Friday, May 25, 2018

Essential is a Model Citizen and Losing Them Would Be Tragic

Not even a full year after the Essential PH-1's August 2017 release date, things aren't looking good for the plucky "startup." Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Essential has canceled its next phone, is considering a sale, hasn't sold many of the first phone, and that things internally within the company are not great.

Andy Rubin didn't take long to respond with a tweet stating:

We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigger hits. We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products.

This seems to confirm that indeed something was canceled. Rubin goes on to state that the company is not shutting down. Further comments from Rubin indicate that the company is looking to raise funds and optimize. He reportedly is "going to focus on winning and not whining."

From the outside looking in, none of this is immediately apparent, even if it's not unexpected. Just a few months ago, we were praising Essential's commitment and support of their phone. That much hasn't changed at least. Just this week the camera app was updated with new features like electronic stabilization and a tweaked UI. Furthermore, Essential is one of the few OEMs participating the Android P beta. In fact, just today Essential pushed an update to their develop preview. Currently, my PH-1 is running Android 8.1 with the May 5th security patch. No other company has done as well with security updates. Essential's subreddit still maintains monthly "ask me anything" sessions with the team. These AMAs provide a rare opportunity to get clarification, request features, and have direct contacts with the device manufacturers. This type of open communication is rare and should be valued.

Some other xda-type niceties with Essential:

  • A/B Updating.
  • Full Treble support.
  • Direct Unlocked sales from Essential and Amazon.
  • No obnoxious branding to be seen on the device.
  • Easily accessible builds.

What's even more frustrating is that Essential has kept up this excellent update pace with this supposed internal employee turmoil. If a small company with issues can put out updates at this pace, why can't Samsung, or LG, or Motorola? My unlocked, direct from Samsung Galaxy S9+ is still on the February security update here at the end of May. 

Essential remains a stand-out looking device. I still find myself holding the PH-1 just to hold it. The ceramic and titanium build is unique and substantial. The design still looks premium and distinctive. When the ocean depths colorway launched, I just had to have one. In a sea of black and white phones, it truly stands out. And honestly, I'm happy for any occasion to show photos of it.

It seems obvious that none of this is good news for Essential. Rumors like this typically are not completely fabricated. I can't help but hope that we are fortunate enough to see another phone from this team with lessons learned from the first. It would be a massive shame if one of the more unique, well supported, eye-catching, forward-thinking manufacturers goes away.



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Chrome OS may soon allow you to uninstall apps from the launcher page

Chrome OS development has really picked up in the last few months.  With the Play Store on a lot of Chromebooks now, Google has been putting a lot of focus on the Android experience within Chrome OS. That means optimizing the OS for touch screens and bringing over some features from Android. We've seen a lot of these features show up in the Chrome OS launcher. A new commit shows that Google is making it easier to uninstall apps from the launcher.

New Shelf Option

The commit in Chromium Gerrit is simply titled "Add Uninstall option to ChromeOS shelf." The commit includes the handy before and after screenshots shown below.

This is a small thing, but it shows how Google is polishing up the OS. Little things like this can make the overall experience much better. Currently, you can only uninstall an app from the launcher drawer or the Play Store. On Android, you can uninstall an app from the home screen. This is similar functionality for Chrome OS. Google also recently added a commit for showing previews when you hover over an app icon on the shelf.

More Android Influence

The new shelf option is just the latest in a long list of Android support/features to make their way to Chrome OS.

Android files will finally show up in the Chrome OS file browser.

It may be possible to search for Android app shortcuts directly from the launcher.

Notification Snoozing is coming to Android apps in Chrome OS.

You'll be able to use Gboard instead of the default Chrome software keyboard.

The launcher defaults to full screen when in tablet mode.

Google is testing an Android P-style system tray.



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Dirac Panorama Sound is coming to smartphones to bring immersive sound on small speakers

Dirac is a Sweden-based audio company that provides some of the tech found in Xiaomi, OPPO, Huawei, and OnePlus devices. They work with OEMs to optimize the sound quality in smartphone speakers, which are notorious for being bad. The technology can have a drastic impact on mobile devices. Check out our interview with Dirac's general manager of mobile for more information.

Dirac Panorama Sound

  • Dirac Panorama Sound is a solution that optimizes speakers that are positioned only a few inches apart, like those found on smartphones. It has been added after-the-fact on test devices, but never fully integrated into a smartphone.
  • Dirac is using "multiple-input and multiple-output" (MIMO) technology to enable the speakers to coordinate with each other. An extra-wide sound field is created as a result, which gives the user a surround sound experience from two very small speakers.
  • Dirac Panorama Sound is different from other mobile solutions. They have patented a sound field control/synthesis technology that isolates the left and right stereo channels. The channels are then delivered directly to the corresponding ears despite the sound emitting from speakers that are very close together.

Smartisan Nut R1

  • The Smartisan Nut R1 is the first smartphone to launch with Dirac Panorama Sound. The phone has a traditional speaker setup with a primary speaker on the bottom for media and a receiver at the top for phone calls.
  • The Smartisan Nut r1 is a beast of a phone. It has a 6.2-inch display with 18.7:9 aspect ratio, 20+12MP dual rear cameras, 24MP front shooter, Snapdragon 845 processor, 6-8GB of RAM, 64GB-1TB(!) of storage, Quick Charge 4, and a 3,600 mAh battery. The variants are priced between $550 and $1,400 and it's available right now.

Dirac's goal is to disrupt the smartphone market and spur a larger focus on audio quality. The fact is the built-in speakers on most smartphones aren't very good. Technology like Panorama Sound can greatly improve the experience without requiring better hardware. That's what they're hoping to show with the Smartisan Nut R1. Do you care about the audio quality from your smartphone speakers?



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LineageOS 15.1 Changelog 18: Reader Mode, “Chrome Home” in Jelly, Per-app network restrictions, and more

On all supported devices, LineageOS 15.1 is released on a weekly basis. It can be hard to keep up with what's new in the popular AOSP-based custom ROM unless you religiously follow their Gerrit, so the team has put together a changelog to keep you updated on what's new in the ROM. Today, the team has published their 18th changelog, and there's a lot of features to cover since their last changelog post on April 1st. Here's what's new:

LineageOS Changelog since April 1st

  • It's now possible to restrict WiFi and/or mobile data usage for each app
  • LiveDisplay has been rewritten as a binderized HAL
  • Dialer can now enable Do Not Disturb during calls to avoid notification sounds while you're in a call
  • Reader mode can now tweak your display to make documents and long texts easier to read
  • Trebuchet now has smarter apps suggestions in the drawer. These will change during the day and whenever you plug in the headphones
  • Trebuchet can also put legacy app icons into an adaptive icon box
  • Jelly has a new "reach mode" that moves the top URL / search bar to the bottom for easier reachability
  • Updater has been updated for better reliability and it now supports dark mode through the Styles API
  • May security patches have been merged in 15.1
  • April and May security patches have been merged in 14.1
  • Chromium webview has been updated to version 66.0.3359.139 (both 14.1 and 15.1)
  • Keyboard now recognizes incognito text fields and it won't learn for suggestions when typing in one of them
  • FlipFlap now ignores low priority notifications (both 14.1 and 15.1)
  • Legacy prebuilt camera HAL 1 support has been re-added
  • SSH support has been re-added

Since the custom ROM was first announced back in February, it already had a ton of features for users to enjoy. These changes add to what's already a feature-packed experience for users.

Current list of supported LineageOS 15.1 devices

We've been tracking which devices have received official builds of LineageOS 15.1, so here's our current list of all supported devices:

The list has grown pretty extensively since the initial release. Currently missing on this list are devices with A/B partitions like the Google Pixel smartphones and the Xiaomi Mi A1. The LineageOS team is working on fixing their addon.d script (the script that backs up GApps and their SU addon) so that it works with A/B devices. Once that is finished, we should start seeing A/B devices get added to the roster.

Miscellaneous Changes

CVE Tracker

The LineageOS Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Tracker was a page where users could see which security vulnerabilities their device had patches merged for. However, that page was often outdated because it required the device maintainer to manually update the status of their device's patches. Until the team's auto-patcher is ready, they have made the page private.

Code of Conduct

In an effort to improve their public appearance and promote professionalism among the team, the Project Directors have adopted a Code of Conduct that applies to all members of the team.

Privacy Policy Update

The EU's GDPR went into effect today, so the team has updated their privacy policy to include information on how their Gerrit collects some personal information.

LineageOS 14.1 Roster Changes

LineageOS 14.1, based on Android 7.1 Nougat, still supports a ton of devices. The requirements for a build to be official back then weren't as strict as they are now because of the Charter, so many devices will still be on 14.1 for the time being. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge have been removed from the 14.1 build roster, however, due to "licensing issues of the device trees."



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ZTE Axon 7’s Android Oreo beta update has been leaked

The ZTE Axon 7's Android Oreo update is finally here, although you'll have to jump through some hoops to get it. A developer on our forums has managed to get their hands on a leaked build of the closed Android Oreo beta for the device, and he is providing it for all users to install.

ZTE Axon 7 Android Oreo ZTE Axon 7 Android Oreo ZTE Axon 7 Android Oreo ZTE Axon 7 Android Oreo ZTE Axon 7 Android Oreo

Screenshots via: XDA Member Victor13f

ZTE Axon 7's update history:

An Android Oreo leak to save the day: With ZTE's business operations effectively dead, it seems like there's no hope for Axon 7 owners to receive the Android Oreo update they were promised. However, XDA Senior Member NFound, a developer for the AOSP Extended custom ROM, has released the beta Android 8.0 Oreo build for the device. He has provided the update in the form of a TWRP-flashable build, which means you'll need to unlock the bootloader of the device to flash it. He has also created a video showing off the build, for those of you who want to see what to expect before you go down this path.

Download Android Oreo beta for the ZTE Axon 7

Instructions on how to flash the ROM



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OxygenOS 5.0.3 for the OnePlus 3/3T brings May security patch and Face Unlock

Last time we checked in on the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, they were receiving an OxygenOS Open Beta update with a few new features. Today, OnePlus has begun rolling out OxygenOS 5.0.3 to the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. This is a full stable release for all devices. The update includes Face Unlock, the latest security patch, and a bevy of other features and fixes. Here's the official changelog.

Launcher

  • Refined Shelf UI design
  • New design for App shortcuts
  • Supported more options when long pressing an icon

Gallery

  • Places: a map view of photos by location
  • Supported sharing photos to Shot-On-OnePlus
  • Added "Recently Deleted" collection

File Manager

  • Added "Large files" category

Weather

  • Added new widget for Launcher
  • Improved the positioning accuracy
  • Adjust refresh interval for weather information update

OxygenOS 5.0.3 also includes the May security patch and several optimizations to "improve several key areas." This is an OTA update that should start appearing on some devices right away, but it will ultimately roll out to everyone over the next few days.

OnePlus promised Face Unlock would be coming to the OnePlus 3/3T back in January. It's great to see them follow-up on their promise and continue to update a phone that certainly isn't new anymore. OnePlus has been consistently rolling out OxygenOS beta updates for these devices.


Source: OnePlus



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The LG V35 ThinQ shows up on the Wireless Power Consortium

LG is one of a handful of smartphone OEMs that have been having a hard time bringing in a profit. This has caused the company to take a new stance when it comes to releasing yearly flagship smartphones in an attempt to save some money. We have been told that LG likes the idea of keeping their main flagships in the spotlight until they feel the company is ready to release their successors. The company says they will be more inclined to release multiple variants of their current flagship instead of releasing a new one on schedule every year. We've already seen this with the LG V series and now we're able to see what the upcoming LG V35 ThinQ will look like, thanks to the Wireless Power Consortium.

Rumored Specs

  • Previous reports have revealed what hardware LG is going with in their upcoming LG V35 ThinQ.
  • The FullVision display is said to have a diagonal of 6″ with a Quad HD resolution and P-OLED technology.
  • The V35 ThinQ is said to have the same 16MP + 16MP dual camera setup on the back
  • Image shows LG is staying away from the notch this time around.

LG V35 ThinQ

We see a lot of the same design elements in this photo of the LG V35 ThinQ as we've seen in the Pixel 2 XL. The side bezels are kept extra slim with what looks like 2.5D glass on top of the display. Instead of opting for the trendy notch design LG seems to be keeping the top and bottom bezels as slim as possible while having enough room for the speaker, sensors, etc. AT&T chose not to sell the LG G7 ThinQ but one rumor from AndroidHeadlines says the wireless carrier will be carrying the LG V35 ThinQ.


Source: Wireless Power Consortium Via: @evleaks



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Samsung ordered to pay Apple $539 million for copying their design

As a result of a seven-year-long legal battle, Samsung has been ordered to pay $539 million dollars as a result of patent infringement. They were found liable all the way back in 2012, but disagreements over the amount to be paid caused massive delays. Samsung had already paid $399 million to Apple for infringement of patents.

The devices accused of copying Apple's design philosophies are Samsung's mobile phones and tablets released in 2010 and 2011, with the company accused of "slavishly" copying their products. If the verdict is upheld following the appeal, then they will have to pay an additional $140 million on top of the already paid amount.

"We believe deeply in the value of design," Apple said in a statement. "This case has always been about more than money."

Samsung's statement does not say whether they plan to appeal the verdict, but it's generally assumed that they will.

"Today's decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages," Samsung said in their statement. "We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers."

The verdict comes after Apple said it was seeking $1 billion in damages. The jury ruled that $533.3 million be paid for violation of design patents, while an additional $5.3 million be paid on utility patent violations. Samsung tried to argue they should only have to pay $28 million, which meant that the patent infringement would be limited only to the infringing components of the devices. This is instead of awarding Apple the full profits from device sales, which is what Apple was attempting to seek.

This isn't the first time that Samsung has had to pay money to Apple for patent infringement, paying $548 million to them back in 2015. $399 million of that value was for patents included in the ruling made yesterday.


Via: Reuters



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Chat with the Honor CEO on XDA every Friday (starting today)

With the release of the Honor 10, Honor has been very active in the XDA forums interacting with users. Now they are giving you the chance to have a chat with the CEO of the company as well as win some prizes.

Head over to the thread linked below and submit your question. The Honor CEO, George Zhao, will pick questions to answer between 8 and 9am New York time each Friday, starting today. Those users whose question gets answered will receive a free gift.

Submit your questions for the Honor CEO and you could win a free gift.

 

Submit Your Questions Here



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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Essential Phone 2 canceled as Andy Rubin considers selling the company

Andy Rubin's ambitious startup, Essential, is reportedly up for sale. According to Bloomberg, the company has worked on a successor to its debut smartphone, the Essential PH-1 (Essential Phone), but has since canceled it and shifted engineers towards developing a smart home product. While there's still a chance for the rumored Essential Phone 2 to see the light of day, the new report suggests that the possibility is slim.

A troubled start, but a promising future: 

Poor sales and inner turmoil reportedly doomed the company:

  • But sales numbers paint a different picture: A report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) states that the Essential PH-1 only sold 88,000 units in 2017. The President of Essential refuted the report by stating that the smartphone sold "in the six figures" in 2017 but did not provide an exact figure. A source told Bloomberg that the company has sold 150,000 to date.
  • Bloomberg reports that the company has lost "dozens of hardware and software engineers as well as top executives." The publication cited Brian Wallace, the original vice president of marketing, and Joe Tate, the head of hardware engineering, as examples of Essential's inner turmoil.

What's in store for Essential? Reportedly, the entire company, including its patents, hardware products, an upcoming smart home device, a camera attachment for the PH-1, and the company's engineers, are potentially up for sale. A deal hasn't been made with another company yet, though. Unfortunately for fans of the company's hardware products, the rumored Essential PH-2 (Essential Phone 2) has been canceled. Instead, the company has shifted its talent and resources to finish its smart home product which is set for release next year.

A silver lining: According to Bloomberg, if Essential manages to find a manufacturer other than Foxconn the company could return to the smartphone business.

Our take: The cancellation of the second generation Essential Phone saddens us. Essential's openness in communicating with its users on forums such as /r/Essential on Reddit, their embrace of Google's Project Treble, and same-day security patch updates have made the company a highly respected brand among Android enthusiasts. A loss of choice in the flagship smartphone market, especially from Essential, will be a blow for Android enthusiasts looking to make their next smartphone purchase.


Update: Official Essential Response

CEO of Essential, Andy Rubin, has posted a statement on his official Twitter account, essentially confirming the report. The tweet confirms that the company has canceled some products, but does not specify which ones have been canceled.



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Substratum’s rootless theme plugin for Android Oreo is half-off for 5 days

Substratum is one of the most popular Android modding tools available today. There's a huge community of talented people who have created awesome themes and mods. Now that a majority of new devices are running Android Oreo, you'll be required to purchase the Andromeda add-on to use Substratum. It will be on sale for 50% off this weekend.

  • Substratum is a powerful tool that can apply full custom themes without root. All it requires is access to a Windows, Mac, or Linux PC.
  • Andromeda is an add-on that allows Substratum to work on Android Oreo devices.
  • While Substratum is free, the required Oreo add-on is usually $1.99.
  • Andromeda will be 50% off ($0.99) from May 25th to May 30th.

The Substratum installation process is not nearly as complicated as some people think. You don't have to enter complex commands in ADB or do any hardcore hacking. You literally just need an Android Oreo device, a computer, the Substratum and Andromeda apps, the desktop client, and a USB cable to connect to your PC. The desktop client will do all the hard work for you.

andromeda ★ substratum stock rootless backend 8.0+ ($1.99, Google Play) →

substratum theme engine (Free, Google Play) →



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Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon 710 with a multi-core AI Engine

Qualcomm has officially announced the Snapdragon 710, the first system-on-chip in their new 700-tier chipset series. The 710 is the company's latest chipset in the upper mid-range market of smart devices, succeeding the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 found on devices such as the Xiaomi Mi Note 3, Xiaomi Mi 6X, and BQ Aquaris X2 Pro. The 710, like the high-end Snapdragon 835 and Snapdragon 845, is fabricated on a 10nm manufacturing process.

When compared to the Snapdragon 660:

  • Artificial Intelligence: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 introduces a new "multi-core AI Engine" which is said to deliver "up to 2X" improvements in on-device AI application performance. Examples of applications of AI technology include capturing contextually-aware photos and videos and personalizing voice patterns for more natural interactions.
  • Capture: The new Spectra 250 ISP allows image capture up to 32MP single ISP and 20MP dual ISP. The AI Engine allows for deep portrait mode effects and facial recognition with "active depth sensing." This should expand the number of Android devices with portrait mode and face unlock features, which were previously limited to devices mostly from top-tier manufacturers with the ability to develop or purchase the right technology.
  • Display: The chipset allows for 4K (3860×2160) High Dynamic Range (HDR) playback. This capability was previously limited to Qualcomm's high-end Snapdragon 800 tier chipsets. Users will need to have access to content recorded in 4K HDR to take advantage of this capability; popular online video streaming services such as Netflix offer this kind of content on certain payment tiers.
  • Connectivity: The new Snapdragon X15 LTE modem is a Category 15 modem that supports up to 800 Mbps download speeds, and Category 7 for up to 300Mbps upload speeds. It also brings 4×4 MIMO technology (up to 2 aggregated carriers) to improve throughput in poor signal conditions. Lastly, License-Assisted Access (LAA) will bring faster connectivity in congested areas.
  • Bluetooth: The system-on-chip supports Bluetooth 5 for greater connectivity and throughput of Bluetooth Low Energy transmissions. Qualcomm's TrueWireless Stereo Plus supports wireless listening and voice calls between a pair of earbuds without needing a wire between them (think Apple AirPods).
  • Performance: The new Adreno 616 Visual Processing Subsystem allows for a 40% reduction in power consumption when gaming and playing back 4K HDR content and a 20% reduction in power consumption when streaming video. The 8 CPU cores are built with the Kryo 360 architecture (2x Cortex-A75 @ 2.2GHz and 6x Cortex-A55 @ 1.7GHz). The GPU is the Adreno 616. Many of these details were previously leaked through a reading of kernel source code from Qualcomm's CodeAurora Forums.
  • Battery: The chipset offers Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4+ technology, though it should be noted that the manufacturer must license the technology from Qualcomm to activate it on their devices. So far, only the ZTE Nubia Z17 and the Razer Phone support Quick Charge 4+.Qualcomm Snapdragon 710

Availability:

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 system-on-chip is available today for Qualcomm's partners and will be shipping on devices in the second quarter of 2018. No devices have been officially confirmed to feature the new chipset, but we have previously identified two unreleased Xiaomi devices with the Snapdragon 710.

Images sourced from Qualcomm, retrieved via Anandtech's coverage.



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YouTube Music will let you upload your own songs like Google Play Music

Last week, Google announced a revamped YouTube Music service. It will have an ad-supported free tier and a paid "Premium" tier. Understandably, Google Play Music users have been wondering about how this new service will affect them. Google has been slowly sharing more information about the future of Play Music.

According to The Verge, Google confirmed that YouTube Music will get all of the key features from Play Music. That includes the ability to upload music to your collection. Since Amazon recently got rid of a similar feature, Play Music is one of the few places where you can upload local music (for free) and stream it on other devices (for free). So this is a pretty important feature for Play Music users.

Google had already said nothing will happen to Play Music for the time being. Current subscribers will automatically get YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium (formerly known as YouTube Red). The head of music at YouTube said uploaded collections, playlists, and preferences will be migrated to YouTube Music. But we were still uncertain about the ability to upload music. Google Play Music allows users to upload up to 50,000 songs for free, which is pretty amazing.

The rollout of YouTube Music has been extremely slow, but at least we know all of the best features from Google Play Music will eventually make their way to the new service. For the time being there's no reason for Play Music diehards to make the switch.


Source: The Verge



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Join 2.0 brings IFTTT support, predefined remote actions, and more

Join started as an application from João Dias that made it much easier to sync and share content between devices. At the time, the main player in the game was an application called Pushbullet, but even it received some negative backlash from the community when some of its features were gated off behind a subscription service. Since then Join has stepped up as a viable alternative, but lately, the application has received updates that put it far and beyond what the original application did. It has just received a big update to version 2.0 that adds support for IFTTT, predefined remote actions, and much more.

One of the highlights from this big 2.0 update is the added support for three new devices. Previously, Join had support for different devices thanks to the Android application, the Chrome and Firefox extensions, the Windows 10 application, and even its web portal. This new update adds support for IFTTT, Note-RED, and MQTT. So for example, you are now able to trigger the hundreds of IFTTT services from any device that is connected to Join. Node-RED is a programming tool that lets you wire together hardware devices, APIs, and online services.

João Dias describes Node-RED as Tasker for the Windows, MacOS, and Linux PC, and this new Join update can now trigger any of these automated tasks. Another highlight of this update is labeled as "Actions" in the side menu of the application. It will let you do predefined tasks on remote devices. For example, we can do things like quickly sending a voice note from one device to another, open applications remotely, dictate a tweet from your device, and more. The update also gives you the ability to target Tasker then your predefined actions can perform anything it or its plugins support.

Check out the video above to see the new features of Join 2.0.

Join by joaoapps (Free+, Google Play) →



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Android Oreo update now rolling out to the NVIDIA SHIELD TV

Google announced Android TV back in 2014 and since then we've seen a number of companies integrate this platform into their products. It's become a popular feature for smart TVs and we've even seen a number of dedicated set-top boxes released as well. NVIDIA has had the Shield TV on the market for close to three years now and the company is still putting in the work to push out updates. Today, it has been announced that NVIDIA is rolling out the Android Oreo (8.0) update to the Shield TV.

Google put a lot of work into the big Oreo update for Android TV in hopes of making the home screen as convenient and customizable as possible. This new update for the NVIDIA Shield TV comes with this new home screen that features a row of applications and games at the top. Underneath is a "Play Next" row for a quick and easy way to continue the movie or TV show you were previously watching. The update also comes with a new "Channels" feature that allows apps to show up as individual rows (such as Netflix or Plex) with quick access to suggested media.

Assuming your favorite media application developer supports the new Android TV Oreo update, all of your media applications will show up as channels on the home screen. Of course, this is all customizable so you can choose which channels you want to see and which ones you don't. NVIDIA has also worked with 3rd-party companies with this update bringing in support for Arlo cameras, Emerson Sensi, Ikea Tadfri, LG smart appliances, and Scenes support for Phillips Hue.

There are some under the hood changes from NVIDIA that comes with this update as well including support for high polling rate gaming mice for NVIDIA GameStream, improved support for game controllers (such as Xbox 360 and DualShock 4), the ability to connect to WiFi without disconnecting the ethernet connection, and more.


Source: NVIDIA Via: CNET



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Huawei will stop providing bootloader unlocking for all new devices

Earlier this month, we wrote about Huawei and Honor users not being unable to access the page for generating bootloader unlock codes. The page was removed with no explanation, but they were at least still taking requests in a Google Doc and giving out bootloader unlock codes. Today, the news is much grimmer. Huawei (and Honor) will stop providing unlock codes completely.

The announcement shown above is from the Huawei unlock page. It was first discovered by XDA members in the Honor View 10 forum. The announcement says they have stopped the unlock code application service to "provide better user experience and avoid issues caused by ROM flashing." The service will be stopped in 60 days for devices released before today. That means old devices have about two months and new devices will never be eligible.

Obviously, this is a pretty big blow to the developer and modding community. Many considered Huawei to be one of the few developer-friendly OEMs. The bootloader unlock codes are what allow users to do things like install TWRP, use custom ROMs, and get root access. Not giving out unlock codes essentially makes the devices useless for developers.

Huawei has not released an official statement (beyond the announcement pop-up) on this situation yet. This is a disappointing situation that we hope is not as dire as it seems.

Thanks for the tip miststudent2011!



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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro kernel source code for the Android 8.1 Oreo release is now available

Xiaomi has a very unique relationship with the developer community at large, especially here at XDA. While often their devices are cheap and unlockable, they have failed to abide by the GPLv2 on multiple occasions in the past. As a result, it doesn't matter if the devices are unlockable since the developers can't do anything with them. Kernel sources are needed to develop custom ROMs and kernels for an Android phone. Thankfully Xiaomi pledged to release kernel sources within 3 months after launch. It's still not abiding by the GPL, but it's certainly a huge step forward. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro on Android 8.1 Oreo is the next of the company's devices to have kernel sources released on GitHub.

Interestingly, Xiaomi already released kernel source code for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro – but for Android Nougat. Releasing them a month later for Android Oreo signifies that, at least for now, the company is committed to change. While there is definitely no shortage of ROMs for the device on our forums, developers will no longer have to rely on shims to make sure everything works.

Android 8.1 Oreo for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 launched in March and with it came Project Treble support. This makes it one of the very few devices that have been updated after launch to support it, despite no requirement to do so. Xiaomi supporting its devices is great to see and seeing them stick to their 3-month window is even better. Releasing kernel sources in this instance isn't even necessary for development to take place as you can easily flash a Generic System Image (GSI) on any Project Treble enabled device and use LineageOS, Resurrection Remix or even AOSP if you wish. Still, being able to develop for a specific device is, at the moment anyway, far superior to using a GSI simply for compatibility reasons.


Source: GitHub



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Xiaomi Mi 8 and MIUI 10 will be announced on May 31st

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun took to Weibo the other day to confirm that the company's forthcoming Shenzhen event on May 31st would be used to announce multiple product launches. A device we may see is the Xiaomi Mi 7, but that's unconfirmed. What we will for sure be seeing is the Xiaomi Mi 8 alongside MIUI 10. MIUI is the company's custom Android skin and is packed full of features. MIUI 10 is the latest iteration, and as such is expected to have new features and improvements over its predecessor.

Xiaomi Mi 8 MIUI 10

The text at the bottom roughly translates to say that MIUI 10 is "faster than lightning".

We don't officially know anything about MIUI 10, but some have speculated that the latest beta updates to MIUI 9 will actually be MIUI 10. They show a drastically different UI and full-screen navigation gestures. Right now, these changes are only present on the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2.

While Xiaomi has a history of providing updates for their older phones, MIUI 10 will only run on devices higher than Android 5.0 Lollipop. This bids a final farewell to older devices that the company still updated. Owners of those older devices won't like it, but it may be that unnecessary money and time was being put into keeping those devices up to date. With Xiaomi also opening a dedicated smartphone camera development department, it may be that they are taking software seriously in order to compete with the best. As a result, it doesn't make sense to focus on time on older devices.

Xiaomi Mi 8 MIUI 10

Xiaomi Mi 8 Promotional Poster

What's interesting is that the Xiaomi Mi 8 appears to be what the Mi 7 would have been. The company mentions that they are launching the Mi 8 for their 8 year anniversary, so it could be that they skipped a number in order to keep it in line with the age of the company. If that is the case, then we know quite a lot about the device already. If it is indeed the Mi 7, it will have a notched AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 845 (as confirmed), and a possible 3,500mAh battery. It will also possibly be the first Xiaomi device to launch with Always on Display, which very few phones have.



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Honor 9 April security update rolling out, brings Face Unlock feature

More and more budget devices are being pumped out by OEMs these days. Honor is one of these OEMs, a company which tends to support older or weaker devices (though sometimes with reluctance). An update is rolling out to the Honor 9 now that updates the phone to EMUI 8.0.0.364. The update includes the April security patch and face unlocking has also been added at the same time. Honor is currently rolling out the update in a staged rollout globally, meaning that users will not all get the update at the same time. This is done in case there are any problems so Honor can pull the plug before it affects all devices.

The April security patch is a particularly important as one of the worst vulnerabilities would allow an attacker to create a file that exploits the media framework. This file would allow for code execution, where an attacker could theoretically wreak havoc on your phone. This is because of the privileged status of the media framework, as anything running through it would usually inherit its permissions, too. The fixes for the other exploits are important too, but that's certainly the most important of them all. Security patches are important for protecting your device and they are paramount to security.

While unconfirmed to work on the Honor 9, XDA Senior Member ante0 created a port of the Honor face unlock feature that could theoretically be installed on other EMUI 8 devices. The reason it's desired is simple: Honor's implementation is much faster and safer than Android's built-in version. If it works similarly on the Honor 9 as on other devices, then users certainly won't be disappointed. If you're looking forward to trying it early, you can try to use a VPN and connect to any of the countries where users have successfully received the update, which are mentioned in the thread linked below.


XDA Thread: Honor 9 B364 Rolling Out Now



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MediaTek Unveils the Helio P22: a Mid-Range SoC with Support for AI Frameworks

While the smartphone market is getting flooded with Qualcomm SoCs, MediaTek continues its dominion over low and mid-range SoCs, particularly in Asian countries. To keep up with the competition, MediaTek has unveiled the new Helio P22, bringing advanced 12nm process, AI applications, dual-camera support and better connectivity for mid-tier devices and below.

MediaTek Helio P22 Key Specifications

Processor

CPU Type ARM Cortex-A53 Cores Octa (8)
Max Frequency 2.0 GHz CPU Bit 64-bit

Memory and Storage

Memory Type LPDDR3; LPDDR4x Memory Frequency 933MHz; 1600MHz
Max Memory Size 4GB; 6GB Storage Type eMMC 5.1

Connectivity

Cellular Technologies Carrier Aggregation, CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev. A (SRLTE), FDD / TDD LTE, HSPA+ Specific Functions TAS 2.0, HUPE, IMS (VoLTE\ViLTE\WoWi-Fi), eMBMS, Dual 4G VoLTE (DSDS), Band 71
LTE Category Cat-4, Cat-7 DL / Cat-13 UL GNSS Beidou, Galileo, Glonass, GPS
WiFi a/b/g/n/ac Bluetooth 5.0

Graphics

GPU Type IMG PowerVR GE8320 Max GPU Frequency 650MHz
Max Display Resolution 1600 x 720 Video Encoding H.264, 1080p @30fps

Camera

Camera ISP 21MP, 13+8MP Capture FPS 21MP @ 30fps; 13MP+8MP @ 30fps
Camera Features AI Face ID (Face Unlock), AI Smart Photo Album, Single Cam/Dual-Cam Bokeh, EIS, RSC Engine, MEMA 3DNR, Multi-Frame Noise Reduction

The MediaTek Helio P22 is built with TSMC 12nm FinFET technology, allowing for an optimal mix of power saving and performance for the mid-range. The SoC features a 64bit Octa-core setup of ARM Cortex-A53's with a maximum CPU frequency of 2GHz. For graphics, the IMG PowerVR GE8320 with a maximum frequency of 650MHz allows support for displays up to 1600 x 720 resolution (20:9 HD+), as well as video encoding of up to 1080p @ 30fps. The Helio P22 supports LPDDR3 and LPDDR4x for memory with RAM up to 4GB and 6GB respectively. Although you do get restricted to eMMC 5.1 support for storage.

The Helio P22 also brings Edge AI enhancements powered by MediaTek NeuroPilot technology. This allows the Helio P22 to support common AI frameworks such as TensorFlow, TF Lite, Caffe, and Caffe2, as well as allows it to auto-select the best available AI resource for developer efficiency. AI accelerated camera features on the SoC include Face ID, smart photo albums, dual-camera depth of field, and more.

For the camera, the SoC supports either a single 21MP ISP or a dual camera setup of 13+8MP. Either setup can capture at 30fps. There is support for single camera and dual camera bokeh, EIS, multi-frame noise reduction and more.

One of the highlights of the SoC is the support for LTE on both SIM cards on phones with dual SIM support. You also get 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 as well as GNSS support for Beidou, Galileo, Glonass, and GPS.

Combined, the Helio P22 packs in key technologies that have been available on higher end SoCs and brings them to the mid and low ends. While not every feature will be available on every smartphone that comes with the Helio P22, support for all of these features allows OEMs much more flexibility and the consumers much more choice in the final product.

The Helio P22 is in volume production now and is expected to be available in consumer devices by the end of Q2 2018. You can expect to see Helio P22-powered devices in markets like India and China and others in the Southeast Asian region.


Source: PR Newswire



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After months of inconsistency, Trusted Places is disappearing from Smart Lock

Smart Lock is Google's system for providing you with ways to disable and enable your lock screen dynamically under certain conditions. It was added in Android 5.0 Lollipop. You can have it detect when your phone is on your person or when it's connected to a certain Bluetooth device and automatically disable the lock screen. You could also use biometrics such as facial recognition or voice recognition, but the former has been far outclassed by device OEMs like OnePlus and Honor. One of the most popular Smart Lock methods is Trusted Places, which disables the lock screen when you're at locations that you've deemed safe. It was a cool idea, but it has been unreliable for a few months.

Users in the past few months have been complaining about the unreliability. We found many threads in our forums about the issue. Lately, users have noticed Trusted Places being completely removed from Smart Lock. We can confirm that the feature has disappeared on a couple of our own devices, including a stock Android Oreo Google Pixel 2XL and the Sony Xperia XZ2. Users often complained about its inconsistency or the fact it just wouldn't work at all. Google may have decided it's easier to simply remove the feature rather than try to improve it and fix it.

trusted places

Screenshot showing that Trusted Places has disappeared entirely on our Google Pixel 2 XL running on Android Oreo.

If a replacement will come in the future nobody knows, as Google could eventually try replacing it with something else. It was a useful feature to some, especially when it worked. When the feature disappears on your device, you'll have to resort to using one of the other smart unlock options instead of Trusted Places, if you still want to make use of it. A common suggestion is setting up a Fitbit, smartwatch, or another Bluetooth device as your trusted device.

Have you noticed the disappearance on your device?



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Google codename “Kidd” is a high-performance Kaby Lake G Chromebook

Kaby Lake G is the codename for Intel's new series of high-performance processors with integrated AMD Radeon graphics. They made their debut at CES earlier this year. A new board is in development on the Chromium Git with Intel and AMD's taboo love affair.

The board, codename "Kidd," is a Chromebook (rather than a tablet or Chromebox). Aside from its form-factor and chip, there's not much else to glean from the initial commit.

Since Intel announced Kaby Lake G in late 2017, only a handful of devices with the chips on board have been released. In the few benchmarking results available, the chips especially deliver in the graphics department. Notebookcheck reported that the Radeon-powered XPS 15 ran cooler, quieter, and was thinner than its NVIDIA-powered counterpart while being nearly as fast.

Historically, the case for high specs on a Chromebook didn't exist for the majority of consumers. Now, with Linux apps released for Chrome OS, people can install full desktop Steam onto their devices (Pixelbooks only for now). GPU acceleration has not been ironed out by the Chrome developers yet, so the experience of playing games is pretty poor. The good news is that GPU acceleration is on the roadmap.

When GPU acceleration comes to Linux apps, gaming natively on Chrome OS will finally be a reality – and with that comes a higher appetite for quality graphics. It's no wonder that Google is planning for the future with Raven Ridge and Kaby Lake G Chromebooks, especially as AMD developers are contributing directly to the Chromium tree.

When we see a new board added to the Chromium Git, it's usually a case of months – even a year plus – before the device comes to market, but in the meantime, we will follow Kidd's development very closely.



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HTC U12+ is official: Snapdragon 845, Edge Sense 2.0, and quad cameras

After months of leaks and rumors, HTC has officially launched its new flagship smartphone: the HTC U12+. The phone is the successor of the U11+, which was a mid-cycle refresh of the U11. Most of the specifications of the device were already known thanks to a detailed specifications leak last week.

In some ways, the HTC U12+ is a standard 2018 flagship smartphone, as it features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip, a 6-inch display, and dual rear cameras. However, it does have many differentiating factors, including the lack of a display notch, the inclusion of dual front cameras, better audio, and Edge Sense 2.0.

Let's take a look at the specifications of the U12+:

HTC U12+ – Specifications at a glance

HTC U12+

HTC U12+ Specifications
Dimensions and weight 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7-9.7 mm, 188g
Software HTC Sense on top of Android 8.0 Oreo
CPU Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4x 2.8GHz Kryo 385 Gold + 4x 1.8GHz Kryo 385 Silver cores)
GPU Adreno 630
RAM and storage 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage / 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage; hybrid microSD card slot
Battery 3500mAh
Display 6-inch Quad HD+ (2880×1440) Super LCD6 with an 18:9 aspect ratio
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB Type-C port (USB 3.1), dual nano SIM (nano SIM/microSD)
Bands GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WCDMA: 850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz
FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/28/32/66
TDD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41
Rear camera 12MP "UltraPixel 4" camera with 1.4μm pixels, f/1.75 aperture, Dual Pixel autofocus, 2x optical zoom, OIS, EIS
16MP telephoto camera with 1.0μm pixels, f/2.6 aperture
Front-facing camera Dual 8MP front-facing cameras with 1.12μm pixels, f/2.0 aperture, 84-degree wide-angle

The HTC U12+'s design is an iteration of the U11+, which was the first HTC flagship to feature an 18:9 display. The U12+ is more compact and thinner than the U11+. The design does have some major differences. The cameras are placed horizontally in the center of the back, with the dual LED flash being placed below the camera module. The fingerprint sensor is found below the LED flash, giving the phone a look similar to the LG V30.

HTC uses a cold polished 3D glass technique for the U12+, which is said to help reduce bezel thickness. The most distinct feature on the front is the lack of a display notch. Unlike many device makers, HTC has chosen not to use a display notch to increase display size. The stated reason for this is because the company's BoomSound speakers take up room on the front of the device, which means that a notched display was impossible to achieve.

Interestingly, the U12+ has pressure sensitive volume and power buttons instead of using physical buttons. The buttons have non-configurable haptic feedback. As the buttons are no longer physical buttons, they cannot be depressed.

Display

The HTC U12+ has a 6-inch Quad HD+ (2880×1440) Super LCD6 screen with 537 PPI and an 18:9 aspect ratio. For the most part, the display's specifications are similar to the U11+, although the brightness rating is currently unknown. The panel supports the sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamuts, and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It also supports HDR10 content.

Performance

The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip. The SoC has four Kryo 385 Gold clocked at 2.8GHz (semi-custom cores based on Cortex-A75) and four Kryo 385 Silver cores clocked at 1.8GHz, paired with the Adreno 630 GPU.

It comes in two variants: 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, and 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, along with a hybrid microSD card slot for expandable storage.

Audio

HTC aims to make audio a differentiating factor. The U12+ has stereo BoomSound speakers which are said to be 50% louder than the company's last flagship phone. The speakers act as a woofer and a tweeter, and have their own dedicated amplifier. The phone comes with aptX HD and has Hi-Res audio recording and certification.

The U12+ does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack. HTC instead bundles USonic USB Type-C earphones that have active noise cancellation.

Cameras

HTC was one of the companies to include dual cameras in phones, starting with the One M8 in 2014. However, the company dropped the secondary camera because of its poor execution. Last year, it stated that its next phone would definitely have a dual camera setup, and the U12+ delivers.

The primary camera of the U12+ has a 12MP "UltraPixel 4" sensor with 1.4μm pixels, f/1.75 aperture, and optical image stabilization (OIS). It's augmented by a 16MP telephoto camera that has 1.0μm pixels and an f/2.6 aperture. The dual camera setup enables 2x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom. The cameras have HTC's HDR Boost 2 for better HDR photography. Bokeh mode (HTC's implementation of portrait mode) is also included.

The U12+ can record video at 4K resolution up to 60FPS, thanks to the Snapdragon 845's capabilities. Slow motion is supported at 1080p up to 240FPS, and 8MP photos can be taken during video recording. Video recording also uses HTC's Sonic Zoom feature, which uses four inbuilt microphones to zoom in an audio source during video recording for better audio capture.

The U12+ has quad cameras in total. In addition to having dual rear cameras, the phone also has dual front cameras. It has two 8MP sensors with f/2.0 aperture and 1.12μm pixels. Why go for dual front-facing cameras? HTC's reason to go for such a setup was to provide an 84-degree wide-angle view, and to implement a real-time bokeh effect.

Edge Sense 2.0

The HTC U11 was the first HTC phone to feature a squeezable frame, called Edge Sense. The functionality was improved with the launch of the U11+. Google has also included a less capable implementation of the feature (Active Edge) with the Google Pixel 2.

The U12+ features Edge Sense 2.0. It has a new Edge launcher, new gestures, and is integrated with Google Assistant. The feature now knows which hand the user is using for better one-handed use.

Connectivity

The U12+ is powered by a 3500mAh battery. It supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4, but HTC will bundle a Quick Charge 3 adapter in the box. The phone has IP68 certification for dust and water resistance.

It has the usual connectivity options including a hybrid dual nano SIM/microSD card slot, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 5.0.

The phone is powered by HTC Sense on top of Android 8.0 Oreo.

HTC U12+ – Pricing and availability

The HTC U12+ will be available in Translucent Blue, Ceramic Black, and Flame Red colors. The Translucent Blue color is similar to the U11+'s Translucent Black color option, and it has a translucent glass back.

The phone will be available starting June. In Europe, it will be priced at €799 for the 6GB RAM/64GB storage variant, and for £699 in the UK. In the US, the 64GB storage variant will be available for $799, while the 128GB storage variant will cost $849.

Let us know your opinions about the U12+ in the comments below.



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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

MIUI 9.5 Global Stable ROM officially available for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

MIUI 9 has been a highly anticipated software update for MIUI devices. We were previously told which smartphones Xiaomi makes that would be receiving this update and since then we've watched as they have rolled it out to more and more devices. The Redmi Note 5 Pro and its other variants have received a lot of attention since launch, and a beta version of the MIUI Global ROM leaked back in March of this year. There's no need to flash beta version of the OEM ROM anymore as Xiaomi has officially released the MIUI 9.5 Global ROM for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro.

There's been a lot of confusion surrounding the popular Redmi Note 5 series from Xiaomi, and rightly so. The company previously released the MIUI 9.5 Global Stable ROM for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 in India (which is actually a rebranded version of the Redmi 5 Plus in China). The Redmi Note 5 Plus in China shouldn't be confused with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in India since it actually has upgraded hardware specs. It doesn't end there either. There is a slightly different variant of the Indian Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro which is sold in China as the Redmi Note 5.

This is why you may have had this post confused with a previous article we wrote about the Redmi Note 5 in India receiving a stable Global ROM of MIUI 9.5 update. We're looking at a similar software update here, though, with many bug fixes, quick search options, and much more. The team has yet to publish an official changelog in Xiaomi's Mi forums and the thread has actually been taken down (as of writing this). However, you can find the official download page linked below, or you can grab the actual ROM files directly with the Recovery ROM right here and the Fastboot ROM right here.

Download MIUI 9.5 Global Stable ROM (Android 8.1 Oreo) for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro



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Qualcomm is able to release the Snapdragon 845 source code in 6 weeks

Qualcomm's latest high-end system-on-chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, was announced at the Snapdragon Tech Summit back in December. The chipset offers 4 Kryo 385 (A75 "performance") and 4 Kryo 385 (A55 "efficiency") CPU cores, the latest Adreno 630 GPU, the Spectra 280 ISP, the Hexagon 685 DSP, and the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem. There's also a new Secure Processing Unit (SPU) and a dedicated Hi-Fi DAC that supports 32-bit audio called the AQT1000. The Snapdragon 845 SoC is a powerhouse in benchmarks and it is already available in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and the OnePlus 6. Developers on our forums have been itching to get their hands on a device with Qualcomm's latest and greatest, but there's just one thing that has made some developers worry about the future of development on the platform: The lack of publicly available source code for the kernel, HALs, framework branches, and more on the CodeAurora Forums.


Qualcomm and the CodeAurora Forums

If you've ever wondered why developers on our forums favor working on devices with Qualcomm chipsets over devices with chipsets from HiSilicon, Samsung, MediaTek, and others, the reason is that of Qualcomm's friendliness with the custom development community. The Android that custom ROM developers build from is based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Google releases a public part of AOSP but they also develop parts of Android in private (which is why if you build a ROM from AOSP today, you won't get any of the fancy new features in Android P.) For custom ROM developers, the only choice they have to merge Android's latest platform features is to wait for Google to release the source code with the final release. Chipset vendors, however, have an agreement with Google to get early access to the next version of Android—they fork from the private AOSP repositories, modify their chipset code to be compatible, and then distribute this code to OEMs to build and distribute ROMs for their devices.

Project Treble

General update process for each release of Android. Source: Google.

To abide by the GNU General Public License (GPL) under which the Linux kernel is licensed, the chipset vendors and OEMs are required to release the kernel source code, but that's all they're required to release. The kernel source code for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and the OnePlus 6 are already available, for instance. That's enough for developers to get started on porting AOSP-based custom ROMs on these devices, but just having access to the kernel source code doesn't mean it'll be easy to port LineageOS 15.1 to these devices (though that's changing thanks to Project Treble). All of the chipset specific code for new chipset features is usually unavailable in these kernel source code releases, which is expected since the code would reveal how proprietary chipset features work. Developers have access to this code in the form of precompiled binaries (called a Binary Large Object or BLOB), but it's nearly impossible to combine these BLOBs with their work on an AOSP ROM since there's no documentation on how that would work.

Fortunately for developers, that's where Qualcomm's CodeAurora Forums (CAF) comes in handy. On CAF, Qualcomm releases the public parts of their chipset specific code in a way that makes it really easy for ROM developers to build for the platform without having to know how the new chipset features work. Developers just need to fork the public parts of the new platform repositories (such as hardware/qcom/display and vendor/qcom-opensource/bluetooth) and combine it with the precompiled binaries and it'll basically just work for the most part. Qualcomm has released their chipset specific code on CAF for previous SoCs such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820/821 and Snapdragon 835, and usually within days of the chipset being announced! However, it has been 5 months since the Snapdragon 845 was announced, and we have yet to see the company's usual source code drops under the sdm845 branch.

CAF Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Searching CAF for source code relating to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC

The delayed release of sdm845 sources in CAF has led some developers to worry that Qualcomm would be abandoning the forum, in effect becoming like MediaTek by only sharing sources with their partners and not the community. The developers we spoke to are concerned that this would be detrimental to custom ROM development on devices from companies like Xiaomi, as CAF sources are often necessary to build stable ROMs for Xiaomi's Snapdragon devices. We reached out to Qualcomm to find out what's going on, and we finally have some good news to share: CAF isn't being abandoned, it's just that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 code drop won't happen until Qualcomm announces their new mobile platforms. The reason? Because of leaks.


CodeAurora Forum and Qualcomm Chip Leaks

When Qualcomm engineers are working on new platform features for their chipsets, it's rare for them to only develop these features with one chipset in mind. It's possible for unreleased chipsets to use the same software found in already announced chipsets like the Snapdragon 845. While companies often use code names to prevent leaks, even that doesn't totally prevent leaks from happening. For example, details of the unreleased Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 were found in CAF by Roland Quandt from WinFuture. We later found out from CAF that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 was being re-branded to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710. Qualcomm hasn't confirmed the existence of the Snapdragon 670/Snapdragon 710, but thanks to references in CAF we already know a lot about the upcoming chipset.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 Qualcomm Snapdragon 710

Thus, to prevent leaks like this from occurring, Qualcomm chose to delay the release of source code for the Snapdragon 845. We're told that the company won't be releasing the source code for the chipset until after the new mobile platforms are announced. After about 6 weeks from now, the company will be able to release the sdm845 sources on CAF. A Qualcomm representative apologized for the delay in source code release, stating that the company is reviewing their chipset naming conventions in code so they can release code for already announced chipsets while still avoiding leaks.



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