Tag Archives: Android

Google to Launch New Devices, Android 4.2 at Oct. 29 Event


Google will unveil several new devices and a software update at its scheduled Oct. 29 press event, according to a company video leaked from an all-hands meeting.

The Next Web is reporting Google has distributed an internal video that details and confirms speculations about what might be revealed at the upcoming event.

The video reportedly discusses the launch of a 32GB version of the Nexus 7 tablet, as well as one with 3G support. It also indicates Google is working with manufacturer Samsung to release a 10-inch tablet called “Nexus 10” that will run Android 4.2 (“Key Lime Pie”), and a Nexus smartphone manufactured by LG.

Meanwhile, the new Android 4.2 mobile operating system will include a panoramic camera option and “tablet sharing” capabilities, which would allow more than one user to access the device with his own set of email and apps — similar to how a family or business can switch between user settings on a Windows computer.

Earlier this week, Google sent invitations to the press for an Android event to be held in New York City. Although the invitation didn’t detail what might occur, the tagline — “the playground is open” — suggests it will have to do with Google Play, the company’s newly-rebranded Andriod Market.

The news came as Microsoft prepares for its Windows Phone 8 launch event, which will also be held on Oct. 29 — and Apple gears up to unveil its rumored 7.85-inch iPad on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Google’s new Samsung tablet is reportedly being filed under the name “Codename Manta.” The device is expected to have a 2560×1600 pixel resolution and 300ppi, which is greater than the iPad’s 264ppi.

Meanwhile, the 4.7-inch Nexus smartphone manufactured by LG is said to tout a quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon processor, a 1280×768 display, 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage.

BONUS: 10 Free Android Apps You’ll Use Every Day

New NASA Satellites Have Android Smartphones for Brains


NASA is aiming to launch a line of small satellites called “PhoneSats” that are cheaper to make and easier to build than those it has produced in the past. To achieve this, engineers are using unmodified Android smartphones — in one prototype, HTC’s Nexus One, and in another, Samsung’s Nexus S — to perform many of a satellite’s key functions.

As NASA explains on its website, these off-the-shelf smartphones “offer a wealth of capabilities needed for satellite systems, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers and several radios.”

“This approach allows engineers to see what capabilities commercial technologies can provide, rather than trying to custom-design technology solutions to meet set requirements,” NASA adds.

The total cost for building one of these prototype satellites costs a mere $3,500. Three are expected to launch aboard the first flight of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket from a NASA flight facility at Wallops Island, Va., later this year.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/08/26/nasa-satellites-android/

You Can Now Use LastPass to Log Into Android Apps Automatically


The Samsung Galaxy S5 runs on Android software.

Password management service LastPass, which stores passwords on a secure online service to automatically log users into websites, has rolled out automatic password entry to Android apps and the smartphone’s Chrome browser.

So for LastPass users on Android, the days of manually entering passwords into apps and websites are over.

“It takes the concept of our desktop functionality — recognizing what page you’re on and looking for a match stored in your vault — but is adapted for the Android accessibility feature,” Amber Gott, a LastPass spokesperson, told Mashable. “Once the option is enabled in the LastPass Android app, LastPass can now ‘see’ when you’re on an app login page, and then can hover and let you know if you have a matching login.”

The news comes just a few weeks after competing password management service PasswordBox enabled a similar automatic entry feature. Previously, LastPass users needed to copy and paste passwords from the LastPass app to log into native apps and sites.

The feature is available for apps on devices with Android 4.1 and later and Chrome on smartphones running 4.3 and later. It also supports Dolphin HD and Firefox mobile browsers, too.

LastPass Netflix

Although the functionality adds a big convenience on Android, it’s unclear if and when the feature will ever come to iOS devices.

“Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t have an equivalent that allows us to hook into the OS and securely deliver users their data,” a LastPass spokesperson told Mashable. “We’re still looking into it and hope that further updates to iOS may allow us to implement something similar.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/03/26/lastpass-autofill-android-app/

6% of Free Android Apps Hide Intrusive Adware


As mobile computers have become more common, criminals have begun to explore ways to profit from exploiting them. However, figures released Wednesday by mobile security company Lookout indicate that people are more likely to fall victim to what it calls “adware” than classic criminal malware.

Lookout sampled 200,000 apps to conclude that 6.5% of all free apps in the store for Android devices meet the company’s definition of adware, broadly defined as any app that pushes ads on a user outside of its own interface without consent. Adware might use notifications or add icons to the device homescreen.

When a person in the U.S. installs Lookout onto their Android phone, there is a 0.9% chance they already have adware installed, says Jeremy Linden, a security product manager at Lookout. Linden says that suggests more than 1 million Android device owners in the U.S. downloaded adware in the past year.

The chance users will install adware far exceeds the combined risk of their installing malware that will spend their money, spy on them, or steal data, Lookout’s figures say. “It’s higher than any other app-based threat,” says Linden.

Today, Lookout will begin warning Android owners amongst its 40 million-person userbase when they install an app that meets its definition of adware, something of a shift for a company that, up to now, has focused more on the malware that has long been the core obsession of the security industry.

“Our goal is eradicate the worst of the unscrupulous advertising practices out there,” Linden told MIT Technology Review, adding that his company does not have a problem with ad-supported apps in general. “The small minority of ad networks that behave badly is making a lack of trust for the entire industry,” he says.

Lookout defines adware as an app that without consent shows ads outside its own user interface; collects unnecessary personal data, such as email address or phone number; or leads to SMS messages or phone calls.

Many mobile app makers rely on third-party companies to provide ad technology for their apps. Linden says that Lookout identified “between 5 and 10” mobile ad companies whose technology made apps act like adware and advised them in advance that Lookout was to begin encouraging people to uninstall apps with their technology included.

Some changed their practices, says Linden, but five did not. Those companies are LeadBolt, Moolah Media, RevMob, SellARing, SendDroid. Those contacted for comment did not respond by the time this post was published.

Linden says Lookout believes the ad industry should agree on a set of standard practices for mobile ads and offers its own guidelines as a starting point. The Digital Advertising Alliance, an industry group, is already working on mobile privacy guidelines for its members, but didn’t respond to a request for comment on Lookout’s new effort to warn users of what it thinks are unacceptable advertising tactics.

Lookout isn’t yet introducing similar oversight of ad-supported apps on Apple devices. However, a University of California, San Diego study presented this week suggests it is needed.

That research was enabled by an app called ProtectMyPrivacy that allows people to selectively choose what data apps can access. Crowdsourced recommendations of what to allow and block for specific apps make using the app easy, but it only works on “jailbroken” Apple devices modified to remove Apple’s restrictions on apps examining one another’s behavior. A request to distribute a version through Apple’s app store that simply told people what ProtectMyPrivacy had uncovered was blocked by Apple. You can find that data on ProtectMyPrivacy’s website instead.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Long Zheng

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/06/26/free-android-apps-adware/

How Reddit Helped a Game Developer Fight a Rip-Off


The power of Reddit helped one indie game creator remove a game from the Google Play Store — a game he said blatantly ripped off one of his own creations.

Ben Huxter, creative director of a two-brother studio in Australia called MiniMega Games, posted a series of screenshots in r/IndieGaming on July 30 titled “So someone stole a bunch of artwork from my game and made a dodgy copy version. Not sure how I should feel.”

Huxter’s game, SLAP!, is a digital, less painful version of the classic children’s hand-slapping game, with some cute upgrades like Zombie mode and Feral mode (the latter uses cat paws). He released the original version for iOS and Android in January 2012 and an HD version for iOS in May of that year.

According to Huxter’s timeline that he later posted on Reddit, TomKid Game released an imposter app on Android in December 2012, which he discovered a few months later. (Here’s a link to the TomKid Game version, which can no longer be downloaded.)

Image: MiniMega

“Initially I was flattered that someone had created a copycat version and I was happy for him to carry on as long as it didn’t affect our downloads,” Huxter told Mashable via email. “It was only after I realized the impostor game was making money that I decided to act.”

Huxter said he reached out to the developer, who promised to take the game down from Google Play.

“Admittedly, the concept for SLAP! is not original. We simply took an existing ‘real life’ game mechanic and remixed it to tell a new story,” Huxter wrote in the email. “Picasso himself said ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ The basic fundamentals of creativity require inspiration from others. We copy what other people do all of the time, it’s only when someone copies us that we feel territorial. With this in mind, I think it’s up to the individual to decide how territorial to feel.”

A few days later, the game was still live in Google Play, so Huxter turned to Reddit. After several upvotes and useful comments, the issue escalated to bigger subreddit, r/Gaming, where it then moved to Reddit’s front page. Redditors suggested that Huxter file a DMCA takedown request with Google, while others petitioned as many people as possible to download the original SLAP! HD in solidarity.

Others contacted TomKid Games, adding pressure to take the game down.

“I think some people took it upon themselves to help me out,” Huxter said. ” I can’t say whether that directly contributed to the result but I assume the message got through.”

On Aug. 1, a TomKid developer reached out to Huxter and said he took game down. He signed the email, “And I hope we can make friends:)”.

Huxter said he loved the way Reddit came together to support him, but he hopes no one was hurt in the process.

“I’d like to be clear that I harbour no animosity toward the company or the individual that created the app,” he told Mashable. “It wasn’t my intention to start a global witch hunt, I wish him well with his games in the future.”

Huxter said that he also used this as a learning experience to translate SLAP! into Chinese, since that was where demand for the counterfeit version stemmed from.

Do you think crowdsourcing helped in this situation? Share your thoughts below.

Image: Minimega Games

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/08/06/reddit-app-developers/

Halloween Costume Uses Smartphone App to Display Your Beating Heart


As technology progresses, Halloween costumes get scarier. Here’s a dramatic example: a strategically placed smartphone can display what appears to be your beating heart — among many other things — to terrified onlookers.

You start by attaching a smartphone onto a special T-shirt with a strategically placed hole cut out of the front. Then, with the help of a free iOS or Android app, you can display a beating heart, sinister eyes that move when you do, or lots of other creepy-crawly stuff right there on your chest.

Sounds scary, no? It looks even scarier if you attach “iWound,” a gory and realistic-looking latex smartphone holder to your chest, that allows all those bloody guts to show through that specially cut-out shirt. You’ll have them gasping and shrieking in terror:

Halloween Custume iPhone

Who thought of this, a rocket scientist? Well, yes. It started with an idea last year by NASA/JPL engineer Mark Rober, who built perhaps one of the most creative Halloween costumes ever.

Using two iPad 2s and a shirt with perfectly placed holes in the front and back, he secured one of the iPads to the front of the shirt and one in the back. The iPad in the back used its FaceTime camera (facing toward the rear) to wirelessly deliver video to the iPad in the front.

The result? It looked like you could see through a gaping, bloody hole in the guy’s midsection. It was a great idea, but if you didn’t happen to have two iPads lying around or generous pals, this costume would have cost you more than $1,000:

This year, it’s a lot simpler. Mark and his team at Digital Dudz have been working since last Halloween to make his idea more accessible and practical to all. So now you can pick up one of the variety of special T-shirts for $23.50, and the iWound insert for $34.50.

Of course, the smartphone’s not included, but any iPhone, iPod Touch or Android phone with a working screen will do.

If those prices are too steep for you, download the free Digital Dudz iPhone app or Android app and cut out a special place on your own shirt, securing that smartphone in just the right spot to horrify everyone.

[Digital Dudz, via Gizmodo]

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/03/halloween-costume-iphone/

UK Supermarket Giant Tesco to Release an Android Smartphone


Tesco’s 7-inch Hudl tablet, which was released in 2013.
Image: Bloomberg

Further extending its brand from supermarket giant to tech-savvy retailer, UK-based Tesco has announced plans to release its own smartphone.

The company’s CEO, Philip Clarke, announced the news during an interview on BBC Radio 5 Tuesday.

The device will be Android-based, and will target the higher end of the smartphone market, according to BBC.

Releasing a smartphone might seem like an unlikely move for a supermarket brand, but the company’s first such experiment — a $200 7-inch tablet called Hudl, released in 2013 — resulted in the sale of over half a million units.

“[Both devices] will come loaded with the Tesco services,” Clarke said. Among those services will be BlinkBox, Tesco’s on-demand television and movies service.

Hudl tablet
Tesco’s 7-inch Android-based Hudl tablet, which was released in 2013.

Image: Tesco

In recent years, Tesco has made a point of promoting itself as a retailer working on the cutting edge of technology. In March, the company showed off a virtual version of its store via the Oculus Rift, and last year it held a virtual Easter egg hunt using Google Street View.

However, Tesco’s tech-focused promotions aren’t just for show. The company already has a wide array of apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8 that cover grocery shopping, recipes, calling cards, car insurance and photography.

Clarke did not disclose the price of Tesco’s upcoming smartphone, which will debut by the end of this year. However, he did reveal that the company plans to release a follow-up to its first tablet, called Hudl 2, in September.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/06/tesco-android-smartphone/