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xda

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Check out XDA's incredibly detailed analysis of the Pixel 2 XL's display

Sometimes you don't want to read up on how someone "feels" about a product. Everything's subjective, of course, and it's good to combine multiple viewpoints, but once in a while, it's nice to just sit down and examine the raw data, that way you can come to your own conclusions. And Dylan Raga over at XDA-Developers just assembled an intense and in-depth analysis of the Pixel 2 XL's display that's worth a read. At least, if you'd like to scratch that purely quantitative itch. 

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Signal strength may be hidden by carriers in a future version of Android

Someday in the not-too-distant future, your Android phone might try to hide the quality of your current cellular connection from you. The eagle-eyed folks over at XDA Developers noticed a recent commit to the Android Open Source Project that indicates an option has been added for carriers to disable user-facing signal strength from appearing in the SIM Status screen in Settings. However, the motivation for this change is a mystery.

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XDA's One-Handed Mode app makes it easier to use your giant smartphone

While large displays can be beautiful, using them in everyday scenarios can be anything but. This is particularly the case if you're holding yourself steady on a bus or train with one hand while browsing your smartphone with the other on a daily basis. To address this potential hazard, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Motorola, and other manufacturers offer a one-handed mode on some of their phones, and now a new XDA app called (wait for it) "One-Handed Mode" is bringing the helpful feature to any smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher.

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Google Camera with HDR+ unofficially ported to Snapdragon 820, 821, and 835 devices

The Google Pixel's camera is one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, partially thanks to Google's proprietary HDR+ image processing. Put simply, HDR+ takes multiple underexposed photos and combines them, reducing image noise in the process (you can read more about it here). But even when the Google Camera was sideloaded onto other devices, HDR+ remained disabled.

A Ukrainian developer on 4PDA named 'B-S-G,' presumably a Battlestar Galactica fan, has created a modified version of the Google Camera 4.4 APK bundled with Android O DP3 (not the version just released on the Play Store).

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There's a hack that might save your bootlooping Nexus 6P or 5X

The last generation of Nexuses (Nexus? Nexsi?) were unfortunately plagued with hardware problems. The Nexus 6P suffered from early shutdowns due to a faulty battery sensors, and the 5X had the famous bootloop bug (which my own 5X eventually fell victim to). The 6P suffered from bootloops as well, to an extent, but now there's a possible fix for the problem on both phones.

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Galaxy S8 and S8+ get Pixel navigation buttons with custom overlay

A user over at XDA put together a little modification that gives the Galaxy S8 and S8+ a taste of the Pixel's navigation icons. It's just an overlay, and it does have a couple of small bugs of its own. But, it is a basic and straightforward little feature that can improve your aesthetic quality of life. At least, if you find Samsung's stock look is a bit too busy for your tastes.

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Huawei is launching an Honor 8 EMUI 5.0 beta test in cooperation with XDA

Huawei has made some great hardware, but the software is another story. The EMUI Android skin has been consistently sluggish, confusing, and redundant. Huawei has been promising a big redesign in EMUI 5.0, and now users of the Honor 8 have a shot at trying it out. You have to apply for inclusion in the beta test, and you can do so (oddly) at XDA.

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Chainfire releases a systemless root method for the Pixel and Pixel XL

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.

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Google Assistant can be enabled on non-Pixel devices running Android Nougat

Perhaps the most interesting feature exclusive to Google Pixel, at least officially, is Google Assistant. We have a review of Assistant's current functionality, but in a nutshell, it's essentially a conversation-based version of the former Google Now. XDA user brianelv has posted a short guide on enabling Assistant, and it should work on any Android 7.0 (or higher) device with the Google app 6.5.35.21 or newer.

If you have those prerequisites, the actual guide is fairly short. All you need to do is change your build.prop file, reboot, and clear Google app cache. Either root (to manually edit the build.prop) or a custom recovery (if you want to flash the zip) is required. In our own testing on a Nexus 6P, switching to the Google Now Launcher might be required to trigger the Assistant setup.

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A leaked Android 7.0 beta ROM for the Huawei P9 is in the wild

Who says that Nexus owners get to have all the fun? Yesterday an innocuous XDA thread claimed to have a beta version of an Android 7.0 build, ready and waiting for Huawei's dual-camera phone, the P9. Usually that sort of post when we're still weeks or months away from a full AOSP release of a new Android version is, to put it bluntly, bunk. But in this case, users who have flashed the ROM say that it's functional and apparently legitimate - Huawei's proprietary EMUI skin, marked as version 5, is running on top of Nougat. It's working on the EVA-L09 model; others may not be compatible.

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