Thursday, December 22, 2011

Help us fix hardware acceleration for Adreno 200 based devices

Sandvold, a developer from XDA, currently working on an Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the HTC Desire, has made a proposition that is most likely to succeed in its main objective.
You can track his progress on the ROM on his website. You may try it for yourself, if you're a Desire owner, and see how well the hacked hardware acceleration works -- not very well! :(

Sandvold asks that we send an e-mail to the CEO of Qualcomm, asking for the GPU drivers that are much needed in order to make the hardware acceleration work.

As you may know, Android 4.0 ICS is relying on the GPU to accelerate the user interface. Since HTC and Google dropped support for the Google Nexus One and related devices (such as the HTC Desire) -- all using the Adreno 200 GPU, by Qualcomm -- base drivers are out of date. Our only hope is the development community AND Qualcomm. Many developers from XDA, including the CyanogenMod team, are hard at work trying to hack the hardware acceleration, but this may not be possible as soon as we would hope without Qualcomm's drivers.

This is what you can do to help us : send an e-mail to the address, with the subject QSD 8250, Adreno 200 hardware-related proprietary libraries for hardware graphics acceleration.
The content of the message should look like below, but perhaps you could edit it a bit (a bit more, actually) or write your own wall of text, so it doesn't get marked as spam...

As a mobile devices enthusiast, I am here to ask Qualcomm to be a real community oriented company.

You are well aware of the Hardware Accelerated User Interface in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, that relies heavily on GPU of the device. Google, with its Android Open Source Project, has decided not to support the Google Nexus One, HTC Desire and related devices. As community users, we have long stopped relying on HTC and Google to support these devices - this is now a community effort that brings joy to millions of people, and is a true development pass time for many.

Since the ICS source outing, many community projects have been started to bring the new platform to older devices, but all of them (for devices based on this and similiar platforms) are missing the proprietary user space drivers, needed for the Hardware Acceleration to work.

I believe it would be a great move for a company like Qualcomm to support advanced users and enthusiast in their efforts to port Ice Cream Sandwich to Adreno 200 based devices.

I sincerely hope you will at least consider this request and decide to support the community - the same community that, with their enthusiasm, helped to make the smartphone market what it is today.

Take into account that we do not ask for much; it is just a set of compiled binaries that you surely have already, or are easy for you to make. We do not expect you to support the release, or do bugfixes. It would be even better if you could supply the source code - but let's not push it too far. 

Also, you can join us on the thread we created for this, on Qualcomm's Developer Network, and say your opinnion there and track the progress if you're interested!

I thank you in the name of all Adreno 200 based devices owners from XDA :D

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lockscreens for all

ROMs like vanilla Android ROMs and Sense ROMs don't offer you many lockscreen styles to choose from. In fact, you barely get three styles (and that is in the case of CyanogenMod) or none at all (when it comes to HTC Sense). Well, you can change that now. It's very easy, works on every ROM, and I assure you, the outcome is AWESOME.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Colorful... bright... why not both?!

I've been busy during the last few days : been going to all GSM providers' shops, see what's new and play around. I've seen what I was expecting to see : the Samsung Galaxy Note, HTC Sensation XL and the Nokia N9. I'm not going to go into any of their details now. All I want to focus on is the displays, and not only those that are found in the three devices mentioned above.

I own a HTC Desire myself, and I'm pretty proud with it, by the way. It has a Samsung-provided AMOLED screen, which is said to beat the S-LCD that is found in many devices nowadays. I'm kind of lucky for having the AMOLED version of the Desire, and not the S-LCD one. Why "kind of"? You'll see.

Samsung Galaxy S - features Super AMOLED
Samsung Galaxy S II - features Super AMOLED+
Samsung Galaxy Note - the same Super AMOELD+ found in the Galaxy S II
HTC Sensation, HTC Desire HD, HTC Desire S, HTC Desire Z - Super LCD
iPhone 4, iPhone 4S - LED-backlit IPS TFT (the name combines so many "technologies" that it makes me don't wanna look into what this screen actually is)

I've put all these devices next to my HTC Desire. I've tested how each of these devices' screens behave with the brightness set to maximum, then to minimum, to better observe and reach a conclusion.

HTC Desire vs. Samsung Galaxy S
Both phones have basically the same screen, with the Galaxy S having a brighter one (hence the "SUPER" in the name). Also, it displays colours sharper, so I'd say Super AMOLED is better than AMOLED, which everyone would expect, by looking at the name.
There's a problem with AMOLED screens, though. After some time, the "wear" effect appears, commonly known as "ghosting". I already have this on my Desire, and even though it's not ALWAYS noticeable, when it IS noticeable, it's UTMOST ANNOYING. Basically, when the "ghosting" occurs, you see "shadows" of what was on the previous screen (image), say... when you open the keyboard to type something, then close it, and you still see some fading remnant of the keyboard.

HTC Desire vs. Samsung Galaxy S II

The Galaxy S II's display is said to be BETTER than its predecessor, the Galaxy S (hence the "+" in the name). Well, the reality is that while the Super AMOLED+ may display colours a BIT better than the Super AMOLED, put next to my Desire's AMOLED, it doesn't look great at all. To be honest, the SAMOLED+ fared better only in the "theoretic" test, made with the Screen Test application.

<< I do not have enough time to finish this post, I will finish it within 24 hours, I promice :D >>
Attempt to finish the post. One more phrase and it would have been done... but, somehow, I clicked the RMB wrong and it went back one page -- post unsaved. I'm raging out, I'll finish this post before Christmas...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to be safe while surfing the web via Wi-Fi

You may already know that it is possible to "hack" whatever someone is doing on their Android phone while browsing the web, using an unprotected wireless network (say a McDonald's public hotspot -- if you can find one that actually works, haha).

There's this app called Wifi Protector, developed by XDA member gurkedev, which... well, does what its name says : protects you while on an unprotected wireless network (which we find in many public places nowadays). Wifi Protector is an Android security app designed to detect and prevent ARP (read below to see what this is) poisoning attacks against your phone, while connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Unwanted ads in rogue apps

You may have seen a LOT of advertisements, on a LOT of websites, about AirPush. AirPush "pushes" (inserts) different types of advertisements to users, advertisements that generate revenue for the developer that included the pay-per-install code (by AirPush) into the application. Then, the developer gets paid every time one thousand impressions are made (1 impression is made when one user has seen an advertisement; so it takes one thousand views for the developer to get paid around $6 - $40 - depending on where the users have seen the ads from; according to AirPush).