Monday, August 20, 2018

US Government reportedly wants Facebook’s help in wiretapping Messenger

us government facebook

Facebook, one of the largest tech companies in the world, is currently fighting off the US Government according to a report from Reuters. In a request for information shared between Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members, the US government is attempting to force the company to break the encryption used for voice calls. This would, in effect, allow the US Government to wiretap Facebook Messenger calls and listen in at will to any phone call made on the service. The court case is currently proceeding under seal, meaning no filings are being made public.

According to the three people briefed on the case, Facebook is heavily contesting the court case. The US Government is currently looking to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the request that would see Facebook break the end-to-end encryption used in voice and video calls through their messaging service. Both the US Department of Justice and Facebook declined to comment to Reuters.

Impacts of the ruling, if the US Government can force the company to break its encryption, are unclear. It could potentially create a precedence which would suggest that the US Government can force any messaging service to provide access to encrypted content. That would include alternative applications such as Signal and Facebook-owned WhatsApp. While Facebook Messenger messages are decrypted server-side for analysis and ad targetting, calls are end-to-end encrypted. That is, only two parties are privy to the contents of the call. Governments can still request access to messages via court orders, seeing as those are decrypted.

This isn't the first time that the US Government has tried to request a company open up its encryption either. Back in 2016, the FBI attempted to force Apple to unlock an iPhone in order to view the information stored on the device belonging to a known Islamic State sympathizer. The case was dropped once the FBI enlisted the help of a private contractor and gained access to the device. Apple was not forced to break its encryption either. Whether Facebook can stand its ground, however, is yet to be seen. While a federal appeals court did rule in 2006 that eavesdropping laws pertained to large VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) providers, that has not been extended to chat, gaming or other internet services too. As such, it may be that Facebook Messenger does not fall under such laws and therefore the company cannot be forced to break their own encryption.

Either way, it's a difficult case which sets precedence for the future going forward. We'll personally be keeping a close eye on it.


Source: Reuters



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Exclusive: This is the Huawei Mate 20 with a waterdrop notch and triple rear cameras

Huawei Mate 20 render

Huawei is, according to some metrics, the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, surpassing even Apple but falling behind Samsung. Although the Chinese company's ambitions were killed in the United States, the company has seen great success in Western Europe, India, and in its home country of China. The company's flagship smartphone line-up, which consists of the Mate and P series, was recently refreshed with the Huawei P20 series, which introduced a display notch, triple rear cameras, and gradient coloring to Huawei's smartphone designs. Now, the company is gearing up to launch the Huawei Mate 20 series, and ahead of its launch, we are able to show the first renders of the device.

Last month, we were able to obtain firmware files for the Huawei Mate 20, code-named "Hima." Based on these firmware files, we were able to provide some of the basic hardware specifications of the Huawei Mate 20 including the presence of the HiSilicon Kirin 980 system-on-chip, a 4,200mAh battery, a 6.3-inch AMOLED screen, wireless charging, and a variant with 6GB RAM/128GB internal storage. We were also able to confirm that the software build on the Huawei Mate 20 is EMUI 9-based Android Pie. Now, we are able to share the recreated renders of the Huawei Mate 20 based on photographs of the original device.

The renders published in this article are based on real-life photographs of the Huawei Mate 20 that XDA-Developers was able to view. The photographs of the device were of an engineering sample and came from a trusted Chinese source who got into contact with FunkyHuawei.club. We verified the authenticity of the source based on details provided that first led us to discover the firmware files several weeks back. To protect our source's identity, we contracted @SRenderr to recreate the design of the Huawei Mate 20 based on the photos that were provided.

Due to the fact that these renders are recreated from photographs of an actual engineering sample of the device, there are a few things we should note:

  • We do not have the exact dimensions of the device, so we can't guarantee that the size of the bezels, notch, and camera sensors are perfect. Since we don't have the exact dimensions, we can't guarantee that the position of the buttons, ports, cameras, etc. will perfectly match the positions on the actual device.
  • Because the rear of the sample device was protected, we do not know the position of the logos. Furthermore, we don't know the shape of the rear fingerprint scanner—just that there will be one. (We don't show the fingerprint scanner in the render of the rear because we're unsure what it looks like.)

Huawei Mate 20 Renders

The front

Huawei Mate 20 render Huawei Mate 20 render

We can see the volume rocker and a power button on the right side of the phone, while the SIM card tray is on the left side. More importantly, Huawei is continuing the 2018 trend of adopting a display notch, but this time they've cut down on its size. Compared to the Huawei P20's notch, the waterdrop notch on the Huawei Mate 20 is more reminiscent of the OPPO F9's tiny notch. The notch is at the top of the Huawei Mate 20's 6.3inch AMOLED screen. We were able to independently confirm the design of the notch by finding the notch overlay in the Huawei Mate 20's firmware files, just as we confirmed the Huawei P20's notch design from its firmware files. The notch overlay is for the resolution "2244×1080" so we assume that the Huawei Mate 20 will have that screen resolution.

Huawei Mate 20 Notch Firmware Files

If we zoom into the front of the device, we can see a speaker above the notch. We don't often see stereo speakers on phones these days, so it's nice to see them here.

Huawei Mate 20 render

The top

The Huawei Mate 20 has a 3.5mm headphone jack on top, bucking the other 2018 smartphone trend of dropping the headphone jack.

Huawei Mate 20 render

The bottom

You can see a microphone, USB Type-C port, and the second speaker on the bottom side of the Huawei Mate 20.

Huawei Mate 20 render

The back

As mentioned previously, our source was unable to provide a fully unobscured photograph of the rear. Thus, we chose not to make a full render of the rear based on incomplete information. We are, however, able to share the render of the camera system, along with some details of what our source was able to see on the rear of the device.

Our source suggests that the Huawei Mate 20 has a glass back, which is a necessity for wireless charging. Furthermore, the Huawei Mate 20 seems to feature 3 cameras, much like the Huawei P20 Pro. The camera system also includes a flash.

Huawei Mate 20 render

Huawei Mate 20 Specifications

Here is everything that we know about the device so far:

Specification Huawei Mate 20
OS Android 9 Pie
SoC HiSilicon Kirin 980
RAM 6GB, other configurations unknown
Camera Triple rear camera system
Storage 128GB, other configurations unknown
Display 6.3-inch AMOLED screen, 2244×1080
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speaker
Battery 4,200 mAh
Connections USB Type-C, wireless charging
Price Unknown

That's as much information on the Huawei Mate 20 that we can share for now. We still don't know the Huawei Mate 20's release date or the price, but keep in mind we're a few months away from the release date. The Huawei Mate 9 was announced in November of 2016 and the Huawei Mate 10 was announced in October of 2017, so we expect the Huawei Mate 20 to be announced in 2-3 months time. Huawei is expected to unveil more information on the HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC during IFA, so we'll at least learn more about the chipset powering the device in about 2 weeks.

Lastly, the Huawei Mate 20 will of course not have an unlockable bootloader, just like any other new Huawei phone. If this is a deal breaker for you, then you've probably already written off this device as a potential purchase. If the lack of bootloader unlocking doesn't phase you, then we hope that these renders we've posted will be helpful for you.



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Android Pie opens up recent apps customization for third-party launchers

Android Pie recent apps

Until Android 9 Pie, Android's stacked card recent apps interface remained largely unchanged since it was first introduced in Android 5.0 Lollipop. With the introduction of gesture navigation in Android Pie, Google revamped the recent apps overview screen. The new interface features large overview cards arranged horizontally, but that isn't the biggest change to the recent apps interface. Since the code for recent apps is now integrated into the stock launcher, you can now seamlessly transition from your recent apps overview to your launcher's app drawer. As AndroidCentral's Ara Wagoner explains, this puts third-party launchers at a disadvantage because only the pre-installed system launcher can integrate with the recent apps UI. On the other hand, if you have root access, Android Pie's changes to the recent apps overview actually opens up a whole new avenue of customization.

Customizing the Recent Apps Overview before Android Pie

Before Android 9 Pie, the multitasking interface was handled entirely by the SystemUI package. Thus, the only way to customize the recent apps screen was to modify SystemUI. That wasn't a problem for custom ROMs, but it was far trickier for those who only had root access. In that case, the only options would be to either use a Magisk Module that replaces the SystemUI entirely or use an Xposed Module to replace the code that handles the recent apps UI. Both options were flawed, unfortunately, because any such modification would be OEM-specific and would easily break with any given update. It would be a nightmare for a developer to maintain a recent apps switcher mod for more than a handful of devices. However, if a developer no longer needs to worry about modifying SystemUI or other system apps, then it'll be easier to build custom recent app switchers. Android Pie should make that kind of customization a reality.

Customizing the Recent Apps Overview in Android Pie

Contrary to what you may have heard, the new Android Pie recent apps UI isn't a Pixel Launcher feature. The Pixel Launcher is the pre-installed launcher on the Google Pixel and Google Pixel 2, so it just happens to be responsible for handling the recent apps overview on those smartphones. On other phones like the Essential Phone, the pre-installed launcher also integrates with the recent apps UI. As shown on the OnePlus 6, OEMs can even customize what the recent apps screen looks like. Now that the source code for the updated AOSP Launcher is available, we can see exactly how the new recent apps interface integrates with the launcher. We initially believed that third-party launchers would need to be bundled into a custom ROM to take advantage of the new recent apps integration, but it turns out that's not the case.

The developers of Lawnchair launcher, a popular Pixel Launcher alternative, integrated the code for handling the recent apps into their app. They then figured out the steps needed to get their launcher to be recognized as the default handler for the recent apps overview. That made it possible to use Lawnchair and not the Pixel Launcher as the default launcher on the Pixel 2 without losing the horizontal app switcher or swipe-up app drawer. We demonstrated this in the following video recorded on the Google Pixel 2 XL running a stock, rooted build Android 9 Pie.

How did the Lawnchair team do it? Well, I was asked not to share how they did it just yet, but getting the app the right permissions to be recognized by the system was surprisingly simple. Their method to do so is still a work-in-progress, though, so it's not ready to be shared with the world. (The Magisk Module they made didn't work, so I had to manually place the right files in the right place and then run a command.) That's also why the recent apps screen looks identical to that of stock Android 9 Pie—they haven't gotten around to customizing it. But the developers of Lawnchair have at least shown that it's possible to implement the new recent apps UI in a third-party launcher. The next step is to customize it like OnePlus did on the OnePlus 6. Once the developers of Lawnchair have something closer to release, we'll let you all know.



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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Google tests a newer Pixel Launcher version with the Google Assistant icon on the search bar

Google Pixel Launcher

The Pixel Launcher, the pre-installed launcher app on the Google Pixel and Android One devices, doesn't receive very many updates because it would be annoying for users to have to relearn how to use their launcher app. The launcher has undergone a few notable changes since its initial release, though. The release of the tall, 18:9 Google Pixel 2 XL prompted Google to move the Pixel Launcher's search bar to the bottom. Next, Android P Developer Preview 2 integrated the recent apps screen with the launcher, resulting in seamless transitions between your installed and recent app lists. While we don't know if Google plans on revamping the launcher yet again for the release of the Google Pixel 3, we do know that they're at least testing changes to the search bar for the upcoming Pixel 3. Now, we have obtained an updated version of the Pixel Launcher that changes the standard microphone icon in the search bar to the Google Assistant icon.

Google Pixel Launcher Google Assistant Google Pixel Launcher Google Assistant Icon

Another notable change: The icons on the search bar remain colored regardless of the wallpaper.

As you can see in the screenshots shown above, the installed version of the app is 9-4889482. The latest version available online is 9-4836503, so the version that we have installed is newer than the one that's currently available for the Google Pixel 2. This updated Pixel Launcher APK was discovered by XDA Senior Member paphonb, a member of the team behind the Lawnchair launcher and who is also notable for being one of the first to port the Google Pixel 2's Launcher app to non-Pixel smartphones and older Android versions. If you are interested in installing this updated APK, we'll have a separate post detailing how to do so as there is one caveat: Google signed this version with a different signing key than the one used on the standard Pixel Launcher, so it will not install on top of your existing installation!

While this change to the launcher isn't a big deal, it is interesting to see that an updated version of the launcher is floating around online. Android P Developer Preview 5 and the official Android Pie release removed the original microphone button from the launcher's search bar, but it seems that Google plans on bringing it back with an updated icon. Although, we did confirm that the icon does not change when you choose something other than Google Assistant as the default assistant app, so it would be strange to choose Amazon Alexa as your assistant app and continue having the Google Assistant icon on the search bar.



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iPhone X + Huawei P20 = Motorola P30 | #PNWeekly 318

The Motorola P30 is pretty much the iPhone X. Design-wise, it just is. Okay, perhaps we should really talk more about this because it's more than just a look-alike.

But before that, a stringy thought thread about the Galaxy Note 9 and some Crazy Rich Asians make our day. We also notch another bit of chat on the Pixel 3 XL's devastating notch (get in line) and Alexa's creeping motions to everyone's dorms.

Jules is out this week, but the rest of the gang work to make up for it on this episode of the Pocketnow Weekly!

Watch the YouTube video recorded at 1:00pm Eastern on August 17th or check out the high-quality audio version right here. Talk back live while you're watching the show on Twitter with #PNWeekly and shoot feedback to the hosts at podcast@pocketnow.com!



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Saturday, August 18, 2018

How to enable the new, faster Snapchat Alpha [Root]

Snapchat

Snapchat, one of the most widely used social platforms in the world, is preparing to launch a new, faster version of its Android application. In February of last year, the company's executives internally committed to bettering the experience for Android users. In November, the company made its intentions public: Snapchat will be rebuilt from the ground up to "provide a more performant product experience" and "to make it easier to use." At the time, the company did not provide a timeline for when the redesigned Snapchat application would roll out, but it appears that the latest beta releases of the app now have a mostly-functional version of the speedier design. We enabled this redesign to show off what it looks like and how it performs, and now we'll show you how to enable it too.

Snapchat Alpha was first discovered by Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) but was subsequently independently enabled by XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899, Kieron Quinn of Mighty Quinn Apps.

How to Enable Snapchat Alpha

Requirements:

Before we begin, you'll need to be on the latest version of the Snapchat app—either 10.39 or 10.39.1 beta. You can download the app from the Google Play Store, but if the latest version isn't available for you then you can also grab the APK from APKMirror.

Snapchat (Free+, Google Play) →

Download  the latest Snapchat Beta release from APKMirror

Now, follow these step-by-step instructions to get Snapchat Alpha up and running!

  1. Download a root-enabled file explorer like FX File Explorer or MiXplorer. I'm going to be using MiXplorer for this tutorial.
  2. Open MiXplorer and expand the sidebar to the left. Tap "Root."
  3. If this is your first time using MiXplorer, it'll ask you for root access. Grant it.
  4. Go to "data"
  5. Scroll down and enter "data" again.
  6. Find "com.snapchat.android"
  7. Open "shared_prefs"
  8. Open "dynamicAppConfig.xml"How to enable new, faster Snapchat Alpha
  9. Look for the "appFamily" string and change the "snapchat" value to "mushroom"How to enable new, faster Snapchat Alpha
  10. Save the file and exit.
  11. Long-press on the Snapchat app icon in your launcher and go to its App Info page.
  12. Force close Snapchat.
  13. Connect your phone to your PC and enable USB Debugging in Developer Options if you haven't already.
  14. Download and install the latest ADB binaries on your PC according to this guide if you haven't already.
  15. Open up a command prompt on your computer in the same directory where you saved the ADB binaries and enter the following command to enter ADB shell:
    Windows Command Prompt:adb shell
    Windows PowerShell:.\adb shell
    macOS/Linux Terminal:./adb shell
  16. Now, enter the following 4 commands one-by-one (after entering 'su' it'll ask you to grant root access):
      su  pm enable com.snapchat.android/com.snap.mushroom.MushroomMainActivity  pm enable com.snapchat.android/com.snap.mushroom.MainActivity  pm disable com.snapchat.android/.LandingPageActivityHow to enable new, faster Snapchat Alpha  
  17. Open up the Snapchat app and you should be greeted by the new, faster Snapchat Alpha redesign!

Here's a video tutorial by XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899 to help you out in case you're stuck on any part of this guide.

If anything changes during development of this new alpha user interface, we'll let you all know. Until then, stay tuned to the XDA Portal for more tutorials like this!



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[Hands on] Snapchat Alpha is a faster, cleaner version of Snapchat

Snapchat

Last November, Snap announced that Snapchat for Android was going to be rebuilt with a focus on performance and ease of use. It has been close to a year since they announced this redesign and we have yet to hear anything about it, until now. We have managed to enable the new design to showcase what it looks like, and we also have a video comparing the old and new versions to show how much better the new Snapchat Alpha performs.

Snapchat Alpha was first discovered by Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) but was subsequently independently enabled by XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899Kieron Quinn of Mighty Quinn Apps.

Snapchat Alpha – A Cleaner Snapchat

While playing around in the app, the first thing you'll immediately notice is how much faster it is. The screenshots below won't show how much smoother the app is, but the video at the end of the article will definitely show how much better it performs. As for the design, the settings menu is more simple, and the stories menu now looks very similar to the Instagram Stories menu. At first glance, the friend's list looks almost exactly the same, but at the bottom, the navigation bar is black instead of transparent and the icons are a bit more noticeable. This isn't a big update, but it does make the app feel a bit cleaner.

The new profile page removes Snapcodes, though this will probably be added back soon, and removes the trophies and share menu. It has an all-around cleaner look, similar to what Google is trying to do with the newest Material Theme guidelines without following the same style. In the Stories UI, the only change I noticed is when you go check to the stats of your post, it shows in an Instagram Stories-style interface with a preview and a search bar. In the messages UI, the bottom bar has been redesigned by removing the calling and video calling buttons but that may be added back by the time this new design is officially completed. In addition, the new messages UI also moves the icons to the side and puts the bar in the middle.

I'm a fan of what Snap is doing with this new Snapchat Alpha update. It is noticeably faster than it was before, which is already enough to justify the new update. But it also has some nice user interface updates to make the app easier to use. These first set of screenshots are just a few things that I noticed when playing around with the app. There could be more that I am missing—if I am missing anything, let me know in the comments below.

Snapchat Alpha – A Faster Snapchat

And here's a video showing off the old Snapchat versus the new Snapchat Alpha. You can clearly see that the new version is faster.

How to enable Snapchat Alpha

If you are interested in enabling the new Snapchat Alpha redesign, you can learn how to do so in this guide.



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Essential Phone’s notch settings may return in future Android Pie update

Essential Phone

Following the release of Android Pie for the Essential Phone, there was one specific, highly used setting that was missing: notch settings. The Essential Phone's notch may have been its most controversial design aspect, but it was possible to customize how each app uses the status bar/notch area. The notch settings were present in Android Oreo but weren't brought back with the official Android Pie release. Even though Android Pie officially brings support for notches, it's up to developers to update their apps to take advantage of this space—which means most users would have to wait for their favorite apps to support the notch. According to a representative of Essential posting on Reddit's monthly Ask Me Anything, the built-in notch settings may be brought back in a future update.

We have discussed this internally and now that P has launched, it is very apparent from our community that you guys want this back in. It will take a bit of work since it is not a 1:1 code transfer from 8.1 to 9.0 given google changed the notch logic so a portion of the code will have to be re-written. But for time frame on implementation it will likely not be in the next security release given it will all need to be re-tested for stability. Thanks for pushing though…. We literally quote these comments when in roadmap planning meetings when we discuss notch settings.. – Marcus

The company has done a great job at keeping device owners happy since the Essential Phone's release. With new modifications, consistent software updates and timely beta releases, they've done a great job at dispelling the notion that the company is in dire straits. Although, it doesn't seem like there will be an Essential Phone 2 unless the company finds more success.

Essential has run their monthly AMA on Reddit for a while now, and we've gotten to learn more about the internal workings of the company as a result. We already know that they intend to bring ARCore support in a future update and now we know about their plans for the notch as well. Not only that, but their response about the notch settings shows that they are adding it back purely based on community feedback. The Essential Phone has been a very well supported phone so far, and we're hopeful that despite earlier reports that we may see a successor.



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Friday, August 17, 2018

Xiaomi Mi 8 reportedly launching soon in India, priced under Rs. 30,000

MIUI 9.5 for the Xiaomi Mi 8

Xiaomi is one of the largest phone manufacturers in the world and is even bigger in India. As a result, the company will be launching their new brand, Poco, first in the region with the Pocophone F1. It's basically a slightly different Xiaomi Mi 8, which may explain why that particular device didn't launch in India. Surprisingly, according to a report from 91Mobiles, we may actually be seeing it launch in India in the next few weeks – possibly right after the Pocophone F1 as well. Three separate phone sellers confirmed this information to 91Mobiles.

The Xiaomi Mi 8 is one of the company's latest flagships and features a number of iterative upgrades over its predecessors. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip is present alongside 6GB or 8GB of RAM. A 3,400mAh battery supporting Quick Charge 4.0+ is present to help charge your phone faster in order to power the 6.21-inch panel. It's a pretty beefy phone all things considered and has a few other tricks up its sleeve as well. The device coming to India will directly pit it against other flagships such as the OnePlus 6.

And how much will the Xiaomi Mi 8 cost in India, anyway? Phone sellers are putting it at under Rs 30,000 (~$428), which would possibly have it directly competing against the Xiaomi Pocophone F1. It's unknown which variant will be launched in the region, as the company only recently released an 8GB RAM/128GB storage model.

Specifications Xiaomi Mi 8
Dimensions and weight 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6 mm, 175g
Software MIUI 9.5 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo
SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4x 2.8GHz Kryo 385 Gold + 4x 1.8GHz Kryo 385 Silver cores); Adreno 630 GPU
RAM and storage 6GB of RAM with 64GB/128GB/256GB of storage / 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage
Battery 3,400mAh, Quick Charge 4.0+ (Quick Charge 3 adapter bundled in the box)
Display 6.21-inch Full HD+ (2248×1080) AMOLED, 600 nits brightness, HDR10 support, DCI-P3 gamut
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB Type-C port, dual nano SIM slots
Bands GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WCDMA: 850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz
FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20
TDD-LTE: Bands 34/38/39/40/41
Rear camera 12MP primary camera with 1.4μm pixels, f/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel autofocus, 4-axis OIS
12MP telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture, 2x optical zoom
Video recording up to 4K, Slow motion at 1080p@240fps
Front-facing camera 20MP with f/1.8 aperture, uses pixel binning to simulate 1.8μm pixels

Source: 91Mobiles



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Vivo Y83 Pro reportedly launching in India with 6.22″ notched display

vivo y83 pro android oreo

The Vivo Y83 Pro will soon be launching in India with a 6.22-inch notched display, according to a report from 91Mobiles. It will be released as a successor to the Vivo Y81 that launched in the region earlier this year. We don't know a lot about its exact specifications such as the SoC, but we do know that it will likely be a MediaTek SoC of some kind.

Other notable features include the 6.22-inch notched FullView 2.0 display. The notch houses all of the device's major sensors, including the ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, earpiece, and 8MP selfie camera. The back of the device will feature a dual camera setup comprised of a 13MP shooter and a 2MP secondary shooter. On top of that, the Vivo Y83 Pro will come with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage expandable via a microSD card. Software-wise, it'll run the company's latest Funtouch OS 4.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. A 3,260 mAh battery is present as well, though there's no mention of any kind of fast charging standard present. According to a source close to 91Mobiles, it will also be about 7.7mm thick. That puts it at about an average thickness of smartphones being released today.

But when can we expect to see the Vivo Y83 Pro? According to the report, a release is imminent and expected within the next few weeks in India. No exact pricing is confirmed, but it will sell for around Rs 16,000 (~$228). We don't know where else it will be available either or if it will be released outside of India. The Vivo Y83 came out in May this year and appears to have been somewhat successful. We'll be sure to keep an eye on this device to see if it has anything else to bring to the table, or whether it's simply just another budget phone.


Source: 91Mobiles



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Pixel Experience based on Android 9 Pie released for Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Android Oreo update

The codebase of Android 9 Pie has been released to the public and this has resulted in a lot of devices receiving new and updated custom ROMs based on the new update. Yesterday, we saw a slew of ROMs based on Android 9 Pie released for some older OnePlus smartphones and one was released for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro as well. The Redmi Note 5 Pro has been an incredibly popular smartphone since its release so it makes sense that it receiving an updated version of the Pixel Experience custom ROM has garnered so much attention.

This particular build has been brought to us by XDA Senior Member jhenrique09, who has done a lot of work for the community. It is said to work on Xiaomi's smartphones with the codename whyred, which includes the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro. As this is an early release, there are some bugs to be expected. Here is a list of what the developer says works and the current known issues.

Whats working:

  • Wifi
  • RIL
  • Mobile data
  • GPS
  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Camcorder
  • Bluetooth
  • FMRadio
  • Fingerprint reader
  • IR
  • Lights
  • Sound / vibration
  • Facelock

Known issues:

  • Hardware encryption
  • Miracast/wifi display

The developer also says you don't need to flash a Gapps package as they are already included in this build.

Check out this Android 9 Pie custom ROM in our Redmi Note 5 Pro forum



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Moto Camera 6.2 brings Google Lens/YouTube Live to many Motorola phones

Motorola released an update to their Moto Camera application just a couple months ago that redesigned the user interface and even added in Google Photos integration. This update also came with Google Lens, YouTube Live, and some changes to the user experience (such as sliding a single finger up or down to zoom in and out). This release was said to be for Motorola's 2018 smartphones, but the APK has been extracted and has shown to work on older Motorola smartphones as well.

The APK was uploaded to the Moto Z themes, apps and mods forum by XDA Senior Member hudfer. The title of the thread indicates that it works on 2016 Motorola smartphones including the Moto Z, Moto Z Play, Moto Z Force, and the Moto Z2 Play. But it should be noted that someone in the XDA Telegram chat group tried it on their Motorola Moto G3 and told us that it worked on their device as well.


Download the updated Moto Camera APK in our Moto Z forums



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Xiaomi Mi 8 SE forums are now open

Xiaomi Mi 8 SE

Releasing variations of smartphones to the market has become quite the popular OEM technique these days. This comes in different forms with some re-releasing a phone in another country while giving it a different name. Xiaomi, in particular, originally had the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus and then ended up re-releasing under the name  Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 at a later point in time. Xiaomi has also made changes to currently available devices and then ended up selling a variant of said device under a different name. We saw this with the original release of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, which then received a variant model called the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s.

But many OEMs release two variants of the same device right when they release them to be public. This is what happened with the Xiaomi Mi 8 and the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE. Both were released in June of this year with the SE variant being the more affordable option with slightly slower hardware and different camera sensors. We have previously created forums here on XDA for the Xiaomi Mi 8 but now Mi 8 SE owners have their own dedicated forum as well.


Join the discussion with us in the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE forum



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Does Android’s volume dialog take 20 seconds to dismiss? Here’s why that happens.

Android Volume Dialog

Have you noticed that the volume dialog that appears when you press the volume buttons takes a bit too long to disappear on its own? When you first got your Android phone, the volume dialog would automatically dismiss after a few seconds without your intervention. Then, sometime in the past few days, weeks, or months, it would take a long time to go away unless you tapped on your screen. If you're experiencing this problem and it infuriates you, you're not alone.

In this article, we're going to explain what's going on and why it happens so you can either fix the problem yourself or send this article to a developer so they can get it fixed. Let's first describe exactly what the problem is so it's clear we're referring to the same problem you're facing.

The Problem

You press the volume button on your Android smartphone or tablet to change the volume, but the volume dialog that appears takes a long time to go away on its own unless you tap on the screen to make it disappear. How long does the volume dialog stay up on its own? Exactly 20 seconds.

Credits: /u/ConeCandy

A popular thread over on Reddit's /r/GooglePixel subreddit had many users chiming in that they were facing this problem. However, not everyone was having this problem. Some users stated that their volume dialogs remained on screen for only 3 seconds, which is the normal behavior. So what was causing this issue? For most users in that thread, it turns out the reason was an app called Signal Spy – though some users in that thread said that other apps were causing this behavior too.

Signal Spy - Monitor Signal Strength & Data Usage (Free+, Google Play) →

Signal Spy is an app that's popular among subscribers to Google's Project Fi service. Project Fi users love the app because it supports analyzing your current network connectivity and supports automatic switching between Sprint and T-Mobile's towers. The best part? It doesn't need root access to switch between the networks. Signal Spy uses an Accessibility Service (a service that uses Android's Accessibility APIs which are normally used for assisting users with disabilities but are also regularly used in hundreds of apps not targeted towards users with disabilities) to automatically switch between carriers by inputting dialer code shortcuts.

Signal Spy's ability to automatically switch between carriers on Project Fi is incredibly useful, but it's also the reason Android's volume dialog issue is happening. The one commonality between Signal Spy and the other apps like LastPass, Fingerprint Gestures, Zoho Vault, Amazon Assistant, and other apps which cause this problem to occur is that they employ an Accessibility Service. Going to Settings –> Accessibility and turning off each Accessibility Service one-by-one until the volume dialog issue is fixed is one way to solve this problem. Why, then, do only some apps' Accessibility Services cause this to happen? Tasker, for instance, does not face this issue and neither does our very own Navigation Gestures app. You and many others on the Google Issue Tracker may think it's a bug, but it's actually not – it's entirely by design.

The Explanation

As we discovered during development of the Navigation Gestures app, the problem arises when an Accessibility Service has the accessibilityFeedbackType set to anything other than FEEDBACK_GENERIC. When we set our Accessibility Service to use FEEDBACK_HAPTIC, the volume dialog would stay on-screen for 20 seconds. When we set it to FEEDBACK_GENERIC, the volume dialog stays on-screen for 3 seconds.

The reason this occurs is because of two methods in the volume dialog implementation in AOSP. The first method called computeFeedbackEnabled checks to see if there are any enabled Accessibility Services that are "non-generic." If true, then the boolean mFeedbackEnabled is set to true. In the second method, computeTimeoutH, is mFeedbackEnabled returns true then the volume dialog's timeout is set to 20 seconds, otherwise it is set to 3 seconds.

Android Volume Dialog

These methods were added in the Android 6.0 Marshmallow release and thus this volume dialog issue affects all Android releases since Android Marshmallow including Android Nougat, Android Oreo, and Android Pie. We're not entirely sure why these methods were added as the commit descriptions weren't clear. Regardless, it's clear that this issue is not a bug but is rather entirely by design. Unfortunately, that means there's no "fix" for the issue outside of either persuading Google to alter this decision or convince app developers to not use non-generic feedback types in their Accessibility Services.

The developers of Signal Spy have already confirmed that they have fixed the issue in their next beta release, so if you experience the issue and want to see if fixed, you should point app developers towards this article so they're aware of the problem (as many are not aware.) If a future version of Android changes this behavior, we'll let you all know. At least you're now aware of this issue and what causes it, so you figure out which apps are causing this issue for you.



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Google’s updated Chromecast with Bluetooth also has better 5GHz Wi-Fi

Google Chromecast

The Chromecast has undoubtedly been Google's biggest hardware success. For $35-70 you get a cute little dongle that plugs into the back of your TV and turns it into a Smart TV. The only remote you need is a smartphone. It's a simple concept executed very well, and now almost every home has one. A few months ago we wrote about the upcoming Chromecast with Bluetooth, and now we know more details.

Back in May, we spotted a request that Google filed with the FCC to certify a new version of the 2nd-gen Chromecast. It has the same basic hardware as the original, but with an added Bluetooth chip. The existing 2nd-gen Chromecast supports Bluetooth 2.4GHz Low Energy, but this would be for standard Bluetooth 2.4GHz. It's possible that this would be for connecting peripherals like keyboards and gaming controllers.

The new information is also from an FCC filing. Google appears to be adding tweaking the antenna to add stronger Wi-Fi for 5GHz connections. The Chromecast already supports 5GHz Wi-Fi, but this would increase the antenna gain and hopefully make for stronger connections. If you find your device disconnecting from Wi-Fi frequently, this could be a big improvement.

Google's big hardware event is tentatively scheduled for October 4th. We may see this upgraded streaming dongle along with the Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3, and Pixel Watch. We're in for an exciting Fall.


Source: Variety



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Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 could launch with a dedicated NPU

Snapdragon 845

The last time we heard news on the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 was back in March, when Roland Quandt from WinFuture found that the SoC would be branded the Snapdragon 855 Fusion Platform and would come with the SDX50 5G modem. Previous reports have stated that TSMC would be manufacturing the SoC on its 7nm process. Now, Mr. Quandt is back with a series of leaks about the Snapdragon 855, which may even end up being called a different name. Let us go through them one-by-one:

A dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU)

Firstly, the Snapdragon 855 will probably come into the market as the Snapdragon 8150 (more on this below). It will have a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU). This is said to be similar to the NPU that is included in Huawei's HiSilicon Kirin 970, which was announced at IFA last year.

The Kirin 970's NPU has shown itself to be significantly faster than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with its Hexagon DSP for performing AI operations. In the real world, its potential hasn't been used to its full extent, apart from features such as accelerated offline translation, AI scene detection in the camera app, and more. WinFuture states that Qualcomm will use a NPU for the first time in one of its chips.

The LinkedIn profiles of Qualcomm employees show that the employees have continued to fine-tune the hardware design of Qualcomm's upcoming flagship chip. The employees' statements demonstrate that this is a separate part of the system-on-chip. According to the statements, the employees have worked on routing the data streams between the CPU, NPU, and main memory.

WinFuture states that the Neural Processing Unit should help to relieve the CPU and other parts of the SoC when processing AI data. The analysis of image information or voice queries that is currently done by the CPU or the DSP will be shifted to the NPU for better performance. The exact range of functions implemented on this basis is undetermined, but it's likely that it will be in the usual range of other neural processing units.

Snapdragon 855 automotive version

The second part of today's leak is that Qualcomm apparently wants to offer the Snapdragon 855/8150 for the first time in years in a special variant for years. WinFuture found references to a "SDM855AU," which points to use in the automotive field. The production will be at 7nm. It's the first time that Qualcomm will rel-launch a dedicated SoC for automaker integration after the launch of the Snapdragon 820 Automotive. WinFuture notes that this is a logical step considering the importance of AI and upcoming 5G technologies.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 to be named the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150

Qualcomm will unveil the Snapdragon 855 and the Snapdragon 1000 in December as part of its annual Tech Summit. The Snapdragon 855 will be intended for smartphones, while the Snapdragon 1000 will be intended for Windows laptops and tablets. However, according to WinFuture, both platforms will actually come to market under different names.

The Snapdragon 855 ("Hana") is being developed internally under the name SDM855, but its name has changed since several months according to third-party documents seen by WinFuture. The chip is now known as the SDM8150–meaning that it will come to market as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150—but it still has the same "Hana" code-name. Qualcomm is apparently switching to a new naming scheme. A possible reason for this may be to make it easier to distinguish smartphone SoCS from those that are intended for laptops and other Windows 10 and Chrome OS PC systems.

According to WinFuture, the evidence for this naming change can be found in import/export databases as well as on the LinkedIn profiles of some Qualcomm employees. In the latter case, the Snapdragon 855 appears under its new name in direct succession to the current Snapdragon 845 (SDM845) chip.

It is a 12.4×12.4 mm SoC, and it probably comes without an integrated 5G modem. Instead, it will have the integrated Snapdragon X24 modem that supports Cat.20 LTE in order to reach 2Gbps down link speeds. The 5G-enabled Snapdragon X50 modem will probably be installed separately on 5G devices.

Similarly, the change in naming also affects the ARM-based laptop processor that was being developed as the SDM1000 "Poipu." This will be 20×15 mm significantly larger than smartphone SoCs, which indicates a higher core count. The overall package of the SoC will work with a maximum TDP of 12W.

The Snapdragon 1000 is listed in recent documents as the "SCX8180" while having the same code-name and retaining the same components. Qualcomm's test platforms continue to have up to 16GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 2.1 storage on board, and Asus has been working with Qualcomm on these platforms.

The Snapdragon SDM8150 for smartphones and the Qualcomm SCX8180 for PCs running Windows 10 on ARM will both be manufactured by TSMC at its 7nm process. This is confirmed by several LinkedIn profiles of Qualcomm employees.

WinFuture notes that the final name of the new SoCs may not be determined yet, as these names may still be internal designations. The publication speculates that the "SM" in SM8150 stands for Snapdragon Mobile, while the SCX in SCX8180 could stand for Snapdragon Computing.

Qualcomm is also planning to implement the new naming scheme for its lower-tier processors. WinFuture found several mentions of chips with internal model numbers SM7150 and SM750, which will used by OPPO (among other manufacturers). OPPO will also be making a Snapdragon 855/Snapdragon 8150 device. It's not unknown whether the SM7150 and SM7250 are re-brands of existing SoCs such as the Snapdragon 670 and the Snapdragon 710, but according to WinFuture, it's quite likely.


So there we have it: a fairly massive leak on Qualcomm's upcoming flagship chipset. It should be noted that none of this is officially confirmed information so it's always possible that any of the leaks could turn out wrong, but with Mr. Quandt's track record on leaks, we have no reason to doubt that they are legit. We expect to learn more about Qualcomm's new chips in the coming months.

Source 1: WinFuture

Source 2: WinFuture



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Android Pie ported to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and more

Android 9 Pie for the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Android Pie is the hottest topic in the Android community right now. After releasing on the Google Pixel and Pixel 2, Essential PH-1, independent developers on our forums have been hard at work porting the latest Android release from AOSP to their devices. We've already seen the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Mi 3, Mi 4, Redmi 4X, ZenFone Max Pro M1, and the OnePlus 2/3/3T/X receive unofficial ports of Android 9 Pie, and now the Honor View 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro are joining the short list of devices with ported Android 9 releases.

Honor View 10 Android Pie Honor View 10 Android Pie

This is possible thanks to the efforts of XDA Forum Moderator/Recognized Developer flex1911 and XDA Recognized Developer LuK1337. The developers ported the latest release of Android from source and managed to boot it up barely a week after the public release of Android Pie. We should note that the developers only officially support the Honor View 10 with this build of AOSP, but other Project Treble-enabled Huawei and Honor devices can boot the same build of AOSP too. Some devices needed a patch to the surfaceflinger binary and libsurfaceflinger shared object library, while others worked just as well as the View 10 without any additional patches. (The developer's latest release implements this patch so you don't need to manually overwrite the files like I had to.) Since this is an early build, there are going to be some bugs. Here's the current list of bugs:

What doesn't work:

  • MTP USB doesn't work on BKL-L04 (U.S. version)
  • The camcorder is buggy on BKL-L09 (and other variants that use Android 8.0 Oreo vendor image)
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot doesn't work
  • Known issues from the LineageOS 15.1 release

Before we show you the list of compatible devices and link the thread, let's address the obvious: You will need an unlocked bootloader to install this ROM. This may seem obvious to many, but we have to address this since it's no longer possible for any user to generate new bootloader unlock codes. If your bootloader isn't already unlocked, you can't unlock your bootloader now to install this, or any future, custom ROM. The decision by Huawei to close down the bootloader unlock form saddens us because, without an unlocked bootloader, it isn't possible to install early releases of the next Android release. It could take months for any of these devices to receive an official Android Pie update, and some of them might not receive the update at all.

Install unofficial Android 9 Pie for the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and more

Simply follow the instructions in the thread linked below to install this release of Android 9 Pie on your device. Here's the current compatibility list, as provided by the developers:

Download Android 9 Pie ported to the Honor View 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Tips and tricks for Huawei/Honor users with unlocked bootloaders

Since the number of new Huawei/Honor users with unlocked bootloaders will eventually dwindle, there aren't going to be very many new guides for Huawei/Honor devices being made. For those of you who are new to modding Huawei/Honor devices and grabbed a bootloader unlock code at the last-minute just so you could install custom ROMs like these, here's a few important things for you to learn about your device.

Learn your button combinations

  • Hold volume down and the power button when booting and connected via USB to PC/power and you will boot into the bootloader mode.
  • Hold volume up and the power button when booting and disconnected from USB and you will boot into the phone's installed recovery (stock or TWRP).
  • Hold volume up and the power button when booting and connected via USB to PC/power and you will boot into Huawei's eRecovery* mode.

*eRecovery is a special recovery on Huawei and Honor devices that lets you fully factory restore your device over Wi-Fi. eRecovery is pretty unreliable for users outside of China, so unless you are using a special DNS/proxy service like FunkyHuawei.club, the Wi-Fi restore method will probably be useless for you. Still, eRecovery is one of your absolute last resorts to unbrick your device, so you should NEVER modify any eRecovery partition.

Learn your partitions

Interested in installing TWRP or rooting your phone with Magisk? That's cool, but save yourself some headaches by learning what partitions TWRP/Magisk modifies on Huawei/Honor devices.

  • TWRP is installed to the recovery_ramdisk partition. (No Huawei/Honor devices support A/B partitions just yet, so there's still a dedicated recovery partition here.)
  • Magisk is installed to the ramdisk partition. (Unlike most other devices where the ramdisk is packed in the boot partition, Huawei/Honor devices split the boot partition into dedicated ramdisk and kernel partitions.)

Get a backup of stock partitions

If you install TWRP, you can make a backup of any partition you're going to modify like system, ramdisk, and vendor. After installing TWRP, you should backup oeminfo. This partition includes important data like your IMEI and device branding. You won't (or shouldn't) ever touch this partition if you flash custom ROMs, but if you ever plan on re-branding your phone, you'll definitely want a copy of this partition just to be safe.

Lastly, if you want to be extra safe, download the latest version of your stock firmware ("full OTA") from Firmware Finder and extract the partitions from the update.app file using this guide. Keep them around for when you can only access the bootloader and need to flash images via fastboot. (Since installing TWRP requires modifying the recovery_ramdisk partition, this is actually the only way to get a backup of that partition too.) You'll want to be intimately familiar with flashing images via fastboot anyways if you plan on flashing a Project Treble Generic System Image (GSI).


Enjoy custom ROMs on your Honor or Huawei device while they last! I learned all the above via trial-and-error while experimenting with GSIs on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. I hope this knowledge helps you save some time by not having to beg the XDA forums or Discord/Telegram chats for help if something goes wrong.



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Motorola may launch a Google Home Mini/Amazon Echo Dot competitor

Moto Smart Speaker

The virtual assistant devices have become quite popular for those who want more out of their connected devices. These virtual assistants, such as Siri and Google Assistant, originated on iOS and Android respectively. But Amazon created an entire hardware market for these virtual assistant services with the Amazon Echo. The Echo was quite a successful device for the company and it was one that spawned Google's competition to create devices like these of their own. Google has the Google Home and Google Home Mini, Samsung has the Bixby Speaker, and even Apple has the HomePod. However, a new leak published today claims that Motorola wants in on this market as well and could end up releasing a competitor to the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot.

Some would say that the Motorola brand has been floundering since they were brought under the Lenovo umbrella. There's no doubt that the entire company has gone through a restructuring strategy since that acquisition was made official. Lenovo themselves have already released one of these virtual assistant products that they ended up calling the Lenovo Smart Display. It looks more like a tablet embedded into an enclosure that makes it easy to place on your nightstand, kitchen table, etc.

Not everyone is a fan of these "smart display" products though, which makes sense that they have possibly had Motorola working on a regular smart speaker. The rumor comes to us from AndroidPure, yet details of the name of the device have yet to be revealed. It's currently being referred to as the Motorola Smart AI assistant speaker and some leaked press images give us a look at what the company has possibly been working on. It's also unclear what software will be running on the speaker.

Lenovo's Smart Display had Alexa as its AI companion and Motorola ended up releasing a Moto Mod that also included Alexa as well. The leak did give us some information about the hardware inside the smart speaker, which includes an ARM 53 Cortex CPU, Bluetooth, WiFi connectivity, a weight of 280 grams, and a diameter of 90mm. The marketing material even talks about integration with other products from companies including LifeSmart, BroadLink, Tuya, Haier, Orvibo, and others.

Moto Smart Speaker
Source: AndroidPure



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