dimanche 30 avril 2017

How to get Google Assistant on your Windows, Mac, or Linux Machine

Google Assistant is Google’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa smart home assistant. Initially only available with limited functionality in the Google Allo application, Google Assistant later rolled out with the Google Home and Pixel smartphones to bring the full power of Google’s assistant to consumers.

After a few months of waiting, smartphones running Android 6.0+ also received Google Assistant, and just a few days ago Google launched the Google Assistant SDK which allows Assistant to be run on basically any platform. Today, we will show you how to install Google Assistant onto your Windows, Mac, or Linux machine using Python.

Note: at this point in time, this is purely for educational purposes. There’s no fancy GUI for you to play with, and installing Assistant requires you to use the command line.

Get Google Assistant on Windows/Mac/Linux Machines


You’ll need to have Python installed no matter whether or not you are using Windows, macOS, or a GNU/Linux distribution. Installation is fairly simple and already well-documented by the Python wiki, so we won’t go into many details about getting Python up and running on your machine.

Once you’ve got Python working on your machine (you can confirm it is working by opening up a terminal/command prompt and then simply typing python.) If you see the terminal/command prompt return the current Python version on your computer, then you’re golden.

Next, before we can install the necessary files to get Google Assistant working, we need to enable access to the Google Assistant API in the Google Cloud Platform Console.

Configure the Google Assistant API

What follows are step-by-step instructions walking you through the process to enable the Google Assistant API in the Cloud Platform Console so you can access Google Assistant through the Python program. All of these steps are platform independent, meaning that the steps are the same for Windows, macOS, and GNU/Linux users.

  1. Go to the Projects page in the Google Cloud Platform Console.
  2. Click on “Create Project” up top.
  3. Name the Project “My Google Assistant” and click “Create.”
  4. Wait a few seconds for the Console to create your new Project. You should see a spinning progress icon in the top right. After it is done creating your Project, you will be brought to your Project’s configuration page.
  5. Click this link to go straight to the Google Assistant API page. Up top, click “Enable.”
  6. Google will warn you that you need to create credentials to use this API. Click “Create credentials” in the top right. This will take you to a setup wizard page where Google helps you figure out what kind of credentials you need to use this API.
  7. Under “where will you be calling the API from”, select “Other UI (e.g. Windows, CLI tool)“. For “what data will you be accessing” select the “User data” circle. Now tap “what credentials do I need?”
  8. Google should recommend that you create an OAuth 2.0 client ID. Name the Client ID anything you want, for example, your name + Desktop. Once done picking a name, click “create client ID.”
  9. Under “product name shown to users” enter “My Google Assistant.” Click continue.
  10. Click “done.” There’s no need to click download here as we only need the client secret, which we will download next.
  11. Now under the list of OAuth 2.0 client IDs, you should see the client ID you just made. All the way to the right, click on the download icon to download the client_secret_XXX.json file, where ‘XXX’ is your client ID. Save this file anywhere on your computer, ideally in a new folder called “googleassistant.”
  12. Go to the Activity controls page for your Google account and make sure that “Web & App Activity”, “Location History”, “Device Information”, and “Voice & Audio Activity” are enabled. This is so Google Assistant can actually read you personalized information.


We have now created a mechanism for a client, in this case our Windows/Mac/Linux machine, to access the Google Assistant API under our Google account. Next we need to set up the client that will access the Google Assistant API.

Install the Google Assistant Sample Python Project

Although Google recommends that you set up Python virtual environments to isolate the Google Assistant SDK and its dependencies from other Python system packages, we’re going to skip this step as it’s unlikely that you’ll play around with this for more than a few minutes. You can easily go back to the Cloud Platform Console and disable the API if you’re worried about the potential for other programs to access your Google account.

Open up a terminal/command prompt window and go through the following steps. First, enter this command:

py -m pip install google-assistant-sdk[samples]

You should see a whole bunch of dependencies being downloaded and installed when you enter this command. These are needed for the sample Python project to work. Wait for it to finish.

Once it’s done, next enter the following command (make sure to adjust the path):

py -m googlesamples.assistant.auth_helpers --client-secrets path\to\your\client_secret_XXX.apps.googleusercontent.com.json

In the command prompt, you will see a response telling you to visit a URL in order to authorize the application.

Copy and paste this URL into your browser. Select the same Google account that you used to configure the Google Assistant API. On the next page, you will see a text box that contains your client’s Access Token.

Copy that Access token and paste it into the command prompt where it asks you for the authorization code. If done correctly, you will see a response that your credentials have been saved.

Test the Google Assistant

The first thing you’ll want to test is whether or not Google Assistant is able to record audio from your microphone. Enter the following command into a command prompt, which will record 5 seconds of audio and play it back to you:

python -m googlesamples.assistant.audio_helpers

If you hear your audio played back to you, then enter this command to begin talking to Google Assistant:

python -m googlesamples.assistant

Wait for the command prompt to say “press Enter to send a new request”, then press Enter to begin talking to Google Assistant. After you’re done speaking, the command prompt will display a transcript of what you just stated and then play back the response. If you see a warning afterwards, just ignore it.

Have fun playing with Google Assistant on your Windows, macOS, or GNU/Linux machine! I played with it for only a few minutes before getting bored with it. It’s not particularly useful in this format, but it is a very quick demonstration of the possibilities that the new Google Assistant SDK represents. Perhaps we may see desktop apps or browser extensions taking advantage of this functionality in the near future.

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2pxJBY6

samedi 29 avril 2017

Speaki Reads your Notifications Out Loud using Android’s Text-to-Speech

Looking for an app that reads your notifications out loud? Check out Speaki by XDA Junior Member dEVshr. This free app reads your notifications out loud using Android’s Text-to-Speech capabilities. You can control when notifications are read out loud by restricting which apps to read from, which audio output device your phone is currently connected to, and choose whether or not to read the full notification content. There are some other features we’re glossing over, but check out the thread if you’re interested!

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2qq7nCo

Today Weather – The Best Weather App for S8, S8+ and AMOLED Displays

With everyone getting their new Galaxy S8 phones, we wanted to focus on a weather app that works great on AMOLED displays. Today Weather is a newer weather app that we reviewed a while back. This app is free on the Play store and features a dark theme that is perfect for the Galaxy S8’s AMOLED screen.

Keep track of multiple cities in one glance from your side panel.

Beautiful images represent the current weather for the day

The simple design of this weather app also packs a huge amount of data in a small space. Using awesome little icon animations and graphs, the app will show you temperature, humidity, UV index, visibility, dew point and pressure.

See detailed information about your weekly forecast and current temperature on your main screen.

A huge amount of data gives you information about wind speed, air quality, the location of the sun/moon, and live radar.

Download Today Weather!

We thank Today Weather 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.


from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2qip5Zi

vendredi 28 avril 2017

F-Droid’s Android App Finally Gets a UI Makeover

While Android is based off of open source code, the same cannot be said of most of the apps that make the OS worthwhile to use. Most modern day smart functionality of Android is accomplished through closed source, proprietary apps. Considering the amount of data we store in our phones and the permissions we grant to these apps, there is little that can be done to conclusively trust these apps without studying their source codes.

F-Droid serves as an alternative to such scenarios, as it aims to provide Free and Open Source (FOSS) software on the Android platform. Think of it as a Play Store alternative, but with apps that are entirely free and have their up-to-date code up for inspection and even for building directly from the source code.

F-Droid has been around in the Android space since 2010, and the app’s UI has had minimal changes since its initial release. But finally, this changes with the upcoming v0.103 release of the F-Droid client.

The F-Droid team mentions that they have been hard at work bringing a modern UI to F-Droid. The newest update brings with it some long awaited and much appreciated feature additions:

  • Screenshot and feature graphics
  • Bulk download and install
  • Improved notifications for downloads and pending updates
  • Ability to translate apps metadata

F-Droid is conducting further field tests to ensure that usability issues with the new design are identified and resolved before the alpha releases for v0.103 is rolled out to the public. The team is also inviting feedback and suggestions to further improve the client. Additionally, the team mentions that this is one of the many improvements happening to the broader F-Droid ecosystem in 2017, and there’s more to come.

Do you use F-Droid? What do you like about it? Have you considered replacing Google Play and its services with FOSS alternatives? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: F-Droid Blog

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2qg8lCa

Announcing New Perks for Recognized Developers – Excel and Become One!

XDA was founded by developers for developers. To give our valuable contributors some form of recognition, we had decided to create a special title: those who work on custom ROMs, kernels, mods or applications can become Recognized Developers or Senior Recognized Developers. It’s a huge group of users, as right now over 700 of them are Recognized.

In the past few years, Android and other operating system underwent many changes. Back in the old days, creating a custom ROM required a specific set of near-esoteric skills. There were no guides or commits ready to cherry-pick. Things have changed drastically, and building a ROM is not that difficult if you know the basics and what to look for, and there are a plethora of guides floating around the Internet and within our forums that make learning much easier.  Nevertheless, we would like to bring back some well-deserved glory to the Recognized Developer program.

For some of you, RD is just a title. While this is kind of true at the moment, there are a lot of perks coming with it:

  • Increased private message quota
  • Increased maximum signature size
  • Increased attachment quota
  • Ability to open/close your own threads
  • Ability to delete tags on your threads
  • Ad-free  template (it’s MUCH faster)
  • Access to the Recognized Developer Private Chat which provides:
    • Share work-in-progress projects with fellow developers
    • Communicate with fellow developers
    • Communicate with members of the moderator and admin teams
  • Free premium file hosting services
  • Access to the XDA Build Server
  • A special feature that will be available soon that will give RDs more control over their threads 🙂

Getting a Recognized Developer title isn’t easy. The Developer Committee is trying to find only the best candidates and give the title only to those users who truly deserve it. If you have any questions regarding the program, feel free to send us a message. Developer Committee members are Senior Moderators. They will be reviewing the applications, and they will apply disciplinary actions on developers that breach the forum rules and Recognized Developer Code of Conduct.

Plans, plans

We want a “Recognized Developer” to earn his or her title, it’s a reward for their hard work. If someone isn’t an active developer but holds the title, it can devalue that of others. To make sure the Recognized Developer title holds its meaning, unfortunately, we need to retire some of inactive developers. We are commencing a re-review process of current developers to find those who decided to quit our forum or focus on other things. We expect to finish the process in approximately one month. After this, we are hoping to expand the Senior Recognized Developer group. SRDs are the most skilled and experienced developers of our site. It’s really hard to get the title, as developers vote to nominate their colleagues to be promoted. We will, of course, inform you about the changes using the XDA Portal.

Sounds good. Sign me up!

If you believe that you should be recognized, feel free to apply using our application form. Before applying, take a moment to read the minimum requirements. Applicants that don’t meet the requirements will be denied and blocked from applying for 6 months. A candidate is expected to know how to code, follow licensing rules and guidelines, and maintain the threads actively. It’s also highly recommended to keep the OP of your thread clean and informative. Providing detailed changelogs is a good practice and keeps the thread free from pointless questions or spam.

Join our group, don’t be shy! We have cookies. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Developer Committee members or post your comments in the section below.

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2qfDzJp

Pay What You Want: The Ultimate Android Development Bundle

This fantastic bundle of courses contains everything you’ll need to learn how to build Android apps. Explore 88 hours of content from 6 different courses valued at $861. Right now this is a pay-what-you-want deal for this hands-on deep dive into building and monetizing Android apps. Here are the courses included in this bundle:

  • The Complete Android Developer Course: Go From Beginner To Advanced
  • Android: From Beginner to Paid Professional
  • How to Make a Freaking Android App
  • Android App Development: Create a Streaming Spotify Clone
  • The Complete Android & Java Developer Course: Build 21 Apps
  • Android Mobile Apps: Beginner to Published on Google Play

How to Make a Freaking Android App
Learn App Development by Making Apps for Android Marshmallow

Android App Development: Create a Streaming Spotify Clone
Start Developing for Android by Building a Music Streaming App

The Complete Android & Java Developer Course: Build 21 Apps
Get Familiar with Android Development by Building Clones of WhatsApp, Diary, & Others

Android Mobile Apps: Beginner to Published on Google Play
Learn the Entire Android App Development Process & Gain a Competitive Advantage

Get this bundle!

Purchases made through XDA Depot benefit XDA. 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.

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2qnhEzo

XDA Interviews Scotty Allen: The Guy Who Built his Own iPhone [Part 2]

A little over 2 weeks ago, a YouTube video of a man who traveled to China to build his own iPhone went viral. The aim of his project was to assemble a fully-functioning iPhone 6s from locally sourced parts purchased from the Chinese components market. Would it be possible to put together everything required to build your own mobile device?

The answer is yes.

Meet Scotty Allen from Strange Parts – a former software engineer who challenged himself to assemble his own iPhone!

Although Scotty’s build-your-own-smartphone feat was accomplished with the iPhone, the real story behind his journey is just how similar building a smartphone is to building your own PC – if you have the right parts and some gumption. The huge Chinese electronics components market makes all of this possible, but it was Scotty who put in hundreds of his own dollars and multiple days worth of work to pull off this feat.

Scotty’s adventure and the accompanying video provided great insight on what happens when you set out to source components to try and build your own device. Sitting at about 3.8 Million views and with 69,000+ subscribers with just one video, the world certainly loved following his journey.

XDA-Developers Editor-in-Chief, Mario Serrafero, sat down with Scotty Allen for an interview with the intent being to learn more about these fascinating markets of China and his whole experience with them.

This is Part 2 of our interview with Scotty Allen. You can read Part 1 of this interview here. We’ll now continue where we left off:

Mario: Yeah, I was coming to that! How much did it cost?

Scotty: The first answer really should be like over a thousand dollars, right. I have spent well over a thousand dollars on this project, I have like a box full of parts, right. I have like a bowl full of screws, cables and assemblies at this point, and then I have a whole bunch of tools, right. If I set out to save money, this was a terrible way to do it. But then people ask, how much did the parts cost that actually went into the phone, right? And the answer to that is a little bit over 300 dollars by my best guess, right. It’s a little bit hard to track because you know, like I have multiple screens, so it’s a little bit hard to track what actually ended up in the phone and how much did it cost. I think it’s like a little over 300 bucks.

If I set out to save money, this was a terrible way to do it.

And then people are like, “Oh, you can build an iPhone for 300 bucks. That’s great, I wanna know how to do that so that I can save money over buying one in the Apple store.” And well that’s…that’s totally not why I did this, right. I am not doing this to save money, it’s not interesting [in that context]. Maybe that’s arrogant for me to say, but it’s just not an interesting angle on this.

Also, if you want a $300 iPhone, go buy a used one. Right, that’s exactly how much a used one will cost, it’s about like half of retail. I think that’s right, I don’t know, you can go research it on Craigslist or eBay. I can bet that you can get a pretty solid iPhone 6S for 300 bucks, and it will be made by Apple! It will be made by Apple and like, properly put together. There’s a huge risk of breaking stuff. I did not break a ton while I was actually building it, but afterwards, I blew up a logic board by accident, and that was expensive. That’s like more than 50% of the cost.

Also, if you want a $300 iPhone, go buy a used one.

Just to finish this off, like I am not super interested in telling people how to undercut Apple, right, so they don’t have to pay Apple money. Do I think people should be able to do this? Yeah. I’ll be interested in helping people do this from a curiosity and knowledge perspective

Mario: Yeah like I said, you can make a “Build your own iPhone” kit, an educational thing. Kind of like those kits for kids to build those models with motors and engines and stuff, you know, that’s interesting. Maybe that’s the future, you know. Maybe our kids will be doing that kind of stuff.

Scotty: It’s definitely something that I have thought about, and I think people will be into that, right. The idea of putting together your own cellphone is very similar to like putting together your own desktop computer. And my question to the community is, why aren’t we doing that? Why do we not have a cell phone modding culture the way we have the PC modding culture? It doesn’t make any sense to me that that hasn’t already become a thing.

Mario: Yeah, and speaking of that, there seems to be at least an underground cell phone modding culture in China. Part of it you know, you showed in your video with the cases right, the custom cases, the “Pimp my iPhone” kind of thing. And we also see posts in our forums of people upgrading the RAM of their Android phone or the storage, unofficially of course. And it works, you expect it to work of course. And that’s just crazy, right. How much of that did you encounter? May not be Apple specifically, but have you seen like phone modding, phone upgrade services there, something like that?

Scotty: Yeah, it’s a thing. I have heard about it here, but I have not seen it myself yet. Swapping out cases, swapping out the shell, it’s a thing. It’s not super super common but yeah, I have seen some pretty cool phones that are being used by the vendors in the market. But honestly, like phones that look stock are the most common and the most popular, right. There is like sort of a brand panache around. Like it looks original and new.

Mario: You brought up the status symbol. You know, it trickles down into Android manufacturers from China that try to be like Apple in both software and hardware. How would you describe China’s fascination with Apple? Or like, that it’s a status symbol, how do you describe that?

Scotty: I don’t know if I can speak well to that. I guess I have two anecdotes or two pieces, like one is that China is going through a massive transition in terms of its economy — the statistics that I know, in the year 2000, just 4% of the Chinese urban population was considered middle class. In 2012, 68% were considered middle class, a mix of upper middle and mass middle. And this figure is expected to reach 76% by 2022 with 54% moving into upper middle class.

So there is the velocity of people moving out of poverty into wealth in China, it is really hard to wrap your head around coming from the West. So there’s a lot of new money, there’s a lot of people who are making more money than anybody in their family ever has. And people want to show that off, right? And people want to sort of, just say that they’ve made it. We get that as Americans, we do that too. We want to feel wealthy, we want to feel successful, we want to show that off, right? One of the things that is popular is Western goods, are seen as sort of fashionable. Western brands like watches are huge here, you see Rolex’s, you see women’s fancy handbags are huge here, and iPhones right? They’re a symbol of wealth, they are a symbol of status, they are a symbol of the future, and they are useful. Smartphones are great I don’t need to tell you guys that!

And then I guess the other thing is, the iPhones are made here, right. They are a Western company that manufactures here, so there is a lot of sort of ecosystem around that. What I will say that, like when you go to a factory and I have gone to a bunch of factories that are like completely unrelated to cellphones, it is not uncommon to see like a factory line worker whip out an iPhone, sort of working on the factory line, and these people probably making I don’t know, maybe $5 an hour, maybe a little bit more, $5-10 an hour kind of thing. Not huge wages right? Buying an iPhone represents a fairly large chunk of their salary, but it’s that important to them. It’s that important sort of like a status symbol, that important like a tool in your life, like your phone is like one of the most important things to you. Here and I would argue, in the West too.

Mario: Yeah, I would argue that, and actually that is a perfect way into transitioning into this question I found. It’s really curious how in China and even markets like India too, you actually use phones to buy things and in that case with WeChat and there’s other services, that’s crazy. Speaking of which, did people try to kind of haggle with you, did they try to fleece you?

Scotty: That’s something, I want to set the record straight on that, because people keep saying that you got totally taken advantage of, you didn’t haggle — you don’t haggle in these markets. It is not appropriate, say you bargain over prices in the markets that I showed in the video. It’s really rude. The markets that I am buying in are wholesale markets, they are not retail markets. I am not their target customer, they are not making money off of me, or hardly any. They want to sell a hundred pieces of something, or a thousand pieces of something. The fact that they are talking to me at all is a waste of their time — I don’t know what I am doing and I don’t know what I am talking about and I don’t speak the language well. So they are being incredibly courteous in spending any time with me at all. And I have talked to enough people that I generally know what the price of something is, and it fluctuates in a very narrow range, and often that range is entirely dictated by the quality.

You don’t haggle in these markets. It is not appropriate. It’s really rude.

Mario: Right.

Scotty: If I wanna pay less, I can get a low quality part. If I wanna pay more, I can get a higher quality part. And I almost always just get the right price. In fact, I often get better prices than Chinese people who professionally source in the markets and so a part of and where that’s coming from is the fact that I look kinda like this.

Mario: You stand out.

Scotty: So there is somewhat of an expectation that because I am white and Western that I am an important businessman who is going to drive lots of business and even if I am buying one as a sample right now, in the future I will place very large orders. And I am try not to take advantage of that stereotype but nevertheless people are generally really straightforward with me and really quite honest and sort of honorable in their interactions.

Mario: I got that interaction with warranty, that was actually — it was pretty surprising.

Scotty: See! Exactly. The other thing I will say is that doing business in China is all about relationships, it’s not about contracts. So in the West we sort of have this idea of like, you sign a contract with someone or you, you like buy something and you get an invoice or receipt or whatever and there are terms and conditions and like that’s what dictates how the transaction works and how future transactions work. Here it’s not about that. It is a fluid relationship that you build over time.

And so, you establish a relationship with suppliers that you know personally right so I have suppliers on WeChat, I see pictures of their kids we talk about their families, drink tea together… it is building up our relationship. Walking into a relationship, starting your relationship by immediately pressuring someone to give you a rock bottom price is a crappy way to build a long standing businesses relationship and it’s seen that way here in China. So me pushing up price particularly when nobody does it would be a great way to unwelcome myself from doing business in the future.

Mario: Yeah.

Scotty: This is not just my attitude. This is the attitude of everybody that I know. Those Western hackers that come here to buy in China and as well as like Chinese professional sourcing agencies. We have these changes…some people say like, “Oh you have to haggle in China.” Yes, like if I go to the mall and want to buy like a pair of jeans, like if I go to the copy mall in particular, like at the corner where there are some knockoff jeans and knockoff handbags, yes, I absolutely need to bargain. And in fact, I have a friend who has been living here a while, who is known as a ‘hundred kuai’ brother in the market because he refuses to pay more than a 100 kuai for a pair of jeans and all of the sellers now get this point when he walks around here, “Oh a hundred kuai brother is here”, and they don’t even try and haggle with him anymore because they know he won’t pay anything more. So definitely you need to haggle there.

And then, if you are buying a lot, if you are placing a really large order like thousands, tens or hundreds of thousands, then there is a little bit of room to negotiate like “Oh I hear this is your price but I was hoping to pay this”, like “Can we work something out as part of our pre-existing relationship such that this is like mutually beneficial for both parties.

Mario: Yeah, I can see that, I can see that happening.

Scotty: But it needs to be a win-win and you need to keep it a win-win because if there are any problems down the line, because there is no like hard contract, you need to work through any problems that come up as part of your relationship and that’s gonna be a give and take, right.

So pushing somebody really, really, really hard on the price up front and then expecting to have a great end result is probably not a winning strategy.

Mario: That’s really interesting. It’s kind of self regulating without a need of arbitrators, third parties or the State or contracts and that’s, it’s really different here in America. We are quick to sue and you know just get mad at our warranty and exchanges and go back to the store and want to speak to the manager.

Scotty: Yeah then people just say that because it’s written on this piece of paper that we have all signed it means that you have to do this and that’s not how my understanding of the approach to the Chinese business or approach to business in China is. It’s a much more fluid relationship that is entirely based on what will you do together in future. It is entirely forward looking. We are going to work this out because we both want to continue to do business together and that would be mutually beneficial to everybody at both ends.

Mario: So kind of moving back, to the product of your journey, the phone itself. How satisfying was it just to see it boot and were you for example scared that it would be bootlooping and that it wouldn’t actually finish booting. How was the feeling?

Scotty: Yeah so I mean, it was a huge sort of wave of….Well I don’t know! It was very satisfying to finish the phone and I mean, actually boot up. When I first started out, one of my big fear was buying the logic board. I was very worried that I would buy a logic board that was faulty and then end up with like no recourse. Because I didn’t really know how to test a logic board, and there was not an order of operations, like what parts do I need to buy in order to test the other parts?

And there’s kind of like this interoperability I thought, I didn’t really know what the minimum viable set of parts was. It turns out it’s screen, logic board, and battery. If you have those three parts and a pair of tweezers, you can turn on the logic board and test up to 75% of the functions. But I didn’t know that walking in, so I ended up talking, I got someone who buys and sells in the markets regularly, to show me all of the tasks that he does on one of his testing phones. There’s actually a piece of content that I haven’t released yet but I want to. And so I was like all prepared to do this, and but I still didn’t have like a tester phone. Helen and I went to the markets and we kept asking around, can we test the logic boards? Do they have a phone that they can test with, and everyone goes “No no no, go away, we don’t have time.” And then we figured out, “Oh there is a 3 day warranty” and the reason there is the 3 day warranty is that they didn’t want you standing, clogging up their booths. So you can take it home, and like the first “Oh my god, this is actually going to work” moment was getting this logic board out of my work bench with the screen and the battery, and a pair of tweezers and booting up this naked phone essentially, having that actually turn on.

I texted David because I saw David do it at the cellphone repair school. I didn’t know what pins I had to short to get it to turn on, so David was sending me diagrams via WeChat and then I had a bad battery, and I had to get a new battery, the one I bought was a dud, so I had to get a new one. Finally, I was seeing it turn on like “Oh my god, it actually boots up”, like this might work! And then the last sort of final moment is me getting the thing fully together, and it looks like an iPhone and you are sort of being able to hold it up and be like, “This actually looks and feels like an iPhone” and as far as I can tell, it works exactly the same as well and so that was pretty satisfying.

It was 2 months of work at that point so that was pretty rewarding to be like, I have actually done this.

Mario: Right and so, the Read Only Memory, what was loaded in there? Did you just get it with the logic board and then you just you know, you waited for the setup or was there something already there, someone else had stuff in there or what?

Scotty: Good question. So the logic board comes with iOS already installed. So the best way to think about it is this: Well I believe very strongly that this board came out of legitimate Apple manufactured iPhone and the phone was probably broken, sent in to repair, return or recycle or whatever. It got taken apart, all of the parts got tested. This, the logic board definitely had repair done it had some rework. And the fact that we looked at some other logic boards that had way more obvious reworks that this one didn’t. And it’s why I ended up going with the rose colored back you know, like pink is not my color!

Mario: Okay, that explains it!

Scotty: The other ones that we saw had like scary levels of rework on them, and this one looked very normal. So, being taken out of a phone even though after extensive repair, iOS is still already installed on it from sort of the Apple tool chain of installing it. So really all you need is the other parts to get it to boot up. Like everybody said, “How did you get software on it?” I didn’t, it already had software on it, I just worked with that.

Mario: I mean you wouldn’t be able to like wipe iOS outta there and store its own read only memory and you can’t, you know. You can factory reset, you can go into a recovery tool but I was just wondering because when you booted it up, it seemed like there was stuff already on it. I am not an iPhone guy, so I don’t even know!

Scotty: I wanted to get to that part. There were a few apps already installed on it, but they were really only installed by like a repair technician. I forgot what they were, I’ll find it and see what they were. They weren’t particularly interesting, they were like the GPS app or something.

Mario: Yeah, that’s what I was wondering because when I saw all the stuff in there, again I’m not an iPhone guy, but even then, it seemed like there was something else instead of booting up for the first time setup.

Scotty: It was a pretty stock experience. It was a pretty stock phone in terms of software.

Mario: Good, good. I am just glad nobody’s data was just in there. So, the people that sell the logic boards, they make sure of course that it’s wiped, or when they test it they wipe it.

Scotty: As far as I can tell. I’ve never seen one with anybody’s data on it.

Mario: Does the end result have any kind of bugs, or software or anything, something perhaps – any nook and cranny maybe that wasn’t finished? Or would you say that you got it a 100%, everything works as it should…like, you could swap my mom’s iPhone with it and she wouldn’t tell — does it work that well?

Scotty: There is one critical problem, which is that my lock switch does not work quite right. I thought I had it, and then it’s not working out. I think I know what’s wrong, actually David looked at it and he immediately picked up on that. I think I have just got a button cover insert slightly wrong and I haven’t popped it open. You have to remove a fair amount of screws to get to that part so I just haven’t bothered really.

Well, there’s two more things. David found a missing speaker grille that I either didn’t install or installed incorrectly, it’s just a little bit of mesh. It’s like a teeny tiny detail and I’m surprised he spotted it. The third one is that I haven’t put the glue gasket around the screen, just because I like being able to open it and fiddle with it and stuff, for testing it. There are clips that hold it in and then two screws in the bottom and I just use those. It means it’s not as water resistant, and there’s a little bit of light leakage on the screen, but it’s fine. Nobody who is not a repair technician has found anything.

With an hour or two of work, it would be indistinguishable to David.

Mario: That’s a high standard!

Scotty: Yes, absolutely. An Apple fanboy repair technician level standards.

Mario: So, what’s next for Stranger Parts? What do you plan on doing next? Do you plan on revisiting smartphones, maybe try your hand on an Android one perhaps? I don’t know, what do you think?

Scotty: I would definitely like to do something in the Android space. Definitely want to do more cellphone stuff, but this isn’t just about cellphones. This is really about adventure and travel and technology — it’s much much broader than that. Cellphones are kinda the area that I am planning on right now, I spent a lot of time doing this. I have a bunch of more ideas about cool stuff that I want to show off that I just haven’t had time to make videos about yet. So definitely going to do more stuff here but also stuff like all over the world that doesn’t have anything to do with cellphones. So it’s broader scope, “Let’s check out cool stuff that we didn’t know existed”.

Mario: You already got a really, really good start for your channel. I think you’re over 60,000 subs and over 3.5 Million views — by the time this gets published, certainly over 3.5, probably about 4 Million views. You were on YouTube trending. You got a lot of attention suddenly. How is stardom treating you, being a celebrity in the YouTube community?

Scotty: Yeah, it’s been really crazy. I didn’t expect this level of a response. I didn’t realize people were going to be this into what I did at such a broad level. I knew the geeks that I hanged out with thought this was pretty cool, but I didn’t realize how much it would sort of work its way out into the mainstream. The other thing that was really unexpected was I didn’t realize how much the Chinese people would share. This has kicked off like wildfire in the Chinese social media and mainstream media. I’ve been on broadcast television interviews here in Shenzhen, I have been on all the major social networks trending on the homepage. Everybody that knows me in China and that has me on WeChat has sent me an article or screenshot or something. It’s been pretty wild and pretty bizarre, and I am just overwhelmed by everybody’s really generous response and how interested everybody is. I have had more people contact me than I had time to respond to yet, and I am just really focused on trying to make the next video, and hopefully it lives up to everyone’s expectations.

Mario: Wow, thanks for choosing us for the interview as well. We’re an Android site, to put it bluntly, but still, I think this is really interesting. I know all my friends at college have seen this video yes of course, we’re all like stem nerds and stuff. Thank you for sharing all these stories with us and allowing us to do this interview. Thanks a lot!

Scotty: You’re welcome!

That concludes our interview with Scotty Allen – the man who built his own iPhone 6s using nothing but locally sourced parts from the Chinese components market.

What are your thoughts on Scotty Allen’s journey assembling his own iPhone? What part of the journey was the most fascinating to you? Does this change your perspective of China and its smartphone market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2qf4pBv

Pixel and Pixel XL to Receive Guaranteed Software Updates From Google Until October 2018

One of the key reasons to buy a Google-branded device is the expectation of frequent software updates for your device. Google is rather transparent about how long they will support their devices, and has a support page that lists the end of life period for each of its devices so users aren’t blind-sided when an update is released and it doesn’t reach their device.

Two more devices have now been added to the support page: the Pixel and Pixel XL. Usually, most of the Google devices receive software updates for a period of 2-years or 18 months from when the device is sold from the Google Store, whichever is longer. Historically, every Nexus device has received at least two major Android platform updates during their lifespan.

As per the support page, the Pixel and Pixel XL will be receiving software updates directly from Google until October of 2018 (2-years). As far as security updates are concerned, support will extend up to October of 2019 (3-years). Pixel devices will basically receive the same two-year software support period as Nexus devices.

Considering the premium pricing of both Pixel devices, many were hoping that Google would continue to support them for longer than they supported their Nexus devices. Google’s commitment to at least two years of major software update support for the Pixel lineup would have been better when you consider the comparatively cheaper Nexus 5X is also getting the same two years of software support.

It’s worth noting, however, that the time-frame shown on the support page is only an indicator of Google’s committed obligation to providing software support for a given period of time. While chances are Google may decide to roll-out software updates even after the end-of-life period, the company won’t be obligated to it – so you shouldn’t expect otherwise.

Source: Google Support

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2pcqYbC

BlackBerry is Bringing the KEYone to Canada Next Month, Priced at $200 on Contract

We had heard a lot about the KEYone from BlackBerry even before the company officially unveiled it. Alongside the typical leaks, even TCL executives were teasing the device on Twitter before the big announcement. Not everyone liked how the BlackBerry Priv tucked its keyboard behind the screen and some die hard BlackBerry fans scoffed at the DTEK series since they used an onscreen keyboard. But now the KEYone is official and it’s coming to Canada next month.

The company first launched the KEYone at Mobile World Congress earlier this year and it was pretty well received except for the price point. Many people in our comments section didn’t think a phone with the Snapdragon 625 SoC was worth $550, even with the famed BlackBerry keyboard. Mario spoke about the device a little bit later and agreed that it clearly was not a phone for the enthusiast, but this was okay and that it could still see success within the BlackBerry community.

The device was said to be launched in early April but it looks like BlackBerry’s home country will not receive it until next month. TCL has announced they’re bringing the KEYone to Canada next month and it will be available at Bell, Bell MTS, Rogers, SaskTel and TELUS. They didn’t announce the full retail price that it will be sold for in the country, but we have been told it will be priced at $200 CAD with a 2-year contract at the mentioned wireless carriers. The specifics and fine prints may vary between them, so it is always a good idea to confirm from your carrier.

Pre-orders for the BlackBerry KEYone will be made available starting May 18th from “select partners”. With BlackBerry originating from Canada, TCL is hoping that the launch will be successful for them as it combines the traditional keyboard BlackBerry fans love with a very secure Android platform experience.

Source: Newswire

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2oFf0s8

Google Launches the Google Assistant SDK for 3rd-Party Companies

Google continues to improve the Google Assistant with additional integrations in an effort to stay competitive with Amazon’s Alexa home assistant. Google Home just received the ability to detect who is talking to the device and it can also read you step by step instructions for recipes, for instance. We’re even seeing signs of it being able to read your notifications to you, but that’s not live just yet. Google still has some more catching up to do to compete with the Amazon Echo products, but they seem committed to this project and are continuing to add features.

The Amazon Alexa personal assistant was everywhere at CES this year. Companies are utilizing Amazon’s SDK to embed their personal assistant into products that you would never think could benefit from one. Google realizes this is a great way to increase the adoption rate of their platform, so yesterday they announced the Google Assistant SDK. The SDK includes a gRPC API, a Python open source client that handles authentication and access to the API, sample code, and thorough documentation.

Developers who want to test things out will need to head on over to the Google Assistant SDK website which can be found here. As mentioned, the official SDK even comes with some sample projects such as one from Deeplocal who used the SDK to build a DIY robotic Mocktails Mixer. Google says this initial release is a developer preview of the SDK so some features will be missing.

Google didn’t go into too many specifics here, but did say that hotword support and companion app integration will be coming in a future release of the SDK. Wayne Piekarski is from Google’s Developer Relations team and he even uploaded a introductory video for those who want to learn more. The video includes some details about features this first developer preview of the Google Assistant SDK includes and also gives some suggestions about what you could build with it.

Source: Google Developers Blog

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2oFfKOf

Report: Amazon Wants to Add a Screen Onto a New Echo Device

The Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot have been quite popular for the company. It showed what a stationary personal assistant device could be and it has induced other companies to create their own implementations. This was also a way for Amazon to show off how unique and useful their Alexa personal assistant is, as companies have been using the Alexa SDK in all sorts of products such as refrigerators, watches, smartphones, TVs and even dancing robots.

Alexa was everywhere at CES 2017 and Amazon is working hard to keep their lead in the market space. Google has their Google Home product and while it can do many things that Amazon Alexa and its Echo products can’t do, it is still an uphill battle for Google right now. We’ve seen reports that both Google and Amazon want to add a way for people to place phone calls to both landlines and cell phones, and a new product from Amazon could be the first step in that direction.

A new report from CNET cites “a person familiar with the plans” and says Google’s new Echo product is codenamed Knight. This product is said to be getting full attention from Amazon ever since Google announced that Google Home can recognize different people on its own. The release date for this new Echo device could change at any time, but as of right now it is believed that it will be made available to the public as soon as next month.

Like how the newly announced Echo Look comes with a camera, this new product is said to come with both a camera as well as some sort of display implementation. It’s unknown if it will be a touchscreen right now, but some speculate that it will be used for both video chats as well as online shopping. If it is in fact a touchscreen, then it could also be used in conjunction with voice commands to execute more complex queries.

Source: CNET

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2oTnJTG

jeudi 27 avril 2017

XDA Interviews Scotty Allen: The Guy Who Built his Own iPhone [Part 1]

A little over 2 weeks ago, a YouTube video of a man who traveled to China to build his own iPhone went viral. The aim of his project was to assemble a fully-functioning iPhone 6s from locally sourced parts purchased from the Chinese components market. Would it be possible to put together everything required to build your own mobile device?

The answer is yes.

Meet Scotty Allen from Strange Parts – a former software engineer who challenged himself to assemble his own iPhone!

Although Scotty’s build-your-own-smartphone feat was accomplished with the iPhone, the real story behind his journey is just how similar building a smartphone is to building your own PC – if you have the right parts and some gumption. The huge Chinese electronics components market makes all of this possible, but it was Scotty who put in hundreds of his own dollars and multiple days worth of work to pull off this feat.

Scotty’s adventure and the accompanying video provided great insight on what happens when you set out to source components to try and build your own device. Sitting at about 3.8 Million views and with 69,000+ subscribers with just one video, the world certainly loved following his journey.

XDA-Developers Editor-in-Chief, Mario Serrafero, sat down with Scotty Allen for an interview with the intent being to learn more about these fascinating markets of China and his whole experience with them:

Mario: Yours is a new YouTube channel. There is not much context other than this awesome video that went viral. There is no introduction, there is “just you” who suddenly pops up, with your enthusiastic personality, and we just jump right into the video. So there is a lot of context that we are missing. How did you get started? Why did you make this video? What is your background? Where do you work? What were doing in China?

Scotty: Some viewers have even believed that I am not telling the truth about what I did, because they have never heard of me before… like who is this guy and how is this possible? So my background: I am a professional software engineer. I went to school for computer science. Got a job out of school at Google as a software engineer. Bounced around Silicon Valley for a while, so I worked at Google for a couple of years, worked at a couple other startups for a couple of years. Then I left to do my thing, been running my own company for the past 6 years or so.

About three years ago, I became a full time nomad, so I gave up my apartment in San Francisco. So I have been travelling full time, for a while I was spending 50% of my time in San Francisco, but now it’s become less. The two main “center of my orbits” are now Shenzhen and San Francisco, but I spend a lot of time in Asia in general.

So about two years ago, I fired myself from my job so I work about half day a week now and the rest of my time I do whatever I want. I have been spending a lot of time here in Shenzhen and learning about electronics manufacturing, the electronics ecosystem, supply chains and cellphones.

Mario: Interesting. So I assume, we’ll take this up later on as well, you’re planning on doing more with Stranger Parts?

Scotty: Absolutely! Yeah. I definitely plan on making more videos, and I definitely want to make more cool stuff. I really see it as a place for me to sort of explore the world and discover the undiscovered, and I guess I have been describing it to people like two parts Anthony Bourdain two parts MythBusters and one part Vice. So it is sort of the intersection of adventure, travel blog and technology, with this sort of edgy angle to it, of really really diving in beneath the surface and finding things that aren’t really being talked about and that I don’t know about yet and bringing people along with me on the journey.

Mario: Yeah that’s great. And I totally agree with you, with the two parts Anthony, two parts MythBusters and one part Vice, with that blogging style. That’s great, you’re meeting your target.

Scotty: Yeah, I kind of had an idea that this was a catchy story, but I was more like, maybe a hundred thousand views would be an amazing result. it’s more than anything than I thought.

Mario: Yeah so, the market. The real protagonist of your video would be the market, right? How would you describe the overall buying experience? How different is it from a traditional western tech shopping centre?. Was the market all dedicated to tech? What were people there actually buying? Were they buying parts too? What were they doing?

Scotty: The markets are a bunch of different buildings in a whole portion of the city. So the portion of the city is Huaqiangbei, the Futian district which is kind of downtown, it’s like the downtown skyscrapers now. I don’t think this was always that way, there are tons of offices and buildings around it. It is not in the outskirts and in the factories. The factories have been pushed out to the city borders, like 45 minutes or an hour away by car. These markets originally came about to service the factories, and this is changing. The area is changing dramatically, they started as wholesale components market for factories to advertise what they make to supply to other manufacturers further up the food chain. And also, it was a place for contract manufacturers and final assembly manufacturers to advertise their services So it was kind of like a meeting place for all manufacturing, like a clearinghouse, for sourcing parts, for finding services, for finding contract manufacturers. Over time, it has shifted much more towards higher level manufacturing, it’s gone from just straight up components supply to like, there are lots and lots of contract manufacturers there now.

Now, as the western world and the western geek world is really discovering it, it is becoming more and more sort of consumer and hobbyist place. Different buildings have different specialties, and it is all kind of chaotic — you’ll find a little bit of everything everywhere to some extent. There is not a whole lot of strict organization. Booths move around all the time — there are booths that are in the video that no longer exist, and the video has been all shot in the past five months. So there’s people there that aren’t there anymore and someone else is in their place, and that is pretty normal. Like I would even say maybe even half of the vendors, I didn’t see the same person at the booth in the couple of times I have been there. The tool vendor that opens the video, like I can’t find him anymore. I walked up and down several times and I know exactly where he used to be, like I don’t know which exact stall it is but I know where he was, but I can’t find him.

I didn’t see the same person at the booth in the couple of times I have been there.

There is a very bright division, like there is Shennan boulevard, which is a main thoroughfare for Shenzhen that runs east-west, and above Shennan is like mostly general components market, general electronics assembly, and like more and more consumer goods, it’s where like you buy drones, you can buy retail cellphones, smartwatches, like all of that stuff. There is an LED building that has floors of LED assemblers, and like retail lighting. Below Shannon, is mostly cellphones and mostly cellphone repair. So its components markets, phone repair, repair tools — so everything you would need to like delaminate and relaminate screens, all your soldering work. And then there are a ton of repair booths there as well, that are like sort of —- a consumer walks in who needs their phone repaired, and there will also be booths where there will be like 8 to 12 guys who will be doing more sort of assembly line repairs, where they are taking bulk phones through and repairing them — bulk broken phones and turning them into working phones again.

Mario: As the video proves, you can at least buy everything that you need to make an iPhone there.

Scotty: The other thing I can tell you is what is the magnitude of the markets, I don’t know exactly, but my guess is that some are between 10 and 20 buildings that are like shopping mall-sized and are between 3 to 9 floors each depending on the building. It is pretty massive. There are buildings that I have not really explored at all.

Mario: Moving on to another important part of the market: the people there. You seem to actually get quite a bit of help from the people there in the market. It almost seems like they knew everything about the iPhone, like they actually knew the internals of the iPhone and how everything is put together. Do you think people there have experience? What do you think draws people to that line of work? Is it just because it is a readily available job, or do the people there actually have an interest in it? It’s a big scope, so I am assuming there’s all kinds of things there.

Scotty: It’s a mixture. A lot of people do it because its a job, and it can be pretty lucrative. I would say that this is probably one of the centers of the supply chain for repair parts for cellphones in the world. I see people from all over the world coming and buying wholesale repair parts for their repair booths in their home country. So there’s all sorts of people from the middle east, there’s all sorts of westerners coming here. So I would say that the majority of the market is just business people — businessman or business woman that are running a business. They are traders essentially, and they know their space really well so whatever they sell, if its cables or batteries or logic boards or whatever, they know that really well and they kinda know about the stuff that’s around that in the cellphone, they’ve learned a lot about that. There’ll be people that just do iPhone parts, so they’ll know iPhones really well and they don’t know anything about Android. There are some people who are really passionate, and the most passionate people I have found are the repair guys who really like what they do.

But I have met some people who are real Apple fans and definitely qualify as Apple fanboys and are just super into it, they think it’s super cool and are geeks all the way. A good example is Wymen who is in the video, the guy who I sit down to interview in the cellphone repair school. He, in my opinion, is probably one of the top repair technicians in the world for cellphones and for micro level repairs.

Wymen is a true geek. I asked Wymen why do you do this when he showed it to me when we were doing the interview, is it profitable? And he just said “No, I am passionate about it, the money will follow. I am just following what I think is interesting”. His student David, who did the translation in the video, is young and bright eyed and super passionate. He is a total Apple fanboy, he knows all the things. He comes down periodically for shopping, so I went shopping with him in the market one day, and he just wanted to buy everything he saw, so yeah he’s totally into it.

Mario: I think there’s something really interesting, the first third of the video is dedicated to the casing, the screen. I thought it was really cool how they assembled the screen, that was mind blowing. Of course, you need a tool like that, but I never actually thought about it and how it worked and it’s really cool to see the fact that you can do that in a workshop.

That first third is the screen, the casing. Then there is the logic board and the chipset and all that stuff. It’s like a difficulty spike, right. So, how hard was it exactly to get all the tiny little components and figure out how they go together. Which resources did you use? Obviously you spent a lot of time thinking, pondering and planning it. And even then, speeding up the video does not give us a glimpse into just how frustrating, difficult and complicated it could be.

Scotty: Totally, I spent a lot time looking at previous online resources. iFixit was one of the big ones that I looked at.

Mario: I knew it!

Scotty: They are producing great content, and it’s very accessible from an English speaking perspective.

Mario: Do you use their tools too?

Scotty: No, I can buy all of that stuff from the market. I just buy what the cell phone repair technicians here use. The guy that talked to me at the very beginning of the video, like the cold opening of the video, his is the tool booth where I bought most of my parts. And the day I went there to buy a hot air reflow station to try and solder my own logic board, And I thought I was just gonna buy the hot air reflow station and he spent like 15 minutes being like “You need this?”,” What about this, you need this?”, “You need this?”, and I was all like “No, no no no nononono, no… oh yeah I do need that”. All of the things that I said no to, I eventually went back and bought it — it turns out he knew exactly what I needed. Cause he was like “Oh you’re buying that, you’re gonna need these things too”. So yeah, the tools were very accessible here and way, way cheaper than the western world. Just by going and looking at the repair booths, you learn what the local guys use and don’t use. And they don’t use everything that the western world would use, so it’s kind of interesting.

All of the things that I said no to, I eventually went back and bought it — it turns out he knew exactly what I needed.

Mario: Yeah, I imagine they find their own clever ways around assembling disassembling certain things too.

Scotty: I’ll give you a funny example. You’ll never see a spudger in a Chinese cell phone repair booth. Instead, everybody has got one long coke nail on their pinkie that they grow out, and they use that to pry up all the connectors and things. It’s pretty awesome.

Everybody has got one long coke nail on their pinkie that they grow out, and they use that to pry up all the connectors and things.

Mario: That’s a natural solution!

Scotty: You can buy a spudger but never see it in the repair booths.

Mario: Darn, that’s clever. Clever, a little nasty, but it’s clever, I’ll give them that. Moving on, how big of a barrier was language, and who helped you?

Scotty: Language is a huge barrier, right. That’s probably the number one barrier to this project, it’s the fact that I don’t speak Chinese very well. I know enough to sort of get by in the markets, but my Chinese is at the level where it’s not conversational. If someone approaches me on the street and asks a question, I’m screwed. The best that I can respond is…there’s a Chinese expression, there are two ways to say I don’t understand. The first is like “I don’t understand” and it has the implication like “Can you repeat it, and then maybe I’ll be able to understand?”. The second is, “I don’t understand, and I never will, so you should stop trying”.

Mario: Yeah, that makes things simpler.

Scotty: It used to happen a lot! “Well, I am at my own here and there is no way I am going to get what you are trying to tell me”. My Chinese level is like, I can ask: “How much is something?”, “I wanna look at that”, “I want that”, “I don’t want that”. I got some colors now, only a couple, like black, red, white, silver, grey…things like that. And I can get around in taxis and order food. The rest of the time, if things get more complicated, then one of us will whip out some translation app. It’s mostly just typing translations, I am starting to do voice translations and people don’t go pretty into that. The Chinese apps have it, but a lot of people just don’t know about it because they do not need that on a day to day basis. Sometimes, I’ll use the visual translate, like the camera translate, both the live one and the one where you take a picture and it writes over things. I don’t tend to use that as much in the market, because there is not much which is written. Most things are out, so as long as I know what the thing I am looking for looks like, then I can just kind of walk around the booths and look for what I want and then talk to whoever’s displaying it and that’s pretty normal.

In terms of help from friends, you can see in the video that I got help from Frank and Helen with the more complex parts of the screen and logic board. Those were the two things that I was really worried about that had a lot of complications. It was sort of more than just like “Oh I want that thing, how much is it?”, it was more than that, like there were warranties involved, and with the screen, we had to go to the repair booth and sort of explain what we wanted to do. Like what I wanted to do is totally not a normal thing for people in the markets, right. So most of the time, I was on my own except for what you see on camera.

I got help from people at a couple of key times in the markets. The big one is the one that appears in the video, where I couldn’t get the volume buttons to work, like I was missing like a tiny little metal film and I spent four hours on it. I was just like, “Something is wrong here” and I can not figure it out by looking on photos online on iFixit. Like nothing is explained to me on what I am missing, it looks correct. But it’s just not clicking, like it’s not making a clicking sound and it’s not fully contacting the button.

My understanding is that when you design one of those buttons, the travel distance between those makes a ton of difference in terms of how the buttons feel and very microscopic changes in that distance matter in terms of button feel. I think when Apple designed that, they didn’t know until they went to manufacturing on what that distance should be, and they wanted to be able to tweak it. So they put a like a metal shim in there that they could easily swap out and it was easy to manufacture. And maybe they can swap out like depending on the manufacturing quality of buttons that are coming through and can get the exact click feel that they want. I bet you, that somewhere at Apple, there is a collection of like 25 different shims that give all different clicks. You know, that Johnny Ive or somebody has sat there and clicked buttons and went “Not that one, not that one”.

The elusive metal shim

Mario: You know what, if there is a pet peeve I have, it’s buttons. Like I mention this in all of my reviews and editorials and podcasts. And I always, just like the first thing you know when I get a new review unit or whatever, my boss always asks me, “So, how you like it”. And the first things I review, are the buttons. I tell him, “Buttons suck”, and if the buttons suck, it is going to be really painful for me to daily drive that phone.

Scotty: There’s whole bunch of more stuff on there. There’s like a rubber gasket that goes around the outside that I think adds in friction as well as waterproofing. And then also like this fork down bar contraption on the backside that I think sort of ensures that the button does not wiggle, like twist this way. And there’s much stuff that I probably do not understand. They have clearly spent a lot of design time on exactly what you’re talking about. There’s definitely an entire team that deals with nothing but components.

Mario: Blows your mind, doesn’t it. You specifically, I would say you have gained a special kind of knowledge that I don’t think even the geniuses at iFixit have specifically gained, which is not disassembling and not putting it back together but building it from sourcing parts from different places. I don’t know if it’s ever been done before to be honest, at least not that I know of.

Scotty: I have not really found anybody who has kinda started from scratch the way I have. What’s interesting though is that what I have done is not particularly novel when you think about it, right. There are plenty of people who have torn down iPhones to replace the shell, where they’ve gotten a new shell and they’ve torn down their iPhone. To do that, you have to take everything out, right. And this is something that repair technicians do all the time, right. So it’s not like I have done this monumental human feat that nobody has ever done before. But I think, the way I am sort of presenting it, as I didn’t start with a fully formed phone, I got all the parts from different vendors. This is something you could do on eBay probably, but it would be harder. Being able to touch things and talk to people certainly helps, right. The idea of sort of sourcing this all from component parts is really compelling. Going to a booth that sells nothing but buttons is kind of more compelling than sort of like buying some phones that are broken.

What I have done is not particularly novel when you think about it.

Mario: You could make an eBay shopping list. Find all the parts to make an iPhone and then just post a guide up there, or sell a “Build your own iPhone” kit.

Scotty: Yeah, I am not super interested in doing that. I am sure somebody will at some point, but I am not super interested in doing that. I think like one of the reactions that I got, that I didn’t expect, like the number one question that people ask me is “How much did this cost?”

Mario: Yeah, I was coming to that!

This is the end of Part 1 of our interview. Part 2 of the interview explores the cost of his project, the software on his product, the unwritten rules of the Chinese markets, China’s fascination for Apple, and more! Stay tuned!

What are your thoughts on Scotty Allen’s journey assembling his own iPhone? What part of the journey was the most fascinating to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2oQoQU6

Four Cool Mods for the Galaxy S8

This video is for new Galaxy S8 users looking for some cool mods for their device. Miles put together four mods that you can check out in this XDA TV video.

bxActions – Remap Bixby button

This app lets you remap the Bixby button so that it can be used to trigger different actions.

Download bxActions

DPI Adjusting

Go to the developer settings on the Galaxy S8 and you’ll find an option to change your DPI setting without having to use adb through your computer. Just input the DPI number that you want right from your phone.

Modify Quick Settings Grid

This guide will show you how to use a few adb commands that will let you change the quick settings grid on your phone.

Go to Guide

Get LiveFM Radio

FM radio can be made available on the S8 using the nextradio app. You don’t need WiFi or a cellular connection for this to work.

Download NextRadio

from xda-developers http://ift.tt/2qjD3cF