Monday, August 20, 2018

Android Pie GSI now available for Project Treble-enabled devices

Android Pie Android 9

When Google first announced Project Treble with Android 8.0 Oreo, there was some skepticism among the community about how effective Treble would be at bringing faster updates to Android devices. After seeing how Treble can help kickstart the custom development process by making it possible for supported devices to boot an AOSP Generic System Image (GSI), there was little doubt about how beneficial Treble support will be for the Android ecosystem. The announcement of the Android P beta program, which brought Developer Previews to 7 non-Google devices, laid to rest any remaining doubt about Treble's effectiveness. Now that Android 9 Pie is official and its source code is uploaded to AOSP, developers can build GSIs for all Project Treble-enabled devices from source.

Indeed, XDA Recognized Developer phhusson, the developer who made the first community-built GSI that made it possible to boot AOSP on the Huawei Mate 9, has now released his first source-built Android Pie GSI. Compared to the so-called "semi-GSI" which only supports Qualcomm Snapdragon devices, phhusson's ROM involves far fewer hacks as the system image is based on AOSP rather than the Google Pixel's system image. As such, phhusson's GSI is already confirmed to support 13 different devices from 4 SoC vendors—and that's just listing the devices that phhusson and myself have direct access to.

Android Pie GSI Project Treble

phhusson's collection of Project Treble-compatible smartphones, all running his Android 9 Pie GSI

Most Project Treble-compatible smartphones or tablets with an unlocked bootloader (meaning, no new Huawei or Honor devices) should be able to install this Android 9 Pie GSI. Any device that launched with Android 8.0 Oreo or newer supports Treble as does any device that the manufacturer upgraded to Oreo with Treble support, as listed here. (You can check whether your device supports Project Treble by following our guide.) Currently, the ROM is rather barebones as it's the first public release and is only meant to be for testing stability. Here's a table I compiled with the devices that were tested, their SoCs, their Android OS versions, and the known bugs for each device.

Device Name SoC Original OS/Current OS Known Bugs
Allview V3 Viper MediaTek MT6737 Android 8.0 Oreo Hotspot, NFC, RIL
Blackview A20 MediaTek MT6580M Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition Hotspot, NFC
Cubot X18 Plus MediaTek MT6750T Android 8.0 Oreo Hotspot, NFC, RIL
Google Pixel 2 XL Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Android 8.0 Oreo/Android 9 Pie Hotspot, NFC, Android 9 vendor
Honor View 10 HiSilicon Kirin 970 Android 8.0/8.1 Oreo (depending on market) Hotspot, NFC
Huawei Mate 9 HiSilicon Kirin 960 Android 7.0 Nougat/Android 8.0 Oreo Hotspot, NFC
Huawei Mate 10 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 970 Android 8.0 Oreo Hotspot, NFC
Koolnee Rainbow MediaTek MT6580A Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition Hotspot, NFC
Motorola Moto E5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 Android 8.0 Oreo Hotspot, NFC, Various graphical glitches
OnePlus 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Android 7.1 Nougat/Android 8.1 Oreo Hotspot, NFC, AOSP camera
OnePlus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Android 8.1 Oreo/Android 9 Pie (beta) Hotspot, NFC, Android 9 vendor
Razer Phone Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Android 7.1 Nougat/Android 8.1 Oreo Hotspot, NFC, Front-facing camera
Samsung Galaxy S9+ Exynos 9810 Android 8.0 Oreo Hotspot, NFC

Download and install Android 9 Pie GSI for Project Treble-enabled devices

You can find the link directing you to the forum thread where you'll find the link to download the Android 9 Pie system image, instructions on how to flash the image, the current bug list, and more. Keep in mind there's no Google Play apps or services bundled with the ROM, so don't flash this expecting it to be your daily driver just yet. Once the AOSP GSI is more stable, other developers will start porting their custom ROM frameworks so you'll start getting more feature-filled GSIs. As of now, there are 19 AOSP Android 8.1 Oreo-based custom GSIs.

Download AOSP Android Pie GSI for Project Treble devices

Visit XDA's Project Treble forum

Note: if your device supports A/B partitions for seamless updates, you will need to flash the A/B GSI rather than the A-only GSI.

Although we're a big fan of GSIs, you should install a device-specific Android 9 Pie custom ROM if there's one available for your device. (Not every device will have the backing of a dedicated developer community, though, so GSIs are a nice way for users of lesser-supported devices to experience custom ROMs.) Here's a short list of Android Pie-based custom ROMs we've already covered on the Portal, with more to come as we clear our backlog:



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OnePlus One, OnePlus 5, and OnePlus 5T get Android Pie ports

OnePlus, OnePlus India

Android 9 Pie has only been out for 2 weeks now, yet we've seen an amazing amount of development on our forums already. We've seen stable, working ports for several devices, including phones from Xiaomi, Motorola, and OnePlus—all of them working fairly decently with few remaining bugs. As the days go by, this list only keeps growing. Today, three new devices are joining the list and getting unofficial Android Pie ports: the OnePlus One, the OnePlus 5, and the OnePlus 5T.

The OnePlus One build comes from Team POSP and is basically fully stable as no major bugs are listed. However, we recommend against installing it unless you know what you're doing since it's marked as a beta release and there could be some undiscovered bugs. The OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T builds, which are based on pure, unmodified AOSP Android, do have a couple of missing features like NFC and VoLTE, and need decrypting your device before installing. Some missing Android 9 features include the new navigation gestures, for one, but if you don't mind that and the aforementioned bugs, you can consider these releases as mostly stable, as there are no other major hiccups or shortcomings.

Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus One Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus One Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus One Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus 5 Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus 5 Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus 5 Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus 5T Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus 5T Download Android Pie (Android 9) on the OnePlus 5T

Download Android Pie on the OnePlus One, OnePlus 5, and OnePlus 5T

Every OnePlus phone from the OnePlus One to the OnePlus 6 has a publicly available Android 9 Pie build. Apart from these 3 new devices, the OnePlus 2, OnePlus X, the OnePlus 3, and the OnePlus 3T recently received ports of Android Pie. The OnePlus 6, OnePlus' most recent flagship, has an official OxygenOS and HydrogenOS-based Android 9 Pie beta which will also be available on the OnePlus 5, OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 3, and OnePlus 3T as well in the future.

If you're interested in trying out these unofficial builds, check out their respective forum threads, read them thoroughly, and get modding!

Download Android Pie for the OnePlus One

Download Android Pie for the OnePlus 5

Download Android Pie for the OnePlus 5T



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Huawei P20 will be first to get EMUI 9-based Android Pie update

Huawei still continues to amaze its loyal user by keeping the top-notch software support for their flagship devices. The Huawei P20 and P20 Pro already came with the latest version of Android. Now, they have released their plans for upgrading these devices, including the lite version to Android Pie. The world's second largest smartphone manufacturer told MyBroadband, the biggest tech site in South Africa, that the company will release updates for the devices from next month, starting with Huawei P20.

According to MyBroadband, the company will release Android Pie-based EMUI 9 at IFA in September. This strengthens our previous claim that the Mate 20 comes with EMUI 9 and Android 9 Pie, which will be released after Huawei announces the new version of the system. Huawei also mentioned working on developing "stable and powerful software" for its devices that users will receive as updates after the EMUI 9 upgrade. Huawei still hasn't confirmed exactly which of their smartphones will receive Android 9.

It's sad that the company decided to prevent users from unlocking the bootloaders, as Android Pie's ported ROMs are already available for a handful of devices, including Huawei P20 Pro, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and this experimental Treble ROM for the Huawei P8 lite 2017. Had they allowed users to unlock bootloaders on their own devices, many of them would already be running Android 9. But we've already talked about their decision many times.

Android 9 Pie comes with features like gesture navigation, system-wide notch and display cutout support, very handy auto-rotation lock in the navigation bar, and many more goodies. It's a great release and EMUI 9 should add a lot of other great features.


Source: MyBroadband



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Samsung Brazil and Huawei Egypt accused of using misleading photos in ads

Device OEMs are no stranger to shady practices sometimes, as we've seen some of the best companies show in the past. Huawei is by no means one of the best, but they were caught before for using misleading photos in their advertisements. Yet again, Huawei Egypt has been caught trying to do the same with the Huawei Nova 3i, but they aren't the only one this time around. Samsung Brazil has tried to pass off two stock photos as being taken by the newly released Samsung Galaxy A8.

But it's actually pretty funny how Huawei got caught out. Last time, people viewed the EXIF data of the photos Huawei claimed to belong to the Huawei P9 before release. EXIF data showed that the photos were actually taken by a Canon camera. This time around, an actress on set actually shared a photo showing the photo being taken – with the man in the photo clearly not actually holding anything in his hand. This is the photo Huawei claimed was taken by the Huawei Nova 3i.

And this is how that photo was actually taken.

Yeah, not hard really to connect the dots on that one.

But how Samsung got caught is a little more interesting. They actually used two stock photos from Getty, a site which aggregates stock photos for companies to purchase and use on their websites. One of those photos was titled "Portrait of a beautiful hipster couple looking happy."

It's pretty hilarious, though both of those images cost $499 each. Samsung simply added a filter and released them with the caption "A dating registered in many selfies. The front camera #GalaxyA8 has dynamic focus and highlights in the photo what matters most." Doesn't leave much to the imagination. It's clear that they wanted users to believe these photos were from the Samsung Galaxy A8.

They then did it with "Boyfriend and girlfriend taking selfie, piggy back ride" as well.

Why Samsung would do this, nobody really knows. It's much easier to either take the photos with the actual phone or just not do it at all. Lying about photos does the company no good, especially when it's very likely that they'll be caught like this as well. Those who may have been looking forward to either the Huawei Nova 3i or the Samsung Galaxy A8 may have been put off now as well.


Huawei Source: /r/Android Samsung Via: AndroidPolice



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Windows 10’s Sticky Notes to launch on Android, will sync with PC

windows 10 sticky notes

Sticky Notes is a feature that has been built into Windows for a long time, but it's not very popular. Basically, you can jot down quick notes and save them as "sticky notes" on the screen. With Windows 10, Sticky Notes got a much-needed revamp. They're much faster and have a nice clean, modern design. You may actually want to use it now, especially since Android integration could be coming soon.

According to a report from Thurrott.com, Microsoft is working on a Sticky Notes app for mobile devices. They hope to launch an Android (and iOS) app this year with the ability to sync notes across devices. So notes from your PC and phone will sync and live together in the cloud. This is not exactly a novel concept. There are literally hundreds of apps that can do this, but for Windows users, this can be a native solution.

Before the Android app happens, Microsoft is planning a big update for the Windows app. Sticky Notes will get a dark theme, new formatting bar, new animation, and improved performance. Since the mobile apps are planned for this year, the Windows update should be coming very soon. Again, this is not a groundbreaking feature by any stretch, but it's always nice to have more native desktop-to-mobile integration. Microsoft wants Windows to be the desktop platform of choice for Android users. Little integrations like that can go a long way towards making a complete experience.



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A successor to the 17-inch Samsung Galaxy View may come to AT&T

Samsung Galaxy View

Android tablets might not be a big deal anymore, but that doesn't mean they aren't big. Three years ago, Samsung demonstrated this with the gigantic 18.4-inch Galaxy View tablet. It weighed 6 pounds and cost $600, but it filled a very niche void. It even had a built-in handle. According to a new report, the behemoth is making a comeback.

The Samsung Galaxy View 2 is said to be slightly more compact than the original. The display will only be 17.5-inches, but still 1080p. It will feature a built-in hinge, which is basically a must for a device of this size. Inside the device will be an Exynos processor and 3GB of RAM, so don't expect this to replace your PC. It will use USB Type-C for charging and it will have a microSD card slot. Interestingly, the report says the device does not support Samsung DeX mode. The Galaxy View 2 will run Android Oreo and it will be available from AT&T.

Like the original Galaxy View, this is not really a "portable" tablet. Yes, you can move it from room to room, but you're not going to pack it in a bag. This is a countertop tablet. It's meant to be displayed in your kitchen or a common room. We're not sure how popular the original was, but it couldn't have been very hot if it took 3 years for a successor. The partnership with AT&T likely means we'll see this advertised as a portable DirecTV device. Pricing and availability were not mentioned in the report.


Source: Android Police



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Source code for DexGuard, commercial anti-piracy software, leaks online

dexguard

DexGuard is a popular commercial anti-piracy software written by Guardsquare which can help obfuscate an APK file. It's pretty easy to decompile an Android app and take a look at its internal workings, but obfuscation programs such as DexGuard make that pretty difficult. The software protects applications from reverse engineering attacks too, to prevent users from figuring out how the app does exactly what it does. This, in turn, prevents piracy, as it makes it a lot harder for attackers to figure out how to bypass anti-piracy checks. However, an older version of DexGuard has had its source code leaked on GitHub.

The code has been confirmed to be real, largely thanks to Guardsquare themselves filing a DMCA takedown request on the initial GitHub repository for copyright infringement.

"The listed folders (see below) contain an older version of our commercial obfuscation software (DexGuard) for Android applications. The folder is part of a larger code base that was stolen from one of our former customers."

If you've never heard of DexGuard though, you may have heard of ProGuard. ProGuard is a generic Java obfuscator, while DexGuard applies specifically to Android applications. ProGuard is completely free and open source as well. Both work perfectly fine on Android apps.

The ramifications of the company's source code being stolen are unclear at this point in time. The source code has popped up in many different places across the internet, so it doesn't seem as if it'll be going away any time soon. Over 200 forked repositories were discovered by Guardsquare containing the infringing code at the time of the DMCA takedown on the original. It may give an idea of the internal workings of its obfuscation methods to those trying to decompile and modify Android apps protected by the software, though it's unknown how much of an advantage the source code may give. For developers relying on the security of DexGuard, there's no reason to panic just yet.


Source: TorrentFreak Via: AndroidPolice



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PUB Gfx+ is a free tool for XDA members which improves PUBG’s performance

pubg pub gfx

PUB Gfx+ is a free tool made by XDA Senior Member Abhinandan Trilokia. It has one simple goal – to improve the performance of PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds (PUBG) on your mobile phone. How it works is simple, as all it does is modify the game's configuration files on your device. This and previous tools have not gotten users banned yet, but always exercise caution when using external tools to modify your gameplay. There is a myriad of options to choose from, between ultra high graphics settings to uncapping the FPS of your device, this app has it all. What's more, XDA members can get the full version of the application for free from XDA Labs!

PUB GFX+ Tool:[XDA Exclusive] (Free, XDA Labs) →

PUB Gfx+

PUB Gfx+ is currently a best seller on the Indian and Indonesian Google Play Stores, and for good reason. It's an app that does what it advertises to do well. Take a look at some of the screenshots below. Between multiple basic graphics settings, more detailed fixes, and details and advanced settings, there's plenty here to check out.

While it's pretty clear that the graphics settings work, what about in-game FPS? How is it affected by using settings such as Vulkan, Zero Lag Mode, or even just halving the resolution? We set out to find out. Firstly, we're going to test what FPS we get on an unmodified PUBG installation on the OnePlus 3. We used an older flagship for testing seeing as newer flagships will not need these kinds of modifications to run the game anyway.

If you're wondering about the exact testing conditions, my OnePlus 3 is on the latest OxygenOS version with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Adreno 530 GPU, and 6GB of RAM.

PUBG Unmodified FPS on the OnePlus 3

While at first, this may seem like a great performance out of the box on the OnePlus 3, it's only when you're in-game do you notice the issues. The median FPS is 30, but by default, the OnePlus 3 runs the game at a capped FPS of 60. That means that while there are massive FPS drops, there are also massive FPS climbs to 60 for no apparent reason. For example, when driving/running and a far-off town begins to load, the FPS will drop as low as 10, which makes the game unplayable. It's stable in a lot of aspects once you're not moving, but driving especially is painful. Even just parachuting out of the plane at the start of the game proves a tricky task as it's a choppy mess.

This is the baseline performance that we will be comparing all settings.

PUBG Zero Lag mode on the OnePlus 3

We decided to go for what may be the best of the bunch first – zero lag mode. This is a great result. While 38 FPS isn't much, zero lag mode actually caps the FPS to 40 as it's also a battery efficient mode. Keep in mind that it is a 6-minute playthrough, but that was enough time for me to go through Pochinki, get 3 kills, and drive a motorbike through the fields before crashing to my death. It's an absolutely stellar result in contrast to the previous, which saw a 20 FPS median around the same timeframe into the game.

PUBG Vulkan mode on the OnePlus 3

Vulkan is the successor to OpenGL, and may actually be the default Android graphics renderer in the future. These results are interesting as while the FPS was capped to 20, the stability is nearly 100%. It's a hard toss-up to choose between using Vulkan and the zero lag mode, as both have their advantages. It's clear that with Vulkan it's a lot more stable, and in turn thanks to the lower FPS we get a lower CPU usage and thus a lower battery drain as well. It's clear that so far one of these two modes are the best, but we've got one more test to try.

PUBG Everything on low OnePlus 3

This is with graphics on low, shadows off, detail mode off, OpenGL 2.0 on, and memory boost enabled. The resolution has also been set to 960×540.

As we can see, it's about average. This is definitely an improvement upon the initial, unmodified version, but not by much. Gunfights are smooth, but driving is choppy again as the game starts to render distant objects. When working in the same area everything is 40 FPS or higher which is nice, but there are tradeoffs in that traveling will see you face frame drops. Still, it's worth playing with simply to see if it fares better on your device.

PUB Gfx+ – Worth it?

PUB Gfx+ works, there's no doubt about that. Some of its settings work better than others, and the zero lag mode does exactly what it says on the tin. This is by far the best option to go for if you want a quick and easy, out of the box solution. It's definitely worth giving a try if your device struggles to run PUBG. Let us know in the comments what you think, and be sure to buy the full version of the application on the Google Play Store to support the developer if it works for you! Check out the XDA thread as well!

PUB GFX+ Tool:[XDA Exclusive] (Free, XDA Labs) →

PUB Gfx+ Tool🔧:#1 GFX Tool supports 0.7.0 & 0.9.5 ($0.99, Google Play) →



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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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