Mobile gaming is all the rage these days, with gamers playing titles like Fortnite and Minecraft on their smartphones. Want to know a secret, though? Touchscreen gaming largely sucks. Pardon my crass language, but it is true. Using a virtual thumb-stick and on-screen buttons simply isn't fun. The truth is, to really enjoy a game on mobile -- other than casual time-wasters actually designed for touch -- a controller is an absolute must (when compatible).
If you are both a PC and Android gamer, and you want a great controller for both platforms, SteelSeries has a new product that could be perfect for you. Called "Stratus Duo," it can connect to a PC wirelessly using a USB dongle, or to Android with Bluetooth. Then, by flipping a switch, you can go back and forth between each. In other words, there is no need to re-pair each time you switch, as is typical with a Bluetooth-only controller. And yes, if you prefer, you can connect it to a PC using a cable (micro USB and not USB-C, sadly).
Epic Games has released an update to the mobile version of Fortnite which will help to level the playing field between iOS, Android, console and desktop gamers.
If you've struggled to battle with the game's on-screen controls, Fortnite patch 7.30 could be just what you have been waiting for. In addition to other new features and bug fixes, the update adds support for Bluetooth controllers in iOS and Android -- and a new weapon!
A new Android Q leak suggests that Google is ready to copy another of the features iOS users have come to know and love: facial unlock.
There are already a number of Android handsets -- including recent phones from OnePlus -- which have their own implementation of the biometric security feature, but with Android Q, it is looking as though the feature will be hard-baked into the operating system.
Users of Microsoft Edge have a new feature to help protect them from fake news. The Android and iOS versions of the Edge browser now offer NewsGuard integration, warning when people visit untrustworthy sites.
The feature may only just have gone live, but there are already some amusing -- or pleasing, depending on your point of view -- results coming from it. Perhaps the most notable is that the Daily Mail website, Mail Online, is flagged up as "generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability".
We're all being encouraged to use two-factor authentication to make our online accounts more secure.
But 2FA can be a major pain when you update to a new device and have to re-authenticate everything. Even when users save their private 2FA keys to migrate onto new devices, it can still take time to manually reset 2FA for each account.
The inclusion of a system-wide dark mode in Android Q is something that has been rumored for a little while now, and a new leak of the next version of Google's mobile operating system seems to confirm this.
A leaked build of Android Q not only features a customizable dark mode option, but it also shows that Google has tightened up permissions to help improve privacy. There are also exciting references to a Desktop Mode feature which would appear to be similar to Samsung DeX in making it possible to connect a phone to a monitor and use it like a desktop computer.
While 64-bit software is pretty much the norm on the desktop, the same cannot -- yet -- be said on mobile platforms. There is a steady movement away from 32-bit apps, and Google wants to accelerate things.
The company is encouraging Android developers to concentrate on 64-bit versions of their apps as it sets out its timetable for the end of 32-bit software.
Google has reminded developers that their apps will be removed from the Play Store if they request SMS or Call Log permissions. The policy change was announced last year, and over the next few weeks the app removal process begins.
While these particular permissions have been used to give Android users a choice of dialers and messaging apps, Google says there have also been instances of abuse. The company is introducing far stricter restrictions in the name of privacy and protecting user data.
With so many apps and games available in Google Play, it's easy to get carried away and fill up your phone. You can use Settings to keep track of how much space you have left, but now Google has made it possible to monitor free space from within the Play Store.
A new storage indicator lets you monitor the amount of storage space you have available, so you can easily tell if you're going to have room to download more from the store -- and also to make room for those apps you desperately want to install.
If you want to be part of the in-crowd, adding a dark mode to your software is essential. Google has already shown a lot of love for gothic hues, and it looks set to continue this with Android Q -- or Android 10, if you prefer.
Over on the Chromium Bug Tracker, Google worker Lukasz Zbylut appears to confirm that Android Q will feature a system-wide dark mode, with all preloaded apps offering the option natively.
Privacy International investigation finds a huge number of Android apps share data with Facebook -- whether you have an account or not
Facebook's track record with privacy is a rocky one, but the idea of giving up some personal data is seen by many users as an acceptable price to pay for using the social network. But an investigation by Privacy International has found that many Android apps are sharing data with Facebook about people regardless of whether they are logged into their Facebook account... or even have a Facebook account at all.
The findings of the investigation raise questions about Facebook's transparency when it comes to handling user (and non-user) data, and the privacy implications of profiling by the social networking behemoth -- particularly in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Spam may be something that's most commonly associated with email, but it's also something that blights text messaging. Google is trying to do something about the problem with a spam protection feature for Messages on Android.
This is a feature we learned about earlier in the year, and it is now starting to roll out to handsets. In order for the feature to work, "some" information about the messages you receive needs to be sent to Google -- something that it sure to raise a few eyebrows (and hackles) among the privacy-centric.
OnePlus is well known for many things, including building up massive hype around its (generally) powerful and (relatively) cheap handsets. But one of the reasons many people choose the company is that it has always been quick at rolling out Android updates to newer handsets -- and it has a great track record for supporting its phones for much longer than its rivals do with their handsets.
The company may well be concerned about shifting its latest models, but owners of previous generations have not been forgotten when it comes to Android Pie. The latest version of Android is already available for the OnePlus 6 and 6T, and now the update is rolling out to the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T in the form of OxygenOS 9.0.0.
Just a few days ago, a lawsuit was filed against Apple accusing it of using misleading images in advertising to disguise the notch of the iPhone XS. Now it is OnePlus that has been accused of editing advertising images of its phones, this time to make the bezel of the OnePlus 6T seem smaller.
The company was called out on Twitter after people noticed that the OnePlus 6T featured in promotional videos appeared to have a much smaller "chin" than the real-life phone.
For those who like simple chronology, Twitter's insistence on delivering tweets in an algorithm powered order that is seemingly random has long been a source of frustration. Today, the social site launches a new way to switch between reverse chronological order or the algorithm-driven "top tweets" ordering.
To allow for easy switching between the two modes, Twitter is rolling out a new "sparkle" button to its mobile app. The change is being made available to iOS users first, but Android owners will not be far behind.