Items tagged with Android

Google RCS is now available on all Android devices in the United States. Its recent availability has brought up questions about its use and features. Today we will break down what it is, how to use it, and, most importantly, how it compares to regular SMS messaging.  Short Message Services (SMS) are plain and simple text messages. They are often accompanied by Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) which include videos, photos, and GIFs. Both are sent through cellular networks and therefore necessitate a carrier plan. Hi everyone! RCS is now available to all users in US as of Monday. Make sure to update both Messages and Carrier Services. — Sanaz (@sanazahari) December 12, 2019 Rich... Read more...
Google has been on a mission to improve the texting experience on Android. Following up on its Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol, which is supposed to bring functionality akin to what's available on iMessages on iOS devices, Google is rolling out a Verified SMS feature to combat the rising annoyance of text spam. You may have noticed that you receive more unsolicited text messages these days than in years past. It's a tough situation, because not every text message from a non-contact is nefarious, or spam. For example, if you have two-factor authentication enabled for a particular service, such as your bank, you'll receive a text when trying to log into your account to verify your identity.... Read more...
Microsoft launched its Your Phone app a while back and has been expanding availability to more Android devices and adding features in the months since that launch. Your Phone is designed to work with both iOS and Android devices, but Android devices have a lot more functionality. One of the key features for Android devices is the ability to send and receive text messages from your Windows 10 PC. Microsoft has now added a new and very useful feature to Your Phone. After testing with Windows Insiders for the last few months, the ability to make and receive phone calls from your PC has now been added to the Your Phone app for all. The new feature is officially called Calls, and users need to be... Read more...
The Google Fi MVNO service has been around for a few years now, and it aims to give customers a reasonably-priced alternative to traditional carriers like AT&T and Verizon while offering a few of its own perks. While Google Fi is technically supported on a broad range of Android and iOS devices, Google has reserved the complete Google Fi experience to Pixel devices and what it calls "Designed for Fi" smartphones (like those from Motorola). Today, Google announced that all smartphones that are supported on Google Fi will receive a number of features previously reserved for a select few. Now, all Google Fi devices, including the iPhone, support spam call warnings... Read more...
One of the cool new features that the Google Pixel 4 offers users is its Recorder application. That app was initially only for the Pixel 4, but it now has expanded availability to cover most all Pixel devices including the Pixel 2, 3, 3a, and 4 smartphones. It's currently only offered for Pixel devices, not for other Android smartphones, however. The Recorder is more than the name would imply. It can record audio, but it uses AI and voice recognition to transcribe and caption label recordings in real-time, automatically. You could use the app to do things like record a meeting at work or a lecture at school and have a full transcription to look back on. Initially, Google has seemingly... Read more...
Security researchers say millions of Android phones are susceptible to a newly discovered vulnerability that, if exploited, could allow an attacker to spy on users through the phone's microphone, take photos with the phone's camera, read and send SMS text messages, make and record phone conversations, phish login credentials, and a host of other nefarious deeds. The malware is called StrandHogg, and there are couple of things that make it extra concerning. One is that all versions of Android are affected, including Android 10, which is the latest build. And secondly, researchers say StrandHogg allows real-life malware to pose as legitimate apps, with users unaware they are being targeted. "The... Read more...
Google's Android bug bounty program has come a long way since its humble roots back in mid-2015. At the time, the search and software giant offered a maximum payout of $38,000 for specific exploits that compromised the world's most popular operating system. Today, Google has announced that its maximum payout now weighs in at up to a staggering $1.5 million if certain exploit conditions are met. Google previously offered payouts that maxed out at $200,000, but the new "baseline" top prize is $1 million. The $1.5 million maximum payout is achieved with a $500,000 bonus that will likely be incredibly tough to pull off. The purpose of the bug bounty is to help beef up the security of both its first-party... Read more...
The thought of a stranger hijacking your camera and being able to see what you are doing without your knowledge is the stuff of nightmares for most people. Our phones tend to follow us into every area of our lives. Checkmarx decided to see if the cameras that are built into Android phones might be vulnerable to hacking. For their testing, the team took a Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 3 smartphone and began to probe the Google Camera app. The team found that there were a number of "concerning vulnerabilities" in the Google Camera app. They also found that the same vulnerabilities impact the camera apps of other smartphone vendors in the Android ecosystem. They specifically cited Samsung's camera app as... Read more...
Google has announced that it has begun the rollout of its new SMS text messaging app with features powered by RCS (Rich Communication Services). Google says that some people had the chat features in their Android Messaging already, but the rollout is now going to everyone in the States. The traditional SMS text messaging features that Google has offered to Android users are getting new chat features, including the ability to chat over WiFi or using mobile data. Users will be able to send and receive high-resolution photos and videos, and see if people have received your latest messages. Google says that the update brings better group chats with the ability to name groups and add or remove people... Read more...
The concept of a purpose-built gaming phone is still somewhat in its infancy, though we are starting to see generational upgrades, such as the ASUS ROG Phone II. As the name implies, this is the second generation of ASUS' gaming handset. Like the original ROG Phone released last year, the ROG Phone II combines bleeding edge hardware with gaming-centric software optimizations. ASUS sprinkles in some nifty features (like Air Triggers) and then surrounds it all with optional accessories to amp up the experience. What ASUS has essentially created is not just a gaming phone, but a smartphone gaming ecosystem. For this second act, ASUS sets the stage with some notable upgrades. One that perhaps stands... Read more...
Without question, Google's Pixel 4 XL has been the most leaked smartphone of 2019 prior to its official launch. Heck, even Google teased the device and a key feature or two along the way, so it goes without saying, the hype was big for this fourth generation Pixel. Google tries to set the bar for Android ecosystem partners with respect to industrial design and new enabling technologies with its Pixel phones. And in fact, the new Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL bring with them a couple of firsts for made by Google devices, specifically a 90Hz display and wireless charging. The premise is that hopefully these new features are "done right" so to speak, or at least that the technology has matured enough to... Read more...
Mobile users can mitigate the risk of falling prey to malware by only downloading apps from reputable app stores. The Play Store is one of them, and it is the largest around for Android, though the risk is not by any means non-existent. Google realizes this, and has forged an App Defense Appliance with ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium. Part of the ongoing problem with the Play Store is its sheer size makes it an attractive target for miscreants, as well as the number of Android devices in the wild. According to Google, the Android ecosystem consists of more than 2.5 billion devices, most with access to the Play Store. This has led to a proliferation of malware in the Play Store, as we have reported... Read more...
There may exist a parallel universe where Android is second fiddle to Windows Mobile. Or maybe Microsoft's ill-fated (in this universe) mobile operating is so dominant that Android falls by the wayside, relegated to a footnote in the history of tech. Things did not work out that way in the universe we reside, though according to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Windows Mobile could have won the war, had he not been distracted with an antitrust case brought forward by the US Justice Department. It is a relevant topic, particularly in today's political climate where presidential candidates debate on whether big companies like Facebook should be broken up. Microsoft faced a similar scenario back... Read more...
Google's original Pixel smartphone has enjoyed an epic run when it comes to major operating system and security updates, but the end of the road is finally in sight. Starting with November's monthly rollout of Android security updates, the Pixel is being abandoned by Google. The Pixel has been supported for a remarkably long time -- at least for an Android device -- since its original release back in October 2016. That's one of the benefits of going with Google's hardware in the Android ecosystem, and it's rare to find continual support for 3-year-old devices from its OEM partners. In fact, Google even allowed first-generation Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones to upgrade to the current... Read more...
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