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2 years ago

How to enable system sounds on your Android device

27

Part of having a modern smartphone is the media experience. Today's Android phones rival about any desktop system when it comes to audio and visual cues for the way you interact with them. Case in point -- audible alerts for system UI actions.

Making your Android phone or tablet give you an affirming "tick" when you press a button or unlock your screen is easy. Open your settings, and find the "Sound" entry in the menu list. You'll see something like the above, where you can set the standard ringtone and notification. If you scroll down a bit you'll see where you can enable or disable the audible prompt when doing things like dialing a number, or unlocking your phone. What's really cool is that you can set these sounds individually, so your phone only makes the noises you want it to make.

Once you have things set up the way you like, just press the back button and leave the settings menu. Now you're set!

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2 years ago

How to share Photo Sphere pics on Google Maps

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Deep links and even embedding panoramas can be done, but it takes a few steps

I might have mentioned once or twice how Photo Sphere is one of my favorite features of Android 4.2 on the Nexus 4. And I might have slightly bemoaned how the only real ways to view someone's Photo Sphere pictures are on Google+, either in a desktop browser or Android's Google+ app. (And I might have mentioned all that in a single post, yesterday.)

Google Maps also got a nod, and I think it's going to be my go-to method for sharing Photo Sphere pics for a couple reasons.

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2 years ago

From the mail bag: Is Android affected by the recent Java security issues?

28

Russ8611 writes, 

Hello Androidcentral! I was just curious if any of you guys feel like reporting on the Java vulnerability and let us know how it affects Android as a platform. I know most people say they don't need Java on their computers, but isn't Java needed by Android, especially by developers? Thanks!!!

That's a nasty mess, isn't it?

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2 years ago

Weekend project: Customize your home screen with UCCW, the ultimate custom widget

12

Anytime you see folks discussing the virtues of Android, you hear the word custom being thrown around in one form or another. We're not talking about ROMs or kernels or anything like that, we mean the built in options to make your Android phone look like no other phone -- widgets. Specifically UCCW, the ultimate custom widget.

Ultimate is a pretty bold claim for any developer to make, especially when you're talking something as personal as the way our phones look. UCCW works it though, and is a way to change the look and feel of your home screen in a way only limited by your imagination. It's a "master" widget, which is simply a blank canvas that's painted the way you decide, either through your own talent or from themes (called uzips) that other talented folks have created.  Hit the jump, have a look, and get customized.

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2 years ago

Want to learn basic Android programming? The Linux Foundation wants to help

23

The fine people at the Linux Foundation have started a little project that deserves some attention -- some tutorials teaching beginning Android programming. So far things are pretty basic, but the beginning is always the best place to start. They have the basics of setting up a development environment covered, and will get you on your way to writing your first Android app.

Android is Linux after all, and it's great to see the traditional desktop users excited about Android and jumping in to make it better. While you won't learn how to build the next Angry Birds game, you will get some pointers and basic information that leads you on the road to building something of your very own. Remember, everyone started at the beginning. If you've got the inclination, hit the source link to get started.

Source: The Linux Foundation

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2 years ago

Ask AC: How to tell when HDR is enabled in Android 4.2

17

D3lit3 writes in our Nexus 4 forums,

I was taking pictures with my baby and I realized that the HDR mode does not show a tick when you enable it. Thus I am left in confusion because I never know if my pics have HDR. Am I missing something? Thanks.

Don't be left in confusion, D3lit3! While this only applies to the stock camera app in Android 4.2, it is a change, and a little easy to overlook. When you're in HDR mode -- or any other scene mode, you'll see it listed in the circle in the corner. That circle may move around a little bit, depending on which way you're holding the phone. (Also, tap that circle to pull up the settings buttons.) But that's where you'll see it.

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2 years ago

Take full advantage of your new 4.2 ROM [From the Forums]

1

Now that Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is the new cool thing, lots of different developers (and weekend warriors) out there have started tinkering around with the code to make something great of it. One of our forum members, Waza_Be, has put up a couple small apps in the forums that he made to add things to the lockscreen and daydream functions of your new Android 4.2 ROMs. They're simple but useful, and should be a good jumping-off point for other developers that are excited to start creating apps with the new functionality.

When you go to the Play Store to check them out, you may recognize the developer's name. Christophe talked to us just a couple days ago as part of our feature on developing for multiple screen sizes. Head to the forums and check out his work at the source link below.

Source: Android Applications Forum

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2 years ago

How to set up the right APN on your Nexus 4

23

For many people, buying the Nexus 4 will be their first time stepping into several different arenas. First GSM device, first unlocked device, first time using a prepaid carrier. Once everything is setup there's not a whole lot of difference in using an unlocked GSM phone, but unfortunately it's not always 100 percent frictionless. One of the only things that the user is likely to have to change on their devices when putting a SIM in is the APN (Access Point Name) settings.

Each carrier has distinct APN settings that let the phone operate on the network. It works in conjunction with the SIM to get you setup and registered on the network for full-speed data as well as texts and MMS. We're going to give you a quick run-down of the most popular U.S. carrier's APN settings and just how to set them up on the Nexus 4. Join us after the break.

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2 years ago

Ask AC: Is Android Linux?

39

While trawling through the Internet today I came across the Linux Foundation's page, and my eyes were pulled to their top story. Now this is nothing new, I often find plenty of great articles and news to read there, but this was different. This was a post that was about Android. 

It got me thinking (sometimes I do that) -- is Android Linux? The folks at the Linux Foundation seem to think so (and seem awfully happy about it), and I'm going to have to agree with them. Now before you purists come to West Virginia to beat some sense into me, I'm not saying that Android is unadulterated GNU Linux. Clearly it's not, there's far too many differences and psudeo-open source licensing at play to call it pure. But for all intents and purposes, it's close enough.

Android now runs on top of a standard Linux kernel, and uses many of the same kernelspace utilities and code that my desktop does. Essentially, that's what Linux is -- the heart of many different systems. Google, and the Android partners like Samsung, HTC, and CyanogenMod, then build things out to present the user with an interface to interact with the kernel. The kernel does stuff, all our taps and swipes and presses are telling it the stuff we want it to do. Just like any of the popular Linux distributions that you can install on your computer at home or work.

Android looks and acts a little different because it needs to look and act a little different to be useful on a small touch screen device. Of course, this is the simplified version of things, but if you're the type who understands how the kernelspace and userspace interact, you see where I'm coming from. Too much nerd is often too much.

So the next time you grab your Android-powered phone or tablet, just remember that you're part of the long standing tradition that is Linux. It's a good place to be.

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2 years ago

Inside Android 4.2: Notifications and quick settings

57

Finally, Google has added quick settings to the notification pulldown in Android 4.2. That's a feature many have wanted in stock Android since, well, forever. Enthusiast ROMs have added them. The manufacturers have added them. You can download apps that add them. And now, Google's added them in the latest version of Jelly Bean.

Only, Google did it different. Whereas quick settings generally serve as toggles in the notification pulldown, Google's gone a different route. Crazy, or crazy like a fox? Let's take a look.

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2 years ago

How to enable developer settings on Android 4.2

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Google has hidden the developer settings in the latest version of Jelly Bean - here's how to get them back

A few months from now, this will seem funny. But for a little while, for a few scary hours, we had no developer settings on the Nexus 4. Ponder that for a moment. A Nexus device with no developer settings. Actually, it wasn't quite that bad. A little hackery, and we had a direct shortcut to the dev settings. 

But there's an easier way to enable the developer settings on Android 4.2. Oh, they're still on the phone, so nobody freak out. Google hasn't taken the "developer" out of its Nexus line, and it's not going to anytime soon. But the settings have been hidden from casual view in the settings menu. Here's how to get them back:

  1. Go to the settings menu, and scroll down to "About phone." Tap it.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom again, where you see "Build number." (Your build number may vary from ours here.)
  3. Tap it seven (7) times. After the third tap, you'll see a playful dialog that says you're four taps away from being a developer. (If only it were that simple, eh?) Keep on tapping, and *poof*, you've got the developer settings back.

So why would Google hide the developer settings on a Nexus? It likely has nothing at all to do with the device in this case. Think bigger. It's just a change in Android 4.2. If you're reading this blog, chances are you'll want to poke around in them -- or, in most cases, get to the USB debugging settings. There's not a whole lot of danger here. But ever since the dev settings were consolidated into a single menu in Android 4.0, it's seemed odd that they remained in plain sight on more consumer-friendly phones. Does your mom need dev settings? Nah. So, Google's hidden them in Android 4.2.

We're fine with that move -- and we expect it to be documented in the Android dev portal.

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2 years ago

Ask AC: When will my current Nexus get Android 4.2?

37

Android 4.2 is official! So is the LG Nexus 4! But what about all those current Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7s out there? They're going to get an update to Android 4.2, right? Most certainly. And we're willing to bet the Nexus S goes along for the ride as well.

One thing we don't quite know is when, but we can take a pretty good stab at it. The LG Nexus 4 goes on sale Nov. 13. Don't expect an over-the-air update to push before then, and chances are it'll be at least a few days after that, too. We'll also probably see the Android 4.2 code drop into the Android Open Source Project repositories before any OTA update takes place.

In other words, get your finger off that update button, folks. More than likely you've got a couple weeks of waiting ahead of you. (Though if Google wants to push the button early, you won't hear us complaining.)

More: Google Nexus forums

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2 years ago

How to try out a Nexus 4 (and GSM) with no commitment

105

The Nexus 4 has a whole lot of features to be excited about -- that is, unless you're on Verizon or Sprint here in the states. For reasons you can probably figure out on your own, Google has decided to only launch an unlocked GSM model of the Nexus 4, and offer it around the world. This means no LTE -- fear not, it has DC-HSPA+ 42mbps -- but it also keeps the price insanely low. At $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB) without a contract, it's an extremely tempting proposition.

But as we noted earlier, what if you're on a CDMA carrier? Well there are actually some compelling options if you'd like to "test drive" a Nexus 4 -- and GSM -- before you commit to making it your primary device.

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2 years ago

Weekend project: Flashing Ubuntu to your Nexus 7

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Web browsing on the Nexus 7, using Ubuntu and Firefox

I love fiddling with things. Especially electronic things. I admit, I've fooled with ARM builds of Ubuntu on Android devices, or running them in a chroot environment. I read the comments and forums, so I know I'm not the only one. The problem is, that while it's fairly easy to do, if you're not comfortable with terminal commands you just won't be doing it. Canonical, who is using the Nexus 7 as a sort of reference for Ubuntu on ARM touch devices changed that today by releasing a simple one click installer.

Now, anyone who can install Ubuntu on their computer can just as easily install it on their Nexus 7. It's not very practical, and you'll likely flash back to Android after a few hours of playing with it, but it is extremely cool to play with for a few. If you're the type who likes to hack and flash at your Nexus 7, you will want to try this. Read on.

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2 years ago

From the Android Forums: Getting an OTA after rooting

8

HOLLYWOODANT215 asks in the Galaxy S3 forums

A friend rooted my device for me. I only use the root access to see emojis. Will he need to unroot my device for me to receive [the] OTA update to jelly bean?

Another great question from the forums. The answer isn't simply a yes or a no, unfortunately. Rooting, in itself doesn't do anything. It simply allows you to do more things that you could without root. Things like changing or moving files in the system to see emojis. 

Your phone is like a computer, with partitions and folders. When an OTA comes along, the first thing it does is check to see that the partitions holding the boot image and the recovery image are unmodified. It also checks the folders containing the system files to see if everything is in order. Most of the time rooting your phone simply adds a couple files without changing any others, and an OTA will flash over just fine.

The issue comes when you change any of the system files, or delete ones that should be there. In this case, the normal method to see emojis is to change the system font files. If the OTA needs to touch those font files in any way, the process will fail because they aren't the same as unmodified stock ones should be. The good news is that the OTA probably won't care about the font files and all will be well. 

For you pros out there, what I'm saying is that any time you replace or remove a file inside /system, you run the risk of not being able to accept an OTA. Of course a custom recovery or kernel also means you can't accept an OTA as well.

One thing worth mentioning before we end this. You always run the risk of losing root anytime there is a system update. Hit the Play store and install OTA RootKeeper, and run it to protect your superuser access. 

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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