samedi 31 mars 2018

Google app 7.25 beta hints at Google Assistant for Households and email on Google Home, prepares custom routines and search widget

Google app 7.25 beta has started rolling-out to users on the Play Store. The release of version 7.25 of the app comes only a week after the release of version 7.24. As usual, there are no user-facing changes to be found. However, an APK teardown of the app hints at an “Google Assistant for Households” feature. Users may soon be able to have email notifications on the Google Home as well. Also, Google is working on custom routines and a custom search widget. Finally, there are more strings for smart displays that have Google Assistant. Let’s take a look at the relevant strings:

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 Assistant for Households

Currently, Google Assistant is intended for a single user. Users can setup multiple accounts on devices like the Google Home, but the accounts are separated from each other. Google is now developing a shared version of Assistant called “Google Assistant for Households,” although its differentiating features are unknown for now. The string notes: “You and your household are a team. Your Google Assistant can now treat you like one, helping you work and play together.”

Here are the relevant strings:

<string name="assistant_settings_household_setup_splash_screen_button_label”>Continue</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_setup_splash_screen_subtitle”>You and your household are a team. Your Google Assistant can now treat you like one, helping you work and play together.</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_setup_splash_screen_title”>Google Assistant for Households</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_title”>Your Household</string>

Email on the Google Home

Google announced that the Google Home would soon add notifications for reminders, flight updates, and traffic updates back at I/O 2017. Strings in version 7.25 beta of the Google app show that “personal results” will allow users’ voice to get their email, calendar, help with payments, and more on their device. The functionality of email on Google Home isn’t detailed, but it will likely include notifications. Here are the relevant strings:

<string name="personal_results_action_button”>Turn on</string>
<string name="personal_results_cancel_button”>No Thanks</string>
<string name="personal_results_explanation”>"Voice Match is set up on your Assistant speaker. Now you can turn on personal results so you can use your voice to get your email, calendar, help with payments, and more on this device. You can turn off personal results in Assistant settings.”</string>
<string name="personal_results_title”>Get personal results with Voice Match</string>

Custom routines in Google Assistant

Routines in Google Assistant finally launched a few weeks ago. However, custom routines still haven’t been enabled. New strings in Google app 7.25 beta show that users will be able to change the order of actions in a particular custom routine. Here are the strings for the same:

<string name="user_defined_action_reorder_description”>Drag to change the order of actions in this routine.</string>
<string name="user_defined_action_reorder_title”>Change order</string>

Custom search widget

Previous Google app versions have hinted that Google is developing a custom search widget that allows users to edit its appearance. Strings in version 7.25 beta of the Google app indicate that this feature is close to launch, as they detail how users will able to customize the search widget. When the feature goes live, users will need to go to Google App menu > Customize widget, or Google App settings > Widget > Customize your widget. Here are the relevant strings:

<string name="swc_drawer_content”>Go to Google App menu > Customize widget</string>
<string name="swc_settings_content”>Go to Google App settings > Widget > Customize your widget</string>
<string name="customize_feed”>Customize Feed</string>
<string name="customize_widget_summary”>Edit the appearance of your homescreen search widget</string>
<string name="customize_widget_title”>Customize your widget</string>

Analytics in the alpha and beta channels

A new description for the alpha and beta channels notes that by being invited to try new features before they are publicly available, you as a user permit the developer to identify you and your use of the app “in some cases”. Here is the relevant string:

<string name="alpha_beta_channel_close_channel_description”>”You’ve been invited to try new features before they’re publicly available. By proceeding you are agreeing that the developer can identify you and your use of the app in some cases.”</string>

Google Assistant smart displays get new functionality

Quartz is the code-name for the software platform that powers smart displays which have the Google Assistant. They have been receiving feature additions with new versions of the Google app, and version 7.25 beta is no exception. They can now see images of restaurants, map of restaurants, as well as interior street view and panorama of restaurants. There are new strings about its shopping functionality.

<string name="quartz_local_place_detail_image_tile_content_description”>Images of the restaurant</string>
<string name="quartz_local_place_detail_map_tile_content_description”>Map of the restaurant</string>
<string name="quartz_local_place_detail_street_view_tile_content_description”>Interior street view panorama of the restaurant</string>
<string name=”quartz_meals_home_background_image_description”>quartz_meals_home_background_image_description</string>
<string name=”quartz_meals_home_recipe_site_icon_description”>quartz_meals_home_recipe_site_icon_description</string>
<string name=”quartz_shopping_cart_quantity”>%s items</string>

Google (Free, Google Play) →

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

from xda-developers

Would you buy a phone with a notch if you could hide the notch?

The controversial display notch is set to become mainstream this year. The Essential Phone was the first to pack in a small display notch (cutout), but Apple popularized it with a much bigger notch in the iPhone X. 2017 heralded the advent of taller 18:9 displays, and this year, device makers are interested in increasing the screen-to-body ratios of their phones even more.

Screen-to-body ratios of flagship smartphones reached more than 80 percent in 2017. This year, device makers are using the display cutout (that is now officially supported in Android P) to get screen-to-body ratios of around 90 percent. Device vendors can choose from either having symmetrical bezels at the top and bottom (such as on the Samsung Galaxy S9), or have a notch at the top of the display with a bottom chin. It seems that the bottom chin will continue to exist on new Android phones for the near future.

Other solutions include asymmetrical bezels and the front camera being placed on the bottom, as seen on the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 and the Mi Mix 2S. Vivo is developing something different by choosing to have an elevating front camera in the upcoming Vivo Apex.

This year, we have already seen the ASUS ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5Z, new Oppo and Vivo phones, and the Huawei P20/P20 Pro/P20 Lite adopt the display notch. The upcoming OnePlus 6 is now confirmed to have a notch, and it is very likely that the Xiaomi Mi 7 and the LG G7 will opt for it as well. OnePlus has explained their rationale for adopting the notch in their upcoming flagship, as the company states that having a notch increases display screen real estate.

Huawei P20 Notch Huawei P20 Hide Notch

The case of the Huawei P20 series is different. We have known for a long time that the phones will have the notch, but the surprising thing turned out to be the fact that Huawei allows users to hide it. Users of the devices can enable the “hide notch” option, which will introduce a black background for the notch’s “ears”. This can also improve the media playback experience as the video content will no longer get cut off in the video crop mode.

OnePlus has also stated that the OnePlus 6’s notch will not interfere with video playback. When a video is being played, the notch will be hidden with a black bar, which ensures that video content will not get cut off by the notch.

Do you think the “hide notch” option in the Huawei P20 will improve its user experience? Also, would you prefer having an option to disable the notch in new and upcoming phones that have the notch? To how much extent will the option affect your purchase decision? Ultimately, would you buy a phone with a notch if you could hide it? Let us know in the comments below.

from xda-developers

Tackle DevOps and Cloud Computing with this Comprehensive Training

Most people know that technology is one of the most lucrative and dynamic fields in which to work. Yet, surprisingly few people understand just how important the subfield of DevOps is to this thriving industry. An engineering practice that unifies software development and operation, DevOps is one of the primary driving forces behind the creation and release of the world’s most powerful software.

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There’s even a course dedicated to helping you gain the AWS Solutions Architect certification—a valuable credential that proves you have what it takes to work with one of the most ubiquitous cloud platforms on earth.

You can take the first step toward bolstering your tech understanding with the DevOps with Cloud Computing Bundle—on sale for over 90% off at just $32

from xda-developers

vendredi 30 mars 2018

Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.4 released with large tablet support, Android for Work features, adds Android Go optimized version, and more

Pixel Launcher was launched in 2016 alongside the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL. Officially, the launcher is only supported on Google Nexus and Pixel devices, but its APK can be installed on many other devices. However, the problem is that the Google feed panel on the leftmost screen does not work if the launcher has been installed on an unsupported device. To solve this problem, a developer named Amir Zaidi ported Pixel Launcher features to the AOSP launcher (Launcher3).

The developer repeated his work when he released Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.0 with the Google feed panel and features from the Google Pixel 2’s updated Pixel Launcher. XDA Senior Member paphonb has also released a rootless Pixel Launcher, but the difference between the two ports is that Amir has ported Pixel Launcher features to Launcher3 from AOSP, instead of basing the launcher on the original Pixel Launcher APK.

The different implementation means that new features can be easily implemented in Amir Zaidi’s port. The developer also included a large list of extra features with the Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.0.

Now, Amir has released Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.4 (which has been in testing for a month) with a big list of bug fixes. Notably, the version update brings big tablet screen support with bigger icons and a search bar, using the Pixel C profile. Android for Work is now supported for app hiding, enabling or disabling icon packs, and app search. There is also a special Android Go version which can be built using Android Studio, or using a custom ROM build script. The developer mentions that app predictions will “switch around less often,” and the default home screen setup now has the same setup as the real Pixel Launcher. Also, if there is no Google app installed on the system but Google Go is found, users can initiate Google Go search by clicking on the search bar.

The full changelog is detailed below:



  • Big tablet screen support is added with bigger icons and a search bar, using the Pixel C profile
  • Microphone icon shows under the same conditions as the real Pixel Launcher: when Now on Tap is in use
  • When no Google App is installed but Google Go is found, its search will be launched when clicking the search bar
  • Accents are stripped from searches, so it is easier to search for apps in the app drawer
  • Widgets can be resized in any direction where their size is bigger than 1 on the grid
  • App predictions will switch around less often
  • The default home screen setup reflects the real Pixel Launcher’s setup now: Phone, Messages, Gmail, Store, Browser, Camera
  • Android Work is supported for app hiding, icon packs enabling/disabling and app search
  • At A Glance texts are updated to the 8.1 versions
  • On Lollipop, the app drawer status bar gets a slightly darker background to make it easier to see the white icons
  • Build tools are updated for slightly better performance when building
  • The Android Go version can be built using Android Studio, or using a custom ROM build script

Bug fixes

  • Searching for apps when almost all apps are hidden does not result in a crash
  • Folders in the hotseat close properly when dragging an icon out and then hover over it for a split second
  • Backported app shortcuts (before 7.1) only show when the shortcut really works
  • Backported app shortcuts can be put on the homescreen without disappearing
  • Opening the app drawer always fades out the home screen, even while switching pages
  • The keyboard immediately closes when sliding down the app drawer search
  • The keyboard closes on Lollipop when dragging an icon from search
  • When clicking the search bar when no Google apps and no browsers are installed, a message ‘App is not installed’ will be shown
  • The Google Feed cannot be opened from the top left of the app drawer
  • Folders don’t cause all apps to be warped to the top left of the screen when long pressing an app in them
  • Live wallpapers can’t make the theme selection algorithm crash
  • The app drawer won’t glitch out when pressing the home button while dragging it up or down
  • The app drawer won’t disappear when visiting recents while dragging it up or down
  • Icons in icon packs won’t be temporarily glitched out during an update
  • The keyboard hides when pressing search while the search bar is empty
  • App predictions are enabled without having to open the settings first
  • An user account with all apps disabled won’t cause the app drawer for other accounts to become empty
  • Launching hidden apps won’t count for the app suggestions algorithm
  • Enabling/disabling the icon pack for hidden apps will immediately show the result
  • Apps with multiple launcher shortcuts show the correct icon for each shortcut (ex. XDA Labs)

The developer warns that recent versions of the Google app have been breaking random features such as the Google feed. To avoid things being broken, he advises users to get the 7.22 stable release. Duplicate app suggestions may now be shown as a side effect of adding Android Work compatibility, but users can permanently fix this by disabling and enabling their app suggestions in the launcher settings. Similarly, users will need to re-hide the apps they want hidden as hiding needed a storage change. Finally, the developer notes that recent Huawei phones seem to crash on launch when the user hasn’t given storage permissions to the launcher. If this happens, users are advised to grant permissions manually by heading into settings.

Users can download Rootless Pixel Launcher 3.4 from Github. Google Pixel users have to flash the “Rootless Pixel Launcher” Magisk module that is present in the official repository. The launcher’s sources are available here.

Source: /u/AmirZ

from xda-developers

Hands-on with the SolidSuit Case from RhinoShield

While RhinoShield has been known for making some of the best bumper cases with their CrashGaurd series, they now offer some fantastic cases with full-cover protection. The SolidSuit cases are now available for the Galaxy S9 and feature the same honeycomb structure for maximum impact protection. The material is incredibly durable and very hard to break.

The SolidSuit case is super light weight at under 30 grams. The stain resistant coating with keep your case spotless. There are several premium finishes that you can choose from depending on your personal style.




Modular Lenses

RhinoShield offers four different types of lenses that are compatible for the SolidSuit case for the Pixel2 and Pixel 2 XL: 0.6X HD Wide Angle, Super Wide, Wide + Macro and Fisheye. Each lens comes with a lens cap that helps prevent dust and scratches when it’s not being used, plus a little carrying pouch. With most smartphone lens kits you’ll get at least some interference from the edges of the lens which end up blocking out the corners of your photos. You wont find that on the RhinoShield lenses, as they’re plenty big enough for your Pixel phone.

Right now the lenses are not officially compatible with the Galaxy S9 and S9+, but RhinoShield hopes to make them compatible in the future.

Galaxy S9 with the SolidSuit Case

Pixel 2 with the SolidSuit Case

SolidSuit cases for S9 SolidSuit cases for S9+ SolidSuit case for Pixel 2 XL SolidSuit case for Pixel 2
We thank RhinoShield for sponsoring this post. Our sponsors help us pay for the many costs associated with running XDA, including server costs, full time developers, news writers, and much more. While you might see sponsored content (which will always be labeled as such) alongside Portal content, the Portal team is in no way responsible for these posts. Sponsored content, advertising and XDA Depot are managed by a separate team entirely. XDA will never compromise its journalistic integrity by accepting money to write favorably about a company, or alter our opinions or views in any way. Our opinion cannot be bought.

from xda-developers

Huawei isn’t giving up on the US, but its troubles could hurt Oppo’s ambitions

The last few months have been tumultuous for Huawei. The company is the world’s third largest smartphone vendor, but it has negligible presence in the US smartphone market. The Huawei Mate 10 Pro was supposed to launch on AT&T as part of Huawei’s entry into the US carrier space, but plans to release the smartphone on AT&T’s network were abruptly cancelled at the last moment. The reason was said to be political pressure being piled on AT&T. Huawei’s smartphones were alleged to be a “security risk'” through “spying”, but as no proof was provided for these allegations, they must be assumed to be baseless (more on this below).

The Mate 10 Pro did launch as an unlocked smartphone in the US, but that doesn’t mean much in a market where most consumers prefer to buy smartphones from carriers. Huawei’s chances in the US smartphone market were already crippled with AT&T’s dramatic U-turn (and Verizon reportedly following soon after AT&T). They were downgraded even more last week when news reports stated that Best Buy would stop stocking Huawei phones.

Huawei CEO Richard Yu personally decried the state of the US smartphone market in a speech at CES. This week, the company launched the P20 and P20 Pro, two flagship smartphones that are credible challengers to the Samsung Galaxy S9 as well as the Google Pixel 2. The phones will be shortly available in Europe (the P20 is already available) and are even said to arrive soon in India. But they won’t make their way to the US.

Despite these series of setbacks, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, Richard Yu, told CNET that Huawei isn’t pulling out of the US. “We are committed to the US market and to earning the trust of US consumers by staying focused on delivering world-class products and innovation,” Mr. Yu told CNET. “We would never compromise that trust.”

CNET notes that Huawei has increasingly come under fire from the US government.

At this point, we should press the pause button and ask if any evidence exists for Huawei’s alleged spying for its home country’s government. If so, why has it not been released? Unless and until we see credible proof, we have to make it clear that the reasons for the allegations are protectionism, nothing more.

Mr. Yu has strongly denied allegations of ‘security risks”. “The security risk concerns are based on groundless suspicions and are quite frankly unfair,” he said. “We welcome an open and transparent discussion if it is based on facts.” The company works with 46 of the top 50 global operators, according to him, and the company has maintained a strong security record because security is one of its top priorities. He added that the company also employs more than 1000 people in 13 US offices.

Mr. Yu stated that even without the US market, Huawei would be the world’s largest smartphone vendor. Financially, it’s doing well, with net profit rising by 28.1 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. Phone shipments reached 153 million last year, with revenue rising 32 percent from 2016.

However, entering the US market does undeniably help the brand image. The US also remains the second largest smartphone market by some metrics. “We recognize we are not a known brand in the US and we need to build our brand here,” Mr. Yu said. “Our first step is to win the trust of consumers.”

Let’s take a look at the US smartphone market in brief. At this point, the US smartphone market is effectively a duopoly, with Apple and Samsung dominating smartphone shipments, market share, brand loyalty, and more. There is no third alternative to Apple and Samsung, as LG and Motorola continue to languish, while Google’s Pixel phones are slowly climbing. Unlocked phones like OnePlus devices are a small niche in the market, and the vast majority of smartphone purchases are made via carriers, not by purchasing unlocked phones at the full retail price.

This is in stark contrast to other smartphone markets. To give an example, the Indian smartphone market is essentially the opposite of the US market. Phones are purchased at the full retail price either online or through offline retailers or the OEM’s own stores, with carriers not being involved in the purchase process. This also means that the market is competitive, with Xiaomi managing to overtake Samsung in shipments in just three years. Oppo and Vivo being the third and fourth largest smartphone vendors in India.

Now, Huawei’s troubles may affect the ambitions of another Chinese smartphone vendor. Oppo is in the world’s top five list of smartphone vendors, but it’s officially available only in 31 markets, not including Europe or North America. The reason why it hasn’t entered the US market yet? That’s because of the ongoing saga between Huawei and the US government. Oppo told AndroidHeadlines that it likely won’t be coming to the US while the current US administration is running things.

AndroidHeadlines stated that it’s not just Huawei’s troubles that are affecting Oppo’s ambitions. Broadcom’s hostile proposed deal to acquire Qualcomm was blocked by the White House. The decision sets a precedent and creates ramifications for expansions of Chinese companies in the future.

The report notes that the current US administration has also taken a hard line on China in recent months. In addition to the aforementioned decisions, the administration has imposed tariffs on China, making the US a hostile place for Chinese companies like Oppo to expand to. This doesn’t affect only Oppo, but also a vast majority of other Chinese smartphone vendors. It’s worth noting that Xiaomi has been biding its time when it comes to entering the US market. AndroidHeadlines also noted that despite multiple investigations, no proof has ever been found that Huawei spies on its users.

There is also the second reason why Chinese phones have a stigma in the US of being cheap, poorly made “iPhone knockoffs.” Some US consumers now believe that every Chinese smartphone spies on them (which is decidedly false), and this has affected China-based smartphone brands on a global level. It’s almost needless to note at this point that the stigma which US consumers have about Chinese smartphones is false. Many Chinese phones do take inspiration from the iPhone, but that trend is only true to a certain extent. Android phones made by Chinese smartphone vendors generally have a better price-to-performance ratio, and many (such as Xiaomi devices) are renowned for having great performance and long battery life. But the stigma acts as a barrier for Oppo in the context of a potential US expansion, according to AndroidHeadlines.

Finally, Oppo confirmed to the publication that the company was still planning to expand this year, as it will arrive back in Europe in 2018. Specific countries were not mentioned, though.

Our view: It’s hard to read the above stories without responding with the word: “protectionism.” Chinese smartphones are being blocked in the US smartphone market without any good reasons. In our view, US consumers are the worst-hit in the ongoing saga. The US smartphone market is now effectively a duopoly instead of being a competitive market.

This means that Chinese smartphone vendors don’t have a motivation to enter the country with phones that have a great price-to-performance ratio. It also implies that flagship smartphone prices may continue to increase in the near future as Apple and Samsung continue to face no competition. The budget US smartphone market is already inferior to the Indian smartphone market, for example. If such events continue, the effects may start being felt in the flagship smartphone market as well, which would be a hard loss to swallow.

Source 1: CNETSource 2: AndroidHeadlines

from xda-developers

Pixel Launcher mod with new Google Pixel 3 search bar now available

Yesterday, we broke the story about a redesigned Google Search bar that may eventually be in the Pixel 3 Launcher. The design change is pretty simple. The current style is an elongated pill-shape with the Google and mic icons on opposite ends. The new Pixel Launcher style is essentially the same thing, but there’s a break that separates the mic icon. This new style is found on the home screen and in the app drawer.

The reception to this new look has not been super positive. A lot of people see it as a change just for the sake of change. There are also a lot of people that like the look and love to have the bleeding edge on their device. Thanks to the work of XDA Senior Member paphonb, you can get the look on your phone too. All you need is the new Rootless Pixel 2 Launcher APK.

Google Pixel 3 Pixel Launcher

The APK should work on any device with Android 7.0+. The launcher also includes the Google Now page. Grab the APK from the thread below and make your phone look like the Pixel 3 before it even exists.

Download from the XDA forum thread

from xda-developers

[Hands on] Razer Phone Android Oreo developer preview adds a new gesture, Dolby Atmos app, and display profiles

The Razer Phone is a device marketed to gamers, but the specs are nice enough to make any Android user drool. The 5.7-inch 1440p display has 120Hz refresh rate. Gaming is powered by the Snapdragon 835 processor, 8GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, and a beefy 4,000 mAh battery. Razer launched the phone last year with Android 7.1 Nougat, but they promised to bring Android Oreo to the device in early 2018. Yesterday, they announced the first Android 8.1 Developer Preview and today we have it.

The update comes with all the usual Android Oreo goodies: notification channelspicture-in-picture modenotification snoozingbackground app optimizations, and more. But there are a few new features specifically for the Razer Phone as well. We’ll start with a simple feature that allows you to double-tap the lock screen to sleep. The lock screen doesn’t typically stay on for very long, but this is a quick way to turn it off.

The next feature is a new “Vivid” mode in the display color settings. Using this mode forces DCI-P3, which is a common RGB color space. An increasing number of phones have been shipping with this feature. We saw it going back to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and up to the Google Pixel 2 and HTC U11+. Razer has put a lot of emphasis on the display, so it only makes sense to have the best color profiles.

Sound quality is another area where Razer has put a lot of attention. The front-facing stereo speakers are certified by THX and they support Dolby Vision sound. Back in January, the Razer Phone received an update that added Dolby 5.1 surround sound among other things. The Oreo preview includes a new Dolby Atmos app to fine tune the audio even more. The app allows you to adjust the sound for music, movies, games, and more.

If you’re interested in flashing the preview on your Razer Phone, grab the factory image from this page. Razer has also provided flashing instructions. Let us know how the preview is working on your Razer Phone.

from xda-developers

Secure Your Data Online with This Award-Winning VPN

If you’re still surfing the Web without the protection of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you’re leaving your most valuable and sensitive data—including credit card numbers and browsing history—open to attack by hackers. Nord VPN is one of the highest-rated VPNs on the market, and right now a 2-year subscription is on sale for $69.

Unlike most VPNs that offer security at the expense of browsing speed, NordVPN offers high-speed connections to over 3,500 secure servers in 61 different countries. That means you’ll be able to enjoy uninhibited, 2048-bit encrypted browsing virtually anywhere on earth.

Whether you’re browsing on public Wi-Fi hotspots, cellular networks, or your home Internet, NordVPN lets you browse in complete anonymity and allows you to bypass those obnoxious content filters when you travel overseas—meaning you’ll be able to keep up with work or your favorite Netflix shows.

NordVPN even automatically deploys a firewall in the event that your connection is unexpectedly dropped, so your security isn’t in jeopardy.

You can start browsing the Internet securely with a 2-year subscription to NordVPN—on sale for 75% off at $69.

from xda-developers

Google Pixel C and Nexus 6 get LineageOS 15.1 while Samsung Galaxy A5/A7 2017 get LineageOS 14.1

Thanks to the ultra-popular LineageOS ROM, a few devices are getting a taste of Android Oreo and Android Nougat. The last time we talked about the Pixel C was when unofficial LineageOS 15 Beta was available. This was just after it had received its last official Android update. The Nexus 6 is even older and was left behind at Android Nougat. The Samsung Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A5 were launched in early 2017 with Android Marshmallow. New LineageOS builds are here to update these devices.

LineageOS 15.1 will soon be available for the Google Pixel C and Nexus 6. This build is based on AOSP Android 8.1 Oreo. The devices get a plethora of new features along with the stability that makes Lineage such a popular ROM. Since Google has stopped officially updating these devices, you can switch to Lineage to stay up to date.

The Samsung Galaxy A5 and A7 (2017) have received fairly steady security patch updates, but they’re still stuck on Nougat 7.0. LineageOS 14.1 is based on AOSP Android 7.1 Nougat and it will be available for both devices. These phones have received fairly consistent security patches, but Lineage offers a cleaner version of Android and continued updates. This also means it’s likely these devices will get LineageOS 15.1 (Android Oreo).

The builds aren’t available yet, but they will be at the links below when they arrive. Keep in mind that these are official builds. There are still issues with the unofficial LineageOS 15.1 ROMs for the A5 and A7, so you’ll want to stick with 14.1 for now. Lineage is a stable ROM with AOSP features. Check it out if you’re interested in extending the life of your aging device.

Google Pixel C Download Page
Google Nexus 6 Download Page
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 Download Page
Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 Download Page

from xda-developers

How to install Android Oreo with the April security patch on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Even though Android Oreo for the Qualcomm Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was just released for AT&TVerizon, and Sprint, the April security patch version of it has already been released onto Samsung.Firmware.Science.

This update is for the Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The update is not certified yet, so you will need to follow this guide to get the Google Apps working. This build includes the April security patch and the typical array of Android Oreo features, such as notification channels, picture-in-picture mode, notification snoozing, background app optimizations, and more. As you would expect, there are plenty of Samsung-specific changes with Samsung Experience 9.0 as well. You can follow the guide below to install it yourself.

How to Update Galaxy Note 8 to Android Oreo:

  1. Check your phone’s model number to see if its N950U.
  2. Before you start here you need to follow this guide to install Android Oreo on build number N950USQU3CRC2.
  3. You will need to download 2 OTA files, CRC2 to CRC4 and CRC4 to CRC5. I recommend downloading one and renaming it then downloading the other, after doing that transfer them to your sd card
  4. After downloading those files and making sure you are on update version N950USQU3CRC2, go to recovery by powering off your phone and holding volume down + power + Bixby button.
  5. If you have an SD card, select “apply update from SD card.” You can select this by using your volume rockers to navigate and the power button to select. After selecting the option, find the update for CRC2 to CRC4 that you renamed and select it, apply the update and let the phone reboot.
  6. Once the CRC4 update is applied, reboot to recovery and do the same as above with the CRC4 to CRC5 update. Once you do this, your phone will reboot and you will be good.
  7. If you don’t have an SD Card, you can use adb to install it. Boot into recovery by using volume down + power + Bixby and select “apply update from SD card” then you can use the adb command adb sideload CRC2 to
  8. Once the CRC4 update is applied, reboot to recovery and do the same as above with the CRC4 to CRC5 update. Once you do this, your phone will reboot and you will be good.

from xda-developers

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ and Galaxy Note 8 Always on Display updated with GIF support

The Always on Display has been a longstanding feature of Samsung phones. It’s a great feature to have, especially with the Super AMOLED displays. You always have the clock and notifications just a glance away. Samsung has slowly added more features to the Always on Display over the years. The latest addition to the AOD for the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ and Galaxy Note 8 allows you to put a little motion on the display.

Previously, it was possible to add photos to the Always on Display. This was an easy way to personalize your phone even when it’s idle. Now, you can take it a step further by adding animated GIFs. The feature was added in version of Always on Display (APK below). All you have to do is download a GIF and you can add it to the AOD from the Gallery app.

The one limitation we ran into is the GIF can’t be too long. You will see a toast message if the animation length doesn’t meet the requirement. Tap the edit button in the Gallery to trim the GIF by removing frames. The other thing to keep in mind is the GIFs don’t actually loop on the Always on Display, so you don’t want to pick one that’s too short either. It’s basically just a short little animation when you turn off the display. Here you can see it in action:

galaxy s8 always on display gif

Download the APK below for the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note 8.

Download from APK Mirror

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 receiving Android Oreo update on Verizon and Sprint

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may be on the horizon, but the Galaxy Note 8 is still Samsung’s latest stylus-wielding device. The AT&T model received the Android Oreo update earlier this week and now a couple more U.S. carriers are joining the fun. Reddit users and XDA Forums members are reporting that they’re receiving Android Oreo on Verizon and Sprint.

The update brings the phone up to Android 8.0 Oreo and Samsung Experience 9.0. All the Oreo goodies are in tow, including picture-in-picture, Autofill, notification dots, battery optimizations, and more. The update comes in at 1.4 GB and brings the firmware build up to version CRC2.

As always, you can go to Settings > Software update to see if you can grab the update now. The unlocked Snapdragon model still has a little while to wait before Oreo will be available, but now most of the U.S. carriers are up to date. The Exynos model should already have the Android Oreo update. If not you can manually install it with this tutorial. Sprint and Verizon have not updated their official software release pages yet.

Source: Reddit 1 Source: Reddit 2
Source: Sprint Note 8 forum Source: Verizon Note 8 forum

from xda-developers

jeudi 29 mars 2018

Google Assistant forgets how to tell you the weather

Google Assistant is extremely useful for telling you basic information like traffic on your daily commute or showing you the weather, but in bizarre development tonight it appears that the service has completely forgotten how to tell you the weather. Multiple users have reported to us that they no longer receive any weather information when asking Assistant about the weather, what temperature it is, or what the forecast is.

We tested this ourselves and can confirm that this bug is present with Google Assistant on my Google Pixel 2 XL. I also asked my Google Home and Home Mini what the weather forecast would be, but with every query the device simply said it didn’t understand my question.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update if this bug is fixed or if Google responds.

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Huawei Mate 10 Lite Android Oreo beta program reportedly opens up in Pakistan

The Huawei P20 series is the talk of the town lately thanks to the ridiculous camera specifications of the Pro model, but it wasn’t too long ago that Huawei announced the Mate 10 series of devices. The Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro garnered most of the attention as they were the first devices with Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 970 system-on-chip, but Huawei also launched a lower-end Mate 10 Lite model with quad-cameras. That phone launched with Android 7.1 Nougat with EMUI 5.1 on board, but it appears that Huawei is finally opening up an official Android Oreo beta program with EMUI 8.0 for users in Pakistan.

According to several members on our forum, the beta program has opened up for model RNE-L21C185. RNE is the Huawei Mate 10 Lite while L21 tells us the variant and C185 is the region (Pakistan). Users can sign up for the beta test on Huawei’s Friendly User Test (FUT) page and after signing up can expect to receive the update within a few days. So far, several members have reported success in signing up, but none have actually received the Android Oreo update. As such, we can’t say whether or not the update will bring Project Treble compatibility.

We should note that the update is available for flashing right now on this model from, though that is a paid service so many would prefer to wait for the update to roll out officially for the device. Keep up to date on the latest news for the Huawei Mate 10 Lite by following the official XDA forum for the device.

from xda-developers

LG is seeking feedback on display notches while rumors suggest LG G7 might have one

2018 may very well be the year of the notch. You either embrace it or you don’t. As we approach the end of the first quarter, the field is divided. On one hand, the ASUS Zenfone 5/5Z, the Huawei P20, the OnePlus 6, and the LG G7 are rumored or are confirmed to have notches. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S have bucked the trend so far. The notch trend has proven to be controversial among the community, so much so that people have been looking for ways to hide it. For that reason, LG is seeking feedback regarding display notches to share with their R&D team.

On a post over on /r/Android, LG support staff is seeking input from the community about the notch.

“We’ve seen a LOT of comments around “The Notch” over the past few weeks, from people who love the quick access to the menu to those that hate the wasted screen space. We would love to gather some more feedback to share with our R&D team- and this is where you come in. So…what do you think? Love the Notch? Or is it Notch your thing?” – LG Support on Reddit

This seems rather timely given the reception of many devices that are confirmed to have display notches. OnePlus’ CEO even took to their forums to defend the decision to implement a notch on the rumored OnePlus 6, and even though the decision makes sense from a design standpoint, it’s something that will take time for consumers to accept. The LG G7 was spotted with a notch at Mobile World Congress 2018 (the feature image is a still from that leak). It is rumored to launch in May alongside an LG G7 Plus model, so we’re skeptical that any major design changes would be made based off of feedback here.

Regardless, if you don’t agree with the notch trend or think you have an idea on how the software can handle them better, then check out LG’s thread on Reddit. If you’re looking for a decent Reddit client, then consider the latest official beta release of the app which brings themes including an AMOLED night theme, redesigned bottom navigation bar, and more.

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Google Play nows offers 14 day refund window for purchased services if you’re in the EEA

There is a plethora of apps and services available in the Google Play Store. Some of the best apps require you to put some cold, hard cash down. Thankfully, the return window allows you to get your money back if you’re not satisfied with your purchase. Google is making some changes to how these return policies work in the European Economic Area (EEA).

In the past, EEA users had a 48-hour window on Play Store refunds. This is how it is currently for the rest of us. After that 48-hour period, you were stuck negotiating a refund with the app developer. Services you purchased through the app were subject to the same rules. Starting today, the 48-hour period has been extended to a full 14 days in the EEA. The change was made to comply with EU law that gives consumers a 14-day “cooling off” period for online purchases.

It’s important to note that the 14-day period is for “digital services.” There is still a 2-hour refund window for app purchases. The extended period is for buying in-app subscriptions and other services via Google Play. The example Google gives is if you buy file storage services on Google Play, you can cancel the purchase within 14 days for a full refund. The difference between “digital content” and “digital services” is a little tricky. Read the full description below.

Content vs Services

Digital content. Under the law, you have an automatic statutory right of withdrawal from contracts for purchases of digital content, such as apps, games, in-app items, or other media like movies or music. The same applies when you purchase a subscription for digital content within an app. However, when you purchase or subscribe to digital content with Google Play, you agree that the digital content will be available to you immediately, and you acknowledge that, as a result, you waive your automatic statutory right of withdrawal. Therefore, you will not be eligible for a refund (or any alternative remedy) unless the digital content is defective, unavailable, or doesn’t perform as stated.

In the case of a subscription for digital content, if you don’t want to subscribe anymore, you can cancel your subscription. You will still have access to the subscription until the end of the period you have paid for.

Digital services. Under the law, you have an automatic statutory right of withdrawal from contracts for the purchase of digital services for 14 days after you make the purchase. For example, if you buy file storage services on Google Play, you can cancel the purchase within 14 days for a full refund. You can request a refund here, or use this form to withdraw. After the first 14 days you will not be eligible for a refund (or any alternative remedy) unless the services are defective, unavailable, or don’t perform as stated. However, you can cancel your subscription, and the cancellation will be effective from the start of the next payment period. You will still have access to the subscription until the end of the period you have paid for.

Source: Google Via: Android Police

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Google is testing a revamped Pixel Launcher search bar for the Google Pixel 3

It may not even be the most popular launcher app on Android (that reward probably goes to Nova Launcher), but Google’s Pixel Launcher definitely up there among the upper echelon of launchers. The only official way to use the Google Pixel Launcher is to have a Google Nexus, Pixel, or Android One device. With each new Google device, the Pixel Launcher receives a few tweaks here and there to coincide with the new design language of the latest software release or to better accommodate the device itself. We are now seeing an example of the former case as Google appears to be testing a revamped search bar for the Pixel Launcher that will ship with the Google Pixel 3.

Now, before you peek at the images, we wanted to clarify that we don’t actually have a Google Pixel 3. Instead, XDA Senior Member paphonb modified the existing Pixel Launcher APK from the Google Pixel 2 to enable some hidden, in-development features of the launcher (more details below). Hence, the screenshots showing off the changes are from my OnePlus 5 (the package conflicted with the existing launcher on my Pixel 2 XL, so I had to use another device). Without further ado, here is the revamped search bar on the Pixel 3.

Google Pixel 2 XL Pixel Launcher vs. Google Pixel 3 Pixel Launcher

Google Pixel 3 Pixel Launcher Google Pixel 3 Pixel Launcher Google Pixel 3 Pixel Launcher Google Pixel 3 Pixel Launcher

As you can see in these screenshots, the search bubble has split in two. We’re not entirely sure what the purpose of this change is or how it will jibe with Google’s rumored Material Design 2 set to be unveiled during Google I/O 2018. It’s a rather small change, and maybe part of a larger re-design that will be arriving in the future.

When the Google Pixel 2 was in the works, we caught glimpses of the revamped bottom search bar before its release. That version of the launcher has since been made available for all by many APK modders including paphonb, credited earlier, and AmirZ. With that in mind, keep an eye out on XDA as paphonb will soon publish an update to his modded app with these new changes available as a toggle.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering how we know this revamped search bar is for the Google Pixel 3, it’s because paphonb discovered the following in-development parameters in the latest official APK:


That should hopefully clear any doubts you may have had.

from xda-developers

Razer Phone Android Oreo update now available in Developer Preview form, brings Project Treble compatibility

When we think of gaming phones, our minds turn to the Sony Xperia Play of yesteryear. Since then, there hasn’t really been a true gaming flagship smartphone, though the Razer Phone is close to being it. Razer will say that the phone is marketed at gamers rather than being a gaming phone, but its specifications should appeal to any Android enthusiast: a 5.7″ 1440p 120Hz LCD panel, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 8GBs of RAM, 64GBs of internal storage with microSD slot, and a 4,000 mAh battery. The phone initially launched with Android 7.1 Nougat on board with a promised update to Android Oreo by the end of Q1 2018, and as we approach the last days of Q1 Razer has announced that the first Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview update is now available for the Razer Phone.

This announcement was made on the company’s official Facebook page. The official stable release of Android 8.1 Oreo will be made available in mid- to late April 2018. Users interested in flashing the release should head on over to this page to grab the Android 8.1 Oreo factory image for the device. Instructions on how to flash the release can be found here. If you’re looking for a USB 3 Type-A to Type-C spec-compliant cable, Razer recommends you check out Benson Leung’s post on Google+. Razer will not be providing release notes for the build nor will they provide an official upgrade path from the Developer Preview to the official release, so you should be comfortable with flashing factory images by the time the official release is available.

We predicted that the phone would skip Android 8.0 Oreo and jump straight to Android 8.1 Oreo. The one thing we couldn’t predict is whether or not the update would bring Project Treble compatibility, but we can now confirm that it does. We checked the build.prop file of the release and found ro.treble.enabled was set to true. We haven’t been able to flash a Generic System Image (GSI) to truly test it, but we don’t think that the company would set this property to true if the device isn’t Treble compatible.

Some other minor tidbits about the release are that it comes with the February security patches but not the most recent March patches. We presume that the March patches or maybe even the April patches will arrive in the stable update. This Developer Preview will also not support any carrier-specific modifications which can include VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, and other modifications to improve signal strength or network connectivity on certain carriers.

If you flash the update, do let us know if you come across any new interesting features. Also, let us know your thoughts on the Razer Phone’s Android Oreo update in general!

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Win a Pixel 2 from XDA and RhinoShield [Open to All Countries]

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

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U.S. Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will receive update to enable FM Radio

The newly released Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ come with the usual improvements you’ve come to expect when the next generation of devices comes along. One of the more peculiar promises with the Galaxy S9 was FM radio support. While supporting FM radio is not so odd in itself, Samsung devices have omitted the feature for years. This is because while the necessary hardware exists in most flagships, the FM radio chips themselves are locked down and unusable. Samsung had announced it was teaming up with NextRadio to bring back the functionality, but users of these two devices have discovered FM radio support isn’t present – not yet anyway.

Strangely, the radio works fine on carrier-locked units of the Galaxy S9 and S9+, making it seem like the company just simply made a mistake and forgot to add the feature. XDA Senior Member wolfgart flashed the T-Mobile carrier firmware on his unlocked device and FM radio worked. NextRadio later confirmed to PiunikaWeb that the problem is indeed a result of a software bug that Samsung accidentally included in unlocked variants of the devices. A software update will be released in the future fixing the issue.

FM Radio may be a novelty in the day and age of mobile data streaming. However, for many without a data plan or those who are subject to service outages, it can be a vital feature in a smartphone. The nostalgia factor aside, FM radio can also be a life-saving feature when in the event of an emergency. Important information is often transmit primarily over radio-waves. It’s not necessary in some cases as most smartphones don’t even support it anymore, but there are times where it can be useful. For those who wanted to use FM radio, let’s hope the update comes soon for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+!

Source: NextRadio Via: PiunikaWeb Via: AndroidPolice

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Samsung Gear S4 may be in the works with improved S Health features

The smartwatch business is nowhere close to the size of the smartphone market, but the competition is similar. On top of this market is Apple, whose Apple Watch captures a big chunk of the wearable market share. Following Apple are companies like Fitbit, Xiaomi, Garmin and Huawei. But Samsung has also been in the wearable game for a long time now, with their Tizen-powered Gear watches being promoted as the better companion choice for Samsung Galaxy phones. The Gear S3, featuring 4G connectivity and Samsung Pay support, was the latest flagship iteration of the line, but a successor, the Gear S4, may be approaching on the horizon.

A Samsung smartwatch bearing the model number SM-R800 is apparently being worked on, according to SamMobile. According to previous trends, it would be called the Samsung Gear S4. We’re not expecting this to be an overwhelming upgrade, however, if rumors end up being correct. Aside from the usual improvements to the internals and the software, which always come with yearly updates, Samsung is also improving the health and fitness options. The S Health app will be getting better in-depth sleep tracking and possibly more.

Unfortunately, very little is known at the time of this purported smartwatch. The leak train should start running very soon and tell us about the upcoming improvements packed within this new watch. As only the model number has leaked, it’s also not certain whether this watch will be the Gear S4 or a successor to the Gear Sport. Only time will tell, however. As with all rumors, we advise you to take this with a grain of salt and be skeptical until actual leaks start appearing. The Gear S3 was released in 2016, so it is indeed due for a refresh very soon. We hope that’s what Samsung has in the pipeline.

Source: SamMobile

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Master Excel and Other Business Essentials with this Massive Educational Training

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mercredi 28 mars 2018

Hate Display Notches? Hide the Notch for Free with “Nacho Notch—Notch Hider!”

Although the Apple iPhone X gets all of the blame for Android phones with notches, it was actually the Essential Phone that first implemented the controversial display notch. This year, we’re seeing many smartphone makers pursuing the display notch. The ASUS Zenfone 5/5Z, the rumored LG G7, the Huawei P20, and the OnePlus 6 are all either rumored or are confirmed to have notches. Only Samsung and Xiaomi have bucked the trend so far with their flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S respectively. If you’re looking to buy a new phone this year, there’s a good chance it may have a notch, but fret not, there’s a way to hide the notch for free! Introducing “Nacho Notch—Notch Hider!”

This is a free app developed by XDA Forum Moderator Zacharee1 and it only has one purpose: hiding the display notch. The way it works is simple: it draws an entirely black overlay above the status bar but below the other status bar elements. That way, the status bar background is black but the notification icons, clock, and other status bar icons are still visible on top. The overlay also automatically hides itself when you switch your phone to landscape mode, so it won’t cover up part of the status bar accidentally.

Display Notch Essential Phone, Huawei P20, OnePlus 6, LG G7, ASUS Zenfone 5 Display Notch Essential Phone, Huawei P20, OnePlus 6, LG G7, ASUS Zenfone 5

The app is implemented as a quick settings tile. Just add the tile to your quick setting tiles and you can quickly toggle the notch on/off. No need to waste space in your app drawer with an app that only has a single function!

Display Notch Essential Phone, Huawei P20, OnePlus 6, LG G7, ASUS Zenfone 5 Display Notch Essential Phone, Huawei P20, OnePlus 6, LG G7, ASUS Zenfone 5

Admittedly, this isn’t a novel idea. The rumored LG G7 was seen having such a feature, and the Huawei P20 is confirmed to have such a feature. Clearly, these companies recognized that not everyone will be happy with their design decision, so they have opted to allow users to hide the notch by darkening the status bar area.

Display Notch Essential Phone, Huawei P20, OnePlus 6, LG G7, ASUS Zenfone 5

What hiding the notch looks like on the Huawei P20

And that’s exactly what “Nacho Notch—Notch Hider” does! You just need to install the app, make sure it has the ability to “draw over other apps” so it can hide the notch (if you install it from the Play Store, you won’t have to worry about that), and be on your way! The app needs a persistent notification so Android doesn’t kill it in the background, but it’s easy to hide the notification so it doesn’t get in your way (just long-press on the notification and hide it!) Try it out and let us know how it goes!

Install Nacho Notch—Notch Hider from the Google Play Store

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