FreedomOS Revisited

A while back Miles did an in-depth review of the FreedomOS ROM on the OnePlus 3. If you didn’t see that video, you can check it out here. In this video, we will follow up with this ROM and see how it has progressed so far.

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One of the biggest differences if that everything is starting to look much more like HydrogenOS. Things like the power menu and the notification center have all been modified for a more Hydrogren type look.

freedom3

A new feature that has been added to this ROM is the ability to choose between the Layers and the Substratum theme engines. Substratum is fairly new, but it’s really special so check it out!

freedom4

The advanced settings menu has been ported in from HydrogenOS. This menu lets you schedule power on/off, toggle user enjoy plan, and customize how you clear your apps.

freedom5

Another change is the ability to access the system theme settings through the display menu. Choose between light, dark or default themes.

That’s about it for changes in the FreedomOS ROM. If you want to get this ROM for yourself, check out this thread here.

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BlackBerry will Outsource Development and Manufacturing of Smartphones

In an attempt to limit the number of employees the company has to lay off in the long run, the CEO of BlackBerry has officially announced they will no longer be manufacturing smartphones anymore. This is a move that we’ve seen coming for a long time. John Chen has even alluded to this multiple times in the past, but had remained optimistic and hoping the BlackBerry Priv could turn things around for them.

It’s still unclear if the company will drop their BlackBerry OS entirely, but they did follow through with previous reports that said they would focus entirely on Android this year, and they are reportedly focusing on the software-side of things. And this is a place where the company has done a job good, too. BlackBerry has often rolled out security updates faster than the rest of the competition, and has at times even beat Google to the punch. Making a profit on hardware just hasn’t been where BlackBerry has excelled.

“We have decided to discontinue all the handset hardware development, only hardware”

Jonh Chen

We’ve seen multiple reports of the BlackBerry Priv not being able to sell as many units as expected. So it makes sense for John Chen to announce the change the company is making this week. He said they will still continue with development and manufacturing for a little while longer, but they want to be out it completely by the end of their fiscal year (which is February 28th). Chen says the company will be able to save a lot of money since they won’t have to carry inventory and won’t have to manage as much equipment.

We’ve already seen this shift recently with the BlackBerry DTEK50 and the upcoming DTEK60. BlackBerry will license their technology and brand to other companies so they can develop and manufacture the smartphones. They’ve already signed a deal with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia who will manufacture, distribute and promote BlackBerry devices within the country. Chen confirms these will also be running their secure versions of the Android OS.

Source: BNN

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Moto Z Receives Official TWRP Support

The Moto Z is just starting to get in the hands of customers and we’re already seeing community developers releasing mods for the device. This build of TWRP for the Moto Z is being maintained by kaneawk, and it is for the device with the codename Griffin (not Sheridan).

There aren’t any special instructions required to get this installed onto your device. The typical method of booting to bootloader via ADB and then executing the fastboot flash recovery command seems to work just fine. As noted on the TWRP install page, you’ll want to reboot back into recovery mode after you flash TWRP so that it doesn’t get replaced by the stock Android recovery. TWRP can then patch the stock ROM and prevent it from overwriting it with the stock recovery.

We’ve had a few people within the XDA community report the custom recovery installs just fine on the Moto Z. As of right now though, they did run into issues with trying to flash various mods on the device with TWRP. So if you plan on trying to root with SuperSU, or install things like Xposed Framework or Magisk, then please be sure to create a full Nandroid backup ahead of time. In any case, you’ll likely be sailing smoothly.

As with any device that has just become available, it can take time before the kinks get ironed out. Just be sure you have a fresh Nandroid backup and you should be safe to experiment with various mods. As always though, these things can void your warranty so understand that you’re taking a risk on your own accord. Community developers and XDA are not responsible for anything you do with your Moto Z.

Source: TWRP

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September Prizes Awarded for Honor Incentive Program

You might recall that a part of our partnership with Honor incorporates a reward system for the XDA users that are most active in Honor forums (that includes the Honor 8, Honor 5X, Honor 7, Honor 6/6X, Honor 5C, Honor 4X, Honor 4C, and Honor 3C). We have a special script running that looks at everyone that participates in any Honor forums and assigns points, each day, based on post and thread quality, plus other factors. Then, we apply a ranking to those with the top points, and give out prizes. Below is a list of those that won prizes in this latest round. But there’s another one coming: on October 17 we will be choosing the next round of people that have earned a reward from Honor, and we have more prizes to give including an Honor 8, two Honor 5X’s, two Honor Band Z1’s, two Engine Earphones, five Honor Selfie Sticks, plus fifteen invitations to an upcoming software beta test. So if you didn’t win a prize, be sure you’re active in the Honor sections (again, with useful, helpful posts). Or, if you won something already, you can win more prizes, and higher tiers of prizes, with continued quality participation in the Honor sections.

Here are the winners from September!

Honor 8:

DigiGoon

Honor 5X:

PalakMi
venom007

Surprise Event Invitation:

muradulislam

Software Beta Test Invitations:

clsA
gopinaidu77
zinko_pt
adriansticoid
vsriram92
shashank1320
non-toxic
HonorCasper
jsbeyond
Speedo.thc
mooms
hackslash
MarcoPLs
memht
methuselah

All winners have been contacted over XDA PM.

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OnePlus Releases OxygenOS 3.5.3 Beta for OnePlus 3; Marshmallow for OnePlus X

A good chunk of the questions raised during the OnePlus AMA on reddit a while ago pertained to software updates, and most of them were fair points. After all, OnePlus promised faster updates when they merged HydrogenOS (their ROM for the Chinese market) with OxygenOS (their ROM for the rest of the world), so naturally users wanted to know if the decision was bearing any fruits that they could taste.

OnePlus X Update

Shortly after the AMA ended, OnePlus announced that stable builds of Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the form of OxygenOS 3.1.2 have begun incrementally rolling out to the OnePlus X. This stable build is a result of feedback incorporated after the community beta builds of Android 6.0 for the device, and the OTA can be received by all users on OxygenOS 2.2.3, 3.1.0 and 3.1.1 without needing to flash back to previous versions.

Of course, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is not the only upgrade or addition this update brings. Some more highlights of this update include:

  • Launcher upgrades
    • New icon packs
    • Google search bar UI customization
    • New design of wallpaper picker
  • Shelf UX improvements
    • Long press boards to rearrange or remove
  • General system performance improvement
  • Settings changes
    • New (native Android) app permissions
    • New Alert Slider settings with more customization options
  • New apps
    • OnePlus Music Player
    • OnePlus Gallery
  • Implemented October Android security patches
  • General bug fixes

While it took an awfully long time for Marshmallow to finally land on the device in a stable format, it is good to see that the October Android security patch has already incorporated within this update. The OnePlus X is unlikely to receive Android 7.0 Nougat thanks to Qualcomm dropping support for the MSM8974 on 7.0, so we hope OnePlus does keep incorporating more features and security updates as OxygenOS updates for this device.


OnePlus 3 Update

The OnePlus 3 also gets another update, but before readers get their hopes up, this is not Nougat. This update is for another Marshmallow-based community beta for the device, with OxygenOS version 3.5.3, incorporating several improvements and optimizations. Some notable changes are:

  • Use AOSP clock as default clock
  • Added capability to uninstall some preinstalled apps, like FileManager, Weather, Recorder, MusicPlayer
  • Added expanded screenshots, you can now save a long screenshot of a scrollable page to cover more contents.
  • Added celluar data firewall, you can control whether an app is allowd to use cellular network or WiFi
  • Added “Favorite contact setting” in Priority mode
  • Setting menu adjustment in Messages, added option to vibrate phone when receiving SMS
  • Contact UI redesign
  • Fixed community build cannot flash back to official build issue
  • General bug fixes

Users on previous community build will receive the build via OTA. Users on stable builds would need to flash the update via ADB sideload. OnePlus does warn that there may be compatibility issues with TWRP, so it is advisable to back up important data beforehand. Another point to note, migration from community builds to stable builds require wiping data and cache, in case you want to go back to a stable release due to the beta nature of these updates. The announcement post also mentions that this build is part of a limited program, and once they have enough feedback from users, they can disable the download links.

If you have tried OxygenOS 3.5.3 build, you can drop in feedback on the UI/UX here and report bugs over here.


Have you tried out the updates on the OnePlus 3 or the OnePlus X? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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OnePlus Releases OxygenOS 3.5.3 Beta for OnePlus 3; Marshmallow for OnePlus X

A good chunk of the questions raised during the OnePlus AMA on reddit a while ago pertained to software updates, and most of them were fair points. After all, OnePlus promised faster updates when they merged HydrogenOS (their ROM for the Chinese market) with OxygenOS (their ROM for the rest of the world), so naturally users wanted to know if the decision was bearing any fruits that they could taste.

OnePlus X Update

Shortly after the AMA ended, OnePlus announced that stable builds of Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the form of OxygenOS 3.1.2 have begun incrementally rolling out to the OnePlus X. This stable build is a result of feedback incorporated after the community beta builds of Android 6.0 for the device, and the OTA can be received by all users on OxygenOS 2.2.3, 3.1.0 and 3.1.1 without needing to flash back to previous versions.

Of course, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is not the only upgrade or addition this update brings. Some more highlights of this update include:

  • Launcher upgrades
    • New icon packs
    • Google search bar UI customization
    • New design of wallpaper picker
  • Shelf UX improvements
    • Long press boards to rearrange or remove
  • General system performance improvement
  • Settings changes
    • New (native Android) app permissions
    • New Alert Slider settings with more customization options
  • New apps
    • OnePlus Music Player
    • OnePlus Gallery
  • Implemented October Android security patches
  • General bug fixes

While it took an awfully long time for Marshmallow to finally land on the device in a stable format, it is good to see that the October Android security patch has already incorporated within this update. The OnePlus X is unlikely to receive Android 7.0 Nougat thanks to Qualcomm dropping support for the MSM8974 on 7.0, so we hope OnePlus does keep incorporating more features and security updates as OxygenOS updates for this device.


OnePlus 3 Update

The OnePlus 3 also gets another update, but before readers get their hopes up, this is not Nougat. This update is for another Marshmallow-based community beta for the device, with OxygenOS version 3.5.3, incorporating several improvements and optimizations. Some notable changes are:

  • Use AOSP clock as default clock
  • Added capability to uninstall some preinstalled apps, like FileManager, Weather, Recorder, MusicPlayer
  • Added expanded screenshots, you can now save a long screenshot of a scrollable page to cover more contents.
  • Added celluar data firewall, you can control whether an app is allowd to use cellular network or WiFi
  • Added “Favorite contact setting” in Priority mode
  • Setting menu adjustment in Messages, added option to vibrate phone when receiving SMS
  • Contact UI redesign
  • Fixed community build cannot flash back to official build issue
  • General bug fixes

Users on previous community build will receive the build via OTA. Users on stable builds would need to flash the update via ADB sideload. OnePlus does warn that there may be compatibility issues with TWRP, so it is advisable to back up important data beforehand. Another point to note, migration from community builds to stable builds require wiping data and cache, in case you want to go back to a stable release due to the beta nature of these updates. The announcement post also mentions that this build is part of a limited program, and once they have enough feedback from users, they can disable the download links.

If you have tried OxygenOS 3.5.3 build, you can drop in feedback on the UI/UX here and report bugs over here.


Have you tried out the updates on the OnePlus 3 or the OnePlus X? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Google Play Music Launched in India

Earlier, we reported on Google announcing YouTube Go for the data-conscious Indian consumer. Now, Google has brought something for the data-happy customer in India: Google Play Music.

The Google Play Music service has finally been launched in India, although there has been no official announcement blog post to this effect. But since the service is now live, users can purchase songs and albums from the Play Music app in India. Users can also upload their existing library onto Play Music. However, the Google Play Music All Access service is not available for purchase yet, and since there has been no official announcement yet, there is no word on whether this streaming service will come to the market soon.

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Pricing on Google Play Music does seem expensive keeping in mind the average purchasing power of a smartphone user (encompassing the high and low ends of the market), as well as the local competition in the digital library space. For example, Google Play Music is charging a flat ₹15 ($0.23) per song, with albums ranging from ₹75 to ₹190 ($1.13-$2.86). On the other hand, Airtel’s Wynk Music lets you purchase individual songs at ₹10 ($0.15), while Apple Music charges either ₹7 or ₹15 ($0.11-$0.23) per song. There’s a lot more competition in the streaming arena, with local players like Saavn and Gaana already having a foothold, and even Amazon planning to dip its toes.

India is on the verge of a data revolution, with smartphone users witnessing high speed internet at cheap rates for perhaps the first time after the entry of Reliance Jio in the market. Jio is currently offering free 4G LTE usage (FUP capped at 4GB per day) upto 31st December 2016, and at very competitive prices beyond that period. With consumers responding extremely enthusiastically — heck, I haven’t been able to land a SIM yet since all stores are sold out — it is no surprise that everyone wants to hitch a ride on this data bandwagon. The next couple of months have scope to transform India into a priority market for digital goods and media.

For now, Google Play Music has its work cutout. How Google plays the service, app and its Android ecosystem into its advantage, remains to be seen.

What are your thoughts on Google Play Music launching in India? Let us know in the comments below!

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