Despite the name, smartphones are generally used for anything but traditional phone related activities -- and one of the most popular usages of the devices is snapping photographs. But while an entire generation of photographers has grown up with digital photography, there are plenty of physical photos out there waiting to be digitized.
Google thinks it has the answer in the form of PhotoScan. The app is available for iOS and Android, and it transforms your smartphone into a scanner so you can preserve old photos. Unsurprisingly, it is packed with smarts to simplify the whole process, and it all ties in neatly with Google Photos.
The OnePlus 3 -- unashamedly billed as the 'flagship killer' -- caused major ripples of excitement when it was released earlier in the year. Now, after rumors and teasers, and mere months after the launch, there is a follow up -- the OnePlus 3T.
One of the key features of the OnePlus 3 was Dash Charge, its fast charging option still offers a full day's usage from 30 minutes of charging -- and the battery has jumped in size. Internally, the processor has been upgraded to a Snapdragon 821 chip clocked at 2.35 GHz, and there's now a 128GB model available.
Mobile security firm Kryptowire has discovered a backdoor in several Android smartphones sold in the US. The company says that the firmware collected personal data about users without consent, and sent this private information on to Chinese firm Shanghai Adups Technology Company.
Included in the reams of personal data shared to a third party server were the full text of SMS, call histories, and unique device identifiers. In addition to this, an OTA (over the air) update to firmware allowed for the non-consensual installation of apps, user location tracking and keyword monitoring.
Android is in a weird place. The latest version, 7.0 Nougat, is on very few devices, which highlights the operating system's biggest issue -- fragmentation. True, most apps will work fine on slightly older versions of the OS, but the true problem is security -- not compatibility. Once a manufacturer stops supporting a smartphone or tablet, the user is at risk of future vulnerabilities.
With OS upgrade concerns in mind, I decided to test Android Nougat on a new Verizon smartphone -- the highly anticipated LG V20. This is the followup to the sleeper-hit V10. The new device retains the famed "second screen", but improves upon its predecessor in every way. Is it worth your money, however?
Those who have followed me over the years know that I came somewhat late to the mobile computing party. I didn’t buy my first smartphone until 2014 -- an el-cheapo Samsung Galaxy Avant running Android 4.4.2. However, after languishing in the hinterlands of abandoned devices (Samsung never bothered to updated the Avant’s OS past "KitKat"), I finally bit the bullet and this past August splurged on a Galaxy S7 (I went for the nondescript black model to discourage phone thieves).
No question, the Galaxy S7 is a wonderful "piece of kit" (as my UK friends would call it). It’s fast, has plenty of RAM (4GB), and is expandable via microSD card (unlike its immediate predecessor, the Galaxy S6). But while it runs circles around my old Avant in terms of performance, I found the phone’s TouchWiz-enhanced Android 6.0 Marshmallow UI to be uninspiring.
Starting today, Google is rolling out an updated version of Google Play Music, its streaming music service. The company says that the update sees the use of machine learning to create contextual playlists based on where listeners are and what they are doing.
The latest version of Google Play Music is more "assistive" than ever, with Google making much of the personalized playlists it is able to automatically create.
OnePlus has been working on the Android 7.0 Nougat update for its latest flagship killer for a few months now, but it has not provided many details about what it will bring new to the table. However, it looks like OnePlus 3 users will not have to wait long to find out.
That is because the Community Build -- a preview branch of OxygenOS -- will make the move to an Android 7.0 Nougat base this month, leaving Marshmallow behind. Sure, this is basically a beta build that should not be used on daily drivers, but the company will follow up with a release ready for prime time shortly after.
Google's battle with the European Commission has raged on for many years, and the company has faced frequent accusations of anti-competitive behavior for one reason or another. Today the Android producer has hit back at the European claims, saying that the existence of iOS is proof that its own mobile operating system is not anti-competitive.
Senior vice president of Google, Kent Walker, writes on the company blog that "Android is not a 'one way street'; it's a multi-lane highway of choice". He also points to the fact that the cost of smartphones running Android has dropped dramatically over the years, but one of his primary arguments against the anti-competitive claims is that phone manufacturers are free to use Android in whatever way they want.
Google's new Safe Browsing site is home to malicious site reporting, transparency reports, and policies
Google today launches a revamped version of its Safe Browsing site, bringing a number of tools and services under one roof. The tag line for the site is "Making the world's information safely accessible," and Google makes much of fact that it now keeps more than two billion devices safe online -- desktop and Android, as well as devices running Google tools such as Chrome and Gmail.
One of the main purposes of the site is to make it easier for people to report malicious sites they encounter, so other internet users can be warned and protected. But the updated site is also home to additional information from Google, such as its Transparency Reports and company policies.
Just over two months after its release, Google reports that Nougat is running on 0.3 percent of Android devices. That is a far cry from the 24 percent share that Marshmallow enjoys, but it should not really surprise anyone considering that the most popular Android devices are rocking an older distribution.
Things will improve as more players release Android 7.0 updates, and the latest to make a move in the right direction is LG. The South Korean maker just announced that it is now rolling out Nougat for its G5 flagship.
It's quite some time since Google launched Android Auto -- around two years, in fact -- but adoption has been hampered by one little niggle: you needed a compatible car to take advantage of it. Today that changes.
Starting today, Android Auto is available as a stand-alone phone app that can be used to bring the tool to any car via an Android device. This means that older vehicles can now feel the benefits of Android Auto and use it to get directions, listen to music, and much more.
Google is actively pushing websites to embrace HTTPS, going as far as to warn Chrome users when they visit a page that can transmit sensitive data over the unsecured HTTP protocol. The search giant hopes that this will speed up HTTPS adoption, and to help us keep track of how things evolve it has updated its Transparency Report to reveal how HTTPS usage is increasing among Chrome users.
Google says that the majority of pages that Chrome users access on desktops are now loaded via HTTPS, and two thirds of their time is spent on pages loading the secure communications protocol. The platform with the highest rate is Chrome OS, which is approaching the 75 percent mark.
The Samsung Galaxy Note7 was one of the -- if not the -- most disastrous phone launches of all time. After numerous reports of handsets catching fire or exploding, Samsung was forced to recall the device -- but some people have been reluctant to give theirs up.
The phone may have been banned from planes, and Samsung has even offered a financial incentive to hand over the Galaxy Note7, but despite the potential danger many users are hanging onto their phones. In a drastic move to prevent them from being used, some mobile providers -- incoordination with Samsung -- are disconnecting Galaxy Note7s, rendering them all but useless.
If you visit Google Play on your computer, you can install apps to any of the Android devices you own. All you need to do is click the Install button and you'll then be presented with a list of your phones and tablets to choose from.
Over the years, you've probably owed a number of Android devices, and it's possible that this list has become a bit unwieldy. Why should you be forced to make a selection when you only have one phone? Here's how to clear up the list and make your life a little easier.
While the Android smartphone market was starting to feel stale, there have been many great offerings lately, such as LG V20, Google Pixel, and the LeEco Le Pro3. In other words, it is a great time to be buying an Android handset.
Today, Huawei adds another remarkable-looking Android smartphone to the list -- the much-anticipated 'Mate 9'. The 5.9-inch 1080p screen should look great, and the company promises two days of use from the 4,000mAh battery -- plus fast-charging, of course. It even has 4GB of RAM standard, plus 64GB of storage. Will consumers embrace the premium dual-sim device?