Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro’s Android 8.1 Oreo Update May Bring Project Treble Compatibility

Last week, Xiaomi unveiled the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro at an event in New Delhi. Both devices are already contenders for best mid-rangers on the market thanks to Xiaomi’s never-failing strategy: respectable specifications at an unbeatable price. Unfortunately, the software has always been one of the downsides of these devices (at least, in our opinion), and it was disappointing to see the devices launch with Android 7.1 Nougat. A popular meme on Reddit and our own forums is that manufacturers will opt to ship their devices with Nougat in order to avoid meeting Project Treble’s requirements. Well, I can’t speak for how true that opinion is, but there is evidence that it isn’t happening with the Redmi Note 5 Pro: there’s already an Android 8.1 Oreo build that hints at Treble compatibility.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and Project Treble

So you might be asking: how do we know that the Redmi Note 5 Pro will have Treble support? The thing is, before the device was announced, we were digging through the firmware files of a device code-named “whyred.” At the time, we knew that this was a Redmi device with a Global ROM, but we were unsure what the device’s real name would be. Now that we know that “whyred” is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, we can reveal our findings from its unreleased Android 8.1 Oreo firmware.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Specifications Outlined in CPU-Z. Credits: Trakin Tech

The following information is based on firmware files obtained by @FunkyHuawei, the man behind the FunkyHuawei.club service, which allows users to updateunbrick, or rebrand Huawei and Honor phones for a fee. He has provided access to these firmware files exclusively to XDA-Developers.

First of all, yes, the firmware we’re looking at is indeed running Android 8.1 Oreo. The SDK version is 27 and the release build is 8.1.0 with the January security patches. But what’s most interesting is that the line “ro.treble.enabled” is set to true in the build.prop, which is one of the easiest ways to check for Project Treble compatibility on an official ROM. The only reason we’re unsure of whether or not it truly is Treble compatible is because we can’t actually test that. The best way to confirm that is to flash a Generic System Image (GSI) onto it and see if it boots.

Now, does the fact that an Android 8.1 Oreo ROM exists tell us anything about the update road-map for the device? No, there’s no indication of when the device will actually receive Oreo. Still, it’s clear that this was in the works even before the device was released. It’s possible that Xiaomi engineers were preparing to launch Oreo on the device but couldn’t due to time constraints. Some of the more cynical among you would say they purposely withheld the update in anticipation of the upcoming Xiaomi Mi 7 or Mi Mix 2S. It’s difficult to say, and this is something that we would almost certainly never get an official answer to.

Regardless, this is great news for fans of the newly released Redmi Note 5 Pro. The phone apparently sold out in record time for Xiaomi in India, so there are going to be a lot of new users of this device who are probably wondering when their device will receive Android Oreo. It might not be soon, but at least you know it’s there, and it’ll likely enable you to easily flash an AOSP ROM if you ever get sick of MIUI—and we know that a lot of you may feel that way.

Furthermore, given Xiaomi’s spotty track record when it comes to kernel source releases this means that you can run an AOSP ROM without needing to wait for Xiaomi to get around to releasing the source code. Don’t believe me? Consider the fact that an obscure phone with a MediaTek SoC and no kernel source release is able to run LineageOS 15.1. It’s for this reason why Redmi Note 5 Pro owners should look forward to the Oreo release!

Interesting side-note: in the screenshot above, the “board” is listed as “sdm660.” That refers to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, which is nearly identical to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 that ships with the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The Snapdragon 636 features a lower clock speed and a weaker GPU, but is pin and software compatible with the Snapdragon 660. The firmware that I looked at lists the “sdm660” as the SoC. Notably, the Mi Max 3 firmware that I looked at the other day also lists the Snapdragon 660 as its SoC, but it too is most likely running on the Snapdragon 636.

Exclusive: the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 is coming with Wireless Charging and Possibly an Iris Scanner

Xiaomi’s most anticipated smartphones this year are likely their two flagship phones: the Mi Mix 2S and the Mi 7. Both will feature the latest SoC from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 845, and are expected to launch at or soon after the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Not everyone is a fan of purchasing expensive flagship hardware, however, and that’s why companies like Xiaomi offer many different devices at all kinds of price points. One of Xiaomi’s mid-range brands is the Mi Max series, which are known for their gargantuan battery capacities. We believe that Xiaomi will continue that trend this year with the release of a new Xiaomi Mi Max 3, for which we have exclusively obtained the firmware files for.

The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Continues the Trend

Back in December, a Chinese blog called CNMO reported that the Mi Max 3 would feature an enormous 5,500 mAh battery. The report also alleged that the device would feature a 7″ 18:9 display, have dual cameras, and have either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC depending on the model.

While we cannot confirm any information about the display size, the firmware files we have obtained allow us to confirm most of the other information, as well as a few new findings of our own.

The following information is based on firmware files obtained by @FunkyHuawei, the man behind the FunkyHuawei.club service, which allows users to updateunbrick, or rebrand Huawei and Honor phones for a fee. He has provided access to these firmware files exclusively to XDA-Developers.

First off, we’ll go over the most basic specifications. According to the various build properties, the device we are looking at will launch with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC. There might be a Snapdragon 630 variant, but we haven’t seen that one yet. The battery capacity is indeed 5,500 mAh, which should please any person who is interested in a device with a long battery life. We can also confirm that it will have an 18:9 display, though we can’t confirm the display resolution.

What’s most interesting about this device, however, is the fact that it may have wireless charging. Xiaomi phones have never supported Qi wireless charging before, but Xiaomi finally joined the Wireless Power Consortium late last year. The Xiaomi Mi 7 is supposedly going to be the first Xiaomi device with wireless charging capabilities, but we haven’t found any direct evidence for that yet. The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 will very likely support wireless charging, though, as we found two pieces of direct evidence for that in its firmware.

Within the MIUI Keyguard APK, we discovered strings relating to wireless charging. There are strings that tell you if charging has stopped and if so, whether it is because the device’s position has been offset from the charger base.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Wireless Charging

Furthermore, we found a help video and graphic made by Xiaomi that shows the user how to place their device on the wireless charger. The phone shown in the graphic is likely not how the Mi Max 3 will look in person, because it’s possible that the graphic is just showing off a generic device for Xiaomi’s future broad range of smartphones with wireless charging capabilities.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Wireless Charging

Next up, we were able to find out exactly what camera sensors the device will be using, thanks to a configuration file. On the rear, the device will have either an IMX363 from Sony or an S5K217+S5K5E8 Samsung dual camera setup. On the front, there will be a lone S5K4H7 from Samsung. However, it appears that the front of the device may be joined by another imaging sensor: an iris scanner.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Iris Scanner

The front auxiliary module mentioned here is the OmniVision 2281 which “leverages a 1.12-micron pixel with PureCel technology to enable accurate, reliable iris recognition for smartphones, tablets, and notebooks” according to its official page. It appears that this sensor is still in-development for the device, as the lines pertaining to it have been commented out. I don’t know if the final model of the device will have an iris scanner, but it’s clear that this is in the works. Given that this device will support wireless charging and will have a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, it makes sense for it to add iris scanning so you can quickly unlock the phone when it is sitting on a table.

Regarding the software, the firmware suggests the device is running Android 8.1 Oreo. Notably, the first API level set in the build properties was 25, which means this device started out running Android 7.1 Nougat. It’s possible that this device may launch with Android 8.1, but it’s also possible that the firmware we’re looking at is the developer ROM and that the stable release will be an older version of Android. Basically, don’t get your hopes up.

Other minor aspects we can reveal are that the device will have a dual SIM card slot, support dual SD cards, an IR blaster, LED light for notifications, audio tuned by Dirac, Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX HD Bluetooth audio codecs, but unfortunately no NFC. It will also possibly have dual speakers (though the firmware isn’t 100% clear on that), and something called a front “remosic” sensor.

If we learn more about the Xiaomi Mi Max 3, we’ll keep you updated on the XDA Portal. Until then, be sure to follow our new Exclusive tag for more posts like this!

LineageOS 15.1 now available for the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble-Compatible Devices

Project Treble. Some of you might be sick of hearing about it by this time, while others are ecstatic about any news related to the initiative. We at XDA couldn’t be more excited about what it brings to the table, and every week something new happens that adds to the excitement. Recently, a developer was able to bring full Project Treble compatibility to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. An obscure phone with a MediaTek SoC is able to boot a generic Android build as well, paving the way for improved device longevity well-beyond the end of official manufacturer support. Now, a developer has made Treble-based custom ROMs even more enticing for users as the first LineageOS 15.1 build is available for the Honor View 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro (and it works on other Treble-compatible devices as well!)

LineageOS 15.1 for the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Treble Devices

To recap, Project Treble is a really low-level architectural change in the way Android works, starting with Android 8.0 Oreo. Basically, all of the vendor Hardware Abstraction Layers (HALs, the binaries that Android interfaces with to work with hardware components) are moved to a separate vendor partition and interface with the Android Framework (the OS) in a more standardized way via the HAL Interface Definition Language (HIDL). Google enforces this standardization through the Vendor Test Suite (VTS), which devices must pass in order to be certified to ship with Google Play apps and services. One of the requirements of the VTS is that Treble-compatible devices must be able to boot a generic system image (GSI), which is basically just a stock Android Oreo system image built from Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

The benefit of this requirement for the custom ROM community is that Treble-compatible devices won’t need nearly as much hackery to at least get a basic AOSP ROM up and running. Indeed, devices such as the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, Honor 8 Pro, Honor 9, and the Honor View 10 have very barebone AOSP Android Oreo ROMs available. But most users aren’t interested in running AOSP since it lacks so many features out of the box: no Night Light, no Adaptive Brightness, no Ambient Display, the list goes on. Sure, you can spruce things up a bit by installing a custom framework overlay, the Xposed Framework, or install Substratum, but there’s a lot of effort involved in setting it all up.

For those of you who just want to flash and forget, that’s where LineageOS 15.1 by XDA Recognized Developers Luk1337 and luca020400 comes in. It is based on Android 8.1 Oreo just like the previous GSIs, but it also comes with all of the cool additions that LineageOS is known for. That includes LiveDisplay, Privacy Guard, button customization, and much, much more. If you have a Project Treble compatible device and are interested in trying out AOSP, this might be your perfect option.

LineageOS 15.1 Brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble Compatible Devices LineageOS 15.1 Brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble Compatible Devices LineageOS 15.1 Brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble Compatible Devices LineageOS 15.1 Brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble Compatible Devices LineageOS 15.1 Brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble Compatible Devices LineageOS 15.1 Brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble Compatible Devices LineageOS 15.1 Brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble Compatible Devices LineageOS 15.1 Brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and other Project Treble Compatible Devices

Excited? Want to flash LineageOS 15.1 on your Treble-compatible device? Before I direct you to the forum thread where you can download the ROM, there is one very important thing we have to get out of the way.

Warning: the LineageOS developers who created this ROM posted about this on the Honor View 10 forum, and state that it should work on any device with a HiSilicon Kirin 970. You are free to try flashing this ROM on your Treble-compatible device, but be warned that the developers may not choose to support you if you come across any bugs. Notably, the developers received their Honor View 10 devices thanks to the Honor Open Source Program, so that is the only device that is officially supported by them.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s how to install LineageOS 15.1 on your Project Treble compatible device.

How to Install LineageOS 15.1 on the Honor View 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, or other Treble-Compatible Devices

  1. Make an off-device backup of all important files. It is very likely that you will need a full data wipe in order for this to boot.
  2. Unlock your device’s bootloader. Here’s a guide for the Honor View 10 and here’s one for the Mate 10 series.
  3. Reboot to bootloader. The easiest way is to plug in your phone, power it off, then hold power+volume down.
  4. Download LineageOS 15.1 from this forum thread.
  5. Open a command prompt or terminal window and navigate to the same directory where you downloaded the system image from above.
  6. Enter the following command: fastboot flash system system.img
  7. Note: replace “system.img” with the exact name of the image you downloaded. At the time of this article’s publication, that would be “system_20180221.img”
  8. Reboot the phone. If your phone starts bootlooping, let it continue until it brings you to Huawei’s recovery screen asking you to do a low-level data wipe. Select that option with the power button and let it do its thing.
  9. Once the data wipe is finished, you should successfully boot up into LineageOS 15.1.

After that, you’re free to customize whatever you want on the device.

Feature image credits: XDA Senior Member phhusson. Devices shown left to right: Undisclosed MSM8937 Treble-compatible device, Huawei Mate 9, Honor View 10, Allview Viper V3.

Gboard v7.0 Beta Adds Email Address Autocompletion, Universal Media Search, & Support for Chinese and Korean Languages

Gboard, formerly Google Keyboard, is Google’s first-party keyboard app for Android. It’s a feature-rich app, and it is pre-installed on a wide range of Android smartphones. The last version of Gboard, v6.9, brought support for handwriting input, URL field suggestions, new languages, and more. Gboard v7.0 beta began rolling-out to users on the Play Store today, and the official change-log states that it now supports Android Oreo (Go Edition). It also comes with more support for Japanese language features.

We installed the app and did an APK teardown of it as well. The teardown enabled us to know about other new features which have gone live in the latest update, even though they weren’t mentioned in the official changelog. To be precise, auto-completion for email addresses has now gone live; users can now choose to do a universal search for media; and Chinese and Korean are now supported languages. One feature which hasn’t gone live yet is suggestions and auto-corrections for automatically detected additional languages.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.

Email address autocompletion

Gboard Email Address Autocompletion

Gboard’s auto-correct and auto-complete features are already among the best, but now, Google has improved them even more. The keyboard will now autocomplete typed email addresses (as this feature has gone live), although it’s worth noting that I could not get the feature to work myself even after trying multiple times. When it starts working for all, it will save users the hassle of manually typing email addresses. Here is the string for the same:

<string name="feature_card_email_completion_description">Gboard now auto-completes email addresses so you no longer need to fully type them out.</string>

Support for Chinese and Korean languages

Since its launch, Gboard has gained support for a wide range of languages, which makes it a boon to multi-lingual users. Up until now, though, it did not support Chinese and Korean. That changes now, as users can download the beta update and add Chinese and Korean language keyboards to Gboard. The app will also now alert users that new languages are available. Here are the strings for the same:

<string name="feature_card_chinese_korean_description">Chinese and Korean are now supported in Gboard.</string>
<string name="feature_card_chinese_korean_title">New languages!</string>

Universal media search

Gboard Universal Media Search

This feature is self-explanatory, and it’s now gone live. Users can do a universal media search to search for emojis, GIFs, and stickers. Here are the strings for the same:

<string name="feature_card_universal_media_description">Now when you search for “hungry” on Gboard, you’ll not only get emojis - you’ll also be able to choose from stickers and gifs, too.</string>
<string name="gboard_showing_universal_media_content_desc">Showing %s Media</string>
<string name="gboard_showing_universal_media_no_context_content_desc">Showing Media</string>
<string name="universal_media_emoji_header_text">EMOJI</string>
<string name="universal_media_gifs_header_text">GIFS</string>
<string name="universal_media_plural_suffix">" gifs"</string>
<string name="universal_media_singular_suffix">" gif"</string>
<string name="universal_media_sticker_header_text">STICKERS</string>
<string name="universal_media_sticker_more_results">MORE</string>
<string name="universal_media_sticker_more_results_content_desc">Open more sticker results</string>

Describing bug reports

<string name="bug_report_dialog_bug_description_comment_message">"Please describe the bug in detail (Used as bug's description)."</string>
<string name="bug_report_dialog_bug_description_title_message">"Please describe the bug in one sentence (Used as bug's title)."</string>
<string name="bug_report_dialog_report_to_buganizer_option_message">Do you want to report this on Buganizer? (Unselecting this option will still upload log to server.)</string>
<string name="bug_report_dialog_span_selection_message">Please unselect any text that you do not want to share with Google.</string>
<string name="dialog_title">Keyboard Decoder Bug Report</string>
<string name="label_quality_bug_report_access_point">Quality Bug Report</string>

These strings add to existing strings that are related to bug reporting. Users are able to describe the bug in detail, which will be used as the bug’s description, and in one sentence, which will be used as the bug’s title. They can also choose to report this on Buganizer (Google’s Issue Tracker), but even if they unselect that option, the generated logs will still be uploaded to servers.

Suggestions and autocorrections in automatically detected additional languages

<string name="enable_new_language_dialog_message">"You'll start seeing suggestions and autocorrections for %1$s words."</string>
<string name="enable_new_language_dialog_title">Add %1$s to Gboard?</string>

This feature hasn’t gone live yet. When it does, Gboard will automatically detect additional languages, and offer to add them to its selected languages. Users will then start seeing suggestions and autocorrections in the selected languages.

Let us know in the comments if you spot anything new, and follow our APK Teardown tag for more articles like this!

The Xiaomi Mi 7 may launch with an OLED Panel and an Always on Display Feature

As we approach the beginning of Mobile World Congress, we are hearing a lot of information about devices that may be unveiled at the event. We discovered that Samsung would be using augmented reality to show off the Galaxy S9 design to MWC attendees, for instance. Another phone that was pegged for launch at MWC is the Xiaomi Mi 7, though according to AndroidHeadlines the phone may not launch next week. Nonetheless, we know the phone is coming—eventually—and it’s looking to be a powerhouse. Thanks to firmware files obtained by our trusted source, we have a lot of additional information we can share on the upcoming Xiaomi flagship.

The Xiaomi Mi 7—What we already know

To start off with, let’s recap the information we already know about the device. We know it will launch with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, as the CEO himself confirmed that information. It will likely be the first Xiaomi flagship to launch with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon if the rumored Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S isn’t unveiled first.

Apart from that, there isn’t a lot of additional information that has been confirmed. Rumors suggest that there may be two variants of the Mi 7—a regular and a plus model. The Plus model is rumored to have a 6.01″ OLED panel from Samsung. The Mi 7 is also rumored to be the first Xiaomi phone with wireless charging. Other rumors state that the devices will feature dual cameras with several AI-enhanced features. Finally, the rumored battery capacity of these two devices fluctuates wildly between outlets—some reports state the smaller model will have a 3,200 mAh battery while the larger would have a 3,500mAh battery, and other (rather dubious) reports state the phones may have a gargantuan 4,480 mAh battery.

Now that we’ve gotten the rumored specifications out of the way, we can discuss what we believe to be the specifications for the Xiaomi Mi 7.

Xiaomi Mi 7 Rumored Specifications Based on Leaked Firmware Files

The following information is based on firmware files obtained by @FunkyHuawei, the man behind the FunkyHuawei.club service, which allows users to updateunbrick, or rebrand Huawei and Honor phones for a fee. He has provided access to these firmware files exclusively to XDA-Developers.

Within the firmware files, we can confirm the most obvious aspects: it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and runs Android 8.0 Oreo with MIUI 9 (and Project Treble compatibility to boot). There is also an explicit mention of the device having an OLED display, so it’s a safe bet that part is true. What’s more interesting is that this device may be the first Xiaomi smartphone with an Always on Display feature.

We found references to an “AOD” in the device properties, so that was our first hint. (Notably, a reference to “AOD” was how I first discovered that the Google Pixel 2 would have an Always on Display feature.) We then decompiled the MIUI keyguard app (the app that is responsible for the MIUI lock screen) and found a layout file for the Always on Display feature.

Xiaomi Mi 7 Always on Display

This layout file tells us that the always on ambient display will show the time, date, battery level, and up to 3 notification badges. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary about this feature, except maybe the battery level which is a feature many Pixel 2 owners are hoping for.

Next up, we also have evidence pointing towards the existence of dual cameras. This is thanks to various binaries in the vendor partition that are there to allow Android to use the dual cameras.

Xiaomi Mi 7 Dual Cameras

Finally, we found some other minor tidbits from the firmware such as the fact that it will have dual SIM card support but no dual SD card support, an IR blaster, real-time Bokeh in the camera app (thanks to the Snapdragon 845), Electronic Image Stabilization, audio technology from Dirac, Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX HD Bluetooth audio codecs, and NFC support. And the battery capacity listed in the firmware is 3,170 mAh, which is less than the battery capacity of the Xiaomi Mi 6 (3,350 mAh) but not considerably so.

However, we were unable to confirm if the device has wireless charging support. Although we did find mentions of wireless charging embedded in various system apps, we could not verify if these strings weren’t simply generic strings part of Android Oreo-based MIUI. (We did find evidence that another unreleased Xiaomi device will have wireless charging support, so stay tuned for more information on that!)

Lastly, we have to mention that we aren’t 100% confident that the leaked firmware files we are dealing with are from the Xiaomi Mi 7. However, we are very confident that we are indeed looking at genuine Mi 7 firmware. The reason for this is because the only Xiaomi devices rumored to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC are the Xiaomi Mi 7 and the Mi Mix 2S. We were able to confirm that the firmware files we obtained for the Mi Mix 2S were truly from that device, but we could not find any direct references to the Mi 7 in its alleged firmware files. We did find explicit references of the Mi Mix 2S code-name within the Mi 7 firmware (and vice versa) so unless Xiaomi has another Snapdragon 845 device in the works (which there’s no evidence for), then all signs point to these files belonging to the Mi 7.

If we learn more about the Xiaomi Mi 7, we’ll keep you updated on the XDA Portal. Until then, be sure to follow our new Exclusive tag for more posts like this!