lundi 31 juillet 2017

LG V20 Receives a Port of WakeBlock to Help Control Wakelocks

WakeBlock is an application that lets you control wakelocks so that your smartphone or tablet stays in a deep sleep mode. There is now an unofficial port of this system modification for the LG V20 thanks to XDA Senior Member Zacharee1. As with the original application, it is considered to be in an early alpha stage with more features coming soon. For this port though, you need to take additional steps outlined in the original post including replacing the /system/framework/services.jar file, adjusting some file permissions and more. Check it out by following the link below!


Check out this port of WakeBlock in our LG V20 forum



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Google Chrome Canary and Dev Builds Now Come with Built-In Ad Blocker

Google depends on advertising for its revenue. It is to serve this purpose that the company collects all relevant data across all of its users. Our browsing habits, our shopping-related searches, our weekly schedule — all of these are of interest to Google because they grant an insight into our lives, allowing Google to serve personalized ads that have a higher chance to resonate with viewers.

So earlier this year, when reports emerged that Google was looking to incorporate an ad blocker in Google Chrome  – its main browser that serves millions of Android users – many people were initially surprised. After all, ads are Google’s forte, so blocking them natively seems like a strange idea. However, the reports clarified that even though the ad blocker would be turned on by default, it will only block out those specific types of ads that are deemed too intrusive and that negatively affect a user’s browsing experience.

Google’s ad block plans were scheduled for public appearance in 2018, but it appears that the feature is already under testing. Some users on Google Chrome’s Canary and Dev branches are now seeing a new option within the app’s settings called “Ads”, which is where the user-facing toggle for the ad blocker will reside. The ad blocker is toggled on by default, but you do have the option to turn it off.

This setting focuses squarely on intrusive ads and not all ads (as other ad blockers usually do). The definition of intrusive ads, and the boundaries of said classification, are being decided by the Coalition for Better Ads, which Google participates in. The new standards define what offending ads are by how they hamper the user experience, and Google utilizes these standards to block out intrusive advertisements. Ads that are targeted through the ad blocker include pop-up ads, countdown timers, auto-playing audio and video ads and a few others; and unsurprisingly, Google’s own advertisements will remain largely unaffected.

Implementing a native ad blocker that targets negative ads will actually increase ad revenue for Google. Many ad block users look for ways to filter out terrible and intrusive ads, and using an ad blocker means that other acceptable and non-intrusive advertisements also get caught in the same net. By specifically targeting intrusive ads, Google hopes to decrease the reliance on nondiscriminatory ad blockers, and thus, increase revenue by preventing less intrusive ads to remain unblocked.

What are your thoughts on Google Chrome’s native ad blocker? Will such an implementation replace the use of other ad blockers for you? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Caschys Blog



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Vic Gundotra (Ex-Google VP): If You Care About Great Photography, You Own an iPhone

The name Vic Gundotra if pretty well known within the Android community as he used to lead Google’s mobile division when he worked for them. He’s likely more known for his contributions to services like Google+ though, but his work also touched other areas within the company. He is credited for a lot of the work done to early versions of Google Maps and worked to grow Google I/O, but then decided to resign after 7 years of being with the company.

Mr. Gundotra recently made some comments in a Facebook post on how he feels about the state of photography when it comes to Android and iOS. The post started off innocently with him simply sharing two photos of his children that he took on an iPhone 7+ using Portrait Mode. He was so impressed with the quality of the photos that he specifically praised Apple on the work they’ve done with their computational photography feature (aka Portrait Mode).

Someone replied to this post and agreed that the era of lugging around a huge DSLR camera was indeed over, and said their Galaxy S8 does an even better job. This is where things take a turn as Mr. Gundotra replied less than 10 minutes later to say he would never use an Android phone for photos. Surprising a lot of people, they asked why this was and this gave him time to explain what he meant by the whole comment.

Android is an open source (mostly) operating system that has to be neutral to all parties. This sounds good until you get into the details. Ever wonder why a Samsung phone has a confused and bewildering array of photo-options? Should I use the Samsung Camera? Or the Android Camera? Samsung gallery or Google Photos?

It’s because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera) they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.

Also the greatest innovation isn’t even happening at the hardware level – it’s happening at the computational photography level. (Google was crushing this 5 years ago – they had had “auto awesome” that used AI techniques to automatically remove wrinkles, whiten teeth, add vignetting, etc… but recently Google has fallen back).

Apple doesn’t have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.

Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don’t mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.

He claims Android being open source and needing to be neutral to all OEMs is why it is slower to innovate than Apple is with the iPhone. He then claims a Samsung phone has a “confused and bewildering array of photo-options” but doesn’t really go into detail about what he means here other than mentioning a Samsung Camera, Android Camera, Samsung Gallery and Google Photos application. So maybe having too many options available to him is what makes things confusing, though in terms of camera apps Samsung only offers its stock Camera pre-installed.

He does then go on to say that when Samsung innovates with hardware (like putting in a new camera module feature), they are forced to “convince Google” to implement the appropriate API into Android and that can take years. Although, Samsung does create their own APIs for the hardware they use in their devices, so it’s unclear exactly how using an Android device makes you “a few years behind” as Vic Gundotra puts it.

What do you think of Mr. Gundotra’s statements? Do you agree with his assessment? Sound off below!


Via: The Next Web Source: Facebook



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Guide Shows You How to Build a Custom ROM with Microsoft Azure

Building a custom ROM can take a long time if you don’t have high-end hardware and it can take even longer if your bandwidth is limited and/or very low speed. Thankfully though, there are a number of cloud computing platforms available and Microsoft Azure is one of the most popular options. So XDA Senior Member Albe96 has put together a detailed step by step guide on how to use a Microsoft Azure server to build your own custom ROM in the cloud. It’ll also give you a general idea of the service in case you have other uses for it too!


Check out this guide in our Chef Central forum



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Samsung’s Industry-First Cat.18 6CA LTE Modem Hits 1.2Gb/s Downlink Speed

When Samsung announced the Exynos 9 Series SoC (with the 8895) earlier this year, the company was proud to talk about its new LTE modem. Like with the announcement we’re seeing today with the Cat.18 modem, their Cat.16 LTE modem used in the Exynos 8895 came with support for 5CA (carrier aggregation). This enabled the chip to theoretically hit a maximum download speeds of 1.0Gbps — if the stars aligned and you were connected to the proper LTE towers.

Today, the company has taken this a step further and announced their new Cat.18 LTE modem and it includes improved carrier aggregation as well. Instead of 5CA like we saw earlier this year, this new chip will support 6CA and come with a 20% increase in download speeds. So again, if everything falls into place properly then this new LTE modem from Samsung should be capable of 1.2Gbps which could let you download an entire HD movie in 10 seconds.

For those unaware, Carrier Aggregation in these LTE modems combines a number of component carriers with different bandwidths. This is what results in the increased upload and download speeds as well as an overall improved network performance. So 5CA allowed for 5 different carrier bandwidths while the new 6CA support increases this to 6. This technology also includes support for 4×4 MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) and higher-order 256 QAM (Quadrature amplitude modulation) in an attempt to maximize the data transfer rate too.

This won’t mean much for those in the United States as wireless carriers here are only aggregating three LTE channels at most (although Sprint did promise four carrier aggregation next year). We’re told that this new Cat.18 LTE modem will go into mass production “by the end of this year.” We aren’t given a date, but it’s safe to assume it will not make its way into a new smartphone until next year.


Source: Samsung Newsroom



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Three New MIUI 9 Themes Available for Download on the Redmi Note 4

Xiaomi just announced and subsequently launched MIUI 9 this month. It’s been made available as an alpha/beta China ROM for a couple of devices already, and comes with new features as well as some new themes. For those who have the Redmi Note 4 and don’t want to wait for the official update, XDA Member PawanRockz has provided us with the new themes from MIUI 9. This single download includes Color Fantasy, Limitless, and Cool Black. If you are on MIUI 8 and want to check them out, follow the forum link below to preview and download the themes!


Check out these themes in our Redmi Note 4 forum



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Apktool Receives an Update to 2.2.4, Includes Security Fixes and More

Apktool is s very popular piece of software among some of the more dedicated Android enthusiasts. The software has made headlines time and time again with the most recent being in June when Connor Tumbleson was able to receive sponsorship for the project thanks to Sourcetoad. Today, he has announced a new update which brings its version up to 2.2.4 and comes with some important security patches along with a few slowdown fixes when decoding applications.

In case you’re unaware, Apktool is a piece of software that has been written in Java which mainly allows you to disassemble/reverse engineer 3rd party Android applications. Granted, it also does a lot of other things as well, but most people know it for its reverse engineering capabilities. Mr. Tumbleson has just pushed out a big update over the weekend that is likely to make a lot of people happy with the specific fixes that it comes with.

As mentioned, version 2.2.4 comes with some important security fixes. These issues were disclosed by Chris Shepherd (IBM Security) & Eran Vaknin, Gal Elbaz, Alon Boxiner (Checkpoint), and did so responsibly so that Apktool could be patched before things got out of hand. If you’d like to read into these vulnerabilities in more detail, then you can read more about them here. To summarize, this update patched a XXE Attack (which is more formally known as a XML eXternal Entity Attack) and a XXE OOB Attack (known as the XML eXternal Out-Of-Band Attack) and an Apktool Path Traversal exploit.

There were also some reports of Apktool slowing down when it was used to decode an Android application. There were a number of instances in which this happened and a few of them have been fixed in this update. For those who use Apktool in any public facing environment, then it is highly advised that you update the software immediately. If you’re using it in your own personal environment though then the security patches are less important and you can update it as your own leisure.

Apktool v2.4.4 Changelog

  • [#1520] – Android O Final Dev Preview Support
  • [#591] – SnakeYAML 1.1.8 (Android Support)
  • [#1489] – Fix issue with APKs taking longer than usual to parse resources. (Thanks MarcMil)
  • [#1543] – Fix issue with internal binaries not accessible in a Spring boot environment. (Thanks bingqiao)
  • [#1520] – Fix issues with rebuilding applications originally built with aapt2.
  • [#1532] – Patch aapt to support the $ character in resource filenames.
  • [#1561] – Fix issue where apktool was holding locks onto files during execution. (Thanks MarcMil)
  • [#1534] – Fix issue with APKs that last resource in pool is INVALID_TYPE_CONFIG.
  • [#1564] – Fix issue with APKs that are including malformed characters to break parser.
  • Only exit with 0 error code during version commands.
  • Enforce license header on all source files.
  • [Security] Prevent malicous directory traversal with unknown files.
  • [Security] Prevent XXE vulnerability when given a malicious AndroidManifest.xml
  • Upgrade to gradle 4.0.
Source: Connor Tumbleson



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WakeBlock Lets You Prevent Wakelocks on the Nexus 6P

Battery life issues that Android owners complain about are almost always caused by an application waking up the phone when it is idle and/or not in use. Google has been working to fix this (with Doze), and will continue doing work in this area with Android O. For now though, XDA Member GioBozza has released a system modification called WakeBlock for the Nexus 6P that lets you control which wakelocks are allowed. We’re told the application is in an alpha state though (so have a recent backup made) and is missing a lot of the options which are currently planned.


Check out WakeBlock in our Nexus 6P forum



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Tweaks to Increase Performance of a Nexus 6P After Bootloop Fix

We recently featured a couple of guides on how to fix both the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X from bootlooping. This was thanks to a boot image XDA Senior Member XCnathan32 put together that disabled some cores to make it work. While it stopped the bootloop issue, it decreased performance, but if you decrease the screen resolution (to 1080p) and disable animations then those slowdowns aren’t as apparent as they were before. Follow the link below in order to learn how you can maximize performance on your fixed device!


Check out this performance update in our Nexus 6P forum



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Huawei Abandons the Low-End Segment, Aims to Compete Directly Against Apple

Huawei has continuously grown as a smartphone company to become the number 3 OEM in the world. They recently overtook OPPO in China during the first quarter of this year when they shipped one fifth of the country’s overall sales (by shipping 20.8 million smartphones). Their revenue growth did slow during the first half of the year, thanks to advertising costs and research into 5G technology, but now Huawei has decided to change up its business strategy.

First, the company plans to compete directly with the likes of Apple’s upcoming 10th anniversary iPhone. The company’s chief of Huawei’s consumer division, Richard Yu, came out and said the Huawei Mate 10 will be more powerful than what Apple plans to release with their upcoming iPhone. We’ve come to learn that Apple’s own custom chipset typically outpaces anything that Android devices use when it comes to synthetic benchmarks, but Mr. Yu focuses on specific areas here.

He says the Mate 10 will have a battery that will be able to last longer than Apple’s upcoming iPhone, and it will also charge much faster than it can as well. He mentions a “full-screen display,” which seems to coincide with some of the leaked renders we’ve seen published these last two weeks. Mr. Yu also boasts the photography capabilities of the Mate 10 and says their camera will perform better than Apple’s will too. He ends his statement by saying they also have “many other features” that will help them compete.

Huawei is said to ship up to 150 million smartphones by the end of 2017 as the company is making Europe, Japan and China their #1 priority. Mr. Yu even announced that Huawei’s business strategy is changing as they’ve decided to get out of the “very low-end” smartphone market entirely. He says that the profits from these devices are just too low that they can no longer spend any resources to continue manufacturing them.


Source: Bloomberg



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Hands on with the Maze Alpha: Big Bezel-less on a Budget

The Maze Alpha offers a solution to those who want a high-end looking bezel-less phone, without spending the high-end price. With other features like 4 or 6GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery, a dual-lens camera and a Helio P25 chipset, the Maze Alpha is a serious bargain for a phone with a 6″ screen.

With a sub-$200 price tag, the Maze Alpha packs a 6″ screen with a 1920×1080 resolution. This makes for an 83% screen-to-body ratio. The large bezel-less display is undeniably an awesome viewing experience.

A 4000mAh battery powers this device to give you a battery that will last all day long. With a USB Type C connector, the Maze Alpha has fast -charging capabilities.

The selfie camera on the Maze Alpha has been moved to the bottom of the phone to make room for the bezel-less display at the top.

The Maze Alpha does not skip out on camera quality. The dual-lens camera houses 13MP and 5MP sensors that do a great job on taking crystal clear photos. For selfies, you have a 5MP camera that sits at the bottom of the phone near the home button. The phone can be rotated so that the selfie cam is on the top, or you can keep it on the bottom.

The Helio P25 chipset makes running Android 7.0 smooth and lag-free. Combine this with 4GB of RAM and you’ve got yourself some pretty serious specs for what you’re paying for this device.

The Maze Alpha comes with a dual-lens setup with 13MP and 5MP sensors.

With a thickness of 8.1mm and weighing 225 grams, the Maze Alpha feels as premium as it looks.

Overall, the Maze Alpha is a great phone at a killer price. The screen is the best feature and is sure to be a hit with anyone who loves big displays. Use code MAZE4G to get a discount at checkout with the below link.

Get the Maze Alpha
We thank Maze Mobile for sponsoring this post. Our sponsors help us pay for the many costs associated with running XDA, including server costs, full time developers, news writers, and much more. While you might see sponsored content (which will always be labeled as such) alongside Portal content, the Portal team is in no way responsible for these posts. Sponsored content, advertising and XDA Depot are managed by a separate team entirely. XDA will never compromise its journalistic integrity by accepting money to write favorably about a company, or alter our opinions or views in any way. Our opinion cannot be bought.



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FCC Filing Indicates HTC Could Enable Bluetooth 5.0 on the U11 Via a Software Update

A new FCC filing from HTC shows that the company is planning to roll out a firmware update that will  enable support for Bluetooth 5.0 on the HTC U11.

The U11, which was launched back in May this year, comes with Bluetooth 4.2. However, if this new FCC filing is anything to go by, owners of the HTC U11 can look forward to seeing the latest Bluetooth standard trickling down to their devices.

 

The FCC filing states that the new update will “enable Bluetooth 5.0 by software without any hardware change.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise at all given the chipset powering the HTC U11, Snapdragon 835, already has hardware level support for the Bluetooth 5.0 standard, so it was all but expected that the device would probably receive this feature at some point.

The recently launched Moto Z2 Force also ships with Bluetooth 4.2 out of the box, though Motorola has promised to roll-out Bluetooth 5.0 in a future update.

In case you’re wondering, the Samsung Galaxy S8 was the first device to ship with the Bluetooth 5.0 standard. Apart from the Galaxy S8/S8+, the Xiaomi Mi 6 and OnePlus 5 are also on the list of the devices to ship with Bluetooth 5.0 out of the box.

Officially announced last year, Bluetooth 5.0 is in many ways a major upgrade over Bluetooth 4.0. The new standard offers up to two times the data throughput, up to four times the range, and up to eight times the broadcast message capacity compared to the Bluetooth 4.0 standard. Of course, all of those metrics won’t fully manifest themselves in your real-world usage, but it’s a thorough upgraded nonetheless.

Unfortunately, the FCC filing doesn’t state exactly when this new update will make its way to the U11.


Source: FCC Via: Ausdroid



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Bluetooth Battery Level Indicators are Finally Coming to Android

A really useful feature for those of us with Bluetooth headsets and other devices is finally making its way to AOSP: Bluetooth battery level indicators. This means that users of Google, Motorola, Sony, and other devices with near-stock Android software should be able to tell the battery level of their Bluetooth connected devices without the need of a third-party application. There’s no telling exactly how this Bluetooth battery level indicator will appear in its final state, but the existence of this new API in AOSP means that developers can implement Bluetooth battery indicators however they like.

Now, for those of you on certain custom ROMs (such as LineageOS) or with devices from certain manufacturers (such as those from Samsung, LG, Huawei, OnePlus, or Xiaomi) this is not a new feature. Battery level indicators for connected Bluetooth devices has been supported on many custom ROMs and third-party OEM devices for years, but such a feature has notably been missing from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which means that any Google phone on the stock firmware will not support it.

Samsung Bluetooth Battery Level Indicator

Samsung Bluetooth Battery Level Indicator

OnePlus Bluetooth Battery Level Indicator

OnePlus Bluetooth Battery Level Indicator

LG Bluetooth Battery Level Indicator

LG Bluetooth Battery Level Indicator

Users with Bluetooth devices that are lucky enough to have a companion application available on the Google Play Store can retrieve battery level information that way, but otherwise there are few options. A popular application on the Play Store called BatON attempted to add this feature, but it is quite limited in what range of devices it can support (by no fault of its own) and is also known to be quite buggy (with many users reporting frequent Bluetooth disconnecting).

BatON (Free, Google Play) →

Rather than rely on third party applications that either work only with a single Bluetooth device that you own or that only support a handful of devices out there, it would be great if Google stepped in to offer a feature that has been available on other devices for years. And finally, it looks like they’re doing just that.


Bluetooth Battery Level APIs in AOSP

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG), the body that oversees the standards for each Bluetooth iteration, has already defined a Battery service (BAS) in GATT (Generic Attributes services), but it’s up for Bluetooth to support BAS. According to some new commits we found while digging through AOSP, Google is preparing to add new APIs to “get remote device’s battery level.” In particular, they mention the following additions to AOSP:

Add APIs to get remote device’s battery level

  •  Add BluetoothDevice.getBatteryLevel() API to retreive battery level information of remote device
  • Add BluetoothDevice.ACTION_BATTERY_LEVEL_CHANGED intent to notify user that remote device’s battery level has changed
  • Add backend service methods for BluetoothDevice.getBatteryLevel()
  • Add battery level field in DeviceProperties with getters and setters
  • Add updateBatteryLevel() method in RemoteDevices
  • Add resetBatteryLevel() method in RemoteDevices
  • Reset battery level for device when device is disconnected in aclStateChangeCallback() to ensure a BATTERY_LEVEL_CHANGED intent when device first report battery level information after connection
  • Add tests for updateBatteryLevel() and resetBatteryLevel()

From this, we can see that Google will add a new method in the BluetoothDevice class called getBatteryLevel() which will retrieve the current battery level of a connected device when called. According to the source code, this returns a value between 0 and 100 (or -1 if Bluetooth is disabled, the device is disconnected, or does not support reporting its battery level). Hence this means that it’s possible for the battery level to be shown in a way that is more informative than a simple bar. A developer could show a notification or widget with the exact percent, for instance.

Bluetooth Battery Level Indicator

But that’s not all, an application that subscribes to the ACTION_BATTERY_LEVEL_CHANGED broadcast intent will be notified when the connected device’s battery level has changed. With a broadcast receiver, an application that is listening for changes in the connected Bluetooth device’s battery state will be notified when the battery level has changed, so there will be no need to implement a persistent background polling service of any kind. This value is sent as an integer between 0 and 100% through the intent extra EXTRA_BATTERY_LEVEL, and the application can differentiate between connected devices by filtering through the intent extra EXTRA_DEVICE.

Bluetooth Battery Level Indicator

Even certain devices which send battery information in their own way, such as Plantronics’ XEvent or Apple’s VSC, will also be supported. There is also work being done on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) battery level reporting being supported, though this is listed as “cannot merge” at the moment.


Possible Feature for Android 8.1?

Android O is almost upon us. The fourth Developer Preview was recently released and was mostly aimed at bug fixes, though there were a few minor UI tweaks here and there. However, Google announced that the third Developer Preview featured all of the finalized Android O APIs that developers can use to get ready for the next version of Android. As such, this means the new connected Bluetooth battery level reporting API won’t make its way to the first release of Android O – Android 8.0.

However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be coming. It’s possible that Google will introduce this API officially (when it’s actually finished) with the eventual release of Android 8.1. At the same time, they may even decide to have this feature be supported through the Android Support Library, bringing it to earlier Android versions. If that ends up happening, then users won’t have to wait months to enjoy such a feature (though we always encourage users to try out one of the many custom ROMs available on our awesome forums).

Nonetheless, this should be exciting news for fans of the stock software on their phone. Hopefully you won’t have to be jealous of users with Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG, and other devices with this nifty feature that should have been available in Android a long, long time ago. Given the recent outpouring of support for the idea over on Reddit, we’re sure that this will be a welcome feature – when it eventually comes to stock Android.



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dimanche 30 juillet 2017

How to Block Heads Up Notifications while Gaming or Watching a Video

A few years ago Android switched from a ticker style notification system to heads up notifications. Instead of just having the information scrolling across the status bar when a notification came in (ticker), heads up notifications in Android 5.0 Lollipop would popup on top of the status bar over any screen. Some people like this style as it allows you to quickly see and respond to important messages, but others hate when it interrupts what you’re doing such as gaming or watching a video. Here’s a tutorial on how to automatically block heads up notifications in whatever app you choose.

Currently, some users on custom ROMs are able to customize notification preferences for individual applications. Such a feature is coming to all users (…eventually) with the release of Android O and its notification channels, but while said feature allows you to disable heads up notifications for certain applications, there’s no way to specify that you don’t want to be interrupted when playing a game or watching a video. You can either permanently disable the app from displaying interrupting heads up notifications, or deal with them existing.

But thanks to the power of Tasker and a plugin called SecureTask, we can globally disable or block heads up notifications at any time we want such as when gaming or video watching. Now you can game or watch videos on Android without being interrupted by annoying drop down notifications ever again!

Tasker ($2.99, Google Play) →

SecureTask (Free, Google Play) →


Block Heads Up Notifications – Tutorial

  1. Install USB drivers for your particular device OEM (Google provides a list of some universal USB drivers here). Likely only necessary for users on Windows.
  2. Download the ADB binary for your particular operating system (WindowsMacLinux).
  3. Extract the contents of the ZIP file above into an easily accessible folder on your PC (like Downloads).
  4. Go to the Settings app on your phone and tap on the About Phone option. Depending on the OEM, this may be in a separate tab. When in doubt, just use the search feature in Settings to find it.
  5. Find the “Build Number” value in About Phone and tap on it 7 times to enable Developer Mode.
  6. Go back to the Settings main menu and enter Developer Options so you can enable USB Debugging Mode. Find it and enable it.
  7. Plug your phone into the computer and change it from “charge only” mode to “file transfer (MTP)” mode. This is not always necessary but it may be required on your device, but there’s no harm in doing this step.
  8. Go back to the PC and navigate to the directory where you extracted the ADB binary from before.
  9. Launch a Command Prompt/Terminal in this ADB directory. For Windows users, you can easily do this by holding Shift and then Right-clicking then choosing the “open command prompt here” option. 
  10. Once in the Command Prompt/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 you to authorize a connection with the computer. Allow it.
  12. Now  re-run the adb devices command from step 10, and you’ll see the serial number of your device in the output. If so, then you’re ready to move on. If not, then the USB drivers need to be re-installed.
  13. Launch the Settings application and go to the Accessibility Services page, then grant Tasker Accessibility permissions. You need to do this so Tasker can monitor when the game or media app you’re using is active.Hide Heads up Notifications
  14. Launch SecureTask, accept the license agreement, and grant the requested permissions.
  15. Execute the following command in the command prompt or terminal: adb shell
  16. Then execute the following command to allow SecureTask to work properly here:pm grant com.balda.securetask android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
  17. Launch the Tasker application.
  18. In the Profile tab, tap the plus (+) icon
  19. Tap on the Application option
  20. Select the media/video applications or games you want to hide annoying notifications for. Tap the back button once you’re done.
    app select
  21. Tap New Task and give it a name (such as ‘block heads up notifications’)
    new task
  22. Tap the check mark to confirm the name choice
  23. Tap the plus icon (+) at the bottom of the screen when in the Task editing screen.
  24. Tap the Plugin –> Secure Task –> Secure Settings.
  25. Tap the pencil icon next to the word Configuration.
  26. Change the Action option from Read to Write. Put the following in as the Setting text: global heads_up_notifications_enabled. And put the following in as the Value: 0. Tap done in the top right, then go back to Tasker’s main screen.
    securetask config
  27. Long press the new Task we just created, then tap on the Add Exit Task option.
    exit task
  28. Repeat steps 23-26 but change the Value for global heads_up_notifications_enabled in SecureTask from 0 to 1.final

Explanation

Okay, so what we have done here is created a Tasker profile where the application is looking to see if you ever launch an application or game (any applications or games that you selected in step 20). In my screenshots, I just selected Chrome and the Clock applications as an example. If you choose a game though, then Tasker will keep an eye out for anytime you have launched that particular game (or games). When Tasker sees you have launched any applications selected, it will kick in the task that we just setup and block heads up notifications globally.

So this task is simply executing a couple of commands on our devices. Since we have tied it to the application/game, the first command we typed in will only be executed when that game or application gets launched. It’s this command “global heads_up_notifications_enabled” with the value of 0 that actually disables heads up notifications entirely. So you could actually execute this in an ADB shell and completely turn off heads up notifications all the time, if that’s what you want.

This isn’t something that most people want though, as they actually just want to prevent those invasive notifications when they’re in the middle of a gaming or video watching session. So we’re executing this command with the value of 0 when we enter an application or game that we don’t want to be disturbed during, and the exit task will execute the same command but with a value of 1 to re-enable heads up notifications when we exit the game or video app.

Thus, this setup allows us to block heads up notifications when we launch any application of our choosing such as a game or video, and then enables it again when we exit that game or video app. Very simple to setup, but useful to have if you are in the zone when playing a game or just don’t want to be bothered when watching that movie or TV show.



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Facebook Launches Messenger Platform 2.1 With Built-In Natural Language Processing

When we talk about social networks, it is difficult to not include Facebook in that conversation. After all, for most people on the Internet, Facebook is the very definition of a social network, one that they use to communicate and keep in touch with long lost friends on the other side of the world as well as their colleague who lives down the street.

TheFacebook, as the site initially started off with the purpose of being an accessible database of student photos and names, evolved and snowballed into the Facebook that we know today. It plays host to a lot of details of our lives — from our life events to our work history to our cringeworthy posts from 10 years ago. Many use it as a means of obtaining news and information, many for memes and yet others who use the platform as a means of instant communication. Facebook’s initial purpose blurred as it grew and the Facebook of today embraces this change, offering a means for people to connect with each other and a means for brands to reach out to all such people.

Close to the heart of its current business strategy is Facebook Messenger, and by extension, the Messenger Platform. Messenger, also known as Facebook Chat to those that joined Facebook in its early days, is the instant messaging service that leverages and complements Facebook as a social networking site. For reasons best known to the company, Facebook took the decision to make Messenger a bit more standalone, eventually separating the messaging functionality from its core apps on various platforms into a standalone app.

The Facebook Messenger Platform works to build up this standalone app, intending to create its own ecosystem of functionality. It provides a means for developers to create independent third party apps that can plug into the Messenger app, because why not. Popularly referred to as chatbots, these applications allow businesses to deliver services such as customer support, e-commerce guidance and even interactive experiences through Messenger.

Facebook recently announced Messenger Platform 2.0, an upgrade to the platform that brought a new suite of tools to allows businesses and developers to build richer experiences conversationally and otherwise, and made it easier for users to discover such experiences. And now, Facebook has announced an incremental update to this platform.

Messenger Platform 2.1 includes new features for businesses to connect with their customers. One of the highlights of this update is the built-in Natural Language Processing, allowing developers to incorporate NLP into their bots in a simple manner. When Built-in NLP is enabled, it will automatically detect meaning and information in the text of messages that a user sends before it gets passed onto the bot. The first version of Built-in NLP can detect the following: hello, bye, thanks, date and time, location, amount of money, phone number, email and a URL. Facebook says that this is the first step in bringing NLP capabilities to all developers, and thus enabling brands to scale their experiences on Messenger.

The platform update also brings a handover protocol to allow businesses to create multiple experiences within a single bot. This will allow a seamless transition from an automated bot conversation to a one-to-one human conversation. This will allow scaling of experiences while still retaining the personal touch when needed, as live agents will now be able to handle customer support without any extra effort from the user’s end.

Messenger Platform 2.1 also brings in new features to improve the customer experience:

  • Payments on Messenger now makes payments easier to setup and seamless for people to checkout, through a new SDK.
  • Five new Call to Action (CTA) buttons have been added for businesses to add onto their Pages. In addition to the “Send Message” CTA, developers can now select: Shop Now, Get Support, Get Updates, Play Now, and Get Started. This variety will allow users some foresight on what to expect when they choose to start a conversation with the Page.
  • This update also brings in desktop support for Extensions SDK, allowing a consistent experience across mobile and web. Previously released features that were mobile-only will now be available on desktop as well. This will also provide developers with an easier way to test and debug as similar functionality can now be achieved on desktop.
  • Select business partners in the USA can now see if there is a customer match prior to sending a message to a phone number through an API. This feature is currently available in limited release capacity.
  • Chat Extensions have been enabled for Global Pages, fixing an issue where users in different regions were not able to take advantage of Chat Extension functionality.
  • Developers are now notified if their bot has been blocked or if policy issues arise.

To get started with Facebook Messenger Platform 2.1, head on over to Facebook’s Developer Documentation.


From the direction that Messenger is taking, it is clear that Facebook realizes the true power of mobile users. Allowing Messenger to diverge from the Facebook app may have its own pros and cons in the eyes of the end user, but to Facebook it all forms part of their master plan. At the end of the day, AI is the future and smartphones its carrier. And Facebook, along with other entities like Google, Microsoft, and Samsung, is inching closer towards that future. But will this future come at the cost of the social network? Or will Facebook be able to maintain a healthy balance between the interests and needs of its users and that of its business partners? That is something that only the coming years can tell.



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CarbonROM Update Brings Energy Aware Scheduling to the Nextbit Robin

Ever since Google hopped on to the Energy Aware Scheduling (EAS) feature train, developers on our forums have been working hard to bring this feature to the devices they support. The feature optimizes energy consumption for multi-core SoCs, and it requires significant kernel patches to get it working. The advantages of EAS are described in great detail in this forum post, in case you’re interested. A few days ago, we mentioned that a developer brought the feature over to the HTC U11, but now the feature is available for the Nextbit Robin as well thanks to the most recent update of CarbonROM.

The developers who helped port EAS claim that the implementation is stable and has resulted in lower idle battery drain and temperatures, so if you’re still holding on to your Nextbit Robin as a daily driver give the latest CarbonROM build a shot.


Get CarbonROM with EAS for the Nextbit Robin



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LineageOS 14.1 for the Huawei P9 Lite

The Huawei P9 Lite is a mid-range smartphone released in 2016 that features the HiSilicon Kirin 650 SoC, and as such has not seen as much development effort as some other comparable devices using Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs. This disparity is mostly attributed to a delay by Huawei in releasing their kernel sources, but nevertheless since the Nougat kernel source has been available developers have been hard at work bringing AOSP-based ROMs to the Huawei P9 Lite. Thus, thanks to the efforts of Team OpenKirin, LineageOS 14.1 based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat is now available for the device.

The ROM is by no means perfect at this point in time. The developers note that there are issues with the camera and dual SIM, for starters. Still, most features work, so if you’re looking for something new to spice up your P9 Lite experience, then check out LineageOS 14.1 at the link below.


Get LineageOS 14.1 for the Huawei P9 Lite



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samedi 29 juillet 2017

Evan Blass Leaks the Galaxy S8 Active, Confirms Previous Image Leaks

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active is a phone awaited by many who are looking for a rugged device. The Active lineup from Samsung tries to merge a lot of the flagship features from the S lineup with a smartphone body that is usually MIL-STD-810G certified for dust, humidity, salt and shock resistance; among other such features.

The Galaxy S8 Active had been prominently leaked last week, giving us a hands-on look at the device from multiple angles. Evan’s latest leak displays the S8 Active from just one angle, but it serves as a “confirmation” of the previous leak.

Even though this is still a leak and should be seen as one, Evan’s track record has been excellent and does not leave us with any doubt. In the image, we can also see the AT&T carrier name in the status bar, a pointer towards the S8 Active being an AT&T exclusive.

The Galaxy S8 Active will sport a flat display panel with curved corners. The phone also ditches the capacitive buttons from previous Active phones for capacitive buttons like on the S8. The phone will also sport the dedicated Bixby button, indicating that Samsung has not yet given up on its digital assistant despite its shortcomings. The device will also come with a large 4000 mAh battery, justifying its thickness over the S8 cousins. Other features include a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, bottom firing speakers and a camera setup resembling that on the S8. There will also be the oddly-placed fingerprint sensor on the back of the device.

What are your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active? Are you excited about Samsung’s next rugged flagship? Should the Galaxy S8 Active remain an AT&T exclusive, or should Samsung extend the device to other carriers as well? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Twitter – Evleaks

 



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Action Launcher v26 Brings Google Now Integration, Adds Notification Dots Support and More

Today, the lead developer behind Action Launcher, Chris Lacy, announced the release of a new update to its popular launcher application — Action Launcher v26. As always, the new update packs in a plethora of new features including support for Google Now integration and many Android O-based features.

Nova Launcher added Google Now integration last month and now you can enjoy the same functionality on the Action Launcher, too. However, in order to get the feature working, you will need to install the Action Launcher Google Plugin app alongside the main application. Once installed, you can access your Google Now feed by simply swiping left on the home screen –just like you would do on the Google Now launcher.

The new update also brings in many of the popular Android O features such as Android O-style App Shortcuts, Notification Dots, animated clock icon, custom widgets and more.

Action Launcher v26 sees support for Unread Count badges, previously only available in the beta version, extending to all applications and users can now granularly control which apps they want to display badges for. Not only that, you can now also view a small preview of app’s notifications just by long pressing the app icon, without actually opening the app or pulling down the notification shade.

Additionally, the new update also makes it easier to add app widgets; with the new Android O style widget picker, long pressing an app icon now displays a quick shortcut that shows all relevant widgets for a given app.

Here is the full changelog for Action Launcher v26:

  • NEW: Google Now integration for all! Requires installation of the Action Launcher Google Plugin application.
    NEW: Full Notification Dots support!
  •  NEW: Long-pressing an shortcut will display a preview of app’s notifications and allow notifications to be dismissed ala Android O. Available when using either Notification Dots or Unread Count.
  •  NEW: Unread Count support extended to all apps that have a current notification.
  • NEW: Android O style App Shortcuts panel.
  •  NEW: Allow granular control as to which apps display Notification Dots/Unread Count.
  • NEW: Android O style widget picker, which displays all relevant widgets for a given shortcut.
  • NEW: Directly engage Action Launcher’s Quickedit panel via a shortcut’s long-press popup UI.
  • NEW: Dedicated “Icons & App Shortcuts” settings page, which is home to all icon related settings.
  • NEW: When Google Pill widget is on the left screen edge and Google Now integration is enabled, display a tinted edge background as per Pixel Launcher.
  • NEW: Option to adjust the scale of icon indicators.
  • NEW: Revamped interface for selecting the apps that are hidden from app drawers.

Action Launcher v26 is now live in the Google Play Store. Meanwhile, you can download the Action Launcher Google Plugin app here.


Source: The Blerg



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vendredi 28 juillet 2017

Expect OEMs to Keep Omitting the Headphone Jack as Their Newest Phones are Selling Better and Better

A little over a year ago I wrote about the killing of the 3.5mm headphone jack. At the time, the Moto Z was newly announced, making it the first mainstream and major manufacturer to forgo the decades old and widely adopted technology.

Fast forward to today and we are now looking at the very real possibility that a sizable number of the year’s best phones will forgo the port for a myriad of reasons. Last year I peered into how OEMs were grabbing something simple and making it needlessly complicated; so does that still stand? Is the 3.5mm port as important as some of us think it is and does the lack of that port pose a real a problem in day to day life? You read the title, so you know my answer.


Last year phones like the Moto Z and iPhone 7 caused waves that rippled throughout the industry when both companies decided to remove the 3.5mm port from their flagships. The media came out full force with the general consensus being a negative response towards its ‘courageous’ removal. Apple, as Apple always does, took this in stride using it as an opportunity to push their own agenda complete with proprietary assisted bluetooth headphones, leveraging their Beats brand with new Lightning-enabled headphones, and largely ignoring the outcry for the legacy port. They did however, extend an olive branch to adopters by packaging not only lightning headphones, but also a lightning to 3.5mm adapter with every iPhone 7. They extended it further by allowing users to buy the adapter for the un-Apple accessory pricing of an affordable $9, easily within Amazon impulse-buy territory. Moto on the other hand also claims that the Moto Z was one of its best selling phones in years, outselling many of their prior devices that to many of our readers were vastly superior phones. HTC followed suit later last year with the thoroughly unimpressive HTC Bolt, but it wasn’t until they announced the ill-fated U Ultra in late March that it hit their upper echelon of devices.

While the lack of the headphone jack was the least of its problems, it was a large departure for HTC, a brand that recently is well known for their outstanding audiophile-grade performance. As far back as the HTC One M7, and even further, HTC set the benchmark for Android when it came to how powerful its amplifier was, and how capable the DAC could be for its users. However, HTC’s current flagship – the excellent U11 is yet another device in HTC’s stable that forgoes the port in lieu of design, water-resistance, or just plain cost cutting — though at least the U11 ships with a USB-C to 3.5mm DAC in the box unlike the U-Ultra. It is important to note that HTC has tried this before with ExtUSB, an earlier failure in attempts to remove the 3.5mm port on a series of devices including the original HTC G1 — and this move was as wildly disliked then as it is now. Coming back after last year, Motorola just recently announced its Moto Z2 Force will yet again be shipping without the 3.5mm port, no doubt based off the feedback and success of the Moto Z. Furthermore, rumors indicate that at least one, if not both, of the 2017 Google Pixel devices will remove the port as well. We hope that’s just a rumor, but it’s credible enough in today’s smartphone market and that alone is worrying. So what is going on, why are so many manufacturers intentionally handicapping their devices by removing the port? The answer is simple, these aren’t crucial handicaps that’d deter most customers in the main markers of these flagships.

The iPhone 7 is selling strong, the Moto Z sold well from what we know, and the U11 is selling better than the HTC 10; all devices that superseded their predecessors’ sales benchmarks and all without the headphone jack. This doesn’t mean that they sold well because the headphone jack’s removal allowed relative advantages in other, more favorable areas… but it certainly means these devices can sell well in spite of not featuring the port, and that’s good enough for them. In the admitted ‘echo chamber’ many of us find ourselves in, it is sometimes easy to think that as enthusiasts, what we notice is what everyone else notices, and that just is not true. While I am not saying that the normal or average users, the “large number” buyers, do not notice the absence of the port anymore than they would any other small annoyance, it’s just not something that actually matters all that often to them and in those markets, or in a way that detracts them from purchasing the phone. My wife, my boss, my boss’s wife, and numerous workmates have had their iPhone 7’s since launch and none of them have exclaimed in anger that they are just done with the phone because it didn’t have the port.

In the same breath though, I personally have found myself on two occasions being highly irritated that I did not have the port on my iPhone 7+. The first was while I was setting up DJ equipment for a work event, in which I needed to test the audio and I forgot my adapter. I was surrounded by high quality 3.5mm plugs, yet I had functional access to none of them. The second, and far more frustrating situation, was when I was in line at the Star Wars Celebration 40th Anniversary panel in Orlando – at 5PM the night before. I brought my brand new Nintendo Switch, my OnePlus Bullets V2, and my iPhone 7+… and you can imagine what I forgot. While it was highly irritating, I was glad I brought my iPhone over my Honor 8 Pro despite the loss of the headphone jack, because while my iPhone irritated me it also had vastly better battery life and a far superior camera, both things that were more important ten times over. Since October of 2016 I have used a phone without a headphone jack about 75% of the time, and when it came time to look at replacing my aggravatingly laggy Galaxy S8, I didn’t even think twice about the U11 not having the port, it just was not that big of an issue. To me and, looking at the sales numbers, to many others the headphone jack some of us feel so strongly about is a minor feature inconvenience not unlike wireless charging or an IR blaster to some users.


All of this being said, there are some real issues that plague the adoption of alternative – Lightning, USB-C or otherwise – headphones, and that is every manufacturer doing things slightly differently. For instance, my upcoming Moto Z2 Force headphone adapter will not work on my HTC U11, and my HTC U11 headphones will not work on my Z2 Force, or any other USB-C device. This is a problem, and one that needs to be addressed since it seems that the decision to include the DAC in the adapter or on the device while using USB-C audio passthrough is up to the manufacturer. This break in the ease of adoption could greatly impact the public’s perception of the issue. It could be easily assisted by HTC making their adapter available to purchase, both through their site as well as Amazon like Apple does, but as of the time I am writing this it is still being listed as “Pre-order” on the US site despite having devices requiring this adapter since November of 2016. The argument can be made that if they never removed the port this wouldn’t be an issue, and it is a valid one, but the port is gone and supporting their customers should be a top priority. Unfortunately, for Hi-Fi lovers, and those who use external DAC’s on Android, the situation is similarly frustrating. Google needs to fix support of external DAC’s without audio gain controls like the DragonFly Red and Black, which I love for their performance and ease in portability. But these devices are affected by a bug deep in Android that prevents them from attaining full power on unless the phone is rooted, a major problem that still does not appear to be fixed. When an Android OEM decides to make the simple needlessly complicated, they also need to make sure the customer’s experience due to these decisions is as easy and smooth as possible. Hopefully, with indications of Google stepping into the USB-C audio future with the next Pixel phones, we will see standardization and fixes to help ease the transition into the new future for our mobile devices. LG is aiming to buck this trend, at least as of now by touting their quad-DAC available in the LG V20 and the Hi-Fi DAC in some variants of the G6 and G6+. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be stopping the steady decline of demand for LG devices as noted by their 2nd Quarter 2017  financial results.


Day to day performance, battery life, the camera, software, water resistance – all of these are things most users will place at the top of their importance lists for what they will and will not buy. The headphone jack has slipped to being just another nicety today – as frustrating as it sounds – but when it comes to actually being a buying-decision issue, sadly the numbers just do not back up the claims that it is device-hindering and essential. More and more Android manufacturers are going to follow Apple, HTC, Google, and Motorola’s lead in removing the port as they see that they can benefit from removing the port for things like better ingress protection, less points of failure, more radical designs, and less cost. We as users are going to have to adapt to this, or be stuck with an ever-shrinking selection of devices. There are real-world scenarios that each and every early adopter will have to face, and while Apple is leading the charge in making this easy, Android is lagging behind getting everyone on the same page. I now have to have to choose if I am going to stick with my HTC bundled headphones at work, and use my adapter at home, or use my adapter at work and be forced to use my HTC headphones in my home. If I am setting up my equipment at work I need to make sure I have my iPad nearby or risk not being able to level my audio properly. When I stayed overnight at a hotel for a work event, I had to actively remember to bring my adapter or not have the use of headphones the next day, and one time I took my adapter to work with my headphones and forgot them over the weekend. The grass isn’t greener on the other side and there are issues and annoyances in having to adapt to the lack of something we have had for decades that will continue to live on in other devices.

For me though, if I am forced to choose between a device that meets my battery, performance and camera needs and one that sacrifices any of those but has a headphone jack, I will go for the former every time. And I’d do it with admitted reluctance, of course, but that will sadly decrease over time as the omission becomes increasingly normalized, like we’ve seen with features such as removable batteries. My Galaxy S8+ may just be the last phone I own with the legacy port, and honestly I don’t think I will miss it… until I do.



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Huawei Releases Financial Report for H1 2017; Sales Revenue Increases 36.2% YoY

We are starting to see a number of financial reports come out from smartphone OEMs right now, as they try to give us and their investors a look at their past workings. Samsung recently announced theirs and allowed them to take claim of the largest maker of chipsets when they surpassed Intel. LG released theirs recently and it showed that they are continuing their downward trend as they lost over $115 million for the quarter.

Things are looking better for Huawei though, as they’ve been able to increase sales revenue by 36.2% compared to the same time period last year. This figures is from Huawei’s H1 2017 report so it counts all of the sales the company has done during the first half of the year. During this time frame, Huawei has been able to bring in $15.65 billion in sales revenue. The company says its smartphone shipments have increased over 20% when compared to last year, coming in at 73.01 million units. Some reports claim Huawei took up about 9% of the global smartphone market, but the company says they had 22.1% market share in Greater China alone.

When breaking things down regionally too, Huawei says they were able to increase sales all across Europe by 18% compared to the first half of last year. This type of growth is definitely important for the company as they are still trying to increase their market share all around the world. The company knows that in the United States, they need to build up their relationships with mobile carriers and they’re doing this right now with AT&T.

As we look at the overall revenue for Huawei during the first half of the year, the company was able to bring in $42.04 billion, at an operating margin of 11%. The company says they will continue expanding their retail presence throughout the year, planning to reach 56,000 stores worldwide by the end of 2017 (up from 35,000 in May of last year). Huawei is also looking to invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning as it will help drive the upcoming “smart era” of technology.

Source: Huawei



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Google Play Offers Discounts on Some TV Seasons if You Own Part of it Already

Google Play offers a number of different ways to obtain TV shows for your smartphone, tablet, and Android TV devices. So if you would like to get your hands on only one single episode of a TV show, then you have the choice of just buying it and ignoring everything else. This is great for those who either want to check out how a series starts before committing to it, or they could not afford an entire show/season in one go, or they really like that one episode and would like to rewatch it at their convenience.

Then there’s also the full season option where you can purchase an entire season of a show that you enjoy, which is handy for those marathon sessions. Lastly, there are sometimes full show bundles where you can pay to buy every single episode in every season for a TV show and likely get a discount for doing so, just like you generally get a discount when buying by the season.

But there are some instances where one has purchased one or more episodes of a show, maybe perhaps when the season first started, but then could not continue buying them. Previously, you would either need to pay for the missing shows individually, or pay full price for the season itself. For many, it didn’t seem fair to own part of the season already and then have to pay full price just to get the remaining episodes when purchasing by the season.

So Google is now rolling out a new feature to Google Play Movies & TV that could get you a discount on your purchase if you buy a season where you already own some of the episodes. Sadly, this feature will not be possible for every single TV show out there, or every season that a TV show has, but if the season you’re wanting to complete is eligible, then you could receive a discount that will help sweeten your deal.

To get this discount, you will need to use the Google Play Movies & TV application on an Android smartphone, tablet, Android TV, Roku, or compatible smart TV ; but not an iOS device. The discount is only available for SD and HD versions of the show and the price of SD and HD episodes you own will count towards completing a season in HD, but the price of HD episodes owned will not count towards completing a season in SD.

Source: Google Play Help



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MIUI 9 Alpha and Beta Download Links Available for the Redmi Note 4X and Mi 6

We’ve talked about MIUI 9 quite a lot lately. It was only last week when Xiaomi officially announced that MIUI 9 would be launched at the end of this month. This new software update would coincide with the launch of the Xiaomi Mi 5X, and the update would also be making its way to other Xiaomi devices. The company even confirmed that a couple of their smartphones from 2013, namey the Mi 2 and Mi 2S, were on the roadmap to receive an update to MIUI 9.

A few days later, Xiaomi previewed MIUI 9 on the upcoming Mi 5X and that gave us a look at what we should expect from the new software. We got a look at the new lockscreen shortcut changes, the split screen functionality that we’ve been hearing about for quite some time, and even learned the Mi 6 and Redmi Note 4X would be some of the first devices to receive a beta for the new update. Then right on schedule, Xiaomi officially launched the Mi 5X and MIUI 9 two days ago.

Now that MIUI 9 has been launched, the company has also kept their word and has begun with the alpha and beta testing of the software on the Mi 6 and the Redmi Note 4X. You can download a set of alpha and beta MIUI 9 builds for these devices by following the linked buttons below.

There are some caveats when it comes to these updates that XDA Member tom_riddler feels you should know about. Firstly, these are alpha/beta builds and you should expect to see plenty of bugs if you decide to flash them onto your device. Secondly, these downloadable updates are for the Chinese ROM, so there is some Chinese bloatware that’s installed and there aren’t any Google applications included, but those can be manually installed later.

Lastly, you have the choice to install either the Alpha build or the Beta build of MIUI 9 for these two devices. The alpha builds for both devices will get faster updates pushed out to you, but they could also contain more serious and frequent bugs as well. The beta builds will get slower updates than the alpha builds, but there should be less bugs as they’re trying to squash them in anticipation of the official release.

Download MIUI 9 for the Mi 6 Download MIUI 9 for the Redmi Note 4X



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NPR Survey Shows 65% of Owners Wouldn’t Go Back to Not Having a Smart Speaker

For some, the whole smart speaker market seemingly came out of no where. Amazon launched the Echo and for a while it was too expensive for your average customer to consider buying. Amazon was aware of this and then released the Echo Dot and Echo Tap to help fill in those price ranges. Now, the company has one with a touch screen on it that is now sitting at the same price point the original Echo was released at but includes a lot more features.

Google has also entered this market with Google Home and there have been reports of Samsung wanting in on it as well. The smart speaker market may be dominated by Amazon right now, but it’s still early and there is plenty of room for new competition. Not everyone has been a fan of the smart speaker though, even after they buy one many people simply stop using them. Some have wondered if they will go the way smartwatches have and see interest dying off.

A new survey from NPR indicates that smart speakers are increasingly becoming vital to everyday life. When asked, owners say that they’ll use their smart speaker for 7.5 common tasks on average each week. Of the people surveyed, 65% of smart speaker owners say they would not go back to life without their smart speaker. 70% of these owners say they’re listening to more audio (music, news, podcasts, etc.) in their home thanks to the wireless capabilities.

On top of that, 20% of them even say that streaming to their connected speaker is how they most often listen to audio these days. The survey continued and showed that 45% of owners say they’ll be purchasing a new connected speaker in the future, and 69% of them have recommended their friends to start using one in their homes. That stat makes it seem like connected speakers are going to be a popular choice as a gift for those who have yet to try one.


Source: National Public Media



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WiFi Chipset Info Checks if Your Device is Vulnerable to BroadPwn

Android’s monthly security update for July included patches for 138 issues with 18 of them being tagged with Remote Code Execution. These are the vulnerabilities that enable an attacker to execute some code remotely and is considered quite dangerous. One of these RCE vulnerabilities is actually a flaw in Broadcom’s Wi-Fi code, which is used in a lot of Android devices. This vulnerability is come to be known as BroadPwn and a new application called WiFi Chipset Info will check to see if you’re vulnerable to the attack.

The attack is quite complex but it’s also very dangerous since it can remotely execute code on your device. For a full explanation, you can find the original article for it here. Essentially though, the vulnerability allows for an attacker to initiate malicious network packets to a device that is in WiFi range. With so many people using public hotspots at stores and restaurants, you can see why this is such a big deal. The malicious network packets target your WiFi hardware to trigger the bug without you even knowing.

Once the bug has been triggered, the attacker has the same programmatic powers as the Android operating system. Thankfully the bug is patched, but we all know how security updates are on Android devices these days. Thankfully, the exploit is so new that few people even know about it, and because it’s so complex it is unlikely to become widespread anytime soon. However, the researcher who discovered has already presented their findings at the Black Hat 2017 conference in Las Vegas.

So this exploit is only able to take advantage of certain Broadcom wireless chips and you’re likely wondering if your device is vulnerable. XDA Senior Member vndnguyen was kind enough to put together an application called WiFi Chipset Info that not only checks to see what WiFi chipset manufacturer your device uses, but also checks to see if you’re vulnerable to the BroadPwn attack.


Check out WiFi Chipset Info in our Apps and Games forum



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Google Hires Essential’s Liron Damir as Head of UX on Google Home Products

Google has been getting more serious each passing year when it comes to its newly formed hardware division. The company has had huge success with its Chromecast device, and has since started expanding into smartphones, and most recently a couple of connected home products. Granted, they did lose the head of the Pixel division back in April, but this week it has been announced that Liron Damir has been hired to lead the user experience team of those connected home products.

Right now, this includes the Chromecast, Google Home connected speaker, and the Google WiFi mesh network devices. Chromecast and Google WiFi are both very user friendly devices but many feel Google Home could use some improvements when it comes to what the device can and cannot do (and how to get it to do certain things). Mr. Damir will be working on all of these products (and any new ones as well) though, so we should see some interesting changes in the future.

For those who aren’t aware, Liron Damir has worked at a number of high profile jobs in the past. The man was the former lead designer at HP and worked on webOS before it was acquired by LG. He then continued his work at LG for a little bit and then got hired as the lead designer at Pebble as well. He was then picked up by Andy Rubin’s own Essential and worked as the head of user experience for the entire company.

So now he has been hired at Google and will be in charge of the company’s user experience team for all of their Google home products. This will allow him to work on a wide variety of different devices and each of them have their own ways to interact with them. Google Home is controlled by voice, Chromecast devices have their controls handled via a phone and Google WiFi has a companion application but is supposed to automate everything so there’s little to no reason to even use the application.


Source: Variety



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Answer this Survey for Honor, Win an Honor 6X

Honor is giving away an Honor 6X, and all you have to do to enter is fill out this short survey which will help Honor learn more about your phone usage and preferences. All countries can participate, and the winner will be chosen in two weeks, on 11 August.



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HTC 10 and HTC One A9 Android 7.0 Nougat Kernel Source Code Released

HTC just announced that they have published the Android 7.0 kernel source code for the HTC 10 and the HTC One A9. These newly published sets of kernel source code will go a long way towards helping with the development of Android 7.0, AOSP-based custom ROMs for these devices.

Although it is always nice to see kernel source code published, it is a bit concerning that the kernel source code for the unlocked HTC One A9 is being published 6 months late. The Android 7.0 update for the HTC One A9 initially rolled out on January 17th 2017, which was also the point in time at which the matching kernel source code should have been released. This delay is relatively strange, as HTC is usually very quick to update their kernel source code, especially for their unlocked models.

It is important to keep in mind that while this isn’t the fastest case of publishing kernel sources, HTC had already published the Android 7.0 kernel source code for the unlocked model of the HTC 10 back in early December, just a couple weeks after initially launching Android 7.0 on the HTC 10. While it is not yet clear what caused the delay for the other HTC 10 and HTC One A9 models, it is still a relief to finally see their Android 7.0 kernel source code published in accordance with the GPL 2.0 license.

With this release, HTC has bumped the source code version for the unlocked HTC 10 from 2.28.617.8 to 2.50.617.2. The full list of newly published Android 7.0 Kernel Source code can be found in the following chart:

Device Software Version
HTC 10 T-Mobile 2.41.531.44
HTC 10 Verizon 2.41.605.20
HTC 10 Telstra 2.48.841.3
HTC 10 Unlocked 2.50.617.2
HTC One A9 China CHS 2 2.17.1405.3
HTC One A9 EE 2.17.91.1
HTC One A9 EU 2.17.401.2
HTC One A9 India 2.18.707.1
HTC One A9 Unlocked 2.18.617.21
HTC One A9 Telstra 2.17.841.1
HTC One A9 Asia HK CHT 2.17.708.2
HTC One A9 Unlocked 2.18.617.30

You can find the Kernel Source code for download at the HTC Dev Center.



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jeudi 27 juillet 2017

Latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build Lets you Link your Android Phone to your Windows PC

Microsoft has announced the newest iteration of Insider Previews for Windows 10. Insider Preview Build 16251 for PC is rolling out to Windows 10 Insiders in the Fast ring, and will also be available for Insiders who opted in to ‘Skip Ahead‘. The highlight of Preview Build 16251 is the ability to link your Android device to your Windows PC as Microsoft is introducing the first set of features that enable this linking functionality. The current use case in this build focuses on cross-device web-browsing, and this build invites Windows Insiders to help test the experience on Android before the functionality makes it way onto the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Redstone 3).

To get started with linking, install the newest Preview Build on your PC and link your phone by navigating through Settings –> Phone on your PC. Microsoft will send you an SMS with a link to a test application for Android called “Microsoft Apps” that is needed to complete the link between your phone and PC. Linking the devices in this manner ensures that your sessions are continued only on PCs which you have explicitly linked to, and not across all PCs where your Microsoft Account is present.

The test application on your Android device will add a share context “Continue on PC” in the share menu. So when the linking is complete, you can start browsing the web on your phone and share websites through this option. On the first invocation, the user will be asked to sign in with their Microsoft Account, and this account should be the same account that is used on the PC. Once the website has been shared from your Android device, it will show up on your linked PC. You can also defer the opening by selecting the “Continue Later” option, which will save the notification under the Microsoft Action Center panel for accessing later on.

If you would like to try out this feature, you would need to be enrolled into the Fast ring of the Windows Insider program. Jen Gentleman from Microsoft’s Shell team wrote up a quick info tutorial on the same over at Reddit:

First you’d need to register your MSA {Microsoft Account} or AAD {Azure Active Directory} for WIP {Windows Insider Program}, and then on your PC go to Settings > Update > Windows Insider Program and select which ring you’d like to be in.

Personally I’m a big fan of Fast and have that or even faster internal-only rings on most of my devices, but I will note I have a relatively high tolerance for potential issues and am pretty savvy when it comes to workarounds. Slow is more stable, but also (by nature) gets builds less frequently (once they’ve gone through Fast and are assured to meet a certain quality bar). Those are the two ring options out of our dev branch. We also have the Release Preview ring out of our current branch (aka the one in prod), where you’ll get app updates and sometimes cumulative updates before they go to prod, which can be quite nice and way less risky.

Currently, the link functionality appears to be limited to tab pushing from your phone to your PC. This comes in handy for those of us who want to revisit articles on a bigger display and a proper setup. We wish to see PC->Phone tab pushing as well, as some URLs are better shared through our phones to other less tech-savvy users.

A popular use case for linking phone to PC is to send texts from your desktop and see your phone notifications. While this functionality is not currently included in the Insider update (nor any mention has been made of it coming in the future), Mr. Jen Gentlemen pointed out that similar functionality can be achieved using Cortana on both your PC and Android. You would need Cortana and the same Microsoft account on both phone and PC, and you will have to make sure your PC is using the Anniversary Update or a later release.


All linking functionality that we have seen so far, through Cortana or through this update, involves the use of a Microsoft Account. The success and popularity of these functionality will be affected by the existence of a Microsoft Account in the first place. While it may be trivial to create one, many users do not intend to bind themselves up with yet another company and migrate away to a different set of apps just to achieve functionality that could have been achieved by using WiFi and Bluetooth connections. That’s something for Microsoft to consider.

What are your thoughts on the linking functionality introduced in the new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build? Have you tried it out yet? What features would you like to see possible in the future? Let us know in the comments below!


Source: Windows Blog



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