jeudi 31 août 2017

Kirin 970 SoC Said to be Announced Tomorrow at IFA Berlin 2017

Huawei is set to announce their new Kirin 970 SoC tomorrow at IFA Berlin 2017, according to a report from the German news website

The new SoC is said to be based on 10nm manufacturing process, in-line with the competition from Exynos, MediaTek and of course Snapdragon. The Kirin 970 is said to have 8 CPU cores, 12 GPU cores and a dual ISP.

With 5.5 billion transistors, it has reportedly exceeded the Snapdragon 835 by 2.5 billion. Transistor count isn’t all that matters, however, especially once you consider that the Kirin 960 had 4 billion transistors and is a generation behind the Snapdragon 835. That isn’t to say Kirin isn’t capable of putting up a fight, as the Kirin 960 actually outclassed the Snapdragon 820 in single core performance. The Snapdragon 820 won out thanks to its graphics capabilities and multi-core performance, as expected given Qualcomm’s steadfast dominance in graphics thanks to the Adreno GPU line. The Kirin has always been a serious contender, however.

What’s more, this chip is reportedly armed with advanced artificial intelligence computing capabilities, advertised to be 25 times faster than a normal CPU core and 50 times more efficient. It seems that with the Kirin 970, Huawei wants to integrate better and more powerful artificial intelligence into its devices — once more in line with what’s being increasingly offered by competitors. This can only be a good thing, as artificial intelligence can learn a user’s tendencies, as we’ve seen in some Huawei devices. This can be used for preloading applications, helpful notifications and more, though we have yet to see truly noticeable improvements through these kinds of implementations.

We’ll be keeping an eye out on the Kirin 970 to see when it launches. We expect to see it debut in the Huawei Mate 10 which should be launching in the next few months. It’s always nice to see more chipsets and competition, so we can’t wait to see what HiSilicon will be offering.

Source: WinFuture

from xda-developers

There’s an Easy Fix for the Essential Phone’s Camera Quality – Google’s Camera App

The company behind the Essential Phone, while selling a nice looking phone with some pretty high end specifications, have made some pretty questionable decisions. We wrote an article detailing our problems with the device and the company behind it. What’s more, not even a day after we published that article Essential seemingly messed up again, leaving a small number of customers in a potentially dangerous position. In an attempt to regain goodwill from users, those who received the disturbing email will receive a free phone and a year of LifeLock service.

And those are only problems relating to the company.

The phone itself seems pretty decent, especially software wise thanks to its nearly stock Android. Not fantastic, not “essential”, just good. But one of the biggest issues with the device has been the camera experience. Nearly universally, reviewers and early users of the phone have stated that the camera experience just isn’t on par with other flagship phones in its category. The phone provides a slow, laggy picture taking experience with poor quality photos and a lot left to desire.

The Essential Phone’s Camera Potential is Held Back by Software

Thankfully, a review over on points out that the Google Camera HDR+ port we covered works very well on the device. The difference is absolutely night and day, and shows that the Essential Phone’s camera can be saved. The sensor certainly has potential as showcased by the images below, taken on an Essential PH-1 by reviewer Napier Lopez.

Before I show the other images, I just need to point out how amazing the Google Camera HDR+ is against the stock camera. There is substantially less noise and an impressive amount of detail in comparison. These photo comparisons were enough to sway me – the Essential Phone actually has a good camera, but it is held back by the stock camera software.

Left is stock, right is Google Camera HDR+ Port. Credits: Napier Lopez \\ TheNextWeb

Left is stock, right is Google Camera HDR+ Port. Credits: Napier Lopez \\ TheNextWeb

If you still aren’t convinced, TheNextWeb tells us they will have a more detailed comparison between HDR+ on the Google Camera app versus the stock camera app, so be sure to check that out.

As for the pictures we’ve seen so far, they are of a much better quality with nicer colors and greater detail when taken on the Google Camera app. This shows the phone’s camera woes actually come from the camera processing software, and not the camera sensor itself. If the device has potential for photos like those shown above and can consistently do as good of a job as these, keep an eye out on future software updates from Essential – the camera quality still has room to grow.

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How to Tell if Your Android 8.0 Oreo Device Supports Project Treble

We’ve first learned about Project Treble right before this year’s Google I/O 2017. Treble is the most significant low-level change to the Android platform to date. To simplify heavily, it separates the vendor implementation from the Android framework in an effort to avoid lengthy waits for updates. Project Treble is currently supported by the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL running Android 8.0 Oreo. We’ve also learned from the initial announcement that, going forward, all devices shipping with Android 8.0 (like, for example, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S9 and the just announced Sony Xperia XZ1 series) will come with Treble support. Google also recently announced that they are working with OEMs to bring Project Treble to some existing flagships.

If you have a flagship device that is expected to be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo, how will you know for sure if it supports Project Treble? Unless the release notes outright tell you, which they likely won’t given that it’s such a low-level change, you’ll have to find out another way. Luckily, there’s a really, really simple way to find out if an Android Oreo device supports Treble.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how you can tell if your device supports Project Treble. Obviously, for this, you’re going to need official, stock Android 8.0 Oreo, since Treble is not supported on 7.0 and lower. And as a reminder, if you have a Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, or any device that launches with Android 8.0, then that device will for sure support Treble.

Know if Your Android 8.0+ Device Supports Project Treble (Terminal)

Unlike most adb/terminal tutorials we’ve done previously, this one does not require root, since we’re simply getting a build.prop value. You do need Termux (or any other terminal application) going forward, though.

Termux (Free, Google Play) →

The image on the right shows you how it should look. Once you’re set up inside the app, simply type the following command:

getprop ro.treble.enabled

It will return a boolean value, true if your device supports Treble and false if it doesn’t.

Know if Your Android 8.0+ Device Supports Project Treble (ADB)

Firstly, you’ll need to set up the Android Debug Bridge on your device in order to get going. Follow this tutorial, as it has everything you need to get going on Windows, Linux, and macOS! Then, you’ll need to connect your device, either with USB debugging or WiFi debugging (we recommend the latter, but either one will work just fine). Whatever one you choose, be sure to check if it’s connected using “adb devices”. The image on the right shows you how it should look.

Then, we’ll proceed to start the Android terminal inside ADB. For this, use:

adb shell

Afterwards, use the following command:

getprop ro.treble.enabled

The shell will return a boolean value. If it returns true, then congratulations: your device supports Project Treble!



It’s actually pretty simple. Project Treble isn’t really a value that you can see or configure in Settings, device info or other places, however if your device does support it, a preference in build.prop lets any apps know of that fact. This is probably because the Google Play Store needs to read this flag in order to deliver updates for things like graphic drivers and other vendor-related stuff. This flag is required on all devices supporting Treble. The build.prop file is located in the system partition, but its values are readable without root, making this tutorial possible.

However, this does NOT mean you can enable Treble on your device by simply adding this flag to your build.prop since it will do absolutely nothing. As we said above, it requires OEM implementation since it’s pretty much a complete rework of a lower layer of Android, and Google is actually working with OEMs to bring Project Treble to existing devices.

As such, this is not something a custom ROM developer can simply bake into their ROM like a regular feature. And should an OEM refuse working with Google to bring it to their device, they can just roll out a simple Android 8.0 update without Treble. The list of OEMs working on Project Treble support for existing phones hasn’t been disclosed either. So, until phones start shipping with Android 8.0 (Project Treble is required for all new devices running Oreo), this will be the only way to actually know if your updated Android 8.0 device supports Treble or not.

from xda-developers

Motorola Launches the Mid-Range Moto X4 for €399, Europe Release in September, US in the Fall

We’ve been hearing about a new Moto X since May of this year, which was surprising to many since the company didn’t release one last year. Initial renders that were leaked had most of the details right, but some were off (the camera module in specific). Then this month the device was approved for sale in Brazil and then shortly after that it passed the FCC certification process. Today, Motorola has officially launched the Moto X4 and we now know the full details of the new smartphone.

The Moto X line holds a special place in a lot of enthusiast’s hearts because it was the first flagship series that Motorola released for the short time they were under Google’s umbrella. Now, the Moto Z line is the company’s premiere flagship series and the Moto X series has been relegated to the mid-range market. This isn’t as bad as it could be when you consider the company’s original Moto Z Play was mid-range and it received a ton of praise thanks to its stellar battery life.

So the new Moto X4 has a 5.2″ 1080p display with the Snapdragon 630 SoC powering it from the inside. It has 3GBs of RAM and 32GBs of expandable storage with a 3,000mAh capacity battery. The phone comes with a 15 watt TurboPower charger and Motorola states you can get 6 hours of use after a 15-minute charge. The frame is metal and it has a glass back so the company was able to achieve IP68 water and dust resistance which is a huge selling point these days.

The biggest feature in this phone is the dual rear-camera setup. One of these rear camera sensors is 12MP while the other is an 8MP wide-angle shooter, and both of them are able to capture color images (so no monochrome feature here). The main 12MP sensor has dual-pixel autofocus, an f/2.0 lens, and 1.4nm pixels. The secondary camera is able to offer a 120-degree field of view with its f/2.2 lens and 1.12nm pixels. Motorola says they’re able to give you those depth effects that are so popular these days thanks to the dual camera setup. The front of the device houses a 16MP camera and includes an “adaptive low-light mode” that Motorola says allows for better low light performance while sacrificing some resolution.

Another big feature here is that Motorola has opted for Amazon Alexa as its virtual assistant of choice so it will be able to respond to “Alexa” voice commands, even when locked. The company says they’re launching the Moto X4 in Europe next month (September) for €399, and that it should be made available in the United States sometime this fall.

Source: Motorola

from xda-developers

Add a Quick Settings Display Mode Tile to the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+

Samsung’s OEM ROM software comes with hundreds of additional features on top of stock Android, and there are a ton of of quick settings tiles for some of them. However, those of you on the Samsung Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ may have noticed that a display mode quick settings tile is missing, so there’s no easy way to change between Adaptive Display/AMOLED Photo/AMOLED Cinema/Basic.

For that reason, XDA Assistant Forum Admin the_scotsman has put together a guide to create a quick settings tile to switch between these modes yourself. This method does require root as you will be writing to a kernel preference file to change the display mode. You will also need to have Tasker installed to create the custom quick setting tile, but the guide itself is quite easy to follow and walks you through the entire process of getting this working.

Guide to Add Quick Setting Display Mode Tile

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Sony Equips the Xperia XZ1 with 3D Scanning and Image Creation Software

Sony is in Berlin this week for the big IFA 2017 conference and they’re announcing a number of new devices there. We reported on their two new flagship devices earlier this month that were leaked before the unveiling, and they have also launched a new connected speaker with support for Google Assistant. Now that these two flagship smartphones are official, we get a look at some of their software features and one in particular that stands out is what they’re calling the Xperia XZ1 3D Creator.

Augmented reality is becoming more and more popular these days with companies such as Google working on them for years. Google’s previous work required special hardware for AR to work the way they wanted it, but even their new ARCore platform eliminates this requirement. It looks like Sony is jumping into this market as well with a piece of software called 3D Creator for their new Xperia XZ1 flagship smartphone. They’re even taking it a step further though and using this 3D capturing technology for more than just AR, though.

The process starts by launching the application and then using it to capture a full 360 degree scan of the object. If you want, you can do this with your head and then use it with one of their pre-built avatar figures. This can then be placed virtually in the room you’re in, or you can use it with popular chat applications (they used WhatsApp as an example) as a 3D Sticker. You can capture other 3D objects as well, such as a conch shell, and then put then virtually place that captured object anywhere else.

The 3D Creator software for the Xperia XZ1 even lets you use these objects for 3D printing as well. Sony says it should only take between 15 to 60 seconds to scan an object, and the software comes with four different modes including face, head, freeform and food.

Source: Sony Mobile

from xda-developers

Mod to Customize the UI of your Google Pixel running Android Oreo

With the Android Oreo OTA update rolling out to the Google Pixel phones, some are looking for ways to customize the user interface of their device. So XDA Senior Member Tulsadiver has put together a collection of mods that lets you pick and choose which mods you want to install through an Aroma installer.

Some of the included mods let you change things such as the navigation bar height, status bar icon colors, clock positions and more. The developer does note that not all of the mods have been tested, so you should create a backup ahead of time. To install this mod, your Google Pixel needs to have an unlocked bootloader and has to have a custom recovery such as TWRP installed.

Check out this UI mod in our Pixel forum

from xda-developers

One Click Tool to Change the Splash Screen on the HTC U11

The splash screen is one of the first things that every user sees after booting up a device. It generally shows the company logo before going into the device’s boot animation. Developers on our HTC U11 forums have managed to create a tool to replace this splash screen for the device.

The Universal Splash Screen Flasher Tool was created by XDA Recognized Developer ivicask and XDA Senior Member JEANRIVERA. To use this tool, your HTC U11 needs to be S-OFF. The method works on Windows, but adapting it to other operating systems should not be difficult. Head over to the development thread to get more details and instructions.

Get Universal Splash Screen Flasher Tool for HTC U11

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Sony Announces Which Devices They’re Updating to Android Oreo

When Google releases a new version of Android, people start asking which devices will be updated to it. Since each individual OEM handles their software updates differently, it can be confusing to know which device will get the new update. Some OEMs are easy to predict though, since they generally stick to flagships released in the last two years, but Sony is different. Today, the company has revealed which of their smartphones they plan on updating to Android Oreo.

Similarly to how Xiaomi announced their OTA update roadmap for the new MIUI 9 release, Sony has given us an entire list of devices that we can expect to use Android Oreo. So far, the list includes the Sony Xperia X, Xperia X Performance, Xperia XZ, Xperia X Compact, Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia XZs, Xperia XA1, Xperia XA1 Ultra, Xperia Touch and Xperia XA1 Plus. The company notes that software updates for these devices are phased and that timing along with availability will vary depending on the market and/or the carrier.

This is how things generally work with Android updates for a number of reasons. Sometimes it takes carriers longer to push out an update to a smartphone. So while the unlocked version of a device in one market could get the update first, it could take time if you purchased yours from a local wireless carrier. Sony could even decide that they sold so few devices in a certain country that it just isn’t financially viable to work on localizing the Android Oreo update for said country.

Hopefully there won’t be too many instances like that, but it’s definitely possible as we have seen it before from other OEMs. The company has just announced two new smartphones as well, the Xperia XZ1 and the Xperia XZ1 Compact, which Sony says will both launch with Android Oreo out of the box.

Source: Sony Mobile

from xda-developers

Sony Launches the Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact at IFA 2017

With most major OEMs pulling out their big guns for 2017, Sony is also refreshing its lineup to compete against the competition. After a few leaks, Sony has finally launched the new Sony Xperia XZ1 and Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact at IFA 2017.

Xperia XZ1

Most flagships this year saw changes, sometimes radical, on their design. But Sony has once again chosen to recycle the design on its flagship, choosing to remain with the big chin and forehead in a year where everyone is shaving off the bezels in some way. Both the Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact are easily identified as Sony smartphones, but ones that cannot really stand apart from the rest of Sony’s smartphone lineup in terms of design. The phones feature the side-mounted fingerprint scanner that is integrated into the power button — a feature that I would personally like other phones to experiment with as well. Sony does note however that this feature may not be available in all markets, a likely indication that the phones sold in the USA will once again skip on the fingerprint sensor. Both the phones also have a front-facing stereo speaker setup.

The Xperia XZ1 is the bigger of the two devices launched, and comes with a 5.2″ FHD HDR display housed in a 148 x 73 x 7.4mm metallic body for the phone. On the inside, the XZ1 comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage with microSD support. The phone comes with a 2,700 mAh battery that supports Qnovo Adaptive Charging and Qualcomm’s Quick Charging 3.0 through the USB 3.1 Type-C port. The Xperia XZ1 is also IP68 certified for water and dust resistance.

For the camera setup, the Xperia XZ1 borrows heavily from the previously released Xperia XZ Premium back from MWC 2017. The phone comes with what Sony is calling the Motion Eye camera. The rear camera is a 19MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture, but instead of a 2-layer design, this features a memory layer in between the sensor and control circuitry layers. This allows the camera itself to store photos temporarily instead of waiting on the chipset to transfer them to RAM. This in turn allows the camera to capture 4K video720p HD video at 960fps slow-motion and autofocus burst. The front camera is a 13MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture and a 22mm wide angle lens.

The Xperia XZ1 will comes in four colors: Black, Warm Silver, Moonlit Blue and Venus Pink.

Xperia XZ1 Compact

Perhaps the more interesting product in this launch is the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact.

The Xperia XZ1 Compact shares a lot in common with the Xperia XZ1, but comes in a smaller form factor. As a consequence of its smaller 129 x 65 x 9.3mm size, it has a small 4.6″ HD display. The metallic build is replaced with a plastic compound, and the USB connection is only limited to USB 2.0 on this one. The front camera is a super wide angle 18MP Exmor sensor with f/2.4 aperture and with a 120 degree field-of-view. Everything else is shared with the Xperia XZ1, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC and 2,700 mAh battery. Color options on the XZ1 Compact include Black, Snow Silver, Horizon Blue, Twilight Pink.

As the proverbial cherry on top, both the Sony Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact will ship with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box underneath Sony’s UX. Both the phones will be available globally in September 2017, though Sony chose to remain silent on the pricing and specific region availability.

The XZ1 Compact does seem better placed than its larger sibling, as it comes as a powerful flagship grade device in a form-factor that is very largely ignored by top-tier OEMs. Most offerings in this screen size come with watered down specifications and can be considered mid-end phones at their very best. The XZ1 Compact on the other hand identifies strongly as a top-tier device on the inside, and is likely to come at a corresponding price.

What are your thoughts on Sony’s Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact? Would you give Sony a pass for the design language adopted on the new flagships? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Sony Mobile

from xda-developers

Here is a Crazy Thought: Google Should Buy HTC’s Crumbling Mobile Division

Almost exactly six years ago Google did something quite unexpected: they announced they were purchasing Motorola Mobility. At the time Google was not really building its own hardware for its Android division, nor were they branding any Android hardware as their own. They had the Nexus lineup but Nexus was always about partial ownership between Google and the actual device manufacturer.

Some saw this takeover as early signs that Google would begin building their own hardware and were hopeful. However, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that some of Google’s partners were worried that Google would begin showing favoritism to its own units instead of supporting the OEMs that were largely responsible for Android’s exploding growth. Google did much to assure partners that they would be keeping Motorola separate from its core businesses, and that it would be treated as any other partner — for the most part, they followed through. Little change came from this partnership as Motorola was quickly spun off less than two years after the acquisition was completed, and then Lenovo took over the brand. Why Google bought Motorola is no mystery, though. Motorola had a vast patent portfolio that Google can use to help defend its partners and thereby prevented the patents from falling into the hands of those who would purchase these patents and bring frivolous litigation against them. Why Google sold them is more of a mystery though. Motorola was shaping up, they had just launched their Moto Maker system which was an industry first and showed exceptional promise with the Moto X and Moto G sub-brands with their phones gaining traction after years of falling into forgottenness.

Samsung, still the largest Android vendor and more unmatched in 2014 than today, is nearly always mentioned when revisiting this situation, and evidence supports these rumors. First comes a patent agreement between the two mega-companies on January 27th of 2014 followed by rumors on the 29th that Google was strong arming Samsung into toning back its UI — which it has — and its offerings in terms of music and video services — which it also has done. However, in any negotiation there has to be give from both sides, and late in the day on the 29th Google announced its sale of Motorola to Lenovo, minus the patents. There is no conclusive evidence that these situations are linked, but they are suspiciously coincidental. Fast forward 2 years and Google unveils the Pixel line of smartphones, Google-branded but not Google-built products that lead the charge as the face of Android. So if Samsung was indeed the cause of the Motorola sale, why is Google allowed to push its own branding and should Google be looking to take it further?

That was years ago, and 2014 saw a vastly different market than what’s there today. Samsung held onto nearly 31% of the global market share of smartphones with the nearest single vendor being Huawei at a measly 4.7%. Lenovo and LG followed closely at 4.4% and 4.3% bringing the three company total to a messily 13.4%. Samsung dominated the Android market by a share of many times over and largely steered the public perception of the OS. Google could not risk this partnership, especially with Samsung gearing up development in its then intimidating Tizen operating system (though now we know what came of that). However, in 2017 Samsung finds itself in a more troubling situation. Note7 disaster aside (though it still placed a large dent in their Q4 16′ performance) Samsung has dropped to 23.3% market share but more troubling than that is that Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo combine to 23% of the market with Huawei shipping over 21% more phones this year than last while Samsung remained flat. Samsung is still a large motivating force for Android, but Samsung is no longer the force moving Android forward and in terms of sheer growth — they have not had nearly enough growth in comparison to their competitors within this time window. Google knows this information and is seeing that Samsung is no longer the dominate force they once were and this could have led to Google coming out with its Pixel branded smartphones despite them obviously making waves with partner relations — especially in the United States. But is Google going far enough? I think it time for Google to get its hardware groove back on, and HTC is the perfect company to purchase to make this happen.

HTC Factory Image Credit – Digital Trends

This year, based on the leaks we know that Google will be sourcing its Pixel phones from two vendors, HTC and LG. While the similarity of the Pixel pair was once apparent,  it is not quite the small and large pairing that Google, Samsung, and Apple have all been doing so far. What happened? No one really knows, but unlike in 2016 there is more than just a size difference between the two devices, which is likely not what Google envisioned for its Pixel phones originally. Why HTC is no longer building the larger Pixel XL is anyone’s guess, but the fact that HTC is one of the few vendors not looking to release a tall ratio smartphone in 2017 could have something to do with it. That does not change the fact that HTC can still make solid hardware just like they have done for years. What it does mean though is that due to HTC’s fall from grace as a top smartphone vendor it has very little clout in the parts market leaving HTC unable to develop devices that are competitive on multiple fronts. After HTC’s near historic downfall over the past number of years, they are left with only two valuable divisions — the handset division and Vive VR.

Rumors started to swirl late last week that HTC may looking at its options to part out its divisions. While HTC was quick to discount this with a “no comment” these rumors stemmed from Bloomberg — hardly a shady source of insider information. These rumors also make sense when you look at the bigger picture. HTC is essentially dying on the vine right now, with even the widely praised U11 failing to sustain an improvement over last year’s already dismal results. HTC’s days as a stand-alone smartphone vendor are numbered, as they have been for the past few years. If HTC is indeed looking at selling, they would look into parting out the company into two halves, the handset division and Vive.

Google seemingly has no immediate need for the Vive VR division having its own Daydream VR system along with Google Glass, Tango, and the newly announced ARCore projects innovating in AR. However, Google buying HTC’s handset division could be highly profitable for the company. Despite having its own hardware manufacturing ties, though at a lesser scale, Google could leverage HTC’s factories, 20 years of experience, industry ties, and personnel to quickly get a strong and modern Pixel hardware division underway. Many probably wouldn’t be wrong to point out that HTC could not keep up with Pixel demand last year leading to out of stock issues persisting well into 2017. There could be many reasons this occurred but I doubt it was due to HTC’s inability to produce the phones in a timely fashion. It more likely could be that HTC had an inability to front the costs to stock large amounts of components and produce millions of devices before launch due to their current market value and standing financially, despite Google’s backing.

Samsung is no longer the force moving Android forward and in terms of sheer growth, leaving room for Google to enter the marketplace…

Google’s parent company Alphabet has been involved in these rumors of HTC parting out its divisions, and while on the surface it can be seen as a potential stake in the Vive division, I feel that it could have more to do with the handsets — it just makes more sense. Rumors of Google developing their own hardware have been around for a while now but we haven’t yet seen any concrete information pointing to them developing and manufacturing in-house. They do have their hardware division that does not appear to have the scale for a massive handset operation. Buying an already developed and mature system makes for an easier inroad and the Pixel branding has planted its seeds in the mainstream market. Still, there is the issue of the Android partners and how a firm and direct move like this could be seen. As I mentioned earlier though, the market is more diverse now than it was 3 years ago when Samsung had a much larger stake in how successful Android would go on to be. That doesn’t directly scale back Samsung’s grip on Android but their failure to produce anything marketable with Tizen and their decreasing market share puts Google into a far more favorable position.

Google’s purchase of Motorola was the right move for the wrong company and at the wrong time for a handset division, but they did benefit from its vast patent portfolio though. However, Motorola was a far more established namesake and part of the cost of acquisition was that legacy increasing both the cost and the public perception of the situation. Google no doubt has been learning from Microsoft’s mistakes would not want to have the same issues they had with the Nokia brand, so buying a company that has already fallen out of the limelight is preferential. Finally there is the cost. Google bought Motorola for over $12B in 2012 and sold the handset division for just under $3B. Right now HTC is only worth $1.9B, and likely far less if Vive gets parted out to another buyer.

I don’t think there is going to be a much better time for Google to make a decisive move into the hardware manufacturing marketplace and HTC may be the company to get them in there.

from xda-developers

mercredi 30 août 2017

The Palm Brand is Making a Return Next Year, According to TCL

Back in the day, Palm pioneered the concept of personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, largely considered the predecessor to smartphones. They’ve entered this market back in 1996 and achieved success with devices like the Palm TX and the Palm Pilot. With the Palm Pre, in 2009, they attempted to take on the rising Android and iOS platforms with their webOS alternative. And while webOS was a compelling platform (which even took rising designer Matias Duarte as their UX head), it failed to actually gain traction in the market. Fast-forward to 2010, and the company was bought by Hewlett-Packard for $1.2 billion, only to be sold again to TCL a mere 5 years later in 2015 (with webOS rights being sold to LG in 2013).

However, it’s not all bad news for Palm fans. TCL, who also makes Alcatel and BlackBerry-brandeddevices, has announced that they are going to bring back the Palm brand starting in 2018. In a statement to Dutch website Android Planet, TCL’s marketing manager Stefan Streit announced that new Palm-branded products are going to be announced in early 2018. Mr. Streit did not go into detail over what kind of products would be announced, but he said that smartphones were included in the possibilities. It’s highly unlikely that those products will keep using webOS because of existing competition, and instead they will likely go for Android as their OS of choice.

According to Mr. Streit, Palm will be the fourth brand the company will maintain, right next to TCL, Alcatel and BlackBerry. Each brand is aimed at a target audience. While Alcatel focuses on millennials/young people and BlackBerry focuses on the business market, Palm will be aimed at an older audience looking for the latest in technology. He also said that they’ve been researching the products that best fit the brand during the past few years. While the brand has been almost completely forgotten by now, we’re still excited to see a legend come back to life. We’re looking forward to the first half of 2018 to see what Palm has to offer.

Source: Android Planet

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New Acer Chromebook 15 Announced at IFA 2017: Coming in October

Since 2011, Acer has been one of the world’s leading Chromebook brands. The first Acer Chromebook announced at Google I/O 2011 went on to become one of the most popular products ever released by the company. At their IFA 2017 press event in Berlin, where they’ve unveiled a range of new products, Acer announced another offering in their Acer Chromebook 15 line with upgraded internals and new features. Their newest laptop is expected to release in October.

On the specifications, this laptop brings at least two different models. One will be powered by an unspecified dual-core Intel Celeron and the other one by a quad-core Intel Pentium processor. While these processors are somewhat underpowered for intensive tasks, they should serve well for general web browsing as well as using most apps. The laptop will also be available with 32GBs or 64GBs of eMMC storage as well as 4GB or 8GB RAM configurations, which should be enough to satisfy most users’ needs. Acer has also promised battery life of up to 12 hours, and the fanless design should allow the laptop to run quietly.

One of the highlights of the Acer Chromebook 15 line is that it’s the only Chromebook available with a 15.6-inch display (like most Windows laptops). As such, the 1920×1080 display is one of the biggest selling points of this laptop. It also has two upward-facing speakers for delivering media, and an HD webcam with an 88-degree field of view. On the software side, it includes Chrome OS with Google Play Store support, so you also have access to up to 2 million Android apps.

The laptop also includes two USB Type-C ports, which can also charge the unit. You also have two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a speaker jack. Bluetooth 4.2 support and an SD card slot (with support for up to 128GB SDXC) are also in tow.

Interested? This laptop, which should go on pre-order soon, will set you back $300 for the base model. You can read more about it in Acer’s press release.

from xda-developers

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Receives Unofficial Port of Android 8.0 Oreo

With the initial rush of developers trying to boot Android Oreo on anything that’ll run it, the next big hitter to receive an unofficial port of the latest OS is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Snapdragon edition. Android Oreo for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, ported by XDA Senior Member jhenrique09, is in an impressive position. The only broken features currently include Wi-Fi hotspot, USB tethering, and VoLTE, making this an impressive first port for the widely loved device. The Google App suite also comes pre-installed with this ROM. This Xiaomi device is not the only one to unofficially receive an Android Oreo port, with the Nexus 5 receiving one too, albeit in a much more unstable state at the moment.

What makes this port even more impressive are the circumstances the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is in. Running a Snapdragon 650, there have been no driver updates from Qualcomm to allow it to run on Android Marshmallow or higher. Developers have had to “shim” the blobs, in other words analyzing the blobs, how they interact with the new version of Android via logging and creating a shim to piece it all together and thus enabling the device to function correctly. This is a very intensive process and requires a lot of skill and patience. It can also lead to instability which can be hard for many developers implementing a shim to fix.

With LineageOS on its way (unofficially) to devices, we hope to see it built soon for the Redmi. The Redmi Note 3 is a much loved device by the Android community, and an update to Android Oreo would breathe new life into it and its community. We expect to see this device around for a long time, just like the Nexus 5. With its excellent battery, RAM, and processor, the device should be around for years to come, especially as it continues to receive unofficial updates.

from xda-developers

Creating Your First Simple Android App [Video Guide]

Follow along with Rawad in this new series on XDA TV which takes you through the basics of creating an Android app. In this first video, we see how to setup Android studio and how to create a simple “Hello World” app.



Download Android Studio

from xda-developers

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 to be Officially Unveiled on September 11th

Many remember the radical design changes that Sharp introduced with their Aquos devices, but they weren’t something that really made people pay attention to. This could have been from a lack of marketing, availability, the brand itself, or something else. However, Xiaomi was able to turn a lot of heads with their announcement the Mi Mix and its similar bezel design. We had heard rumblings of the company working on a successor and now they have confirmed when the Mi Mix 2 will be unveiled.

The Mi Mix really came out of left field as we just didn’t hear that many rumors about it before the device launched. It hasn’t even been a smartphone that has been widely available, since it was only manufactured in limited quantities. It’s unclear if this will be the case with the upcoming Mi Mix 2 though, so we’ll just have to wait and see how Xiaomi handles availability. Other than a teaser image and a launch date, Xiaomi hasn’t really said much about the device either.

There have been a few rumors surrounding the successor to the Mi Mix but the sources of them have been known to get things wrong from time to time (which is why we hadn’t written about them). Current rumors about the Mi Mix 2 say it will come equipped with a dual rear-camera setup and that Xiaomi has been working to reduce bezels even further. There’s even been some talk about Xiaomi working on a 3D facial recognition support for the device.

Reported hardware specs from alleged benchmark database entries say it will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC, have 6GB of RAM, and ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The company seems to be wanting to keep the same 6.4″ size display (if current reports are correct), but have its resolution bumped up to 2540 x 1440 pixels. Rumors say it will be made available in 128GB and 256GB internal storage options and it will have a 4,500mAh capacity battery.

Again, these are all rumored details of the device and we’ll have to wait until September 11th to  see if they are correct.

Source: Xiaomi

from xda-developers

Google Assistant is Coming to New Connected Speakers and Appliances

IFA 2017 technically starts on September 1st and will last through the 6th, but companies tend to want to jump ahead of the frenzy and announce certain products a day early. This is what we’re seeing today with the announcement of three new Google Assistant smart speakers and some soon to be released home appliances that will utilize the platform as well. Google has announced that Google Assistant is coming to connected speakers from Mobvoi, Anker, Panasonic, and that appliances from LG will come later this year.

Google Assistant may have had a slow start since it was launched, but the company has been slowly growing and expanding its 3rd-party support. The Google Assistant SDK is really what enables these 3rd-party companies to use the platform in their products and this could result in a surge of new devices using it. At CES earlier this year, Amazon Alexa was in so many connected devices that it truly stole the show and many are hoping Google’s solution will have similar results.

As far as connected speakers are concerned, both Mobvoi, Anker and Panasonic have announced they have a few products for fans of Google Assistant. We don’t have any information about the Zolo Mojo from Anker, but landing pages are already up for the TicHome Mini by Mobvoi and the GA10 by Panasonic. The TicHome Mini is a portable connected speaker with full Google Assistant support, the ability to play music over WiFi or Bluetooth, and has IPX6 certification so it is splashproof.

The GA10 from Panasonic is a taller, more stationary connected speaker that could blend into a traditional living room setup. It is said to be made available sometime in early 2018 and is being marketed as a Hi-Fi music player with Google Assistant capabilities. The last announcement we have today about Google Assistant being embedded into a number of LG appliances later this year. We don’t have a full list right now, but Google does mention a washing machine, clothes dryer, and a vacuum.

Source: The Keyword

from xda-developers

Google to Comply With European Commission Demands to Avoid More Fines

Back in June Google was hit with two and a half billion fine for antitrust issues by the European Commission. The internet search giant, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., was accused of prioritizing its own store over other competing stores within its search engine. If they did not comply and propose a solution within 60 days and implement them by 90 days, September 28th 2017, then they would be fined 5% of daily revenue for each day they do not comply. They have been under investigation since then over its other products, such as Android and its advertising business. Google denied any wrongdoing when it first was accused. Kent Walker, senior vice president of the company, said this on the matter.

 “There is simply no meaningful correlation between the evolution of our search services and the performance of price comparison sites. Meanwhile, over those same ten years, a rapidly increasing amount of traffic flowed from our search pages to popular sites like Amazon and eBay as they expanded in Europe, hardly a sign of our ‘favouring’ our own ads.”

He then went further, citing two studies to show that Google’s influence on where consumers shop has been minimal. One study is American, the other German.

Now things have changed according to a report from Bloomberg.

Google Give In

Google had until the 29th of August to tell the European Commission how they planned to fix the issue. A spokeswoman for Google stated that they are sharing their plans with regulators, but did not make the plans public. Google’s reluctance to fight the case is interesting, as Intel fought their 1.2 billion euro fine in 2009, with the final ruling to be laid out next year. The case has been delayed 8 years, so the fact Google isn’t opting to take the long fight raises questions if they believe the Commission’s ruling is just. We’ll wait and see what happens, but for now it seems they have accepted defeat and take full responsibility for their search manipulation. That, or it’s just not worth fighting it.

Source: Bloomberg

from xda-developers

Google Publishes Android Oreo OTA Images for Supported Pixel and Nexus Devices

Early last week Google finally announced the name of Android Oreo and then shortly afterwards uploaded the source code for the new update. As we were combing through those commits to find some new changes, Google then uploaded the system images for the update for supported Pixel and Nexus devices. Manually flashing those images will wipe the data from your phone though, so last night the company published the OTA images for this new update.

Google’s OTA update system can feel incredibly slow if you aren’t picked to be included in the first phase or two of the roll out. At least back in the KitKat days, Google would send a new update to 1% of their users within the first 24-48 hours. During this time, Google checks the return rates, device checkins and error reports (if any). Assuming there aren’t any issues here, the company then sends these OTA update notifications to 25%, 50% and then 100% over the next couple of weeks.

Any critical errors they find during this process can delay the OTA update roll out so they can find the issue. This means it can sometimes be favorable to actually wait for the update notification to be pushed to you. However, if you want to manually download and install this new Android Oreo update then you can do so on the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, or the Nexus 5X. This process requires you have ADB installed on your computer and that you type in a few commands via the terminal or command prompt.

However, you also might get away with spamming the Check Update button within the system updates section of the Settings application. I discovered this worked when other people were receiving the Android Wear 2.0 update for the Huawei Watch, and it just worked again about 10 minutes ago for my Pixel C. It’s not guaranteed to work, but after 5-6 quick retries it just may trigger and prompt you to download and install the update.

Source: Google

from xda-developers

MiHome Launcher With New Grid Size Option Ported to Other Xiaomi Devices

MiHome launcher has been ported by XDA-member Dadovvv, who has spent hours working to take the it from the Xiaomi Mi Max and make it available for other Xiaomi phones running on MIUI, Android 7.0. You will need root access and a root enabled file manager such as MiXplorer to download and install the modded application, and also to change your DPI. Your DPI must be below 440.

MiXplorer (Free, XDA Labs) →

To install the application, you will need to copy the application to the /system/priv-app/MiuiHome and delete the oat folder if it exists. Set the permissions of the file to 644 (-rw-r–r–) and reboot! The application should work and let you change grid sizes. Check out the port down below!

MiHome Launcher Port

from xda-developers

Google Camera HDR+ Port Updated with Zero Shutter Lag, More Xiaomi Device Support, and Major Bug Fixes

As we reported earlier this month, Google Camera was ported with working HDR+ to any devices that used a Snapdragon 820/821 or 835 chip (with the exception of the ZTE Axon 7, according to reports from other users). It has also been reported to work on certain Snapdragon 4XX or 6XX devices such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, though this requires the devices to have the Camera2 API enabled. Since the initial, rather buggy release, the Google Camera port has received updates to fix major bugs, bring more Xiaomi devices on board, and has also introduced Zero Shutter Lag for automatic HDR+ mode.

The Google Camera port seems to make use of the Hexagon 680 DSP in these Snapdragon SoCs, so no equivalent Exynos or Kirin SoC will be capable of using this port (sorry, international Samsung or Huawei/Honor users!) This addition not only has significantly improved pictures in certain conditions on a vast selection of devices, but it has made certain phones major contenders to sit with the best mobile shooters around. The OnePlus 3 with this camera can punch far above its own weight in camera ability when using this port, in my opinion.

Since the initial release earlier in the month, there have been a number of major updates to the Google Camera port. The Ukrainian developer B-S-G from the 4pda forum has been working tirelessly to provide the best camera application around. With a new base of version and some major changes to how he has implemented HDR+, improvements are seen across the board.

The original Google Camera port that we covered had a broken front camera on the OnePlus 3T, broken burst fire mode, broken 60FPS video recording, broken slow motion video recording and a buggy HDR+ mode which crashed occasionally. Now B-S-G has fixed all of these problems and has also added some improvements. If slow motion or 60FPS does not work for you, take a look at this thread. It’s a Magisk module method for enabling it to work, however it worked out of the box for me. What’s more, another developer has come to improve upon the original port.

There has been one regression on the latest update, which is when using “no HDR” mode, pictures will sometimes take a very long time to save. We recommend using auto-HDR+ at all times. You may also face rare crashes on the current build, but a lot less than previous builds.

Improvements to Google Camera HDR+ Port, now with Zero Shutter Lag

Google Camera HDR+ Zero Shutter Lag Google Camera HDR+ Zero Shutter Lag Google Camera HDR+ Zero Shutter Lag Google Camera HDR+ Zero Shutter Lag

All images above are shot on a OnePlus 3 with aHDR+ on the newest Google Camera HDR+ port

The Google Camera port has been subject to many changes in the last two weeks, changing how HDR+ works and adding ZSL.

ZSL, HDR+ and aHDR+

B-S-G has added ZSL, but only for automatic HDR+. Automatic HDR+ uses a lighter algorithm than forcing it, and the lighter algorithm uses fewer photos to stitch together. This is why it can use ZSL, as otherwise there would not be enough time to take enough photos. If you use forced HDR+, then you cannot benefit from ZSL.

This is a good thing, however, as automatic HDR+ is all that you will really need. Using forced HDR+ can lead to images looking unnatural, with no shadows. This is what the Google Pixel does too, so again the port is achieving its aim in bringing Pixel-like camera functionality to other devices. This is a massive improvement over the original port, which required forcing HDR+ in all scenarios. This way the camera application itself calculates what it needs to do, rather than a “one size fits all” approach. Many users of the more recent ports agree that there is a huge improvement.

Compatibility with the Xiaomi Mi5s

This camera port was originally for the Mi5s due to the poor camera processing, although it works across a vast amount of devices. If using a Xiaomi Mi5s, this port is completed and other than the non-HDR+ issue mentioned above the application should work perfectly with zero crashes. If you are using any other Snapdragon 820/821 device, then look below.

Snapdragon 4xx/6xx Devices – Xiaomi

After the initial post, it seems that this port actually is working on a multitude of Xiaomi devices, including the Redmi Note 4x, Redmi 4 and Redmi Note 3. You will need to add this to your build prop if you want to use it however.

Alternatively, you can flash this Magisk module. Check it out and see! This may only be working on Xiaomi devices as the port was originally meant for the Mi5s and it may be using Xiaomi specific hardware/proprietary blobs.

Download and Install

Zero Shutter Lag (ZSL) has been a popular mod of Google Camera with Nexus 5X and 6P users, as it added the Google Pixel’s ability to take good and quick photos on those devices. B-S-G has worked tirelessly to improve the camera, solving many crashing issues and what’s more, introducing a better HDR+ solution. You can download his version 1.4 of his port below from our AndroidFileHost page, or you can also register on the Russian forum 4pda to download his new camera updates as they come.

Download B-S-G’s Google Camera v4.4 Mod with HDR+ and ZSL

Optimization for Snapdragon 820/821 Devices

XDA-Member Ivanich has taken it upon himself to fix up some of B-S-G’s problems he’s had with his camera port. I contacted him to confirm the changes he has made, which are below. He effectively optimized the camera port for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, and thus other non-Pixel, non-Xiaomi Mi5s Snapdragon 820/821 devices too. I highly recommend Axon 7 users also give this a try and see if it fixes their issues.

I only made small changes in order to fix some things which were broken on the op3. I also added 60fps recording, so basically  here is what I did:
– Added 60fps, thanks to Amir
– Fixed dark video issue in video mode
– And disabled burst which caused camera FC’s on our device

Ivanich has also given us permission to re-host his modifications on our AndroidFileHost! Check it out down below!

Download Google Camera v4.4 Mod with HDR+ optimized for Snapdragon 820/821 devices

Keep up to Date

If you are not on the newest version, I highly suggest you upgrade to one of the options linked above. With a much better approach to HDR+, ZSL working slow motion and working 60FPS video there is absolutely no reason not to upgrade!

from xda-developers

BlackBerry is Launching Another All-Touchscreen Phone in October

Before the advent of Android and iOS, BlackBerry phones were all the rage. After all, their QWERTY keyboard solution was replicated by pretty much every OEM back in the day. They dominated the smartphone market from 2006 to 2008-2009, ahead of when touchscreen smartphones took the world by storm.

While BlackBerry tried to compete with their BB 10 platform back in 2012-2013, they couldn’t keep up. So they ended up as another Android OEM. What was the difference this time around? They continued using QWERTY keyboards, which many people prefer over all-touchscreen phones because of convenience. The BlackBerry Priv and the KEYOne are good examples of modern Android phones with QWERTY keyboards, having launched in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

But the company is aware that there’s a thriving market for all-touchscreen phones – a market they don’t want to miss out on. At an IFA 2017 briefing in Berlin, TCL’s head of global sales François Mahieu said that two months from now “we will have a touchscreen solution to show”. This isn’t much of a surprise, considering that this wouldn’t be the first all-touchscreen BB phone. Case in point: BlackBerry Z10, Z30, DTEK50 and DTEK60. But it shows that BB is, indeed, committed to this market too. According to Mr. Mahieu, “we should not be blind to the demand that’s out there”. TCL has previously promised as many as 3 devices for their 2017 lineup, and this would be the second one.

Suggested Reading: The KEYOne is not for you or me, and that makes it a great Blackberry

The phone would likely be some sort of successor to the DTEK50 and DTEK60 phones, launched in 2016, both featuring full touchscreens. BlackBerry is completely committed to both markets, as Mr. Mahieu said that “it will continue to be true in the future that keyboards are definitely a big element of [BlackBerry’s] DNA”. So it’s very likely we’ll see another phone with a QWERTY keyboard in the future as well.

TCL wants to resurrect the BlackBerry brand at all costs. Mr. Mahieu declared that they were here to stay, and they were rolling out more BlackBerry products in the coming years, starting this year. So, with or without a keyboard, it’s very clear that BlackBerry is coming back hard to the smartphone game.

Source: CNET

from xda-developers

Zoolz Cloud Storage: Lifetime of 1TB Instant Vault and 1TB of Cold Storage

Regardless of how many hard drives you buy, there never seems to be enough space for all of your files. Cloud services are helpful, but are often either too expensive or don’t offer enough storage. On the off chance that you find a cloud service that’s both inexpensive and offers enough space, they’re usually unreliable. That’s why this top-rated Zoolz Cloud Storage deal, which offers reliable, lifetime access to 1TB of “instant” storage and 1TB of “cold” storage for $49.99, is such a steal.

Zoolz provides a smarter way to purchase cloud backup based on tiered solutions that suit your particular needs, offering a rare and affordable solution to your growing mountain of data. You’ll have direct access to compartmentalized storage vaults, which provide a great place to safely store massive amounts of data that rarely get used, as well as data that you need to access on a regular basis.

A Smart Selection interface lets you quickly and easily select the files you want to store, and you’ll get to enjoy great features like icon overlay, file retention, and more. Preview thumbnails of images while they’re in storage, and retrieve stored files in approximately 3-5 hours. Your data will also be protected by swift auto backup and backed by Amazon AWS infrastructure.

Find out for yourself why this cloud storage plan has a 4.5/5 star rating on Reviewster, and has been named the best business cloud storage service by TopTenReviews. A lifetime of 1TB Instant Vault and 1TB Cold Storage from Zoolz Cloud Storage is priced at over 95% off, just $49.99, for a limited time.

Valued At Current Price Discount




Store 1TB of Instant Vault data & 1TB of Cold Storage data for life, w/ no additional costs

Quickly & easily select the files you want to store w/ Smart Selection

Get this deal!

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

Android 7.0 Nougat Now Rolling Out to the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo

As the saying goes: it’s better late than never. Roughly 2 years after Samsung launched their Galaxy S5 Neo, a year after Google released the Android 7.0 source code, and a week after Google released the Android 8.0 source, Samsung is now rolling out the Android 7.0 update to the Galaxy S5 Neo. The update was rolled out to the Canadian version (SM-G903W), with the European model expected to follow. The rollout comes around a month after the update was officially confirmed on the media.

The phone was released in 2015 as a revision for Samsung’s 2014 flagship, the Galaxy S5. The SoC was swapped from a Snapdragon 801/Exynos 5422 Octa to an Exynos 7580, it shipped with Lollipop instead of KitKat, and some internal changes came along too. The original S5’s last update was Marshmallow, so it’s actually surprising that the Android Nougat update actually arrived to the S5 Neo. Although it came pretty late (and it’s actually 7.0, not 7.1.1 which released almost a year ago), it’s still great news nonetheless, and a nice surprise for S5 Neo owners, as the phone was actually expected to be left on Marshmallow together with the Galaxy S5.

The update comes with the newest version of Samsung Experience, that can be seen on the Galaxy S8 and made its way to the Galaxy S7 and S6 with their respective Nougat updates. As such, all new features that came to these phones also came to the Galaxy S5 Neo. You can also take advantage of all the new features included in Nougat, like quick replies. It also, obviously, comes with the latest security patches. Many things are coming with this update, but you’ll have to install it yourself in order to learn more.

If you have the Canadian model, you should be able to download and install the OTA update. If it’s not there, you can always manually flash the Nougat firmware using Odin.

Thanks for the tip, Lex_Corp!

Source: Forums

from xda-developers

PSA: Do not Reply to Essential “Purchase Verification” Emails (Potential Credit Card/Identity Fraud), Emails Reportedly from Essential Phone Staff

The Essential phones are now shipping to customers after a really long wait, but things are not looking good for some buyers. Last night, an email allegedly coming from their support team was seemingly chained to many customers. The email, which came from, asked for the customer’s photo ID or other identification papers (passport, driver’s license…), as they needed additional information for verifying the purchase. This has raised a lot of eyebrows, and some upset users considered it a phishing scam or a server hack because of the email’s appearance and odd wording. It reads as follows:


Our order review team requires additional verifying information to complete the processing of your recent order.

This verification is performed to protect against unauthorized use of your payment information and similar to what is conducted for in-person purchases.

Please provide an alternative email and phone number to confirm this purchase..

We would like to request a picture of a photo ID (e.g. driver’s license, state ID, passport) clearly showing your photo, signature and address. NOTE: the address on the ID should match the billing address listed on your recent order.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation.  Once verified, we look forward to shipping your order.


Essential Products Customer Care

The email was first reported on Reddit, precisely on /r/Essential (and then crossposted to /r/Android), where it generated quite a bit of discussion. It was eventually settled on those subs that it could a security leak (someone getting a hold of Essential’s mailing list), a phishing attempt by an Essential employee or another person, or just a big mistake from a company employee. It was also later reported on /r/Android that both addresses at Essential were disabled. However, we are not 100% sure what happened here, as the email did apparently come from the official servers.

Either way, if you have bought one of these phones and you got one of these emails, do NOT respond to it until the company releases a proper official statement on the situation. You could be potentially putting your personal information in danger. We’re currently looking forward to an official statement from Essential on the matter beyond the tweet shown above. In the meantime, you can read both Reddit discussions here and here.

Suggested reading: Essential is Bleeding Consumer Trust Before its Products Reach Customer Hands

Source: Reddit

from xda-developers

How to Enable Google Allo’s Built-in Translate and Assistant Auto-Complete Features

Allo is Google’s chat app integrated with the Google Assistant. Google Assistant in Allo lets yousearch within conversations, play games, tell jokes, and more. The other person in your conversation can see this too and even join in. You can also talk to the Google Assistant in a private chat if you want, meaning that in effect you actually have the same Google Assistant within the Google Allo app as you do when you hold the home button.

Google Allo contains many features, but there is certainly more it could do with Google’s capabilities powering it. We recently received Google Allo for Web, but that’s about it. What about Google’s translation services? What about auto-completion? Surely Google has the power to add these features to their application?

Well as it turns out, they did! You will need root access and a root enabled file explorer, but you can actually enable automatic translation of messages, powered by Google Translate, as well as auto-completion in conversations with the Google Assistant! I recommend using MiXplorer for a free, root-enabled file explorer.

MiXplorer (Free, XDA Labs) →

You will need root access via Magisk or SuperSU to follow this tutorial! There are other changes that can be made in the files we are changing, but be careful. No other settings in this file are guaranteed to work.

Enabling Google Allo’s Built-in Translation and Assistant Auto-Complete Features

We will be editing a Google Allo configuration file located in /data/data/ You will need to navigate to this folder in your root enabled file explorer. We will be changing some boolean values in this file. Booleans are strings which take “true” or “false” values.

Step 1

Open PhenotypePrefs.xml and locate the following strings.


Step 2

Change the value=”false” on both strings to value=”true”.

Step 3

Next, force stop Google Allo and test out the features!


We tested it out here on XDA, and spoke in four languages to test auto translation. First, we used French, then German, then Latvian, and then Irish. It failed to properly translate Latvian and Irish, but that’s understandable as they are not widely spoken languages. We can also see that auto-completion when messaging the Google Assistant is now enabled!

Go check it out, and have a look at PhenotypePrefs.xml if you’re interested in seeing if you can find any other hidden features! If you find any, let us know in the comments. Be careful when editing this file however, as you may break something in the app if you change something you aren’t sure of!

from xda-developers

mardi 29 août 2017

Jolla Introduces Sailfish X for the Sony Xperia X

Jolla has officially introduced Sailfish X – Sailfish OS for the Sony Xperia X. The company will start pre-selling the system late September, and downloadable images will be available in October.

After the Jolla Tablet fiasco, the Finnish company had a difficult time. Preparing for Sailfish X is one of the ways the company is hoping it will be rescued from bankruptcy. Sailfish OS is not a free operating system and will cost €49.90 (~$60), though for that price Jolla promises one year of software updates and a continuation program.

In its initial release, users may face some issues, and not all device features will be supported. Jolla states that Bluetooth, sensors such as the Barometer and step counter, fingerprint, and FM radio will not be supported. The Finnish company also plans to open source some of its work for the Sony Xperia X to allow for third-party contributions and custom builds. Vesa-Matti Hartikainen from Jolla published a video in which he shows the current state of the ROM.

Sales of the OS will start on September 27, 2017. Below we are reproducing the listed perks prepared for potential customers, taken straight from Jolla.

Product – what you will get:

  • Sailfish OS image to flash to your Xperia device – our target is to have the downloadable image ready by October 11
  • Android support, predictive text input, and MS Exchange support as downloads from Jolla Store to your device
  • SW updates for one year, after which a continuation program will follow 
  • Clear instructions and support for downloads & installation 
  • Jolla Customer Care service

Availability: EU, Norway, Switzerland; US & CA to be confirmed
Price: €49,90 (including VAT)

To install Sailfish X, users will have to unlock their bootloader and will need to have already purchased a single-SIM variant of the Sony Xperia X smartphone. Jolla’s operating system needs to be installed via Linux terminal, at least for now, though the company hopes to streamline the process in the near future.

Are you planning to give Sailfish X a try? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Jolla Blog

from xda-developers

OnePlus Student Program Offers 10% Off Orders, Including the OnePlus 5

A lot of companies offer discounts on their products and services for anyone who is currently a student. This can be 50% off the price of an Amazon Prime membership, free access to Office 365 from Microsoft, and a ton of other discounts. OnePlus has just announced their OnePlus Student Program where they will begin offering a 10% off coupon for anyone who is a student in select countries around the world. Other than location, the only limitation here is that you must have a Student Beans account for verification.

As mentioned, there are some limitations here so let’s talk about those first. This offer is only valid for students who live in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, United States, and Canada. Along with that, you also must have an account with Student Beans, but you can register an account as long as you have a valid .EDU email address.

Now, the student program from OnePlus doesn’t give you 10% off any and all orders, as this is limited too. For instance, you’re only allowed to get 10% off your order from getting a coupon code from the company’s Student Program landing page. Also, they’re only giving students a 10% off coupon code once per year. Lastly, you can not purchase more than one OnePlus 5 using a 10% off coupon as it becomes invalid if you have more than one in your cart during checkout.

So, to qualify for this coupon code you need to visit the OnePlus Student Program landing page here. This will allow you to log into your Student Beans account for verification, and then you can request a coupon code. Once initiated, this coupon code will be valid for one month so be sure to place your order shortly after receiving it.

Source: OnePlus

from xda-developers

Verizon Google Pixel Android Oreo Update Page Mentions Always On Ambient Display and Instant Apps in Pixel Launcher

When it was announced that Google’s self-branded Pixel series would be available for Verizon Wireless last year, many wondered how the update process would be handled. Google is still able to push out OTA updates to unlocked versions of the Pixel faster, but to their credit Verizon hasn’t been slow when it comes to OTA updates for the Pixel phones. While the Android Oreo roll out to Verizon Pixel devices isn’t all that surprising today, there are two tidbits in the page that stuck out to us in particular: always-on display and instant apps in the Pixel Launcher.

Verizon Google Pixel Ambient Display and Instant Apps Verizon Google Pixel Ambient Display and Instant Apps

First, this support page for the Oreo update talks about the ambient display always-on mode feature that we have talked about in the past. We initially assumed that this feature would only go live on the second generation Google Pixel phones, but according to this page the feature will be supported on the first generation Pixel smartphones as well. The Verizon Google Pixel page even goes on to explain that the always-on display will transition to Google’s built-in ambient display feature when a notification comes in.

Another screenshot on this Verizon support page talks about the Search Apps field when you bring up the application drawer. But what is more interesting is that you can see application icons for things such as BuzzFeed and Airbnb’s instant apps. We discovered this change in a commit that was published to AOSP and it allows system installed launchers to see instant apps on the device. Sadly, this means that Nova Launcher and other 3rd-party launchers from the Play Store will not have this functionality.

We aren’t sure if these images are a mistake or if Verizon is spilling the beans early on upcoming features, but the inclusion of these two features would not be a surprise given our findings.

Source: Verizon Wireless Via: 9to5Google

from xda-developers

Essential is Bleeding Consumer Trust Before its Products Even Reach Customer Hands

Whenever a new device is announced, manufacturers make statements and promises — sometimes it almost feels as if the statements are meant to be forgotten, and the promises broken after everyone’s attention has withered. Blame can be put on both the manufacturer and the recipient (though only in part): the manufacturer for making a promise that they don’t intend to keep, and the recipient for mistaking a statement for an essential promise.

In some cases, marketing and advertisements are separated from the people who are actually responsible for making the promise or statement come true, and talking heads simply overextend what is possible. Some make statements simply to use them as a marketing point, like insisting their camera solution, performance, or battery life is better than it actually is. OnePlus’s “Dual Camera, Clearer Photos” slogan is a perfect example of a statement that many took as a promise or an assurance of quality… in practice, the OnePlus 5 has one of the more disappointing cameras in its price point, and looking at full crops is anything but “clearer”. On the other side of the spectrum we have companies promising long lasting batteries when we know in practice that, unless you use your phone as a door stop, it won’t be lasting as long as the company claims. In many cases as consumers we tend to look past these statements, we may not fully regard them as promises or obligations (at least not until they aren’t broken), and see them as simply marketing terms and statements — nothing more. It is pivotal in the early months of a new manufacturer coming into the market that they both make waves but not find themselves drowning in the unattainable statements and deadlines they promised. Unfortunately, Essential – a device, marketing team, and CEO that seem to blur the lines between fact and fiction and possible and impossible – have found themselves in this very situation and they are quickly going from the darling of the internet to a frustratingly under-achieving billionaire startup propped up by one name.

Andy Rubin, on stage at Code Conference on May 30th, stated “You can reserve it now, and I wouldn’t take reservations if it wasn’t going to ship in 30 days or so”. While it comes just shy of an actual hand-shake promise, viewers were meant to take that statement verbatim and as all of us know, they didn’t quite make that 30 day promise… not by a longshot. People were quick both take, and dismiss this statement as it was the words of a deity since it came from Andy Rubin – the “father” of Android – and his company. This attitude continues through today. Despite being just shy of 90 days since his proclamation as of 8/27, no phones have actually arrived, with the shipping notifications having just started. On Friday – the 25th – Gizmodo wrote a scathing piece detailing how Essential not only missed the initial 30 day window, but then the subsequent promise that devices would be shipped within 7 days of the payments being taken which would have been Wednesday the 23rd.

This piece gained a lot of traction on Reddit and Twitter and prompted Essential’s Twitter account, which up until this point was just promoting glorified “First Look” meet & greet events, to actually reply stating that the tracking information, inferring shipping, would be going out that day. Obviously many of the big name sites were quick on the damage control for Essential by publishing pieces using this tweet and no actual future owner information indicating that this shipping actually was occurring… and of course, it wasn’t. In fact as of Monday night, no phones had been shipped despite tracking numbers being emailed to pre-orders on Friday and on Monday many users began to get tracking information updated and the device would be delivered from China by Wednesday, but things aren’t so simple. It seems that for many the device missed the FedEx cutoff delaying delivery until Thursday, a full 15 days after the preorders went live. Amazon preorders also suffered a “glitch” causing many orders to be canceled and requiring them to be reordered (luckily, the problem was solved). Finally, to make the situation even worse for the most die-hard fans who also ordered the as-of-yet unreviewed 360 camera, those shipments do not even have tracking information yet, leaving some worrying if they will even get their phones this week. Rightly so, many early adopters have been taking to the forums and Reddit to express their displeasure at the fact that Essential is still using smoke in mirrors and large media coverage to gloss over their missteps.

The second – and likely the Achilles heel of the Essential Phone – is its Camera. Over 30 days before devices actually shipped out Essential took to their blog to highlight the time and attention they were putting on their camera experience. Early initial reviews were lukewarm, however as more reviewers are taking more than just a few short days to evaluate the device, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Essential had indeed over extended on its promise that they would be tuning their camera until the last possible minute to provide the best photographic experience possible. Reviewer Mr Mobile (YouTube) was clear and concise in his summation, concluding that the camera “is not good”. Essential was — yet again — quick on the damage control for this and pushed an update around the time his review went live to his large audience. Despite this, he was quick to discount this new update as a modest improvement but still greatly missing the mark on low light performance. Gizmodo likewise had a terrible experience with their Essential camera with their review highlighting its slow shutter speed, hit or miss performance, and buggy application. This is a far cry from the “best photographic experience possible” and is more in line with what you would expect from a completely new company, with a new team, and a first generation product… which is not what we were all sold on, though it’s quite clearly what we are offered in the end.

Finally we come to carrier support. In Andy Rubin’s blogpost on the Essential website announcing the availability of the Essential phone, the post ends with the headline “Available today. Compatible with all carriers.”, only that is not entirely true. In an email screenshot posted by Reddit user j_dee_m, Essential stated that the phone was not yet certified with Verizon which must still have been the case when Andy posted to the blog on August 16th, clearly misleading potential buyers. Fortunately, this is little more than an inconvenience for Verizon users as in most cases uncertified phones can still be used with the network. Typically the only issue is that the SIM Card has to be pre-activated with another phone and then moved to the uncertified ones. Most network activities should work just fine much like the Nexus 6P and 5X and other uncertified devices on the network, but again it won’t be until early adopters have their hands on the phone that we will know what potential issues this poses.

On the surface it is easy to see each of these situations as the petty grievances of people who have little far too much time on their hands, but in aggregate it goes far beyond that. Andy Rubin lied about the device being available within 30 days. Then, he misled us about the phone being certified on all carriers when it clearly was not. Essential over promised in relation to their camera performance. This sort of behavior should not be tolerated from any OEMs but should especially be avoided by new ones trying to nuzzle their way into the heavy duopoly of smartphones. But Essential isn’t a new one like some others, at least if you were to look at the vast number of Rubin fans who are quick to their defense, or the buyers into their seemingly absurd $1-billion dollar valuation. Essential rides high on its namesake as being the new company of the “Father of Android”, and not due to its merits or earned trustworthiness — as stated earlier, it was propped up by one name, shooting past similar devices with unluckier origins. First impressions are lasting and Essential has not left a positive one. Their marketing wants you to think they are different from everyone else, and they do a good job portraying that on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper it is clear that they are not the company they perhaps aspired to be.

Far from disrupting the market by offering an “Essential” smartphone, the company has delayed its product into a terribly competitive release period with devices like the Note 8 and Moto Z2 Force already unveiled, and others like the LG V30 and future Pixels or iPhones looming in proximate months. With multiple high-profile employees leaving for greener pastures, it seems as if Essential might have had grand ambitions it wasn’t able to execute neither in time nor in form. So far the Essential phone has not managed to prove that the company is as serious as it portrayed itself to be, or that it’s capable of achieving its noble mission in such a competitive market. We see OEMs make mistakes all the time, and some have managed to pull through despite early pitfalls, but none of that is easy. It’s time for Essential to shape-up, as the company still has quite a bit to figure out. Ideally, it should have sorted it all out ahead of their bombastic unveiling, when most people still had high hopes for their kind of new comer.

from xda-developers