Froyo Progress Update

Another week, another Froyo update. Before I begin: if you’ve been building systems, we now have updated build documentation on the XDAndroid wiki for the froyo branch. Check it out!

Work on Froyo has continued to progress rapidly. The bugs are starting to dwindle and I’m beginning to work on features more and more.

GSM users will be happy to hear that I’ve finally integrated the Access Point Names (APNs) list correctly, and it will be installed with babijoee’s next system release. CDMA users shouldn’t feel left out either, since with the help of hamagc on IRC, I was also able to add the CDMA generic APN again. The vast majority of providers should have settings that work out of the box from now on.

Many users reported shortcomings in the on-screen keyboard. Touch sensitivity is still a bit off (and I don’t see that changing — these screens are pretty small), but I was able to pull some autocomplete dictionaries out of cyanogenmod’s source tree. The dictionaries make the keyboard much more useful, of course. This will also be in babijoee’s next build.

Finally, by popular demand I have re-enabled the touch-friendly incoming call screen. This screen is similar to the unlock screen when you turn the device back on: it offers two pull switches to answer or reject an incoming call. The touch-friendly screen displayed during an accepted (or dialed) call, however, is still disabled. The layout is buggy on VGA phones.

I’ve begun investigating the possibility of issuing over-the-air updates for XDAndroid systems. Building OTA update packages is easy, thanks to the Android build system. The difficult parts are integrating an update mechanism into our rootfs, and developing infrastructure for Android’s checkin service to contact and check for or receive updates. This would be a pretty neat feature down the road.

Thanks for reading!

Froyo Progress Update

It’s been a while since the last XDAndroid update. We’ve since released several testing builds of Froyo, all of which have been progressively more useful and stable.

Since babijoee’s beta-2 release, the primary focus of development has been on bugfixes. Many users have been running the builds and offering great feedback on what needs work. With their help, I’ve been able to make some major fixes in the system.

First off, lots of people reported that their phones weren’t getting data connections out of the box. Users had to enter their provider’s mobile access point (APN) information by hand. This is an unacceptable issue and something that I missed due to testing without a SIM card in my device. The XDAndroid-specific bits in the source tree actually had a very large list of APNs in it, but it wasn’t getting copied over during system installation. This was a bug in our build system support introduced in Froyo, which has been fixed.

Second, the Google Apps support was suboptimal. The Google Apps packages we relied on include libraries that were built for newer devices which use different CPUs. Since our devices were not entirely compatible with libraries built for those CPUs, the applications were crashing on startup. There has since been a Google Apps package developed specifically for Froyo and devices with older CPUs. This package has been integrated into our build system. Specifically, this has fixed the Voice Search application and voice input with the Android keyboard.

Finally, I continue to make tweaks to increase performance and responsiveness of the user interface. With cues from cyanogenmod, I’ve made a couple of animations speed-ups and gave a hint to the system to use less sophisticated eyecandy features where possible. This helps improve the user experience quite a bit. There are still other places which can benefit from further optimization, so keep an eye out for more small performance gains in the future.

These changes have been added to the source tree, but are not present yet in current releases (as of 14 July, this post’s date). Development’s pace has been increasing and we still have some bugs to squish, so keep an eye out for more test builds. For users who wish to attempt to build their own system images, I have updated the build documentation on the wiki for Froyo’s new procedures.

PS: We still have not fixed the SD card bug noted by many HTC Diamond users, but I’m starting to get some great information from helpful users on #xdandroid.

Mario Marathon Prize Patrol

(Before I start, I’d like to apologize in advance to my XDAndroid followers: This post is cruft for you, so if you’re not into it, don’t feel bad to disregard it angrily. Also, for those of you who hate alliterations: I apologize for the title.)

For much of last week (and starting two weeks ago from Friday), the Super Mario Marathon guys ran their third annual event to raise money and awareness for the Child’s Play charity. If you haven’t heard of Child’s Play, they are a not-for-profit organization which raises money and purchases toys, games and books for children’s hospitals. The results of Child’s Play’s efforts have provided entertainment and raised morale for sick kids in hospitals across the country and even internationally. Child’s Play is a charity formed from the ground up by the gaming culture, and is one of the industry’s most significant contributions to society.

Read on for some thoughts about the Marathon’s incredible success! Continue reading “Mario Marathon Prize Patrol”