Windows is a massive failure -- in the mobile world, at least. Microsoft should have been a dominant force in smartphones and tablets, but no, it let Apple and Google eat its lunch with iPhone and Android. While Windows 10 is still a decent enough desktop operating system that keeps chugging along, Windows Phone died a bloody death -- consumers barely paid attention to it. Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile were utter embarrassments for Microsoft.
What can Microsoft do to save its mobile dreams? Turn to Linux, of course. Yes, with the upcoming Surface Duo smartphone (you can read about the dual-screen device here), Microsoft will be using the Linux-based Android operating system. This is a smart business move, but it must be absolute hell for the Microsoft faithful -- if Bill Gates was dead, he would be spinning in his grave.
At today's Surface event, Microsoft had a surprise for everyone -- its version of "one more thing", if you will. In addition to the Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Pro 7 and the Surface Pro X, the company also revealed the Surface Duo, a foldable Android-based phone with two screens. No, it's not running the new Windows 10X operating system.
If you have concerns about this device being foldable, don't worry, it's not like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Rather than having a single screen that actually folds, this is a dual-screen clamshell style handset, and it's due for release next year.
I am a big fan of YouTube. Not only do I watch videos on the site daily, I am also a paid subscriber to YouTube TV -- I love the service and happily part with my $50 each month. YouTube Music, however, is an entirely different story -- I kind of hate it. When testing it against Spotify and Apple Music, YouTube Music failed miserably. The user interface is just unnecessarily confusing. Quite frankly, I am not sure how Google got it so wrong. Sigh.
That's why I was rather bummed out by the news that Google will be pre-loading the YouTube Music app on all Android 10 devices, plus some new ones that will ship with Android 9. Yep, it will be foisted upon many unsuspecting customers. This includes buyers of Google's own devices, such as the upcoming Pixel 4.
Cloudflare introduced a privacy-focused DNS service last year, and rolled out a mobile app for it as well. The 126.96.36.199 app for Android and iOS aims to speed up and protect your mobile browsing by routing your DNS queries through its own resolver.
Earlier in the year the company announced a VPN service to go along with this called Warp, and invited users to sign up to a waiting list. It was a very long list though -- I was number 1,932,244! The good news today though is the wait is now over and anyone can start using Warp.
Apple recently launched its Arcade service -- a monthly games subscription for iOS. For just $4.99 a month, you get access to a bunch of titles without advertisements or in-app purchases. The first month is free, so I have been testing it on my iPhone 8 Plus. You know what? It is just OK -- not great. Many of the games are garbage that I wouldn't have bought in the first place. In other words, while $5 a month seems like a good deal, you have to actually find value in the games for it to be worthwhile.
Today, Google launches its version of Apple Arcade, and it seems like a much better deal. While it carries the same $4.99 monthly cost, and it too includes games, it also provides access to something Arcade doesn't -- applications. Quite frankly, as an adult, a buffet of productivity apps is more interesting to me than a collection of mobile games. Having both, however, is really cool, though -- I hope Apple follows Google's lead.
Norwegian-based Vivaldi Technologies has released its first mobile web browser: Vivaldi Beta 2.7 for Android. This little brother to Vivaldi for desktop shares its aim of offering users as much control over the browser’s look and functionality as possible.
Despite the 'beta' tag, Vivaldi for Android is fully featured from the off. While lacking some key elements likely to appear in future releases, such as support for add-ons, it’s fully functional and supports key elements such as panels and Vivaldi accounts for syncing.
Just when it seems that the Galaxy Fold launch could not be any more chaotic or infuriating, Samsung just managed to annoy would-be buyers even further.
For reasons that have not really been explained, the company has chosen -- at the very last minute -- to cancel pre-orders placed in the US. To soften the blow, Samsung is offering $250 of credit to those affected by the cancelations, but the news may well lead customers to question whether the Fold is really worth all the hassle.
Depending on where you are in the world, you could get your hands on a Samsung Galaxy Fold as soon as tomorrow -- and it should only be a matter of weeks before it launches in all the markets it will hit.
But what is the newly redesigned Galaxy Fold like? Samsung says it took note of the problems and criticism that cropped up after the first batch of review units were sent out, and now you can see what these changes have amounted to in a new hands-on video.
It has been one of the most problematic handset launches ever, but the beleaguered Samsung Galaxy Fold finally has a release date.
Just days after pre-registrations for the folding smartphone went live in the UK, Samsung has started to reveal detail of the release schedule. For some people -- those in Korea specifically -- the Fold launches tomorrow, September 6. The launch for other regions follows in the coming weeks.
Bug bounty programs have become a popular way for developers to track down security issues in software, but big pay-outs are not something that every company can afford.
In a bid to keep its Android platform secure, Google has announced that its own bug bounty program is being expanded to include all big Android apps, regardless of who develops them. The company will reward security researchers who find bugs in any app in the Google Play Store with 100 million or more installs.
Fairphone is not a new name in the smartphone market, but it's not one that everyone is aware of. The company has a strong ethical and environmental stance, producing handsets that are gentle on the environment, the people producing them, and are easily repaired.
Now the company has announced the Fairphone 3. Due for release next month, the Android handset is a decent mid-ranger which is likely to attract more interest than its two predecessors. So what's all the fuss about?
Google has a diversity problem. Whereas the company's mobile app offerings were once colorful and full of highlights, more recent iterations -- like the newly released version 16 of the Google Play Store -- have been thoroughly and deliberately "whitewashed." Gone is the inclusive rainbow of headers that delineated each app type. In its place, a monochromatic sea of pure whiteness.
The transition is jarring -- and a bit intimidating. As someone who is married to a "person of color" I find the loss of background hue to be disquieting. The notion that it is better to suppress diversity of content in the name of "consistency" or "visual clarity" strikes me as downright bigoted. By ignoring the unique contributions that categories like "Movies" and "Games" have made to the overall Google landscape, you slight those behind the content that drives them.
Google has famously named each version of Android after a dessert or confectionery. With Android Q this changes. As well as introducing a new naming scheme, Google is also updating the branding for Android.
Android Q is to be called Android 10 -- bringing Google's mobile operating system in line with Microsoft's Windows 10, and Apple's iPhone X. The new name is accompanied by a new logo and a new color scheme.
Earlier today, Samsung had its big "Unpacked" event in New York, and BetaNews was there to take it all in. As was expected, the Galaxy Note10 was unveiled. Yours truly was in the third row, listening to well-placed Samsung employees loudly "ooh" and "ah" at every little thing shown off on stage. While their feigned enthusiasm was comically overdone, there actually was some exciting stuff revealed, including the removal of the old-school headphone jack -- finally!
This year, there are two new Android 9.0 phones -- Note10 and Note10+. This is the first time a Note smartphone has been offered in more than one screen size. The plus in the name indicates it is the better device, including having a bigger screen. It has a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display with 3040×1440 resolution, while the non-plus has a 6.3-inch screen with a 2280x1080 resolution. Both are HDR10+ certified.
Google to let Android users in Europe choose their default search engine -- and will make money in doing so
In response to a $5 billion fine for antitrust violations in Europe, Google has announced that it will introduce a new "search engine choice" option next year. It's an idea that is similar to the Browser Choice screen Microsoft introduced following anti-competition complaints about Internet Explorer.
Google will "introduce a new way for Android users to select a search provider to power a search box on their home screen and as the default in Chrome (if installed)" in Europe starting in 2020. The search engines that appear in the list will be determined by auctions. Google rivals will have to bid to be featured in the list, meaning the company will -- controversially -- make money from giving users choice.