What is sideloading?

What is sideloading?  It's a term you see a lot thrown around while talking about Android applications, and it's simple to explain.  It means installing applications without using the official Android Market.  What's less simple is how it's done and why you would do it.  That's where this post comes in.  Let's explain it, shall we?
How to do it is easy enough, so let's start there.  In the Application settings on your Android phone, you'll find a check box to "Allow installation of non-Market applications."  When it's checked, you can sideload.  You'll also see a pop-up warning when you check this box letting you know that your phone is now more vulnerable to attacks from applications, and that you accept all the responsibility that comes with doing this.  It makes sense -- you can't hold Google responsible for applications you didn't download through their service using their security methods.  
Sideloading apps is easy to do as well.  You download them to your phone, then use a file manager application to find them and "click" their entry.  You'll invoke the app installer program, and it will install your app just as if it had came from the trusted Android Market.  It won't be associated with your Android Market account, but it shows in your app drawer just like all the rest.  It didn't used to be this easy for everyone.  Under the guise of security, AT&T used to block users from sideloading by removing the Unknown sources field in the device settings.  Whenever you tried to manually install an app, it would be blocked because it wasn't allowed.  This could be circumvented by using adb from the SDK or by using a program like the Sideload Wonder Machine.  Luckily, those days are past us and AT&T has re-evaluated their position, and now allows the installation of non-Market apps.
Why would you want to sideload.  There are several reasons, one being that Google has allowed carriers to block certain applications based on the model and network your device is running on.  We've seen carriers block apps that permit tethering without paying the extra associated fees, and some carriers have exclusives for certain apps and they aren't available for the others.  That's a whole other mess that we'll tackle in another post -- just know that it happens.  There are other reasons to need to sideload apps, too.  Want to use a different appstore like the one from Amazon?  You'll need to enable sideloading.  The same goes for beta testing apps for developers, or even coding your own apps and testing them on your phone.  There are a lot of legitimate reasons for sideloading.  Of course, there's always the piracy aspect.  If you want to steal from hard working developers you'll need to enable sideloading.  You also suck.  Sideload, but don't steal from developers.

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How I back up my stock, unrooted Galaxy Nexus

I get this question a lot: If my Galaxy Nexus is unrooted and running the stock ROM, how do I back up it via a custom recovery?
It's pretty easy, actually, and it goes back to our method of manually applying a stock update. You're going to need a few things (and chances are you've got them already):
  • You need the Android SDK
  • You need fastboot saved into your Android SDK folder (I keep mine in /platform-tools
  • You need a custom recovery (I use ClockworkMod)
  • Your Galaxy Nexus needs an unlocked bootloader
  • You need to plug your phone into your computer
So here's what you do:
  1. Download the custom recovery into the same folder as your fastboot file. (I like to rename mine just to keep things short.)
  2. Reboot your phone into the bootloader, either by turning it off and holding vol-up/vol-down+power, or reboot from the command line (adb reboot bootloader).
  3. Plug your phone into your computer if it's not already. (Type fastboot devices to make sure your computer sees it)
  4. In the command line, type fastboot boot xxxxxxx.img (where xxxxxxx is the name of the custom recovery you saved).
And that's it. You'll have booted into the custom recovery, and from there you can do a full backup, or restore a backup, or wipe the phone. All without rewriting anything. If you need a little more hand-holding, there's some video after the break.

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How to cut down a SIM card for the HTC One X (and any other phone)

This one's important for those of you looking to switch to the HTC One X (as well as a number of upcoming phones). You're going to need a micro-SIM, which as the name suggests is smaller than a larger (and more prevalent today) mini-SIM card. If you're rocking a GSM phone right this second, there's a good change you're using a mini-SIM. If you've got an iPhone 4/4S on AT&T, you've already got a micro-SIM. 
So, a couple of ways to go about getting a micro-SIM. One is to just ask. Head to AT&T or T-Mobile or whomever your carrier happens to be, and tell 'em you need a micro-SIM. (If they don't know what one is, it might be time to consider switching carriers. :p )
The other way is to cut your own. Sounds scary. Sounds dangerous. 

It is neither.

Cutting your own micro-SIM isn't like performing surgery. It's not even like performing dinner. It's more like using a stapler.
  • Step 1: Acquire SIM cutter. Easy enough. Took about 2 minutes on Amazon to find one (should be less than $10). Most also come with mini-SIM card adapters, which is good.
  • Step 2: Insert card. (Make sure you line it up the right way.)
  • Step 3: Apply pressure to the SIM cutter in a squeezing motion. You'll feel a "pop" as the cutter cuts the card. The newly cut card will fall to the desk or table (we don't recommend doing this outside or in the snow or on a boat or in the desert, for obvious reasons), free of its oversized shackles.
  • Step 4: Have a beer.
See? Pretty simple. Getting it into the SIM card tray of the HTC One X was simple enough. (The flimsy plastic adapters that came with our cutting tool were a little more tricky, but not insurmountable.)


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How to unlock the Galaxy Nexus bootloader

The first step you need to take if you're going to use a custom ROM on a Nexus device is to unlock the bootloader. All bootloaders -- even on a Nexus phone -- come locked. The big difference is that a Nexus phone's bootloader can be easily unlocked with just a few commands.
Here's how to unlock the Galaxy Nexus bootloader. Note: This will erase everything on your Galaxy Nexus, so if you think it's something you'll ever want to do, we suggest doing it when you first get the phone.
  1. You'll need to download and install the Android SDK.
  2. If you're using Windows or Mac, you'll need the Fastboot tool. (Download for Windows, download for Mac.) If you're using Linux, you can make your own Fastboot tool. (And if you're using Linux, chances are you already know how to do all this anyway.) Stick it in your sdk tools or platform-tools folder.
  3. Reboot the Galaxy Nexus into the bootloader/fastboot mode. The easiest way to do that is to turn the phone off. Now hold the volume-up and volume-down buttons, and then press the power button.
  4. You'll now see a cool looking Android roboto with his front panel open. Check to see that the text below it starts with "FASTBOOT MODE" in red. Now plug the Galaxy Nexus into your computer with the micro USB cable. Let any drivers install.
  5. Now open a command line. type fastboot oem unlock. This will start the process and give you the screen you see above. Choose yes using the volume button and then press the power button. Your bootloader is now unlocked.
So now what? Now you can install rooted system images. Or entire custom ROMs. And a custom recovery. All sorts of stuff. Welcome to the real world.
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What is a QR code?

What is a QR code? These things are everywhere nowadays. Little square barcode-looking things. They're on website, they're on pictures, they're on advertisements -- they're everywhere. So what's a QR code and what do you do with it?

In a nutshell, a Quick Response Code is used to tell your phone to do something. Invented by Toyota in the mid-1990s, they "store" more information than traditional UPC barcodes and work better with languages more complicated than English. (Which is to say, most of them, especially in Asia.)

The way it works is this: Using a scanning app (there's Google's own Goggles app, or plenty of others in the Android Market), your phone's camera scans the code and then interprets it. There are different versions of QR codes, which can contain different amounts of information. 

Most often, QR codes are used to link to a website or video or some other online content. Your scanning app should preview the link for you as a safety feature so that you can't be automatically redirected to a malicious (or otherwise untoward) website or video.
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How to Upgrade Samsung Galaxy S2 to official Android 4.0.3 XXLPQ firmware manually

An official Ice Cream Sandwich update from Samsung has finally landed for Galaxy S2 users in the Poland through Samsung KIES. Some features appear to be missing from earlier leaks, such as no 3D animation effect in drawer and while swiping home screens.
Apart from that, firmware XXLPQ brings some improvements as well, with no touch lags and packed with TouchWiz 4 UI. If for some reason Ice Cream Sandwich has not yet arrived on your device and you don’t want to miss out on the fun, we’ll be showing you how you, too, can enjoy XXLPQ, the official Ice Cream Sandwich release, on your Galaxy S2.
We’ll be installing this firmware through Odin3. If you’re an Android novice, you have no reason to fear. The upgrade process is easy as long as you follow our guide below.
This update is only for the Galaxy S2, with the model number GT-I9100, and is not compatible with other devices. You may check your device’s model number through “Settings > About Phone.” If your phone does not match the model number, we highly discourage attempting to install this firmware update as it may lead to bricking.


Though this leaked firmware is originally intended for Poland, some users of the Samsung Galaxy S2 GT-I9100 have reported that this firmware work on Polish, Hungarian, Swedish, German, Pakistani, Korean, and European handsets, too.
But, still, you are advised to proceed with the update at your own risk.  Any damage you cause to your phone or to yourself will be your sole responsibility.


Take note of the following and comply with the requirements before updating:
  • Flashing this firmware update will wipe your data. Make sure to create a backup of any important data on your Galaxy S2.
  • Make sure to charge your Galaxy S2′s battery (at least 70%, full charge recommended). This prevents your Galaxy S2 from shutting off in the middle of the update process.
  • If you’ve got Samsung KIES installed on your computer, uninstall it as it may interrupt the update process.
  • A Windows PC
  • Download Odin3 v1.83 to your computer.
  • Make sure that you’ve got the device drivers for your phone installed on your Windows computer.  32 bit (x86) Windows | 63 bit (x64) Windows.
  • XXLPQ firmware — Download from here or here.

Update Instructions

These are the steps for applying the firmware update manually:
  1. Download the XXLPQ firmware to your computer.
  2. Extract the “I9100XXLPQ_I9100OXALPQ_I9100XXLPQ_HOME.tar.md5″ file using 7-Zip or WinRAR.
  3. Turn off your Galaxy S2.  Wait for the phone to vibrate, signalling that it is completely powered down.
  4. Reboot your phone into Download Mode. You can do this by pressing and holding down the Volume Down, Home, and Power buttons until you get the Warning! message on the screen.  Press the Volume Up button to enter download mode.
  5. On your computer, run Odin3.
  6. Connect your Galaxy S2 to your computer via USB cable.  The message box in Odin3 will say “Added!” if the program successfully detected your phone.
  7. In Odin3, click the PDA tab, navigate to where you extracted the contents of the XXLPQ firmware and select the “I9100XXLPQ_I9100OXALPQ_I9100XXLPQ_HOME.tar.md5″ file.
  8. Check both the Auto Reboot and F. Reset Time checkboxes in the Option section.  Leave everything else as is.
  9. Hit START to begin installing the XXLPQ firmware.
  10. Once the installation has completed, you should see the upper-left square in the Odin window light up in green with a “PASS!” message.
  11. If Odin gets stuck in the middle of the installation process, you’ll need to do the following:
    1. Disconnect the Galaxy S2 from the computer.
    2. Close Odin.
    3. Remove the Galaxy S2′s battery.
    4. Re-insert it.
    5. Boot phone back into Download mode.
    6. Resume the procedure from step 6.
  12. Your phone should now reboot.
  13. After the firmware has installed and the phone reboots, some users have reported getting stuck at the S logo. If this happens, do the following:
    1. Boot to recovery mode. Power off the phone. Wait for a few seconds and then press the Home, Volume Up, and Power buttons together.
    2. Select “Wipe Data/Factory Reset.”
    3. Select “Wipe Cache.”
    4. Select “Reboot System Now.”
Congratulations! Your Samsung Galaxy S2 is now running on Ice Cream Sandwich with XXLPQ firmware.

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How to manually update your Nexus S 4G to Ice Cream Sandwich

So you've got the Sprint Nexus S 4G, and you're well aware that the official Ice Cream Sandwich update is coming. But what if you don't want to wait? The crazy cats in our Nexus S 4G forums have the manual download and install method, and it goes a little something like this:
  1. Download this file from here http://android.clients.google.com/pa...g/TAMkDR3z.zip 
  2. Rename it to update.zip (Windows users careful not to get a double ".zip" extension) and place it on your sdcard.
  3. Shut down phone
  4. Boot into bootloader (Volume Up+Power) then from bootloader screen choose RECOVERY (Navigate Vol Up/Down and select with Power).
  5. From stock recovery choose to install update.zip
  6. Sit back and relax for a few and you should boot into official Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 !
And that's it. Enjoy, tell your friends

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How to Update Your Motorola DROID Manually

The following guide is available for most of the Android devices on the market, but it was tested on Motorola DROID. In case you are eager to update your Motorola DROID to the latest Android version and don't want to wait for the OTA update to be pushed on the device, you can do it manually. Here is a step by step guide that will teach you how to do it, if you don't know it yet.

The first thing you need to do is download the update file on your PC and rename it to 'update.zip'. Then simply connect your DROID to the PC via USB cable and Mount the SD memory card, by going to Notifications bar and selecting 'USB Connected' option. Copy the 'update.zip' file into the root directory of your memory card and then unmount the device from the PC.

Next thing you need to do is powering off the smartphone and hold down the 'X' key on the physical keyboard and while doing so press the power button. Keep both buttons pressed until you see a triangle shape with an exclamation mark displaying on your phone's screen. Then hold the Volume Up button and click on the camera button until you will get a menu. Use the phone's D-pad to select the option to update your firmware with the file you copied on the memory card.

Be patient and wait till the process is finished, as this could take a while. Once over just click the Reboot option and wait for the phone to flash. You will most likely notice that it will take longer this time for the phone to reboot, compared to a normal reboot, but this is how it is supposed to be.

After the phone reboots you can go and check your new firmware's version by going to Settings, scroll to the bottom of the list and click About phone option.

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How to Get Android Market on Your Smartphone

It may happen that you just got a new Android device and noticed later that the Android Market application is missing. If you got the phone brand new and with warranty from a carrier or specialized store, the first thing I suggest you do is go back and change it. Still, if you're lazy or you got yourself a used Android smartphone there are only a few things you could try to make the Android Market available on your phone.

Since it's now legal, the first thing you could do is root your device and install a custom ROM that usually provides applications separately. While I'm not against this method, I strongly suggest you avoid this if your phone is still under warranty and you're not an Android expert.

There are thousands of guides on the Internet that can teach you how to do it step by step, but all are starting with the usual “I'm not responsible for any damage ...”. So, while this method is 100% sure that will get you back your Android Market application, there's a chance that you might mess up one of the things described in the guide and brick your phone.

Another safer method to try to recover the Android Market is to simply make a factory reset. You will lose everything you have on the device, but even if your device isn't new I would still recommend a reset to erase any data that has been stored on your used device. You can make a factory reset by going to 'Menu', 'Settings', 'Privacy', and clicking on the “Factory Data Reset” option.

After the process is finished check your device for the Android Market and hopefully you will find it. The method works in about 50% of the cases, but if you still don't have it try the method below.

The reason you don't have Android Market might be because you have an old Android version, which missed the application for unknown reasons. So, you should try make a software update and hope for the best. To do that just go to 'Menu', 'Settings', 'About Phone', 'Software', and click on the option to check for new software updates.

If your version seems to be the newest, you can try check it manually on the Internet and found out if is there any update available. In case you find an update that you can only install manually, check out my guide on how to update your Android device manually. 

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How To Unlocking The T-Mobile myTouch 3G Android Phone

 In today’s world, there is an increasing abundance of mobile phones available on the market.
It is also increasingly becoming popular practice to alter these phones in one way or another. For one, it is a popular practice to hack or root a mobile phone in order to change aspects of the phone that was not intended to be changed. This includes but is not limited to changing the font displayed, icons and

How to Sync your Instagram photos to Google+

We've had quite a few folks ask about a way to post their Instagram pictures to Google+, and an equal number of methods to do so hit our inbox recently. Because Google+ doesn't yet have a public API (tools programmers need to be able to write apps to do this sort of thing), most of the methods are pretty convoluted -- including this one. But if you can install a few free programs to your desktop computer, this is entirely possible. It's a messy workaround, but once setup it works really well. This method won't automatically post the Instagram pictures to your G+ stream, but it does place them in a public album in your photos.
 Hit the break for the instructions.

How to install and Download Train Crisis HD apk

Game gets really challenging really quickly. .NEEDS BETTER TOUCH SCREEN CONTROLS. Sometimes our touches didn't register -this goes for both phone and tab. and It will be good if the tunnels have some sort of indication which leads to which instead of forcing the players to do some trial and error. Maybe a flashing light at the exits of the tunnels can indicate a train is exiting. Also, a zoom in/out function would be nice. Update: some levels are just too difficult with almost no room for error. Makes me wonder what is the difference between a 1,2 or 3 star rating for each level.

How to install and Download FIFA 12 apk

This game is absolutely awesome. The runs so smooth and the graphics are great, above all once you buy the game, that is it. Controls take some getting used to especially if you been playing RF2012. But is much more challenging than the other football games on the market. Great fun and nice to see proper team names and kits. one big bonus no waiting for or buying stamina to play. It's like the best of RF2012 and PES2012 all in one game. Thanks EA great effort. HTC Desire S. Only 4 stars as D-pad needs work maybe increase the size of it?

How to install and Download Reckless Racing 2 apk

By far the best racing game for android thus far! It is like a combination of Flat Out, Forza, and Reckless Racing 1! Amazing game, I had the licensing issue but found out that you just have to wait for Google to verify the purchase of the game. I just waited about 20 minutes and it worked fine when booted up. I had the first game on my iPod and it was fantastic, and this one adds a lot of customisation options that really make the game shine. Download this and you won't be disappointed. Runs and looks amazing on my Asus Transformer Prime, even on economy mode.