Calling up the Google Assistant on your Android phone takes nothing more than bellowing "OK, Google" at your handset. But you may be someone who feels that this is just too many syllables to utter.
Google Home users have a slightly easier time. As well as "OK, Google" it is also possible to say "Hey, Google" -- meaning you can start getting help in two thirds of the time! Now the same option is making its way to Android phones.
Developers who want to sell apps or offer in-app subscriptions on Google Play have to give 30 percent of the revenue up. It's the cost of doing business on Google's popular app store -- and the same goes for the App Store and Microsoft Store as well.
However, in a move that mirrors Apple's policy change last year, Google will soon take a lower cut from developers who retain subscribers for more than a year.
Fans of Plex will very soon be able to access their music through Android Auto. Whether you have Android Auto built into your car, or you're going to rely on the app on your phone instead, Plex can now sit alongside your travel directions.
Plex for Android Auto allows for voice-control of music playback, and the interface has been enlarged and simplified for ease of use when in your car.
As well as unveiling a new bug bounty program for select Android apps, Google has also announced a number of changes to its Play Store. The first is the introduction of Instant Apps to Google Play, giving users the chance to try out apps without even having to install them.
The idea is to give people the opportunity to test out apps almost immediately without having to wait for them to download -- ideal for anyone with limited data or a slow connection. Instant Apps are essentially streamed to devices meaning they can be running in seconds.
Google has announced that it is teaming up with HackerOne to bring a bug bounty program to the Play Store. Seeking to weed out problems with Android apps, the Google Play Security Reward Program pays out $1,000 for reported issues that meet certain criteria.
The program is a little different to other bug bounty programs as Google will pay out for problems that are found in third party apps, not just its own. At the moment there are a very small number of apps that are taking part, but Google is inviting developers to opt their apps into the program.
Following the lead of Facebook Messenger and iMessage, WhatsApp is gaining a location sharing feature. It's something that was tested earlier in the year, and now it has been deemed ready for prime time.
The "Share Live Location" feature can be enabled for a fixed period of time -- you can choose between 15 minutes, an hour, or 8 hours -- or you can manually switch it on and off as required. When enabled, WhatsApp will report your location to your contacts.
If you are a fan of Android smartphones, this is surely an exciting time to be alive. While things have been boring for the last few years, 2017 has given us many excellent flagships. There is the Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy Note8, Essential Phone, LG v30, and more. It sounds crazy to say, but there is almost too much choice when it comes to wonderful Android phones!
Today, the market gets a bit more crowded (in a good way), as Huawei officially unveils the 5.9-inch Mate 10 and 6-inch Mate 10 Pro flagship Android smartphones. The company will even sell an elegant Porsche Design variant of the Mate 10 -- for a huge premium of course. Not only are these devices chock-full of top specifications, but they are very beautiful too. All models feature a glass body, a front fingerprint reader, huge 4000 mAh fast-charge battery, and the Android Oreo-based EMUI 8.0 operating system.
Facebook's desperation to appeal to the teenage market is well known, and its latest attempt to tap into it sees the social network acquiring tbh. The anonymous feedback app has proved to be a huge hit on iOS since its launch in August. An Android version is still in the pipeline.
With tbh, despite the anonymity, there's a strong focus on positive polls -- questions like "who has the best smile?" crop up, for instance -- and over a billion pieces of feedback have been given in a matter of weeks. It's not clear whether Facebook will keep the service truly anonymous, or will make use of the data it could undoubtedly gather through the app.
[Updated] Microsoft has patched Windows against the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability -- Google will secure Android soon
Earlier today, news broke about the KRACK vulnerability that affects the WPA2 protocol. Security researchers have warned that the problem affects millions of devices running everything from Windows to Android and Linux.
Microsoft has announced that it has already released a security patch to fix the vulnerability in Windows. Google says that a patch for affected Android devices will be released "in the coming weeks."
A new breed of Android ransomware has been discovered that hits victims with a double whammy. DoubleLocker not only encrypts data as all ransomware does, it also changes the PIN on the target device.
DoubleLocker was discovered by security researchers at ESET. They say that the ransomware abuses Android accessibility settings, and is the first to use a double-lock approach. Based on previously released banking malware, it is though that a test version of DoubleLocker could have been in the wild since as early as May.
It came as something of a shock to people when Microsoft first released an Android launcher in the guise of Arrow Launcher. Now the company is making it more obvious who is behind the app, bringing the launcher out of beta and relaunching it as Microsoft Launcher.
Joe Belfiore only very recently admitted that Windows Phone is dead, and this is something that is borne out by Microsoft's increasing interest in developing iOS and Android software. What may well come as a surprise to many is that Microsoft Launcher is actually a decent piece of software.
Microsoft only recently announced that its Edge browser would be coming to both iOS and Android -- and now the company is making good on its promise. A preview version of Microsoft Edge (described by the software giant as "unreleased") is now available on Google Play.
Based on Chrome's Blink engine, Edge for Android has a particular treat for anyone using Windows 10 Fall Creators Update -- they can take advantage of the "continue on PC" feature. This lets users start browsing the web on their phones, and then switch to a computer and pick up from where they left off.
Google has started -- just as OnePlus has -- to unbundle many of its core apps and make them available through the Play Store. The latest candidate to be stripped out of Android and give a Store release is its battery app.
Many people have been pleased to see such unbundling, as it makes it far easier for Google to release updates for individual components without having to wait for the next big Android update to roll out. But while many Android users will be happy to see the arrival of Device Health Services (as the battery app is named), it's not good news for everyone.
When you download a mobile app you sometimes get more than you bargained for, Uber's app that tracked iPhone users for example. It can be hard to know exactly what apps on your phone are up to.
Now though, application security testing company High-Tech Bridge is launching a free 'Mobile X-Ray' service for developers that analyses native and hybrid iOS and Android apps and detects the most common weakness and vulnerabilities.
Huawei has gained serious ground in the smartphone market this year, threatening Apple's position as the second-largest player. This is due, in part, to the success of its Honor brand, which gives consumers value-focused smartphones, like the Honor 8 and Honor 6X.
Today, Huawei introduces a new model in the Honor line, the Honor 7X. It's perhaps its most attractive one yet, featuring a large edge-to-edge screen, solid internals and a dual camera at a highly attractive price.