Seamless (A/B) System Updates Coming Soon to LineageOS for Select Devices (Pixel/Pixel XL)

One of the headlining features of the Android 7.0 Nougat update as well as the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL is the ability to seamlessly install system updates. This feature from Android Nougat takes some of the pain away from updating your device and also reduces the likelihood of an inactive device.

Seamless System Updates are also known as A/B system updates, which have the goal of ensuring a workable booting system remains on the disk during an OTA update. Users can continue to use the device during the OTA update process as the only downtime during an update will be when the device reboots into the updated system. This is made possible as the update is installed in a different disk partition, and the bootloader then boots the device into the newly updated disk partition.

In A/B updates, the OS will make a few attempts to boot into the partition with the new update. But in case of continued failure, the device will ultimately reboot back from the older partition and older images. This failsafe ensures that at least one bootable image is present on the device, meaning less re-flashes and device replacements when things go horribly wrong.

A set of commits to the CMUpdater found in LineageOS points that this functionality will soon be available on the ROM.

CMUpdater: support A/B style OTA updates

* Autodetect the type of zip (A/B OTA or traditional)
* Handle A/B OTAs via UpdateEngine and display progress
  to the user.

Before you get too excited, A/B style OTA updates will only be available to a select few devices, namely the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. Older devices which were not launched with A/B style OTA support in their stock ROMs will lack the requisite partitions to support this new style of OTA. So, even though LineageOS will add in this functionality to their Updater, your device will not support it if it did not previously.

The commit has been merged into the LineageOS repo and should be making its way to the next nightly.

Have you had a chance to experience seamless system updates on your Pixel/Pixel XL? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: LineageOS Review

Honor 8 Pro Gets TWRP And Root

The Honor 8 Pro is one of the newest devices in Huawei’s portfolio. Developers should soon have a chance to create and easily distribute ROMs and kernels for the smartphone, as XDA Recognized Developer OldDroid from Team OpenKirin has provided a working TWRP build for the handset.

This TWRP 3.1.1 build for the device supports all Honor 8 Pro models and is intended to work on stock EMUI 5.x with an unlocked bootloader. You would need to decrypt /data partition to install Magisk and SuperSU as you can not install them on encrypted partition. The forum thread contains instructions on encrypting and decrypting as well, to make it easy for users to follow along whichever way they wish to go.

Get TWRP for the Honor 8 Pro

Imagination Technologies Up For Sale After Apple’s Breakdown

The future of Imagination Technologies has become uncertain after Apple’s declaration on April 3. The iPhone maker had informed their long-time GPU partner that they will be winding down their use of Imagination’s Intellectual Property and designs. After considering a few different options, the U.K. based chipmaker put itself up for sale after seeing a decline in its stock value.

Imagination’s decision to sell itself is not surprising to anyone following the company’s success, given Apple was the main customer of Imagination Technologies for a decade. Shortly after Apple’s announcement, Imagination’s share prices collapsed by nearly 70 percent (!) and since then, they have struggled to recover. The difficult circumstances left the chipmaker no choice but to put itself up for sale and hope to find a buyer soon

In a press release, the British chipmaker said:

Imagination Technologies Group plc announces that over the last few weeks it has received interest from a number of parties for a potential acquisition of the whole Group. The Board of Imagination has therefore decided to initiate a formal sale process for the Group and is engaged in preliminary discussions with potential bidders.

The company, established in 1985, is looking at potential buyers such as Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, Google and of course Apple as Imagination’s PowerVR GPU IP would be very valuable to all major SoC vendors. The company has not specifically named any suitors, but the aforementioned companies are in positions where they can take good advantage of this purchase.

Imagination Technology is divided into three major divisions: MIPS, which produces low-power CPUs for mobile devices, wearables and IoT devices; Ensigma, which offers technologies for wireless IP connectivity; and PowerVR, its graphics processor (GPU) division. Potential buyers could either purchase the whole group or individual divisions, depending on their needs and the resulting negotiation agreements.

The estimated value of the company is about $528 million, jumping as much as 21 percent on Thursday when the selling announcement was made. The final price tag for a buyer would be higher, as a sale would almost certainly come with a premium over the company’s current stock price.

While the company looks for buyers, they are also continuing their dispute with Apple. As last reported, the companies were still going through their contractual dispute resolution process. It’s not certain whether this process would be completed before Imagination finds a suitor.

Source 1: Anandtech Source 2: Reuters

HTC Announces New Edge Sense Features for the U11

HTC tweeted a video of some new features coming to Edge Sense on their latest HTC U11 smartphone. Users will soon have the option to squeeze the phone to perform various additional actions.

The Taiwanese company announced that squeezing will have special features in some applications. For instance, by pressing the edges, you can zoom in Google Maps. Additionally, Edge Sense is now compatible with Photos, and squeezing the edges once zooms in the image, then the image can be restored to its original size after another squeeze.

HTC Edge Sense will also work with the Dialer application, where squeezing will work just like an “answer call” button. Finally, you will be able to disable a ringing alarm by squeezing your phone in sleepy frustration.

The last supported application is Calendar, where squeezing activates the month view. Again, a nice addition though not every useful.

HTC is also encouraging its fans to submit ideas to the company for future Edge Sense tricks. Among responses, you can find real gems like this one.

We can’t wait to see some of HTC’s ideas in action, at least what’s in store that we don’t yet know about. For example, squeezing might become useful in gaming or as a switch between full screen and regular mode while playing video. The new feature rollout should begin shortly.

  Source: @htc

Make Nova Google Companion App Work On KitKat Devices

Recently, we reported that Nova Launcher developers found a way to add a Google Now Panel in their launcher, without root. With a few simple steps, you can have the same functionality on KitKat devices.

XDA Senior Member Nikhilkumar038 managed to found a workaround to make the Nova Google Companion working on an older version of Android. The method requires you to decompile the app and lower the SDK level from 21 to 19. You can find detailed instructions in the forum thread by clicking the link below.

Make the app compatible with KitKat