The impending release of the Google Now Launcher (GNL) presents a bit of a dilemma. The cool Google Now integration isn't possible with third-party launchers, but GNL doesn't have many customization options. If you're rooted, there is at least one way to get around that – the new Xposed GEL Settings, which as you can tell from the name, requires the Xposed Framework.
Root users get all the fun. Case in point: there's a debug menu built into the Play Store APK, and only those with access to root can sneak a look at it. This isn't exactly a secret - the debug menu has been there for quite a while - but one of our readers brought an easy method for displaying it to our attention. You'll need root, the flexible Xposed Installer, and the "All Apps In Play Store" Xposed module.
Much of Android's development is done out in the open, which is how several Android developers noticed that a recent commit to the Android Open Source Project master tree would break many of your favorite root apps. This is the result of a newly implemented security feature, rather than an active effort to lock things down on Google's part. Nevertheless, it could result in some inconvenience, so developer Chainfire has taken to his Google+ page to detail what will happen if the change is not reverted before the release of a future version of Android.
Not every Android device gets rooted, but it's always nice when one does. So it is with MOJO, Mad Catz' Android-powered alternative to the OUYA game console and similar fare. Noted developer and modder Paul "MoDaCo" O'Brien released the MoDaCo Mod for MOJO on Sunday, giving adventurous owners access to root-enabled apps. His method requires a Windows, OSX, or Linux computer, and a standard male-to-male USB cable.
As far as root methods go, this one is pretty simple: MoDaCo Mod loads up a custom boot image on the device that automatically installs the SuperUser app when you next turn on the device, instantly giving users access to the superuser permission request dialog.
For a root user, there's nothing more frustrating than being denied access to an app simply because they've rooted their own phone or tablet. Of course, since it's rooted, there's probably a root app for that. RootCloak has been a reliable way to get around these content and functionality blocks, and now developer DevAdvance has posted a new version that should work with even more applications.
RootCloak Plus uses Cydia Substrate instead of the Xposed Framework that the original tool was based on.
OTA updates are usually a good thing, but first impressions can be misleading. The just leaked Android 4.4 KitKat build for the Galaxy S4 seems good, but some behind-the-scenes changes broke SuperSU, making root access difficult. Ever the go-getter, Chainfire already has it sorted out.
The new flashable ZIP file is available from Chainfire's site – version number 1.89. CF-Auto-Root has also been updated to include the new SuperSU. This has been successfully tested with the leaked ROM on the GT-i9505, but should also be fine on other devices you need to get root on.
Android 4.4 finally added native screen recording, but it's only accessible via an ADB command on unrooted devices. There are a few apps that extend that functionality with root access, but Rec. might be the best of the bunch right now. This app includes bitrate adjustment, record times up to 1 hour, ending recordings manually, and more.
If you like to mod your Nexus devices but you're also a fan of tight security, you probably already know BootUnlocker. It's a simple app that allows rooted devices to lock and unlock the bootloader without wiping user data. The developer, segv11, is back with v1.5.1 of this handy little utility. The latest update adds support for the WiFi (flo) and LTE (deb) variants of the 2013 Nexus 7 and the ability to set the tamper flag on the Nexus 4 (mako) and Nexus 5 (hammerhead).
If you live right on the bleeding edge of the Android modding world, but you just can't press the button on using beta software, you're in luck! Xposed 2.4 is now out of beta just one week after KitKat support was first announced. As with the previous release, this one comes with the new log viewer and some pretty serious performance improvements. Now that it has lost the beta tag, it should also be fairly stable, or at least as stable as you can expect for a super-charged modding framework.
One of the strangest changes with regard to Android 4.4 was the apparent removal of the hidden App Ops menu. You remember this one – it was the interface that allowed you to restrict permissions on a per-app basis. Well, apparently it's still in there – Google just made it harder to find. Color Tiger, developer of Smart IR Remote has just released its new App Ops 4.3/4.4 app that pulls up the standard App Ops and can add new features with root access.