Galaxy S10 Android 10 beta now available in select regions

Samsung have launched the Galaxy S10 Android 10 beta, or ‘OneUI 2.0’ in select regions.They have currently launched the beta in Germany but the US and South Korea are sure to follow. The beta includes features such as Google’s new gesture based navigation feature, a redesigned camera UI, and a built-in screen recorder.

It is currently only available in Germany, but more countries are likely to follow soon. It isn’t a massive software update, not as big as Android Pie/OneUI 1.0 was.

To sign up for the beta, sign up through the notice in the Samsung Members app and then check for updates. Be aware that the update may take a little while to show up in Settings.

Enjoy!

-Chas 😎

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Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Xcover 4s, and Galaxy A50 to receive monthly security updates

Samsung have updated their security updated devices list and added three devices to the list of devices to receive monthly security updates. They have also removed a few devices from the list completely, meaning that the benefit of security updates for them is coming to an end. The Galaxy A50, Fold, and Xcover 4s are the lucky devices to be put on a monthly schedule, whilst the Galaxy A3 and A5 2016 variants along with the Tab S2 Refresh appear to have been removed entirely from the list. The Galaxy Tab A (2017) saw a demotion to the ‘Other regular security updates’ list, meaning it will now only receive updates when necessary.

Usually, flagship devices and some lucky midrangers are put on a monthly schedule, whilst most other midrange devices are put in the quarterly updates section. Older devices that are on their way out are usually put on the other regular updates schedule for a while before being removed completely.

The Galaxy A3 and A5 2016 variants were announced at the end of 2015 and for them to get software updates until October 2019 is really impressive. This indicates a bright future for software support in the future. The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge were announced in February 2016 and are still on the quarterly schedule. Will we soon be seeing three major OS updates for flagships?

If you own a device that has been removed from the list or demoted to other regular updates, now may be a good time to look at upgrading to a newer device. Not only do security updates include security fixes but they also include bugfixes which will improve the stability of your device, so it’s important to ensure that your device is still getting updates.

What Samsung device do you have and when do you intend on upgrading? Tell me down below in the comments.

-Chas 😎

Nexus 7 (2012) review

Recently, I purchased a Nexus 7 (2012) from a local store. I’ve wanted this tablet for years now but it was always too expensive. But last week my lucky day came as a local shop was selling one for £35.

Android Lollipop issues

Turning it on, it ran the slow and laggy Android 5.1 Lollipop. Opening and switching between apps was a nightmare. And don’t even get me started on updating all the apps on ancient versions. I couldn’t put up with this, so I downloaded the KitKat 4.4.4 factory image from Google’s website and flashed it.

On KitKat, I can certainly say that it is faster than Lollipop, significantly faster. Updating apps took about 5 times quicker than on Lollipop, mainly because KitKat is more optimised for the Nexus 7 (2012) than Lollipop is, but also because not all the updated versions of preloaded apps can run on KitKat.

App support

App support on KitKat is still fairly good. Yes, some apps are starting to require Android 5.0 and 6.0, but those that I wanted to install that did had an older version that could be sideloaded. I managed to install an older version of Gboard to replace the old stock KitKat keyboard on there, as well as old versions of the Microsoft Office mobile apps. They all still work without issue.

Minecraft, WordPress, and Geometry Dash World all installed fine on their latest versions. They all work without issue, except Minecraft which lags unless you turn off all the fancy graphics.

Specs and performance

There is an explanation for this, of course. The Nexus 7 (2012) has a Nvdia Tegra 3 CPU consisting of four ARM Cortex A9 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, along with 1GB RAM. Back then that was considered midrange and could probably run Minecraft and other games at high graphics. But now? Nah.

Custom ROMs

What about custom ROM support? It appears the community have developed ROMs for the Nexus 7 (2012) up to Android 7.1 Nougat. I haven’t tried any, and honestly, I wouldn’t expect great performance from these ROMs. The Nexus 7 (2012) runs near stock Android anyway, which most of these ROMs are based on. If the Nexus struggles to handle stock Android 5.1.1, as much as poor software optimisation could be partially the problem, I’m sure the specs play a major part too and that 6.0 and 7.x ROMs wouldn’t run much better.

Conclusion

So, how well does the Nexus 7 (2012) still hold up in 2019? As a basic tablet for playing basic games, word processing, and browsing the internet, it holds up well. But for heavy tasks you might want to look elsewhere as the Nexus 7 is not as up to the task in 2019 as it was in 2012. But for basic use, the Nexus 7 is a great tablet and holds up well provided you downgrade it to KitKat, even in 2019.

Do you still use a Nexus 7 and how well does it hold up in 2019? Tell me down below in the comments.

-Chas 😎

Google to require all devices launched after 31st January 2020 to run Android 10

After the 31st of January next year, Google have confirmed that they will stop ‘approving’ new devices running Android 9 or earlier and only approve Android 10 devices.

In order to have Google services on it, a phone must be ‘approved’ by Google. Take the recent Huawei Mate 30 for example. That wasn’t approved and therefore Huawei are finding ways to build their own ecosystem without letting US company restrictions for working with them standing in their way.

So basically, after 31st January 2020, Google will stop allowing new devices running Android 9 or earlier to have Google services such as the Play Store and Photos preloaded.

It was noted on XDA that manufacturers could get past this and launch a device running Android 9 or earlier after the deadline by submitting the approval application for the device before the deadline and then launching it after the deadline. This is probably how Samsung released the Galaxy M10, M20, and M30 which ran Android 8.1 Oreo despite being released after the approval deadline for 8.1 Oreo and they still managed to include Google services.

Please note that this will not affect old devices released before 31st January 2020 that are stuck on Oreo and still being manufactured. This only applies for new devices announced before 31st January 2020.

What Android did your device come preloaded with and currently runs? Are you satisfied with it? Tell me down in the comments below.

-Chas 😎

Samsung Android 10 supported devices – Estimation

Not all of these devices are guaranteed to receive Android 10, but these are all the devices which have a chance of getting it, as well as those ones definitely getting it.

  • Galaxy Note10 5G/Note10+/Note10 (definitely)
  • Galaxy S10 5G/S10+/S10/S10e (definitely)
  • Galaxy Note9 (definitely)
  • Galaxy S9+/S9 (definitely)
  • Galaxy A90 5G (definitely)
  • Galaxy A80 (definitely)
  • Galaxy A70 (definitely)
  • Galaxy A60 (very likely)
  • Galaxy A50 (very likely)
  • Galaxy A40 (very likely)
  • Galaxy A30 (likely)
  • Galaxy A20/A20e (likely)
  • Galaxy A10/A10e (likely)
  • Galaxy A9 Pro/A9 (very likely)
  • Galaxy A7 2018 (likely)
  • Galaxy J8 (possibly)
  • Galaxy J6 (possibly)

I can’t confirm for definite, but it would make sense for all these devices to get Android 10 at some point during 2020. Please note the absence of the Galaxy S8+/S8, Note8, and the Galaxy A8+/A8 (2018). The Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note8 launched on Android 7.x Nougat and received two major OS updates to Oreo and Pie over the years after it was released. Two major OS updates is Samsung’s current policy on software updates and it doesn’t look likely to change soon.

As for the Galaxy A8 and A8+ (2018), despite being 2018 models, they actually launched at the end of 2017 running Android 7.1 Nougat, and have received their two major OS updates to Android Oreo and Pie. So Android 10 doesn’t look likely for them either. Chances are some people will complain about this being unfair because they think the A8 and A8+ 2018 should’ve launched with Oreo instead of Nougat, because earlier this year people were angry with Samsung for not releasing Pie for the Galaxy A5 (2017) because the device, also released at the end of the year before, ran Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow instead of Nougat. People even made petitions about it.

As for the J-series devices that launched on Android 8.0 Oreo (none launched on Pie), it is possible that they could receive Android 10 as their second and final major OS update, but Samsung merged the Galaxy J with the A series earlier this year and various cheaper A series phones (such as the A10 and A40) replaced various J series phones so surely Samsung would want to be putting people off buying older Galaxy J phones now by limiting software support. But I’m not entirely sure.

What Samsung device are you using and do you reckon it will get updated to Android 10 or not? Tell me down in the comments below.

-Chas 😎

Mobile game recommendation: Mario Kart Tour

I recently found out about the mobile game Mario Kart Tour, based on Mario Kart. It is available on iOS and Android.

System requirements:

Android:

  • Android 4.4 KitKat or later.
  • At least an ARMv7 CPU.

iOS:

  • iOS 10 or later.
  • iPhone 5S, iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPod Touch 6th generation or later.

Why the game refuses to install on the iPhone 5, 5C, and iPad 4 on iOS 10 is unknown, but it’s possibly for performance reasons. I doubt the game would run all that well on Android devices that stopped at KitKat, but it is worth trying out just to see how well it really runs.

The game isn’t too different to classic Mario Kart. It forces your device into portrait mode for some reason and I doubt it supports a controller yet, but Nintendo may support landscape and controllers in the future.

As the game progresses, you earn new characters. I managed to get first on my first race, although it will probably get harder as the game progresses.

Once I’ve played for a little longer I’m going to write a full review of it on here. But for now, I am just recommending it and I think most people will enjoy it, especially if you liked classic Super Mario.

Enjoy!

-Chas 😎

Most used phones in my collection

I have many phones in my collection, as well as iPods and tablets, although I am still looking to expand my tablet collection (Nexus 7 and iPad 1st gen are tablets of which I am planning to buy at some point). This blog post, however, is about the phones (and one iPod) of which I use the most often. Please note that my Galaxy S9 does not count since it is not a backup/collection phone at the moment and is currently still my daily driver, not to mention that I am writing this blog post using DeX on it so I’d say it’d be quite hard to get pictures of anyway.

iPhone 4S

This iPhone 4S has since been downgraded to iOS 8.4.1 using the iOS 6 OTA method since I purchased it on iOS 9.3.5. Most of the time I have to resort to downloading old, previously compatible versions of apps such as Pages, WordPress, and Opera Mini, but some apps still support iOS 8 even on their current version. iOS 8 runs fairly well on the 4S, but not as good as iOS 6 did. I managed to buy this iPhone for £25 although it did originally have charging issues which were fixed by the shop for free when I brought it back in.

iPhone 6S

I was given this iPhone 6S for free and it had a shattered screen and at the time it ran iOS 11.0.1, but Touch ID did not work and even if it did, considering how unstable iOS 11.x was, I would probably have upgraded anyway.  Upgrading to iOS 12.2 (latest iOS at the time, I think) fixed Touch ID. I tried replacing the screen myself but a cable connecting the screen to the board snapped and in the end I got it professionally repaired and decided that if I wanted to start repairing phones, I should start out on less complicated ones, such as the iPhone 4 and old Samsung phones. I have not attempted repairing another phone yet but at some point I will but it definitely won’t be anything post-4S or post-S4. When iOS 13 was released as a public beta, I downloaded it but later switched to the developer beta instead and am currently on 13.1, dev beta 4.

iPod Nano 7th generation

I bought this iPod Nano 7th generation for £75 from a local second hand gaming shop.  I use it mainly for listening to FM radio, as well as listening to music and downloaded videos on the go.

Galaxy J3 (2016)

I was given this phone for free and the first thing I did was install LineageOS 14.1 (Android 7.1.2 Nougat) on it. It now runs fast but it does have a couple of scratches on the screen and doesn’t vibrate when someone calls or I get a notification. Whether this is a universal J3 (2016) issue, an individual hardware issue, or an issue with the ROM I’m using I don’t know. But this made me realise that this is an unreliable backup phone and my backup SIM card goes to… my 6S.

Upcoming devices for my collection

I do plan on expanding my collection in the future. Who knows what good offers on phones I will find. My tablet collection is also lacking with only one tablet in it at the moment, two if you count my daily tablet driver.

  • ASUS Nexus 7
  • iPad 1st generation
  • Galaxy S II
  • Galaxy A3 (2015)
  • iPhone 3G
  • iPhone 3GS

My plans for the Nexus 7 is to test it on all of its available Android versions to see how slower/faster it gets as it is updated. For the iPad 1st generation, I plan on installing an old version of OneNote on it as well as Apple productivity apps and using it as a notepad and portable but fairly large productivity device. For the Galaxy S II, I plan on debloating it to make it look like stock Android 4.0 rather than TouchWiz. For the A3, I honestly don’t know what my plans are for that yet but I have heard of some good custom ROMs for it. For the iPhone 3G, I plan on downgrading it to iOS 2.x, getting a box for it, and putting it on display as a collector’s item. As for the 3GS, a downgrade to iOS 4.1 seems likely and then I’ll test out some old apps and games.

What devices do YOU own and what do you use them for? What phones, tablets, and iPods do you plan on adding to your collection in the future and why? Leave your answers down below in the comments.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

-Chas

 

SeaSurf 1.6 – new icon

This update adds a new icon to SeaSurf (or CSurf) as well as some other goodies. It is a great version to upgrade to.

SAFESIDE

Safeside means that this version is reliable to use in terms of security.

Bug Tracker:

SeaSurf 1.6 allows you to report bugs with the touch of a button. The bug will be looked at. Remember to provide your device details (model if you know it, Android version). Remember to check whether Android System WebView is installed or enabled on your system before reporting. Also the Bug Tracker only supports the latest version of SeaSurf (the one I am chatting about right now).

Are you supported?

The support lifecycle button helps users know if they are supported or not. If they aren’t supported, use another browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc) to download the latest version and update their current copy.

How to upgrade to this new miracle?

To upgrade, follow the steps provided below:

SeaSurf 1.5 – simply download the ZIP file provided in this post, extract it and you should get seasurf16.apk. Tap on it and you should be able to install the update.

SeaSurf 1.4 – if you didn’t upgrade to 1.5 then you can still upgrade with the same method as upgrading from 1.5.

SeaSurf 1.3 – you should of upgraded to 1.5 but to upgrade to 1.6, follow the same steps as upgrading from 1.5.

SeaSurf 1.2 –  you should of upgraded to 1.5 but to upgrade to 1.6, follow the same steps as upgrading from 1.5.

SeaSurf 1.1 – You will need at least Android 4.1 to upgrade to SeaSurf 1.5, so you should check your OS version in the Device Settings. Then delete SeaSurf 1.1 from your device and then follow the instructions for all the above versions.

No SeaSurf – a new SeaSurf user. Awesome! Download the ZIP and extract it, then tap on the APK to install.

Here is the .ZIP!

Download .ZIP!

I hope you enjoy!

Epic Chas Gamer, developer of SeaSurf 😎

EpicChasGamer.com chat #1

Hello everyone. Welcome to the first post of EpicChasGamer.com chat! Here I will chat about a subject. And this week it is…

SEASURF! News about my web browser project.

Most of us know that SeaSurf Sunset is coming in December. But SeaSurf 1.5 came in June, making 1.6 come out this month, along with 1.7 mobile (see sidebar) optimised for smartphones running Android 4.0 or newer. It will also work on tablets, so Android 4.0 users can experience the power of SeaSurf, stripped down though but still fast and powerful.

Also, SeaSurf may not work on your device because you do not have Android System WebView. This is available from the Play Store. If you disabled it please re-enable as it is required for SeaSurf to work.

Are you suffering or annoyed with a bug in SeaSurf? Well, report bugs at the SeaSurf Bug Tracker. 100% free, secure and confidential, promise! I will look into the bug and try to fix it. Sadly, you need the latest version of SeaSurf so if you haven’t upgraded yet, you should update as soon as possible to stay secure and to get more support.

SeaSurf logos should change across major releases (Sunset, Moon, etc). Whilst etc is not going to be SeaSurf 4.0, I mean that I have not thought of codenames for all the versions yet. Moon will be SeaSurf 3.0’s codename. The logo will be the codename (like Sunset will be the sun setting and Moon will be a picture of the moon).

I hope you enjoyed this week’s EpicChasGamer.com chat, and there will be a #2 next week!

Epic Chas Gamer, proud developer of SeaSurf 😎