Project Ara is a very interesting concept allowing us to change and upgrade the device with ease. The modular smartphone idea looks like a mission impossible, but Google is determined to make it a reality pretty soon. Paul Eremenko from Project Ara team has shed some lights on the project’s status and we now know that Ara will have a modified version of Android L on board.
It was pretty easy to predict that Google would select Android as the operating system for Ara. The more interesting part is that users will be able to replace some elements of the device without powering off the phone (i.e. they will be hot swappable). The only exceptions are CPU and display, for obvious reasons. It remains unknown whether the RAM and storage will be replaceable as well. One word comes to mind to describe all this: craziness. If it’s true, this will be one of the most revolutionary piece(s) of hardware in the history of mobile technology. Manufactures like Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC and many others that release a new phone every 6 months will have to either really lower there pricing or join in and start making these modules to continue making profits. I am really excited to see how Project Ara will change the industry and hopefully benefit then consumer in the end with awesome and up to date Hardware.
Google (or rather ATAP) is working with Linaro to make a modified version of Android. This means that the project should be open-sourced as well as other projects by Google. The Ara smartphone is aspiring to get the most innovative idea of the year title and Google is pushing hard to make it happen.
We should expect a consumer launch of Ara in the first quarter of 2015. Other details remain yet to be seen, most likely to be uncovered during the dev conference scheduled for December. In the mean time you can check out more info on it at the official site here http://www.projectara.com/
Google says the phone is designed to be used by “six billion people”, including the one billion smartphone users and the five billion feature phone users.Google intends to sell a starter kit where the bill of materials is US$50 and includes a frame, display, battery, low-end CPU and WiFi.
Google wants Project Ara to lower the entry barrier for phone hardware manufacturers so there could be “hundreds of thousands of developers” instead of the current handful of big manufacturers.Anyone will be able to build a module without requiring a license or paying a fee.
Project Ara Development
As some of you may or may not know our beloved Developer Hashcode or Michael Scott is now on the Project Ara team for Linaro. Hashcode is one of the most innovative Android developers that i know and has done amazing work on many devices. Examples the Kindle Fire and fire HD, Motorola droid and moto lines along with many Samsung Galaxy and note phones. He is the Developer of Safe Strap Recovery which some how lets you install roms on locked devices. I know with hashcode on the team that Project Ara is going to be one awesome device and i can wait to get my hands on one. If you would like to read hashcode post on google plus about this new job opportunity with Linaro please check out this link Hashcodes New Job
Towel Root is a app that exploits your kernel which they allows the app to inject SU file it to your android device file system. This gives you root access but you will still need to install SuperSU App from Google Play Store after using the Towel Root app. geohot is the developer behind this awesome and easy to use exploit. always remember to support your dev’s 🙂 This Root exploit works great with lots a different devices please try it on yours and comment below if it works for you. I know it works on lots of android 4.4 Kitkat device
Its simple Just go to Towelroot.comand click on the upside down Y and the app will download to your device. Next you need to enable unknown source so that you can install the Towel Root app. Once install just click the Make it ra1n button shown aboove and you will have root access. Make sure you install Supersu & root checker apps to make sure root is working correctly.
Here is a video of me rooting my Galaxy S5 with the app
NOTE If the SU binary isnt updating correctly just reboot the device and check again.
Towel Root Exploit is known to works on these devices
AT&T GS5, Verizon GS5, GS4 Active, Nexus 5
May have some troubles at the door but invited: AT&T/Verizon Note 3
Possibly invited: Every Android phone with a kernel build date < Jun 3
Also many other devices work. i have used it on many Motorola devices as well. Try it on your android device
This has to be the best easy one click root and Bootloader unlock app i have ever used. Its really simple so let me explain how this works. SunShine is a utility/app that allows you to s-off and bootloader unlock modern HTC & Motorola devices, giving you more freedom than any developer phone would allow. Once you have used Sunshine on your HTC or Motorola Device you will be able to install custom Recovery like TWRP and CWM also root and install awesome roms with ease. Here you will find a list of supported devices
Motorola Moto X, Droid Maxx/Ultra/Mini (Android 4.4.3 on all, 4.4.4 on some)
Motorola G (Android 4.4.3 and below only at this time)
HTC One Mini m4
HTC One m7
HTC One m8
HTC One e8
HTC J Butteryfly
HTC One X (Evita)
Other HTC devices (Try it, SunShine will let you know if it can work!)
NOTE there maybe many more added in the Futures
So this sound amazing right… well here is the down side to it. the Sunshine app from THEROOT.NINJAcost 25 bucks and this is per devices you unlock with it. 🙁 Considering the costs to develop SunShine, they feel that it is justified. Most of us purchased heavily subsidized devices, instead of opting for a more developer friendly product. SunShine solves that situation, at a much lower cost than purchasing a developer device. so when you look at it this way it makes sense. One of the nice features about this app is that it test your device to make sure it will work before asking you to pay for the service which is really nice. So if you dont know if it will work on your device just download it and give it a try. CLICK HERE
Motorola Moto X support added, all 4.4.3 and below, some including 4.4.4, try it
Motorola Droid Maxx/Ultra/Mini support added, all 4.4.3 and below, some including 4.4.4, try it.
Does SunShine void my warranty?
In most cases yes, depending on your local laws and the ODM of the device. Unlike HTC, Motorola devices can not be reverted.
How to make your own USB cable to connect to the 5 Pogo pins on the back of the Motorola Moto 360 under the bottom watch band under the FCC sticker. With this cable you will be able to give the Moto 360 adb and fastboot commands. To unlock the bootloader or maybe even restore a bricked device its up to you. Here are the instructions with some pictures to hopefully help you along.
Basically what you are doing is cutting the micro usb end off of the usb cable and attaching a Cat5 female connector to the end with 4 of the prongs pulled out to connect to the pins on the back of the Moto 360. best advise is to watch the video i have on this process here.
Please comment below if you have any questions or ideas on improving this cable thanks
Warning use at your own risk. I have tested this on my own EVGA Nvidia Tegra Note 7 on android 4.4.2 and it works great.
I HAVE BEEN TOLD BY SOME THIS DOESN’T WORK ON THE ADVENT VEGA NOTE 7 BUT OTHER SAY IT DOES WORK, SO USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
1. adb and fastboot driver install
2. unlock bootloader
3. Restore / unbrick device
4. Flash stock android recovery
5. install ClockWorkMod recovery Bat version
6. Install TeamWin / TWRP recovery
7. Root access in recovery with supersu
this is a pretty easy to use tool just read & follow the steps and it will walk you right through. Hope this is helpful to some noobs out there that dont know how to use android SDK.
NEWEST VERSION 2.5
1. Adjusted the cwm recovery install to boot you to recovery after install
2. Cleaned up script
3. After each option tool will now reboot to menu options again
4. Root option now temp boots recovery to flash Supersu. Keeps you on stock recovery if you want it for ota updates.
5. Fixed a problem with the restore files keeping ota’s from installing right.
1. Added stock recovery flash
2. updated restore files to 4.3 new 7MB ota
3. added a wipe data factory reset or reboot option to the restore process
4. cleaned up the script
1. added driver install and test feature
2. added better graphical features
3. cleaned up script
1. fixed CWM recovery flash not working. and stock recovery being restored
2. cleaned up script
1. Updated restore files for KITKAT 4.4.2
2. updated to newest SuperSU.zip for root
1. Added write to SD card fix for kitkat option 7
2. moved driver install and test to option 8
1. updated restore files to new ota 4.4.2-2.1
2. updated supersu.zip to 1.94
3. tested all updated files
1. Updated restore files to New OTA 4.4.2-2.3
2. Updated stock recovery to 4.4.2-2.3
1. Updated restore files to New OTA 4.4.2-2.4
2. Updated stock recovery to 4.4.2-2.4
1. Added TWRP Recovery to super tool thanks to shaky156
1. updated super tool to 2,4,1 ota
2. updated supersu to version 2.00
3. Updated stock recovery to 2.4.1 ota
4. dont forget the TWRP is now functioning
1. updated to OTA 2.5
2. added new supersu
3. cleaned up script
4. killed adb server on close
HUGE thanks to Matt Groff for helping with all off the files and script.
3. activate new number be verifying with another number cell phone or lane line.
4. setup voice mail and any other settings you like on the site
5. check forward calls to Google chat this is really import also make sure you verification number isnt checked
6. Now that you have your google voice number setup you can setup the apps on your phone
7. setup google voice app first then open and setup hangouts next hangouts dialer
8. go to settings on hangouts app and select sms and enable it
8. again in settings click on your email address. Then under google voice check both incoming phone calls and messages
thats it your done
if you did everything right you now have a android phone that when it is on wifi can make and receive phone calls with the google voice number you setup. It can send and receive text also from that google voice number and even get voice mail that can be played in the hangouts app, in fact all the features listed here are done from the hangouts app.
This is a great way to use a old phone or even a phone with a bad esn
No sim card required device can be unactivated
Enjoy my little trick and also what i use for a home phone
Sync this phone with a android wear device and you will be really running smooth 🙂
if you are still having a hard time with this check out this video it the same process just with different apps
So here’s my first weeks impression with the Moto 360, but also Android Wear in general:
Things that I loved:
Seeing all my notifications come to my watch, so I didn’t have to dig around for my phone in my pocket, unlock it with the passcode, etc.
Replying to messages! (when it works). Google Now’s voice recognition is absolutely great on the Moto 360. It’s at least just as good than as a phone or tablet, if not even better. Of course, nothing is perfect. Sometimes it can get words wrong in a noisy place, but that’s to be expected.
Customizing a watchface. I was referred to Facer for Android Wear (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jeremysteckling.facerrel) and fell in love with its easy to use interface for making a totally unique watchface that works the way you want it to. You can very easily download and share watchfaces within the app and on the Reddit sub-section for Facer. The Developer is very receptive to suggestions and is always looking for ways to improve. Personally, I prefer a digital watchface and I wasn’t a fan of what the watch came with for those choices. I realize I’m probably in the minority for getting the circular watch and only using digital watchfaces though!
Battery. Yes, the battery is fine! I use the watch with Ambient turned OFF. This is key. The watch is basically sleeping with the screen off until you flick your wrist up to check the time, tap on the screen, or get a notification. Some folks may prefer Ambient with the screen always on, but I’d rather it last all day…and it has! I’ve not had it die on me in any of the days using it, and I’ve not given up anything other than Ambient. I’ve used it as a GPS companion, controlling music, replying to many messages, receiving them, and all with getting 10-30% by the end of the day. The 10% day was cutting it close, but from 8am to 1am I consider that pretty good!
Things I didn’t love as much:
Notifications get cut off sometimes by the not-so-360 screen of Moto 360. Traffic times and address locations especially. It almost seems like they designed Android Wear specifically for square displays and changed it at the last minute to work on circular ones. Which is probably the case.
The first day I had a major charging issue. It resolved itself by charging overnight, but stressed me out and made me think my new watch was defective. Thankfully, it wasn’t. Motorola was very quick to offer help in the case it didn’t get fixed by an overnight charge which was wonderful to hear. They don’t let ya down!
For development, having USB access would have been wonderful. You can use ADB over Bluetooth, but without USB access you cannot get any files flashed with Fastboot mode, which means even if a root exploit came out for the Moto 360/Android Wear, you’d be S.O.L. if you screwed something up and couldn’t flash back the stock firmware.
It’s hard to find still! People can’t seem to find them in stock in their Best Buy’s as much as they try. This is technically a good thing for Motorola and Android Wear in general that they are so popular, but at least for now it makes it harder to get into the hands of other folks who want them.
The stock texting app for the Samsung Galaxy S 5 cannot use the Reply function on the Moto 360. I’m sure I could find another app that can, and this is probably just an issue on Samsung’s end, but its sad that it doesn’t work.
Android Wear devices are all lacking Speakers. Coming from a Galaxy Gear with one, it feels like Android Wear is running on mute all the time, and its sorely missed.
My last not-so-favorite thing is that the Trusted Device unlock method seems to only work for the Moto X (2nd Gen). This is something I grew to love with my Samsung Galaxy Gear + Samsung Galaxy S 5. Not having to enter a passcode and still be secure is incredibly useful and time-saving.
Would I recommend the Moto 360?
I’ve gotten this question a lot and to be honest there is no clear cut answer for this one. Do you want a companion to your Android smartphone for more easily accessible notifications? Do you want Google Now on your wrist? Are you OK with only a single day battery life? Are you OK with spending $249 on it? If yes is the answer to all those questions, go for it (if you can find one!). If not, hold off for a second generation product. The Moto 360 is a great product, but certainly not a Must-Buy for everyone out there.
I hope my experiences with the Moto 360 can help someone out there make a decision for themselves on the watch and other devices out there. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below on your thoughts and feelings about the Moto 360 and Android Wear!