Articles about Android

Android 7.0 Nougat starts to roll out to Nexus devices

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There have been numerous beta versions of Android 7.0 Nougat, and now the official rollout is underway. This is not a full-scale rollout just yet -- it's limited to the Nexus 6P, 5X, 6, 9, and Nexus Player, as well as the Pixel C and General Mobile 4G.

You'll notice that the Nexus 5 is missing from the list, but the remainder of the handsets are in line for an OTA update anytime over the coming weeks starting today. If you're impatient, you can always download the factory images and flash your device manually, but whichever route you go down, what do you have to look forward to?

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Windows falls to 0.6 percent share in the smartphone market

Falling sales graph

Windows continues to lose ground to Android and iOS in the smartphone market, according to a new report from Gartner. Driven by the poor performance of the Lumia line, its share dropped to just 0.6 percent in Q2 2016, down from 2.5 percent a year ago.

Microsoft is the largest platform vendor, selling over 90 percent of the smartphones that run Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, so its performance has a direct impact on Windows' share in this market. And, since in Q2 2016 it only sold 1.2 million Lumia devices, it dealt the platform yet another blow.

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Satechi launches elegant Wireless Charging Pad for Qi-enabled smartphones

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As an iPhone user, there is one thing that I am jealous of when it comes to Android -- wireless charging. While plugging in a cable is hardly a chore, a wireless charging pad is not only more convenient, but really cool too -- it feels futuristic. It is not enough to make me leave iOS, but I digress.

If you have a Qi-enabled smartphone, and want to buy a wireless charger, Satechi has a new product that may interest you. The unimaginatively named 'Wireless Charging Pad' looks great and is reasonably priced. Best of all, if your phone is compatible with fast-charging technology, Satechi's offering can charge your device faster than standard wireless chargers.

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Google updates its open source Santa Tracker in time for Christmas

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Yeah, OK... it's only August, but we're going to start talking about Christmas. Well... Google is, anyway. As it has done for a few years now, the company is planning to run its Santa Tracker tool in December and it has a few updates to share.

The web and mobile based versions of the tool are open source, meaning that developers are free to work their Christmassy magic and come up with new and innovative ideas for kids.

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Chrome for Android is gaining a Google Now-driven New Tab page

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If you're working with bleeding edge Chrome for Android, you can experiment with an updated version of the New Tab page. Anyone with Chrome Dev or Beta installed can toggle a settings flag to bring extra content to new tabs.

The updated New Tab page features -- in addition to your most frequently visited sites and a list of recent bookmarks -- a collection of suggested news stories, similar to those found on Google Now cards.

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Barnes and Noble 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A NOOK Android tablet is a great value

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Barnes and Noble's color-screen NOOK tablets are really just repurposed Samsung Android devices. You know what? That is totally fine. Heck, B and N doesn't even try to hide it. While the company could go the route of Amazon and produce its own hardware and operating system, many consumers don't really want that. Without the Google Play Store, an Android tablet is largely a big disappointment.

Today, Barnes and Noble announces the latest such NOOK Android tablet, which is based on the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A. While not a top of the line tablet by any means, it is affordable, and overall, a damn good value. Existing NOOK tablet owners can even get a substantial discount when upgrading.

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Traffic hijacking Linux flaw affects 80 percent of Android devices -- including Nougat

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Android has had something of a rough time of things lately with the discovery of the Quadrooter vulnerability and the revelation that a flaw in version 3.6 of the Linux kernel also affects Google's mobile operating system.

Security firm Lookout estimates that 80 percent of Android devices (around 1.4 billion devices) are affected. While initial reports suggested that devices up to Android 4.4 KitKat are at risk, further testing shows that the problem still exists all the way up to Android 7.0 Nougat.

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Fuchsia is Google's latest operating system

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It could be argued that with Android and Chrome OS, Google already has more than its fair share of operating systems; but there's another one in the pipeline.

Very little is known about it at the moment, but Google has a new operating system project underway called Fuchsia. There's a GitHub page up and running, where you can find out about the Fuchsia kernel -- a kernel that is designed with scalability and multi-device, cross-platform compatibility in mind.

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Google Play drops the Google+ account requirement for app reviews

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Google seems to be realizing, at long last, that very, very few people care about Google+. While there have been endless -- as yet unfounded -- rumors that Google's social tool could be killed off, for now the company appears content simply to decouple it from other services.

The latest change means that Android users looking to post reviews on Google Play no longer have to have a Google+ account to do so. Cue general whooping.

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Samsung Galaxy Note7 will get Android 7.0 Nougat soon

Android-n-nougat

Samsung announced the Galaxy Note7 earlier than usual, choosing to unveil the new flagship in early-August instead of waiting for the IFA show in September as it has done with previous models. And, by doing so, it had no other option than to release it with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, even though a new version of the mobile operating system -- dubbed Nougat -- is on the horizon.

There are some potential buyers who are understandably disappointed by this, knowing that Android 7.0 should launch in the coming weeks. The good news is that Samsung plans to release the Nougat update for the Galaxy Note7 soon.

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Russia fines Google over breaking antitrust rules with Android

Google to cough up $19 million in kids' in-app purchases case

Google has been fined 438 million rubles ($6.75 million) by the Russian antitrust authority for abusing its market position following a complaint by Yandex, Russia’s biggest search engine.

Google has been found guilty of forcing Android smartphone makers to install its search engine on their devices, which has been seen to breach "protecting competition" laws.

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Kyocera 'DuraForce PRO' rugged Android smartphone has integrated HD action camera

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The Android operating system is having its fair share of trouble lately. Not just one, but four nasty vulnerabilities (dubbed 'QuadRooter') have been discovered, affecting close to one billion devices. If that doesn't scare you, however, there are plenty of quality handsets to choose from.

Today, Kyocera announces an interesting smartphone that stands out among the others. The 'DuraForce PRO' is super-rugged, and has both an octacore processor and large 3,240mAh battery. The stand-out feature, however, is the integrated wide-angle HD action camera.

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Apple's iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the best selling smartphones in US

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge's reign as the most popular smartphones in US in the three months ending May was short lived, as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus climbed to the top of the sales chart in the second quarter of 2016. Perhaps it's not all doom and gloom for Apple's flagships.

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus accounted for 15.1 percent of the smartphones sold in Q2, while Samsung's flagships only made up 14.1 percent of sales, according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Previous figures were 14.6 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

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Google can already protect most Android phones from the QuadRooter threat

Android smartphone malware

The discovery of QuadRooter is one of the biggest security threats to Android users since Stagefright. Security firm Check Point Software has released a tool to help people determine if their phones are at risk, but Google says that it is already able to block apps with the QuadRooter exploit.

The Verify Apps feature of Google Play Services is able to detect and block any apps that feature QuadRooter. As the exploit has to be delivered via an app, this effectively protects the vast majority of handsets that are threatened.

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Google Maps gets data-saving Wi-Fi-only mode and the option to save maps to SD cards

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Google Maps is a great tool for helping you get from A to B -- until you find yourself in an area with no data reception, that is. To help combat the problem -- and fighting expensive data charges at the same time -- Google is introducing a new Wi-Fi only mode which forces Google Maps into offline mode.

As well as preventing the app from struggling to download data over a rubbishy or non-existent connection, the update means that Google Maps relies entirely on your saved maps -- something Google says could boost battery life. But there's more!

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