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Oct
20

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Google has a developer preview of the next version update of Android, Nougat 7.1, available for Nexus devices.

Google typically announces the next Android preview during its Google I/O developer conference held annually in May. This year – for the first time – the preview was made available early so many could test Android 7.0 before launch. Once again, Google is using a developer preview for Android 7.1, so Nexus owners can beta test the latest Google goodies prior to final launch in December.

  • When is Android 7.1 Nougat coming to my phone?

Here are two different routes you can take: the traditional developer route and the super-friendly Android Beta Program route.

A developer preview is a “work in progress” build that is released to developers prior to a consumer rollout of the final software. Google offers a preview to collect and incorporate developer feedback. In the case of the Android 7.1 developer preview, as the software has already released on the Pixel and Pixel XL phones, it is being offered at beta quality, i.e., near final.

The aim is really to tease out problems with specific devices and allow developers to update apps to support 7.1’s new features.

In the initial phases Google is offering Android 7.1 for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6Pand Pixel C. Additional devices will be added to the programme in November, including the Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player (probably).

As the Android 7.1 Nougat developer preview is arriving in beta, it should be stable, but some features may still be subject to change.

Google wants to make it easier for you to try Android 7.1 Nougat on device, so it’s also offering the Android Beta Program that allows anyone enrolled to update their Android devices to the developer preview and receive ongoing, over-the-air updates. It’s very much like Microsoft’s Windows Insider programme.

The beta ran for Android 7.0 Nougat and is very simple, meaning you don’t have to get involved in flashing updates or anything complicated.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Visit android.com/beta to sign-up to the Android Beta Program.
  2. Sign into your Google account when prompted.
  3. Your eligible devices will be listed on the next page, click to enrol in the Beta Program.
  4. Updates will arrive over the air direct to your device.

That’s it, it’s so simple.

If you’ve used the Android Beta Program before and enrolled your device previously, it will already be on the list and will automatically receive the updates when they become available.

If you don’t want those updates, you can follow the steps above, but then click to “unenrol device”.

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Sep
28

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Law authorities have warned they believe criminals are using Android phones to trigger fraudulent tap-and-go payments.

The alert comes in Europol’s annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment report.

Experts had previously said that the rollout of smart wallet systems could raise such a threat.

However, the police are unsure exactly how the attacks are being carried out and how common they are.

“The possibility of compromising NFC [near field communication] transactions was explored by academia years ago, and it appears that fraudsters have finally made progress in the area,” the report says.

“Several vendors in the dark net offer software that uploads compromised card data on to Android phones in order to make payments at any stores accepting NFC payments.”

The report’s authors add that one consequence of the novel crime is that shops might not know how to react even if they detect the deceit.

“Currently, when merchants detect a fraudulent transaction, they are requested to seize the card,” the report says.

“However, the confiscation may not be feasible when the compromised card data are recorded on the buyer’s smartphone.”

NFC terminal
Image copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Image captionNFC terminals typically accept both touchless smartphone and payment card transactions

The report concludes that smartphone and touchless payment terminal manufacturers should “take action to design out security flaws”.

Anecdotal evidence

Europol is the EU’s law enforcement agency, which helps members states’ police forces co-ordinate operations and intelligence.

Its report is intended to flag emerging cybercrime threats.

One of the body’s advisers acknowledged that investigators were still unclear whether the payments were triggered being by customised apps or via Google’s own Android Pay software.

“It’s anecdotal evidence at the moment – it could be either or both,” said Prof Alan Woodward, from Surrey University.

“But whatever the case, evidence that it is happening is mounting.”

Prof Woodward said the criminals were probably using Android handsets rather than iPhones because Google did not prevent third-party apps using a device’s NFC chip, but Apple did.

iPhone
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe report indicates the fraudsters are opting for Android devices rather than Apple’s

“Apple systems are locked down, but you can typically write code to get at NFC, wi-fi and Bluetooth on Android-based devices,” he said.

“It’s just easier to write things on there if what you are doing is pretending to be a contactless card or otherwise sending communications to a contactless payment terminal.”

Prof Woodward added that the threat did not mean people should stop using Android Pay, but rather that all members of the public should remain vigilant against unusual transactions.

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Sep
20

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SAN FRANCISCO: Google late Monday sent out invitations to an October 4 event, hinting that the Internet titan will show off a new smartphone powered by its Android mobile software.

Emailed invitations revealed only the time and place for the gathering in San Francisco, the message topped by blue, red, yellow, and green dots of color.

Google fired off a Twitter message with hashtag #madebygoogle and a video of what appeared to be a long rectangular search term box morphing into a silhouette of a smartphone.

Industry trackers have been expecting Google in October to show off its own smartphone, showcasing the prowess of its new Nougat version of Android software.

Google may stamp its latest smartphones with a “Pixel” brand instead of the “Nexus” name it has used in the past for Android smartphones it has made in collaborations with partners.

A Google smartphone would be fielded as a standard to which other’s making Android devices should aspire, and would come just weeks after Apple’s began selling new iPhone 7 models.

An enticing Google smartphone could also prove a contender for the attention of buyers during the prime year-end holiday shopping season.

Scenes in Apple stores around the world on Friday were reminiscent of days before online ordering became a norm and people camped out for days to be first to get hands on the California company’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Enthusiasm was peppered with disappointment due to shortages of the large-screen iPhone 7 Plus and a jet-black iPhone 7, but it was unclear if the shortages were the result of strong demand or limited supply.

The devices chart a new path for the tech giant by eliminating headphone jacks, a move seen as setting a trend for a wireless future The iPhones also boast Apple’s freshly-released iOS 10 mobile operating system.

While the company has touted total iPhone sales of one billion, the number sold in the quarter ending June 25 fell 15 per cent from a year earlier, highlighting concerns over growth for the key profit driver.

Growth has become challenging with many mobile phone markets saturated, with Apple rivals producing a wide variety of devices powered by Android software that Google makes available for free.

Apple faces stiff competition from traditional rival Samsung, although the South Korean giant is currently on the back foot after being forced into a massive recall because of exploding batteries of its flagship Galaxy Note 7.

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Aug
25

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SEOUL: Better-than-expected demand for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 is causing supply constraints globally, the South Korean tech giant said on Wednesday, suggesting strong initial sales for the new premium smartphone.

While robust demand could help deliver another solid quarter of earnings, Samsung also risks missing out on potential sales if it cannot boost supply quickly. Rivals such as Apple Inc are poised to launch new phones which could pull customers away from Samsung if a shortage persists.

“As pre-order results for the Galaxy Note 7 have far exceeded our estimates, its release date in some markets has been adjusted,” Samsung told Reuters in a statement without commenting on where launch delays could occur.

Production problems for the curved displays for the Galaxy S6 edge phone resulted in disappointing sales last year, and some investors fear a repeat if the world’s top smartphone maker does not move quickly to meet Note 7 demand.

Samsung shares were down 2 per cent as of 0339 GMT Wednesday after hitting a record high on Tuesday, while the broader market was down 0.3pc.

Samsung said it was trying to boost production at the secret locations where the Notes are made, and aimed to meet demand “as early as possible”. It gave no further details.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters there was no production issue for the curved screens used on the Galaxy Note 7 and that the shortage would not be a long-term problem.

“The party got more visitors than Samsung expected, so they just need to put more food out,” said Nomura analyst C.W. Chung, who said the supply situation was not a major risk given that Samsung made key parts such as displays and chips in-house.

Samsung could sell as many as 15 million Galaxy Note 7 phones this year, Chung said, compared with an estimated 9 million Galaxy Note 5 phones sold last year.

The phone went on sale on Aug. 19 in countries including the United States and South Korea, where it retails for $882.

Samsung hopes it helps maintain sales and earnings momentum in the second half. Some analysts raised their profit forecasts for Samsung after the phone received favourable reviews.

“There could be a temporary issue but Samsung has almost never had prolonged production misses,” said IBK Asset Management fund manager Kim Hyun-su, adding that the share price decline appeared to be profit-taking after a recent rally.

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Aug
12

| Android Nougat Developer Preview | Android Nougat new features | When will my phone get Android Nougat? When is Android Nougat coming out?

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It’s official: Android N will be called Android Nougat, and it’ll be here later this month. Here’s what’s new in Android 7.0, plus Android Nougat release date rumours. Check out the Android N new features, Android N Developer Preview and more. Also see: When will I get Android Marshmallow?

Following Android Alpha and Android Beta, Google has always named its Android OS updates after sweet treats, and in alphabetical order. So far we’ve had Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow. Also see: How fast is Android Nougat? And how to split screen in Android Nougat.

Next in line is Android ‘N’, sure to be a sweet treat, but Google was having difficulty in deciding which one. It allowed people to vote on the new Android N name at android.com/name-n until 8 June, and has now announced that it will be called Android Nougat. Also see: How to direct reply in Android Nougat.
Android Nougat UK release date: When is Android Nougat coming out?
Android Nougat UK release date: August 2016 (TBC)
In an unusual move Google unveiled the Android Nougat Developer Preview ahead of Google I/O in order to give it more time to incorporate feedback from developers. At Google I/O the company discussed some new features that we’ll detail below, and announced that a public beta of Android Nougat was available.
We’re now up to Android Nougat Developer Preview 5, which is the last version prior to the final release. Click here to learn how to install Android Nougat now.
At I/O 2016 Google said the final version of Android Nougat would be available later in the summer. Our money was originally on late September, at which point it will likely ship the new OS preinstalled on the new Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 phones for 2016. Android Nougat will be available to download to older Nexus devices soon after, and other flagship Android devices will get the upgrade toward the end of the year or early 2017.

However, things have changed and, according to respected tipster Evan Blass the final version of Android Nougat will be rolled out in August. His original tweet caused speculation that Nougat might arrive with the August security patch on 5 August, but Blass has since cleared up that he actually meant that when it launches in August it will include the August security patch.
Android Nougat release date

Also see: Best new phones coming in 2016.
When will my phone get Android Nougat? Will my phone get Android Nougat?
As we’ve said above, Android Nougat won’t be released until Q3 2016, and even then only on certain Nexus devices. Nexus phones and tablets are always the first to get new operating system updates, but even Google won’t support them forever. Security updates are provided for three years following the device’s release, or 18 months after it is removed from the Google Play Store (whichever is longer).
So, for example, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will be supported by Google until September 2017, which means they will get both Android Nougat and next year’s Android O. The Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 will both be supported until October 2016, which should mean they get an update to Android Nougat but not Android O. Older Nexus devices will not be upgraded.
Those with supported Nexus devices should find the update rolls out to their device following the launch of the new Nexus phones for 2016, or at least within a few weeks of launch, giving a timeframe of around September 2016.
If you have a recent flagship phone or tablet from a well-known maker such as Sony, Samsung, HTC, LG or Motorola, it’s likely you’ll see the update rolled out within the first few months of 2017. However, before you can get the update both the hardware manufacturer and mobile operator must be ready to roll it out, which can slow down things.

Recent rumours have led some to suggest the upcoming Galaxy Note 7 may be one of the first non-Nexus devices to get the update, and potentially so out of the box. However, as we discovered at its launch, this phone runs Android Marshmallow out of the box.

It’s since been suggested that the LG V20, which launches in September, will be the first non-Nexus phone to come preinstalled with Android Nougat.
It’s telling that even a year and a half after its release, Android Lollipop has only recently become the most popular Android operating systems. Often only the most recent flagships get an update to new Android operating systems (also see: How to update Android), and even then nothing is guaranteed. With thousands of people still using Android phones that are entry-level models, from less well-known manufacturers or simply old, there are still people out there running Froyo and Gingerbread – and they will never get an update to Android Nougat.
At the latest count on 11 July 2016, Android Developers published the following breakdown of Android platform segregation:

Android Nougat new features: What to expect from the next Android OS
Android Nougat new features can be divided into three clear categories: performance, security and productivity.

Also see: How fast is Android Nougat?
For performance Google is focusing on graphics and runtime in Android Nougat. It has introduced the new Vulkan 3D graphics API, which has a much lower CPU overhead than OpenGL and allows developers to squeeze much more graphical detail into frames. It’s also introducing the JTI Compiler, which speeds up app installs by 75 percent and reduces the compiled code size by 50 percent.

There are also new platform features aimed at optimising battery and memory consumption, such as Doze and the new background optimizations.
Security in Android Nougat

For security Android Nougat introduces file-based encryption, media framework hardening and seamless updates. The latter means new updates to the operating system will be downloaded silently in the background, ready to use on the next restart. Unfortunately, seamless updates are likely to be available only on phones sold running Android Nougat out of the box – it works by each phone having two system images, and one is updated in the background while you use the other. Today’s phones, of course, have only one system image.

ZDNet has also reported how Android Nougat will stop password-reset ransomware, stating that: “The new operating system will no longer allow users or software to invoke a command that clears already-set passwords.” However, in order to protect your device it notes that you will need to set a password in the first place.
Productivity in Android Nougat

Also see: How to split screen in Android Nougat | How to Direct Reply in Android Nougat
The most exciting area for consumers is productivity. We’ve already heard about Android Nougat’s new Direct Reply feature, which allows you to directly reply to messages, emails and more from the notification bar, and now apparently we’ll be able to change a notification’s visibility by long-tapping it and selecting an option.
When we do reply to a message we have loads of new emoji at our fingertips. The professional women emoji that leaked just recently are among 72 new Unicode 9 emoji glyphs, which are more realistic and support different skin tones.

Google is also said to be redesigning the navigation buttons, which in Android Nougat will be animated and change their colour when long-pressed.

Even better are the new multi-tasking improvements in Android Nougat. Google has finally added a Clear all button to the top of the recent apps menu, and it has reduced the number of apps shown here by automatically removing those you haven’t used in a while. You will also be able to switch back and forth between your current and last-used app with a double-tap of the recents button.
Multi-window is a feature we’ve seen previously on Samsung phones, and it’s finally going to be built into the Android OS. There are two variations – Split Screen and Picture in Picture – with the first designed for phones and tablets and the latter for Android TVs. You can long-tap the recents button to select a second app to display onscreen.

The final new feature coming to Android Nougat is Daydream, which is Google’s new VR platform. Although it is producing a dedicated Daydream headset, it is also building support for a VR Mode into N that supports low latency (under 20ms) and a VR system UI. It will mean hundreds of Daydream-ready phones will be available, with the first coming later this year from the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG. Also see: Best Android apps and Best Android games.
Other new features include:
• Bundled notifications: multiple notifications from the same app can be grouped together
• Efficiency: Doze now also saves battery whenever the screen is turned off
• Improved Java & language support: Java 8 language features are coming to Android
The Google Keyboard app in Google Play has now been updated to the Android Nougat version. There are new emoji, new coloured themes, new background images and a new keyboard toggler. Check out the updated Google Keyboard here.
A user on XDA has posted a beta build of Android 7.0 Nougat for Huawei P9 users, should they want to try out the software in beta form.
Those of you who have already installed the Developer Preview of Android Nougat may be pleased to know that it now works with Pokemon GO. A bizarre update to make, but it appears the world has gone Pokemon crazy…
Will Android Nougat use Swift?
Nope. There are rumours that a future version of Android will go some way to replace Java with open-source Swift as its first-class language, but it won’t be Android Nougat, since it will require a lot of re-writing of Android’s core code. According to TheNextWeb, Android would first need a runtime for Swift, to make its entire standard library Swift-ready, to support the language in APIs and SDKs, and to re-write some low-level C++ APIs and high-level Java APIs, which Swift can not currently bridge to.

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Jul
31

Android powers hundreds of millions of mobile devices in more than 190 countries around the world. It’s the largest installed base of any mobile platform and growing fast—every day another million users power up their Android devices for the first time and start looking for apps, games, and other digital content.

Android gives you a world-class platform for creating apps and games for Android users everywhere, as well as an open marketplace for distributing to them instantly.

Android growth in device activations

Global partnerships and large installed base

Building on the contributions of the open-source Linux community and more than 300 hardware, software, and carrier partners, Android has rapidly become the fastest-growing mobile OS.

Every day more than 1 million new Android devices are activated worldwide.

Android’s openness has made it a favorite for consumers and developers alike, driving strong growth in app consumption. Android users download more than 1.5 billion apps and games from Google Play each month.

With its partners, Android is continuously pushing the boundaries of hardware and software forward to bring new capabilities to users and developers. For developers, Android innovation lets you build powerful, differentiated applications that use the latest mobile technologies.

Powerful development framework

Easily optimize a single binary for phones, tablets, and other devices.

Android gives you everything you need to build best-in-class app experiences. It gives you a single application model that lets you deploy your apps broadly to hundreds of millions of users across a wide range of devices—from phones to tablets and beyond.

Android also gives you tools for creating apps that look great and take advantage of the hardware capabilities available on each device. It automatically adapts your UI to look its best on each device, while giving you as much control as you want over your UI on different device types.

For example, you can create a single app binary that’s optimized for both phone and tablet form factors. You declare your UI in lightweight sets of XML resources, one set for parts of the UI that are common to all form factors and other sets for optimzations specific to phones or tablets. At runtime, Android applies the correct resource sets based on its screen size, density, locale, and so on.

To help you develop efficiently, the Android Developer Tools offer a full Java IDE with advanced features for developing, debugging, and packaging Android apps. Using the IDE, you can develop on any available Android device or create virtual devices that emulate any hardware configuration.

1.5 billion downloads a month and growing. Get your apps in front of millions of users at Google’s scale.

Open marketplace for distributing your apps

Google Play is the premier marketplace for selling and distributing Android apps. When you publish an app on Google Play, you reach the huge installed base of Android.

As an open marketplace, Google Play puts you in control of how you sell your products. You can publish whenever you want, as often as you want, and to the customers you want. You can distribute broadly to all markets and devices or focus on specific segments, devices, or ranges of hardware capabilities.

You can monetize in the way that works best for your business—priced or free, with in-app products or subscriptions—for highest engagement and revenues. You also have complete control of the pricing for your apps and in-app products and can set or change prices in any supported currency at any time.

Beyond growing your customer base, Google Play helps you build visibility and engagement across your apps and brand. As your apps rise in popularity, Google Play gives them higher placement in weekly “top” charts and rankings, and for the best apps promotional slots in curated collections.

Preinstalled on hundreds of millions of Android devices around the world, Google Play can be a growth engine for your business.

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Nov
29

huawei-honor-6Huawei Honor 6 – Huawei, Excellence Defined with Honor. Sleek, sophisticated and bursting with top-class specifications, the brand new Huawei Honor 6 Smartphone is a stunning new handset with 4G LTE connectivity, an Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system, and a HiSilicon Octa-core Kirin 920 processor to make Huawei Honor’s version 6 one of the fastest smartphones available on the international market today. Huawei’s new flagship Continue Reading…

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