Sunday, 9 February 2014

Nexus 4 KitKat OTA KRT16S Causing Bizarre Home Button And Quick Settings Issues For Some [Update: Possible Fix]

Since the OTAs for KRT16S started rolling out in the middle of last week, some Nexus 4 owners updating from Jelly Bean are experiencing really troubling behavior after installing the new version. There are reports of issues with core interface functionality like a non-working Home button, Quick Settings toggle, a broken dialer, and various other issues. Not all affected devices have had exactly the same results, and many weren't hit, but some unusual complications have definitely started turning up.
The problems seem to be limited to those upgrading from the final version of Jelly Bean (JWR66Y) to the most recent build of KitKat (KRT16S) via the OTA, or using the factory image without wiping data. Devices updated from the KRT16O factory image posted a couple of weeks ago seem to be unaffected. A specific cause for the malfunction hasn't yet been identified, but various reports suggest there is no connection to whether a device is rooted or if the bootloader is unlocked.
So far the only fix for the malfunction seems to be wiping data through a factory reset. This has the side-effect of clearing out all of your installed apps and locally stored data, so be sure to make a backup first. For the more advanced users this probably won't be more than an inconvenience, but the average person is likely to be put out quite a bit.
Update: A possible fix has been suggested by Paul O'Brien. If you have adb set up on your computer, try running 'adb shell am start -n' from the command line. Alternatively, if you use a launcher capable of running custom activities (Nova and Apex are popular choices), try going to the widget drawer and creating an activity pointing to Setup Wizard > SetupWizardTestActivity, then run it. Once the Setup Wizard has started, go through the normal steps for setting up a phone. In theory, this should fix the various button issues. None of us at Android Police can reproduce the bug, but this method shouldn't cause any adverse effects. Good luck, and let's hope this works for everybody! - Thanks, Paul!
We can't be sure how widespread the issue is, especially since it doesn't appear to have hit the Nexus product forums or AOSP issue tracker, but we've certainly heard complaints from quite a few people. Hopefully there won't be too many affected, and perhaps a new OTA will come out with a more reliable upgrade script. In the meantime, if you haven't yet updated, keep this in mind when deciding if you want to continue with the installation. As usual, we'll keep you posted if we get any more information.

Monday App And Game Sales: Spirits, Plex For Android, Servers Ultimate, And More

It's back to the daily grind today, but you can still maybe have some fun in between all the soul-crushing monotony and meetings about meetings. We can even save you some money on apps, which will certainly be a great conversation starter when you run into the head of international accounting and compliance at the vending machine. Actually, if your job is anything like that, you should maybe just quit and enjoy the cheap apps.

GoneMAD Music Player Unlocker – $0.99 from $3.99
HDR FX Photo Editor Pro – $1.99 from $4.99
Solar System HD Deluxe Edition – $1.00 from $2.00
Servers Ultimate Pro – $4.49 from $8.99
Spendee – Free from $1.00 (automatic upgrade to ad-free)
Plex for Android – $1.99 from $4.99
Rusted Warfare - RTS Strategy – $1.99 from $2.99
Spirits – $0.99 from $2.99
Geometry Dash – $0.99 from $1.99
Preschool Puzzles Games – free from $1.99 (Amazon app of the day)

Android 4.4 OTA Now Rolling Out To The Google Play Edition HTC One

Earlier today we shared the kernel source and framework files for the Google Play edition HTC One that have been posted on HTCdev, a sign that an OTA possibly wouldn't be far off. As it turns out, it wasn't. An update is now rolling out to device owners. Here's the proof, courtesy of a user on XDA Developers.
Another user has posted flashable zips, but, of course, there's also the option to play it safe and wait. We can't say precisely when the OTA will hit your device, but you can expect it to land any moment now.
Motorola may have beaten the Google Play edition HTC One to the punch, but this is still a pretty fast turnaround. This rollout is less than a week behind the Nexus 4's, after all. As for owners of the Sense version of the device, HTC has promised that your KitKat update will arrive early next year.
Source: XDA Developers [1],[2]

SwiftKey Revives Left-Handed Number Pad Option,

SwiftKey introduced several new keyboard layout options earlier this month, including the ability to split keyboards and move them around, empowering users to position the keyboard precisely where its most accessible. Unfortunately, some features were lost in transition. Today's update does its part to address these drawbacks. Now left-handed users, or people who just prefer having the option, can again move the number pad to the left side of the keyboard.
To access this option, just hold down the "123" key and select Themes.

This update also brings back a number of other lost features, such as the missing dollar sign for people not in the US and the keyboard's traditional spacebar sound effect. However, the bug fixes don't stop there.
What's new:
  • Fixed loss of personal language when you upgrade – if your personal language has previously been lost the best thing to do to restore personalized predictions is to go to Settings – SwiftKey Cloud, sign in and personalize from your SMS and Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • Restored missing dollar sign – you can find a range of currency symbols by pressing and holding on the letter X, or by going to the numbers layout (accessed via the 123 key) or the symbols layout – accessed via the 123 key then the {&= key – and looking in the top left.
  • When keypress sounds are turned on, the spacebar sounds different to the other keys – you can turn keypress sounds on and off under Settings – Sound & Vibration
  • Extended layout on tablets now works properly – doesn’t just show predictions with no keyboard underneath
  • Restored missing bottom row in Russian and Thai layouts
  • Restored predictions in right-to-left languages (e.g. Hebrew, Arabic)
  • Backspacing on a flowed word at the beginning of a message now works
  • Pitch theme no longer shows white background when flowing
  • Fixed problems with entering names in Google +
  • Fixed problem with entering money amounts on Google Drive
  • Flowing long words sometimes got “stuck” – now fixed
  • Fixed a bunch of force closes
The update should already be available in the Play Store. Have at it.
SwiftKey Keyboard Free
189,219 ratings
by SwiftKey
10,000,000 - 50,000,000 downloads
SwiftKey Keyboard
361,615 ratings
by SwiftKey
1,000,000 - 5,000,000 downloads

App Ops Lives On In Android 4.4, Can Now Deny Even More Permissions

One of the strangest changes with regard to Android 4.4 was the apparent removal of the hidden App Ops menu. You remember this one – it was the interface that allowed you to restrict permissions on a per-app basis. Well, apparently it's still in there – Google just made it harder to find. Color Tiger, developer of Smart IR Remote has just released its new App Ops 4.3/4.4 app that pulls up the standard App Ops and can add new features with root access.
1 2
The app you get from Google Play can open App Ops on Android 4.3 and 4.4. This pretty definitively proves the feature is still present, contrary to what everyone thought when the most recent installment of Getting To Know Android went up. Getting into App Ops under Android 4.4 has also given us a look at some new permissions that can be toggled. Perhaps most interestingly, apps now list Keep Awake (wake lock) as a permission that can be altered. So you should be able to revoke this and the app won't be able to wake up your device. It's like Greenify, but built into Android. Android 4.4 also adds a media category to App Ops. There's a big commit to the Android source code that seems to confirm there are a number of new permissions supported. Here's the full list:
The standard App Ops interface is fine, but Color Tiger aims to improve on things for rooted users. This app can be used to download and install what they are calling "App Ops eXtended." The goal with App Ops eXtended is to provide additional features by installing the tweaked app to the /system/app directory. Right now App Ops eXtended only adds a search option to make finding apps easier, but in the future it will include the ability to revoke certain permissions by default, Tasker integration to disable permissions based on conditions, multiple profiles, widgets, and notifications to alert you to possible issues with permissions you have revoked.
3 4
Not only does this app teach us something new about Android 4.4, it promises to really improve customization and privacy controls (for free). This is definitely something to check out. There is also a second app already in Google Play that can call up the stock App Ops interface too. Apparently Google did not hide it well enough. There are a few screens below to compare 4.4 with 4.3 (on the left) and how they show Google Play Services in App Ops.
Update: A new version of App Ops from Color Tiger is out, and it includes a pro upgrade with notifications, batch denials, and automatic blocking of certain permissions.

Screenshot_2013-11-24-23-00-43 2013-11-25 07.01.26 2013-11-25 07.01.51
App Ops 4.3 / 4.4 KitKat
1,291 ratings
by Color Tiger
50,000 - 100,000 downloads
App Ops
575 ratings
by Lars Team
10,000 - 50,000 downloads