With the ongoing debate about privacy and encryption, the rollout of end-to-end encryption to Facebook-owned WhatsApp came as little surprise. Now Facebook Messenger is set to gain a couple of privacy-enhancing features including self-destructing messages.
Already found in other messaging tools such as SnapChat and Telegram, self-destructing messages have been unearthed in Messenger for iOS version 68.0. As you would expect, the feature makes it possible to place a time limit on how long messages are visible for, making it ideal for communicating sensitive information.
Microsoft's embracing of the open source movement grows ever tighter, and today the company announced that its Xamarin SDKs (available for Android, iOS and Mac) will be open sourced. It's not long since Microsoft bought Xamarin, and just weeks later the SDKs are being opened up.
Announced at the Xamarin Evolve 2016 event, the move sees Microsoft trying to encourage mobile developers. The company says it has already made great strides in this area: "we helped nearly 3.5 times more developers get started building great apps with Xamarin than ever in our history as a company".
Google antitrust: Getty Images files complaint against search giant for image scraping and piracy promotion
Google is already embroiled in one antitrust case in Europe where the company stands accused of abusing Android's dominance. Now photo agency Getty Images is accusing Google of promoting piracy and engaging in anticompetitive behavior by 'scraping' images from third party sites.
In a familiar-sounding complaint, Getty Images also says that Google skews search results in favor of its own services -- such as Google Images. The photo agency says that this directly impacts upon rival services, but perhaps the big charge is that a change made to Google Images provided access to copyrighted material and "promoted piracy, resulting in widespread copyright infringement".
Android 6.0 launched over half a year ago, but even today there are still lots of devices that have yet to receive the software upgrade to Marshmallow. In fact, at the beginning of this month fewer than one in 20 were running Google's latest mobile operating system.
For BlackBerry Priv users though things are looking up. The Canadian maker has announced the Marshmallow rollout for its first Android smartphone, introducing improvements to the camera, battery, privacy, security, and more.
Windows Phone has been dead for some time now. I knew it. The world knew it. Dogs knew it. The only people that were seemingly unaware were those that pledged allegiance to Microsoft. You know who they are -- those men and women that some call "fanboys".
Even the journalism community has them. Folks like Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley are unapologetic fans of Microsoft. While Thurrott has long since abandoned the horrific Windows Phone platform, Foley has been one of the few holdouts. Today, she announces that she -- Microsoft's biggest fan -- is choosing the Linux-based Android instead. If this doesn't signal the death of Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile, I don't know what does.
Not everyone wants or can afford a premium smartphone and Chinese makers have been busy carving out a niche at the lower end of the market with a whole raft of models that provide smartphone features at dumbphone prices.
Launching next week the Oukitel C3 is the latest entry into an increasingly crowded market. What makes it stand out is that unlike most cheaper phones which rely on older versions of Android, the C3 runs the latest 6.0 Marshmallow.
Once again, as it has done in the past, Google makes the classic monopolist defense for its competitive—or anticompetitive, depending on perspective—behavior with respect to Android. Today, the European Union's Competition Commission formerly charged Alphabet and its major subsidiary, which has 12 weeks to provide satisfactory legal response before the Commission issues corrective sanctions.
Simply stated, the EC finds that the company abused its dominant position, in part by contracts compelling Android licensees to preload Google apps and related services, including search. Microsoft ran into similar bundling headaches starting in the late 1990s with respect to Windows. Responding today, Kent Walker, Google general counsel, claims that licensees and consumers can choose to install third-party apps. Microsoft made like-claims during its antitrust defense here and in Europe; they fell flat.
When it comes to email, Google is about more than just Gmail. With Inbox, Google has looked to simplify and automate email, and today the company announces three new features that take this further.
But Google doesn't think that 'features' is strong enough a word; instead these are 'experiences'. Specifically, there are new experiences that make it easier to keep track of calendar events, manage the links you email to yourself, and view all of the newsletters you subscribe to.
The EU may be bringing an antitrust case against Google in relation to its Android operating system, but the ITIF (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation) thinks that this is 'misguided'. Rather than Google harming customer choice, the institute says that it is the case against Google that should be in the spotlight.
Google has made much of the fact that Android is open source, and the ITIF says that "holding 'open' operating systems to higher standard only hurts consumer choice". Vice President Daniel Castro says that the Android ecosystem reduces costs for consumers, increases choice, and complains that the European Commission has failed to give details of precisely how consumers are being harmed by Google.
The European Union has charged Google with anticompetitive behaviour, saying that the company abused the dominance of Android in the mobile marketplace. Regulators have taken exception to Google's requirement on phone manufacturers to install Chrome and Google search, saying that this stifles innovation and limits user choice.
Unsurprisingly, Google disagrees and has hit back at the charges saying that "our business model keeps manufacturers' costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices". More than this, Google says it prides itself on having built a sustainable ecosystem built on open source software. It also says that Android has been designed in such a way that is "good for competition and for consumers".
As Apple releases its transparency report, Google today releases its second Android Security Annual report. The report covers all things Android, from the security of the operating system itself, to the security of Google Play and the apps it provides access to. Of course, Google is keen to highlight everything it does to improve security for its users.
As such, the report shows how the company performs more than 400 million automatic security scans per day on devices with Google Mobile Services. Aided by machine learning, these scans help to home in on what are referred to as Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs). Google points out that just 0.5 percent of scanned devices feature PHAs, and this dropped to 0.15 percent for devices that only installed apps from Google Play.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s antitrust commissioner, is continuing to put pressure on Google in regard to its Android operating system.
Vestager gave a speech at a conference in the Netherlands today in which she stressed how her department has now begun a close examination of the contracts Google has with mobile device manufacturers and mobile carriers. The European Commission is objecting to the requirements the company puts on its mobile partners to pre-load Google apps on devices.
When buying a smartphone, there are many things to consider. Should you get Android or iOS? How much should you spend? Which carrier will you use? It can be very confusing.
If you are on a budget, however, Android is the best option -- Apple does not offer truly affordable off-contract phones. Choosing a value-focused, pre-paid carrier -- such as Boost Mobile or Virgin USA -- can be another way to save money. Today, Kyocera announces an affordable waterproof Android handset for those aforementioned carriers. Just how affordable is it? $99!
For the past 6 months or so, I have been using an iPhone 6S Plus. After years of living in an Android world, I decided to give Apple's offering a try. Why? Well, I don't like how some Android manufacturers fail to issue regular updates for their devices. Many people use phones and tablets with known vulnerabilities that will never be patched, and that is not cool. Regardless of your opinion of Apple or iOS, you must admit that the company is timely with updates for all of its currently supported devices.
As a lover of all tech, however, I am still very interested in Android. Google's Linux-based operating system is a very rewarding experience. And so, I found myself extremely intrigued by the HTC 10. That company is known for using premium materials, while also providing a close-to-stock Android experience. More importantly, it historically offers respectable support. Can the 10 live up to my expectations?
It's only a few weeks since the first developer preview of Android N was released, but now it's time for the second. Google has announced the availability of Android N Developer Preview 2 packed with bug fixes and a raft of new features.
Among the new tools for developers to play with is Vulkan, a new 3D rendering API which Google says provides a big performance boost for certain apps. Other key additions include support for the more human-looking Emoji Unicode 9, and new launcher shortcuts that can be used to quickly jump to specific actions within an app.