Updating Android can be a painful experience depending on the handset you have and the carrier you're with. You might hear that an update is available, but find nothing shows up when you hit the Check For Update button. Now this should be changing... and not just for Oreo users.
Many Android users will have experienced the frustration of knowing full well that there is an update available for their device, but it's not offered up automatically. Even more annoyingly, it's often the case that even when performing a manual check, updates remain unavailable for download. Google has announced that: "the button in Settings to check for an update actually works now," so there should be no need for sideloading OTA updates.
All of the major players have been busy creating "lite" versions of their apps and online experiences. Microsoft has LinkedIn Lite, Facebook has both Facebook Lite and Facebook Messenger Lite, and Google has its Search Lite app.
Back in April, Twitter decided to get in on the lite action by launching Twitter Lite, a cut-down, data-friendly version of its mobile website. Now the micro-blogging service has gone further and released a Twitter Lite app.
Security researchers from Adguard have issued a warning that the popular GO Keyboard app is spying on users. Produced by Chinese developers GOMO Dev Team, GO Keyboard was found to be transmitting personal information about users back to remote servers, as well as "using a prohibited technique to download dangerous executable code."
Adguard made the discovery while conducting research into the traffic consumption and unwanted behavior of various Android keyboards. The AdGuard for Android app makes it possible to see exactly what traffic an app is generating, and it showed that GO Keyboard was making worrying connections, making use of trackers, and sharing personal information.
Google's Project Fi is a really neat way to get affordable cellular service for your smartphone. It offers exceptional coverage by intelligently switching among the networks of Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. Unfortunately, the service is limited to very few Android smartphones -- if you have an iPhone, for instance, you are totally out of luck. To make matters worse, as of late, the only in-stock compatible phones are Google's own Pixel devices -- they are fairly expensive, starting at $649.
Today, the search-giant finally introduces a new affordable offering for Project Fi -- the Android One Moto X4 smartphone by Lenovo. It runs pure Android and should get timely OS upgrades. Best of all, it costs significantly less than the Pixel or Pixel XL.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ you may well have a strong opinion about the dedicated Bixby button. For some people, one-click access to Samsung's digital assistant, Bixby, is a real boon -- for others it's just a pain in the butt.
The positioning of the button is such that it is incredibly easy to hit it by mistake, such as when you try to press the volume down button. With a new update Samsung is finally making it possible to disable the button.
As had been widely expected, Google has unveiled its new mobile payment service for India. Called Tez, the service is Google's first step into digital payments in Asia.
Tez makes it possible for users to link their bank accounts to the app and then use their phones to make in-person payments and transfers. Support for the government-backed UPI (Unified Payments Interface) means the service is compatible with a number of major banks. At the moment, Tez is limited to India, but there appear to be plans to spread it further.
You never fully appreciate the value of a backup until you need it. When you consider how much we all use our phones these days, our handsets contain a wealth of data -- and it make sense to back it up.
If you're using an Android smartphone, you can use an automated backup feature to safeguard the data from your phone by backing it up to Google Drive. With your data stashed in the cloud, you might think all is well -- but Google could delete your backups without giving you any warning.
Just as there is quite a lot of interest in jailbreaking iPhones to allow for the installation of unofficial software, on Android there are a lot of users who root their handsets. If you ever wondered just how many people were into rooting, the success of SuperSU gives you an idea.
While this is not a tool for rooting your smartphone -- this is something that's easily achieved on most handsets using various tools and online instructions -- SuperSU is a valuable addition to the software toolkit of anyone who has gone down the rooting route. As an indication of the popularity of rooting, SuperSU has now been download 100 million times.
Google is expected to take the wraps off the Pixel 2 next month along with -- probably -- the Pixel 2 XL. Last year's Pixel event took place on October 4, and the appearance of a billboard in Boston suggests that the same date will be used this year.
The Google billboard says simply: "Ask more of your phone" and then the date, Oct. 4. The sighting of the billboard comes just as the LG-manufactured Pixel 2 XL passes through FCC.
Armis Lab, the Internet of Things security firm, has revealed details of BlueBorne, a Bluetooth vulnerability that affects millions of iOS and Android smartphones, IoT devices, and Windows and Linux systems. In all, 5.3 billion devices are believed to be at risk.
The BlueBorne attack makes it possible for an attacker to spread malware or take control of nearby devices. What's particularly concerning is that for an attack to be successful, there is no need for device pairing, or even for a target device to be in discoverable mode. There's also no need for any sort of interaction by the victim -- everything can happen completely silently in the background.
At an event in Paris next week, OnePlus is teaming up with French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. The company is giving nothing away at the moment, but it's widely expected that we'll see an announcement about OnePlus 5 Special Edition -- possibly called Callection.
A leaked photograph shows a box that bears the words "Shot on OnePlus JCC+" on the side -- surely a reference to a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac special edition of the phone.
We've already heard a lot about what's new in Android 8.0 Oreo, but something that has not received much attention is its support for Wi-Fi Passpoint. Also known as Hotspot 2.0, the technology was introduced by the Wi-Fi Alliance way back in 2012 as a way to simplify the process of moving from one wireless hotspot to another.
Anyone who has connected to a hotspot while walking through a city will have experienced the frustration of having to log into one hotspot after another in order stay connected to the internet. Wi-Fi Passpoint makes jumping from one hotspot to the next as simple as using a data connection, eliminating the need for login credentials. Support in Oreo is a great step forward... but Google has chosen to make it optional for OEMs.
Facebook has managed to effectively reduce page loading times for its users with the Instant Articles feature. Now the social network is looking to do something similar with video content.
The feature is called Instant Videos, and it works by automatically downloading videos when there is a Wi-Fi connection available so they can be watched later without having to use a data connection. Instant Videos is undergoing testing with a limited number of users at the moment ahead of a possible wider rollout.
In an ideal world, if you were the sole provider of any service through app and the users had unlimited resources on their devices, there would be no question of optimization and terms like agility and even user experience would be redundant. But as you might know, the current state of app industry is anything but ideal. There are dozens of apps competing for even the simplest of services and no matter how premium device a user has, there is always a limit to the number of apps it can operate smoothly.
The worst part, however, is scenario where after spending considerable amount of time, money and resources into developing and marketing an app, the users perceive it to be bulky and either never install it or uninstall after they find the memory it consumes is disproportionate to the value it brings.
An apparent bug with Android Oreo has been discovered which means Google's mobile operating system could be munching its way through your data allowance, even if you're connected to a wireless network.
A thread on Reddit highlighted the issue, with many people pointing out that it could prove expensive for anyone not using an unlimited data plan. Google is apparently aware of the problem and is working on a patch, but in the meantime Oreo users are being warned to consider disabling mobile data when they are at home or using a wireless connection elsewhere.