Headlines

2 years ago

Took back the One X, Rooting the One S [From the Forums]

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We're rolling through this week pretty quick so if you happened to miss out on anything thus far, make sure you get yourself caught up. You can head on back a page or two and you'll be good to go. While you're at it, make sure you check out the Android Central Forums for plenty more discussion:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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2 years ago

Multitasking on the HTC One X isn't broken, it's customized

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There's been a bit of fuss over the way the HTC One X (and One XL) handles multitasking, with some folks saying the phone is broken when talking about the way it handles tasks in the background. While it certainly is different than what we see on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, or other devices running previous versions of Android, it's not broken at all -- HTC has just tweaked it. Like everything else in the Android source code, the way the kernel and system free memory from background tasks is wide open and subject to the whim of whoever does the software building. In this case, it's an area we're pretty familiar with, and something we've been hacking at since the days of the lowly HTC Hero -- the minfree settings and kernel low memory killer. 

What's happening is that the settings have been adjusted to keep more memory free for Sense 4 to gobble up, at the expense of applications running in the background. It's not a big edit, but with the One X's big screen and Sense 4's big footprint, it's a big enough edit to force things to close in the background more aggressively than we're used to seeing. Apps that have a bit of priority (ranging from the important things like the phone dialer to the less-important like the music player) seem to act just fine, but bigger applications, like Chrome beta for example, seem to suspend and need to re-open whenever they are returned to from the application switching menu.

For the more nerdly among us, I've looked and found one set of changes in the One X's boot image. The Stock AOSP build of 4.0.4 writes these values to the minfree settings:

8099, 10132, 12165, 14213, 16245, 20295

The AT&T HTC One X uses these settings (as we're using the system, anyway):

7746, 9720, 11694, 13742, 15715, 24709

Our Tegra 3 version of the HTC One X is showing the following, again, as we're using the system:

8192, 10240, 12288, 14336, 16384, 20480

It's very likely that there are other changes in the kernel source as well. 

The real issue here is that it's different than what we're used to seeing. Many seem not to like it, and would prefer the "old way". If you're riding the root train, that's a possibility -- our own Senior Developer Beezy is looking at things, and working on a few edits. If you're not into hacking your device, you're going to have to realize that HTC has built the One X their way. It's not wrong, it's just not stock Android.

Source: Android Central forums

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2 years ago

Google bringing multiple manufacturers to the Nexus line, WSJ reports

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What would be better than a new Nexus phone each year? How about several Nexus devices, built by multiple manufacturers? According to the WSJ (and their confidential sources) that will become a reality in the near future. According to the Journal, Google will be working with as many as five device manufacturers to build Android lead devices, which they can then sell directly to consumers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia from their online device store. This is Google's way of exerting a modicum of control over Android, without stepping on the open-source toes at its roots. 

Right now you can walk into your carrier store and buy a great phone that runs an Android-based operating system like Sense 4, or the new TouchWiz, complete with full carrier support and customer service. With this news it sounds like those of us that aren't concerned with carrier subsidies or support may be able to shop at our own Android store. It's an answer that many of us have been looking for.

The devices are expected to run Jellybean, be completely SIM unlocked, and available near Thanksgiving. Start saving your pennies. 

I think this is a long time coming. It sounds like what Google was trying to do in 2010 with the Nexus One, but back then they didn't have the foothold (or is it stranglehold?) on customer mind-share that they do now. Two years later, and I'll wager a good many of us would jump on this opportunity, including some that didn't when the Nexus One was released.

If Google wants to pull this off, they will need to offer quality hardware at a reasonable price (I'm thinking under $500 per unit), and convince customers in the U.S. to switch away from Verizon and Sprint to GSM carriers. If they can manage this, they will have finally changed the mobile world, like they wanted to do all along. They certainly have my support.

Source: WSJ

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2 years ago

Chrome 19 desktop browser released, keeps tabs with your mobile devices

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Todays release of the stable version of Google Chrome 19 brings with it a killer feature which really does beg the question -- why would you use any other browser? 

When signed in to Chrome 19 on the desktop, as well as Chrome Beta on your Android 4.0 device, all currently open tabs will be synchronized between every device you're signed in on. Put simply, you could be reading Jerry's awesome review of the Sprint Galaxy Nexus on your computer, but you have to leave for work before you're done. Open up Chrome Beta on your Android phone or tablet, and there it is, ready for you to open and get right back to reading. 

The tabs are displayed within the "other devices" section found within the main menu on Chrome Beta, and the new tab menu on Chrome desktop. 

There are some other new features included in the release of Chrome 19 that are desktop only, but the merging of Chrome on desktop and Android can only be a good thing for the future. Hit the break for Google's promo video. 

Source: Google Chrome Blog

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2 years ago

Samsung cares, releases new support app to help prove it

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Samsung as a company is massive and although I'm sure we all would prefer it if they concentrated only on mobile devices, that's not the case. They have a ton of products out there on the market ranging from mobile phones, fridges, washers and more. Supporting all of those products can be quite a hassle but Samsung wants you to know they do in fact care about each and every support question that may be out there, no matter which one of their products you may be using.

In an effort to show that they've gone ahead and released a new mobile app called Samsung Cares. The Samsung Cares app covers a wide array of Samsung products and for each you can view online tutorial videos, review support documentation and even check your warranty status, repair status and more. Plus, if you're still not finding the information you need it provides support numbers for Samsung directly. Sure, some folks may not find it useful at all but the fact it even exists is a nice gesture from Samsung. Want to check the app out? The link is below for downloading it.

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2 years ago

Verizon lighting up 28 new 4G LTE markets, expanding 11 more on May 17

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Another batch of 4G LTE areas have been announced by Verizon and this time, it's a pretty huge list. In total, 28 new markets will be enabled while 11 more will be getting expansions to further improve their already existing coverage. Have a look at the list below and see if your city is listed. If it is, then on May 17th you should be fully enabled for 4G LTE provided you have a compatible device:

Additions:

  • Thibodaux and Lake Charles, La.
  • Hyannis/Mid-Cape, Mass
  • Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Mich
  • Biloxi/Gulfport/Pascagoula and Oxford, Miss
  • Atlantic City/Toms River, N.J.
  • Dickinson and Williston, N.D.
  • Ashtabula, Bucyrus and Defiance, Ohio
  • Eugene/Springfield, Ore.
  • Lancaster, New Castle, Northern Cambria County, Oil City/Franklin, Somerset and York, Pa.
  • Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • Mitchell, S.D.
  • Paris, Texas
  • Burlington/Northern, Vt.
  • Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Martinsville and Staunton/Waynesboro, Va.
  • Sheridan, Wyo.

Expansions:

  • Denver, Colo
  • Dover, Del.
  • Fort Myers and Lakeland, Fla.
  • Hagerstown, Md.
  • Canton, Lima, Mansfield, Toledo and Youngstown/Warren, Ohio
  • Erie, Pa.

The full press release is below should you need more info. Find your city on the list? Enjoy your new 4G LTE when it gos live on May 17th.

Source: Verizon Wireless

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2 years ago

LG Optimus Elite now available from Virgin Mobile USA

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It was only a few days ago that pre-orders for the LG Optimus Elite were happening but now Virgin Mobile USA is ready to put their first device with NFC and Google Wallet into the hands of consumers. Yes, today is the day the LG Optimus Elite goes on sale today and you can pick yourself one up for only $150. A reminder of the specs let's us know it's not for everyone out there but it a reasonable device for those looking to possibly jump from a feature phone:

  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 3.5-inch touchscreen
  • 800 MHz processor
  • 5MP rear-facing camera

As a bonus, LG has also team up with the folks from Box so if you pick up an LG Optimus Elite, you can download the Box app from the Google Play Store and get yourself 50GB of cloud storage space for free. Keep in mind though, that offer only runs until July 22, 2012. Need more details? Check out the full press release below or have a look at our hands-on.

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2 years ago

What's root got to do with it?

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I knew this was going to happen. From midmofan in the EVO 4G LTE forums  - Phil

... got to do with it?

What's root but a second hand emoticon?
What's root got to do, got to do with it?

Who needs an I-phone
When it can't be jail-broken?

It may seem to you
That I'm acting confused like a newbie
When the release date is close to me.

If I tend to look dazed
I've read it someplace on the forum
So, I've got cause to be...

There's a name for it (do a search)
There's a phrase that fits (search some more)

But whatever the reason, Phil
You do it for me....

[Chorus]

I've been thinking of a new direction - yea upgrade!
But I have to say,
I've been thinking about my own protection (otterbox)
It scares me to feel this way -- about a phone!

[Chorus]

What's root got to do, got to do with it?
What's root but a sweet old hacker notion?
What's root got to do, got to do with it?
Who needs S-off when dev-unlock is an option!?!

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2 years ago

Lightbox closing its doors as the team joins Facebook

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Seems like the Facebook train just keeps on rolling, with todays news that the Lightbox team will be joining the social network. For Lightbox users, the end is sadly nigh as the service will be closing down completely from June 15. Existing users can continue to use the service until then, but no more new signups will be accepted. 

This isn't an acquisition, not like the $1 billion buyout submitted for Instagram. As such, none of the user data stored by Lightbox will become the property of Facebook. The staff is the only part transitioning, and as such closing the doors for good. Until June 15, all your photos can be exported, and the Android application has already been removed from Google Play. Additionally, parts of the code will be open-sourced in the coming weeks. 

Source: Lightbox Blog​thanks @FYeahRyanRocks for the tip!

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2 years ago

Firefox's new native Android version now available in beta from Google Play

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Late last year Mozilla announced that it'd be moving its Firefox browser to a native Android user interface, instead of using XUL, and it's been pushing nightly builds since November. Today, those builds have reached beta status and are available directly from Google Play. You'll get the same excellent Firefox browsing experience you've come to know and love, only with an even better UI, faster load times and better performance. And because it's now available in Google Play, updating will be easier than nightly builds. Hit the link below if you're ready to give it a shot.

Download: Firefox beta

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