The next generation of Castro

The next generation of Castro

Thursday, Jul 2, 2020 · 5 min read · 996 words

It is time to show you all the new, fourth, generation of Castro. This time, the main changes were in the design, more information, and functionality optimization.

Castro | Castro Premium

Detailed changelog

Design

I have started updating the overhauled design of the application. I have changed mostly everything, starting from general icons style, information screen’s style, and management (“Feedback”, “Settings” and other) screens. But in this situation, no words make sense, so I’ll just show and compare what exactly has changed.

The old version on the left, the new one on the right.

I showed only the main screens in which the biggest changes took place, the other screens also suffered small changes, for example, a change in the background color or icons.

Features

Big changes have been made in the application’s functionality, this includes the addition of new features, such as “Dashboard” and control of the data updates frequency, changes in the work of units of measurement, but there is also bad news for users of the “Premium” version.

Android 11 support

Support for the new version of Android 11 (which is still in beta) was also added in this update. This is not a big update, which has added Castro verification of new Wi-Fi technologies and a new type of sensors for devices that have a bendable screen.

Home-screen widget removal

This feature was the most unstable in all of my applications. Unfortunately, starting with Android 8 Oreo, Google begins to tighten its screws tightly, removing the possibilities for the normal functioning of widgets that need to be updated frequently and a lot. I have created my solution for this problem, but as time has shown it is very unstable, consumes a lot of energy and makes the application constantly in the active state to track all the information necessary for the widget.

All these problems prompted me to completely remove all the code that is responsible for the widget. But don’t be upset, for all users of the widget there is a new function called “Dashboard”.

Dashboard

This feature replaces the widget and is available to all users. It is a new tab on the main screen of the application, which contains all the main information to monitor the status of your device - CPU usage, battery, memory, and RAM status, and current network usage.

There is also a new feature for Android 7 and newer users, which called “Shortcuts”. Just long-tap on the app’s icon from the home screen on the app’s list and launch the “Dashboard” by a few clicks. More screens will be added there in the future.

Settings

Now you can choose how fast you want the information to be updated on the screen, and you can control the data update rate of all information and sensors separately. Reducing the update time allows you to save more battery power.

Also, the work of setting up measurement units has been slightly changed, before you could set measurement units separately for each module, now you set up each unit for the entire application.

Information

Most of the work has been done in this section of the application, namely the dedicated “Display” module, many improvements in the “System” module, and many new fields in other modules.

The display is a new module that collects all the information related to the display, it’s HDR capabilities and the graphics accelerator installed on the device.

In the internal structure of the “System” module, new subcategories were added - “Firmware” and “Build”. In the sub-category “Firmware” all information about the currently installed firmware on the device is collected and in the category “Assembly” all information about the assembly of this firmware. Also added information about the activity of the “USB Debugging” function.

Separately, it is worth talking about the modules “CPU” and “Camera”. In the area of determining processor clusters, progress has been made, thanks to which the application can now better determine clusters, supports a 3-cluster system, and better support for processors from MediaTek. For cameras, the algorithm for determining the resolution of the camera was improved, as well as a note was added about the possible incorrect data due to the unstable Camera2 API.

Information about support for “GPS”, “NFC”, and “USB Host” has been added to the “Device” module. In the “Memory” module, it became possible to define the file system of each memory fragment (internal or external). The definition for the new sensor - “Orientation” has been added to the “Sensors” module, the “Identifiers” module is again available on Android 10 and newer with all possible available information, a new identifier is added there - “Google Services Framework ID”.

Fixes

What’s next?

Update already available to download from the Google Play - Castro and Castro Premium.

I hope you enjoy what I have been working on over the past few months! At the moment, I have not decided what I plan to work on further, but most likely this will be a small update for Graphie.

As always, I invite you to send a description of all the problems you may encounter by e-mail: pavel.rekun.development@gmail.com or join a group in Telegram, where I always answer user questions and participate in the discussion of applications.