Articles about Tablets

Google: Android L turns data encryption on by default

photo by Slavoljub Pantelic, Shutterstock

Turning on data encryption can make a huge difference in case your Android device is lost or stolen, as it will make it extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- for a third-party to access your files. It also gives you quite a bit of time to remotely wipe your device, which means that your photos, videos, texts and whatnot have a better chance of remaining private.

And if the local authorities want to take a peek, they are also out of luck -- it's good news for those involved in criminal enterprises, and others as well. All this sounds great from a privacy and security standpoint, except that encryption has never been enabled by default in Android. But that is soon about to change.

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Mobile Internet use soars, but tablets suffer at the hands of larger smartphones

smartphone world map

How do you view BetaNews and other websites? While desktop browsers are still the most popular way of accessing the web for most of the world, mobile internet use is rapidly gaining in popularity.

According to independent website analytics company StatCounter, the use of mobile devices to access the internet has increased by 67 percent worldwide over the past 12 months, from 17.1 percent to 28.5 percent (as you might expect, with its tech-savvy audience, BetaNews has a higher portion of mobile users, but more on that later).

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Apple: iOS 8 will keep your private data safe from the US Government

Wilson's Weekend Whine: Snowden's call for online encryption is sad but necessary

It's very important for us to know that the things we store on our mobile devices are safe from prying eyes. It gives us a sense of security knowing that our private thoughts, photos, videos and whatnot will only be seen by us and the people we share them with. But what if it is the US Government that wants to take a look? If the authorities get hold of our devices, what's to stop them from using search warrants to see what's in there?

If we are talking about iOS 8 devices, then its security design is standing in the government's way. Apple has updated its Legal Process Guidelines to reflect that it will be unable to extract data that its customers store on devices running its latest mobile operating system, as the key which unlocks the treasure trove is solely in its users' control.

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MediaTek and Opera put the squeeze on mobile data consumption

iPhone smartphone hand finger

It is no secret that mobile data is still very expensive. Going overboard with audio and video streaming, browsing or app downloads will unavoidably lead to throttling, a pretty steep bill from the mobile operator or a brisk run through the remaining credit. But there is one way of giving mobile device users more breathing room, and that is through data compression. It offers obvious advantages, and comes with no major downsides. What's not to like about that?

That is the selling point that Norwegian browser maker Opera Software and Taiwanese processor maker MediaTek hope will impress new customers, as they announce their new partnership, which will see the former's Opera Max data-savings app being built-into the latter's 4G LTE-enabled offerings. The first fruits of this partnership are two 64-bit chips. The touted data savings are rather impressive.

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SwiftKey: Top Android keyboard reaches iPads and iPhones

SwiftKey iOS

Stock mobile keyboards tend to suck. There's always a deal-breaker somewhere that offsets all their strengths. There is friction when typing in multiple languages, the language support is limited, abbreviations and the like are a no-go, the layout can be unintuitive, there is a limited amount of customization options, or the touch vibrations are too harsh. Take your pick. I have ran into all of them. But, fret not, there are some solid keyboards out there.

The one keyboard which I am a huge fan of is SwiftKey. It shames every stock keyboard and it's generally better than any other third-party offering. With Google being the only mobile operating system maker to allow third-party keyboards, it has only been available on Android. But, now that Apple has followed suit, you can get your hands on SwiftKey on an iPad or iPhone too. And you should, first of all because it's free!

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Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 is a worldwide success -- strong sales cause limited supply

oos

When Microsoft introduced the first Surface Pro to the world, the reception was tepid at best. This is understandable, as it was expensive, had a small screen and ran a much maligned operating system in Windows 8. In a short time however, Microsoft transformed the negative perceptions with a new CEO, Windows 8.1 and eventually, the much improved Surface Pro 3. Yes, the 3rd iteration was the game-changer that the world was waiting for.

Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 3 was initially only available in the USA, Canada and Japan; it only expanded to countries like Australia, Germany and China on August 28th. Apparently, people across the globe like what they see, as sales are strong and Microsoft's hybrid computer is in short supply. I guess Apple is not alone in its success.

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Android apps break out of the small screen and jump to Chromebooks

Android apps break out of the small screen and jump to Chromebooks

A lot of Google services have transitioned to gain the title of "apps", and the same is true of a large number of extensions for the Chrome browser. These online tools are essentially cross-platforms apps that work identically Now Google is taking another step to break out of the confines of making apps available to a single platform. Android apps are, quite rightly, associated with smartphones and tablets, but now a small number of these mobile apps are finding their way onto Chromebook.

The (usually) cheap and cheerful Windows laptop/Mac Book alternative (did someone say netbook?) can now start to benefit from a handful of well-known titles from Android devices. It is very early days but as of today there are four Android apps available to Chromebook owners -- Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine -- but we can expect to see this list expand over time. The quartet of crossover apps were introduced today by Ken Mixter and Josh Woodward. A short blog posts penned by the pair explains that the Chromebook support comes thanks to the App Runtime for Chrome (Beta) project.

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Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact: Sony ups its game [Review]

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When Sony released its Xperia Z2 tablet earlier this year, they moved the goalposts in the global tablet market. The entertainment giant managed to release a serious competitor to Apple's iPad Air that redefined just how thin and light a tablet computer could be.

So how does the Xperia Z3 tablet compare to its predecessor, and what has Sony done to up the game? We go hands on to find out.

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Amazon Prime Instant Video comes to Android -- but there's a catch

crazyandroidamazon

There are many video streaming services nowadays, such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video to name a few. Amazon is my favorite though, as it comes bundled with the awesome Prime membership which also offers music streaming, 2-day shipping and much more.

Sadly, Prime Instant Video has not been available on stock Android; you could only get it for the Kindle Fire tablets, Fire phone and Apple's iOS devices. Today however, Amazon announces that its streaming video service is now available for regular Android. Before you get too excited, please know there is a catch; it seems tablets are not yet supported -- weak!

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On Sept. 9th, Apple's Tim Cook era begins

Tim Cook

I must disagree with colleague Mark Wilson, who last week asserted: "There is no reason for anyone to care about the iPhone 6", which as I write has 124 comments. I'm a big fan of provocative posts, because they engage the readership. But my feelings differ about commentaries that bluster without substance. Mark is absolutely wrong. There is every reason for everyone to care about the next iPhone.

Mark asserts that iPhone "used to be aspirational and high-end. Now the world and his dog has an Apple handset and it's turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives...The iPhone is run-of-the-mill. It is predictable. It's just plain boring".  In many ways, I agree, but his boring assessment is every reason to "care about the iPhone 6".

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

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

Google is to pay out at least $19 million to Android users whose children were tricked into making expensive in-app purchases on smartphones and tablets. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating mobile purchases for the last three years, and Apple agreed at the beginning of the year to a settlement. Amazon was also investigated and plans to appeal against the charges. In agreeing to repay the money, Google has effectively admitted that apps available in Google Play may be deceptive.

The brunt of the FTC case centers around the idea that it was not made clear to parents that their children would be able to make purchases within apps without authorization. Many of these in-app purchases are to be found in games where players are encouraged into parting with money in return for extra lives, game power-ups, or to unlock new levels. The FTC complained that since 2011 Google had indulged in unfair practices that left parents with bills of hundreds of dollars.

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Forget PCs and tablets -- phablets are the next big thing

Phablet

Phablets are emerging as the next big thing in the smart device market. According to research firm IDC, big-screen smartphones will out-ship portable PCs (laptops) before the end of 2014, and tablets sometime in 2015. What's more, also this year, phablet shipments are expected to far outnumber desktop PCs. Want to bet on a winning large form factor? Pick phablets.

In 2014, IDC expects shipments of phablets, tablets, portable PCs and desktop PCs to reach 174.9 million, 233.1 million, 170 million and 133.5 million, respectively. Fast forward to the end of 2015, and shipments of phablets and tablets reach 318 million and 233 million units, respectively. And with Apple expected to unveil an iPhone phablet, big smartphones are only going to make things worse for PC and tablet shipments.

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Hey, do you know that Sony also has new Android flagships?

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

With all eyes on Samsung, which just unveiled Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge and Gear VR, I am genuinely surprised that Sony has decided to showcase its new flagship Xperia devices on the same day as its South Korean rival. Why? Because Samsung commands more attention from the tech media, due to its Android pack leader position. And that can only leave Sony fighting for scraps.

Nonetheless, mere hours after Samsung's Unpacked 2014 Episode 2, Sony took the wraps off its new Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. Oh, there's an Xperia E3 too, which is designed to compete in the low-end market, like Nokia Lumia 530. But, let's talk about the premium Xperias now, which are far more intriguing.

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Logitech introduces cross-platform keyboard for phones, tablets and computers

logitech-k480

Many people these days have multiple devices -- a computer, smartphone and tablet is not unusual in any home. Desktops require a separate keyboard, while the other two rely on an on-screen model, which can be annoying at times. Now Logitech wants to solve that issue with one solution for all platforms.

The Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 can work with up to three different devices. A switch allows for movement between each, with a holder for your smartphone or tablet. It's a full-size desktop keyboard though, so users shouldn't feel cramped, as they did with previous tablet and handset keyboards.

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Secure your Apple iCloud account by enabling two-step verification

Secure your Apple iCloud account by enabling two-step verification

Unless you've been completely avoiding the news over the past few days, you will have heard about Apple's little problem with nude photos being stolen from celebrity accounts. The company has strongly denied that there has been a security breach, but in a statement it advised its customers to check the strength of their passwords as well as enabling two-step verification.

Two-factor authentication -- also known as two-step verification -- is a stronger method of security because it relies not only on something you know (your password), but also something you have (like your iPhone). Sounds good, but how do you do about doing it for your Apple account?

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