Articles about Android

Chinese border officers are gathering data from tourists' phones with a secret spy app

China's track record with privacy violations, control of the internet and control of its citizens is well known. But now anyone who has ever visited the country has cause for concern.

Enter China via the border crossing between Xinjiang and Kyrgyzstan, and you're required to hand over your phone -- unlocked. This would obviously lead the owner to expect a little rooting around by officials, but an investigation has found that border officials are actually installing secret spy apps on iPhones and Android phones to scour emails, texts and other data stored on devices.

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Do mobile operating systems provide enough protection against cyber threats?

Every year a new iPhone hits the market and there are thousands of different Android devices in circulation. Both Apple and Google are constantly adding new features and functions to incorporate emerging technologies, maintain competitiveness, and cement their reputations as innovators.

Commercial focus typically sits with the clamor of more surface-level, UI related features like Memojis, Group FaceTime, gesture navigation, the features that consumers are drawn to rather than the patching of CVE-2018-4249. It’s all a matter of priorities, people want a device with all the mod cons, a mobile device just needs to be secure enough, meeting minimum expectations. It also doesn’t help that there has been a long held misconception that mobile OSs are secure enough and users don’t need a security solution. Despite mobile OSs becoming relatively hardened, usage is very different compared to traditional form factors, and there are a number of threat vectors that an OS can’t protect against.

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There will be no more tablets from Google

Google logo on white wood

Google is getting out of the tablet-making business, but says that it will continue to produce smartphones and laptops.

The announcement means that Google is ceasing work on two unreleased Pixel tablets, with the company's head of hardware saying: "Google's hardware team will be solely focused on building laptops moving forward". While ditching tablets is not entirely surprising, Google is said to have been working on two new tablets until as recently as this week.

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Google is bringing RCS messaging to users directly instead of waiting for carriers

Android figure on smartphone

There has been much talk about SMS successor RCS (Rich Communication Service) over the last year or so, but there has been little in the way of action. But this is about to change.

Seemingly tired of carriers and handset makers dawdling, Google is bringing RCS messaging to Android users in the UK and France. With Google taking control of RCS, the service could become the company's version of iMessage before long, and it means users will be able to experience it sooner than they might have expected.

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Facebook will pay you to gather information from you

Study from Facebook

That Facebook gathers personal information from its users should come as no surprise -- it could be argued that it is the social network's raison d' être. Following numerous privacy scandals, and the controversial (and since-closed) Research and Onavo programs, Facebook is now ready to be open about its data collection, and is even willing to pay people for this.

The new "Study from Facebook" app gives Facebook users the chance to volunteer to share information about their app usage -- and get paid for divulging this information. Sound good to you?

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More than 80 million Huawei device users are on Android Pie (EMUI 9)

Donald Trump may have a bug up his ass over Huawei, but anti-Chinese propaganda aside, consumers around the world love the company's devices. Huawei's laptops, smartphones, and tablets are well-received by both professional reviewers and consumers. There should be no mystery how Huawei achieves such praise -- its products are elegant, well built, and not overly priced. The P30 Pro might be the best Android smartphone on the market.

With Android in particular, Huawei is not only providing an excellent customer experience through hardware, but with OS updates too. In fact, the company is celebrating an impressive milestone -- more than 80 million Huawei device users are now on Android 9.0 Pie. Technically, it is EMUI 9, which is Android plus Huawei's improvements. This puts many other device makers, such as Samsung and LG to shame.

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Urban Armor Gear launches Scout Series cases for Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL

Smartphones are way too expensive these days, with prices for some flagships hovering around $1,000. If you are wealthy and have a lot of disposable income, this probably doesn't bother you. For regular folks, however, this is simply too much to ask. Thankfully, Google heard the cries from its more meager customers and released the well-received Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones, starting at $399 and $479 respectively.

Even though these phones are more affordable, that doesn't mean consumers can afford to break them. A case is still a wise investment, even if your smartphone costs less than $500. With that said, popular case-maker Urban Armor Gear (UAG) has released new Scout Series cases for both the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. The case is very rugged and officially sanctioned as a "Made For Google" accessory.

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Leaked: take a look at Cloudflare's free VPN, Warp

Cloudflare Warp VPN

Cloudflare's DNS switching tool has proved very popular with iOS and Android users looking to take control of their internet connections, and there was much excitement when the company announced that it would be releasing a free VPN tool called Warp.

At the moment, there is a lengthy waiting list for the free VPN (I'm number 278100 on the list, for instance) but we've been given a sneak peak at what to expect. Leaked screenshots show off the free VPN, and a video gives you an idea of the sort of performance you can expect.

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Urban Armor Gear (UAG) unveils rugged Plasma Series case for OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus smartphones are very well received by those wanting a pure Android experience. They are also popular with budget shoppers, as they have historically been very affordable. Over time, however, OnePlus has been increasing prices, reducing the perceived value of these devices. With the OnePlus 7 Pro, for instance, the starting price is $700 -- a significant amount of money. With that said, it stills costs less than some flagship phones from other manufacturers, such as Samsung and Apple.

If you do decide to drop a big chunk of change on the OnePlus 7 Pro, I hope you would protect it with a case. Today, famed case manufacturer Urban Armor Gear releases such a product -- the Plasma Series case for OnePlus 7 Pro. It is a very rugged case with a pretty reasonable price tag. And yes, the case is designed to accommodate the device's unique pop-up front-facing camera.

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Bittium announces the world's most secure smartphone: the Bittium Tough Mobile 2

Bittium Tough Mobile 2

In a world that is increasingly concerned about privacy and security, Bittium launches the Tough Mobile 2. Proudly billed as "the world's most secure smartphone" it takes a multilayered approach to security, combining both hardware and software solutions.

More than just secure, the Bittium Tough Mobile 2 -- as the use of the word "tough" would imply -- is also a rugged phone (although it does not proclaim to be the toughest phone in world). Designed and manufactured in Finland, the phone is aimed at professionals, and boasts "ultra secure communications without compromising usability".

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Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-orders canceled by BestBuy

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold has been, er, problematic to say the least. After serious issues were discovered with the folding screen, the company first announced a postponement to the launch, and then told people who had placed pre-orders that their orders would be canceled.

Now BestBuy has followed suit, announcing that it too is canceling pre-orders. The retailer says that Samsung has faced "a plethora of unforeseen hiccups", and because the company has failed to provide a new release date, BestBuy feels it is only fair to its customers to cancel the orders.

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Here is the OnePlus 7 Pro (oh, and the OnePlus 7)

OnePlus 7 Pro camera

True to form, the launch of the latest OnePlus handsets have been preceded by numerous leaks, rumors and teasers. As such, today's launch of the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro contained few surprises, but the phones are now here and the launch confirms and clarifies many details.

The OnePlus 7 Pro is at the top of the range. Boasting a 90Hz QHD+ Display, Snapdragon 855 and the option of up to 12GB of RAM. Then, of course, there are the cameras. The controversial pop-up design of the selfie camera isn't going to be to everyone's liking, but the specs of the main shooters are hugely impressive. We've known that this will be the first OnePlus handset to be more directly comparable with the likes of Samsung flagships in terms of price, and this means the OnePlus 7 Pro costs between $699 and $749. For those on more restricted budget, the OnePlus 7 clocks in at slightly lower price.

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Google announces 'pending transactions' so you can buy apps and games using cash

Man with cash

For the sake of ease, the Google Play store supports the purchase of apps and games using a variety of credit and debit cards, PayPal and other payment options. Now Google has announced a new option -- pending transactions.

This is an option designed for people who don't have cards, or just don't want to use them. It allows Android apps and games -- as well as in-app purchases -- to be paid for using cash, and is ideal for emerging markets

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It's decision time: Samsung tells buyers it will cancel their Galaxy Fold pre-orders unless told not to

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold is probably going to go down as one of the most problematic phone launches ever. After review handsets were found to have serious problems with the folding screen, Samsung decided to postpone the release for an unspecified length of time.

With this being one of the first foldable phones, there was obviously a great deal of interest in it, and many people placed pre-orders in spite of the high price. Now the company is giving buyers the chance to back out of their purchase, saying it is "making progress in enhancing" the phone -- but still does not know when (or, indeed, if) it will be ready for launch. In fact, Samsung will be automatically cancelling orders unless it is told to do otherwise.

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UK streaming site TVCatchup is down... and this could be the end


If you are having trouble accessing TVCatchup  via its mobile app or through its website, you are not alone. The UK TV streaming service has gone dark, and it could be a permanent closure.

The service has been no stranger to controversy and managed to attract the attention -- and the wrath -- of numerous broadcasters, and became embroiled in a legal battle. Having managed to stay online for longer than many would have imagined, it seems you’ll now have to seek out an alternative to TVCatchup.

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