By now you've probably heard about ART and how it will improve the speed and performance of Android, but how does it actually perform today? The new Android Runtime promises to cut out a substantial amount of overhead by losing the baggage imposed by Dalvik, which sounds great, but it's still far from mature and hasn't been seriously optimized yet. I took to running a battery of benchmarks against it to find out if the new runtime could really deliver on these high expectations.
Did you know it's possible to unlock your Nexus 5 bootloader without wiping user data? If your device has already been rooted and relocked for optimal security, then unlocking is just a button tap away thanks to the latest update to BootUnlocker. Support for Google's latest flagship phone was just added with an update to version 1.4 of the app from XDA member segv11. Sadly, both generations of the Nexus 7 from ASUS remain unsupported.
It's fair to say that Android went through some chaotic years in the beginning. The pace of development was frantic as the operating system grew at an unprecedented rate. An as-yet undetermined future led to decisions that were made to conform to existing hardware and architectures, the available development tools, and the basic need to ship working code on tight deadlines. Now that the OS has matured, the Android team has been giving more attention to some of the components that haven't aged quite as well.
As the latest update to Android looms ever closer, we've got our eyes peeled for anything that may hint at what's to come. While most of that information comes to us through leaks or hidden surprises, sometimes it will try to hide in plain sight. Over the last few weeks, an increasing number of code commits have been made to the android-3.10 branch of the kernel/common project. As you might be able to guess from the names, kernel/common is the codebase from which every device kernel is eventually derived.
Flash may have died a slow and agonizing death on Android, but it did not depart without leaving its heir apparent. Adobe's lighter-weight successor was built to better handle touchscreen interfaces, lower power processors, and to support applications living independently from a web browser. While the platform hasn't been a high-flying success on Android or iOS, it does play host to a few popular games like Machinarium. Exactly three years and one day after first appearing on the Android Market, Air has been updated to v3.9 and now includes support for multi-threading, background tasks, and xxhdpi icons.
Today, Autodesk announced Maya LT, a streamlined 3D modeling tool targeted at independent and mobile game developers. The maker of AutoCAD and 3ds Max is looking to make a splash with developers by introducing a lower-cost version of its Maya software, but still keeping it equipped with powerful animation tools, including a skeleton generator with the capability to calculate inverse kinematics (using Autodesk HumanIK), and a viewport preview system to visualize models as they would appear in game with full lighting and texture effects.
In the greater history of computer gaming, Linux is a relative newcomer, still missing out on quite a few AAA titles and only recently gaining access to Steam. While the library of games is growing for the open-sourced OS, the actual development process is still locked in to Windows. Most of the tools used for designing 3D models (e.g. Blender), landscapes, and other graphics have made the transition to Linux, but the primary coding tools are mysteriously absent.
Hot on the heels of Bluebox's disclosure of the "Master Key" exploit, a Chinese blog has posted details of a similar vulnerability. This attack also sidesteps a bug in the signature verification step and allows seemingly innocent APKs to include a potentially dangerous payload; and like its brethren, Google has already patched the flaw and posted it to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The information comes to us from a China-based group (or possibly individual) calling itself the Android Security Squad.
Scary tales about Android malware have been told since before people started guessing what dessert name would start with the letter 'D' (it's "Donut," in case anybody has forgotten.) Most of those claims came and went, amounting to little more than ghost stories. Unfortunately, there are a few real ghouls and goblins for which we should be afraid. Back in February, one such monster was discovered lurking about that allowed modified APKs to be installed on your device while successfully side-stepping the cryptographic signature used to prevent that very thing.
The first rule of Fight Club, is you don't... Wait, that was Project Mayhem? Oh, and this one is Project Anarchy. So many great movie jokes ruined because somebody gave this thing the wrong name. Alright, let's just be serious for a minute.
If you're a gamer, you've probably heard of a little company called Havok. You may have even heard of a few games using its Physics engine like Battlefield 3, BioShock (1 & 2), Assassin's Creed (all of 'em), Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and a few hundred more.