Android 8.0 Oreo, thoroughly reviewed | Ars Technica

Looking forward to when LineageOS can upgrade to Oreo. There’s a lot of new features that may make life a lot easier generally. Take a look in the article for details

We take a 20,000 word deep-dive on Android’s “foundational” upgrades.

Source: Android 8.0 Oreo, thoroughly reviewed | Ars Technica

‘The Sims’ is finally coming to your iPhone and Android phones

The Sims – as in the PROPER Sims being made for Android/iOS? Definitely going to look at this, but I bet it’s going to be online only which is pointless when your main commute is Underground.

 

The actual game you loved—not like The Sims FreePlay.

Source: ‘The Sims’ is finally coming to your iPhone and Android phones

Your Android Phone Has a Built-In Childproofing Feature

VERY useful feature to stop accidentally breaking out of an app. Useful also for people streaming from their phones

Ever needed to hand your phone to a kid? Even if you don’t want to, sometimes you’re trying to keep them quiet at a restaurant, or calm them down at the doctor’s. But handing over an unlocked phone is just asking for the kid to delete all your home screen shortcuts (or, worse, work emails). Fortunately there’s a way to fix this.

Source: Your Android Phone Has a Built-In Childproofing Feature

The Meitu selfie app unlocks your anime beauty and personal data

Meitu has been taking off — everywhere I look on my Facebook, Twitter, I see pictures run through the app.

But do you actually check to see what permissions it asks for? A crazy amount it seems. I just checked on Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mt.mtxx.mtxx) and these are the current permissions

Version 6.1.0.2 can access:
Device & app history
  • retrieve running apps
Location
  • approximate location (network-based)
Phone
  • read phone status and identity
Photos / Media / Files
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Storage
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Camera
  • take pictures and videos
Wi-Fi connection information
  • view Wi-Fi connections
Device ID & call information
  • read phone status and identity
Other
  • receive data from Internet
  • view network connections
  • change system display settings
  • full network access
  • change your audio settings
  • run at startup
  • reorder running apps
  • control vibration
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • Google Play licence check

For the most part, these aren’t too much of a concern but these two might be:

Phone
  • read phone status and identity
 Device ID & call information
  • read phone status and identity

These relate to reading the device information such as the IMEI and call information. I’m not too concerned about the call side — you can block this with later version of Android’s permission manager (and I use that a lot with different apps), but I’m not sure if I can block attempts to read phone status.

Their justification of this to track usage in China because it is blocked, I guess does make sense, but am I the only one who thinks doing it this way leaves it way too open for abuse and misuse?

Source: The Meitu selfie app unlocks your anime beauty and personal data

Update & Build Prep – Lineage OS – Lineage OS Android Distribution

Cyanogen’s fork is beginning to take shape. Currently my devices aren’t showing but fingers crossed it will.

Few points worth noting from their site:

  • The build roster is ever growing, but we are supporting Marshmallow and Nougat capable devices.

    • We’ll list the 80+ devices in a separate post.
  • Our release cadence will be ‘weekly’ by default (to be nice to all the donated hardware).

  • We will NOT be shipping root baked into the ROM.

    • Root will be a downloadable zip based install similar to gapps installation (only need to flash it once).
    • Home builders that want to bake su back into the ROM can use the command ‘export WITH_SU=true’ prior to building.
  • Our official builds will all be signed with a private key for authentication and signature permission control

However, also notable and I’m really happy about this:

Regarding installation, we recommend that users wipe when switching to LineageOS, and reinstall their gapps. However, we recognize that this can be time consuming, so we are offering an EXPERIMENTAL (read as, if it fails, you’ll have to wipe anyways) solution.

  • Alongside the ‘weekly’ release for your supported device, we’ll provide an EXPERIMENTAL data migration build.
  • This build will allow you to ‘upgrade’ from CM to the signed LineageOS weekly
  • This build may wipe permissions (you’ll have to re-allow app permissions), but should retain all user data
  • This build will be watermarked with an ugly banner to ensure that you don’t permanently run this EXPERIMENTAL release, and upgrade to a normal weekly after.
  • The process for this installation will be as follows:
    • Install EXPERIMENTAL migration build on top of cm-13.0 or cm-14.1 build (don’t try to install LineageOS 13.0 on top of CM 14.1, that will not work).
    • Reboot
    • Install LineageOS weekly build
    • Reboot
    • Re-setup your application permissions

Given the EXPERIMENTAL nature of this process, we are going to remove this option in two months time.

All systems operational

Source: Update & Build Prep – Lineage OS – Lineage OS Android Distribution

Cyanogen Inc. shuts down CyanogenMod in Christmas bloodbath | Ars Technica

Open source Android ROM project dies, developers launch fork.

Source: Cyanogen Inc. shuts down CyanogenMod in Christmas bloodbath | Ars Technica

So, CM is dead, but like with most things in the open source world, things will be forked, especially if there’s a disagreement between the two. In this case, rather than compete, it’s a desire to keep the project going.

Android 6.0

So I updated my S5 to Android 6.0.1 using Cyanogenmod, and I’ve noticed some slight lagging. Apps tend to close themselves randomly, normally when less apps are running than on Android  5.1.1. Also, when using the tethered connection, there’s some lag there too, causing my online games to judder. Though that part is only hypothetical, I’m going to test this by downgrading my phone back to 5.1 and verifying whether there’s lag on my connection there. If there isn’t, I’ll report this as a bug.

EE

As you’re probably aware, I love to tinker with phones, especially Android ones, having been able to root several:

  • HTC Wildfire
  • HTC Sensation
  • Asus Transformer TF101
  • Samsung Galaxy S5

However, when trying to tinker with my dad’s S5, some really weird behaviour occurred. I first unlocked it using a SIM unlock code, and it started to randomly reboot. Regardless of whether or not you use an EE SIM or not (we tried EE, Virgin and Three SIMs — all were subject to the rebooting behaviour). So, I decided to take a change and rooted it and flashed Bobcat ROM (a ROM which I was running successfully on my own S5, which is the same model as my dad’s with the only difference being the network provider — I’m on Three, he’s on EE.)

The phone still randomly rebooted, so I turned on Logcat and tried to see if it recorded anything. No such luck.

So I tried a few different ROMs — Stock Samsung (Lollipop), Bobcat ROM, and Phoenix ROM. All still rebooted. So I took it to Samsung for their opinion. They said they couldn’t flash it because Knox was void (Knox is a warranty flag on Samsung devices which indicates whether you have custom flashed the device or not — I obviously have.) But they were nice enough to tell me that the behaviour described usually indicates the Firmware is wrong (which is something I didn’t flash).

So, since this behaviour started before I even did a deep-level tinker with the device (before I flashed anything), I can only assume EE either flashed an incorrect firmware, or did not flash the correct firmware – or maybe did not flash the firmware properly. I now need to find an S5 firmware to flash onto the device. Since my own S5 is working, I can check that firmware and try to find the same one.

Google won’t fix a security bug that’s in almost a billion Android phones

..it seems that Jelly Bean devices are simply too old to support — supporting old software versions is fairly unusual, after all. But in this case, he asks Google to reconsider, due to the wider consequences this security flaw could potentially unravel. Until then, however, it might be a good idea to upgrade to Android 4.4, or perhaps get a new phone altogether.

Google won’t fix a security bug that’s in almost a billion Android phones.

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