Remember the Nexus 4? You might, but Google isn’t particularly invested in keeping it in everyone’s memory anymore. Out of all the devices slated to get the Android 6.0 update, the Nexus 4 didn’t make the cut. To be completely fair, the Nexus 4 is pretty old, and all devices will eventually reach the end of their official support, but if you’re still rocking a Nexus 4 it might be a little disappointing.
The good news is that it’s still a Nexus device, and that means unofficial support for the device will last for years and years past when Google decides it’s time to retire the phone. A Nexus owner, Dmitry Grinberg, has kindly uploaded a list of instructions for building your own Android 6.0 Marshmallow ROM to install a Nexus 4, complete with an optional radio flashing that will bring LTE support for the not-officially-LTE Nexus 4.
If you’re not interested in compiling things for yourself, there’s also a pre-built image you can go ahead and flash to get your Nexus 4 updated to the latest Android release. Not a bad deal for a device that’s no longer officially supported.
source: Dmitry Grinberg
Come comment on this article: Here’s how to install Android 6.0 on your Nexus 4
Batting an eye may have missed a revolution, but in the case of Google’s Nexus series the clear-and-present is effervescent. The trouble? It’s not alone. Google’s grand series of Android reference devices have always been held in high regard among the development community, as well as the “purists”. For years, they have been the sole way to get unadulterated stock Android on any random given day. The question is: now that more and more OEMs are making use of stock, or near-stock AOSP builds of the mobile OS, do we even need a Nexus program anymore?
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The case four
While this piece will largely focus on why the Nexus program has run its course, let me first discuss why it’s just as important as ever:
- Google needs to have a reference device by which OEMs and developers alike can use to do what they do best: create stuff.
- Google can indirectly force stubborn OEMs to adopt new APIs and standards since the “base” Android model already use them.
- Google can continue to foster new and stronger partnerships with the OEMs chosen to develop the Nexus hardware.
- Google can keep Android relevant and have a visible platform on which to showcase the newest OS builds.
Without a doubt, these four reasons are almost iron-clad in their support structure for Android itself. Were the mobile operating system purely a software experience, it would exist largely as an “idea”; a series of suggestions about how to do things. The Nexus products provide, in a sense, a fall-back for Google to enforce its guidelines and requirements, such as Material Design.
On a personal level, I very much enjoy the Nexus hardware and to this day still have a Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. The latter in particular – the white variant – looks more stylish than many phones on the market today as far as I’m concerned. Still, both for the sake of argument and as a result of the mounting criticism of Nexus products on the whole, let us consider just why the platform is not relevant anymore.
On a personal level, I very much enjoy the Nexus hardware…but let’s consider why it may be time to terminate.
Stock Android: still a selling point in 2015?
While in the midst of writing this piece, I stumbled onto a review CNET did years ago, of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The jist was quite simple: the phone was hardly a standout product. Rather, the inclusion of ICS made it relevant. It made me think: people have been criticizing the Nexus 5X and 6P since the first pictures leaked out. The design, the hump. Then the specs hit: only 2GB of RAM on LG’s model? No OIS, on Huawei’s? Neither have wireless charging? The Internet was already de-legitimatizing the devices and it has only intensified since the official announcement.
Even the real benefit of stock Android, getting the updates first, has eroded. Owners of the two Samsung Nexi discovered this years ago, but even last year saw major mishaps. The Nexus 7 cellular variants didn’t receive Lollipop until this February and even the Nexus 9 has been embarrassingly slow on the updates. Meanwhile, LG, HTC, and even Samsung managed to get 5.0 on their major devices in an unprecedentedly fast fashion. Of course there are reasons for these delays, namely irregular hardware and low installed user bases, but the potential promise of being first is a somewhat broken one.
Now that even companies like Samsung are severely trimming the fat off their skins, not to mention offering beautiful devices, Google’s new Nexus devices are “just another” product to consider, a proposition made all the more difficult overseas where even the Nexus 5X is borderline expensive. The problem is magnified by the fact that OEMs with low-cost hardware like Alcatel and Motorola have basically taken to using pure Android.
Flawed by Design
Motorola managed to turn quite a lot of heads this year with its trio of new products. Even the budget priced, low-spec Moto G was deemed a major win due to the inclusion of LTE, color customization on Moto Maker, and availability in a 16GB/2GB RAM option. Likewise the fact it offers an almost stock Android experience means that it runs smoothly, yet still has a couple of unique Moto Actions relegated to launching the camera and turning on a makeshift flashlight.
It’s not even a bad looking phone, either. Sure the G is a bit chunky, but given the price that’s to be expected. But with that girth comes water resistance, and the ability to take off the back plate and access the microSD port, or buy a different colored rear panel entirely.
Meanwhile, there is a real mystery as to why Google continues to release such uninspired, utilitarian products. The trend began with the LG Nexus 4/Asus Nexus 7 (2013) and – save for the Motorola Nexus 6 – has persisted ever since. Consider for example, HTC’s clear attention to design with respect to its flagships. And yet look at the Nexus 9. It’s almost as if Google tells OEMs to “make it ugly; we don’t want it to hurt your product’s sales”. It’s just hard to believe LG could ever design the Nexus 5X of its own volition considering it just announced the luxurious V10.
Now that even companies like Samsung are trimming the fat off their skins and offering beautiful devices inside and out, the Nexus products don’t seem as striking.
Now that even companies like Samsung are severely trimming the fat off their skins, not to mention offering beautiful devices, Google’s new Nexus devices are “just another” product to consider, a proposition made all the more difficult overseas where even the Nexus 5X is borderline expensive.
The Gapp between the haves and have-nots
Google’s software strategy is another biggest threat to the Nexus program, though it’s an ironic one at that. In recent years, an initiative was started to manage Gapps manually, rather than constrain major updates to OS upgrades.
This was inevitably done as a response to the lethargic manner in which OEMs typically provide firmware updates, which is to say rarely, if at all. Rather than force Android users to be stymied with antiquated core apps, you can now have the latest features and functions (for the most part) regardless of if you’re marching with Marshmallow or still jamming on Jellybean.
Indeed my Galaxy Nexus – of which a large portion of this piece was typed on – can still provide a very modern app experience even though the device never even saw an official Kitkat release. The problem? This intelligent administrative decision makes having a new Nexus (or running the latest OS build) much less significant than it used to be.
What you want: that which others already have
Related to the above consideration is the “flaw” with AOSP itself. Many Nexus 6 reviews made light of Google’s failure to do anything with the larger screen real estate. The same could arguably be said about the full-blown tablet as well. Meanwhile, even a trimmed down TouchWiz still offers countless features beyond those Google ever will.
Consider what were once the largest criticisms of Apple’s most profitable product: the iPhone had no widgets, no quick settings, no changeable keyboards, no large screens. People pined, critics criticized, yet Apple refused to budge. Things have changed. Even the iPad has split-screen support and a custom-made stylus these days.
Google, for the most part, has been pilfering elements of Samsung’s TouchWiz for years, including the brightness slider on the notification shade. Even the “new” Nexus Imprint is little more than a legitimizing of what Motorola offered years ago and Fujitsu has provided Japanese customers since the feature phone days. Despite the new APIs themselves allowing for so much under the hood, from the end user experience, Nexus devices really just allow the “purist” niche to wade in the mainstream’s tepid bathwater.
For seemingly all but developers, Nexus devices really just allow users to wade in the mainstream’s tepid bathwater.
Dare to be different or remain seated?
If Google truly wanted to make the Nexus program ridiculously relevant, it should never have let Moto Actions transfer hands to Lenovo. The motion sensing and unique elements would have served to make the Nexus devices really something special, and a considerable amount of future progress could have been crafted from the baseline already in Play. Likewise, where are the Themes? HTC has been offering them for ages, Samsung is suddenly smitten with them, and even Android M had them at one point.
It seems paradoxical, but Google in some ways has more to lose than Apple has to gain, simply for the fact that Google has built Android upon a more free, fun sense of purpose whereas Apple has opted for a restricted, look-but-don’t-touch approach. This is exactly why every time a major new iOS build releases, Cupertino magically manages to “create” the unimaginable and the Mountain View onlookers shake their head in disgust over how long it has taken. Case in point:
If Google wants to keep not only the Nexus program relevant, but also make sure Android is brimming with the latest ideas, it’s absolutely imperative to take chances and be bold. Are granular permissions (something the iPhone had since the beginning) and a fingerprint sensor (something Japanese feature phones had 15+ years ago) really cutting edge?
To be sure, there will always be a niche audience who wants a Nexus just because it’s the vessel for Android’s new name. Still, stock Android is no longer the Golden Unicorn it once was. There are some very nice devices that offer a near-pure AOSP build and cost far less than a Nexus. At the moment most don’t offer a fingerprint sensor or NFC, but considering their pricing and the fact they will probably offer it next year, the Nexus nomenclature could soon have to return to the Galaxy from which it came. Google’s new tablet has abandoned it and failed projects like this have long been forgotten.
Perhaps it’s time that, instead of making so much fuss about hardware itself, Google work closer with the influential OEMs around the world and – perhaps aggressively so – encourage them to update their products as quickly as possible. Or an even more enticing alternative: ask them to create an obligatory stock device, but forgo any input whatsoever. In short, just bring back the Google Play Experience program and drop the Nexus line.
As a final consideration, some feel simple is best: just drop the Nexus branding entirely and simply call all products by the Pixel name. Pixel could become Google’s own brand of dedicated devices. Even if they would come in at a high price point, that would unquestionably guarantee they have some truly terrific parts.
What do you think? Is it time to put the Nexus products out to pasture, or would you be deeply angered if Google did away with them? Will you be getting a new Nexus device this year or are you planning to pass? Let us know by voting in the survey and then leaving your comments below!
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Multi-Window is one of the most awesome features that has blessed larger Android devices. You will never use a smartphone the same way once you try running two apps at once, but sadly this is a feature limited to very few handsets (mostly Samsung ones). This is why the whole Android modding community went nuts when it was discovered the Android M developer preview code included this featured, hidden deep within all those ones and zeroes.
People had to tinker with the phone to enable multi-window mode in the Android M developer preview, but it was definitely possible. The real question was whether this would also be the case for Android 6.0 Marshmallow when it became available, in its full glory. It turns out multi-window works, and all you have to do is follow the very same steps you did with the Android M developer preview.
The news comes from Reddit, where Android enthusiasts shared their experiences regarding the matter, and showed images as proof of this feature working. The process is not that simple, but those who know their way around rooting, flashing custom recoveries and running ADB on a PC should be fine.
And just in case those crazy words don’t manage to scare the faint of heart, the following might. Do keep in mind that rooting, flashing recoveries and tinkering with your device may harm it or void your warranty. Go on with this at your own risk and do your research, for you may be left alone if anything happens.
With that in mind, those who choose to continue can just follow the instructions over at XDA Developer forums, where pretty much all hacking and modding goodies come from. Have any of you tried this? How is it working for you?
The long awaited Android 6.0 Marshmallow update is finally here! Google is a little slow rolling out the latest update, but if you have the OTA link, you can install the update right away. Do not fear, we have some OTA links which can be sideloaded onto your device right now.
Here are the OTA links we have so far:
Nexus 9 (volantis)
Nexus 9 LTE (volantisg)
Nexus 7 LTE (razorg)
If your device isn’t currently listed here, don’t worry, T-Mobile have listed all the devices that will be receiving the Marshmallow update in the future.
Come comment on this article: Get your Nexus ready, Android 6.0 Marshmallow OTA links are here!
October 5th has finally arrived and that can only mean one thing for Nexus users – it is only a matter of time before those Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates begin showing up. As it goes with every large Android iteration, Nexus devices are the first in line to get the OTA update. This doesn’t necessarily mean your handset will be upgraded soon after the release date (October 5th), though.
In fact, it can take weeks for the fluffy marshmallow treat to hit your phone, depending on which one you own. That is, unless Google happens to move quicker than usual. Regardless, the update is coming and you could sit tight and wait for the notification to hit your own Nexus gadget… or you could just grab the darn file and manually install it!
We will provide you with the file download pages below, but keep in mind manually flashing an update to your Nexus device is not a cut-and-dry procedure. It takes some tech knowledge and a few requirements. You can use our ‘How to manually install Android 6.0 Marshmallow on a Nexus device” post if you are not feeling too comfortable about it.
Just make sure to remember that tinkering with your device may harm your device or void your warranty. Do this at your own risk, make sure to do a fair amount of research and corroborate that your device is rocking the latest possible software before making this update. If you are still up for it, keep reading and grab your required files!
Editor’s note: this list will continue to be updated as more information and files emerge, so keep it tuned to this page by bookmarking it!
- Still not available.
- Still not available.
Nexus 7 WiFi (2013)
- Still not available.
Nexus 7 LTE (2013)
Nexus 9 WiFi
- Still not available.
Nexus 9 LTE
- Still not available.
Carriers have long been a pain, not just for their customers, but also for the smartphone suppliers. While a device is all ready to get in customers’ hands, it first has to go through through the “middle man” and receive the carrier-approved status. This can come in various forms, from physical carrier branding on the phone to bloatware apps.
Also, tired of waiting for that overdue update? Many of the times it’s not the OEM’s fault. The update is merely sitting in the carrier’s holding area until they can test it and make it fit to push out under their terms.
Over the years, we’ve seen OEM’s just suck it up. Phone price subsidizes have been the driving force behind being stuck on carriers. It’s hard to make everyone cough up $700 for a phone (even though people do for computers).
But there is one OEM in particular who is clearly sticking it to the man – Motorola. This year, Motorola ceased carrier involvement with the launch of the newest Moto X flagship. You can’t buy a Moto X Pure from a carrier. It is only sold as an unlocked device, from either Motorola itself or third-party vendors. And the full price starts at $400.
Some may call this too bold of a move. The carrier-way is still how the majority of the market understands phone buying. But we must give Motorola credit for taking a huge risk in an attempt to do it right. Control of the software, updates, design, and pricing is where it belongs – with the company that manufactured the device.
Fortunately, Motorola is not alone. The Un-Carrier (T-Mobile) has been making waves in showing the market the wrongness of the typical carrier strategy. T-Mobile no longer subsidizes phones. And other carriers have begun following suit, with financing options rather than subsidy.
There is also an increasing trend of top smartphone performers coming down in price. Google has been on the forefront of this revolution, beginning with the aggressively priced Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. It followed up this year with the $380 Nexus 5X and $500 Nexus 6P. And you won’t find the 5X or 6P in carrier stores either, they were only launched through the Google Store.
Last year, OnePlus came out of nowhere and offered a “flagship” around $300 (followed by the OnePlus Two). Additionally, we’re seeing fantastic budget offerings from Asus (Zenfone 2) and Alcatel (Idol 3). More strong unlocked options will provide the support needed to wean people off the old ways, and Motorola’s recent move was a big step. We can only hope other OEM’s follow suit.
Just today we’ve seen HTC express that monthly updates are an unrealistic goal. Part of the headache HTC has long had in getting updates out in a timely manner is the lengthy carrier-approval process. It is suspected that the upcoming One A9 will be a strong, budget offering, helping HTC move away from the carrier dependency.
Are you also excited about this unlocked-phone movement and agree that we’re moving in the right direction?
The post Sidestepping the carriers: Is Motorola in the right direction? appeared first on AndroidGuys.
As expected, Nexus owners are in for a treat this week as Google’s latest OS revisions begins rolling out to select devices. According to a post on the Official Android Blog, the Nexus 5, 6, 7 (the 2013 model), 9 and Player are all in line to receive the over-the-air software update starting today. The newly released Nexus 5x and 6P handsets, of course, come with Marshmallow already installed.
[Image Credit: Shutterstock]
Source: Android Blog
Earlier today, mobile messaging platform Viber took delivery of a rather nifty update via the Play Store. In terms of added functionality, the upgrade carries the facility for user to like individual messages, join public group chats and send text up to 7,000 characters long.
The full changelog can be seen below:
- Group Likes – ‘like’ messages in group chats and see who’s loving your vibe
- Forward Public Chat messages – share content with your friends more easily
- Write freely – text messages can now be up to 7,000 characters long
- Better video messaging – new features improve the experience
- Public Chats – now available on Android
To install the update, simply open up the Play Store, toggle the hamburger menu by swiping in from the left-hand side of the screen, select ‘My Apps’ and click on ‘Viber, then hit the update button.
Come comment on this article: Viber for Android updated with public group chats, 7,000 character limit & more!
Android users are under attack again. The Stagefright bug that Google and OEMs scrambled to fix, only to have a second bug discovered, is back. Users are being targeted with faked audio files that exploit the multimedia preview function in Android to gain access to sensitive areas of a users phone or tablet.
The target is sent an mp3 or mp4 file that is encoded with a malicious program and can compromise the Android file system and its security, once opened. More troubling is that an attacker may be able to leverage public Wi-Fi hotspots to infect victims by having them download a file or visit an infected site to infect their phone.
Zimperium Security found the exploit, which isn’t covered by the two rounds of security patches released since July.
Many phone makers like Samsung, LG and HTC have recently committed to begin releasing monthly security updates to their phones but as of yet, this new exploit hasn’t been patched. SMS apps like Textra have recently updated to add Stagefright protection as a feature.
Google is working on fixing the Stagefright exploit in the core code of Android that is distributed to OEMs. A security patch will be available in the October monthly security update that will roll out to Nexus phones on October 5th.
Source: The Verge
The post New Stagefright attack targets Android users with audio files appeared first on AndroidGuys.
We pretty much covered everything revolving the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, but there are always specific questions people need answering. This is why the Google Nexus team took it to Reddit to resolve all your doubts. Participating Googlers include Hiroshi Lockheimer, Dave Burke, Krishna Kumar and Sandeep Waraich.
Sadly, the session took place from 11 AM to 12 PM Pacific. The good news is that the Google team answered plenty of very interesting questions. We thought we should grab the most interesting ones and list them for you. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Hi. What kind of security goes into keeping our finger prints safe when using imprint? Are the prints encrypted and stored on the device?
DB> Fingerprint features are securely encrypted on the device, and processed in the secure Trustzone protected area of memory. The Android 6.0 fingerprint APIs do not provide any access to the fingerprint material to apps. Fingerprint features never leave the device and are not shared with Google (so for example if you setup a new phone, you need to re-enroll your fingers). If your phone is ever lost or stolen you can easily find, lock, and erase your phone using Android Device Manager.
Any word on what panel is used for the screen in the Nexus 6P?
SW: It has a Samsung WQHD AMOLED panel. We have spent a lot of time tuning the white-point and color gamut for these panels – hope you will enjoy the accuracy of the display.
Nexus 6P has the latest generation panels from Samsung. One of things we deeply care for is the quality and accuracy of the display through which all of us connect with the stuff we care about. We created a very tight spec (white-point temperature, delta-E variance, color-space accuracy, etc) for the 6P WQHD AMOLED panel, so it was important that we use the most cutting edge panel technology available.
Is the rear facing camera on the 6P and 5X identical?
KK: Yes. Both devices have the same camera – a 12.3MP camera, with a large 1.55um pixels, which works great in all conditions – especially low light. And both have LDAF for fast auto-focus.
What does the “X” and the “P” stand for?
HL> X for the core of the Nexus brand (plus it sounds cool!), P for premium.
What made the team decide to partner with Huawei and LG this year for the Nexus devices?
HL> 5X: We wanted to bring the LG-Google band back together. So many N5 fans, we couldn’t possibly disappoint! 6P: Always nice to work with new players — we have a history of working with a bunch of folks: HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Asus and now Huawei!
Do you have a timeline for enabling of VoLTE and band 12 support for T-Mobile USA?
We’re hard at work with T-Mo to get Band 12 on Nexus devices by ship date.
Where is the NFC antenna located in the 5X and 6P? I’m asking for ease of use for Android Pay and Nexus Imprint. Hopefully the NFC antenna is at the top. Thanks!
SW/KK: On 6P the NFC coil sits just above the Nexus Imprint fps is exposed behind the camera coverglass (which is GG4 BTW). On Nexus 5X, the coil is wrapped around the back camera. And we have tested it rigorously for payments experience and it works great! And for peer-to-peer and reader mode too BTW.
What is your favorite new feature about the phone that once I start using I won’t understand how I lived my life without it before?
SW: Nexus Imprint. It is fast (it really is!) and highly accurate. You won’t even see the lockscreen anymore. And the location of the sensor is such that you will get right in your homescreen by the time phone is in front of you. Check out some hands-on videos around this.
KK: The camera on these devices is great – the picture quality is awesome – especially for low light pictures. Sloooo-mo on these devices is a lot of fun.
HL: USB Type-C!
DB: I think the “premiumness” of both phones is my fav feature. Particularly loving the all-metal aluminium – I mean alum-in-um – and the diamond cut edges of the 6P
Who wins the best shirt award on the Android team? Matias Duarte with his colorful dress shirts or Dave Burke with his graphic Ts?
DB> With a shirt like this, is there any competition? https://twitter.com/lockheimer/status/648935061459353600. Come on!
How is the food were you work and what is your favorite part of working there? Thanks!
We take our Android release names from our favorite snacks, so you can tell we may not be eating the most balanced diets.