Articles about Android

Google Account revamped -- increased transparency and new security and privacy options

Google Account on mobile

Google has unveiled a new look for users' accounts, making information clearer, improving transparency and adding new options.

To make it easy to find information, Google has added a search function and there's also a cleaner look to aid navigation. Building on the previous update to Security Checkup, your Google account now also highlights settings you can change to improve your security.

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Battery saving app infects over 60,000 Android devices

Mobile malware

Researchers at RiskIQ have uncovered a scam app that seeks to steal information and launches advert clicking to make money for the scammers.

The app is advertised as a battery saver. The twist here is that though it will actually do what it says and cut battery use, it does a lot of nasty stuff too.

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Motorola Moto Z3 Play and G6 Play are the newest Amazon Prime Exclusive Phones

An Amazon Prime membership is a great thing, especially if you take advantage of all of its offerings. The free 2-day shipping by itself makes it worthwhile for many, but the Prime Video streaming service puts it over the edge -- there are so many great movies and TV shows available, you could easily forgo Netflix to save money. Following Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, the membership can even get you discounts on groceries -- only in some areas of the country for now, however. There are even more perks, so ultimately, Amazon Prime is worth the cost, even after the recentĀ price increase.

One of my favorite membership benefits, however, is the Amazon Prime Exclusive Phone program. If you aren't familiar, this is where Prime members can get discounts on quality Android smartphones. There is a small trade-off for the savings -- some Amazon apps and widgets are pre-installed on the device, including Alexa. With that said, the use of the apps is optional, so it really shouldn't be a big deal. Quite frankly, I'm sure some hardcore Amazon users will find having the apps is a plus. Today, two new Motorola phones join the aforementioned program -- the high-end Moto Z3 Play and the affordable Moto G6 Play.

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Google launches Podcasts app for Android

Google Podcasts

Google has never really shown much interest in podcasts -- despite their age and popularity -- but today this changes. The company has launched a new Android app called simply Google Podcasts complete with ubiquitous AI for personalized suggestions.

Available in 47 languages, the app currently provides access to a collection of around two million podcasts, but this number is likely to grow very quickly. Google boasts of integration with Google Assistant and Google Home, the main benefit of which is being able to start a podcast on one device and continue on another.

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Google updates Android Messages so you can send texts from the web

Messages for web

Google is rolling out a series of changes to Android Messages, one of which makes it possible to send text messages from the comfort of your computer. Called "Messages for web" the feature enables users to use a desktop web browser to send SMSes rather than their phone.

While this is almost certainly the biggest and most exciting changes for Messages, Google is also pushing a number of other new features to the app, including Smart Replies, GIF search and link previews.

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Android emulator Andy OS seems to be secretly installing a Bitcoin miner

Bitcoin on mobile

Cryptocurrency mining malware has become a serious problem recently, and it seems the latest people to fall victim to the threat are users of the Android emulator Andy OS -- also referred to as AndY and Andyroid.

The emulator makes it possible to run Android software within Windows or macOS, but it appears that the installation harbors a dark secret -- a GPU miner trojan that secretly mines for Bitcoin. Over on Reddit there are large numbers of upset users trying to find out what's going on.

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Offline Google Translate to be boosted by AI

Google Translate

Google is improving the offline translation skills of Google Translate with an injection of AI in the form of neural machine translation (NMT).

The use of on-device AI helps to dramatically improve the quality of offline translations, and works in much the same as online translations do. The use of neural machine translation helps to improve accuracy by looking at complete sentences, rather than translating word by word.

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Media and entertainment companies have riskier mobile apps

Mobile apps

As the world increasingly turns to mobile devices to access the internet and conduct business, so firms are eager to put out their own apps.

But new research from security ratings company BitSight reveals that many companies may be rushing out apps that have vulnerabilities which could lead to data leakage, privilege abuse, unencrypted personally identifiable information (PII), and credential theft.

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Fix on the way for OnePlus 6 bootloader security flaw

OnePlus 6 with Never Settle slogan

A security researcher has discovered a vulnerability in the OnePlus 6 bootloader. The flaw makes it possible for someone to boot arbitrary or modified images -- even if the bootloader is locked.

Exploiting the vulnerability requires someone to have physical access to the phone, and after this it is a relatively simple task to restart the handset in fastboot mode. From here is would be possible to load a modified boot image, including one that has root access.

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Android users can now customize Gmail swipe actions

Gmail for Android

It's not long since Google rolled out a major redesign to Gmail on the web, bringing not only a new look, but also new features. Now it's the turn of the Gmail app for Android.

The mobile app has supported swipe gestures for some time now, but the options have been rather limited -- toggling between read/unread or archiving/deleting messages. With Gmail 8.5.20 Google is now giving users no fewer than five actions to choose from when performing a left or right swipe.

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BlackBerry KEY2 is 'the most secure Android smartphone'

There was once a time where most smartphones had hardware keyboards. There were BlackBerry and Palm Treo devices that were an absolute joy to type on. Apple's iPhone wasn't the first smartphone to forgo a physical keyboard entirely, but it is responsible for popularizing it. As a result, Palm and BlackBerry lost almost all of their marketshare, ultimately becoming a footnote in smartphone history. And now, most smartphones are touchscreen-only for typing.

While BlackBerry no longer makes smartphones, it does license its name to a company called TCL which makes Android devices that carry the branding -- and sometimes, a physical keyboard. It isn't just slapping the BlackBerry name on a random low-quality Android phone, however. Actually, these TCL devices have been fairly well received thanks to an adherence to traditional BlackBerry designs. Today, TCL unveils its latest such smartphone, called "KEY2," and it looks quite nice. In fact, the company says it is "the most secure Android smartphone." A bold claim!

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Keep track of the World Cup with Google

World Cup Russia 2018

With just days until the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia, Google is rolling out a series of tools to help football fans keep track of what's going on.

A range of Google services -- Search, News, Assistant, Trends and more -- have been updated with World Cup-specific bits and pieces to help enhance your enjoyment of the tournament. From match streams and detailed reports to behind-the-scenes footage and tips about where you can watch games, there's something for every fan here.

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No, Google hasn't given up on tablets! Blame a bug for the confusion

Google logo and Android head

Yesterday -- following the sudden and unexplained disappearance of the Tablets section of the Android website -- we, like many others, wondered if Google was walking away from tablets completely.

Today we know that the answer is "no". The section has made a reappearance after its earlier vanishing act, and a bug has been blamed... but not everyone is convinced.

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Is Google getting out of the tablet business?

Google logo

Google has removed the Tablets section from the top of its Android website, sparking talk that the company is dropping tablets altogether.

It has been some time since we saw an Android tablet from Google, so the move would not be entirely surprising. What took many people by surprise however, was the fact that Google dropped the Tablets section of its website without any sort of announcement.

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Court rules that Samsung doesn't need to update older phones

Samsung phone closeup

One of the problems with choosing an Android phone is that it is difficult to know quite how long it will be supported. While Apple tends to offer updates for quite a number of years, it's a very different story for Android users.

Now -- in something of a blow for consumers -- a court in the Netherlands has ruled that Samsung does not need to offer updates for its older handsets. A consumer association filed a lawsuit against the company, arguing that it should be forced to keep phones updated for at least four years; the court disagreed.

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