Phandroid » Developers Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 20 Sep 2014 23:23:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The unlocked, unbranded new Moto X could come as the “Pure” edition Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:22:20 +0000 moto-x-front-whole

Motorola has yet to release any specific details about availability of their Moto X as it has yet to even get an official release date, but one interesting detail has risen ahead of availability. According to The Verge, Motorola will look to offer the unbranded, unlocked version of the Moto X as the “Moto X Pure Edition.” We imagine they went with this name because of the fact that it’d likely be the first in line for OTA updates and should receive support well ahead of any carrier branded versions.

What we still don’t know is whether or not this version of the phone will be treated as a developer edition (that is, come with an unlockable bootloader). Phandroid’s Derek Ross made an interesting observation that the Pure edition could become the developer edition as Motorola might be signaling that unlockable bootloaders and faster updates appeal to more than just actual developers.

We imagine its name doesn’t make much of a difference considering tech buffs would know which exact version they would want, but whatever the case may be it certainly won’t hurt anything. What we’re more interested in is the prospect of getting this “pure” version of the phone through Moto Maker, something a Motorola rep confirmed to Phandroid would be possible with this year’s developer model. Of even more importance is its release date, though we’ll have to wait a while yet before those exact details are forked over.

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Bummer: Verizon won’t be getting a developer edition Moto X (2nd Gen) Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:24:29 +0000 moto-x-natural-leather-scratch-

When Motorola revealed the Moto X last week (be sure to see our early Moto X first impressions) we learned they’d be allowing folks to buy a customized developer edition / bootloader unlocked model through Moto Maker. Pretty big deal, that, considering you couldn’t customize last year’s model. Unfortunately one group of folks are already confirmed to be left out of the developer edition train.

In a casual response to a consumer question on Google+, Motorola VP of product management Punit Soni confirmed that there would be no developer edition Moto X for Verizon Wireless consumers. Soni didn’t go into grave detail about the whos, the whats and the whys, though he did cheekily confirm that it wasn’t their decision to snub Verizon customers. He responded to one angry soul saying he loved his profile photo:

verizon sickle and hammer

The hammer and sickle is a common symbol of communism, FYI. That makes it pretty clear who Soni is pointing the blame at, we’d say. So what does this all mean for folks on Verizon looking to buy the Moto X? For developers and rooters, it means getting custom ROMs loaded up onto this thing won’t be easy. In fact, it might not ever be possible.

Motorola bootloaders are notoriously difficult to crack and there’s no guarantee that even the most talented developers will be able to make any progress on a third-party unlocking solution. Root and ROMs based on the Motorola firmware might still be possible, but if the DROID phones from last year were anything to go by don’t expect much in the way of development.

Whether this is enough to drive you to another carrier for the new Moto X is obviously up to you to decide, but at least there won’t be any guesswork about the issue early on. Start preparing those exit strategies (we hear T-Mobile’s making it pretty easy these days). Will this be affecting your purchase decision when the device launches starting later this month?

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Elite Android Hacker Bundle will help you become an awesome Android Developer for $39 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:08:22 +0000 elite android hacker

Here’s a quick heads-up on a deal for anyone who has urges to get into Android coding at some point. Android Area has the Elite Android Hacker Bundle for just $39 for the next six days. The bundle typically retails between $400 and $500. It features 7 courses from Udemy with over 52 hours of instruction and lecture from some very qualified individuals.

The program is accessible for pretty much anyone, even if you have no prior development experience. You’ll first be whisked through essential courses for learning Java, the base programming language for Android. You’ll also be thrust into Android action early on to make sure you get a grasp on a lot of the important concepts and fundamentals early on. From there you have a wide range of more advanced courses at your disposal in order to take this thing to the next level.

A quick $39 is a small price to pay for skills that can net you many more dollars once you get those killer apps going. Be sure to consider the offer here, and let us know if you’ll be taking advantage in the comments section below.

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Stump Root is a 1-click root app for the LG G3 (T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon versions) Tue, 19 Aug 2014 01:17:14 +0000 LG-G3-Software

We’ve noticed that with the growing number of high-performance Android devices equipped hexa-core processors and gobs of RAM, there’s an ever growing number of Android fans who feel they no longer NEED to root. This wasn’t always the case. Back during Android’s “early days,” rooting was almost necessity to keep underpowered Androids feeling new.

But even today, there’s no denying that with all the new tools available — Xposed, full featured custom ROMs, themes, etc. — root is still an appealing for those that want FULL control over their Android device. Of course, rooting an Android is rarely an easy processor, requiring at least some knowledge of ADB with the off chance that you could somehow turn your Android device into a very expensive paperweight. Enter Stump Root.

An app created by Android developer extraordinaire JCase over on XDA, Stump Root brings 1-click root access to the LG G3 on T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T or Verizon. Rooting doesn’t get any easier than this, with the instructions on XDA showing the following:

  1. Install Stump Root
  2. Run Stump Root
  3. Reboot after app tells you to
  4. Install SuperSU APK from market
  5. Uninstall Stump Root

To grab the app, head over to the original post here on XDA, but be careful. As easy as this app makes rooting, there’s always some level of risk involved when making system level changes to your device. Proceed with caution.


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MIUI version 6 is here, and it’s one of the most beautiful renditions of Android yet Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:04:52 +0000 miui v6 1

Folks who do their daily bidding with MIUI will love what the folks behind the Android ROM have come up with. MIUI 6 introduces sweeping changes in areas of functionality, user interface and more.

The biggest change you’ll notice immediately is the new flat user interface, giving it a modern look and feel that many designers have clung to as of late. Iconography is simple and colorful, apps are presented in minimalist fashion, and there’s not a single ounce of that god-awful bubble effect that became so prominent following the iPhone’s rise to popularity.  You’ll see the new user interface and design language throughout all aspects of MIUI.

miui v6 2 miui v6 3 miui v6 4

There’s a lot to look forward to on the features side of things, as well. Here’s a quick list highlighting some of the biggest changes:

  • New built-in virus scanning and protection, and a Permissions app for controlling which apps can use data.
  • Built-in Clean Master app to keep cache, temporary files and other clutter at a minimum.
  • Improved data usage control
  • Built-in functionality to identify, mark or block unwanted calls
  • Improved threaded email support and attachment support
  • Do not disturb mode
  • Sliding up on lock screen now takes you directly to your home screen.
  • Ability to switch between cards vs icons for multitasking

All of it will be featured by default on the Xiaomi Mi 4, natch, and we imagine the changes will be in tow for everyone else (whether you’re using a ROM on a phone or an older Xiaomi phone) in due time. Unfortunately MIUI had no exact details to share about availability, so we’re reaching out to see if they can share more. We’ll certainly deliver those details as soon as they become available so be sure to keep an eye on Phandroid. Head to the source link to check out the massive gallery!

[via MIUI 1, 2]

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KitKat hits more than 20% of Android devices in latest platform distribution numbers Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:33:33 +0000 android platform distribution

Time for the periodical breakdown of Android version numbers by platform. This morning we see KitKat taking 1/5th of the pie for the first time, with the latest version of Android (and all its minor revisions) accounting for more than 20% of the share at 20.9%. That number will only keep rising from here on out, but the day that it catches up to Jelly Bean can’t some soon enough for many of you still on Android 4.2 and 4.3.

Speaking of which, Jelly Bean combined for an overall share of 54.2%, an absolutely dominating lead. A vast majority of that pie belongs to Android 4.1 and 4.2, but 4.3 is commanding a respectable 7.9% on its own. That deserves a quick golf clap, don’t ya think? And if we’re counting devices still on Ice Cream Sandwich (10.6%) as modern, then a total of 85.7% of folks are using Android at its best. Unfortunately that still lives a pretty visible share for legacy versions like Gingerbread (13.6%) and Froyo (0.7%), though those numbers continue to decline every day.

We’re not sure if we’ll ever see the day that more than half of Android’s userbase is running the absolute latest version of Android, but with Google taking steps to best fragmentation right in the mouth with each and every passing update we’re sure it won’t be much of an issue going forward. Let’s see how far KitKat can go before we reach the eventual launch of Android L. Full breakdown of stats can be found right here.

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LG will soon provide an official bootloader unlock solution, Android ROMing community rejoices Fri, 08 Aug 2014 23:27:32 +0000 LG-G3-Battery

Bootloader unlock policies are always a sticky situation. On one side you have the Android modding community wanting full control over the devices they’ve purchased, to do things like modify the software and flash custom ROMs. On the other side are manufacturers who’s hands are usually tied thanks to carriers making a locked down bootloader a requirement for phones operating on their network.

Recently, we’ve seen a shift in the tides as OEMs attempt to circumvent these restrictions, whether it be with their official bootloader unlocking software (a la HTC), or official “developer edition” devices that come out of the box with bootloaders pre-unlocked and ready to flash the custom ROMs like CyanogenMod or Paranoid Android.

LG is one of the bigger Android OEMs who has chosen to distance themselves from the issue, shying away from talk of unlocked bootloaders or developer editions when it comes to more strict carriers (like Verizon or AT&T) — until now. Senior XDA member Wolfgart mentions in a post on the developer forum that he received an email from LG stating that they are working on a software solution that will not only appease ROM flashing addicts, but avoiding stepping on the toes of carriers. Here’s the email:

“Thank you for your feedback regarding bootloader unlock and
we are sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment that have been caused by lack of support for bootloader unlock on the latest LG smartphones.

We are already aware of many developers’ requests and opinions on bootloader unlock.
So we have been preparing a server to provide safer bootloader unlock.
Also, we are internally discussing the target model and the time of providing bootloader unlock.
However, it will take some more time due to the technical restrictions, security issues, and the policy of mobile carriers.

We deeply apologize that we are unable to support bootloader unlock right now and would like to ask for your kind understanding.
We will let you know more specific information when the support policy for bootloader unlock is decided.

Now we should note, there’s no specific timing on when we can expect LG’s bootloader unlock to arrive, or even which devices will be supported. While we imagine flagship devices like the LG G3 will be supported, it might not be until the LG G4 or G5 that we see this implemented (so don’t go holding your breath). Still it’s a step in the right direction and a victory for those of us who’d like to enjoy a little more freedom on devices we’ve spent a small fortune on.

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Android surpasses iOS web usage for the very first time Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:01:03 +0000 M8-Blurred-KitKat

As long as Android has controlled worldwide market share, it’s never quite been able to match iOS in terms of web usage. That has finally changed, though, with the latest report from Net Applications suggesting Android has surpassed Apple’s platform in that regard. So what does this mean?

For starters, this effectively squashes the notion that people buy Android devices only to regret having to take it out of their pocket. Android users are doing more on their devices, something that can be attributed to better apps and better access to data (4G being made available pretty much everywhere).

What can this do for Android in turn? More web usage means more potential ad impressions. More potential ad impressions means more money for developers. More money for developers means more developers will stop treating Android like a second rate operating system. That all means better and more apps for users.

It’s a conundrum of goodness that can only gain more and more positive momentum as the months and years move on, and it’s that kind of ecosystem that has helped Android dominate since its arrival in 2008. In short, Android is doing better than ever, and we’re loving it.

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CyanogenMod 11.0 M9 brings support for Xperia Z2, Z2 Tablet and One M8, tons of new changes Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:30:00 +0000 cyanogenmod logo 5

The latest milestone for CyanogenMod 11.0 has been released, and a couple of big devices have been added to the list. The Sony Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 tablet and HTC One M8 have all graduated from nightly status. An M release is a monthly snapshot of all the latest changes. It isn’t quite stable, but it’s far more stable than nightlies have been and you can rest assured knowing it won’t make your phone explode in your day-to-day.

So what’s new in M9? The list is quite large and includes changes and fixes from June 31st through July 27th. Here’s what you can expect once you get your device upgraded:


  • Themes support for additional UI elements
  • Heads Up Notifications – Bug Fixes
  • Lockscreen – Allow doubletap to sleep when using secure keyguard
  • Torch – Improve performance
  • Safe Headset Volume – prompt when interfering with 3rd party device (Jawbone, Square, etc)
  • Center clock support
  • Quick Settings – respect locale changes on additional tiles
  • Proximity Wake-Up support – prevent accidental wake-up of device by checking to see if proximity sensor is blocked (eg. Device is in a bag or pocket).
  • Spam notification filtering – Set notifications to auto-ignore based on content (perfect for those pesky games that want you to ‘Save 20% on our new game’). Long-press offending notification to set as ignored; manage in Privacy settings.
  • Settings Search – Additional improvements and highlighting
  • Data Usage Info – Add support for CDMA devices without sim cards
  • Bluetooth – Add additional A2DP profiles
  • Bluetooth – Disable AVRCP 1.5 by default (fixes various car unit compatibility)
  • Email – Fix saving attachments to storage for POP3 accounts
  • Translations (Thanks CM Crowdin Team!)
  • Account for Play Services induced wake-locks
  • Fix encryption on some LG Devices
  • Dialer – add support for Korean and Chinese to smart-dialer

Not all of it is mindblowingly amazing, but you can’t be mad at a more solid and stable experience overall. You can find downloads for the new version for your respective device at CyanogenMod’s download portal here. For what it’s worth, we wouldn’t recommend flashing these on carrier variants without clarification from CyanogenMod. We’ll be reaching out to see if the  HTC One M8′s release is only for unlocked, unbranded versions. Hold off if you don’t have that version for now to avoid a massive headache.

Don’t forget to make a backup and charge your battery before you do anything, and always remember that whatever you flash to your device is your responsibility. That disclaimer aside, have at it!

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Calling all developers: get your hands on the Google I/O 2014 app’s source code right now Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:49:02 +0000 io2014-stage1

Wondering how Google pulled off some of the tricks they used in this year’s Google I/O app? As they do each year, Google has made the entirety of the app’s source code available for you to dig into, borrow code from and use however you please. Whether you just want a snippet of code or want to use it as the basis of an entirely new app, it’s all available at this handy Github destination.

Google’s IO 2014 app showcases everything that embodies modern Android development, from basic concepts such services, fragments, notifications and content providers to integrating with Google products and services like Cloud Messaging and the Google Drive API. It even gives early examples of coding for Android Wear and using Material Design for making your apps look the best they can be.

Google says they’ll be going even deeper with follow-up articles that go into technical detail about some of the things they did with this year’s app, such as the IOSched source code and other unique elements found throughout. They also plan to update the app in the months to come so you’ll want to subscribe to the aforementioned Github page if you wish to follow along. Go forth, awesome coders, and bring Android the apps it deserves to have!

[via Google]

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Google issues patch for Android’s Fake ID vulnerability to AOSP and OEMs Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:13:37 +0000 mclovin fake id

Another day, another Android security scare so it seems. The latest comes by way of what researchers are calling the “Fake ID” exploit. The vulnerability — found in all Android devices since 2.1 — allows for malicious applications to bypass normal Android security by faking their secure IDs, giving them access to potentially sensitive data like user credentials, emails, payment history or anything else you’d like to keep away from prying eyes.

How is this possible? It’s simply because Android fails to verify the validity of an app’s cryptographic signature, something the OS uses when deciding which special privileges to grant an app (like access to NFC or act as a plugin) allowing it to bypass normal Android sandboxing. Apparently KitKat has helped curb some of what this exploit allows, but it’s still left somewhat vulnerable.


Upon hearing the news, Google was quick to respond to the issue and even though there hasn’t been any recorded incidences of the malicious apps actually attacking anyone’s devices, they thanked the folks at Bluebox Security for their findings. The good news? A patch has already been pushed to AOSP and sent to OEMs for them to apply as they deem fit. The bad news? There’s no telling how long something like that can take before it hits your T-Mobile G2X. Here’s the statement Google gave ArsTechnica:

“We appreciate Bluebox responsibly reporting this vulnerability to us; third-party research is one of the ways Android is made stronger for users. After receiving word of this vulnerability, we quickly issued a patch that was distributed to Android partners, as well as to AOSP. Google Play and Verify Apps have also been enhanced to protect users from this issue. At this time, we have scanned all applications submitted to Google Play as well as those Google has reviewed from outside of Google Play, and we have seen no evidence of attempted exploitation of this vulnerability.”

In the meantime, you may want to exercise a little caution when downloading any “special” apps not found on the Google Play Store.

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LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live kernel sources now live in AOSP Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:44:06 +0000 Android Wear 1

For those with knowledge in these matters, (read: Android devs/modders/tinkerers), Google has just uploaded the kernel sources for both the Samsung Gear Live (Sprat) and LG G Watch (Dory) t0 AOSP. Like with saw with the Android L release, it appears Google is once again going with a partial upload for “kitkat-wear” (Android-4.4w_r1), meaning GPL repositories only.

When it comes to us regular folk, this wont do much good. But as so often is the case with the Android modding community, this should help ROM developers in tweaking devices from the stock software that may otherwise hold our smartwatches back from greatness. Google says they plan on doing a full push for Android’s next milestone release, so we’ll have a while to wait before then.

For devs looking to do some tinkering, you’ll find everything you need via the download link below. Cheers.


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Android Wear watch face API is on the way, developers urged to hold off until then Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:03:29 +0000 SweepWear_Android_Wear_LG_G_Watch

We’ve already seen tons of great watch faces for Android Wear smart watches pop up in the Google Play Store, but Google says developers should hold their horses before going a bit too crazy. Wayne Piekarski revealed that the company is working to bring an official API that will make it easier for developers to create custom watch faces.

As it stands, he says apps have to be tweaked a great deal to make sure the watch faces act as behaved. That includes implementing ambient mode correctly, appropriately positioning status indicators and more. As such, when the latest API arrives there is a fear that current implementations might be broken or might not work as intended.

Google isn’t asking developers to stop making watch faces. Instead, they’re encouraging developers to keep their apps in “alpha” or “beta” status until the API is released and they can be be properly implemented. Otherwise developers might find themselves in a sea of complaints should users accept the platform update and find their favorite smart watches to be broken without apparent cause.

So when can we expect all this to happen? Piekarski said they’re planning to introduce the API once they migrate the Android Wear platform to Android L later this year, so we might still be a few months out from see anything. Develop on, we say, but make sure you keep an eye out for those new APIs as soon as they’re available.

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Learn Android development directly from Googlers with this Udacity course Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:13:26 +0000 There are a lot of great courses and resources out there for learning Android development already, but what would be better than learning from the folks who created the mobile OS? That’s exactly what you have the opportunity to do thanks to Udacity’s newest course.

The course is named Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals, an 8 week ordeal that’ll have you learning everything from installing Android Studio and creating your first simple app to using advanced, responsive layouts, notifications, intents, content providers and more to make feature-filled Android apps. You’ll be learning all this from Googlers like Reto Meier, Katherine Kuan and Dan Galpin, all of whom have extensive experience with Android.

The best part is that it’s free to enroll and follow along if you aren’t interested in paying anything. Pay $150 per month and you’ll get the whole kit and kaboodle. Here’s the breakdown of what is and isn’t included in each track:

udacity android courseSounds worth the money to me. I should note that this course won’t be meant for folks entirely new to software engineering and object oriented programming. You shouldn’t enroll if you don’t already have any development experience as they likely won’t be slowing down for anyone who doesn’t know what a class or a variable is.

In fact, they exclaim that you should have “strong” working knowledge of Java or any other object-oriented programming language (such as C#). Fortunately there are introductory programming courses (Computer Science 101 and Introduction to Java Development) available from the same site for those of you who aren’t quite “there” yet.

But if you think you’re up to the task and want to learn how to develop quality Android apps (so you can make the next “Yo” or something) then there’s no good reason you shouldn’t give it a try. Udacity has everything you need right here.


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Developers can now apply for a Project Ara dev board Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:19:29 +0000 project ara

Google is starting to get the train rolling on getting early Project Ara development boards into the hands of software and hardware engineers. In case you don’t remember, Project Ara is a work-in-progress concept that will allow users to build smartphones how they want with the use of rectangular modules.

Modules can be displays, cameras, storage space, RAM and more, allowing you to make the device you want. The main benefits of Ara will be to provide devices that are as inexpensive, flexible and powerful as you need them to be. Google’s planning to target a $40 starting price for a barebones device that doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles, and you’ll be able to add the extras you need a la carte. motorola-project-ara-featured-LARGE-2

You can now apply to receive one of these exciting devices for purposes of development (meaning your average Joe Schmo consumer shouldn’t be touching this form). In case you don’t believe me Google spells it out quite clearly in the first line of their evaluation agreement:

You agree to only use the Device for purposes of development, evaluation and testing purposes directly related to Project Ara.

And to weed out the folks who don’t fit the type of candidates Google is looking for, they’re going to ask you questions about your technical expertise and the concepts you want to work in when or if you receive a development board. Needless to say, it’s probably not worth lying about your intentions to try and score a unit. Google will be reviewing applications in waves:

  • First wave: from now until July 17, 2014, 11:59pm PDT.
  • Second wave: from July 18 through August 17, 2014.

Should you be lucky enough to be accepted you’ll be contacted within a week to receive your device, and Google says they’ll begin shipping the first batches starting later this month. Oh, and if you’re from Cuba, Iran, North Korea or Syria then you need not apply: Google says they won’t be able to ship to those countries.

Knowing all that, if you think your idea can catch Google’s attention and you want to apply for a development board you can head right here for the signup form, the evaluation agreement and all the other information you’ll need to hit the ground running. We certainly can’t wait to see what comes of all this once the product is ready for commercial availability.

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