Counting down to Google I/O 2018

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Counting down to Google I/O 2018

 

Google I/O is just around the corner.  Developers and Android users around the world are gearing up to see what’s in store for the coming year.  Theories about what the annual conference will entail are floating about, and Google’s recently updated its event schedule.  With last years discussions about AI, VR, and Android O things are sure to be interesting.

So what’s on the agenda for this year?

Android P

We’ve talked about Android P before here at RootJunky.com, and it’s sure to be discussed in a little more detail at the conference.  P (currently Pistachio Ice Cream) was first released as a developer preview at the beginning of March.  It’s featured things such as an improved notification system, notch support, and triangulated position with Wi-Fi for incredibly accurate positioning.  It’s expected that Google will launch a beta program for any interested users soon (and maybe give a few more hints to the upcoming name).

AI

Artificial Intelligence was all the rage at last year’s conference with Google Lens allowing users to scan real life objects and receive information.  Couple this with Google Assistant and Google Home improvements, and AI seems to be at the forefront of every new technological movement. 

Google Assistant appears quite a few times in the current schedule, so it’s sure to be a big discussion topic.  Assistant is already loaded with tons of features, but it would be silly to leave it as is.  One session is titled “Design Actions for the Google Assistant: beyond smart speakers, to phones and smart displays”.

Assistant could be expanding past voice interactions and into visual cues.  Along with the fact that improvements involve allowing 3rd party app integration, there could be some seriously cool possibilities if the creativity door is open for developers to allow their apps to prompt the Assistant to take action.  Notice how vague I’m being?  It’s because of how open ended these features really could get if the connection is bridged.

AR/VR

In February Google officially released v1.0 of ARCore, the mixed reality development platform, allowing developers to easily integrate Augmented Reality into their apps (way more exciting than I just made it sound).  Our tutorial series shows how to integrate AR into your first app, but ARCore’s potential goes much deeper than what we cover.  I wouldn’t be surprised if plans to improve this platform and potentially incorporate it with Google Lens are underway.

Looking over the current schedule, tons of other topics will be covered in the upcoming conference.  I’ll be one of the many that don’t attend but tune into what I can online.  I’d highly suggest you do the same to stay on top of what’s new in the development world.  Or if you’d prefer, we’re sure to highlight the big parts here.  Stay tuned!

Building Your First Augmented Reality App Pt. 2

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Building Your First Augmented Reality App Pt. 2

Welcome to part two of this Augmented Reality tutorial.  Now that we’re done with the boring set-up process, we’re ready to dive into Unity and see a final product!

As a quick review, in part 1 you created a Vuforia account and a license key.  Then on Vuforia’s website you created a database to hold your image target (the dollar bill) and downloaded that along with our 3D elephant.  Finally you downloaded/opened Unity (our game editor) and changed the build settings to Android.  Ok, now let’s continue from there:

Setting our Package Name:

Remember how last time we opened “Player Settings” and then the tab that said “XR Settings”?  Well there are a few more small things we’ll have to do in this section.  Instead of “XR Settings” open up the “Other Settings” tab.  Every app that is published on the Google Play Store needs a unique ID so that it doesn’t get mixed up with other apps.  So while you may see two apps with the same name, under the hood their ID’s are different.  This ID is known as the app’s package name.

In our “Other Settings” tab we’ll write what we want our package name to be.  This can be whatever you want, but I’ll use “com.rootjunky.vuforiaelephant”.  Now my app has an ID and Unity will be able to run it on any mobile phone.  Also go ahead and uncheck the box “Android TV Compatibility”, since this app won’t work on Android TVs.

Now to import all of our materials from the first post.  In your Unity project you should see a section for the Project hierarchy.  This shows all the files/resources in the project, and we’ll be storing everything inside the folder named Assets.  We already have our Vuforia files in here, and to get everything else into this folder you can click and drag the following into the Assets folder:

  1. The Vuforia database you downloaded
  2. The 3D elephant model

Creating the Scene:

Once all of these assets are together we can begin messing with our scene.  Go to “file” then “Save Scene”, and save this scene as main (we can think of scenes as different parts of our game, but we only need one for this project).    Now inside of our scene’s hierarchy right click on the Main Camera and delete it.  Then click “Create” -> “Vuforia” -> “AR Camera”.  This will add Vuforia’s custom camera to our scene that takes care of all image targeting (i.e. recognizing dollar bills).

But now that we have the AR camera, we still need to tell it to look for a dollar bill, and to place an elephant on top of that dollar bill once we find it.  To do this select “Create” -> “Vuforia” -> “Camera Image” -> “Camera Image Target”.  If you click on an object in the scene the right-side tab will show details about it, and selecting the Image Target will display a detail section titles “Image Target Behavior”.  In here set Type to “Predefined”, Database to “DollarElephant”, and Image Target to “dollarTarget” (see the following image).

Setting these values connects our database to the image target, so now our camera knows to look for a dollar bill.  But in order to use Vuforia we also need to add our license key.  Make sure you have this still copied to your clipboard, and then selected the AR Camera in the scene.  One of the details you’ll see appear for it is labeled “Vuforia Behaviour”,  In here click the Open Vuforia configuration button and then paste in your App License Key.  Then in the Databases dropdown check the boxes that say “Load DollarElephant Data” and “Activate”.

Displaying The Elephant:

Now for the final step: attaching our elephant.  Find the elephant model inside of your Assets folder (most likely named “source” right now).  Click and drag this little guy onto your ImageTarget in the Hierarchy tab.  This will make the elephant become a “child” of the ImageTarget.

Chances are things look funky though on your screen, and this is because the elephant model is HUGE.  Inside of its Inspector tab we can change its position, rotation, and scale, so lets drop its x, y, and z values for scale down to 0.1.  Then set the position to 0 for the x and z axis, and 0.5 for the y axis (this just raises the elephant a bit so he’s on top of the dollar).

And that’s it!  We’ve attached our Vuforia files to the scene and bound a 3D model to Vuforia’s image target.  With just a few steps we’re now ready to see our augmented reality creation come to life. Connect your phone to your computer (make sure it’s USB Debuggable) and then go to File -> Build Settings again.  Select “Build and Run”, and your game will download onto the connected device.

When the app is up and running point it at any dollar bill, and you’ll see a virtual elephant appear on top.  What’s even cooler is that if you pick up the dollar and move it around the elephant will stay on top.

Congratulations on sticking through this whole process.  It’s very possible you got stuck along the way, and if that’s the case just comment below and I’ll try to help you out.  And if you’re interested in learning more about Android development then you can always check out Phonlab’s course HERE.

Augemented Reality is at the ARCore of Android’s future

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ARCore is out!

In the summer of 2016 PokemonGo opened up pandora’s box for augmented reality (AR).  The app was an instant hit around the world.  While it’s user base has certainly declined since then, nearly two years later it still has a constant demand.  Unfortunately, Pokemon are not the topic of this article (I could write some pretty good ones!). Instead we’ll focus on another stride in AR that took place earlier this week; Google’s release of ARCore.

On February 23rd Google officially released v1.0 of ARCore available on over 100 million Android devices.  Individual developers can now design and publish their AR-based apps on the Play Store, and this only means that AR is going to become even more prevalent in our everyday lives. Speaking of Developer, if you are interested in becoming a developer you should check out my new Android developer course on Phonlabteachable.com

Compatible Phones:

While the list of phones is limited at the moment, you can experience this new wave of AR if you have one of the following phones:

  • Pixel/XL
  • Pixel 2/XL
  • Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus
  • Note 8
  • Galaxy S7/S7 Edge
  • LG V30/30+
  • Asus Zenfone AR
  • OnePlus 5 /5T

ARCore is certainly not the first AR software to get into the hands of developers (Apple’s ARKit and Unity’s Vuforia), but it still marks a significant step towards AR becoming the norm on every device.  Google has said they are partnering with many manufacturers this year to enable AR in upcoming devices.  The bottom line: AR is here to stay.

AR’s Implications

As a developer myself AR is a beautiful thing because it empowers us to create more immersive experiences that can connect with other people.  You’ll often hear gamer’s say that gaming is an art form that encompasses many others.  Video games are an interactive visual and audio experience that can invoke feelings just like any other art if the story is told correctly.  AR only creates more opportunities for this to happen, so it’s not surprising that most of the successful AR apps right now are video games.

But of course AR has much more use than just as a gaming feature.  Industry giants like Amazon have already began releasing their personal touches.  Amazon has utilized ARKit for a few months on iOS, and ARCore is now available on Android phones so that users can visualize what products will look like in their homes before ever purchasing.  Google also partnered with Snap to create a virtual tour of Barcelona’s famous Camp Nou soccer stadium.  I think it’s safe to say every tech giant in the world is thinking about either how they can incorporate AR, or what impact it’s going to have on their future.  Even outside of tech a lot of other industries are gearing up for change as well.

With so many new reality technologies emerging, its an exciting time to be either a developer or a user.  And with all this buzz about AR, let’s not forget that the end of the spectrum exists with products like the Vive containing fully immersive VR worlds.  These differ from AR in that 100% of your surroundings are computer generated, not just a portion.  There’s certainly a spectrum of how immersive AR can be.  If we put reality on one end and VR on the other, AR is everything that falls in between.

What do you think the future holds for the immersive computing spectrum?  Let us know in the comments below.

Phonlab E-Campus Free Course

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Phonlab E-Campus free Chromebook Support course

I have been working with Phonlab for many months now and we decided to bring everyone a FREE course on Chromebooks to help techs and repair shops trouble shoot and fix customer devices. If you want to get access to this FREE course just head over to Phonlab.Teachable.com and enroll. Once you enroll in the Chromebook Support course you will have access to all the lessons. We hope you enjoy them and if you find them handy you may want to check out Phonlab E-Campus where we cover smartphone repairs and security.  Phonlab has just added our own tool called MotoReaper and it can remove FRP factory reset protection lock on any Motorola device on the market today. It is an amazing tool and all students at Phonlab E-campus get access to this tool. We hope to see you there so join us and be the future of mobile today.

 

RootJunky

 

Cyanogenmod 14 Released

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Cyanogen mod 14 Released

logo

CyanogenMod 14 official release has started for many devices. Nexus being at the top of that list along with oneplus devices. CyanogenMod 14 release brings CM up to the latest Android OS which is Nougat and all its glory. If you are looking to see if CM14 is available for your device check the official download page you can also check here for unofficial builds. You can also download CyanogenMod Recovery if you want to use it over TWRP Recovery. Here is a list of some of the New features included in this release.

  1. Multi Window Support
  2. New System UI
  3. Better Battery Management

These are all features that are new or improved on Android 7.0 Nougat.

Below is a video showing off CyanogenMod 14 Unofficial check it out.

 

Android Nougat 7.0 Official

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Android Nougat 7.0 Official

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OTA UPDATES AND FIRMWARE

Google has finally released the latest installment of there OS, Android Nougat 7.0 and if you are looking for the firmware and ota update files then you can come to the right place. First lets talk about the firmware update files that we have and how to install them. Check out all the latest features at Googles official page HERE

There are 2 options to install these ota update files which is really nice.

  1. copy the update.zip to your sdcard then boot into stock Android recovery with holding volume down and power and then selecting apply update from sdcard.
  2. Boot into stock Android recovery with holding volume down and power and then selecting apply update from adb. Then from the computer run command adb sideload (nameofotaupdate.zip)

Note: you can use these ota updates from either being on Android N developer preview or from being on stock Marshmallow the latest firmware and the ota update will work just fine. The Reason the the ota update will work is because it contains a full system flash and all the files needed.

OTA UPDATE REQUIREMENT

1. bootloader unlocked or locked either will work

2. device on stock firmware with stock recovery

3. they will not work with TWRP or a custom rom installed.

DOWNLOAD LINKS BUILD NRD90M

Nexus 5X

Nexus 6

Nexus 6P

Nexus 9

Nexus Player

More files will be added once they are available.

Official Firmware With Fixed Flash Files

These files are the stock Android Nougat Firmware but they have been update to work correctly with .bat flash files for windows and .sh flash files for mac or linux. These repackaged firmwares also includes a No wipe options which will allow you to keep your app data on the device and not wipe it. you can use these file to update or restore your nexus device even coming from a different rom should work.

How to Flash these files

  1. Boot into bootloader mode by holding volume down and power
  2. plug device into the computer and double click on the .bat file you want to use.  For Mac and Linux use the .sh files by opening Terminal and cd to the director then use ./nameofflashfile.sh to run the script.
  3. watch the script and follow its instructions. thats it.

DOWNLOAD LINKS TO FIRMWARE BUILD NRD90M

Nexus 5X

Nexus 6

Nexus 6P

Nexus 9

Nexus Player

More files will be added once they are available.

You can also download the firmware straight from Google HERE

TWRP 3.0.0-0 Released with new features

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TWRP 3.0.0-0 Released

Screenshot_1970-04-22-23-14-54Screenshot_1970-04-22-23-14-25Screenshot_1970-04-22-23-14-39

New features in TWRP 3.0.0-0:

  • Completely new theme – Much more modern and much nicer looking (by z31s1g)
  • True Terminal Emulator – Includes arrow keys, tab and tab completion, etc. (by _that)
  • Language translation – It won’t be perfect and especially some languages that require large font files like Chinese & Japanese won’t be availble on most devices. Also some languages may only be partially translated at this time. Feel free to submit more translations to OmniROM’s Gerrit. (mostly by Dees_Troy)
  • Flashing of sparse images – On select devices you will be able to flash some parts of factory images via the TWRP GUI (by HashBang173)
  • Adopted storage support for select devices – TWRP can now decrypt adopted storage partitions from Marshmallow
  • Reworked graphics to bring us more up to date with AOSP – includes support for adf and drm graphics (by Dees_Troy)
  • SuperSU prompt will no longer display if a Marshmallow ROM is installed
  • Update exfat, exfat fuse, dosfstools (by mdmower)
  • Update AOSP base to 6.0
  • A huge laundry list of other minor fixes and tweaks

WARNING: This is our first release in a long time. We have a lot of new and somewhat aggressive changes in this new release. The changes to the graphics back-end may cause some devices to not boot up properly or have other display-related issues. If you are not in a position to reflash an older build of TWRP, then wait until you are or at least wait until others have tried the new TWRP 3.0.0-0 for your specific device. You don’t want to end up with a non-working recovery and have to wait several hours or days to get to a computer to be able to fix it.

Team Win Recovery Project has been my favorite recovery ever since it was released. Dees_Troy and his team have done one amazing job at keeping up with this custom recovery and i am really thankful to them for all there hard work. If you love TWRP as much as i do please send then a little donation to say thanks 🙂

Donate to TWRP HERE

Going a quick search of the TWRP site it looks like there are already a bunch of official supported device that have builds of TWRP 3.0.0-0 available today and more to come soon i am sure, here are some of them.

Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 9, LG G4, Moto X Pure Edition, Moto G 2015, Galaxy Note 5. Many more are available these are just some of the mosts popular.

Click HERE to see if this new version of TWRP is available for your device.

 

Marshmallow Headache

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Marshmallow Headache

 

Google defines Hyperglycemia as:

A high blood sugar. An elevated level specifically of the sugar glucose in the blood.

The Mayo Clinic advised me that symptoms of hyperglycemia develop slowly over several days or weeks. The longer blood sugar levels stay high, the more serious the symptoms become. Early symptoms of hyperglycemia can be fatigue and Headache.  Fatigue and Headache!

So why are we discussing blood sugar levels? Why do i have fatigue and headache? Well I think that I may have a small case of hyperglycemia brought on by the sweet, sweet goodness of Marshmallow.  Please allow me to explain.

android-6.0-marshmallow

So a few weeks back I had no headaches and no regrets, but i wanted some more, something sweet.  At that point in time my trusty Nexus 5 was consuming a fruit and fiber diet of Cyanogen Mod 12.1.  There was also a sprinkling of Xposed modules to guarantee a well balanced diet.  Then Rootjunky (ohhh, such a fitting name to someone who deals in the drug of modifications), came along with his tempting video for rooting Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

I thought to myself, this is great, I will enjoy the sweetness of marshmallow along with root access. I decided to leave the bland taste of CM12.1 for Android 6.0 Marshmallow.  Afterall, there is s’more to love.  I honestly really like it.  My Nexus 5 seems smoother, and somehow more refined.   Battery life was never the N5’s strongest point so the doze feature on Marshmallow created battery drain as slow and sweet as molasses.  The honeyed improvements to the “do not disturbed feature” are greatly appreciated.  It is similar to what Lollipop had to offer, it has just been processed a little finer. I personally use this feature a lot at work and find it very handy.  Everything was so sugary. Even the new boot animation was like watching someone pulling multicolored taffy.

It was like saying “trick or treat”, when I held onto that home button to turn on, Google Now on Tap.  Each time I was blessed with a little treat.  Sure there were some instances where it do not provide me with anything.  I wish I could have thrown eggs at those time; like I would have at delinquent household, refusing to join in the Halloween candy giveaway.  Most of the time I was happy with the added functionality.  Using any app for the first time was sugared with permission checks.  Each time I consented to give access, I found the sweet taste of marshmallow was in the air.  

Sounds good so far, right?  Well this is when the gooey, softy, sugary sweetness of Marshmallow Android 6.0, started to cause fatigue and headache.  The first time I precieved Marshmallow was maybe too sweet for me, occurred when I noticed and new app from Chainfire call [root] LiveBoot.   Not sure how long this app has been around for but it was the first time that I noticed it.   I have been a big fan of his SuperSU and 500Firepaper apps so I knew that this would be worth the download.  I installed and tried to run the app but nothing……. It did not work with Marshmallow!  The new OS was simply too sweet and the LiveBoot app could not handle it.

White_Marshmallows

I should mention that sometime last week Chainfire brought the fibre.  He was like bowl of All-Bran; regulating sugar levels, as his update allowed the app to work with Marshmallow.  Not a moment too soon as far I am concerned. The app is really cool.  I have developed a habit of turning my phone off and booting it up in front of family and friends just to show off the app’s boot animation.  I let them think that I am some kind of supper moder who can read and understand the animation!

Turning my phone off and on made me notice another aspect of Marshmallow that was too sweet for my blood.  Powering the phone down only gave me one option – power off.  What happened to my enhanced menu with reboot options?  I know that with root access I can make that happen again but then I have to endure the bitter taste of finding just the right app to do that for me.  Before it was just there.

The sweetness of Marshmallow just became stronger as I stuck with it.  A new cyanogen theme was available for Halloween.  It looked really cool and guess what?  It does not work with Marshmallow, it is for Cyanogen.  For some reason with Marshmallow, Star War’s commander will not sync up with my Google play account?  I had a level 8 town hall, I am not going back to the beginning now!  All this Marshmallow sweetness and it is sweat, is giving me Hyperglycemia.  I have the symptoms, fatigue and headache.  Now what will I do?

First off, if I am honest it is really not that bad. There are apps that I can install to get back some of the functionality I had.  With Rootjunky’s help my Marshmallow is rooted so I have room to play.   I have also seen lots of hints that CM13 may not be too far off.  That is quite the accomplishment. I was not expecting anything before Christmas but looks like the Cyanogen crowd are working hard.

I guess I was like a kid during Halloween with Marshmallow candies.  I don’t not think of the consequences, I saw something sweet and went for it.  Now I am suffering with a sugar headache but you know what?  I will do it all over again next year.

By

E. Tuesday

 

 

P.S.

Have you ever installed something sweet and regretted it later?  Tell me about it in comments area.

 

P.P.S.

So while playing with Marshmallow and writing this article a few ideas came to mind.  Would you like to see a post about comparing stock Marshmallow to CM12.1 or CM13 when it arrives?  I am thinking of comparing two identical phones, one with stock and the other with a custom ROM (Maybe even kernal).  We could look at benchmark programs for performance and battery life.  We can also do some real world tests to see what if any difference there is.  What do you think leave me some encouragement below if you would like to see a post like this.

Googles Live event times and links

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Google’s Announcement event today

  • When: Today, September 29
  • What time: San Francisco: 9 a.m. — Chicago: 11 a.m. — New York: 12 p.m. — London: 5 p.m. — Beijing: 12 a.m. (September 30) — Sydney: 2 a.m. (September 30).
  • Live-stream: You can also watch the stream on YouTube on Google’s channel. Once i get a direct link i will update this post.

I will be watching this live event and hanging out on twitter to so come and hangout with me and we can chat about the event and new devices being announced. From what i have ready we should see a Huawei Nexus 6P, LG Nexus 5X, chromecast 2nd gen, chromecast audio device and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. All in all it should be a really fun show.

nexus-6p-1nexus5x-2.0