Android F.A.Q.

Discussion in 'Android' started by Rydian, Apr 11, 2013.

Apr 11, 2013

Android F.A.Q. by Rydian at 6:18 PM (2,403 Views / 1 Likes) 10 replies

  1. Rydian
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    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    Android F.A.Q.


    • Concept And Development

      • Q - What exactly is Android?
        A - For lack of a better phrase, Android is Google's highly-customized Linux distribution, originally meant for mobile phones and tablets. It's freely-available, including most sources. Since the sources are available and Android can be customized to a further extent, the Android builds available for different devices can vary a lot.

      • Q - Since Android is free and junk, can't I install it on my PC to play free games?
        A - Depending on how much work you want to put into it, yes there's a couple methods you could use to do this, but most games require the touch screen and are thus hard or impossible to play with a mouse, so most people don't bother.

      • Q - Can anybody develop apps for Android?
        A - Yes. Unlike iOS, you're not required to own any specific computer or hardware, the Software Development Kit is free to download and use. It also includes an Android emulated environment for testing your own in-development apps (will not run public apps, only your testing apps). In addition, you are not required to put your apps on any specific market in order for people to be able to download and install them, so you're not required to sign up for any licensing programs.

      • Q - If my app isn't on the official market, how can users get it?
        A - In addition to the official Google Play market, there's a bunch of others. Amazon has it's own app market, and there's other third-party ones like SlideMe. You can also bypass the market entirely, as Android has native support for installing apps into itself.

      • Q - Where can I find more info on development and technical stuff?
        A - The XDA forums are usually regarded as the Android development forums.


    • Obtaining/Installing Apps

      • Q - I downloaded an (x).APK file through some alternate method, how do I install it?
        A - You should be able to use your device's file manager to browse to wherever the APK is and simply tap it to try to run it, and your device should bring up the app installation screen. You may need to go into your device's settings and tell it to allow installing apps from third-party sources first.

      • Q - I don't have a file manager to start with!
        A - Some devices come without even a native file manager. In most cases you can download a file manager's .APK file from your device's web browser (such as ES File Explorer) and tell it to open it, upon which you can install the file manager.

      • Q - How do I uninstall an app?
        A - In the Android main settings, go to the "apps" section, browse around to the list of installed apps, tap on one, and you should find the "uninstall" button. Depending on your Android version and setup there may be other, quicker ways to do this.

      • Q - Can I install cracked apps like this too?
        A - Android can't tell if the app you're installing has been cracked or not, so yeah it's pretty much this easy if you have access to a file manager and a way to put files on the device (microSD, transfer cable, internet/LAN).

      • Q - Where can I find some cracked apps?
        A - Despite it being easy, distributing cracked paid apps is still piracy so you will find no downloads or links on this forum, and you shouldn't even ask.


    • Rooting/Hacking Android

      • Q - Why should I "root" a device?
        A - Rooting a device lets apps gain root rights on the system. This is akin to an administrator account on Windows. While Android is specifically designed so that you don't need root rights to install and uninstall most apps (unlike Windows), you're still limited in what you can access and do on a non-rooted device. Here's a very small and non-comprehensive list of what rooting will allow you to do.
        • Edit the HOSTS file for ad-blocking.
        • Enable free WiFi tethering and other such hardware access that might be locked.
        • Uninstall preinstalled/protected apps.
        • Overclock.
        • Record your own screen.
        • Install OS/Android updates your device's maker isn't giving you.
        • Add Google Play and other Google apps to "unsupported" devices.

      • Q - What is "rooting" exactly, and how do I do it?
        A - "Rooting" a device is a two-part process.
        • The first part is to flash the "su" binary to the device's internal OS area, which is the system component that allows apps to request and temporarily gain root access. This is often the hardest part, because many devices come locked and will refuse to let you write to that part of the device, which is why exploits and workarounds are often used to get that file onto the device. The specifics vary highly depending on the device, a method to flash su that works on one is likely not going to work on another, so Google is your best friend here.
        • The second part is installing an app that manages su requests. This is much easier, as these apps are widely available even on the official Google Play store, and you don't need any special rights to install them. These will not actually work to allow root access without the su binary being flashed though.

      • Q - What does it mean to install a custom ROM?
        A - When people talk about ROMs, they don't actually mean Read-Only Memory in the physical sense like an SNES game cart, they're referring to the system/OS section/partition, which is where Android resides. To flash/install a custom ROM means to wipe the existing Android installation and install a new/custom one. Custom ROMs are often pre-rooted (include the su binary by default), have bloatware removed, use a different theme than the original software, include additional options such as overclocking, etc. Many people install custom ROMs simply to get rid of bloatware easily, and they're usually highly recommended as better than stock.

      • Q - How do I flash these files and install a custom ROM?
        A - Generally using custom recovery-mode software. The actual process can vary highly between devices, so as usual Google is your best friend.


     
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  2. SifJar

    Member SifJar Not a pirate

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    Surely that's "software" development kit?

    And the emulator can run any apps you care to install on it (it can't access the Play Store, but you can easily install apps through the browser or via ADB). At least, it could the last time I tried it (admittedly, a few years ago).
     
  3. Rydian
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    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    And here I always thought it was "starter" because it's the tools you need to actually get started.

    When I started looking into android dev stuff about a year back, I read on google's site and everywhere else that the emulator will only run selfsigned apps, not apps signed for distribution. There might be an easy way to circumvent that (such as modifying the ROM used in the emulator), but that's not native.
     
  4. SifJar

    Member SifJar Not a pirate

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    All I know is I definitely installed various apps (including a replacement launcher and a third party app market, amongst other things, all distribution signed) in the emulator a few years ago, before I had an Android device, without any actual modification to the emulator. Maybe things have changed in the last few years.
     
  5. Rydian
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  6. Tom Bombadildo

    Contributor Tom Bombadildo Honk!

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    Good FAQ, quite informative. Something you could also include in the "Why should I root" area is the addition of being able to install the Google Play Market on officially unsupported devices, though this usually applies to off-brand tablets and such.

    In fact, might as well include gapps in with the custom ROMs as well as I know most don't include it, and you have to flash it separately.
     
  7. Rydian
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    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    Made the edits.
     
  8. raystriker

    Member raystriker Computer Hardware Enthusiast

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  9. GHANMI

    Member GHANMI GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    If I may ask, has anyone thought about a way to convert iOS software to Android-compatible software?
    I heard from a local radio news that some students in an American college managed to, but nothing was published online it seems.
    Is it even doable?
     
  10. loco365

    Member loco365 GBAtemp Guru

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    You did read right, almost. A student created a runtime in which Apple's apps can be natively run on Android, however, it hasn't been released.
     
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  11. Tom Bombadildo

    Contributor Tom Bombadildo Honk!

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    They were referring to Cider

    Cider was just an experiment to see whether you actually could run iOS apps on Android. It was done through virtualization, and what they tested ran very very slow. According to the article, the students who were developing it have no plans on making it commercially available, so unless someone else decides to work on it, it probably will be a while before something like this actually comes to light that's "playable" to the public.
     
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