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

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

Sultanxda’s Unofficial LineageOS 14.1 Lands on the OnePlus One

The OnePlus One is a classic. While the phone has not reached the levels of community excellence that vintage devices like the HTC HD2 did, it is seemingly on track to accomplish that status. The OnePlus One is among one of the few modern Android devices that balances specifications with a very strong developer community presence that refuses to let the phone die.

If you are still rocking the OnePlus One in 2017 and rely on the community work to run your phone, there’s some good news coming your way. XDA Recognized Developer Sultanxda has finally updated his unofficial LineageOS ROM to Android 7.1 Nougat.

Sultanxda is recognized as one of the pioneers of development on the OnePlus One, and especially credited towards unleashing the latent camera capabilities on the device. His work began with unlocking 1080p video recording on the front camera on the OnePlus One, and then moving it up to 1440p. He also brought 4K video recording capabilities to the device on OxygenOS. So Sultanxda’s work is well respected in the OnePlus community in XDA and outside too.

Sultanxda’s unofficial LineageOS 14.1 based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat features his custom kernel and camera HAL, similar to previous iterations of his ROM. This allows the OnePlus One to record slow-mo videos as well as timelapses at 1080p 60fps. There’s also 4K video recording capabilities in his ROM. The ROM does feature OxygenOS’s camera libraries with 4K camcorder support through his custom HAL, as this fixes a few issues with Cyanogen/Lineage’s camera libraries.

Since this is the first release, there is no OMS support yet in the ROM as implied in the thread.

For downloads, installation instructions and more information on the features, head on over to the Unofficial LineageOS 14.1 forum thread.

Have you flashed the ROM on your OnePlus One? Have you tried any of Sultanxda’s work in the past? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!

You Can Finally Send Any File Through WhatsApp

One of the greatest WhatsApp features is file sharing. With a few simple steps, you can share documents with your friends. WhatsApp is finally rolling out a feature that allows sending any file type, including archives and media files. The rollout is limited and slow, but if you’re lucky, you might already be able to share your files.

Until now, WhatsApp allowed sharing such files as csv, doc, docx, pdf, ppt, pptx, rtf, txt, xls, xlsx and similar. The list of supported files was very limited and didn’t include any media files. Now, the company is reportedly rolling out the enhanced sharing feature to all its users. While this is great news, please note that the maximum size of the share is 128 MB for iOS, 100 MB for Android and 64 MB for a Web client. Those limits are pretty low, but WhatsApp may (or may not) increase them.

WhatsApp is experimenting with this feature only with some users at the moment. If it works for you, you’re fortunate. Otherwise, you can find similar functionality is available in the open-source alternative Telegram.

Let us know if the feature works for you already. This is a server side update, so you don’t have to download the latest beta. You can obtain WhatsApp from the Google Play Store or by visiting the official website.

Source: WABetaInfo Get WhatsApp for Android