mercredi 31 janvier 2018

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Starts Receiving MIUI 9.2 Update Based on Android Marshmallow

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is one of Xiaomi’s most popular budget phones. It was released in 2016 with powerful specifications including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 system-on-chip, and it received a huge amount of support from developers in the form of custom ROMs. It shipped with MIUI 7 on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop, and received an update to MIUI 8 in August 2016 and Android 6.0 Marshmallow in December 2016.

In November 2017, Xiaomi launched the global version of MIUI 9, and said that the Redmi Note 3 would be among the third batch of devices to receive it. The phone was supposed to get the update in December alongside devices such as the Redmi 3S/Prime, Redmi 4A, but that didn’t happen. Xiaomi went on to release MIUI 9.2 and roll it out to several devices including the Redmi Note 4, but not the Redmi Note 3.

On Wednesday, though, Xiaomi India Product Manager Rohit Ghalsasi announced that MIUI 9 would finally come to the Redmi Note 3. According to users who’ve received the update, the phone’s settings menu identifies it as MIUI 9.2, which implies that Xioami skipped MIUI 9 in favor of the newer MIUI 9.2.

The update has the build number MIUI 9.2.4.0.MHOMIEK, and it’s 290MB in size. It’s worth noting that isn’t a Global Stable build — it’s a Nightly Stable build, the difference being that it’s rolling out to random pockets of users right now. If all goes well, the same update will hit all Redmi Note 3 devices as a Global Stable build in the coming days.

We have known for a while now that the MIUI 9 update for the Redmi Note 3 would be based on Android Marshmallow instead of Android Oreo. That’s disappointing — the device received only one major Android version upgrade in the course of its life cycle. But it’s not all bad. MIUI 9.2 brings Android’s January security patch to the device, plus fixes for the KRACK exploit, a new gallery app, the Mi Video app, a new Mi File Explorer, Mi Drop, and more. Here’s the full changelog:

Redmi Note 3 MIUI 9.2 Changelog

Highlights

  • New – Improve layout and readability for search results in Contacts (06-29)
  • New – Virus scans and payment scans were merged into Security scan (06-29)
  • New – Better blocklist rules with the possibility of separated rules for every SIM card (07-10)
  • New – Switch for turning Battery saver automatically when charged (07-19)
  • New – New display formats for update logs in Updater (07-25)
  • New – Search for apps in the Dual apps settings (08-03)
  • New – Quick ball goes back to the edge after 3 seconds of inactivity (08-30)
  • All-new Mi Drop (09-26)
  • New – Mi Mover, supports data migration restarting. During migrating data to the new phone,
  • device hotspot connection will be restored automatically in case of interruption to complete the data migration. (10-25)
  • New – Simplified the UI (10-31)
  • New – Reading mode can turn on and off at sunset and sunrise automatically (05-03)
  • New- Mi Picks gets a new name and a new icon! Meet Apps! (08-21)
  • Optimization – Cleaner removes empty folders better now (07-10)
  • Optimization – Protection from unintentional tapping for Dial pad (08-08)
  • Optimization – Redesigned home page (08-24)
  • Optimization – Devices with rare Bluetooth profiles are hidden in the device list (08-29)
  • Optimization – Simplified and improved the design of the virus scan result page (09-07)
  • Optimization – “Add to favorites” icon adjustments (10-24)

System

  • New – Distance sensor dynamic calibration function, to ensure that black screen appears correctly (10-26)
  • Fix – Individual user fingerprint failure problem (10-19)
  • Fix – Fingerprint module damage caused by fingerprint identification error (10-19)
  • Fix – KRACK WPA2 security vulnerabilities (10-19)
  • Fix – Compatibility issues for some third-party software on the full-screen devices (10-18)

Phone

  • Optimization – Vibration no longer affects the features which reduce ringer volume when the phone is lifted or flipped to silence (10-10)

App Lock

  • New – App lock supports hiding messages from selected apps (10-31)
  • New – Simplified the UI (10-31)
  • Lockscreen, Status Bar, Notification Bar
  • Optimization – Adjusted time for tapping the Lock screen notifications (10-24)

Home screen

  • Optimization – Display effect when the virtual navigation button is on a light-colored wallpaper (10-18)
  • Optimization – Multiple themes supported on the clock widget (10-19)
  • Optimization – Move app icons into a folder easier (10-19)
  • Optimization – Adding widgets to an empty spot with a single tap (10-31)

Themes

  • Optimization – Hide free and incompatible themes in the list of the purchased items (10-10)
  • Optimization – Themes prompt about connecting to the internet when it’s required (10-12)
  • Optimization – “Add to favorites” icon adjustments (10-24)

Gallery

  • New – Erase lines and objects while editing photos (10-12)
  • Fix – Image has been compressed multiple times (10-19)

Backup

  • New – Mi Mover, supports data migration restarting. During migrating data to the new phone, device hotspot connection will be restored automatically in case of interruption to complete the data migration. (10-25)
  • Fix – Mi Mover can’t continue to migrate data after the network connection is interrupted and restored (10-25)
  • Fix – Mi Mover can’t migrate all apps to the new phone (10-25)

Mi Account

  • Optimization – Reduced the number of push notifications when the user is signed out (10-30)

Security

  • New – Performance mode for game speed booster (10-26)
  • New – Set default dual app for faster WeChat, Weibo, and QQ actions (11-22)
  • MI Wallet
  • Fix – In some cases, the use of MiPay in the POS machine credit card transactions failed (10-19)

The MIUI 9.2 nightly ROM for the Redmi Note 3 can be downloaded here.


Via: FoneArena



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Stable OxygenOS 5.0.2 brings Face Unlock to the OnePlus 5

The OnePlus 5 may have been outshined by the OnePlus 5T, but it remains a capable 2017 flagship smartphone. It shares some hardware in common with its successor, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip, and software-wise, OnePlus has taken pains to keep it up to date. In fact, the OnePlus 5 received a stable Android 8.0 Oreo-based OxygenOS 5.0 update in December, while the OnePlus 5T only received a stable Android Oreo update today.

At launch, the OnePlus 5T had a key software feature that differentiated it from the OnePlus 5: Face Unlock. It relied on the phone’s front-facing camera, so there weren’t any technical challenges that would have prevented it from coming to the OnePlus 5. Sure enough, OnePlus listened to feedback and said that Face Unlock would make its way to the OnePlus 5. It finally came in the OxygenOS Open Beta 3, and on Wednesday, Face Unlock hit the stable channel.

OnePlus has started rolling out OxygenOS 5.0.2 for the OnePlus 5, the company announced on the official OnePlus forums. In addition to Face Unlock, the new firmware includes CPU security patch CVE-2018-13218 and updated system apps including the OnePlus Launcher, Gallery, Weather and File Manager. It also brings “enhanced EIS for video recording”, which should theoretically improve video quality. Unfortunately, OnePlus didn’t go into detail regarding the enhanced EIS.

Here’s the changelog:

OnePlus 5 OxygenOS 5.0.2 Changelog

System

  • Added Face unlock function
  • Applied CPU security patch: CVE-2017-13218
  • General bug fixes and improvements

Applications

  • Updated Launcher to v2.2
  • Updated Gallery to v2.0
  • Updated Weather to v1.9
  • Updated File Manager to v1.7.6

Camera

  • Enhanced EIS for video recording

OnePlus says that the OxygenOS 5.0.2 update will be rolled out incrementally, at first. It will reach a small percentage of users today, and roll out more broadly in the coming days.


Source: OnePlus



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Leaked Alcatel 5 Press Renders Show Dual Front-Facing Camera

Huawei Partners with UnionPay International to Accelerate Huawei Pay’s Roll Out Worldwide

These days, it’s tough to think of a major smartphone manufacturer that doesn’t have its own mobile payments service. Apple has Apple Pay, Google has Google Pay, Samsung has Samsung Pay, and LG has LG Pay. Huawei is no exception — Huawei Pay launched in China in March 2016, and it gave Huawei the distinction of being one of the first Chinese mobile hardware vendors with a payments platform. But the company has grander ambitions. This week, Huawei announced that it’s teaming up with UnionPay International to help roll out Huawei Pay worldwide.

Huawei Pay, which is currently compatible with 20 of Huawei’s smartphones, is supported by 66 banks and was used to make 4 billion yuan (~$635 million) in payments last year. Its first new market will be Russia, which UnionPay dominates — the payments processor’s cards are accepted at 85 percent of terminals and ATMs in the country, 400,000 of which support NFC tap-and-pay technology. And next in line is Eastern Europe.

Huawei declined to provide a timeline for either launch.

Huawei also announced that in the future, Huawei and Honor phone users outside of China will be able to make contactless payments by adding their UnionBank cards in the Huawei Pay app.

“Open sharing is an important direction for the future of the digital economy and intellectual interconnection, which is why Huawei’s end-user cloud services built an open and globalized smart mobile ecosystem for the end-user experience” said Alex Zhang, president of Huawei’s Consumer Cloud Service, in a statement. “Huawei hopes to work with partners such as UnionPay International to provide more secure and convenient mobile payment services for every user of Huawei smart devices around the world.”

So why is Huawei pursuing Huawei Pay instead of adopting a cross-platform solution like Google Pay? While it might make sense for companies like Huawei to rely on Google services, there’s a lot of incentive for them to create their own. Android as is today relies heavily on Google and its services, and not every OEM is comfortable with the status quo. Some of them, such as Samsung, have resisted by creating apps and services that duplicate the functionality of Google’s own, and Huawei reportedly went so far as to develop its own mobile OS.

There’s also a lot of money in mobile payments. According to one study, the contactless payment market will be worth $17.56 billion by 2021. With Huawei Pay, Huawei’s hoping to get in on the ground floor.


Source: Huawei



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Spotify Experiments with a Free Playlist-Only App Called Stations

Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming subscription services in the world. It’s constantly expanding old features and introducing new ones, which is one of the reasons it’s the platform of choice for more than 100 million users. But it’s not resting on its laurels. This week, Spotify published an experimental Android application in the Play Store called Stations, and it’s a radical departure from the company’s flagship app.

“Stations is the easiest way to listen to the music you love. Totally free,” according to the app’s Play Store description. “Stations is an experiment by Spotify that makes it easy for anyone to listen to great music. When you have access to all the music in the world, finding the right thing to play can feel like a challenge. With Stations, you can listen immediately, and switching stations is simple and seamless — no searching or typing needed.”

Stations, which is being piloted in Australia and was first spotted by app analytics firm Sensor Tower, doesn’t require a subscription, but only lets you listen to playlists. The curated collection, which is displayed in large title text you switch between by scrolling, includes Spotify’s top picks and personalized playlists such as Discover Weekly and Release Radar. Spotify says Stations will learn your musical tastes over time, and create personalized stations based on the data it collects.

Spotify has both a paid and free music streaming tier, and recent stats show it’s surpassed 70 million paying subscribers around the world. Naturally, free accounts are limited in a number of ways. Ads are injected every couple of songs in playlists and albums, and some songs aren’t available. In addition, Spotify caps audio quality at 160kbps on desktop, while paid subscribers get access to 320kbps streams.

Stations, just like Spotify’s free tier, seems like an attempt to get people to check out what the company has to offer — a gateway, if you will. It’s not a bad strategy. If they like what they see, chances are they’ll upgrade to a paid subscription.

Stations by Spotify (Free, Google Play) →



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Reliance Jio and MediaTek Team Up to Build an Android Go Smartphone

In some regions, high-end and mid-range smartphones reign supreme, but in emerging markets, low-end phones tend to be much more popular. For a while now, Google has been talking about bringing the “next billion users” online, and central to its plan is Android Go, a configuration of Android Oreo optimized for low-end devices. A number of companies have expressed enthusiasm over Android Go since it was unveiled last year, and one of them, MediaTek, announced that it’s partnering with India-based carrier Reliance Jio to launch an Android Oreo Go Edition smartphone.

Unless you live in or around India, you might not have heard of Reliance Jio. It’s an LTE mobile network operator that made headlines in 2016 by offering free voice calls. It’s one of the fastest-growing carriers in the country, and it sells a low-cost phone, the Jio Phone, that starts at just 1,500 Rs. ($~23).

MediaTek, meanwhile, creates system-on-chips for smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, and more. They’ve also shown an interest in the Android Go platform — the company’s MT6739, MT6739, and MT6580 chips fully support it.

Reliance Jio and MediaTek declined to reveal the price, specifications, or availability of the new smartphone at MediaTek’s Curtain-Raiser for 2018 event in New Delhi on Tuesday, where the two companies made the announcement. But MediaTek showcased the features of its MT6739 chip, which supports dual cameras, facial authentication, and dual 4G VoLTE even on Android Oreo Go Edition devices.

At any rate, MediaTek and Reliance Jio’s phone won’t be the first Android Oreo Go Edition device on the market. Micromax recently announced that the affordable Bharat Go.

“India is growth intensive, a market of immense opportunities with its own set of aspirations and needs,” said T L Lee, general manager of MediaTek’s Wireless Communication division, at the event. “We continue to intensify our technology collaboration in India, even beyond smartphones, and recognize its importance in the global marketplace.”


Source: Gadgets 360



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Learn C from Front to Back with This Ten-Course Bundle

In the world of web and software development, few programming languages are as relied upon and revered as C. Yet, far too many programmers shy away from learning this go-to language due to its perceived complexity and steep learning curve.

The Complete C Programming Bonus Bundle breaks down the mystery and intimidation surrounding this powerful language, and it’s available for $19.

With ten courses and 84 hours of content, this extensive bundle walks you through everything from the absolute basics to the most advanced programming techniques used with this general-purpose language. You’ll cover pointers, header files, null-terminated strings, buffers, and more—all while using hands-on source code examples that let you learn at your own pace.

There’s even a course module dedicated to teaching you how to craft advanced algorithms in C, by breaking down everything from the overarching command logic to the nuances of the code itself.

Add C to your programming toolkit with the Complete C Programming Bonus Bundle—on sale for $19.



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OnePlus 5T Android Oreo Update Now Officially Rolling Out With OxygenOS 5.0.2

This month, we’ve seen the OnePlus 5T receive two new beta builds. Open Beta 2 brought new clipboard features and performance optimizations, and Open Beta 3, which was announced just yesterday, introduced iPhone X-style navigation gestures. But the next Oreo-based update is expanding beyond the beta channel: This morning, OnePlus announced that OnePlus 5T customers who’ve stuck to stable firmware will soon get an upgrade to OxygenOS version 5.0.2.

OxygenOS 5.0.2 for the OnePlus 5T updates some of OnePlus’s in-house applications and contains a couple of system-level changes, including a new design for the Quick Settings menu. It’s also the first official Android 8.0 Oreo-based update for the OnePlus 5T’s stable firmware branch, and brings AOSP Oreo features like picture-in-picture mode, Notification Dots, Smart Text Selection, and more.

When it comes to the aforementioned application updates, you’ll notice that the launcher has been updated to version 2.2, the gallery has been updated to version 2.0, the weather application has been updated to version 1.9 and the file manager has been updated to version 1.7.6.

Finally, OxygenOS 5.0.2 has a CPU security patch (CVE-2017-13218) and “general bug fixes and improvements”.  Here’s the full changelog:

OnePlus 5T OxygenOS 5.0.2 Changelog

System

  • Upgraded Android version to Oreo(8.0)
    • New design for Quick Settings
    • General bug fixes and improvements
    • Applied CPU security patch: CVE-2017-13218

Applications

  • Updated Launcher to v2.2
  • Updated Gallery to v2.0
  • Updated Weather to v1.9
  • Updated File Manager to v1.7.6

OnePlus’s Open Beta program tends to see updates more frequently than the stable channel, which gives the team time to test new features and squash bugs. Beta updates tend to focus on flashy new features, but the stable updates are much more refined. Since most of the people who own a OnePlus smartphone are on a stable build of OxygenOS, the company tests them much more thoroughly.

OnePlus says OxygenOS 5.0.2 will roll out to a small percentage of users starting today, and begin to roll out more broadly in a few days.


Source: OnePlus



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Essential Phone Will Skip Android 8.0 and Go Straight to Android 8.1 Oreo

Andy Rubin-backed startup company Essential started talking about Oreo beta builds for the Essential Phone in October 2017, and a little over a month later, the phone received its first Oreo beta firmware. Since then, it’s gotten not one, but two additional beta Oreo updates, but they’ve both been based on 8.0 Oreo — until now, there hasn’t been much talk of 8.1 Oreo. However, the team announced this week on Twitter that it still has “stability issues” to work out with Oreo that 8.1 will address, and that it’s made the decision to focus its energy on Oreo 8.1 instead of releasing 8.0.

In the meantime, Essential’s working to make available a beta update based on Android 8.1 Oreo by the end of next week. Essential Phone owners who haven’t sideloaded any of the Oreo beta builds will get an update to Android 8.1 Oreo when it’s released in the next few weeks.

Throughout the Oreo 8.0 beta, a number of issues pushed back the company’s update timeframe and necessitated subsequent patches. But the company took advantage of the prolonged development to add full support for Project Treble, improve the phone’s battery life and speed up its boot sequence, and ship fixes for Spectre and Meltdown.

“We appreciate your continued patience and support,” Essential said. “We’re just as eager to release Oreo as you are to receive it, and we’re confident these extra couple of weeks will help ensure that you’re delighted with Oreo on your Essential Phone.”

Of course, like most update schedules in the smartphone industry, the Oreo update’s release window could be pushed back again if the team runs into issues. We’ll likely learn more about the stable 8.1 Oreo build a week or two after the community’s had a chance to test it.



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Google Removed Over 700,000 Copycat, Malicious, and Inappropriate Apps from the Play Store in 2017

When people talk about the advantages of the Google Play Store compared to the iTunes App Store, they almost always bring up how quick and easy it is to get applications or games published. That’s partly because Google, unlike Apple, doesn’t rely on humans to individually test and approve every submission, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t various security checks that apps and games must pass through. In a 2017 retrospective on Tuesday, Google Play Product Manager Andrew Ahn revealed that the Play Store’s protection features were responsible for taking down over 700,000 apps that violated Google’s policies.

Mr. Ahn said that the Play Store team took down 70 percent more apps in 2017 than in 2016, and that 99 percent of those apps were “identified and rejected” before anyone could install them. The speedy review process owed to the fact that the Play Store uses machine learning models and automated scans to identify “abuse” such as impersonation, inappropriate content, and malware. Mr. Ahn said that thanks to “new detection models” and “techniques” that can “identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks at scale”, Google was able to ban 100,000 bad developers and make it more difficult for those developers to create new accounts.

Mr. Ahn shared a few of the most common reasons Google took down applications or games from the Play Store in 2017. One was impersonation — keyword-targeted copycat apps and games from developers attempting to leverage the popularity of legitimate apps. They typically use confusable unicode characters or hide app icons in a different locale, but Google was able to flag and take down over 250,000 of them.

Another big category of offender Google saw in 2017 was apps and games with inappropriate content. Whether the content was in the form of pornography, extreme violence, hate, or illegal activities, Mr. Ahn said that the Play Store improved its machine learning models to filter for policy violations.

Finally, Mr. Ahn highlighted the ways that Google’s continued to improve detection of Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) — applications that perpetrate SMS fraud, act as trojans, and steal personal information. We’ve talked about these apps and detection methods in the past, and the search giant says it was able to reduce annual PHA installs rates on Google Play by 50 percent year over year.

“Despite the new and enhanced detection capabilities that led to a record-high takedowns of bad apps and malicious developers, we know a few still manage to evade and trick our layers of defense,” said Mr. Ahn. “We take these extremely seriously, and will continue to innovate our capabilities to better detect and protect against abusive apps and the malicious actors behind them. We are committed to make Google Play the most trusted and safe app store in the world.”


Source: Android Developers Blog



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mardi 30 janvier 2018

Honor announces the first developers to receive the Honor View 10

The Honor Open Source Program was announced earlier this month and kicked off with the Honor View 10. Honor promised timely kernel source releases and API access to the AI capabilities of the Kirin system-on-chip, and it reached out to the huge community of talented developers on XDA, selecting the first crop of users who’d receive an Honor View 10 for testing and development purposes.

On Tuesday, as promised, Honor announced the first developers who will be receiving Honor View 10 units. The kernel sources aren’t available yet, but will be released in the next week or two (for the EU model) once Honor finishes working on them and provides proper translations. Keep in mind that this is only the first batch of developers, and that more will be announced over time.


Developers who’ll be receiving an Honor View 10

luk1337 and luca020400

You might not have heard of XDA Recognized Developer luk1337 and XDA Recognized Developer luca020400, but they’ve been working on bringing LineageOS to lesser-known devices such as the Lenovo Moto G (2014), ASUS ZenFone 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 WiFi (2016), and others. Supporting such a huge number of devices shows dedication and a high level of workmanship, and their recognition from Honor is absolutely warranted.

topjohnwu

XDA Recognized Developer and Recognized Contributor topjohnwu needs no introduction. He’s the father of Magisk, the systemless root solution that’s been circumventing SafetyNet for years now. His work has enabled people to play games like Pokémon Go and use apps like Android Pay without having to sacrifice root access, and his award from Honor is well deserved.

franciscofranco

Recognized Developer franciscofranco, another name which doesn’t need explaining, develops a kernel — Franco Kernel — that’s available across a vast and growing list of devices. With an ever-expanding Android development résumé and passion for the community, it’s no surprise that he’ll be receiving an Honor View 10.

rovo89

The developer of Xposed, XDA Senior Recognized Developer rovo89, only recently announced a new version of Xposed for Android Oreo, and he’s occasionally run into issues with third-party OEM skins such as Huawei’s Emotion UI (EMUI). As a result, he’ll be receiving an Honor View 10 to ensure that Xposed is fully compatible with Honor devices and EMUI going forward.

oldDroid

XDA Recognized Developer oldDroid is a member of Team OpenKirin, which has worked to port multiple ROMs such as AOSPA and LineageOS to Honor and Huawei devices like the Huawei P9 Lite, Honor 8, and Honor 9. He joins the list of talented developers who will be receiving an Honor View 10.

phhusson

It’d be a tragedy if XDA Senior Member phhusson, one the first developers to realize the promise of Project Treble, did not receive the Project Treble-compatible Honor View 10. He was the first to get a unified AOSP system image booting across multiple Project Treble-supported devices, and with a new View 10 in hand, he’ll be able to squash the last few remaining bugs.

Myself5

CarbonROM developer and XDA Recognised Developer Myself5 has had a hand in bringing CarbonROM to many different devices. Now that he’s receiving an Honor View 10, chances are good it’ll join the list of supported phones.

Dees_troy

XDA Senior Recognised Developer Dees_troy, the lead developer of TWRP, will be receiving an Honor View 10 in order to help bring his much loved and ever-popular Team Win Recovery Project to the device. It’s only fitting — without TWRP, much of the custom ROM development on XDA wouldn’t be possible, or at the very least much more challenging.


Official Announcement on our Forums



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[Update: Pricing and availability] The Sony Xperia XA2, Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra and Sony Xperia L2 Will Carry Fingerprint Sensors in the US

Update 1/30/2018: Sony announced pricing and availability information for the Sony Xperia XA2, Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra, and Sony Xperia L2 on Tuesday. The Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra will go on sale February 16 for $349.99 and $449.99, respectively, and the Xperia L2 will start shipping February 9 for $249.99. All three phones will be available from Amazon.com and BestBuy.com initially, and come to brick-and-mortar stores on March 4.

Sony has just unveiled two new mid-range devices which promise to offer a lot for the price, dubbed the Sony Xperia XA2 and the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra. Sony has also unveiled a new, low-end device called the Xperia L2 which also features a rear-facing fingerprint sensor.

The Xperia XA2 and the Xperia XA2 Ultra are very similar devices, but the Ultra has a few more tricks up its sleeve. It features an extra gigabyte of RAM, another storage option (64GB), a slightly bigger display at 6 inches, a better selfie camera and a slightly bigger battery. They both have the same back cameras and the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 SoC powering them. The Xperia L2 is launching with a MediaTek MT6735P, a less impressive camera module, and 3GBs of RAM.

sony xperia xa2

Sony Xperia XA2

What’s most significant about these devices is that all will be launching in the U.S. with fingerprint sensors, which marks the first time in a long time that a Sony device sold in the U.S. has a working fingerprint sensor. Previously, all Sony devices in the U.S. had them disabled at launch. It was unknown for a long time why this was the case until Android Central spoke with the head of marketing at Sony US, Don Mesa, who alluded to previous deals made by Sony causing them to have to be legally disabled.

xperia xa2

Sony Xperia L2

Of course, these fingerprint sensors aren’t in the usual place on Sony devices either, but it’s unclear if this is just a design change rather than a compromise to get around any legal restrictions. Prior Sony devices featured a fingerprint sensor integrated in the power button, but the new phones have now moved it to the back of the device like many other phones.

The devices will be launching soon enough in both single and dual SIM variants, with the Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra launching with in February with Android Oreo. The Xperia L2 will be launching with Android Nougat 7.1.1 in late January.


Source: Sony



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Amazon Alexa Can Now Send Text Messages to Any Number in the US

In recent months, competition in the virtual assistant space has picked up. At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, Google launched Smart Displays — new lineups of screen-equipped, Google Assistant-powered speakers by LG, Sony, and others designed to rival Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Spot. Amazon, for its part, recently updated the Alexa app for Android with voice controls, and on Tuesday rolled out support for SMS messaging.

Alexa is now able to send SMS messages to contacts in your smartphone, according to VentureBeat. The feature is limited to the US for now, and only works on Android devices  the company doesn’t plan to add iOS support because of the restrictions Apple places on its messaging API for third parties. As of publication time, the company hasn’t provided details about when international users might be able to send SMS messages or if Alexa will be able to read incoming messages.

To enable SMS messaging on Alexa, open the Alexa app, go to the Conversations tab, select Contacts > My Profile, and enable the Send SMS toggle.

SMS Alexa messages SMS Alexa messages SMS Alexa messages

Alexa has been able to send messages since last year, VentureBeat notes, but not via SMS. Messages sent from the Alexa app could only be received by other Alexa app users. Now, when you say, “Alexa, send a message”, you’ll be prompted to choose between sending an SMS message or an Alexa app message.

Amazon’s Echo speakers have provided free phone calls to landlines and mobile phones in the US, Canada, and Mexico since September, and the Alexa app’s text and video messaging features were introduced in June ahead of the launch of the Echo Show. Google Home users, meanwhile, have been able to send SMS messages since landline phone calls became available in August.

Amazon Alexa (Free, Google Play) →


Source: VentureBeat



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Honor 9 Lite and Huawei P Smart Kernel Sources have been released

When it comes to releasing device kernel sources in a timely manner, Huawei hasn’t always had a great track record. It didn’t make the Huawei Mate 9’s code available until six months after the phone’s release, and the company took three months to release kernel sources for the P10 and the P10 Plus. The good news, though, is that Huawei is making a turnaround. The company released kernel sources for the Mate 10 and Honor 7X in December, and recently released the Android Oreo-based kernel source code for the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus.

Now, Huawei has published the kernel sources for the Honor 9 Lite and the Huawei P Smart.

Honor, a subsidiary of Huawei, released the Honor 9 Lite in China in December, and it brought the phone to India this month. It’s the first affordable device from the company with Project Treble support, and it ships with EMUI 8 on top of Android 8.0 Oreo.

The Huawei P Smart is the global version of the Huawei Enjoy 7S. Compared to the Honor 9 Lite, the Huawei P Smart has the same internal specifications, including a HiSilicon Kirin 659 system-on-chip,  3GB/4GB of RAM, and 32GB/64GB of storage. But it has a single 8MP front camera compared to the Honor 9 Lite’s dual 13MP + 2MP front cameras, and the design is different: The Honor 9 Lite has a glass back, while the Huawei P Smart has an all-aluminum body.

The Huawei P Smart ships with Android 8.0 Oreo and has Project Treble support, just like the Honor 9 Lite. The release of the kernel source code for both devices should make it easier for the development community to create custom ROMs without needing to rely on workarounds. It’s great to see Huawei releasing kernel sources in a timely manner, and we hope the company keeps up the good work.


Download kernel sources for the Honor 9 LiteDownload kernel sources for the Huawei P Smart



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Google Photos v3.13 adds Search Filter for Motion Photos, Auto-Sharing, Notifications for Photo Books, and More

Google Photos received a major update today, bringing it to version number v3.13. The new features include search filters for Motion Photos and new Photos Books notifications, and an APK teardown of the app reveals that Google might be readying a new dialog messages related to Photo Books and the app’s selective backup feature. Strings in the new Google Photos also hint at changes to the sharing tab.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the features one by one:

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.


Filter for Motion Photos

Motion Photos is Google’s take on the animated photos format popularized by Apple’s Live Photos. Google originally intended the feature as an exclusive for Nexus and Pixel devices, but thanks to the unofficial Google Camera HDR+ app, it’s been ported to other Qualcomm-based and some Exynos-based devices.

Previously, Google Photos didn’t have an option to filter Motion Photos in the gallery, so if you wanted to view a Motion Photo, you would have to remember the date when the photo was taken and scroll to it. Now, in v3.13, there’s a category search filter (in Search Bar > Show More > Motion Photos) that pulls up all of the Motion Photos you’ve captured. It’s not a groundbreaking feature, but it’s a nice convenience.

Here’s the string for the feature:

<string name="photos_search_explore_category_motion_photos">Motion Photos</string>

Automatic sharing management

Google Photos v3.13 adds automatic sharing management in the form of reciprocal photo sharing. If someone shares a photo with you, you can choose to “share back” the photo by tapping a new option in the app’s overflow menu. It automatically fills in the email address of the person with whom you’re sharing, making the process much simpler.

Here are the relevant strings in the APK:

<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_actionbar_partneraccount_reciprocate_title">Share back to %1$s</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_actionbar_partneraccount_reciprocate_title_no_name">Share back to partner</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_onboarding_confirm_automatic_share_learn_more">New photos will be shared automatically. &lt;a href=help:>Learn more&lt;/a></string>

New Photo Books notifications

As of right now, Photo Books —  hardcover photo albums created from your Google Photos collection —  are only available in the US and Canada. Google Photos v3.13 adds new notifications for Photo Books. One will remind you about expiring drafts you have created, and another will suggest ideas for Photo Books and alert you when you’ve received new suggestions. The third notification, Printing promotions, will pop up with limited-time offers and discounts on Photo Books.

Here are the strings for the notifications:

<string name="photos_settings_drafts_description">Reminders about expiring drafts you have created</string>
<string name="photos_settings_drafts_title">Photo books drafts</string>
<string name="photos_settings_promos_description">Limited time offers and discounts for printed products</string>
<string name="photos_settings_promos_title">Printing promotions</string>
<string name="photos_settings_suggested_books_description">When you have received a new suggested book</string>
<string name="photos_settings_suggested_books_title">Suggested photo books</string>

Create album option

It’s a minor thing, but Google Photos now shows a Create album option in the app home screen if you’re signed in to your Google account. It’s gone live — here’s the string:

<string name="photos_albums_empty_create_album_button_text">Create album</string>

New dialog messages in the selective backup and Photo Book screens

There are hints in Google Photos v3.13 at new messages in the app’s selective backup UI. The new strings contain confirmation messages indicating a successful backup. And in the Photo Book editing UI, there appear to be new dialog options intended to prevent you from losing changes you’ve made:

<string name="photos_backup_selectivebackup_view_emptyview_caption">Your photos &amp; videos are backed up. You can view them at photos.google.com.</string>
<string name="photos_backup_selectivebackup_view_emptyview_title">Backup complete</string>
<string name="photos_backup_selectivebackup_view_title">Selective Backup</string>

<string name="photos_photobook_impl_discard_button">Discard</string>
<string name="photos_photobook_impl_keep_editing_button">Keep editing</string>
<string name="photos_photobook_impl_save_layout_edits_dialog_message">Exiting will discard your recent changes</string>
<string name="photos_photobook_impl_save_layout_edits_dialog_title">Discard changes?</string>

Finally, there’s a hint at a new Tap to add recipients option in the sharing tab.

<string name="photos_sharingtab_picker_impl_tap_to_add_recipients">Tap to add recipients</string>

We will update this post if we find any more interesting features in Google Photos v3.13.

Google Photos (Free, Google Play) →

Let us know in the comments if you spot anything new, and follow our APK Teardown tag for more articles like this!



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Google Completes Acquisition of HTC Engineers Who Helped Build the Google Pixel 2

Just because two companies announce an acquisition doesn’t always mean the deal’s closing right there and then. Typically, it just means that both sides have agreed to terms — there’s usually paperwork to file and regulatory hurdles to overcome. That was the certainly case with Google’s acquisition of smartphone employees and intellectual property from HTC, and on Tuesday, months after the buyout’s announcement, the employees officially joined Google’s hardware division.

“[We’ve] officially closed our deal with HTC […] and are welcoming an incredibly talented team to work on even better and more innovative products in the years to come,” Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Google’s hardware division, wrote in a blog post. “These new colleagues bring decades of experience achieving a series of ‘firsts’, particularly in the smartphone industry—including bringing to market the first 3G smartphone in 2005, the first touch-centric phone in 2007, and the first all-metal unibody phone in 2013. This is also the same team we’ve been working closely with on the development of the Pixel and Pixel 2.”

In exchange for $1.1 billion, Google’s getting 2,000 engineers from HTC’s smartphone division, which represents half of its research and development group.

HTC has lost a lot of money — in recent years, it’s posted quarterly declines of around $75 million. It got to the point were we suggested it would be a good idea for Google to acquire HTC so the search giant could fill out its new hardware division, and that more or less happened. Google bought a part of HTC and not the whole company, but the engineers headed to the company’s Mountain View campus are a substantial portion (20 percent) of its workforce.

The influx of talent puts Google in an excellent position going forward. It just recently launched the second generation of “Made by Google” products, which include the Google Home Mini, Google Home Max, Google Clips, and others. Now, on the cusp of its hardware division’s third year, HTC’s engineers are poised to help create and refine the company’s upcoming portfolio.

The deal also enables Google to expand its footprint in the Asia Pacific region, according to Mr. Osterloh. “Taiwan is a key innovation and engineering hub for Google,” he wrote, “and Taipei will now become the largest Google engineering site in APAC.”


Source: Google



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VLC Beta for Android Adds Experimental Chromecast Support

The developers behind popular media player VLC recently pushed out an update to the app’s Play Store beta channel, and it’s a doozy. The newest Android beta (version 2.9.0) comes with a lot of features and changes, the most significant of which is experimental support for Chromecast.

Google struck gold with Chromecast, an HDMI streaming dongle that lets you wirelessly cast videos and music to your TV. The company has sold 55 million units as of October 2017, and while the technology has undergone a few rebrands, the underlying idea remains the same: Incredibly easy media streaming (or “casting”) from one device to another over a local network.

Chromecast support has become something of a requirement for media player apps, and it’s a feature that the VLC community has been asking about for quite some time. While the current implementation isn’t completely stable yet, the latest VLC Beta update for Android adds a fully functional Chromecast menu to the app’s main screen and video player. Tapping on the icon brings up a list of Chromecast-compatible devices, as you’d expect.

Experimental Chromecast support is only one of the new features included in the latest VLC Beta for Android update, though. It also adds support for playlist files detection, an option to disable subtitles from automatically loading, bug fixes for file deletion on Android Oreo, support for Chromebooks and Samsung’s Dex dock, and more.

Here’s the full changelog:

VLC Beta 2.9.0 changelog

  • Playlist files detection
  • Faster seek
  • SDCard files deletion
  • Fixed deletion on Oreo
  • Option to disable subs auto-loading
  • Fixed artists/Album classification
  • Chromebook and Samsung DeX support
  • Misc. fixes

To enroll in the beta, download VLC from the Play Store. Then head to the signup page and select Become a tester, and in the next few hours, the app will automatically update to the latest beta version.

VLC for Android (Free, Google Play) →


Source: Play Store Via: Droid Life



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Chinese Nvidia Shield TV with Nintendo games may actually be running a GameCube/Wii Emulator

Nintendo has been stuck in its ways for decades. In recent years, though, it’s been more willing to experiment. It released a Mario game for third-party platforms, for example, and teamed up with NVIDIA in China to bring select GameCube and Wii games to the NVIDIA Shield TV.

The NVIDIA Shield TV has long been advertised as an Android TV device for video gamers. Sure, it might stream and play a variety of media, but its gaming controller and game-centric services like GeForce NOW imply that it’s aimed at the gaming crowd. That’s why it didn’t come as a shock when Nintendo announced it was bringing titles like New Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, PUNCH-OUT!!, and Metroid Prime to the Shield TV in China. But from a technical perspective, it wasn’t clear how the company pulled it off.

There’s now evidence to suggest that NVIDIA shipped a GameCube and Wii emulator on the Chinese Shield TV. Details of the discovery come from ResetEra, where community member dragonbane uncovered a few performance quirks in the Shield TV version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

There aren’t any graphical issues in the port, according to the report, and the framerate was locked at 30 frames per second (FPS) throughout most of the game. Furthermore, loading times were comparable to the popular GameCube emulator Dolphin. But oddly, it was impossible to replicate two “notorious” and well-documented crashes on the GameCube version of the game on the Shield TV.

A subsequent dump of the APK revealed a native executable with the telltale strings of an emulator — including a GameCube function, “OSPanic”, called by the game when it encounters a critical error:

“[The code] leaves pretty much no doubt that the executable […] is in fact a GC emulator,” dragonbane wrote. “A GC emulator that runs one of the most demanding games on the Cube [sic] very smoothly on the same hardware as the Switch. Something tells me this emulator wasn’t created to just emulate 2 Nintendo games on a niche console in China.”

Assuming the APK’s the real deal, it’s not clear what plans Nintendo might have for a GameCube/Wii emulator. In any case, it’s an incredible discovery.


Source: ResetEra



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New Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note8 Bootloader Prevents Flashing Out of Region Firmware

Samsung is rolling out a new update for the Galaxy Note8. These updates come with the January security update which brings some patches for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, but it also comes with a new bootloader. An update bringing a new bootloader on Samsung phones means that you can not downgrade your phone after installing this. This new bootloader also has one more nasty secret: it patches the use of Prince Comsy’s modded Odin.

Odin is a Samsung tool used to flash and install new firmware. When Samsung builds Android, they remove some features like fastboot from the bootloader, and instead replace it with Odin.  The Odin tool that we have is leaked from Samsung and it works on all modern Samsung phones,  but can only flash to devices with matching model numbers. That’s where Prince Comsy’s modded Odin comes in. Prince Comsy’s tool is a version of Odin modded to support flashing versions of Samsung software not signed by Samsung or firmware signed by Samsung but for a different region with the same SoC.

Since Prince Comsy Odin no longer works with this new bootloader, that means that any builds that are not officially signed by Samsung will not flash. This also means that if you have a Canadian phone and want to flash the U.S. firmware, you can no longer do so. This is because even though they are signed by Samsung, the model numbers do not match. Unfortunately that also means Note8 owners with the carrier Note8 devices cannot flash the US unlocked firmware.

If you are on the US unlocked firmware and update to the new bootloader when it is released, you should still be able to get back to a carrier build, but we won’t be able to test this until the release of a US unlocked firmware build with the new bootloader.

Although US carriers just released the new bootloader builds today, Exynos Note8’s started to receive the January update just a few weeks ago. These come with the same patches to the bootloader that patched Prince Cosmy’s modded Odin. Official signed builds will still work for flashing, though.

Even though the new update has rolled out to the Note8, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have yet to receive it. However, on the Android Oreo beta, the included bootloader has the same changes made. The reason flashing through Prince Comsy Odin still works is because the bootloader has not been fused, which means that the efuse on the motherboard has been incriminated and will not allow any program to downgrade it. Once these builds get the new BLv3 revision, it will be permanent and will not be downgradable so for Galaxy S8 users, this will have the same effect in patching root methods and flashing changes.



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Honor 7X Update Brings Face Unlock and AR Lens Camera App Feature

Huawei unveiled the Honor 7X in October 2017 to mostly positive reviews. Some in the community were disappointed it shipped with Android Nougat instead of Oreo, but others appreciated that it delivered high-end specifications at a reasonable price point. In any case, it’s gotten excellent software support from Huawei: On Tuesday, we learned about an over-the-air update rolling out to the Honor 7X that brings the company’s promised facial recognition feature, an augmented reality (AR) camera app tool, and more.

In early January, the Honor 7X started to receive Oreo-based firmware which also included version 8.0 of Huawei’s EMUI custom Android skin (the Honor 7X shipped with EMUI 5.1). Not even three weeks later, we’re seeing another OTA update for the Chinese variant (which carries the model number BND-AL10) that brings the software up to build B192.

One of the firmware’s headliners is face unlock, which uses the phone’s front-facing camera to verify your identity, and Smart lock screen notifications, which protect your privacy by preventing prying eyes from reading your notifications. You’ll find the new features in Settings -> Security and Privacy -> Face Unlock.

The update also adds an AR lens effect to the Honor 7X’s camera application that lets you add layers to selfies and change the background of photos. It’s in Camera -> Modes -> AR Lens.

Finally, the new firmware “optimizes” the accuracy of several city names in the Weather app and ships with Android’s January security patches.

Honor waited a few months before launching the international version of the Honor 7X, but it was able to hit the Chinese variant’s $200 price tag. We reviewed the unlocked Honor 7X in December of last year, and came away impressed by the phone’s 5.93-inch (2160×1080) edge-to-edge screen and speedy HiSilicon Kirin 659 system-on-chip.

While it isn’t guaranteed yet, it’s possible that the international Honor 7X will get the OTA update in the near future.



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Verizon Reportedly Drops Plans to Sell Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Huawei has substantial traction in markets like Europe and China, but hasn’t managed to get a foothold in the United States. It’s sold smartphones from US retailers including Best Buy, Amazon, B&H, and others for years, but that’s no substitute for shelves in wireless carrier stores. To that end, it planned to launch a flagship smartphone, the Mate 10 Pro, on AT&T this year, but those plans fell through at the last second. And according to Bloomberg, a separate partnership with Verizon Wireless is off the table, too.

Verizon was pressured by the US government not to sell smartphones from Huawei, according to the report. The companies declined to comment.

Before the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, we heard reports that Huawei had been in talks with both AT&T and Verizon Wireless to get its phones on store shelves. The company was so confident in a deal that it told the public it had “big plans” to announce at CES 2018. But things didn’t go according to plan, which seems to have really hurt Huawei’s momentum.

Huawei was hit with more bad news in early January when a new bill in Congress proposed banning government agencies from using Huawei and ZTE equipment. And this week, a leaked memo from the White House Security Council floated the idea of a nationalized 5G network designed to protect against “foreign actors” like Huawei.

They aren’t the company’s first run-ins with the government. Huawei came under US scrutiny in 2003, when Cisco accused it of stealing router firmware code. In 2012, the government blacklisted Huawei and ZTE, and the House Intelligence Committee urged US companies to avoid entering into contracts with the companies. Huawei was subsequently labeled a “spy threat”.

“We serve 170 countries,” Richard Yu, Huawei’s consumer products chief, said in an impassioned speech during the company’s CES press conference. “And for 30 years we’ve proven our quality and we’ve proven our privacy and security protection.”


Source: Bloomberg



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ASUS ZenFone 3 Android Oreo Update Rolling Out with Improved UI and a New Swipe Gesture

When Google announced Android 8.0 Oreo last year, ASUS was one of the first companies to commit updating its older devices. The company said in August 2017 that it planned to bring Oreo to the ZenFone 3, and started to roll out Android 8.0 Oreo to the ZenFone 4 late last year. This week, ASUS made good on its promise and announced Android 8.0 Oreo-based firmware for the ZenFone 3.

In the ASUS ZenTalk forums on Monday, an ASUS community member said that the update for the ZenFone 3 had begun rolling out. It brings the phone’s firmware up to version 15.0410.1712.31, and includes changes like a new swipe gesture, “more friendly […] UI”, and the deletion of applications like PhotoCollage, Minimove, and Do it Later.

Here’s the changelog:

ASUS ZenFone 3 Oreo Changelog

  • Software update to Android 8.0 Oreo. Internal storage will decrease slightly after update. [We] suggest [you] backup data and relocate media file (pictures and video clip) to [the] SD card to reserve at least 1.5GB storage before starting the software update.
  • Swipe up to apps: After [the] upgrade [you can] swipe up to all apps [in the launcher], and the all app icon [will] be changed.
  • More friendly [Settings] UI design
  • [We’ve removed] the following applications : Minimove, Photo Collage, Do it Later.

ASUS says that because the update server pushes firmware out to different device serial numbers in batches, it might take several days for your phone to receive it. If you’re feeling impatient, a community support member suggested heading to the ZenFone 3’s Settings > System menu and tapping the System updates button, which might kickstart the update.

The Oreo update that ASUS rolled out to the ZenFone 4 was rather interesting, as it included preliminary support for Treble without a separate vendor partition. We’ve seen a number of companies say they felt it was too dangerous to add Treble support to existing devices because they didn’t include the necessary partitions. Unfortunately, ASUS doesn’t appear to have gone the extra mile for the ZenFone 3, but perhaps the company will add Treble support in future firmware. Here’s hoping.


Source: ASUS



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ELEPHONE U/U Pro Reservations Now Open

On February 8, in Madrid Spain, Elephone plans to launch their newest phones which include the Elephone U and U Pro. Right now you can reserve one of these phones for yourself, and even claim a free gift to go along with your purchase.

Specs Elephone U Elephone U Pro
CPU Helio P23 Snapdragon 660
RAM 4/6GB 4/6GB
Storage 128GB 128GB
Camera 13MP+13MP dual camera 13MP+13MP dual camera
Display FHD+ AMOLED display FHD+ AMOLED display
Battery 3620mAh 3550mAh

The new U and U Pro will feature curved infinity AMOLED displays which bend over the sides of the phone, creating a true bezel-less design.

The U Pro will feature some more premium functions, like wireless charging, a Snapdragon 660 chipset, and NFC. Both new phones will also have face unlock, which has proven to be a new favorite feature among smartphone users. Dual 13MP sensors will be found in the cameras of these phones, which should produce some impressively high quality photos.

If you reserve your U or U Pro now, you’ll get access to a free gift that will be shipped out with your phone.

  Reserve the Elephone U/U Pro Now



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OxygenOS Open Beta 5/3 for the OnePlus 5/5T Released with Bug Fixes and Other Improvements

OnePlus launched the Android Oreo-based OxygenOS Open Beta programs for the OnePlus 5 and the OnePlus 5T in late 2017, shortly after it kicked off the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T Oreo betas. They’ve generally enhanced or added to features in the stable releases of OxygenOS, and these are no exception.

In the latest OxygenOS Open Beta — Open Beta 5 and Open Beta 3 for the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T, respectively —  OnePlus focused mainly on bug fixes and improvements, addressing common complaints like the direction you swipe with your finger to answer an incoming phone call. It also removed OxygenOS’s Clipboard function, and added new touch-based getures to the navigation bar.

You can check out the changelog below.

OxygenOS Open Beta 5/3 for the OnePlus 5/5T Changelog

Phone

  • Added pick-up gesture switcher
    • You can now choose which way you slide (up or down) to pick up a phone call

System

  • General bug fixes and improvements
  • Removed Clipboard function
    • Thanks for your feedback, we removed this feature based on that.
  • Applied CPU security patch: CVE-2017-13218
  • Added new Navigation gestures that you can enable by going into settings and disabling the nav bar.

India only

  • Added SMS categorization function for India only
    • This is an India only feature that auto-sorts your SMS messages into categories

You can install the Open Beta by following the instructions in the announcement posts, where you’ll also find survey forms you can use to provide OnePlus with details of your experience.

If you are already enrolled in the OnePlus Open Beta on the OnePlus 5/5T, you should receive a notification to update over-the-air to Open Beta 3 or Open Beta 5, depending on which phone you’re using. If you choose to install the updates, be forewarned that it is possible you will run into bugs and other instabilities. If that’s a problem, you might be better off waiting for the stable release, which is likely to come in weeks or months.

You can read the announcement below. Be sure to give it a try if you’re interested!


OxygenOS Open Beta 5 for the OnePlus 5 OxygenOS Open Beta 3 for the OnePlus 5T



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Android One Xiaomi Mi A1 Kernel Sources Finally Released

Four months after the launch of the Xiaomi Mi A1, Xiaomi’s first Android One smartphone, the company finally released the kernel source code in compliance with the GPLv2 license. It has taken a lot to get to this point, but what makes it worse is these are kernel sources for Android Nougat. The phone is already on Android Oreo.

The Linux kernel’s GPLv2 license requires that Android manufacturers publish kernel sources in a timely manner, but it took Xiaomi nearly half a year to release the Xiaomi Mi A1’s code. Earlier this month, XDA Recognized Developer franciscofranco, took to Twitter to demand the kernel source release, and publications including Ars Technica and Android Police joined in.

Even without the kernel sources, the community persevered and developed custom ROMs for the Xiaomi Mi A1, albeit with pretty major compatibility issues.

The impetus for the source code’s publication on Tuesday isn’t clear. It might have been public pressure, or perhaps it aligned with the company’s roadmap. (In January, Xiaomi’s Lead Product Manager Jai Mani said that the company’s internal goal was to release the Xiaomi Mi A1’s source code within three months of the device’s launch.) It’s also not yet clear why Google didn’t step in, given that it exercises a greater degree of control over devices in the Android One program than stock Android smartphones.

It’s a shame the source code is being released so late, as the phone is unlikely to receive the kind of time and attention from developers it might have in the weeks after its debut. At the phone’s launch event last year, Xiaomi called it a “milestone” in its global expansion, and said that it hoped for it to be one of the first devices to receive Android P when it’s eventually announced an launched.

It’s now far into the Xiaomi Mi A1’s lifecycle, and some developers might no longer wish to develop for it — the initial hype for custom ROMs and development is bound to be many orders of magnitude smaller than it would have been at the Xiaomi Mi A1’s peak. Still, it’s certainly better late than never — even if the kernel sources are for Android Nougat and not Android Oreo.

Developers interested can take a look at the kernel sources below.


Xiaomi Mi A1 Kernel Sources



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lundi 29 janvier 2018

Google app v7.20 beta hints at new Assistant Hotword, Duo Integration for Smart Displays, and more

Google App v7.20 beta is now rolling out to users enrolled in the Google App beta on the Play Store, and while Google hasn’t published an official changelog for the update, we did an APK teardown and found some changes related to the Google Assistant, Google Duo support for Smart Displays, and more in the strings file. We’ve noted them below.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.


Google App v7.20 beta APK teardown

“Jasper” is the codename for Smart Displays powered by the Google Assistant. They’re new smart speakers from companies such as LG, Sony, JBL, and Lenovo with touchscreen-enabled displays that can play videos, pull up pictures from Google Photos, and more, and strings from the Google App v7.20 beta show that they’ll be able to perform video calling via Google Duo. There’s built-in support for Knock-Knock and a new Video calls menu that’ll allow users to sign into, sign out of, or unlink a Duo account.

<string name="assistant_device_id_jasper_duo_preference_category_title">Video calls</string>
<string name="assistant_device_id_jasper_duo_preference_category">assistantDeviceIdJasperDuoCategory</string>
<string name="jasper_duo_account_title">Duo Account</string>
<string name="jasper_duo_knock_knock_summary">See the caller's video before you pick up. And let people you call see your video while their phone rings. &lt;a href=\"https://support.google.com/duo/answer/6376115\"&gt;Learn more&lt;/a&gt;</string>
<string name="jasper_duo_knock_knock_title">Knock-knock</string>
<string name="jasper_duo_not_signed_in">Not signed in</string>
<string name="jasper_duo_signed_in">Signed in</string>
<string name="jasper_duo_unlink">Unlink</string>

The teardown also hints at the possibility that Google will soon enable a third hotword alongside “OK Google” and “Hey Google”. However, we can only speculate at this point.

<string name="hotword_enrollment_enroll_listening_talkback_assistant_device_again">Say it again</string>
<string name="hotword_enrollment_tgoogle_summary_header_title">\"%1$s\" is now available</string>
<string name="hotword_enrollment_tgoogle_summary_usage_example_first">"%1$s, what's my name?"</string>
<string name="hotword_enrollment_tgoogle_summary_usage_example_second">"%1$s, what's the traffic to work?"</string>
<string name="hotword_enrollment_tgoogle_summary_usage_example_third">%1$s, tell me about my day.</string>
<string name="hotword_enrollment_tgoogle_summary_usage_sample_end">You can also still say \"%1$s\" and \"%2$s\" to talk to your Assistant.</string>
<string name="hotword_enrollment_tgoogle_summary_usage_sample_title">Your Assistant will now respond when you say things like:</string>

<string name="user_defined_action_task_custom_query_query_summary">You can enter any Google Assistant command.</string>
<string name="user_defined_action_task_custom_query_query_title">What custom command would you like to run?</string>
<string name="user_defined_action_task_custom_query_title">Custom command</string>

It also shows developments in the software platform which will power Smart Displays, known as “Quartz”. We’re seeing placeholders for notifications, alert badges, reminders, and playback controls (e.g., pause and play).

<string name="quartz_badge_view_less_than_ten">%1$d</string>
<string name="quartz_badge_view_ten_or_more">9+</string>
<string name="quartz_notification_list_title">Notifications</string>
<string name="quartz_notification_type_other">Notification</string>
<string name="quartz_notification_type_reminder">Reminder</string>
<string name="quartz_photo_list_slideshow_button_pause_content_description">Pause</string>
<string name="quartz_photo_list_slideshow_button_play_content_description">Play</string>

Google also appears to be working on more detailed order-tracking messages. The new strings contain labels indicating when items have shipped, when they’re expected to be delivered, and whether the delivery’s been canceled or delayed.

<string name="order_group_header">Orders</string>
<string name="shipped">Shipped</string>
<string name="shipped_with_estimation">Shipped, delivery expected %s</string>
<string name="expect_delivery_day">%s</string>
<string name="out_for_delivery">Out for Delivery</string>
<string name="delivered">Delivered</string>
<string name="available_pick_up">Available for Pickup</string>
<string name="delayed">Delayed</string>
<string name="cancelled">Cancelled</string>
<string name="returned">Returned</string>
<string name="action_required">Action Required</string>
<string name="more_orders">More Orders</string>

Finally, we see some developments on the podcast front. Currently, the Google App doesn’t have a native podcast manager, and it’s unclear when (or if) Google will launch this feature. But the new strings show the beginnings of a podcast downloader, subscription manager, and more.

<string name="sign_in_message">Sign in to subscribe to podcasts and access your listening history on other devices</string>
<string name="sign_in_reject">Not now</string>
<string name="sign_in_accept">Sign in</string>
<string name="downloads">Downloads</string>
<string name="downloaded_episodes">Downloaded episodes</string>
<string name="download_setting_message">Downloaded episodes are removed after 30 days or 24 hours after completion</string>
<string name="all_downloaded_episodes">All downloaded episodes</string>
<string name="homebase_link_tool_tip_message">See your subscriptions here</string>
<string name="opt_in_message">Web &amp; App Activity is turned off. Turn it on to access your podcasts and listening history on other devices.</string>
<string name="remove_completed_episodes">Remove completed episodes</string>
<string name="remove_unfinished_episodes">Remove unfinished episodes</string>

We will update this post if we find any more interesting things in the teardown.

If you’re looking for the latest Google App beta, enroll in the preview program and update the Google App from the Google Play Store.

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