While I was kind of excited this week to see that it’s possible to unlock the bootloader and root the latest Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, that’s because the Fire tablet lineup is unusual: they’re dirt cheap, Android-based tablets that run a highly customized version of Android that’s not to everyone’s tastes. Hacking them to make them act more like normal Android devices seems like a worthwhile endeavor.
Hacking devices that run closer-to-stock Android? I’ve kind of lost interest in doing that in recent years. Or maybe I just don’t have as much free time on my hands as I used to.
Some folks argue that some of the things we used to root our devices for are now baked into Android, like improved multitasking. But I still think Titanium Backup is a super-useful tool for power users that want to make sure they never lose any data. I just haven’t installed it on my phone in years. And of course, it’s easier to implement system-wide ad blocking on a rooted device.
All of which is to say, one of the coolest things you can do on a rooted phone is install the Xposed Framework, which allows you to install and uninstall modules that change the behavior of your phone almost as easily as you’d install apps.
But every time there’s a new version of Android, it takes a bit of work to port Xposed to run on it. There’s still no official build of Xposed for Android 9 Pie… but there is now an unofficial version built using the open source components of previous versions of Xposed. Try it if you dare… and have time to kill.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Xposed Framework ported (unofficially) to Android 9 Pie [xda-developers]
Theoretically this gives users more control of their smartphones by allowing them to install modules that customize the behavior of the device. But these days I find myself wondering if it’s worth the trouble.
- Intel has a new(ish) CEO [Intel]
Intel’s interim CEO Bob Swan becomes Intel’s full-time CEO. Formerly the company’s chief financial officer, he stepped into the job half a year ago when former CEO Brian Krzanich stepped down.
- Rammus seems to be a Google tablet with an Amber Lake-Y CPU [NotebookCheck]
Google “rammus” device with Chrome OS, up to a Core i7-8500Y processor showed up at Geekbench. Previously we’ve seen Geekbench listings for Core m3-8100Y and Core i5-8200Y versions of the devices. Update: About Chromebooks speculates that this may be an Asus device rather than a Google-braded tablet.
- ZTE Axon 10 Pro detailed leaked [/Leaks]
Speaking of Geekbench listings, it looks like ZTE’s next flagship phone may sport a Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM. I suspect it’ll be officially unveiled at MWC in February.
- Update: The Indiegogo campaign for the MUJA touch-sensitive gamepad for smartphones is now live [Liliputing]
The touch-sensitive gamepad sticks to the back of a smartphone and lets you play games without covering the screen with your fingers. First unveiled during CES, the controller is now up for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign.
- Librem 5 Linux smartphone specs [Purism]
Purism provides updated specs for the upcoming Librem 5 smartphone (still subject to change, but expect an NPX i.MX8 quad processor, at least 3GB RAM, a 1440 x 720 display, GPS, a microSD card slot, and a headset jack plus a (sorta) removable battery
You can keep up on the latest headlines by following Liliputing on Twitter and Facebook.
The coolest thing about titanium is easy access to past app versions. If something breaks in a current version or even is removed, you’re not at the mercy of the developer. You can roll back and let them take however long they want to iron it out. If you have the misfortune of finding some redeeming quality in a game made by, say, E.A., for example, this can be very handy.
But also if you’re using old gear with waning support, apps will eventually stop testing compatibility with the version of android you’re running and your hardware. Titanium means not having to give up a service if you can roll back to the last functioning version and just carry on. On a particularly old handset I had an update of amazon kindle refuse to launch, which was very sad, since I read on that device a lot. Rolled it back and kept on using it for years thereafter.
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