UBPorts Ubuntu Touch Firmware to Add Android App Support using Anbox

Last spring, Canonical stopped working on mobile and convergence, and dropped any work on Unity, which explains why Ubuntu 17.10 is now running Gnome desktop environment by default. The company had to take this decision because there was little interest from manufacturers for such solution, and instead they refocused on the more profitable IoT and cloud markets. However, some members of the community still wanted to run Ubuntu on their phone, and that’s why UBPorts community decided to carry on development on their own and released their first stable Ubuntu Touch image for supported smartphones last summer. A phone running Ubuntu Touch is great, but you’d have a very limited set of app to play with, so the developers are now working on adding support for Android apps support. There are various ways to implement such features, but they went with Anbox, as it executes Android apps natively in a container, which does not compromise performance and usability as the …

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Android 8.0 Oreo Launched, OS Images, and AOSP Source Code Released

Google has now formally announced Android O version and name: Android 8.0 Oreo. We already had seen the new Features in Android O-reo during the first preview release with picture-in-picture support, autofill APIs, adaptive icons and so on. There’s also a new Android Oreo character… If you want to run the latest Android 8.0 on your device, you can do so on Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL by getting the firmware in the download page, unless you are enrolled in Android Beta Program in which case you should receive it automatically. What I did not see (yet) is a joint announcement for a new Android 8.0 phone like last year LG V20 smartphone with Android 7.0, and Google simply said that “by the end of this year, hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony are scheduled to launch or …

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UBPorts Project Announces its First Stable Ubuntu Touch Release for Supported Smartphones

Canonical may have stopped working on Unity, Mobile & Convergence for Ubuntu last April, but since then, at least two teams have worked on Unity and mobile convergence alive with respectively yunit and UBPorts projects. There has not been much activity on the former, but UBPorts has recently announced the first OTA-1 stable release for supported devices, minus Nexus 4 and 5 for now. This release brings bug fixes, experimental AGPS support, he UBports Welcome app, the OpenStore, and the Terminal and File Browser are preinstalled.  It should work on OnePlus One, FairPhone 2, Optimus L90, BQ Aquaris M10 HD / FHD, and possibly some other models. They also mentioned work on Halium – a project aiming to standardize the Android hardware compatibility layer between many Linux distributions – has been progressing nicely, and it can now boot both Ubuntu Touch and Plasma Mobile. Convergence still needs some work, but one of the developers demoed it on a Nexus 5 …

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Android 7.0 Released, LG V20 Android Nougat Smartphone Coming Soon

Since Google has changed their way of releasing new version of Android, as they are now taking input from developers using preview releases, we’ve known the main changes in Android 7.0 for a while including multi-window support, improved security, virtual reality support, Vulkan API, a new JIT/AOT compiler, and so on. The company has now made it official, and released Android 7.0 earlier today. Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and Android One smartphones will receive an OTA update with the new firmware, and some other phones enrolled in Android Beta program will also get Android 7.0, but older Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices won’t. Google and LG also unveiled the upcoming LG V20, the first smartphone to ship with Android 7.0. Few details have been provided so far The LG V20 builds upon the premium and rich multimedia smartphone experience of last year’s LG V10. It will be tuned to take advantage …

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Magic Device Tool Helps You Switch Between Android and Ubuntu on Supported Phones

There have only been a few phones released with or supporting Ubuntu so far, and those phones will normally be able to run Android too since Ubuntu Touch relies on Android drivers, and you may decide that Ubuntu is not for you and switch back to Android, or the contrary, if you’ve purchased an Android phone, you may want to install Ubuntu instead. In order to simplify the task of installing operating systems, Marius Quabeck has developed “Magic Device Tool“. As you can see from the screenshot above, 13 phones and tablets are currently supported. You’ll need a computer with Ubuntu 15.04 or greater to install the tool, and I’ve done so on Ubuntu 16.04: The script will also install phablet-tools if it is not already installed,  so if you are not root, you’ll need your account to be member of sudoers. Once the initial setup is done, you’ll get to choose your phone as shown in the first screenshot. …

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Android N Developer Preview Released with Multi-Window Support, PiP, Background Apps Optimizations…

Google has just released an early developer preview of Android 7.0 N (Nutella?) before the OS officially launched later this summer with new features such s multi-window support, TV recording,  Picture-in-picture, bundled notifications, and efficiency improvements. So let’s have a look at some of improvements: Multi-window – A new manifest attribute called android:resizableActivity is available for apps targeting N and beyond, allowing your activity to be launched in split-screen modes on phones and tablets. In addition, activities can also go into picture-in-picture mode on devices like TVs by setting android:supportsPictureInPicture to true. Direct reply notifications: Initially an Android Wear only features, the RemoteInput notification API has now been added for smartphones and tablets, and allows user to reply directly within the notification shade. Bundled notifications – The Notification.Builder.setGroup() method can be used to bundle notifications from the same app together. Efficiency Improvements – Doze has been further improved to save battery whenever the screen turns off, and work is still …

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Nvidia Shield Android TV vs Apple TV vs Roku 3 vs Fire TV vs Nexus Player – Video Capabilities and Features Comparison

Since Nvidia released the Shield Android TV box, I’ve heard several people saying Nvidia raised the bar and even disrupted the TV box market by bringing a powerful HTPC and gaming console to the market for just $199. The company has now released OTA 2.0 firmware that improves HTPC capabilities, including under Kodi and Plex, and the box supports for 10-bit HEVC, H.264, and VP9 @ 4K, and audio pass-through for HD audio codecs such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master. As part of the release announcement, Nvidia also compared the Shield TV media capabilities to the ones of other US centric media players, namely Apple TV (2015), Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV (2015), and Nexus Player. Since it comes from Nvidia, it was also going to show the Shield TV in a good light, but I’m very surprised to see that Apple, Amazon, Google, and Roku would ship a device without MPEG-2 support… Maybe most people just stream videos …

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Google Officially Unveils Nexus 5X & 6P Android 6.0 Smartphones

Google released Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” SDK and final preview last month, and the first stable Android 6.0 release is expected on the first week of October on recent Nexus devices, including the latest Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P just announced by Google. Here are the specs of the two phones: LG Nexus 5X Specifications SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (MSM8992) dual core Cortex-A57 @ 1.82 GHz  and quad core Cortex-A53 @ 1.44 GHz with Adreno 418 GPU System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 Storage – 16 or 32GB storage, no micro SD slot Display – 5.2″ capacitive touchscreen (1920×1080 resolution), Gorilla Glass 3 with fingerprint and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating Audio – Front facing speaker, 3 microphones with noise cancellation, 3.5mm audio jack Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS, NFC Cellular Connectivity All versions – GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz; single nano SIM card North America – UMTS/WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8; CDMA: BC0/1/10; LTE (FDD): B1/2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/20/25/26/29; LTE (TDD): B41; …

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