Sunday, August 5, 2018

Fortnite Mobile for Android APK corroborates Samsung Galaxy Note 9 exclusivity

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

While the Android enthusiast community is waiting for the upcoming launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 on August 9th, gamers are wondering when Epic Games will launch their massively popular free-to-play battle royale game 'Fortnite' on Android. The game is supposed to launch this summer, according to the developers, but a source has told XDA-Developers and 9to5Google that the mobile game will launch with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Thus far, the only evidence that the Fortnite Mobile on Android release will be announced during Samsung Unpacked 2018 is the information provided to XDA and 9to5 from a trusted source. Now, XDA-Developers has obtained access to the Fortnite Mobile on Android installer APK which corroborates the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 exclusivity.

The APK with the package name "com.epicgames.fortnite" was first discovered by XDA Junior Member thesbros, our resident expert at data-mining. Decompilation and analysis of the APK were done in collaboration with XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899, also known as Kieron Quinn of Mighty Quinn Apps. The APK file we obtained is the installer for Fortnite version 5.20 which is set to go live on other platforms this week. The APK and all the required Fortnite battle royale data can be downloaded and installed, but the game will not run on any accounts that haven't been whitelisted by Epic Games. Regardless, the APK file itself provides some useful information ahead of the game's launch on Android.

Fortnite Mobile on Android – A Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Exclusive

Fortnite Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The game has several checks in place to determine whether the device is able to run the game. There are checks for the mobile GPU, manufacturer, model, and more. We attempted to run the app on devices such as the Essential Phone and Google Pixel 2 XL but failed to get past the splash screen in both cases on the latest internal release because these devices fail the check for manufacturer and model. Samsung Galaxy devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S9, and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 are able to pass the splash screen because of an internal whitelist (which I'll detail in a separate article), but these devices won't be able to actually play the game just yet. The reason is that of a method that checks the device's brand, code-name, and feature-set and determines if it matches the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. If not, the game's main activity is closed. (Additional code related to this method is omitted for brevity.)

As seen in the screenshot of the decompiled code above, the method checks the Android device's system properties. The following properties are checked:

  • ro.vendor.product.device = starts with "crown"
  • ro.vendor.product.brand = "samsung"
  • SEC_FLOATING_FEATURE_COMMON_SUPPORT_BLE_SPEN, a Samsung-specific feature for the Bluetooth-enabled S Pen found only on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Hence, it's clear that the method checks for whether the device is a "Samsung" device with a code-name that starts with "crown." We've known that "crown" is the code-name for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for quite a while now. The method checks for the existence of a Samsung Experience feature that doesn't exist on any other Samsung device—the BLE S Pen. Thanks to an FCC filing and analysis of the latest AirCommand app from the Android 8.1 Oreo release on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, the existence of a Bluetooth-enabled S Pen isn't a surprise here. But the fact that the Fortnite Mobile on Android app checks for its existence is interesting. This suggests that the app either checks for its existence to provide some additional integrations, or is merely checking for its existence as another confirmation step that the app is running on the Galaxy Note 9.


Thanks to the leak of this APK, we have a lot more Fortnite Mobile-related news coming up. Here's a summary of what we've uncovered so far:



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