Access SAMBA Shares in Android with File Browser by Astro

File Manager Android App SAMBA Share

My go-to Android file manager used to be ES File Manager until… today. The free version of the app already had some annoying floating widgets and all sort of things you would be expect to be enabled by default, but the latest version requires you to install an app to enable SAMBA 2.0 support. I tried to keep up with the requirements, but the ad relies on Google Play services which was not installed in the firmware I used. The easiest way to solve the issue is probably to pay $2.99 for the PRO version, but for firmware without Google Play services it might not be possible to sideload it. So instead, I decided it was time to look for an alternative file manager with SAMBA support, since that’s the main feature I use in an Android file manager while doing reviews. I found two candidates File Commander – Free app with ads and premium features File Browser by Astro …

Checking out DevCheck System Info App for Android on NanoPC-T4 Development Board

DevCheck-Dashboard

There are already  a few ways to get system information in Android. The most obvious is just going into the Settings menu, another solution more detailed but less convenient is to access the terminal via adb or an app and run some commands, and finally you can also install apps such as CPU-Z. I’ve been made aware of a new system info app recently called DevCheck, and decided to try it on an Android development board, namely NanoPC-T4 RK3399 SBC. Those apps are often mainly tested on smartphones, so running them on TV boxes or boards do not always yield perfect results. We’ll see. The dashboard section looks good as the app correctly detects six cores and show difference frequencies for each. The hardware part appears to show two clusters one supporting frequencies between 408 MHz and 1416 MHz (Cortex-A53 cores) and another between 408 MHz and 1800 MHz (Cortex-A72 cores).  The GPU is also correctly identified as an Arm …

Droplet Computing Aims to Run Apps on any Device (Regardless of the Operating System)

Droplet-Computing

The most popular apps are normally ported to all commonly used operating systems such Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and iOS, but apps will a lower user base or older apps may not to ported to all operating systems due to the development time / costs involved. In order to solve this issue, UK based Droplet Computing has introduced Droplet Universal, a patent-pending application container solution that decouples applications from the operating system, and enables applications to run on any device, on- or offline. The solution relies on WebAssembly, and allows you to run the app – placed in a low footprint universal container – from a web browser with Chrome v60 (v62 for Android), Firefox v52, Safari v11, and Edge v16 or greater currently supported. Arm and x86 platform are supported, although it’s not yet possible to run Arm apps on x86 with Droplet Universal. It’s hard to know how well this works without testing it, but we may …

ARM Chromebooks Run Android Apps Better, Exhibit Longer Battery Life than Intel Chromebooks (Study)

Google has been working on supporting Android apps and the Play Store on Chromebooks, which are normally sold with either ARM or Intel processors. So the ability to run Android apps well is one of the things to consider before purchasing a Chromebook. Shrout Research has published a paper entitled “Chromebook Platform Choice Important for Android App Performance” comparing an Acer Chromebook R13 with a Mediatek MT8173C ARM Cortex A72/A53 processor to Acer Chromebook R11 with an Intel Celeron N3060. The Intel Chromebook has a smaller resolution so this could be an advantage, so less resources are needed to update the display. However, the ARM processor is significantly more powerful than the Intel one according to GeekBench results, and Chromebook R13 is sold for $399 on Amazon US, while Chromebook R11 goes for $299 (and lower during promotions). So it’s not a perfect comparison, but it should give an idea especially when it comes to app stability. The ARM Chromebook …

Android Play Store Tidbits – Blocking Unlocked/Uncertified/Rooted Devices, Graphics Drivers as an App

There’s been at least two or three notable stories about the Play Store this week. It started with Netflix not installing from the Google Play Store anymore on rooted device, with unclocked bootloader, or uncertified devices, and showing as “incompatible”. AndroidPolice contacted Netflix which answered: With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store. So that means you need to  Google Widevine DRM in your device, which mean many Android TV boxes may stop to work with Netflix. You can check whether you device is certified by opening Google Play and click on settings, Scroll to the bottom and check Device Certification to see if it is Certified or Uncertified (H/T jon for the tip). I tried this in my …

Run Android Apps in Linux with Shashlik Android Emulation Layer

There are already ways to run Android apps in Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or Debian, including the Android SDK emulator, running Android-x86 or Remix OS in a virtual machine, or using Genymotion, but those solutions are a little cumbersome to setup. Shashlik Android emulation layer aims to simplify the process of running Android apps in their own window within Linux desktop distributions. The Android apps can be started from the start up menu or dash like any Linux program. The apps are currently running inside an emulator so you actually boot a  stripped down version of Android each time you start the app, which means they’ll take a little while to start. OpenGL and graphics are all rendered on the host for better performance. In the future, the emulator (virtual machine) may be dropped, and instead Shashlik could simply become a container, which requires rewriting libbinder in userspace There are two ways to try Shashlik: Build it from source …

Makibes F68 is a $35 IP67 Rated Sports Smartwatch with HRM & 7-Days Battery Life

So far my quest for a smartwatch as not been successful, with massive disappointments with both No.1 D3 smartwatch and SMA-Q color e-Paper smartwatch, with the latter completely failing after a week. The next potential candidate is Makibes F68 with similar features as SMA-Q, but instead with a grayscale display, IP67 ingress protection rating which should make it suitable for swimming (apparently not, see comments), as well as a promised 7-day battery life during “normal usage”. Makibes F68 specifications: MCU/Memory/Storage – Not disclosed but it’s supposed to run Nucleus RTOS. Display – 1″ round capacity touchscreen display, 128×128 resolution, always on Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 Sensors – 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope Battery – 180 mAh charged via magnetic connector Dimensions – 38 x38 x 10 mm (aluminum alloy material) Weight – 31 grams IP Rating – IP67 meaning it’s been tested for 30 minutes under one meter of water. The watch supports Bluetooth 4.x enabled smartphones with iOS 8 and …