Items tagged with Android

Could your smartphone be listening in on your life? If you download mobile apps without much care for their permissions requests, you might not ever know. The privacy threat is so significant though, that the Federal Trade Commission has stepped in and warned us to be aware of it. On Thursday, the FTC sent a letter to a dozen app developers warning them against their use of "audio beacons", which listen in on the environment and pick up hidden noise signals from TV shows. This is made possible with technology from an Indian company named Silverpush, and in effect it lets the app figure out what... Read more...
Comparatively speaking, there aren't a lot of Android devices in the wild running Android 6.0, otherwise known as Marshmallow. That's typically true of any snapshot of Android—the latest and greatest version finds its way onto just a small number of handsets while versions a generation or two old rule the roost. As of right now, pole position belongs to Android 5.x Lollipop.It took Lollipop more than a year—16 months, to be exact—to leapfrog Android 4.4 KitKat for the top spot. But there it now sits, at least if combining the number of devices running Android 5.0 (16.9 percent) and Android 5.1... Read more...
At a glance, you may assume the phone we're testing here is one you've seen before -- a Nokia Lumia 1020 clone perhaps? Despite having a similar circular camera fixture on the handset's back side, suggesting a strong focus on photography, this is actually a newly released phone produced by ASUS. The ASUS ZenFone Zoom is an interesting beast. Though it was initially released for a more international audience, ASUS has since seen fit to bring the device to North American shores. It makes sense, though. Other than calling or texting, cameras have long been a key smartphone feature that gets used most... Read more...
Samsung announced its latest flagship Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones, along with a slick 360-degree portable camera dubbed the Gear 360, yesterday at its Unpacked event at Mobile World Congress. If you’d like to check out the original announcements, you can find our coverage of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge here and the Gear 360 right here. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (Top) and Galaxy S7 (Bottom) To quickly reiterate, Samsung’s latest flagships are both packing a Qualcomm 820 SoC (up to 2.1GHz) with Adreno 530 graphics, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Both phones also have... Read more...
Users of the Chrome beta for Android are in for a bit of a treat, as the latest version has added support for "Physical Web" beacons. Don't worry if you've never heard of these, because most haven't. Google did talk about it a bit last summer, and it seems like a feature that could be incredibly useful at times. The logic behind the name of "Physical Web" is that data is distributed locally; not over the Internet. The goal is to relay information to those nearby that would prove useful. Say, for example, you're in a restaurant, and as you wait for a seat, a beacon beams the menu to your phone so... Read more...
In the fall of 2014, Google lost a valuable man: Andy Rubin. While Rubin had his hands in a number of important projects at the big G, none were more important than his creation of Android in 2003. Today, Android is the most widely-used mobile OS; one that's even making its way to convertible PCs. To call that particular project a success would be a gross understatement. We learned just two months ago that Rubin has eyed making a return to smartphones, something he hasn't talked too much about openly. What he has talked about, though, is dashcams. Yup -- Rubin sees the lowly dashcam as... Read more...
If there's to be an era of virtual reality, it likely begins this year, coinciding with the launch of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the two most high-profile VR headsets up to this point. However, Oculus and HTC aren't the only players—it's said that Google is working on a higher-end successor to Cardboard, it's cheap and chintzy (but effective) viewer for experiencing virtual reality on mobile devices.The next version will be an upgrade in every way, including form factor (it will be a headset instead of a handheld viewer) and additional support for Android. It will feature a plastic chassis instead... Read more...
When ASUS released the ZenFone 2 Laser, the company’s goal was to offer a premium smartphone experience with strong camera performance at an affordable price. On the surface the ZenFone 2 Laser has many of the key features of a premium phone, including an octa-core SoC with Adreno graphics, dual active SIM capabilities, a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera, and a removable battery. Given that many flagship Android phones sell for $599 and up for an unlocked version, ASUS’s price of $249 for the high-end 32GB model of the ZenFone 2 Laser is very reasonable. If you want to save some cash,... Read more...
If you like the idea of using a stylus with your mobile device, then you probably prefer the precision and additional functionality over the convenience of a fingertip. That, or you've picked up a brand-new HP Pro Slate 8, a tablet targeted at working professionals that includes a rather useful and unique accessory dubbed the "Duet Pen" that enables some pretty interesting features. In the HP Pro Slate 8's case, you can still poke its 7.9-inch screen all you want with a finger. The stylus, an accessory that ships with the $470 tablet, isn't an absolute necessity. You don't need it for everyday... Read more...
Did you recently buy a fancy new flagship Android smartphone with a capacious battery onboard only to find that you’re still getting relatively poor battery life? Before you start throwing arrows at your smartphone’s manufacturer, perhaps you should look closer to home as to why your battery life is coming up short; specifically, your installed apps. Redditors have done some experimenting and found that one of the biggest battery hogs among Android apps is the official Facebook app. We’ve all known for quite some time that the Facebook app (for both iOS and Android) has grown into a bloated beast... Read more...
Give BlackBerry credit, the company put forth the good old college effort and tried anything it could think of to regain relevance in the mobile world—changing its name from Research In Motion (RIM), dissing the iPhone, shaking up top-level management, launching new handsets—all to no avail. In a last ditch effort, BlackBerry earlier this month suggested it was going all-in with Android, a notion the company reinforced during its recent Priv launch in India. "The Priv device is essentially our transition to Android ecosystem. As we secure Android, over a period of time, we would not have two platforms... Read more...
These days, smartphones have become an extension of ourselves. Many of us can’t even go a few hours without a smartphones attached to our hip, so it stands to reason that a lost smartphone is enough to send someone over the edge. Luckily, smartphones running popular operating systems like Android and iOS have built-in apps that make it easy to locate a lost or stolen smartphone. And wouldn’t you know it, people actually take advantage of the features to track down their lost digital appendages. However, one Atlanta couple’s home has become an unwanted destination for people looking for their lost... Read more...
Do you have a tough time getting up in the morning? If your routine involves hitting the snooze button on your alarm only to go right back to sleep and repeat the cycle half a dozen times, then you might want to give Microsoft's latest app a try. It's called Mimicker Alarm, and it's one of a growing list of Microsoft-made apps for Android. Mimicker Alarm takes a different approach to waking you up. It essentials annoys the snot of you with silly tasks that take the place of hitting the off or snooze button. For example, the app might ask you to take a selife with a specific facial expression in... Read more...
While companies like Apple are actually reducing the battery capacity across the board for its flagship smartphones (and in the process, maintaining the status quo with respects to battery life), we’re happy to see that other manufactures are willing to give customers more when it comes to runtimes. One such company is Chinese smartphone OEM Xiaomi, which recently took the wraps of its Redmi 3. The most impressive feature about the Redmi 3 is that it seems to be mostly battery — inside, you’ll find a massive 4100mAh lithium-ion power source with quick charging support. For comparison, the previous... Read more...
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