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Most Commonly Used Android Terms And Their Meanings

The Android operating system has been enjoying the tech spotlight since 2007. This Linux based operating system continues to evolve and it's open source nature has resulted in the interaction of third parties, creating modified official and unofficial Android OS variants day by day. Along with this evolving operating system comes an evolving list of terminologies related to it. The beginners often find it difficult to understand these Android terms while going thorough various forums and reviews. Here we have a list of the most used Android terminologies and their meanings.

ADB: You might have seen procedures which involves working with the Android Debug bridge (ADB) in various forums while going through the steps of  advanced processes similar to rooting. ADB, to be simple is a command line tool. It's function as the expansion says is to form a communication bridge between your PC and the Android device connected to it via a USB cable. ADB has a bit complex mechanism and thus meant mainly for advanced users enabling them to modify their devices with a set of commands. If you are looking forward to install ADB on your device then read our post to do it with ease: How to install ADB in 15 seconds?

AMOLED: An AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) display has become a striking feature of many smartphones now a days. This display technology can be called a hybrid as it forms from the pairing of the conventional TFT (Thin Film Transistor) display with an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display. To be simple an AMOLED display provides bright display by consuming less power and has fast pixel switching response.

APK: Expanded as Android Application Package. It's the file with .apk extension in which the codes (.dex files), assets, manifest file and resources of an Android application is packaged and stored.

Alpha: This term is usually used to rank certain custom ROMs and apps on the basis of their functionality. A ROM with the alpha tag cannot be considered a daily driver since it is just in it's beginning stages of development. As the development progresses, the ROMs and apps are further given a Beta status and at lasts the one which comes without any bugs becomes the Final build. 

Boot Animation: It refers to the graphical representation which shows up on the screen as the device boots up.

Bootloader: It can be referred to a code which is executed before the Operating System starts up. It contains the instructions to boot the OS. Most of the manufacturers brigs out the devices with a locked bootloader as they prefer the device's OS to be untouched. So unlocking the bootloader is the very first step before you do something smart or advanced on your Android device.

Bricked: Whenever someone says that an Android device is bricked up, then it only means that the status of that particular device got diminished to that of an expensive paper weight and is no more a piece of smart tech. Mistakes in processes like unlocking the bootloader and rooting may brick up your device. There are two kinds of bricks: Hard brick and a soft brick. A soft brick is something from which the device is recoverable without much professional attention. Hard brick is just the opposite, unbricking in this case is a bit difficult task or not even possible at all.

Custom Recovery: Before moving on to know about the custom recovery, we must know what a recovery is. Recovery is a bootable portion in the internal memory of your Android device. Every Android device is shipped to it's users with a Stock Recovery which enables the users to perform functions like updating the device and wiping the data. Pressing a combination of keys in a particular order (varies for different devices) will boot your device in recovery mode. Custom Recovery comes to the scene when the stock recovery fails to provide the advanced needs of high-level users. The most commonly used custom recoveries include ClockworkMod (CWM) recovery and Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP). Custom recoveries allows the users to backup & restore data and enables to flash Custom ROMs.

Custom ROM: An Android device reaches it's users with an OS version officially stuffed in by it's manufacturer which can be called a Stock ROM. The custom ROM is nothing but a little bit modified version of the OS provided by a third party. The CyanogenMod Team, OmniRom, AOKP (Android Open Kang Project) etc are the major custom ROM providers. A lot of users prefer custom ROMs above the stock considering the extras offered by it; though they know that it would void their warranty.

Dalvik Cache: A cache is just a component which stores data so that the future requests to that particular data can be performed faster. Similarly Dalvik cache is the writable portion on your Android device which contains the byte code of all APKs so that the applications can load faster. With the release of Android 4.4 Kitkat, the dalvik cache has been replaced with the Android Runtime compiler (ART) for better speed and performance.

Deodex & Odex: Before going on to the meaning of Deodex, let us see what Odex is. Most of the Android application packages are shipped in with some files having the .odex extension. The process of odexing makes it difficult for the applications to be compromised by hackers. The odexed files are collections of parts of the application which pre-loads the application thus reducing booting time.

Deodexing is the process of rearranging the parts of application into one location as classes.dex files. It repacks the application packages in a certain way which in turn enables us to do modifications in the it.

DLNA: DLNA expanded as Digital Living Network Alliance is nothing other than an confederacy  of consumer electronic manufacturers established by Sony in 2003 with commonly established standards to share data over a home network. When a device receives DLNA support, it means that the particular device has entered into the world of easy and convenient data sharing. To know more about this term, visit our post on it.

Factory reset: Doing a factory reset means taking your device back to the state it was shipped to you by the manufacturers. This process erases all the user data, settings, third party apps and reverts your device to it's default factory settings. This process normally doesn't touch your memory card  but provides you with the option of wiping the removable storage too.

Fastboot: It is a diagnostic protocol and is a part of the ADB (Android Debug Bridge) which is mentioned above. It is used to modify the flash filesystem in Android OS, by means of a connection established between your PC and the device via a USB cable.

FC: Expanded as Force Close and refers to an app that crashed.

Flashing: It means installing a custom ROM or some similar stuff on your Android device.

GApps: GApps are the Google-branded applications like Gmail, maps, Play Store etc which comes pre-installed in an Android device. Users who shifts from the normal stock ROM to try Custom ROMs will usually have to install the GApps package separately which often causes bit of a mess. In those instances applications like GApps Manager will be helpful to download the correct GApps with ease.

Hotspot: Whenever someone says that his/her device is a WiFi hotspot, it means that they are sharing the packet data connection on their device to the nearby Android devices over a WiFi network.

HBoot: It can be compared to BIOS on a PC. It checks and initializes the device's hardware and starts the OS like the BIOS does on your PC.

Kernel: Kernel is an important component of every advanced operating systems which involves hardware software interactions. It's simply a piece of code which acts as an interlink for the communication of OS and applications with the device's hardware.

Launcher: It is a constituent of the Android user interface which enables the users to launch and access apps and various other utilities with ease.

Nandroid: It is one among the most heard Android terms. A nandroid backup is used to have a backup of files or restore the backed up files. It is always advisable to do a nandroid backup before performing actions which involves threat of data loss To know more about it, have a look at our post: What is a nandroid backup and how to do it? [Explained].

Nightly: You might have seen announcements from various custom ROM providers about the release of nightly builds of ROMs. Nightly builds are those which shows the current state of development of a custom ROM project. It is a build which is performed at the end of each day of development.

Overclock: It is the process of increasing the CPU speed of your device.

Rooting: It is an advanced procedure which is done with an aim to get privileged control over the Android subsystem. A device when released to the market comes in with a lot of limitations. Getting rooted leaves back all this limitations and allows the users to do specialized operations like flashing a custom ROM and trying rooted apps. Now a days, rooting has become quite common as most users wish to break out from the cyst of limitations created by the manufacturers. The efforts of developers all around the globe have simplified the rooting process with all-in-one toolkits which enables it to be done in a single click. This process is preferable only if you are ready to forget your device's warranty.

Sideloading: When you download apps from sources other than the Google Play Store it's called sideloading.

Splash Screen: It is the screen activity that appears when an app or something is loading in your Android device.

SDK: The SDK (Software Development Kit ), also known as the devkit is a tool which enables us to create an application from a software package or framework.

S-On: Expanded as Security On,  meaning that you don't have access to the device's OS.

S-Off: Security Off, means you have access to the phone's OS.

Terminal Emulator: They are applications which allows us to run Android operations on PC.

Tethering: It is the process of sharing the internet on your Android device with another phone or computer via a physical connection, WiFi or Bluetooth.

Underclock: Process of reducing the CPU speed.

Undervolt: It is the procedure which involves taking some voltage from the CPU to have a longer battery life and lower the CPU temperature at the time of excessive usage.

Zipalign: It is an archive alignment tool which modifies the way Android application files (.apk) are packed. This tool is used to align the .apk files before it is served to the end-users. Aligning the .apk files enables the OS to interact with the application more effectively and hence increases the speed and performance in total.

I hope that now you have a better idea on the above said terminologies and still if you have any queries, feel free to post down them as comments.

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Unofficial Android 4.4.2 Build For Sony Xperia M

Last week we saw an unofficial Android Kitkat goodness landing on Sony Xperia Ion. Today we have one more Sony device added to the unofficial CyanogenMod 11 support list. This time it's the Sony Xperia M getting the developer attention. Thanks to XDA Senior Member PecanCM for this CyanogenMod 11 based Android 4.4.2 Kitkat port.

The build has been labeled as alpha, but seems surprisingly stable and highly functional. Everything including the calls, GPS, video recording, Bluetooth, WiFi, sensors, audio, etc works fine.

The build put forward by PecanCM doesn't work with the dual sim variant of Xperia M. But that isn't the end of hope, XDA Senior Member ansebovi offers a workaround at his XDA thread.

To check PecanCM's Android 4.4.2 port for Xperia M, visit the original thread at XDA.

Drop down your experiences on flashing this ROM as comments.

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The CyanogenMod cLock Widget Gets A Major Update

The CyanogenMod Team started this year wonderfully by making way for the CM 11 Milestone2 builds for over 65 devices. Today it's something different coming out from them. A few hours before, the CM Team in their Google Plus post publicized about a major update for the CyanogenMod cLock widget. The update comes in with a lot of new enhancements and bug-fixes.

The new goodies in the cLock includes:

  • Weather forecast popup when tapping on the weather panel
  • Updated weather icons to give a correct portrayal of the current condition
  • OpenWeatherMap; a newly added weather source  
  • Weather Icon pack support
  • Extended language support (Arabic, Turkish, Slovenian)
  • Updated all app icons and added XXHDPI & XXXHDPI resources.

OpenWeatherMap seems to be a bit buggy in it's geolocation API as it shows different locations for the same co-ordinates.

Note: The developer adds that the cLock and Chronus (Play Store clone of cLock) uses the same Weather Icon pack format and API, and he'll be pushing a sample icon pack on github. So that the interested can create their own Icon packs and get them to the Play Store.

Source: CM Google Plus post

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Unofficial Android 4.4.2 Kitkat Port For Samsung Galaxy S Plus

The recent releases from the XDA forums like the unofficial CyanogenMod 11 port for Sony Xperia Ion makes it a point that the developer folks have been busy with devices which remained dead without any OS updates for a long. This time it is the Samsung Galaxy S Plus getting the unofficial Android 4.4.2 Kitkat goodness. The very last time an official update landed on this device was when it got upgraded to Android 2.3.6 and was later discontinued by the manufacturers. XDA Recognized Developers CastagnaIT, Christopher83, educk & ivendor, and Recognized Contributor krislibaeer have joined hands to form DevConnection_Team which now has given birth to a stable CyanogenMod 11 port for Galaxy S Plus.

The port is in it's beta and seems to be a highly functional daily driver. The calls, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, audio, WiFi tethering and a lot more works good. Minor issues are there with the AOSP keyboard, which can be considered negligible.

For more detailed information about this Android 4.4.2 Kitkat Port visit the original post at XDA.

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GApps Manager App To Download The Correct GApps

The priority concern of most Android users after putting hands on a new custom ROM is to fetch an appropriate GApps (Google Application) package. It always causes a problem for many users to find the correct GApps suitable for the installed version. The scene got a bit more worse when goo.im stopped hosting the updated GApps since the Android 4.4 Kitkat release.

Thanks to XDA senior member ebildude123 for introducing GApps Manager, a handy app which let you download the GApps package suitable for your Android version with ease. This app supports all the Android versions since Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread. It is even congenial with the new ART (Android Runtime) compiler which was introduced in Kitkat to replace the dalvik cache.

The GApps manager is available for download at the Google Play Store. The developer also attaches an APK file at the application thread for those who are running without GApps and thus the Play Store.

Happy Flashing!