The Pixel smartphones' new partition system and boot images have been a hot mess for developers and tinkerers who like to push their devices beyond the specs written on the shipping box. But even though this has slowed down the release of custom recoveries and other mods, it hasn't completely stopped our beloved enterprising developers who probably thought of the whole situation as a nice challenge instead of an unsurmountable obstacle.
Just yesterday, Ethan Yonker (Dees Troy) released an early alpha of custom recovery TWRP for the Pixel devices, but that created a problem for those who were using the boot-to-root images made by Chainfire for the Pixels. Read More
It's just under a month after the brand new Pixel devices came out, so naturally developers and custom ROM makers have been hard at work building their wares for the new phones. Included in this is TWRP, the most popular custom recovery for Android (RIP ClockworkMod).
TWRP for the Pixel and Pixel XL is still in alpha format, meaning it is still buggy and should not be used if you're not aware of what you're doing. Specifically, restoring data is not working correctly, because of the new file-based encryption (which enables Direct Boot) that the Pixels employ. TWRP's lead developer Ethan Yonker says in a Google+ post that, "If a restore doesn't work correctly, it can trigger an automatic wipe of your data," which doesn't sound like fun at all. Read More
If you're involved in the world of custom ROMs, there's little chance you haven't heard of the Open GApps Project. As of late, Open GApps has been the go-to site for downloading Google Apps packages. It's not hard to understand why; the site is pretty and easy to use, and the packages, which come in nine sizes and variations, are always up to date. Now, the guys behind Open GApps have taken the stuff that makes their site so great and infused it into a new Android app. 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
Android platform distributions for the first week of November are up, and Nougat has appeared... with 0.3% of the pie. But it's there! The only other really noteworthy change came from Marshmallow, which surged 5.3 points to 24% of total devices. As such, it seems likely that Marshmallow will unseat KitKat as the most common version of the Android platform next month, at least if we're counting by API level. If you're counting by whole-digit version, Lollipop is in the lead, and has been for some time.
But KitKat has held this position of dominance for, well, a really long time (probably around two years). Read More
Google has brought Playtime, its developer education event, back to San Francisco with some news for those that help to make Android awesome. If you missed the event or the video highlights, there is a handy blog post with a summary of the information announced. The most interesting points from it are that Google is now giving developers the ability to run subscription promotional prices and to see which users have requested refunds. Fun stuff, right? Read More
Long ago in days of yore, Google provided a plugin for the popular Eclipse integrated development environment, the better for aspiring mobile devs to work with their favorite IDE while making new apps. Months after the release of the stand-alone Android Studio version 2.2, Google is officially getting rid of support for the older IDE in favor of its own internal project. To be clear, Eclipse is still very much alive and in active development (it's not a Google program), it's just the plugin that's no longer supported. 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
For years, Google's Nexus line could be counted on for one thing, an unlockable bootloader. While carriers have occasionally had limited freedom to defile customize certain models sold through their service, owners were at least free to either modify the stock software or completely replace it with custom builds.
It goes without saying people were more than a little disheartened to learn Google's second attempt to team up with US carrier Verizon lead to yet another disappointing result: the Google Pixels sold through VZW have non-unlockable bootloaders. In fact, there are at least two carriers selling non-unlockable Pixels. The other is EE Limited (formerly Everything Everywhere) in the UK. Read More
The unlocked Moto Z Play (code name Addison) recently hit virtual shelves after the Verizon version appeared a few weeks back, and now there's some kernel source to go with it. Motorola tends to be pretty quick with these releases, but it's been a little slower this year. Oh well, developer types can grab the open source files on Motorola's GitHub page right now. Read More