The XDA forums are the capitol of all Android root/ROM development efforts these days, and from its multitudes of developers and endless pages of posts come most of the homebrew software that provides us with root access, liberates draconian device restrictions, and keeps older phones ticking. Android enthusiasts aren't the only ones making use of the software there, though. Turkish OEM General Mobile recently rolled out its own Android Q beta program for two of its phones even though it isn't among the manufacturers Google lists as participating in these early Q tests. It turns out, that's because General Mobile's Android Q beta is merely a lightly-tweaked ripoff of an unofficial GSI from XDA's forums. Read More
Google appears to be working on support for digital ID cards including digital driver's licenses in a future version of Android. The new IdentityCredential API, spotted by the folks at XDA, may allow for a future Android-powered phone to store credentials, and even offer up those credentials when the device doesn't have enough power to boot. Read More
XDA has managed to get its hands on an early build of Android Q, confirming that Google's next version of our favorite operating system will include a dark mode, as expected. But plenty of more secrets were hiding inside the image XDA found, including a much-needed app permissions revamp, what may end up being a Samsung DeX-like desktop UI, and piles of smaller features. Read More
Last year, Google released v2.0 of its "Nearby Connections" API, which allows for your gadgets to communicate with other devices in close proximity via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It was a part of the overall "Nearby" package, which also includes a few other systems for more specific applications, including messaging and notifications. According to a pair of commits recently spotted by the folks at XDA Developers, these Nearby APIs may be coming to Chromebooks. Read More
Google has always controlled which devices ship with its proprietary GApps—a package that includes such necessities as the Play Store and Google Play Services. Until now, they've even been pretty lenient about allowing custom ROM users to flash the necessary payload on top of their modified OS. Unfortunately, some OEMs used that loophole to their advantage, ignoring Google's CTS certification process while shipping devices with GApps or shamelessly encouraging users to sideload them.
According to XDA Developers, that loophole has now been closed. Google Play Services will soon check the build date for a given system image, and if that date is after March 16th, it will be blocked from completing the sign-in process—though custom ROM users can manually register their devices for an exemption. Read More
Over the past several months, I've become increasingly familiar with how to block phone numbers in Google's Phone app: reject a suspicious call, go into my call history, long-press the dubious number, then tap "Block/report spam." This process is simple enough, but it's still just a reactionary, case-by-case measure. Android P may improve this call-blocking experience by giving users a smarter, preemptive way to block types of phone numbers — that is, so long as your carrier doesn't get in the way Read More
One of Android's biggest criticisms over the years has been how fragmented its version distribution is at any given time. At Google I/O in May last year, Google unveiled a plan to modularize the OS and make it easier to update. Project Treble, in short, separates out the base-level Android framework from the vendor implementation so OEMs are able to release OS updates without having to wait for chipmakers to update drivers.
Faster updates should increase the distribution numbers for the latest version of Android, but Treble could also be useful for custom ROM developers, allowing generic AOSP builds ("Treble ROMs") to be installed on more phones. Read More
Many of us love the simplicity of the Google Camera app that comes pre-installed on Pixel phones, but it's the HDR+ capabilities that really set it apart. Thankfully the Android community is full of willing modders, and an unofficial port has been available for some time now. It hasn't played nice with phones that have dual rear lenses, as no Google device has such a setup. A new update looks to have added support for some LG devices with two cameras. Read More