as a means to protect the company’s IP. More specifically,

Unlocking your BootLoader will void your warranty, break your device DRM and lose X-Reality and image optimization on low light when taking pictures.

Device Image Credit: http://ift.tt/2gRdlMU

Naturally, rooting requires unlocking of the bootloader, which will have the side effect of wiping the aforementioned keys. However, on top of the guide presenting a simple method for rooting, it also includes specific steps to be taken in order to preserve the DRM keys, in case one wants to revert back to a stock software configuration (be it for warranty purposes or any other reason). The process is quite simple and it involves backing up said keys prior to the actual unlocking through a process called TA Backup via a tool created by XDA Recognized Developer rayman.

Another bump in the road to rooting is the fact that depending on which variant of the device you purchased, it may or may not be rootable with this guide. The reason behind it is that not all Sony devices are created equal as they may come with an non-unlockable bootloader. So, word of advise, if you are in the market for one of these and will be requiring root, read through our fora and Google around before you spend your hard earned money.

Please do keep in mind that the guide this is linked to is only for Android Nougat. Should you still be sporting Marshmallow on your XA Ultra, you will need to follow this guide if you need root. If you have read all the warnings, backed up anything important, and are ready to go, then head over to the thread to get started!


Check Out This Noob-Friendly Xperia XA Ultra Rooting Guide!

 



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KeyboardSwap Plugin for Keepass2Android Automatically Switches Keyboards without Root

Password managers on Android have long been neglected by Google, but that’s going to change with Android O. Android O’s Autofill Framework will drastically improve user/password data entry and will also eliminate the need for performance-costly Accessibility Services, but unfortunately it’ll be quite some time before most devices will ever receive Android O. For those of us who will be waiting months for Android O to be available for our devices, the standard password manager features will have to suffice. A personal favorite among the XDA-Developers team is Keepass2Android which is an Android port of the popular open-source Keepass password manager. Keepass2Android allows you to access your password database from the cloud storage of your choosing, and it also features fingerprint database unlocking and/or quick database access through a shorthand of the full password. But one nifty feature has been locked for many years to be used only by rooted users: automatically switching keyboards/input methods. A new Keepass2Android plugin called KeyboardSwap aims to fix that.

Many password managers in Android offer their own keyboards (also known as input methods in Android) because the Android system clipboard is notoriously insecure. Any application that requests the permission to read the clipboard is automatically granted it without user input, and unless you know your way around the App Ops command line, you can’t easily revoke the permission either. Keepass2Android is no different, and its keyboard, while aesthetically unpleasant, gets the job done. However, on many Android devices there’s no quick and easy way to change input methods without going into settings. Some software from OEMs and custom ROMs offer an input method switcher in the notification panel or navigation bar, but many do not. That’s why Keepass2Android’s automatic keyboard switching feature is so useful.

In the comments of our XDA Spotlight article featuring Keepass2Android, one of our users pointed out that Keepass2Android was still relying on the outdated Secure Settings application in order to automatically switch input methods. Since we now know that most of the functionality of Secure Settings can be replicated without root access, I figured it would be possible for Keepass2Android to replace Secure Settings with another app. I e-mailed the developer of Keepass2Android, Philipp Crocoll, with a non-root solution I came up with and the solution was the KeyboardSwap Plugin.

The way it works is simple. The application uses the WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission which is normally restricted from user apps but can be granted manually via the package manager command line interface in the Android Debug Tools (ADB). All you have to do is install the plugin from the Google Play Store, ensure that you’re on the beta version of Keepass2Android, then enter the following command in a command prompt/terminal once you have ADB set up:

adb shell pm grant keepass2android.plugin.keyboardswap2 android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS

The plugin can then write the name of the Keepass2Android input method service into the Settings.Secure.DEFAULT_INPUT_METHOD setting and Android will automatically open up this keyboard the next time keyboard entry is needed. Of course, this service actually has to be enabled within Keepass2Android by going into the settings –> application settings –> password entry access –> keyboard switching then toggling the “auto-switch keyboard” function.

For instance, if your current default keyboard is Gboard, then the KeyboardSwap Plugin will save com.google.android.inputmethod.latin/com.android.inputmethod.latin.LatinIME as the current keyboard, then change DEFAULT_INPUT_METHOD to keepass2android.keepass2android/keepass2android.softkeyboard.KP2AKeyboard once you’ve selected a password entry in the app. When you close the Keepass2Android input method, then the KeyboardSwap Plugin restores the Gboard input method service to the DEFAULT_INPUT_METHOD setting.

To the end user, once the permission has been granted the plugin “just works.” You won’t have to worry about anything related to the plugin once it’s set up. You can hide the application icon from your app drawer and never touch it again. If you factory reset or uninstall then re-install the app, only then will you have to grant the permission once again. Otherwise, this is a simple plugin that you can set up and forget, and it’ll make your password entry just a tad bit faster.



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How to Hide the Persistent Notification for Background Apps in Android O

Android O is looking to bring major enhancements to the Android OS we all know and love. Picture-in-picture mode for phones, notification channels, smart text selection, autofill services, and under the hood many, many changes to enhance your battery life, performance, and security. One feature that is supposed to help users sort out issues with battery life and performance is background process limitations. Without going into too much detail, apps in Android O can no longer be woken from their manifest-registered implicit broadcast receivers and they can no longer start background services without going through JobScheduler. If an app wants to start a background service, it must explicitly tell the user that it is doing so by posting a notification. However, when an app is running in the background, Android O now seemingly tacks on another persistent notification telling you what apps are running. This also occurs when an app with the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW permission (such as the popular Twilight app) is currently displaying an overlay.

Android O Persistent Notification for Background and Overlay Apps. Credits: Ben Schoon \\ 9to5Google

Although these notifications are minimized by default, they cannot be dismissed by the user or permanently blocked in Settings. This behavior is very annoying to many users, and I seriously hope that Google gives us a way to disable this notification in the final Android O/Android 8.0 release. However, if they do not, there is still a way to permanently hide the persistent background apps notification. I will showcase how to do so in a step-by-step guide, followed by an explanation of how it works as well as important caveats.


Hide the Persistent Notification in Android O

Requirements:

  • Android O
  1. Install the USB drivers for your particular phone if you’re on Windows (they can be found here).
  2. Download the ADB binary for your particular operating system (WindowsMacLinux). These links will always point to the latest version of the binary, so you don’t have to scour the net looking for the latest one.
  3. Extract the contents of the ZIP file you downloaded into an easily accessible folder on your PC (such as in the Downloads folder).
  4. Go to the Settings app on your phone and tap on the “About Phone” option.
  5. Find the Build Number and tap on it 7 times to enable Developer Mode. You’ll see a popup once it’s enabled.
  6. Go back to the Settings main menu and enter Developer Options so you can enable USB Debugging Mode.
  7. Plug your phone in to the PC and swipe down your notification panel to change the USB mode from “charge only” to “file transfer (MTP)” mode. This may not be necessary for your phone.
  8. On your PC, browse to the directory where you extracted the ADB binary.
  9. Launch a Command Prompt/Terminal in this ADB directory. For Windows users, this can be done by a Shift+Right-click then selecting the “open command prompt here” option.
  10. Once you’re in the Command Prompt or Terminal environment, enter the following command: adb devices
  11. This will start the ADB daemon. If this is your first time running ADB, you will also see a prompt on your phone asking you to authorize a connection.
  12. Now re-run the adb devices command from step 10, and the command prompt/terminal will print the serial number of your device. If it does, then you’re ready to move on. If not, then the USB drivers are likely not installed properly.
  13. Go back to the Command Prompt and enter the following command: adb shell
  14. Now execute the following command: cmd appops set android POST_NOTIFICATION ignore
  15. You won’t get a success message or anything, but as long as you don’t see an error it should have worked. Now just reboot your phone!

    Yes, I realize these are pictures of a phone screen rather than screenshots. I don’t have an Android O compatible device myself, so I asked TK to send me images.

  16. If you want to revert this command, enter this into the command prompt: cmd appops set android POST_NOTIFICATION allow

How it works

Using the hidden command line interface for App Ops, Android’s user-facing permission management system, we are able to restrict the POST_NOTIFICATION permission from the “android” package. (Note: we are setting it to “ignore” rather than “deny” because “deny” could cause some errors.) I found this permission by looking at the relevant source code for AppOpsManager, which lists all of the possible permissions that can be granted/revoked, many of which are not accessible in the Android settings. The “android” package actually refers to “Android System” AKA framework-res.apk, which is responsible for the persistent notification that we are trying to get rid of.

By essentially revoking the Android System’s POST_NOTIFICATION permission, it can no longer show a notification! Sounds pretty simple, right? Unfortunately, there is a caveat to be aware of. “Android System” is responsible for more than just this notification, so any other notifications that it may post will no longer be shown. This can include the USB mode notification (which can still be changed through the setting in Developer Options) as well as some other things.

While this is a pretty drastic measure to take on our part, it’s currently the only way to hide this notification apart from rooting your phone and modifying the framework itself which is obviously something not many users are willing or able to do. I sincerely hope that Google offers a way to hide this notification in a future release of Android O, or even better remove this notification entirely. Google understandably wants to improve the user experience by notifying users when an app is running in the background that the user may not be aware of, but the method they chose is annoying for those of us who know what about each app we are using.



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Official Email States the Essential Phone Will be Delivered “in a Few Weeks”

Almost two full months ago the father of Android officially unveiled the Essential Phone to the world. An Android device from Andy Rubin and his new team hopes to disrupt the market that some feel has stagnated because major OEMs have delayed innovation as of late. The device was said to have been ready and on the doorsteps of pre-order customers sometime in June but orders were delayed and now we’re told that it should be in customers’ hands “in a few weeks.”

We still haven’t been given an official reason as to why the device was delayed as long as it has been. Some speculate that it could be from the company’s new international expansion plans. We have been told that Essential has plans to launch the device in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Western Europe and Japan. Some countries will have to wait longer than others but a recent interview said the U.S. launch is imminent.

Now we know what Essential meant when they said imminent as they’re currently sending out a mass email to those who pre-registered for the device. The email starts out by thanking the person for putting their name down to show interest in purchasing the Essential Phone. Then we’re told that the company is currently busy putting the Essential Phone through certification and testing with multiple carriers in both the Untied States as well as other parts of the world.

So we know that the device is currently being certified by a number of carriers and this may have been what held back the release. Still, if the device hits another bump during the certification and testing process, then it could hold back the release even further. However, it seems that they’re confident in where they’re at right now so hopefully things won’t come to that. The new information in the email then says “rest assured that you will have a device in your hands in a few weeks.”


Source: @OW



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TWRP Available for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium

TWRP is used for a lot of custom modifications on Android devices, it’s an essential tool for all XDA users, and now an unofficial port has been released for the Xperia XZ Premium. XDA Recognized Developer Myself5 just released their work to the community this week and it can be found in our Xperia XZ Premium forum. Check it out!


Download TWRP in our Xperia XZ Premium forum



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Google is Making Android O More Secure with Seccomp

The kernel in our smartphones and tablets has a lot of responsibilities when it comes to how our devices function on a day to day basis. To this end, the kernel is doing a lot in an attempt to help to keep our devices secure as well. It’s because of the widespread access that we’re seeing an increase in exploits specifically targeting the kernel. While Google has done its best to isolate and deprivilege processes, Android O will be using a Linux feature called seccomp to increase this protection.

The Android software on our smartphones, tablets and smartwatches communicate with the kernel itself with what is referred to as system calls. There are a number of these system calls that are in place which allow userspace processes (such as our applications) to directly interact with the kernel. This can be anything from simply opening a file in a file manager or sending a Binder message in the background. Since these system calls are used so much, they’ve become a common way for attackers to target the kernel for an exploit.

Google hopes to alleviate some of this with the introduction of seccomp in the upcoming update to Android O. Seccomp is a Linux feature that allows the OS to make a number of system calls completely inaccessible to application software. This increases security since instead of us isolating and deprivileging processes, a lot of these system calls won’t even be accessible. Therefore, harmful applications will be unable to take advantage of these security holes, resulting in more secure handsets.

So the upcoming Android O update will include a single seccomp filter that has been installed into zygote (this is the process that all Android applications are derived). This allows for the new implementation of seccomp to not have a negative impact on existing applications while still adding some additional protection to our devices. Specifically, this filter will block certain syscalls (like swapon/swapoff for example), that have been used in a number of security attacks. In total, the filter blocks 17 of 271 syscalls in arm64 and 70 of 364 in arm.


Source: Android Developers Blog



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Kernel Source Code is Now Available for the Honor 6X

While there were some Android N custom ROMs already available for the Honor 6X in our forum, they weren’t quite stable enough for daily use. XDA Senior Member simo255 recently pointed out that the kernel source code for the Honor 6X was finally released so stable ROMs should be easier to make and come by. You can follow the discussion in our forums from the link below, or download the source code directly from Huawei’s website.

Follow the discussion in our Honor 6X forum



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Alexa is Coming to the Amazon Android App (This Week)

Amazon’s Alexa is available on a wide array of different platforms, and starting this week, the virtual assistant is now making its way to the Amazon app on Android.

iPhone users have been able to use Alexa in the Amazon app since March, and from what we’ve seen so far, Alexa for the Android Amazon app works just like it does over on iOS. In other words, you can use Alexa to see what the weather’s like, catch up on the week’s biggest stories, order an Uber, turn off your connected lights, etc.

This added functionality is certainly cool, but having it within the Amazon Shopping app is slightly odd. Amazon’s proven time and time again that Alexa is one of the world’s most powerful virtual assistants to-date, but is the company’s shopping app the right place for it? Given it could be integrated with, you know, shopping… then yeah, it might be.


The Amazon app has previously featured basic voice commands for adding items to your cart, searching for products throughout Amazon, and tracking previous orders. The features could be access by tapping the microphone icon in the upper-left-hand corner of the app, and this is what Alexa will be replacing. You’ll still have those voice features present in an unobtrusive manner, but now tapping on that microphone will allow you to do much more than basic product tracking and ordering.

Alexa’s presence in the Amazon Android app was first spotted by Twitter user Nick Schwab, and shortly after this sighting, Amazon confirmed to TechCrunch that Alexa will be rolling out to all Android users throughout the remainder of the week.

I currently don’t have Alexa on the Amazon app on my Google Pixel, but I’ll be sure to keep checking throughout the weekend. I’m more of a Google Assistant guy myself, but it might be fun to play around with Alexa every once in and while – even if I will be tempted to buy more things I don’t need when opening up the Amazon app to use it.


Via: TechCrunch



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[VIDEO] MokeeROM is a New ROM for the OnePlus 5; Includes Multiple Gestures, Button Customization, Status Bar Control, and More

OnePlus handsets have historically been home to a lot of developer support, and the OnePlus 5 has been no different. MokeeROM is one of the latest custom ROMs for the OP5, and it comes equipped with a ton of great features – including tons of gestures to play around with, button customization, status bar control, and plenty more.

MokeeROM is much more stable and daily-driver material than LegendROM that we previously checked out last week, and, better yet, it also supports OnePlus’s Dash Charge system.

For a more in-depth look at everything that MokeeROM has to bring to the table, check out Miles’ video above.



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Exclusive: Bypass AMP Links with DeAMPify by João Dias

Back in late 2015, Google introduced the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project to revolutionize the speed at which mobile web users consume web content. Since then, numerous web outlets (including our very own Portal) have incorporated AMP so that users on limited or slower data connections can quickly access their content. While some people have qualms with the way Google is pushing AMP on publishers, others lament the forcing of this new standard onto their mobile devices. For those users on fast connections, loading an AMP page versus the original page shows no significant difference in speed, but still results in less content being displayed on screen. However, unless the particular mobile app you were using has an option to disable loading a page in its AMP version, the only way to retrieve the original URL is to manually do so – adding 2 extra taps. Thanks to an idea I pitched to the AutoApps developer, João Dias, there’s finally a way to completely bypass AMP links.

The app is called DeAMPify and it is really, really fast at its job. Here is a sample screen recording I made. Note how short the time is between when I tap on DeAMPify to open the URL and how long after the original URL is opened in the browser.


How it works

The application registers itself as the default URL handler for AMP-style URLs. When the user chooses to open a link in DeAMPify (or selects it as the default handler, bypassing the dialog), the application scrapes the HTML source code of the AMP page to look for the original URL of the article. Once it finds the original URL, it takes that URL and passes it along to the default browser app. The process is very, very fast even though technically you are still downloading the HTML source of the AMP page, but on fast enough connections it makes little to no difference as the AMP pages are relatively tiny amounts of data to parse. To the end user, though, the result is that AMP links are completely bypassed and instead opened in the default app for that URL, whether it be your browser or another app such as the official Reddit app or XDA Labs.

In a little more detail, the app is specifically scraping the AMP page for the “canonical” (original) document by looking for the HTML link tag as such:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://ift.tt/2uhuqUR">

Every AMP page has this exact tag embedded in its HTML source as a part of the official specification. This is what allows AMP pages to detect and show the end user the original URL in the first place, but we can take advantage of this embedded link to bypass the need to ever show the user the mobile-optimized page. This method beats every other redirection tool we’ve found online, which simply attempted to retrieve the original content URL by performing a regex operation on the AMP URL. Since there’s no consistent URL scheme for AMP pages, that method would fail for many, many odd pages. But this won’t.

One caveat that we discovered when making this app is that the canonical link is not embedded in the HTML source when the source is retrieved through a mobile user agent, so instead DeAMPify operates as a desktop browser user agent. This is not something that ever makes a difference to the end user (you), but it’s interesting to note for anyone wondering how this app works.


Bypass AMP Links with DeAMPify

On to the actual app itself. DeAMPify does a tad bit more than just bypass AMP links. I mean, that’s 95% of what the app is there for, but it wouldn’t be fun if it only did that, no? To make the app a bit more useful, Mr. Dias added a few extra features to the app (although to access them, both require an in-app purchase):

  • URL Exceptions: blacklist URLs which you always want to open the AMP page for, can use regex for this operation
  • Tasker integration: choose when the bypass AMP service is running

The Tasker integration is the part that I’m sure many users would find useful, as with this you can automatically bypass AMP links only when connected to your home WiFi, for instance. The URL exceptions can be useful if there’s one or two particular sites that you always want to load AMP links for, but personally I haven’t really been using that feature.

DeAMPify is now available for beta testing in the Google Play Store. You’ll have to join Mr. Dias’s Tasker Plugins Google+ group in order to access the beta test, however. Once the app has been tested by more users than just myself, it should become available more broadly – though I can’t speak for when that will be. Still, for those users who have hated the expansion of AMP pages everywhere on the web, you finally have a solution to say no to AMP. DeAMPify your web today!


Promo Codes

Mr. Dias has generously offered to give away a handful of promotional codes to unlock the pro version of DeAMPify. Leave a comment below with a link to your XDA-Developers forum profile and you may be randomly selected to receive a promotional code through a private message on the forums! Be sure to check your private messages for the code!



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The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Will Be Announced on August 23

Every year, Samsung has two big product launches – one for the new S-series flagship held in the first quarter of the year, and one for the new Note device towards the second half of the year. So far this year we’ve gotten the beautiful Galaxy S8/S8+, and soon, the Galaxy Note 8 will be here to follow it up.

Samsung has just sent out invites for its latest press event that’s being called, “Unpacked 2017: Do Bigger Things”. The image sent alongside this invitation shows an S Pen drawing out the Samsung’s Infinity Display setup, making it quite obvious that the star of the show will be the Note 8.

Current rumors have the Note 8 shaping up to be a pretty impressive piece of tech, but more importantly, this will be the direct sequel to the explosive disaster that was the Note 7. The chances of the Note 8 running into similar issues are very slim, but Samsung’s going to need to use this event to communicate to its fans that there’ still a reason to love the Note line despite 2016’s mishap.

For its rumored specs, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will pack in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or an Exynos 8895 depending on the region of sale. This will be complemented by a healthy 6GB of RAM, though this could see some regional variation. The display on the phone will be 6.3″ in size, but the Note 8’s 18.5:9 aspect ratio and Infinity Display setup with dual curves will help keep the actual device footprint in check. One of the highlights of the device will also be the dual rear camera setup comprising of two 12MP sensors with independent OIS.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 event is set to take place on August 23 in New York City, and we at XDA-Developers hope to be there to see just what Samsung is bringing to the table.

Source: Samsung



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jeudi 20 juillet 2017

Ads, Smaller Batteries, Jello Displays — How 2017 OEMs Keep Delivering What You Never Asked For

Last year it seemed that all the bad mojo in our industry was focused on one brand: Samsung. The Galaxy Note7 will likely go down as one of the worst blunders in our industry despite its revival as the Fan Edition nearly one year later.

While a lot could be written about how Samsung handled the affair, they walked away rather unscathed judging by the success of this years Galaxy S8. This can likely be attributed to having one of the largest marketing budgets in the industry, or even just because the Samsung namesake is second only to Apple. Smaller manufacturers do not have the luxury of the benefits that helped Samsung through their difficult period. While 2017 has not had a single monumental issue like the Note7, it is littered with painful reminders that, in the age of mass social media that feeds on failure, small mistakes are oftentimes magnified to large proportions by the internet.


The Case of the Curious Screen & Rebooty Calls

OnePlus seems to have an on again, off again relationship with success. While the OnePlus One and OnePlus 3 (or 3T) were both highly successful devices, the OnePlus 2 and now OnePlus 5 seem to be the polar opposite. Fortunately for the company, though the OnePlus 2 was a failure on many levels (and continues to be), the OnePlus 5 is not nearly as bad. However, due to OnePlus as a brand maturing and then slowly edging into the bottom of the high-end and high-priced market, their latest device receives and deserves a greater deal of scrutiny than prior phones. Unfortunately for OnePlus it seems to be a deluge of small problems that have spiraled out of control in the eyes and keyboards of consumers and internet commentators. Starting with our breaking article at the time of launch that showed the OnePlus 5 altering its device behavior so-as to perform better in synthetic benchmarks, the focus quickly shifted to what seemed to be an iPhone 4-like “you are holding it wrong” scenario that caused 5ghz WiFi to suddenly drop out when the top right of the phone was covered.  Our own tester model has this issue as well and XDA Editor in Chief Mario Serrafero has described flaky WiFi connection as one “of the most annoying issues” in his OnePlus 5 experience.

Source: /u/Tasssadar

OnePlus hardly got a breather before it was hit with the next issue of the oddly-rotated display causing a distortion or jelly effect that, while not everyone can see it or is affected by it, is a very real, very annoying issue to many. Finally, just this week news that OnePlus 5 devices could not call emergency services in the United States broke and quickly hit the Front Page of Reddit,  the 9th most visited site on the Internet. While it was found that this issue seemed to affect other devices as well, it was still the OnePlus brand that took the largest hit, perhaps amplified through a propensity to pile on the company due to recent, equally bizarre controversies.


During all of this though, and making things worse, OnePlus support has been as tone deaf as ever, even pushing some users to make troll-bots on Twitter that tweet everything OnePlus sends out, but upside down…(poking fun at the OnePlus 5’s display and audio recording during video). Finally, even after all indications pointed to the fact that the changes to the display orientation and usage of developer flags to correct it were related to the issue, OnePlus support blamed the screen issue on a “visual staying phenomenon”; they deleted this inconclusive tweet, as they should.


Ads for One, Ads for All

Everyone hates advertisements. We hate them on our televisions, so we invented the DVR. We hate them on our websites, so we created the ad-blocker. We hate them on our phone, so we uninstall egregious applications, root our Androids, jailbreak our iPhones… and even use Samsung browsers. What happens, though, when advertisements are pushed through official channels? HTC found out the hard way that selling out to third parties sometimes can have a very undesirable side effect when their pre-installed crapware software keyboard from TouchPal started displaying advertisements above the typing space. It’s not like there isn’t a Google keyboard, AOSP keyboard, or Sense keyboard to preinstall, right? While we will put up with advertisements in many applications, one’s keyboard is a sacred area, and this was obviously a little too much for a lot of users who took to Reddit and other forms of social media to express their displeasure. Apparently assaulting their own Sense Home with ads wasn’t enough, so they had to go for the keyboard.

HTC went from the brand that few remembered was still making phones, to a laughing stock of bad programming excuses being featured on popular subreddits like /r/programmerhumor. While the argument can be made, justifiably, that this was not HTC’s direct fault and while there was likely no “malicious” intent, it still shows the risks you take selling out to a third party for a critical function. It is not just HTC that does this either. Samsung’s Device Management application used to be supported by Clean Master, ASUS has a notorious history of bloatware issues, and Lenovo (the parent of Motorola) has a shaky history of malware on their PCs. Unfortunately for HTC it was a culmination of issues that nearly completely overshadowed their Alexa rollout for the US U11 devices and was a really poor stain on a company that is already struggling to remain relevant.

Suggested Reading: Asus, my device “may have junk” — your junk.


The Bixby Remapping Cat-and-Mouse Game

I told you you can’t TouchWiz (oh-oh oh-oh-oh)

For a long time now we have been waiting for Samsung to be more punctual when it comes to keeping their devices updated. Even as recent as the Galaxy S7, Samsung delayed updates for months failing to keep all devices of the same model on the same security patch, and in some cases even the same version of Android. Samsung responded to this criticism by allegedly promising to push out updates on a more regular basis, and they have been more or less following through. Unfortunately though, there are side effects of this more-rapid pace for updates. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Bixby is currently inhabiting the last place when it comes to smartphone assistants that are actually useful. While it does have its promising aspects which I covered in an earlier article, it is largely a redundant application that does not work all that well at this moment in time. In Samsung’s infinite wisdom though, they thought it would be such a useful application that they even dedicated a hardware key for it, something even more developed assistants like Siri or the Google Assistant do not have.

This normally wouldn’t be an issue since thanks to Android’s openness, we could easily craft a solution to make that key do what we wanted, and not what Samsung wanted. And this worked great for about a day as Samsung quickly swooped in to block the ability to remap its dedicated hardware key. It didn’t stop there, because as time went on other methods were found and thanks to Samsung pushing out updates at a quicker pace, these were also blocked. Samsung has every right to dedicate its key to its service, but continually going after methods that a very small group of individuals use to modify the device is decidedly anti-consumer. One could argue that this is in the same thread as allowing unlockable bootloaders, but it really isn’t. You cannot brick a phone by remapping Bixby, nor expect a replacement. Regular users of Samsung devices may be familiar with package disablers and while some argue they negatively impact a device, which they don’t if you are smart about it, they are very useful to power users. I cannot root my US Galaxy S8, but I can turn off nearly every piece of useless bloatware Samsung thinks I should be using, how long until Samsung blocks these tools from working as well?

It is great to see Samsung taking software updates seriously, and for everyone who is fine using their device the way Samsung provided it is a great phone and now it is somewhat regularly secured. But Samsung forcing software on its users that is buggy, inferior to other options, and rather useless and then having the audacity to forcibly dedicate an entire piece of the hardware to this function is a sign that Samsung may be slipping into its old ways and pushing power users away yet again. Their commitment to Bixby thus predates on an otherwise useful hardware feature that many users would enjoy, that a few consumers seek to reclaim, and that could be a venue for choice and customization even for a mainstream consumer.


The Small Things Add Up

Right now, the market is tougher than ever. Apple looks to be making some serious moves with the iPhone. Glass backs, wireless charging, and OLED edge to edge displays look to be just a few of the things coming to at least some models of Apple’s flagship this year. Despite all of this, Android OEMs are still making stupid and small mistakes that cause them to be poorly received, swiftly putting down the hype surrounding their devices and prompting the conversation sets its sights on the next product instead. The LG G6 looked to be a promising phone before it was announced this year, but it was bogged down by confusing regional exclusives and then seemingly replaced by head-scratching release of the LG G6+. It feels as if this new model, which really shouldn’t be a new model, only serves as a gigantic middle-finger to early adopters with the inclusion of most regional exclusives, but yet still does not afford its users the latest and greatest SOC from Qualcomm… in mid-2017… for $700.

Taking the lead in companies that totally missed the point of success is Motorola. The largely-successful mid-ranger, the Moto Z Play, was a standout device that above all else was renowned for its battery life. This year Motorola keenly saw why the Z Play was a success, and then proceeded to do the opposite. While the Z Play 2 itself is an improvement offering more RAM, a better camera, and a sleeker build – as one would expect. In the first of a series of head scratching moves, they then proceeded to stick a processor in it that is marginally better than the outgoing model (instead of near flagship-level Snapdragon 660) and increase the price. The icing on the cake as it were is the smaller battery that brings it from other worldly to above average, as if having too much battery was a problem with the first model. Motorola totally missed the point of why the Z Play was successful. A great price, plus solid performance and camera, and great battery are part of the smartphone conjoined triangles of success; and it just went right over their head! If you thought this might have been a one off for Motorola – it isn’t. The slimmer Moto Z2 Force looks to be making similar cuts with an over 20% decrease in battery capacity bringing it to what I feel is barely tolerable in a flagship device even with the very efficient Snapdragon 835 powering it, and the single solid 21MP shooter has been replaced with dual 12MP units.

HTC knows the value of good publicity, which is why we are talking about them twice… well, not really. Unfortunately, HTC’s advertising division seems to love throwing money at awfully-executed ideas like the Robert Downey Jr. campaign, or the “what does HTC stand for” commercials (and, of course, this gem). So instead of directly marketing, HTC decided that they would use their camp of willing Elevate evangelists to do their bidding for them by incentivizing them to combat negative press against the U11. Now full disclosure, I was a part of HTC Elevate about 4 years ago during the M7 and M8 era, and while encouraging its members to help market their products is certainly not new, direct engagement of negativity in comment sections is different. The funny thing is that the HTC U11 is a really great device and it did not need this sort of campaign. Even still, HTC tarnished its reputation in our communities and it is difficult to even say something complimentary about the U11 without being accused of being on their payroll, or an Elevate junkie.

These things that I’ve written about today are largely avoidable and are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how Android OEMs are really off the ball in a time when they need every advantage. Nearly every OEM outside of Samsung operate at razor thin profit margins and making mistakes like the ones OnePlus has, or shrinking batteries of proven products like Motorola seems to like doing are not only avoidable, but also have the ability to tank a device and potentially an entire company or division, perhaps not financially but certainly in the eyes of its once-loyal customers. The year is only half over and is already shaping up to be the story of how a dozen small mistakes serve to tarnish the whole, bogging down the excitement after each and every release and leaving engaged Android users with a sour aftertaste with every flagship.


Have any smartphone companies let you down in 2017? Let us know in the comments!



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Google Calendar now lets you Change Event Times with a Drag and Drop

Google Calendar has been my go-to calendar app for years, and while I’ve been happy with most features of the app during this time, one feature that’s been noticeably absent for a while is the ability to drag and drop events to different times. Thankfully, with the latest update to version 5.7.29 of the Google Calendar app, this is no longer a missing feature.

In order to move an event from one time slot to another one, hold down on the event you want to change, wait for the small vibration, and then move it to the new time. It’s a pretty basic feature, but it makes moving appointments/meetings around considerably easier than opening the event and manually adjusting the time.

Changing an event with the new drag and drop functionality will show a small snackbar at the bottom of your screen, and if you move an event by accident or to the wrong time/date, you can tap the undo button to revert your action. Drag and drop functionality works in Google Calendar’s Day, 3 Day, and Week views. The Month and Schedule options aren’t currently supported, and there’s no word as to whether or not this will change at some point down the road.

The update to version 5.7.29 of Google Calendar is available now in the Play Store, but if the update isn’t showing up for you, you can download the APK file below.


Source: r/Android Download the Google Calendar APK



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YouTube TV Expands to 10 More Markets; Now Available in 15 Areas

YouTube TV is one of the youngest names in the television streaming market, and today, the service is gaining support for 10 additional areas.

When YouTube TV first launched in April, it was initially just available for Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Philadelphia. However, thanks to this latest expansion, you can now subscribe to YouTube TV in Dallas-Forth Worth, Washington D.C., Houston, Phoenix, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Charlotte, and Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne.

A subscription starts out at $35/month, and for that price, you can stream from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, AMC, FX, and plenty of other channels with support for unlimited cloud DVR and access for up to 6 people. Additionally, a YouTube TV subscription also comes with all of the benefits found with YouTube Red – such as no advertisements on regular YouTube videos and access to YouTube Red Original Content.

If you live in one of the areas that YouTube TV is available in, you can get a 1-month free trial of the service to see if it’d be a good fit for you. If you decide to continue with your subscription and pay for it, you’ll also be able to grab a Google Chromecast for free after your first payment (a $35 value).


Source: YouTube



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KaleaX is a Guessing Game where you Shoot Paintballs at 3D Objects

Google’s Android Experiments project is a great way to encourage developers to try out new and unique things with their skills. The goal is to provide an open platform to showcase some applications that push the limits for what many think is possible on a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. We’ve seen some unique applications already from using an Android device as a 3D mouse to a perfectly imperfect VR-ish camera without the need for specific hardware. The latest experiment is called KaleaX and was published by Alexander Schwank from the United Kingdom.

His idea was to make a multi-level game where you throw paintballs at an invisible 3D object. You do this by tapping the screen, and each tap will splatter virtual paint on the 3D object in a variety of different colors. Since the object in KaleaX is in 3 dimensions, you’re able to swipe the screen around to rotate it. This enables you to splatter more virtual paint on different sides of it, as well as getting a better view of the object itself.

When you think you have figured out what the 3D object is, simply tap on the question mark at top of the screen and type a guess. If you get it correct, then you move onto the next object. There isn’t a scoring system or anything as it’s just a simple game, but it is a fun little game to play for a while. The virtual paintballs you’re throwing at the object come in 5 different sizes, and there are in-app purchases to buy more in case you don’t want to wait until tomorrow for them to refill for free.

You can check out the game for free in the Play Store right here, but sadly the GitHub page is currently just linking to the Play Store listing again. Hopefully this will be fixed with the proper link in the near future.

Source: Android Experiments



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Track Cryptocurrency Prices with Crypto Trakr

The world of cryptocurrency is one that seems to only get bigger and bigger with every passing day. Chances are many of you reading this have tried your hand at buying and/or selling some form of cryptocurrency at one point or another, and a new app by the name of Crypto Trakr from XDA Junior Member andrepcg aims to make managing your digital currency collection easier than ever.

Crypto Trakr has a number of different features, but its most notable one is its ability to track the prices of multiple digital currencies on the market. You can follow prices of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and many other currencies from exchanges such as Coinbase, Bitstamp, Bitsquare, Kraken, and others.

Prices are automatically refreshed on Crypto Trakr, and you also have the ability to set custom alerts/notifications for when a currency hits a certain price. Add this together with detailed charts and the ability to track your buying and selling activity, and Crypto Trakr is a pretty enticing package for better-managing your digital investment happenings.

Check out Crypto Trakr on the XDA Forums



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New Security Layer Aims to Protect Your Account from Unverified Apps

Google was hit with a massive phishing attack earlier this year as an email tried impersonating Google Docs in an attempt to get you to give it access to your account. The attack was stopped that same day, but not before a large number of people fell for it and had their accounts compromised. Since then, Google has been implementing a number of additional security checks including new anti-phishing tools within Gmail, Google OAuth apps whitelisting, and an enhanced app review process.

The company is serious about security and it benefits them to keep your data as secure as possible. This week, Google has announced yet another layer of protection that will be included in addition to its “unverified app” screen that it currently has for new web applications and Apps Scripts. The goal here is to try and make you confirm you’re 100% sure that you want to access one of these unverified applications by having you type “continue” before you can proceed.

This whole process will only appear when an application that uses Google’s OAuth system and has yet to be verified by Google themselves. So you’ll still see the typical “app isn’t verified” message with the ability to continue anyway. If you click the continue anyway option, you’ll then be prompted to type out the word “continue” before it will let you grant access to your account. The hope is that if you have to type something out instead of just clicking on a button, then you should definitely know the application isn’t verified and could pose as a risk.

Google says this new process will also benefit developers as they’ll be able to dismiss this interstitial. So developers will be able to test and iterate on the application they’re developing much faster than before. All of these changes are coming to App Script as well since they can integrate into Google Sheets, Docs, and Forms for additional functionality. So users will see this prompt if something has yet to be reviewed and verified from Google themselves.


Source: G Suite Developers Blog Via: TechCrunch



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Motion Stills – the iOS App for Stabilizing Live Photos – is now on Android

Apple’s Live Photos feature was met with mostly positive feedback when it was first released with the iPhone 6S, and a year after its release, Google made it even better with the Motion Stills app in 2016. Motion Stills essentially took Live Photos from iOS and turned them into video and GIF files that were much easier to share, and after great demand from the community, Google is now bringing its Motional Stills app to Android.

Motion Stills obviously has to work slightly different on Android since there’s no Live Photos data to work with, but the way that Google has gone about this is pretty sleek. Upon opening the Android app, you’ll be able to record short clips from the built-in viewfinder. A Motion Still is captured with a single tap of the screen, or you can record longer shots with the new Fast Forward feature that turns lengthier clips into shorter ones that are easier to share. Playback speed can even be adjusted (from 1X to 8X) after recording with the Fast Forward feature.

Along with the release of Motion Stills on Android, Google has also revamped the way that the app processes GIFs/videos you capture with the app. Each individual frame that you capture with Motion Stills is processed as it is recorded, and when this is combined with intermediate motion metadata, Google is able to get Motion Stills to instantly stabilize your recording while also creating the iconic looping sequence found in GIFs. The Android app also comes with a new trimming algorithm that helps guard against pocket shots and camera shakes.

If you want to give the Motion Stills app a try, you can download it for free from the Google Play Store. No Internet connection is required to use the app, but you will need to make sure your phone is running Android 5.1 Lollipop or later.


Source: Google



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LG Announces the LG Q8, Smaller Version of the LG V20

It looks like LG is continuing the LG Q series with a new announcement on their Italian website. If you remember, we recently saw the company unveil the LG Q6+, Q6, and Q6α just 9 days back. The only differences we saw with these devices were the pricing, memory, and storage capacities, but it seems the goal here was to bring the look of a flagship down into the mid-range market. Now the company is seemingly changing ideas here and has revealed their newest Q series device, the LG Q8.

From the outset, we can see the LG Q8 is made to look like the company’s V20 flagship from 2016. The LG V series has had a lot of fans when it comes to the design and features as we’ve seen a lot of push back from the community about the possible removal of its physical secondary display for the LG V30. Still, the LG V series has generally been too large for a certain segment of the Android smartphone market so the LG Q8 may be the right size for them.

With the LG Q6 trio, the company decided to bring its FullVision display design to a 5.5″ body. While still big for some people, it’s smaller than what we got with the LG G6. Now, the LG Q8 is paired with a 5.2″ 1440p display and the secondary display has a resolution of 106 x 1040 pixels. Inside we see it has the Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GBs of LPDDR4 RAM, 32GBs of internal storage, a 3,000mAh capacity battery and IP67 certification.

So while it still isn’t as small as some people would hope, it’ll be a lot more manageable for one-handed use. The back of the device has a 13MP (f/1.8) and an 8MP (f/2.4) wide-angle camera sensors while the front has a 5MP (f/1.9) sensor. When we take a look at what is offered here, the LG Q8 is actually just a rebranded LG V34 isai Beat that we saw launched as a Japan exclusive back in October of last year.


Source: LG Via: GSM Arena



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Firefox Focus Gains Support for Better Notifications, Downloads, and Full Screen Videos

Just about a month ago, Mozilla released its Firefox Focus browser for Android. Firefox Focus is a very minimal browser, with its primary focus on providing you as much privacy and security as possible. As well as Focus works in regards to keeping your web browsing safe and private, it’s been lacking some key features since it first launched.

Firefox Focus recently crossed one million downloads on Android, and in celebration of this milestone, Mozilla is releasing three new user-requested features: Full screen videos, file download support, and updated notification actions.

Watching videos is a big part of browsing the web for a lot of people, and as such, the addition of full screen videos should make a big difference when using Firefox Focus. The app previously didn’t allow users to expand videos within the browser to fit the entirety of their phone’s screen, and while Focus does support most popular video sites, YouTube is the exception to this rule until Google releases a bug fix for this issue. That should hopefully be resolved soon.

Download support is pretty much what it sounds like – you can now download files of all kinds no matter what website you’re on. This might seem like a basic feature of any browser, but it’s one that Firefox Focus has been lacking up until this point. And, lastly, updated notification actions now show a shortcut for opening up the Firefox Focus browser in addition to regular reminders to erase your browsing history.

All of these new features can be found in the latest update to Mozilla’s privacy-centered browser, and said update is now available to download from the Google Play Store. With more and more updates, Focus is evolving past its initial release as a privacy oriented browser that you might use for the occasional web surfing session, and is quickly becoming a full-fledged browser in its own right.


Source: Mozilla



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OnePlus 5 Camera Mod (Requires Root) Enables HEVC/H.265 Recording

The HEVC/H.265 encoder is still in its infancy but a lot of people are already enjoying the benefit of its reduced file sizes. XDA pankajsammal, Member was able to modify the OnePlus 5 so that it can record videos in this format for 4K, 1080p, and 720p quality. This mod is also reducing the bitrate of of the recording to, so that will reduce the file size even more. To enable it, simply overwrite the /system/etc/media_profiles.xml file with the modded one provided in the thread (and be sure to backup your original).


Check out this camera mod in our OnePlus 5 forum



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OnePlus Issues OxygenOS 4.5.6 Hotfix Update to Fix Reboot When Calling 911

We use our phones for a lot of things, and every once in a while, we use our phones as, well, phones. Most people probably hope they’re never in a situation where they need to call an emergency number, but if you ever are, you’d expect your phone to call it without any issues.

Yesterday, a user on Reddit reported that when trying to call 911 on his OnePlus 5, the phone would start to make the call but then begin to reboot itself. Shortly after this initial report was made, several other users commented on the original Reddit post to say that they were experiencing similar issues.

The issue also gained traction on the Android subreddit, where other users chimed in claiming the same issue on other devices as well. Reported devices ranged from the Verizon Galaxy S7 Edge to the Motorola G5. To complicate matters, the issue could not be consistently replicated on most devices, including on the OnePlus 5. So mileage varied by a large margin, which should never be the case with something as important as an emergency call.

9to5Google reached out to OnePlus specifically, following all of this, and the company responded by saying that it has “been in touch with the customer and have tested a software update that has resolved the issue.” It is suspected that the reboot issue is a result of the OnePlus 5 sending your location information when calling either 911 in the US or 999 in the UK, but OnePlus has yet to confirm whether or not this is the case. Speculation in the Android subreddit points to this being an issue in AOSP itself because of its random occurrence across devices, but OnePlus seems to be the only one who is pushing out an update to fix this, or that has publicly addressed the issue for that matter.

OnePlus has begun rolling out a hotfix update for the OnePlus 5. The OxygenOS 4.5.6 hotfix update specifically targets the 911-reboot issue and users so far have been reporting success on the patch on the OnePlus 5. Nonetheless, with how randomly the problem has been occurring in other devices, one can only hope to never run into this issue especially at a time where you really need your phone to function.

We hope other OEMs also acknowledge the existence of this issue (if reports we’ve seen so far are valid) and work towards rolling out a fix at the earliest keeping in mind its rather serious nature.


Source 1: OnePlus Forums Source 2: 9to5Google Source 3: Android Subreddit



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Slimmer Moto Z2 Force Rumored to Reduce Battery Capacity by 22%

Just a few months ago we heard some of the first details about Motorola’s upcoming Moto Z2 Force. This came in the form of a leaked render which gave us an idea as to what the device could look like. A month later another render was leaked that reaffirmed the previous rumor and just last week we saw Motorola sending put press invites for the phone’s July 25th launch event. Before, we didn’t know the Moto Z2 Force would be unveiled this month, but that press invite highlighted the company’s shatterproof displays.

So now we’re only 5 days away from the official launch event of the new Motorola smartphone and there’s some new information that has been leaned. Until now, we had only really seen the leaked press renders of the device and didn’t have much to go on in terms of hardware specs. The renders did reveal the dual camera setup on the back of the device, but that was about it. A new leak from VentureBeat’s Evan Blass claims to tell us of the phones included hardware.

If true, the Moto Z2 Force will come with a 5.5″ 1440p AMOLED/POLED display protected by Motorola’s Shattershield material. It will come equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC and it looks like this is will be the biggest area that we see an upgrade when compared to last year. Looking back, the original Moto Z Force had a single 21MP rear camera but this leak indicates that two individual 12MP cameras will be on the back of its successor.

When we start looking at RAM though, this is where things get mixed up. The US model will only have 4GB of RAM while the rest of the world will have the 6GB option. Most models will have 64GB of internal storage but the Chinese variant will have 128GB. Thankfully they all come with a microSD card slot though, so that will help some people out. Lastly, we get to the battery capacity and this is yet another confusing decision from Motorola.

Just like we saw with the Moto Z2 Play, the Moto Z2 Force will be both thinner, and have a smaller battery capacity. We’re looking at a 2,730mAh battery for the Moto Z2 Force when its predecessor had a respectable 3,500mAh capacity battery. We’re also told to not expect any IP water resistance certification on the Moto Z2 Force either, but it is said to be covered in a water-repellent nano-coating.


Source: VentureBeat



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Paranoid Android 7.2.1 Adds Support for the Nexus 5 and Xperia X/X Compact, Squashes Bugs, Gains New Features

Earlier this month, Paranoid Android 7.2 was released to the world with a host of useful new features, support for more devices, and an overall more stable experience compared to previous builds. Today, the team behind the ROM is releasing Paranoid Android 7.2.1.

This is a minor update compared to the jump from 7.1.2 to 7.2.0, but there’s still plenty to talk about – most notably the three new devices that are now officially supported by the AOSPA team. With the 7.2.1 update, Paranoid Android now has official support for the Nexus 5 (hammerhead), Sony Xperia X (suzu), and the Xperia X Compact (kugo).

One feature being added, that’s been available in other ROMs as well, is a three-finger swipe down gesture for taking screenshots. OnePlus added this to OxygenOS with the release of the OnePlus 5, and it’s much more convenient than trying to press the power and volume rocker at the same time to perform the same function. In addition to this, the 7.1.2 update also brings a new version of the PA Browser, better handling of carrier provisioning and telephony handling (improvements for wfc and volte), performance enhancements, and other minor improvements throughout the ROM.

There are a number of device-specific changes for the OnePlus 3/3T, Nexus 6P, Nexbit Robin, OnePlus One, and LeEco Le Pro3. Most of these minor additions, but they can be read in full detail on Paranoid Android’s Google+ post if you’re interested.

Lastly, as with any update, a host of bugs have been squashed as well. There have been fixes for tethering issues, launcher layout fixes, sensitivity with PIE controls, and a resolution to a bug with media controls when using Pocket Lock.

There’s also a reworked boot animation by Espen Olsen that looks quite sweet, as shown above this paragraph. You can get Paranoid Android 7.2.1 either by sideloading your device’s build or waiting for an OTA update, and when you do so, you’ll get all of the above improvements in addition to the latest July 2017 security patch. Check out their downloads page to get started!


What are you looking forward to the most with the latest Paranoid Android update?



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Unofficial Ports of Magisk for the Pixel and Pixel XL Get Dedicated Thread

Until now, Pixel and Pixel XL owners have had to use the Magisk port that was provided by XDA Senior Member goodwin_c and located in the Pixel’s Resurrection Remix custom ROM thread. Now goodwin_c has created a dedicated thread for their port and it’s located in our Magisk forum right now. Unlike the port listed in the Resurrection Remix thread, this new thread has download links for the latest version of Magisk (currently v13.3).


Find the Unofficial Magisk Port in our forum



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Android 7.0 Update File Downloads for the LG G4 F500S/L/K

If you own either the F500S, F500L, or F500K variant of the LG G4, then you can download the Android 7.0 Nougat KDZ for your specific device right in our forum. These download links were shared by XDA Senior Member PjLyTam who not only provided direct download links of them, but also mirrored them up on Google Drive. Just realize that these cannot be flashed onto other variants of the LG G4. Only the F500S/L/K are supported by these KDZs.

Download the Nougat KDZ in our LG G4 forum



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Latest WhatsApp Beta Supports PiP Video Calls in Android O

Android O is chockfull of new features, and one of the most useful ones is Picture-in-Picture (PiP) functionality. PiP allows videos to play over your screen while using other apps or playing games, and the latest app to add support for this feature is WhatsApp.

In the latest WhatsApp beta for Android (version 2.17.265), the application now allows video calls to be used in PiP mode. Once you start a video call in WhatsApp, pressing your Home button to leave the app will shrink your video call down to a small rectangle that you can move around to any side of your phone’s display. Other applications have implemented PiP functionality before Android O, such as Twitch and even Skype for video calls, but PiP should make it easier for more applications to adopt the feature.

With PiP for WhatsApp, you can continue a video call with someone while looking up notes on Google Keep, searching for a restaurant, or really anything else – all without having to interrupt the call you’re currently in.

PiP in enabled by default in version 2.17.265 of the WhatsApp Android beta, and it’s rolling out now to users that are a part of the beta program. There’s no word as to when PiP will be available outside of the beta, but it shouldn’t be too much longer until that day comes.

Source: WABetaInfo



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Xiaomi Confirms the Mi 2 and Mi 2S (from 2013) Will Receive MIUI 9

Earlier this week, the long awaited announcement of MIUI 9’s launch date was officially announced. We’ve seen various rumors about what Xiaomi will be including in this update, but there hasn’t been much official news on the matter. The announcement confirmed that MIUI would be launching on July 26th in China right alongside the Xiaomi Mi 5X. The company is already looking for beta testers for the update just in case you want to try out an early build of it.

The new update from Xiaomi is expected to be based on Android 7.1 Nougat, but remember that MIUI is drastically different from stock Android. So far, we know the new MIUI 9 update will include a redesigned lockscreen shortcut, split screen functionality, three new themes (that will all be pre-installed), and it looks like Xiaomi will be removing some of the more unused features of the platform. We’ll just have to wait and see how the new update feels once we get our hands on it.

The news isn’t stopping with just MIUI 9 on the Mi 5X though, as we know that Xiaomi likes to support a large number of their devices. Not only do we have a full list of MIUI 9 supported devices, but it has been confirmed that both the Xiaomi Mi 2 as well as the Mi 2S will be receiving this update to MIUI 9. This is quite unusual in the Android market as these devices were released all the way back in April of 2013. Most Android smartphones only receive updates for about 2 years after they’re released.

Xiaomi does point out that this is specifically for the China ROM. There doesn’t seem to be any information about a MIUI 9 Global ROM for these devices yet. However, the following list of devices are expected to receive this MIUI 9 China ROM update…

Mi 6, Mi 5s Plus, Mi 5s, Mi 5c, Mi 5, Mi 4S, Mi 4c, Mi 4, Mi 3, Mi 2/2S, Mi MIX, Mi Max 2, Mi Max, Mi Note 2, Mi Note, Mi Note Pro, Mi Pad 2, Mi Pad 1, Redmi Note 4X (MTK), Redmi Note 4X (SD), Redmi Note 4, Redmi Note 3 (MTK), Redmi Note 3 (SD), Redmi Note 2, Redmi Note, Redmi Pro, Redmi 4X, Redmi 4A, Redmi 4, Redmi 4 Prime, Redmi 3S/Prime, Redmi 3, Redmi 2A, Redmi 2/Prime, Redmi 1S, Redmi 1

Source: Xiaomi



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Android’s Engineering Team Talks About Themes in Android O, White Notification Shade in DP2

We’ve known about Sony’s RRO implementation of theming in Android for a while now as it has made its way into the AOSP code base. Since this was discovered, the community has been left wondering whether the next version of Android would finally add this as a user-facing feature for everyone. Some OEMs are already taking advantage of theming, but others seem to ignore it for one reason or another. During a recent AMA over on Reddit, the engineering team for Android spoke a little bit about this.

During the AMA this week, /u/Shadesta9 asked the team if there was any programming obstacle to provide a full theming feature for Android. The user was simply wanting to know if we can expect it to be included in Google’s upcoming update to Android O, or if it was something the Android team thought wasn’t quite right yet. Alan Viverette from the Android engineering team replied and explained the issue by saying that there are both technical as well as logistical hurdles when it comes to theming.

Thanks to Sony, the technical side of the issue has been “largely solved” in Android O because of the RRO system. Mr. Viverette then goes on to say that the logistical side of things is still an issue because there still aren’t stable APIs available that describe what can be themed. Not only that, but there also aren’t any adequate ways to verify that existing applications can even properly support theming. So while some progress has been made, it still doesn’t look like it’s ready as a user facing feature.

The AMA also had a question from /u/CharaNalaar about the white notification shade where they asked if it was a glitch. This time, Selim Cinek chimed in and said the overall goal for Android O was to make the lighter notification surface match the quick settings panel. To that end, the team did switch the the default theme of the quick settings panel and that made the style more consistent. They then confirmed that the theming engine is still in Android O, and it will be up to the OEM to provide different themes.


Source: /r/AndroidDev



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Qualcomm’s Q3 Financial Report is in, Revenues Down 11% YoY

Qualcomm has been facing a lot of legal battles as of late, as they’ve faced legal issues from the likes of BlackBerry as well as Apple. Not only that, but entire countries have also attacked Qualcomm with claims of antitrust business practices and forced them to pay out fines. The company’s latest financial report shows that these recent issues might be having an impact on both their overall revenue and their net income profit when compared to last year.

As Qualcomm starts to fight back against Apple in court, the company’s recent financial trend may just be the start too. And to top it all off, a recent acquisition that had previously received approval now has an open investigation into the deal as well. This isn’t to say that Qualcomm’s books have fallen into the red. In fact, the company was able to beat expectations from both Wall Street analysts as well as their own projections from back in April.

For Q3 of this year, Qualcomm was able to bring in revenues of $5.4 billion. This number is actually quite respectable and is $400 million more than the company was able to bring in last quarter. However it’s down compared to Q3 of last year when they were able to bring in $6.0 billion in revenue. We see the same trend when it comes to net income for the company as well. Qualcomm was able to bring in a profit of $900 million for the third quarter of this year.

Which again, is up from the $700 million in profit that they were able to gain during the second quarter of this year. However, when we look back at Q3 of 2016 we can see it’s actually down by $500 million. Operating cash flow for the quarter sits at $100 million, which actually down when compared to last quarter ($800 million), as well as the same quarter last year ($1.8 billion).  The report also notes that the reduction in operating cash flow listed there included the $940 million arbitration payment to BlackBerry, a $927 million payment related to a Korea Free Trade Comission fine, and the impact from the actions taken by Apple’s contract manufacturers as well as other licensee in dispute.


Source: Qualcomm



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