If you're going to do any serious modding on your Android smartphone, your first step is going to be unlocking the bootloader. This is a simple procedure on Nexus devices and a few other handsets, but many of the top OEMs have added security measures to prevent regular users from mucking about with their stock software. For these devices, there's a tool called Sunshine by recognized developers Justin Case (jcase), beaups, and friends.
Last month we posted an article examining some very significant changes to the way SD cards could be accessed and how Google's partner OEMs had begun enforcing these restrictions with Android 4.4. There can be no doubt, a lot of people were displeased to see their expandable storage crippled. While some have vowed to never update to KitKat, and others have turned to custom ROMs that don't enforce the same rules, there are still many people that still want to have the best of both worlds.
Dear Barnes & Noble: bless you, ladies and gentlemen, for making the Nook Color. Without it, the Android modding scene might be less vibrant than it is now. On that note, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight (a Kindle-style e-ink reader, also running Android) has received another price drop. Now you can pick one up for a cool $99 - not bad for a device that launched at the already-low price of $139.
Have you ever refused to install an app because it wants too many permissions? Yeah, a lot of people have, and we don't blame them. A little too much trust can lead to stolen information, mysterious charges on your cellular bill, or worse. Thanks to developer M66B, we've got a simple way to lock down potentially misbehaving software. His new mod, XPrivacy, can block several types of activities and queries, despite the permissions granted at installation.
Cydia by developer Saurik has been around the block a few times, beginning in 2008 as a means of installing and modifying software on jailbroken iDevices. A diverse ecosystem has sprung up around the platform, expanding what iOS fans can do on their usually restricted devices. Saurik's Cydia Substrate, a platform for modifying devices without flashing new ROMs, has now made its way over to Android.
Cydia Substrate does not do anything interesting on its own, but developers can use the platform to distribute extensions that modify software without requiring access to source code.
Multi-user support is one of the most interesting additions in Jelly Bean 4.2, but you can only get it if you're using a tablet. It makes sense - phones are rarely shared between more than one person, while tablets are naturally shareable. Even so, it would be nice if Google gave users the option. But thanks to modder extraordinaire Paul "Modaco" O'Brien, there's a relatively easy way to enable multi-user mode on smartphones.
Over the past couple of weeks, there's been a bit of a kerfuffle surrounding HTC and its shut down of HTCRUU.com. The general consensus across the Android community has been quite understanding in some respects – after all, HTC has every right to protect its intellectual property. The problem was, however, that in the original takedown request, it also demanded that all hosted RUUs and Sense-based ROMs be indefinitely removed, as well.
It's pretty disheartening to get an awesome new phone only to realize the bootloader's locked down tight. That's means no custom recovery, no ROMs, no custom kernels, no... anything fun. Until, of course, some dedicated developers get ahold of the device in question and bend it to their will. That's exactly what Project FreeGee has done for both the Sprint and AT&T variants of the LG Optimus G.
The tool essentially unlocks the bootloader of both devices, allowing a custom recovery - and eventually, custom ROMs - to be flashed.
The calculator. Such a trivial part of smartphone software that most of us probably don't spent too much time thinking about its existence. While it can be used for the most basic functions, advanced options beyond that of the stock calculator are sometimes needed.
With that in mind, developer Xlythe yanked the stock calculator from ICS and JB and went to work. He modded it to perform advanced functions - just take a look at the feature list:
In a post to Google+ today, developer Koushik Dutta unveiled ClockworkMod 6.0 – the latest update for one of the most popular custom recovery options available for Android.
For now, ClockworkMod Recovery 6 is only available for the Galaxy Nexus (VZW, Sprint, and GSM varieties included), ready to download from the usual place.
ClockworkMod 6 brings several enhancements that are sure to please users and ease the recovery experience. Among these are a new backup format that allows for incremental backups by "deduplicating" data between backups, a backup speed boost, a fix for restores over 2GB, and some minor UI tweaks.