This is a guest post by Ricardo "arcee" Cerqueira who takes things apart for sport, on a quest to understand how they work. He currently works on Android devices at Cyanogen.
As people started receiving their Nexus 6Ps, some began freaking out over a new message that comes up on the screen when booting into fastboot mode: “QFUSE: ENABLED,” with wild speculative theories coming up regarding what it does and doesn’t do, what kind of limitations it’s imposing, and wondering if and how it can be “disabled.” So... what’s this qFuse thing, anyway?
Think of an eFuse as the mind’s eye representation of a bit that only flips one way, or something that can only be done once on a piece of writeable flash. Read More
The tireless developers at Team Win released their custom Android recovery for the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X last week, but at the time it didn't support decryption. This makes working with the stock software (which Google encrypts by default, gleefully thumbing their noses at the NSA and FBI in a show of customer protection) somewhat tricky. But ROM flashers and phone modders can now use the latest version of TWRP on the Nexus 6P with the encrypted stock software, or any other ROM that uses the feature. The latest version is 220.127.116.11. Read More
It's nice to stop every once in a while and realize just how much Google search has improved over the years. For quite a while, Google didn't really prioritize time-sensitive content versus regular content when it crawled the web. This meant breaking news stories were cached about as frequently as Wikipedia entries on the history of the Roman Empire. That didn't really change until the events of September 11, when Google realized people who were searching for news on the attacks were instead being greeted with tourist information for the World Trade Center.
All these small improvements are hard to notice individually, but they really add up over time. Read More
A late-night update to the Play Store slipped out just before midnight. A close examination doesn't turn up any big visual changes or new features, but this version is begging for a teardown. I'm not going to beat around the bush, if you've read the title, you know why you're here. Yes, it's true, family sharing and gifting are on the way. No doubt about it. There's even a neat way to add credit cards if they have NFC. There's no point in teasing it out, just get to reading. If you want to jump straight to downloading the latest version, there's a link at the bottom of the post. Read More
We've pointed out before that Android has a lot of somewhat questionable birthdays, but November 5th is arguably the birth of the platform. On this day in 2007 the Open Handset Alliance was formally announced, uniting Google, HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, Motorola, and dozens of software companies, chip manufactures, and mobile carriers, in the cause of promoting Android. It was presented as an open-source alternative to then-dominant mobile operating systems like Microsoft's Windows Mobile, RIM's BlackBerry, Nokia's Symbian, and - at least at the time - the looming specter of the iPhone.
The mobile market changes fast, and in "just" eight years it's been radically altered. Read More
YouTube started offering 360-degree videos earlier this year, but now the app has been updated with full support for Cardboard-compatible VR viewers. Didn't that already happen? Yes, it did. Apparently it's better now? In addition, you can watch any video in Cardboard, even if it wasn't filmed for full VR.
There's a new version of Drive rolling out today, and it focuses on improving the experience around file sharing in several ways. Notifications for shared files and folders are getting better in a few ways, getting access to files is easier, and you can preview files in Drive even if you haven't logged in. It's not all live right away, but you can install the updated app right now. Read More
Google offers this year's Nexus phones in a variety of colors, but if you want sparkly pink, you're out of luck. The company figures there isn't enough of a market for that sort of style. Most other manufacturers would agree. Read More
Google promised monthly security updates for Nexus devices, and so far, the company has delivered. It's November 2nd, and we're now receiving this month's dose of security patches. Over-the-air updates are heading out to devices, but if you rather get the goods now, factory images are already up. Read More
You can get by without a cable subscription these days and still watch plenty of video with the magic of the internet. Well, unless you have an oppressive data cap to deal with. Yuck. For everyone else, there's the streaming cable service Sling TV. It launched a while back with support for a few devices, which has been expanding steadily. Now, you can watch Sling TV via the Chromecast. Read More