If you've been modding your Android devices for any amount of time, you're probably familiar with Chainfire, developer of the extremely popular SuperSU root permissions manager and various other mods and apps. His latest work attempts to solve an annoyance that has bothered Android power users for years, but has become particularly annoying since the introduction of Android 5.0. Chainfire's new experimental method for rooting Android phones, tablets, and other gadgets does so without modifying any of the files on the /system portion of the device's storage, instead using a modified boot image. Read More
Google updated its design spec recently. The material spec, which Google says is a living document (as evidenced by its ongoing updates), gained further guidance on floating action buttons, dialogs, updates on typography, and a lot more.
One less-advertised update was a change to the section in "Structure" concerning the navigation bar in Android. The "color variants" text is still identical to that from the "status bar" subsection, but an image showing nav bars themed to match your device's hardware was removed. Here's the image in question:
Theming according to device color is - as far as this writer knows - not possible on Android at the moment, and neither is theming the nav bar to its "light style" variant also shown in the guidelines, where the nav bar is white and the buttons become gray. Read More
Google Play Services version 6.5 began rolling out to users a few days ago, and as we work on an APK teardown to see what's under the hood, it looks like there's at least one more user-facing change in the update. Specifically, Android's system update screen is prettier.
The screen which, until now, consisted of the same drab title, horizontal break, "last checked" text, and "check now" button, has been granted a better design treatment. There's a new header image, new colors, and refined typography, along with a flat text button, per Google's design spec.
before and after
The functionality of the system updates screen may still resemble the button on a crosswalk signal, but it at least looks better. Read More
Just a quick heads up for those worrying that the changes that will at some point probably cripple write access to /system even for root-enabled apps did not make it into Android 4.4.3.
This means you can remount /system as read-write, just as before, change build.prop, push APKs to /system/app, and do whatever you want without rebooting into recovery.
For now, you're safe. But probably not for long. And when the hammer drops, we'll have yet another reason to opt in for a custom ROM or kernel, because nobody can take our freedom, not even the mighty El Goog. Read More
Over the years, Google has been shoring up security on Android in a bid to make the operating system more attractive to governments and businesses, and to reduce the threat of malware for regular users. Unfortunately, these changes often come at the expense of flexibility in our beloved platform. As we close in on the next major release of Android, due to be announced next month, SuperSU developer Chainfire has discovered a set of commits to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) that may seriously impact some of the functionality currently enjoyed by many root users. In a post on Google+, he describes how a set of recent changes to the SELinux implementation will completely cut off write access to system to anything but recovery. Read More
Just a few days ago, Google Glass got a hefty update to XE12 with new Glassware, a new (official) wink gesture for taking photos, a lock screen, and other tweaks.
As expected, the Glass team has made the update's system image available for download from the Glass developers website.
The download table has also been given a fresh coat of paint with a new column dedicated to checksums. The update, which weighs in at 344MB can be downloaded by hitting the link below. It's worth noting that XE12 is the last update until February, so there's plenty of time to tinker. Read More
For the past few hours, I've been observing a curious case of Jeff Williams on Google+. Jeff posted a screenshot of what he claimed was a Nexus 4 he bought from a Googler... with a build of Android 4.3 on it. The same build, JWR66N, that we saw leaked earlier on a Galaxy S4 GPE by SamMobile.
In disbelief, some have called him a hoaxer, but a number of resourceful folks decided to get Jeff on IRC (channel #Android43 on freenode) and worked with him for hours, trying over and over to get the magical system dump that would prove Jeff's story to be real. Read More
If you're like us, you have an obsession with new apps. When you try every new app you come across though, you're bound for disappointment. After all, not every app can be a paragon of functionality, style, and convenience. With that in mind, we go through the long list of new apps submitted to the Play Store every couple of weeks and bring you the best. Even that, though, can be a little too much to digest for some users. For that reason, we've got monthly roundups featuring just a handful of the very very best apps and games from the previous month. Read More
Looking to create a more versatile and powerful build system for Android developers, Google has been working on what is currently called "New Build System," a tool that aims to (one day) replace, unify, and build upon the functionality of Eclipse's ADT and Ant build systems.
While the new build system is still in very early stages (just reaching build 0.1 today) and not yet ready to build ship-able apps, it's already proving useful. Our own Artem cites the ability to build both dev and production versions of apps simultaneously and the ability to use the same build process between ADT and Linux as signs that the project is already showing great potential. Read More