mercredi 26 juillet 2017

Xiaomi Launches MIUI 9: Image Search, Smart Assistant, Smart App Launcher, and Performance Enhancements

At an event in China today, Xiaomi launched the highly anticipated latest version of their ROM, MIUI 9. Xiaomi has been teasing MIUI 9 for a couple weeks now with hints and previews, so it is nice to finally get a look at the release version.

MIUI 9 brings a new Android version to some devices, upgrading a select few to 7.0 or later, although unfortunately some devices will be stuck on earlier versions still. While not all devices will be getting the full Android version bump, MIUI still is bringing new features and security updates where possible. The headline features for this release are Xiaomi's Smart App Launcher, Smart Assistant, and Image search.

Smart App Launcher acts a bit like Google Now on Tap, analysing what you are currently doing in your app to make recommendations on which app you may want to open up. This allows for seamless switching into other apps that you may need to use, without having to go to the homescreen (or appdrawer if using an alternate launcher) and find the app that you need.

Xiaomi Smart Assistant joins the already crowded AI helper market, going up against Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby, and others. Smart Assistant aims to organize all of your vital information in one easily accessible hub. You can access all of your notes, calendar events, reminders and other personally relevant information through this hub, with Smart Assistant attempting to show you the most relevant information at any point in time.

Image Search is an attempt at Google Photos style search by Xiaomi. It allows you to search for people, locations, expressions, events, documents, screenshots, and whatever else you can think of. Xiaomi is striving to bring natural language search to image organization, as part of their larger Universal Search function in MIUI 9.

Xiaomi MIUI 9 Improvements

MIUI 9 brings a plethora of other optimizations as well, which Xiaomi is highlighting, some of which sound distinctly like the improvements brought by Android 7.0 itself. It will be interesting to see which of these improvements make it into phones that won't be getting Android 7.0. One feature which Xiaomi is highlighting is the Dynamic Resource Allocation, which helps ensure that foreground apps get priority over background apps. This sounds a lot like the Project Svelte and Daydream related optimizations for Android 7.0, which focused heavily on background processes, although Xiaomi may have made further device specific enhancements over and above what Google added. The new file system likely will bring some nice improvements as well, although it is not yet clear which file system Xiaomi is switching to. It may be F2FS, which has recently been gaining popularity, including being used by Motorola in some devices, and by OnePlus in the OnePlus 3T.

App launch speeds was also a major focus for Xiaomi's development for MIUI 9, to the point where they are claiming that it will have "Explosively fast app launch-times". It is not clear yet what method they will be using to gain the faster launch times. Whether it is intelligent app pre-caching, or a result of read improvements brought by F2FS, or even something like Qualcomm's app opening CPU scaling boost found in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and 821 chipsets, it is always welcome to hear that phones will be quicker and more responsive.

Global expansion continues to be a focus for Xiaomi, with them taking steps towards it throughout their product line, in both their software improvements and their hardware portfolio. During their keynote, they highlighted that they now have devices in 142 countries with 55 languages and 2.8 billion active users. While the 2.8 billion active users number seems as bit high (as that is higher than the total number of Android devices with access to Play Services, and would mean that one out of every three people are currently using Xiaomi), it is likely in reference to 2.8 billion devices rather than users, as many users may have more than one Xiaomi device.

Xiaomi is warning people that many of their headline features will not be available in the Global ROM just yet, and are currently restricted to their MIUI China ROM. They are stressing that they will continue to work to bring the missing features to the Global ROM as well, and hope to have a more consistent experience between the two ROMs soon.

We are highly anticipating Xiaomi's release of the GPLed MIUI 9 Kernel Sources, and can't wait to see the new custom ROMs that it will help build.

Which feature of MIUI 9 are you most excited for? Will you be flashing over to MIUI 9, or will you sticking with a different ROM? Let us know in the comments below!


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CAD Renders of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Align with Previous Leaks and Rumors

There has been quite a lot of leaks in regards to the Google Pixel 2 XL, although we haven't heard much about the smaller successor to the Google Pixel. Our sources indicated that there wouldn't be that much of a difference between the original Pixel and the Pixel 2, suggesting the Pixel 2 XL is actually the one to receive the most changes. Today though, we get to see what are said to be renders of both the upcoming Google Pixel 2 as well as the Pixel 2 XL.

These CAD renders come from none other than @OnLeaks and his collaboration with MySmartPrice, and that is something to take note of. These renders have been created thanks to CAD dimension specs from one of his sources. So we could see a difference in materials used, specific placement, etc. Also note that these are early and like the Moto Z2 Force CAD renders he leaked, he got it wrong when it came to the 3.5mm headphone port.

These should always be considered rumors as nothing is confirmed until the company makes their official announcement. With that said, even the regular Pixel 2 looks to have considerably less bezels than its predecessor. We can see two front-facing speakers with the sensors above the earpiece and the front-facing camera to the left. There doesn't seem to be a 3.5mm headphone port on the top or the bottom, so be prepared for that possibility.

Shifting our focus to the Pixel 2 XL CAD renders we can see even slimmer top and bottom bezels with a highly pronounced 2.5D glass curve around the edges. This render shows front-facing speakers as well, with the same sensor and front camera placement as the smaller version. We don't see a 3.5mm headphone port on this device either, which is sure to ruffle a lot of people's feathers — then again, it's always best to wait to be sure. Both devices have the redesigned back glass that stops before the fingerprint scanner (like our original report had claimed), but it looks like the back camera and flash placements are different for each device. The device also bears resemblance to Android Police's render mockup, though some elements have shifted places.

Let us know your thoughts on these early CAD renders for the Google Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL.

Source: MySmartPrice

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Latest Lenovo Folio Concept Shown Off at Lenovo Tech World 2017

We're currently seeing a trend toward smartphone OEMs reducing the bezels of our devices. This design brings a new level of aesthetics to our phones that is becoming more and more popular. It's something that OEMs have been working on for a while now but they also have some other unique concepts being worked on as well. One of them in particular is foldable smartphones and tablets and the latest Lenovo Folio update was shown off at Lenovo Tech World last week.

Samsung has been at a number of display conventions to show off their foldable and rollable display technology, but we haven't seen much in the form of a physical product. The company is said to produce a foldable smartphone concept by the end of Q3 of this year, but any small hiccup during this process could hold it back. But then we have companies like Lenovo who have been working on this as well and have had a couple of different concepts already on display.

Last year the company showed off a foldable tablet concept at the own Lenovo Tech World event. As you can see above, the device was in its early stages of development, but it was working (even if the software was a little buggy at times) and able to gain a lot of attention from the media. The mechanics of the concept were in place so you could indeed fold the tablet in half so the screen was the size of a smartphone and then the idea is to make calls on it.

Lenovo Tech World 2017 just happened last week and the company was there again with a new revision of the Lenovo Folio tablet concept. They still aren't ready to release it as a finished product right now, but they wanted to show off the advancements they had made. The software looks more stable, there are more software features taking advantage of the idea behind it, and the bending mechanism looks more rigid. Take a look at a hands-on video from last week's event below.

Via: Mashable

from xda-developers

USB 3.2 Doubles Data Speeds: 20 Gbps Using Multi-Lane Operation

The USB-IF and the USB 3.0 Promoter Group have announced USB 3.2, which will be fully unveiled at USB Developer Days 2017 in September. USB 3.2 brings support for multi-lane USB operation, in order to provide USB data transfer speeds of up to 20 Gbps (2.5 GB/s) over a USB Type-C cable.

It comes as no surprise that USB 3.2 is adding multi-lane operation, as USB Type-C already added the ability to pair the SuperSpeed USB lanes together in order to send other data protocols over the USB Type-C interface with USB Alternate Mode. Using those techniques for regular USB data transfers was a clear step forward to take. That being said, it is a bit surprising to see that USB 3.2 is limited to using only two of the four SuperSpeed USB lanes available in the USB Type-C connector, and we may still see further improvements in the future to enable the usage of the remaining lanes.

The USB 3.2 update brings no substantial changes to the physical data layer or encoding techniques used for SuperSpeed USB, but rather is primarily an update to the hub specification to allow for the lane pairing needed for multi-lane USB operation. Keeping the physical data layer and encoding techniques consistent ensure full backward compatibility with past USB versions for USB 3.2 devices, which is always a key concern for the USB-IF and the USB 3.0 Promoter Group.

With USB 3.0 having launched in 2008 (and USB 3.1 in 2013), some people were starting to look towards USB 4.0, and while it can be sure that USB-IF is working on next generation improvements to the USB specification, USB 3.2 should help placate those that need faster transfer speeds for the moment.

Do you use USB 3.1's full 10 Gbps transfer speeds? What do you think USB 4.0 will bring? Let us know in the comments below!

Press Release

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Nova Launcher Partners with Sesame Shortcuts for a New Search Feature

Nova Launcher is one of the most popular custom launchers available on Android right now. The application has a ton of customization features so you can tweak the look and feel of your launcher to how you like it. It may take some time to go through the plethora of options included, but it's generally worth it to get your launcher looking perfect. Now, thanks to a new partnership with Sesame, the launcher is now getting an application and shortcut search feature.

Sesame Shortcuts is an application in the Play Store right now from a developer team calling themselves the Sesame Crew. With their application, they've been working on gathering deep linking shortcuts to some of the most popular applications. Meaning, you can use one of these shortcuts to go directly to a specific part of an application instead of having to open it and manually navigate to it. This might sound a lot like Android 7.1 Nougat's App Shortcuts feature, and that's because it is.

However, a lot of those have been limited to just people using Android 7.1 Nougat. As we saw earlier this month, only 0.9% of the Android community are currently running Android 7.1 Nougat. Some of these shortcuts are able to be backported as far back as Android 5.1 Lollipop, but this selection is limited and many are left wanting more. This is where Sesame Shortcuts comes into play and its new integration into Nova Launcher makes it even more accessible.

Those running Android 5.0 Lollipop and higher will be able to take advantage of this new feature. How it will work is you tap the Home button when you're already at the Home Screen and it will launch a search prompt. From here, you can start typing for anything you want to go directly to. This can be someone's name that you're talking to via SMS or Hangouts, it can be a song from a Spotify playlist, anything that Sesame Shortcuts supports can be searched from here.

You then just need to tap it and it will launch the application and take you straight there. The new Sesame Shortcuts feature is already integrated in 5.4-beta1 of Nova Launcher so you can check it out right now. You will need to manually download the Sesame Shortcuts application yourself. It comes with a 14-day free trial, but then has a $3 in-app purchase to continue using it. Check out this GIF to see the new feature in action.

nova launcher sesame shortcuts

Source: TeslaCoil Apps

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Gratus is a New App By Francisco Franco That’s Designed to Bring a Little Happiness To Your Day

Francisco Franco, the XDA Recognized Developer behind projects such as Franco Kernel, has launched a new app aimed at encouraging users to create notes of both everyday events and the special things that we are grateful for, in order to help promote positive feelings.

The free app comes with bright and cheerful Material Design inspired UI and it is intended to allow users to jot down the moments that mean the most to them. What you do with these moments once they are in the app is up to you, though Franco has added options to keep random "grateful notes" as a persistent notification with options for changing the length of time before the note changes. Alternatively, for those of us who prefer a clean notification tray, the notes can be kept on your homescreen via the included resizeable widget. If neither of these sound appealing to you then the app will simply collect your memories, storing them in a series of cards for your later perusal. The in app options also allow for a daily alert to be set at a time of your choosing, which will remind you of your entries and those things you were most grateful for during the day.

During my time with the app I came to see it in a similar light to some of the diary apps from the Play Store, but the brevity of the notes leaves you with a feed of succinct positive memories. As such, many users may feel uncomfortable with the idea of having personal thoughts and images stored in an easily accessible app. Thankfully, Franco has already considered this and the app can be secured from prying eyes with a pin or via your fingerprint sensor. We know that in a future update Franco intends to implement backups for your notes and photos using GDrive (or similar) for those of use who like to swap ROMs frequently, but until this update the app will use Android's default back-up system.

Would I continue using the app? As with many of the apps I use, I much prefer the concept and development quality rather than the day to day usage. In a similar manner to other diary apps and other similar apps I quickly realized that I am probably not the intended demographic, and often find myself forgetting to add notes or photos. That being said, the app has been designed and built wonderfully and iy is well worth the download. If you find that you enjoy the app and would like to support the development further, then you can unlock all the premium features for a one-off IAP.

Franco has also opened a new thread in our forums here at XDA for Gratus, if you have any questions or feedback about the app you can easily start a conversation with other users or the dev himself.

Visit the Gratus thread

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