Google Assistant was introduced at Google I/O last year, as a more personal voice assistant than Google Now. Since then, it has been made available on several platforms - Pixel phones, the Google Home, Android TV, and Allo. But Assistant is still unavailable on non-Pixel phones without a special build.prop tweak. Now the Open GApps team has made enabling Assistant a little easier. Read More
The best way to show you're worried about a competitor is to copy their product and attempt to do it better than the original. Facebook is obviously worried about Snapchat, because it's created not one, not two, but three Snapchat clones over the past few years. Now it's got another one, Flash, aimed at emerging markets. Read More
Another day, another deal and today's comes from Amazon's Gold Box sale. Certain PNY flash storage items are on sale for up to 50% off. These include flash drives, SD cards, microSD cards, and OTG accessories. Most of the storage media are pretty high capacity, too. Read More
During the I/O 2016 Keynote presentation, and again at the October 4th Pixel announcement, Google made brief references to newly added support for seamless updates in Nougat. To make this work, many changes had to be made to the structure of Android and its assorted system partitions. As a result, there have also been some changes to the fastboot utility many of us use when new factory images become available. This post covers a few of the technical details and also demonstrates some of the ways to use the new features.
How it works
Seamless updates are accomplished by creating a second set of logical partitions in device storage. Read More
The Google Pixel phones' development has had a big week; just a few days ago, the Verizon and EE variants had their bootloaders unlocked. Now, Chainfire, the famed developer of SuperSU and FlashFire, has debuted a systemless root method for the Pixels.
Due to the Pixels' odd partition structure (two system, two boot, two vendor, zero recovery, and zero cache partitions), Chainfire's root method required a bit of re-engineering. It's pretty impressive how quickly he was able to do this, but we'd expect no less from him. Read More
I never thought I needed more LED flashes in my life. My phone, whichever model it happened to be, came with at least one and that was supposed to be enough for those instances when I was in dark surroundings. But then I spotted the original iBlazr on Kickstarter and immediately fell in love with the idea. An LED light that you could attach to your phone, use on demand, and even with front-facing cameras? Sign me up!
But upon delivery, I discovered a few flaws with the concept. You could only insert it into the 3.5mm plug on your phone, which made no sense for devices with the plug on the bottom since it put the flash far away from the camera. Read More
Got an LG G4? You lucky dog, you. The impressive technical specs and highly adjustable camera, plus features like a removable battery and a MicroSD card slot, have made it a popular flagship choice for power users. Some of those power users will naturally want to tinker with their phones... and now they can. Over on XDA-Developers, forum poster "thecubed" (who's well-known for previous LG exploits) and his team are showing off a solution that they claim can gain root permissions on all versions of the LG G4, regardless of carrier or international status.
At the time of writing the root method is available for the international H815 10c model, plus the AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile versions. Read More
Almost two years ago, I backed the iblazr project on Kickstarter. It promised an external flash for my phone that connected via the 3.5mm plug and brightened photos more than the built-in LED ever could. The project was successful, the company delivered quite on time, and the final product was good. However, as with any first-gen item, there were flaws and issues with the iblazr. Most importantly, the Android app was never up to par and the 3.5mm connection meant that on phones where the plug was on the bottom, you had your light angled wrong compared to your camera (which is usually on the top). Read More
One of the tools any good flashaholic should be familiar with is fastboot. Like ADB, the help screen for fastboot received some changes with the preview release of Android M. The reboot command now offers a friendlier syntax to reach the bootloader, and there is a new set of "flashing" commands designed to prevent write operations from occurring when they aren't desired. There's also a fix for the "missing system.img" error that some people experienced after trying to use the flash-all script to install factory images.
Perhaps the most welcome change is the smallest. Fastboot's reboot command now accepts an optional bootloader parameter that can restart the device and immediately launch back into the bootloader screen. Read More
Veteran Android users, particularly those who stick to Nexus devices, are well aware of the fact that you can usually flash OTA updates manually once someone pulls a link to the actual update file. This normally provides a much better option than waiting for your device to get the update sent to it, which could take weeks. Android Wear has this functionality as well, but each watch is a little different in terms of proper procedures for doing so. We're going to run a series of posts on how to manually flash updates to each Android Wear device that supports it (sorry, Moto 360 users) in the hopes of providing some clarity on the issue. Read More