We have known for quite some time that the next incarnation of Android will pack a kill switch. This feature has long been requested, as it would prevent unauthorized reuse and, therefore, make a serious dent in smartphone and tablet theft. It is even imposed under Californian law, going into effect next year. But even though Google has not mentioned it yet, the kill switch is indeed baked into Android 5.0 Lollipop.
The kill switch in Android 5.0 Lollipop is officially known as "Factory reset protection", and is offered as an opt-in feature which only works in conjunction with a passcode. After it is enabled, the user's credentials (Google account and password) are required in order to reset the device, to allow a person other than the original user to use the device as intended.
Google has just launched a shiny new addition to its signature Nexus range, the Nexus 6. At a whopping 5.96-inch, this is a beast of a phone that is bang on the phablet trend sweeping the global smartphone market. But how does it square up to the other large-screened powerhouses scrapping for your attention?
We pit its specs against those of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to see who (on paper) comes out on top.
It is estimated that one in three smartphones shipped in 2018 will be a phablet, which is more than double their projected share for 2014. For Google -- with Android still likely to run on the majority of phablets -- helping developers to properly optimize their apps for larger screens has become a top priority. Ensuring that Android phablets provide a great user experience is paramount; otherwise, users may jump ship to Apple's iPhones or Microsoft's Windows Phones.
So, today, Google takes the wraps off its first phablet, Nexus 6. It is the embodiment of all the great features we have come to expect out of a phablet from late-2014: super high-resolution screen, super fast processor, solid cameras, very thin bezels and a huge battery. As expected, Google also announced a new tablet, the first one to come since July 2013, called Nexus 9. It does not disappoint either. Of course, both run the new Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is shipping in the next few weeks.
Most people who own expensive smartphones have the latest Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S or Galaxy Note device, which, at launch, costs at least $650 off-contract. Even though they are unattainable to the average buyer, tens of millions of consumers can still afford to get them. And that creates a problem for the elitist one percenters of the world, who are faced with an unusual dilemma: own a smartphone that even their chauffeurs may afford or turn to a proper luxury device.
For those who can pay €12,500 for a smartphone and just so happen to be Bentley owners or enthusiasts, renowned luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu has unveiled Vertu for Bentley. It is the first device to come out of the new five-year partnership with the high-end British car maker. Luckily, for that much money, it certainly is special.
Offenders are using software to remotely wipe tablets and smartphones confiscated by the police so they cannot be used as evidence in criminal cases.
Police forces in Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Durham all admitted to the BBC that seized devices have been remotely "wiped" of all data to prevent it being used as evidence in court.
For a well-known and longstanding smartphone manufacturer, Sony has an unusual strategy in the US. Its presence is limited, and few of its devices make it in the country officially. And when they do, they are about to be superseded. Proof is Xperia Z2. Unveiled at CES 2014 in January, it went on sale shortly after, but only made it to the US in late-July. Its successor, Xperia Z3, was announced at IFA 2014, early last month, and went on sale just weeks later.
However, Xperia Z3 must be the smartphone that breaks the pattern for Sony, and finally show us that the Japanese maker can get its US strategy right, as it will soon be available at two of the largest mobile operators in the country. Yes, while it is still a hot device! After T-Mobile, Verizon was just revealed to also carry Xperia Z3, albeit in a slightly tweaked version called Xperia Z3v. Here are the details.
There's a trend these days for handset makers to stick everything but the kitchen sink in their flagship phones and make those phones large, then make their smaller phones a bit less feature rich. This can backfire. We've previously reported about 'mini' versions of handsets not selling as well as the full-fat ones.
Sony doesn't do that. The Xperia Z1 Compact was a small version of a full-fat handset, and the Xperia Z3 Compact is the 4.6in companion to the full-blown 5.2in Xperia Z3. In case you are wondering, there wasn't a Z2 Compact.
A new piece of research has looked into the amount of times that British smartphone users check their handset and carry out a task on it every day -- and the answer is 221 times, on average. Which begs the question: how many times a does a true smartphone addict check their device?
At any rate, the survey of 2,000 UK smartphone users, courtesy of Tecmark, found that most folks first look at their phone at 7:30 in the morning, to check emails and then the Facebook app (no surprise there). Early morning tasks which are still carried out in bed by many are reading recent news updates, and looking at the weather forecast -- as well as sending a couple of texts.
There are now more mobile devices than people in the world, according to the latest statistic released by GSMA Intelligence.
According to the stats, there are now 7.229 billion mobile connections across the globe -- a growth of 6.1 percent year-on-year -- compared to a world population of 7.197 billion (going by the US Census Bureau's world population clock).
Today, Nokia officially brings HERE to Samsung Galaxy smartphones, expanding the reach of its powerful mapping software outside of Windows Phones and handsets that bear the Nokia branding. For the time being, the app is exclusively available in the South Korean maker's app store for Galaxy devices, but, later, it will make its way to other Android smartphones as well.
The HERE app may currently be labeled as a beta, but it does not skimp on features. It arrives with pretty much all the major features that Windows Phone users are enjoying from the HERE suite, which says a lot about Nokia's plans post-Lumia. Let's take a look.
Galaxy Note 4 is not yet available in most markets across the globe, as Samsung has opted for a staggered launch. However, despite the limited market availability, a well-known Android modding enthusiast has already achieved root access for the phablet.
Chainfire, the developer behind dedicated modding tools like SuperSU, has announced on his Google+ page that a number of Galaxy Note 4 models, based on Samsung's own Exynos chip as well as Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 processor, are now supported by CF-Auto-Root. The software has been designed to automatically enable root access on Android devices.
People do crazy things to get their hands on a new iPhone. They queue for days in a row, travel to another country or pay absurd amounts on black market imports. Still, none of those things is as expensive as the iPhone 6 prototype that is listed on eBay, for which some folks will go as far as paying over $60,000. That's just crazy.
At the time of writing this article, the latest bid for the iPhone 6 prototype -- a 64 GB model -- is $61,100. For the money, you get a hugely overpriced smartphone which may not even be legit. Normally, you would pay $750, off-contract, for a 64 GB iPhone 6, in Silver -- the same color as the prototype -- that is. But, wait, there is more.
When Microsoft took the wraps off Windows 10, the software giant informed us that its latest operating system, which officially launches next year, will run on all sorts of devices, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, and feature a unified app store. Both are firsts, as, so far, there was a Windows to suit everything: one for ARM tablets, one for PCs, one for embedded devices, one for smartphones and so on. Of course, the Server editions will not go away, but that's to be expected.
As a Windows Phone user and watcher, I am particularly interested in seeing Windows 10 in action on smartphones. Microsoft has talked quite a lot about what the new operating system brings on PCs and tablets -- it even released a Technical Preview build for x86 devices -- but kept quiet about its plans for smartphones. Well, that has changed, thanks to Joe Belfiore, the software giant's Operating Systems Group corporate vice president (better known as the head of Windows Phone).
The red telephone booth is one of the most enduring icons of the UK; but as delightful as their housings may be, the humble payphone has had its day. Coin and card-fed phones are on the verge of being consigned to the history books, while the mobile phone goes from strength to strength. But mobile phones, for all their strength in portability, coverage, and flexibility, have their kryptonite: battery life. In keeping with the environmentally-friendly preference for recycling and reusing rather than trashing, unused phone boxes are being given a new lease on life.
Should you find yourself wandering down London's Tottenham Court Road and notice that your battery is getting a little low, there's a green solution popping up. Phone booths that would have otherwise be left to rack and ruin are being converted into solar-powered charging stations that can be used completely free of charge.
While traveling, my smartphone's always running out of juice sooner than it normally does. This leads to some frustrating moments, like being unable to make calls, open a map or send texts, not to mention having to watch the percentage indicator. Not knowing where someone is, for instance, is never great news in such situations. I know I could use an external battery charger, but I tend to avoid them, and for good reasons.
They generally tend to be bulky, ugly, and almost fragile. Getting the impression that what can only be regarded as a tool is flimsy is not confidence-inspiring -- if it breaks, it's going to be a problem. Microsoft's new Portable Power appears to be different, however. And why wouldn't it be, when it has some Nokia DNA in it?