Items tagged with Android

In an effort to clear up confusion over different builds, Google stopped naming its Android releases after tasty desserts starting with Android 10, which came out almost two years ago. If you were disappointed with that decision (as we were), then we have some possibly (maybe) good news—Google might start serving up delicious build names once again. We doubt it, but never say never, right? Nothing of the sort has been announced, and from what we can tell, any changes that might be coming to how build names are referenced would take effect after Android 12, if at all. Speaking of which, Android 12 is in beta, with a new revision (Android 12 Beta 3.1) having dropped this week, bringing with... Read more...
Whether it’s a typo, a line of code in the wrong place, or a placeholder for testing that never got removed, developers can introduce vulnerabilities into apps that a threat actor could exploit. It seems Android developers seem to have the problem quite a bit, as new research suggested over 60% of Android apps had known security vulnerabilities in Q1 2021. According to data presented by the Atlas VPN team and collected by the Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center, 63% of Android apps had known vulnerabilities, with an average of 39 vulnerabilities per app. The worst offenders of this 63% were gaming and financial apps, with the apps in the “top free games” category taking 96%... Read more...
It is not often a snake-oil product comes up in the realm of technology, but it seems the “Freedom Phone” fits that bill. Featuring no reported specs, construction in China, and a 4x markup from Alibaba, all while touting itself as a “free speech and privacy first focused phone,” the Freedom Phone seems to be more of a scam than a device to save democracy. On July 14th, the “world’s youngest Bitcoin millionaire,” as if that already did not have side effects, Erik Finman, announced the “Freedom Phone.” He claimed that this is “the first major pushback on the Big Tech companies that attacked us - for just thinking different.” Unfortunately,... Read more...
In late June, Google began the phaseout of Android Application Packages (APKs) in favor of Android Application Bundles (AABs). With these changes and improvements for developers, the Mountain View-based company is now introducing the Android Game Development Kit (AGDK), “a full range of tools and libraries to help you develop, optimize, and deliver high quality Android games.” Announced yesterday, the AGDK has three key pillars: it is built for game development around C or C++ APIs with performance in mind, cross-compatible across Android versions, and backward compatible, when possible, with future Android platform updates. Furthermore, the developers behind the ADGK are “focusing... Read more...
By now, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will look like at launch. Several rumors have coalesced around a unique design with a multi-colored back, large camera bump, and premium materials. Now, gadget leaker Jon Prosser alleges to have a bigger scoop on the specifications for the two smartphones. According to the report, the Pixel 6 will feature a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, with an 8MP selfie camera nestled within a hole-punch cutout. Out back, expect to see a 50MP wide-angle primary sensor and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor. In addition, Google is reportedly using its first custom SoC, condemned Whitechapel, for the smartphone paired with 8GB of RAM and... Read more...
In 2020, TCL ventured beyond its successful TV business by launching three TCL-branded phones in the US -- the $450 TCL 10 Pro and $250 10L (which we both reviewed), followed by the $400 TCL 10 5G UW. The company is no stranger to mobile, having previously sold budget handsets under the Alcatel brand. But last year’s TCL 10-series was aimed squarely at Moto’s US mid-range lineup, and was quite competitive. Then, at CES 2021, TCL announced the 20-series, which first landed in other regions, but is now available in the US with three phones -- the $500 TCL 20 Pro 5G, $250 20S, and $190 20SE. A lot has changed this past year. LG’s left the mobile space, and both Samsung and OnePlus... Read more...
At present, OnePlus is a company best known for its smartphones, and to a lesser extent, its wireless earbuds and smart televisions (in certain markets). However, a new trademark filing shows that OnePlus might be looking to expand into a segment that many Android makers have long abandoned: tablets. This information comes to us from a listing with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Not much can be gleaned from the listing other than the fact that the new device is called the OnePlus Pad. The name would lead us to believe that OnePlus wants to establish itself in the market that the Apple iPad dominates. There are other competitors in this segment, including Amazon with... Read more...
Hopefully you are not one of the millions of people who have installed an app called PIP Photo onto your Android device. Why is that? While it may seem like a harmless and handy image editing app, it contains malware designed to covertly swipe a person's login credential for Facebook. Same goes for a handful of other Android apps. Each of the nine malicious apps discovered by researchers at Doctor Web contain a trojan that gets to work trying to trick users into coughing up their Facebook usernames and passwords. What makes the apps potentially effective is that they otherwise work as intended and expected. "The applications were fully functional, which was supposed to weaken the vigilance of... Read more...
In 2018, Google launched the Android App Bundle, a new publishing format that “offers a more efficient way to build and release” an app. Since then, Android developers worldwide, like those at Adobe, Duolingo, Netflix, and Twitter, have taken advantage of this with approximately 1 million different apps. Now, Google wants to bring the benefits of the AAB to more users while modernizing Android app distribution by requiring new apps to use the AAB in August 2021. Announced on the Android Developers Google blog yesterday, APKs or Android Application Packages will be phased out as the standard publishing format over time in favor of the new AABs. With this change, AABs will allow apps... Read more...
At the Windows 11 reveal event, we got to see several new features, which are quite exciting. One of these new features is the ability to install and run Android apps on Windows 11, as if they were regular programs, via the Amazon Appstore. But what about cases where an app you need is not available for the Appstore? The Android apps feature coming to the Windows 11 is happening is thanks to a partnership between Amazon and Intel with its Intel Bridge Technology. This technology is the important part of the equation here, as it is a “runtime post-compiler that enables applications to run natively on x86-based devices, including running those applications on Windows.” In short, this... Read more...
Is Google Assistant not responding to your voice? Are your Google apps constantly crashing? The most recent Google app update may be to blame. Android users have been plagued by a wide variety of issues since Google rolled out the 12.23.16.23 update yesterday. The issues are impacting users regardless of their device and are evident in many of the features connected with the Google apps. Google Assistant is ignoring voice commands, Android Auto is not working for many users, and features like Google Search and Google Lens are crashing. Ironically, one of the features of the latest update was the ability to “use voice commands while navigating- even when your device has no connection.”... Read more...
Last summer we reviewed the eponymous OnePlus Nord, and came away impressed. It never made it to North America, but its successor -- the $300 OnePlus Nord N10 5G -- did, and while the price was on point, we found that it simply cut too many corners to really hit the sweet spot. Most importantly, it seemed to lack that signature combination of OnePlus design and performance magic and the company's special attention to detail. We were somewhat disappointed, but it still flew off the shelves. Enter the $240 OnePlus Nord N200 5G, an attractive looking Snapdragon 480-equipped 5G phone which brings OnePlus even closer to budget territory. We just spent a few days testing it, and while the lower price... Read more...
One of the reasons why Apple's recently introduced AirTag trackers have the potentially to be wildly successful is because they leverage a crowdsourced network of devices to work their mojo. Affordability is another reason, though the network is key. What about Google, though? Apparently the company is cooking up a crowdsourced network of its own for its Android ecosystem. Nothing of the sort has actually been announced by Google, at least not to our knowledge. However, the company recently made available beta build of its Google Play Services (version 21.24.13), and a teardown of the associated APK (Android Application Package) contains some very interesting strings that reference the new feature.... Read more...
Worried about those secret recipes, sultry photos, or other confidential messages you have been sending on your Android phone? Well, good news. Google feels it has sufficiently tested its end-to-end encryption feature that arrived in beta last year, and is now rolling it out to the masses. However, there are some things you should know. For one, end-to-end encryption can only be enabled when chatting with one other person. It does not work for group chats, so keep that in mind. Also be aware that end-to-end encryption is not available for SMS (short message service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service) texts, and instead you have to be taking advantage of RCS (rich communications service).... Read more...
Google launched the first Android 12 beta last month at Google I/O, and now the company is following up with Beta 2. All the new features that we first discussed in our original article are at play here in Android 12 Beta 2, but Google continues to refine the OS experience and UI to the benefit of users. One of the most significant changes comes with connectivity via removing the Wi-Fi button in Quick Settings, the Status Bar, and within Settings. Instead, the Wi-Fi button has been replaced with a new button called Internet. Tapping it brings you to a screen that allows you to change your Wi-Fi network or toggle on/off your cellular connection. If you have a dual-SIM-capable device, this is also... Read more...
Though it may be a little late, Google’s security update for the Pixel 3 through 5 is finally here. This update also brings several new features which may have been worth the wait. Between locked photo folders and astrophotography time-lapses, there is a lot here, so let us dive in... Space Photos and Videos Taking photos of the night sky can be difficult at best with most phones, but the Pixel’s astrophotography mode allows users to take beautiful night photos. Now, Google claims this is only getting better as Pixel 4 and newer device owners can “now create videos of the stars moving across the sky all during the same exposure.” When taking a photo in Night Sight, both... Read more...
Most of you are likely familiar with ASUS’ extensive line of PCs and related components, including ASUS’ ROG gaming products. You’ve probably also seen our ASUS ROG Phone 5 benchmarks, which showcase this incredibly fast gaming phone. But let's not forget that ASUS has also been making innovative non-gaming handsets for years. In fact, the Zenfone series was first to introduce both the periscope camera and the flip camera to market. This year ASUS decided to launch two Android flagships, the €799 Zenfone 8 Flip, which continues the flip camera lineage, and the US bound €599 Zenfone 8, a tiny (5.9-inch display) but mighty (Snapdragon 888 SoC) phone with a more traditional... Read more...
Apple's iOS 14.5 was supposed to let users take back control over their data, or so the narrative goes, by preventing apps from tracking their every move. Apple has been banging that privacy drum for a long time now, and customers have taken the company at its word. In fact, you've likely already read our report that a full 95% of users have opted out of allowing Facebook's app to track their data since iOS 14.5 privacy changes launched a few short weeks ago. However, what's to stop Facebook from continuing to track you once the data winds up on their servers? Not much, as it turns out, but there are options for turning the screws down a bit more.  Do You Really Need Geotagging On For Sharing... Read more...
Google is throwing its weight behind Matter, a new protocol that aims to simplify smart home setup and adoption through a single standard with broad industry support. That support is the key to making Matter, well, matter, and during its multi-day Google I/O developer event that is currently in progress, Google announced it is bringing Matter to its Nest and Android ecosystems. This is potentially a big deal, as device makers push more smart gadgets into the retail space. It is a sector that is growing. According to Google, in 2016 there could be found three smart devices in the average smart home. Now five years later, that number has tripled to nine. That number will likely grow over the coming... Read more...
If you're like me, you probably keep your smartphone next to you most of the time, though perhaps not all of the time. And of course it never fails that when a smartphone is out of reach, that is when a call comes in, presenting you with a choice—get up and go see what monster is calling instead of texting (ugh), or ignore it and check it later. Now there's a third choice, courtesy of an update to Google's official Phone app. Google's official Phone app comes standard on Pixel handsets, and last September, it was made available as a free download to Android devices in general, from the Play Store. It is a fairly basic dialer for Android handsets, though it does offer a few nice amenities,... Read more...
When Microsoft launched the Surface Duo last year, priced from $1,399, we knew it would be a tough sell. Not only was it priced well above what we expect for flagship Android devices, but it also came with an outdated processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, when flagships at the time rocked the Snapdragon 865/865+), just 6GB of RAM, and lacked 5G connectivity. However, the Surface Duo's main calling card was its dual displays, which was enough to capture the attention of a few Android enthusiasts. Unfortunately for Microsoft, sales haven't been as strong as it hoped, and its retail partners are now deeply discounting the Surface Duo. BuyDig earlier this week sold the Surface Duo for a low $699.99,... Read more...
Privacy and security have become Google’s modus operandi after the company announced a Password Manager for Android, iOS, and Chrome the other day. Now, the Android arm of Google is taking steps to make Google Play a more “safe, trusted space for billions of people to enjoy the latest Android apps.” The company is therefore “pre-announcing” an upcoming safety section in Google Play to allow people to know how their data is being collected and used. Working closely with developers, Google will be giving people transparency and control over their own data soon. This will be done through simple means of communicating app safety which are easy to understand for an end-user... Read more...
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