Android has been a bit boring lately -- it has been hard to get excited about Google's Linux-based mobile operating system. Android 10 and 11, for instance, were more evolution than revolution. While there was plenty going on underneath the hood, there wasn't much to excite the typical Android user.
Well, folks, Android is about to get fun once again. Today at Google I/O, the search giant unveiled Android 12. Even better, the search giant has since released a Beta of the operating system. This version of the OS is very exciting, as it puts a lot of emphasis on eye candy and aesthetics -- things that do matter. In other words, typical end users will actually see something fresh and new.
While we would all like to think the ground beneath us is stationary, the truth is, this giant sphere we call Earth is constantly moving. Not only is our planet simultaneously rotating and moving around the sun, but sometimes the ground can shake and rumble more than we'd like too. This can happen when the tectonic plates move about too much. This friction is what we call an earthquake. We call it this because a layer of earth beneath us quite literally quakes.
These earthquakes aren't just scary -- they can be deadly too. Yes, people can be injured during these seismic events, including death. Earthquakes can even cause tsunamis, leading to drownings too. This is why it is so important to alert people when earthquakes happen. Thankfully, if you own an Android phone and live in either Greece or New Zealand, I have some good news -- Google is launching an earthquake alerts system in those two countries.
Some people are willing to pay more than $1,000 for a smartphone, but I'm not one of them. Look, if you can afford to spend such money on a premium phone, and the purchase makes you happy, then more power to you. However, if you are a regular consumer on a budget, please know you don't have to spend that much cash to score a quality device.
Case in point, today, ZTE launches the all-new Blade 11 Prime smartphone. This beautiful Android 11 phone costs less than $200, making it shockingly affordable. Despite its low price, it actually looks quite nice. No, it isn't top of the line, but it should meet the needs of most consumers.
When digital assistants are mentioned, it tends to be Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa that come to mind; it is only for real Microsoft diehards that Cortana features.
So it is little wonder that Microsoft has seen sense and decided to kill off some implementations of its own digital assistant. Cortana will still be found in Windows 10, but mobile users will find that it is no longer available for either iOS or Android.
Earlier today, I told someone there was a new Barnes and Noble NOOK. Their response? They had no idea Barnes and Noble was still putting out NOOK devices! Yeah, I can understand that thinking, as who in the heck even buys a NOOK nowadays? I mean, look, hardcore readers usually opt for an e-ink Amazon Kindle. For those wanting a traditional tablet, an iPad still reigns supreme.
So, yeah, with all of that said, there is an all-new NOOK coming next month, but in reality, it is just a 10-inch (technically 10.1-inch) Android tablet made by Lenovo that has the Barnes and Noble bookstore pre-loaded. While that may not sound exciting, let us remember that Lenovo does make great hardware. In the case of this tablet, which weighs less than a pound, it is priced very affordably too. And yes, it has Google Play Store support.
Facebook is expanding support for physical security keys to mobile devices in order to help users secure their accounts.
The site already offers multi-factor authentication via SMS or authenticator apps, but adding support for hardware keys offers users another means of supplementing their passwords and keeping their accounts more secure.
Over a third of the 1,020 most-downloaded Android apps on the Google Play store request access to a user's camera -- despite no obvious benefit for user experience and potentially placing sensitive data at risk.
Research from CyberNews also shows one in three apps request access to track a user's precise, or approximate, location. Excluding those that require such access to function, such as weather or navigation, applications attempting invasive access included gaming and even wallpaper, which appear to have no legitimate reason to track location data.
Although there are a number of talented designers creating operating system concepts, YouTuber (and full-time medical student) Kamer Kaan Avdan leads the way.
He has designed professional concepts for updated versions of Windows 95, Windows XP and Windows 7, as well as Apple’s version of Windows 10, and Windows 20. Most recently he gave us his vision of iPadOS 15.
I love smartphones, but I hate how expensive they have gotten. If you can afford to spend $1,000 or more on a phone, more power to you. However, for most people, that is simply way too much money. Not to mention, companies pressure you to upgrade the phones every year or two, leading to waste. Landfills are likely overwhelmed by "obsolete" devices.
A company called Teracube has had enough of sky-high pricing, lack of software updates, and wasteful marketing tactics. Today, the manufacturer finally begins selling its latest model. Called "Teracube 2e," this $199 Android phone has the potential to change the world thanks to it’s focus on the environment. It even comes with an impressive 4-year warranty and the promise of at least 3 years of software updates.
There are a huge number of messaging apps to choose from these days, and the chances are that many people you know use different chat tools. You may use Facebook Messenger with your family, WhatsApp with friends, and Slack for work, for example.
While there are various apps that claim to unify the chat experience and let you chat across multiple networks, they always miss out an important player. The same cannot be said of Beeper. This app lets you chat with people across no fewer than 15 messaging platforms, including Apple's iMessage, across MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android.
Being an American is pretty great. After all, we get to live in the best country in the world. We have many freedoms that other countries do not, such as speech, press, and religion to name a few. And when it comes to tech products, we usually get access to the best. Thanks to the xenophobic Donald Trump we can't have Huawei products, but I digress.
With all of that said, China gets some amazing tech exclusives -- especially when it comes to smartphones. For instance, Xiaomi phones are quite beautiful and powerful, but rarely destined for the USA -- unless you import one. Today, that company unveils its latest Android-based flagship. Called "Mi 11," it is gorgeous with impressive specs, but it will not come to America officially.
Researchers at mobile device security company Lookout have uncovered a new strain of spyware targeting iOS and Android users in multiple Asian countries.
Called Goontact, it targets users lured to illicit sites and steals personal information stored on their mobile devices in order to carry out sextortion scams.
Cybercrime is a major concern and many people worry about the threat of their personal data being stolen, leading to identity theft.
A new free app from cybersecurity and digital business risk quantification specialist Lucideus aims to fundamentally change the way consumers secure and protect their digital lives.
Having already embraced Linux with WSL 2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux), Microsoft looks set to do the same with Android. The company is said to be working on a project which will make it possible to run Android apps in Windows 10.
The arrival of a new subsystem in Windows 10 is something that will be welcomed by Android fans looking to enjoy mobile apps on the desktop. While Microsoft is yet to confirm its plans, Project Latte could see the light of day as soon as late 2021.
I’ve switched between owning an iPhone and various Android handsets over the years, but for me iOS remains easily the best mobile operating system (and iPhone 12 Pro the best smartphone). It would take something very special to tempt me back to Android.
Something like this stylish vision of Android 12.