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Android, iOS on Opposite Sides of Encryption Divide
March 18, 2016
Consumers' understanding of what encryption does apparently doesn't determine whether they use the technology, as iPhone owners are much more likely to use encryption than Android users. Most Android phones are not encrypted, either by user choice or manufacturer design. About 95 percent of all iPhones reportedly are encrypted, compared with less than 10 percent of Android phones.
Devs Get to Noodle With Android N
March 14, 2016
Google last week announced a developer preview of Android N, the forthcoming release of its mobile operating system. The release comes early; it was widely expected to be announced in May at Google I/O 2016, the Google developers conference. Releasing a work-in-progress build earlier in the development cycle will give Google more time to incorporate feedback from developers.
Amazon Flip-Flop Lands Fire OS Back in Encryption Camp
March 7, 2016
Amazon last week announced that it had reversed a previous decision to drop support for local encryption on version 5 of its Fire tablet operating system. The disclosure came one day after the company joined 14 others to support Apple in its fight against the FBI, which wants the company to create a tool or code to unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino, California, terrorists.
Google Gives iOS Devs Open Source EarlGrey Testing Tool
February 22, 2016
Google last week introduced EarlGrey, a functional user interface testing framework for Apple iOS apps. YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Photos, Google Translate and Google Play Music have successfully adopted the framework, the company said. EarlGrey has been open sourced under the Apache license. Developers can add it to their projects using CocoaPods or manually add it to Xcode project files.
Canonical Launches 2-in-1 Ubuntu Tablet
February 6, 2016
Canonical on Thursday launched the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet, developed in partnership with BQ. The tablet is the first fully converged Ubuntu device, the company said. It will ship with the latest Ubuntu software and is the first tablet with the Ubuntu OS. The tablet has a 10.1-inch multitactile FHD screen made from Asahi's Dragontrail glass, which is similar to Gorilla Glass.
Rugged Turing Phone to Run on Sailfish OS, Not Android
February 4, 2016
Turing Robotic Industries this week announced that it has uninstalled Google's Android mobile platform in favor of Jolla's Sailfish OS in its yet-to-appear secure smartphone. The Turing Phone, molded from a single unit of the Liquidmorphium liquid-metal alloy, is designed to be more durable to absorb shocks and prevent screen breakage. Preorder pricing starts at $610.
Zero-Day Flaw Puts Millions of Linux Machines, Android Devices at Risk
January 21, 2016
Tens of millions of Linux PCs and servers, as well as 66 percent of all Android mobile devices, are vulnerable to a zero-day flaw that could allow users with lower-level privileges to gain root access, according to Perception Point, which announced its discovery last week. The local privilege escalation vulnerability, which affects Linux Kernel v3.8 and higher, has existed since 2012, the firm said.
Walmart Jumps Into Mobile Pay Fray
December 11, 2015
Walmart on Thursday introduced its own mobile payments solution to let customers make in-store purchases with an Android or iOS smartphone. The move will make it the only retailer to compete with third-party mobile payment systems. Walmart currently is rolling out the feature through its Walmart mobile app in select stores in the northwest Arkansas area.
Mozilla Gives Up Firefox Phone Ambitions
December 10, 2015
Mozilla on Wednesday confirmed that it has hung up on the Firefox OS mobile phone and will try using the operating system to dial into other connected device uses instead. The company spent several years developing a browser-based smartphone OS. It ended its sales program of the Firefox mobile operating system to carriers and will no longer develop the OS for smartphones, Mozilla said.
Mozilla Launches Free Ad Blocker for iOS 9
December 9, 2015
Mozilla on Monday launched Focus by Firefox, a free ad blocker for Safari users on iOS 9. It lets users block the same trackers blocked by Private Browsing with Tracking Protection in Firefox for the Windows, Mac, Linux and Android platforms. The protection is based on Disconnect's open source block list. Focus by Firefox doesn't work with Firefox.
Steve Ballmer's Excellent Android Adventure
December 7, 2015
Steve Ballmer last week presented an interesting plan to kill Android -- or at least compete with it. What's ironic is that Ballmer's tenure at Microsoft wasn't short of good ideas -- it was short on execution. In contrast, Satya Nadella has shown strength in execution but -- so far -- hasn't come up with anything that represents the kind of risks that Ballmer was willing to take.
Ballmer Points Out Error of Microsoft's Ways
December 4, 2015
Former CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday called out Microsoft on finance reporting and its app strategy for Windows Phone. CEO Satya Nadella this summer laid out his vision for the company in a letter to employees. It included a Windows 10 strategy founded on universal apps, software that could be scaled to Xbox One, Window Phones, tablets and desktops. That's the wrong way to go, Ballmer asserted.
Top 10 Open Source Developments of 2015
December 2, 2015
Open source is driving an ever-expanding market. The notion of community-driven development is a growing disruption to proprietary software controlled by commercial vendors, and the free open source software concept has become a major disruption in industry and technology. Open source is so pervasive that people overlook how it's the glue of modern communication and enterprise business models.
BlackBerry's Priv Puzzles the Tech World
November 9, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday released its Priv smartphone, its first Android-based device. The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop slider is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and an Adreno 418 GPU. It's stocked with 3 GB of low-power RAM and 32 GB of storage. There's an 18-MP shooter on its backside and a 2-MP chat cam on its face.
Google's Nexus 6P and 5X Win Some Love
October 19, 2015
The reviews are out for Google's Nexus 6P and 5X, unveiled late last month, and they can be summed up in two words: Love them! They're described as "the best Nexus devices ever produced" and "Google's answer to Apple's iPhones," but those tired phrases are rolled out with every new Nexus or flagship Android smartphone, so what else is new? The camera, for one.
Another Day, Another Billion Android Users at Risk
October 5, 2015
Google on Monday released an over-the-air update for Nexus devices, which includes patches for the latest Stagefright vulnerabilities and other flaws. Android's Stagefright media processing feature, which recently imperiled 1 billion devices around the world, was once again putting them at risk, Zimperium revealed last week. Zimperium found two new vulnerabilities.
So What's Really the Best Smartphone?
October 5, 2015
The best smartphone on the market is the iPhone, right? That is the conventional wisdom. However, if I were to ask about the best shoes, shirt, car, boat or TV, the answers likely would be all over the map. When it comes to cars, for instance, I personally favor convertibles because they remind me of my youth when I could ride a motorcycle without a helmet, and they are just more fun.
Linux Foundation's Open Source R&D Worth $5B
September 30, 2015
The Linux Foundation has released a white paper that puts the estimated value of development R&D costs of its Collaborative Projects at $5 billion. The foundation has provided independent funding for the collaborative software projects since 2008 to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. Open source is changing the world in which we live, according to the report.
Google Lines Up a Batch of Marshmallow-Ready Hardware
September 30, 2015
Google on Tuesday introduced a pair of new phablets, a couple of Chromecasts and the first tablet it built by itself. The unveilings took place at its Nexus event in San Francisco. Months of leaks drew very accurate portraits of the $499 Huawei Nexus 6P and $379 LG Nexus 5X and other Android hardware, but Google filled in the details ahead of Android Marshmallow's expected Oct. 5 release.
BlackBerry Sees the Android Light
September 28, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday announced that it would introduce an Android smartphone later this year. The announcement came during the company's Q2 earnings call. The device will be known as the "Priv" and will be built around user privacy, said CEO John Chen. BlackBerry didn't offer any specifics about the Priv beyond the name -- nothing about pricing, U.S. carrier partners or any handset specs.
Patched Android Lockscreen Still a Threat
September 21, 2015
Google recently issued a patch for Nexus mobile devices to fix an Android Lollipop vulnerability that lets hackers bypass the lockscreen and gain control of mobile devices. However, it could take weeks to months for manufacturers and service providers to roll out the patch for other Android devices. University of Texas security researcher John Gordon discovered the vulnerability.
There's a New Google Wallet in Town
September 11, 2015
Google on Wednesday released a revamped version of Google Wallet to keep the app alive following its imminent transformation into Android Pay. Google Wallet (New) also has a few capabilities that aren't available in the about-to-be-promoted version. Google began rolling out Android Pay on Thursday. The original Google Wallet has been around since 2011.
Android Stomps Onto Mobile Pay Battlefield
September 11, 2015
Google is rolling out Android Pay, its answer to Apple Pay. Android Pay allows shoppers to make purchases at more than a million retail locations across the U.S. It also stores gift cards and loyalty cards, and provides special offers directly to a user's mobile device. Android Pay is compatible with all NFC-enabled Android devices, and it works across all carriers.
Raspberry Pi Gets a Touchscreen to Call Its Own
September 10, 2015
The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Tuesday announced the availability of a touchscreen that brings the low-cost tiny computer one step closer to becoming a standalone mobile device. The touchscreen was in development for nearly two years. The first round of screens will require some assembly of parts that arrive in a small kit, noted Gordon Hollingworth, director of software at Raspberry Pi.
Samsung Gear S2 Scores Points for Looking Like a Watch
September 10, 2015
Samsung last week announced the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic smartwatches at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The product specs of the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic are the same. The main difference between the two is in the design of their faces -- the Gear S2 Classic looks more like a regular watch, while it's obvious the Gear S2 is a smartwatch with apps.
Microsoft Spiffs Up Skype Mobile Apps
September 8, 2015
Microsoft last week rolled out versions of Skype 6.0 for iOS and Android. The company redesigned the applications to be more natural and intuitive, and it added new features. Skype 6.0 for Android now has a floating action button, which makes it easy to start a new conversation. The new iOS version incorporates swipe gestures and makes it easier to share photos, Web links, emoticons and locations.
Qualcomm Sics Fire-Breathing Snapdragon on Android Hackers
September 1, 2015
Qualcomm on Monday announced Snapdragon Smart Protect, a hardware-software product that could make the world a safer place for Android smartphone users. Snapdragon Smart Protect, which will become available with Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 820 processor, will provide real-time, on-device machine learning designed to support accurate and effective detection of zero-day malware threats.
New Android-x86 Release Peppered With Problems
August 31, 2015
The latest Android-x86 Project release takes us one step closer to using the Android OS on a desktop or laptop computer -- but the project suffers from stability and reliability issues. If you want one Linux-based OS to run on all of your devices, Android-x86 could become a viable alternative. The major advantage would be keeping all of your settings, apps and Google services on an equal footing.
Cortana Cozies Up to Android Users
August 26, 2015
Microsoft has released a public beta of its Cortana personal assistant for Android. The Cortana app can do most of the things Cortana does on Windows: set and get reminders; search the Web on the go; track information such as flight details; and begin and complete tasks across all a user's devices. Cortana will find answers on the Web in response to spoken or typed requests.
Devs Get to Poke Around With Marshmallow
August 20, 2015
Google on Monday announced the official SDK for Android 6.0, aka "Marshmallow." It also opened Google Play for devs to publish apps that target the new API Level 23 in Marshmallow. Google further updated the Android Support Library to v23, giving devs an easier way to make new platform APIs, such as permissions and fingerprint support, backward compatible.
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What do you think of politically inspired Internet memes?
They tend to be brutally honest about their targets.
They're usually cheap shots based on lies.
They're often stupid but amusing.
They can have a dangerous influence on uninformed people.
They don't impress me one way or the other.