Articles about Modding

Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus, meet Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

Galaxy Nexus

Little less than a week ago, after replying to tweets from disgruntled users, Verizon revealed that the Galaxy Nexus will "soon" receive a software update. The big red did not provide any specifics and, judging by its past track record, "soon" means "months down the road" as updates usually roll out with the speed of a snail cruising down the highway in rush-hour traffic.

But great news! Well, sort of. Less than a month after Google rolled out Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean for the other Nexus devices, the Verizon-branded Galaxy Nexus has also received the latest iteration of the green droid operating system albeit via an OTA (Over-The-Air) update file. The OTA update was uncovered by enthusiasts, but comes straight from Google's servers which means that it might hit all devices "soon" (as Verizon likes to say).

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CyanogenMod 10.1 M2 -- second monthly release -- is available

CyanogenMod logo

We've had to wait a tad longer than expected, but it's finally here. The team behind the popular custom Android distribution CyanogenMod unveiled the second monthly release based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, more than a month after the last build.

Like it usually happens with monthly builds, with CyanogenMod 10.1 M2 the focus is on stability improvements rather than introducing numerous new features that have yet to pass rigorous testing. As a result some of the latest features found in nightly builds may be left behind for future monthly releases in order to provide a custom Android distribution suited for daily-driver use.

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Team Win Recovery Project releases TWRP

Android customization workman

Little less than a week after the last build, Team Win Recovery Project has released a new version of the popular custom Android recovery TWRP. The newest iteration features a number of bug fixes and general improvements.

TWRP touts fixing the persistence of the 24 hour time setting, which was introduced alongside TWRP, the loading of the screen timeout setting during start-up, the file selector crash (which is attributed to the multi-threaded design of TWRP), as well as two bugs related to restores. For users who have encountered issues with restoring backups, the functionality should work as intended with the latest version.

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Official Superuser app available for rooted Android devices


Koushik Dutta, the developer behind Android apps like Carbon, ROM Manager and the popular ClockworkMod custom recovery, has released a new open-source root access management app called Superuser.

Explaining the reason for making it open-source, Dutta says that in his opinion a root access management app should be open to "independent security analysis" and that "obscurity (closed source) is not security". He also places a great deal of value on making the app "AOSP buildable" so that developers can include it in custom Android distributions.

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Sony experiments with Firefox OS on the Xperia E

Firefox OS

Japanese device manufacturer Sony and global telecommunications company Telefonica have announced their support for Firefox OS, Mozilla's endeavor in the mobile market. To show its commitment for the operating system, Sony has also released an experimental build of Firefox OS for the Xperia E smartphone, that provides a glimpse into the future.

"At Sony Mobile, we continue to evaluate innovative technologies that can help deliver the premium user experiences that Sony’s consumers expect," Bob Ishida, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Head of Products Business Group at Sony Mobile Communications says. "Our engineers are now working with Firefox OS Mobile and HTML5, evolving technologies which show great potential". Normally, the Xperia E is a low-end Android smartphone similar in specifications to Keon, the base development phone for Firefox OS made available by Geeksphone, but now it's been given a shot at worldwide recognition among enthusiasts.

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Team Win Recovery Project releases TWRP

Android customization workman

Team Win Recovery Project, the group of developers behind the popular custom Android distribution TWRP, is at it again with a new version. The latest iteration sports a significant number of changes, bug fixes and improvements over the previous release.

TWRP adds a screen timeout feature which will automatically turn off the display after 60 seconds of inactivity, in order to save precious battery life and prevent screen burn-in, the latter feature designed "especially" for AMOLED panels. The popular custom recovery also introduces a brightness setting, a feature available for specific setups and with support only for "some devices".

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AOKP Jelly Bean MR1 Build 4 is available

AOKP logo

Call me crazy, but I love Mondays. Why? Because there is a new AOKP build coming just in time to kick off my week. The team behind the popular custom distribution Android Open Kang Project did not disappoint this time around either. Jelly Bean MR1 Build 4 made its way onto our modding hands with support for new devices and a much-awaited Android 4.2.2 base.

Jelly Bean MR1 Build 4 is the first release based on Android 4.2.2, the latter of which incorporates a number of new features including improved security as well as bug fixes for Bluetooth and other areas. The latest AOKP build touts minor changes, however, compared to its predecessor. The team behind the project says that the focus was on bugfixes, a "flawless AOSP merge" and the expansion of the lunch table (the lunch table is comprised of build configurations that can be compiled into per-device ROMs).

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You can run legacy apps on jailbroken Windows RT and will be able to use a third-party app store (soon)

Windows RT

Starting out as a rookie among veterans, in a matter of months Windows RT has transformed into an exciting and intriguing alternative to established tablet operating systems. The trigger for the frankly unexpected makeover is the jailbreak which allows enthusiasts to run unsigned apps on their Windows RT-based devices -- there's even an automated tool which makes modding a breeze. If you think that is not good enough and you still need or want your old apps, a developer has released a tool that allows legacy programs to run on Windows RT.

The tool, however, does not support every Windows-compatible legacy app known to mankind. It comes with some limitations as resource-hogging, complex, .NET-based, modern, 16-bit and 64-bit apps, among others, cannot run. The reasoning, judging by the developer's input on the matter, is to deliver a solid user experience across the board without major compromises when running legacy programs.

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Updated evasi0n jailbreak tool available for iOS 6.1.2


Yesterday Apple rolled out iOS 6.1.2 for compatible iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices, touting the fix of an Exchange calendar bug that might boost network activity and decrease battery life. And, as customary with a new iteration of iOS 6, there's also a new version of the popular evasi0n jailbreak tool. Evad3rs, the team responsible for the first iOS 6 jailbreak tool, released evasi0n 1.4 shortly after iOS 6.1.2 rolled out.

The latest version, according to the "evasi0n 6.0-6.1 Unthether" package in Cydia, touts the same bug fixes as two weeks ago when I reported on the first evasi0n update. It appears that the fruit company did not put the lid on modding attempts just yet. First-time jailbreakers running iOS 6.1.2 simply have to connect their iPads, iPhones or iPod touch devices to a compatible PC running Windows, MacOS X or Linux and run evasi0n to unleash the modding gates on their smartphone or tablet.

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CyanogenMod 10.1 now features HDR mode

photos pictures

The team behind CyanogenMod 10.1 announced a new camera feature for "(almost) everyone" running the popular custom Android distribution on their smartphone or tablet -- support for HDR mode.

The CyanogenMod 10.1 implementation for HDR mode "captures multiple pictures, and then renders them together to form one HDR image", similar to the functionality currently available on the LG-made Google Nexus 4. The software snaps three photos, at minimal, neutral and maximum exposure, and displays a single image at the end of the process, through "some fancy algorithms".

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HTC DROID DNA, One S and XL receive S-Off treatment


Great news for Android enthusiasts rocking an HTC One S, One XL or DROID DNA! A team of developers has revealed an S-Off hack that fully unleashes the modding potential of the three smartphones by allowing users to flash a custom recovery or distribution straight from hboot.

In order to achieve S-Off nirvana, One S, One XL and DROID DNA users must enable root and have superCID, the latter of which allows for the installation of custom distributions independent of the country identifier (CID). Afterwards, the process is fairly simple to carry out with users only needing to download a patcher file and input a number of commands inside a terminal.

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Sony Xperia Z receives root and joins the modding ranks

Xperia Z

With Sony's efforts to support the Android modding and developer community, it really should come as no surprise that the recently-unveiled Xperia Z smartphone is now bestowed with root. The noteworthy achievement is facilitated by the CF-Auto-Root solution available for the LG-made Google Nexus 4, a device which shares most of the underpinnings of the Xperia Z.

The two devices share the same 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset and because of it the developer has only slightly modified the Nexus 4 ramdisk from CF-Auto-Root to unleash elevated privileges on the Xperia Z. The app chosen to manage rooting requests is the traditional SuperSU.

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Developer preview for Ubuntu Phone due this week


Canonical says it will be publishing images and open source code for the Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu for Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 on Thursday 21 February. So if you have a spare compatible handset -- or you don’t mind converting your existing phone -- you can try out the fledgling mobile OS in time for the weekend.

The aim is to encourage developers to create apps for the new operating system, but enthusiasts are welcome to take it for a spin too. According to Canonical, tools that manage the flashing of the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 will be available on the same day as the images, along with detailed installation instructions.

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AOKP Jelly Bean MR1 Build 3 is available

AOKP logo

Little more than three weeks since the last build, Android Open Kang Project, the team behind the popular AOKP green droid custom distribution, has unveiled Jelly Bean MR1 Build 3. The newest stable build sports the latest bug fixes and improvements added before Google released Android 4.2.2.

The team behind the project warns that issues related to Bluetooth should not be reported, as "it can’t/won’t be fixed before the 4.2.2 merge". The timing is rather interesting seeing as Google reportedly took charge and finally improved Bluetooth connections in the latest update, which arrives less than a day after the release of Jelly Bean MR1 Build 3. The new build introduces support for a couple of new devices, including the Acer Iconia Tab A510 (codename "a510"), the T-Mobile variant of the Samsung Galaxy S II (codename "hercules") and the LTE variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note II (codename "t0lte").

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Get Aero back in Windows 8

windows-8- transparent

Windows 8 fans didn't take Microsoft's decision to dump the familiar Aero Glass interface lightly. Even though the software corporation has very good reasons for doing so, there are users who are willing to put up with the apparent disadvantages and want to bring the transparency back.

Microsoft is known for its stance on the matter and it is unlikely that the software giant will be persuaded to bring Aero Glass back in Windows 8 and, therefore, eat its own words about the advantages of the new interface. For this reason, and likely others as well, a developer decided to take matters into his own hands and release a hack that brings back Aero Glass into the Windows 8 Desktop Window Manager.

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