Items tagged with Google Play

Google's Play Store is home to millions of apps for Android phones and tablets, so there is no shortage of content for anyone entrenched in the Android camp. That includes a whole bunch of games, both free and paid. With regards to the latter, Google might be prepping a "Play Pass" subscription service that would purportedly give Android users access to paid games for a monthly fee. Nothing of the sort has been announced or even teased by Google, at least not officially. Unofficially, however, there are clues that point to a Play Pass subscription being in the works. The first one dates back to June of this year. That's when an XDA 'Recognized Developer', Kieron Quinn, dug into an APK and found... Read more...
We've got some excellent news for you today if you're heavily invested in Google Play with respect to movie purchases. Google announced that it is upgrading your previously purchased movies -- whether they were purchased in standard definition (SD) or high definition (HD) -- to 4K resolution. This is being done automatically and completely free of charge. This is a great move on Google's part, as 4K has pretty much become the standard for big screen televisions sold today, and anytime the word "free" is thrown around, it gets our attention. Google says that when you open the Play Movies & TV app, it will alert you to which titles have been upgraded to 4K.  We have to caution,... Read more...
Fortnite fans on Android weren't happy when word surfaced that the game would be an exclusive title for Samsung on the newly unveiled Galaxy Note 9 and other newer Galaxy devices via Galaxy Apps. Fortnite is a huge deal with massive numbers of players battling it out and has turned over a billion dollars in revenue for a game that costs nothing to download. The good news for Android Fortnite fans with no intention of buying a new Samsung device was that Fortnite exclusivity was promised to be short-lived. Samsung's exclusive deal wore off over the weekend and that means that Android gamers on other devices will be able to play the game soon. The catch for other Android users not on a Samsung... Read more...
If you want to install Fortnite on your Android device when that version of the game launches later this summer, you won't be going through Google Play. It is a rather curious, but understandable move considering that Fortnite is a worldwide gaming hit and has been a huge revenue generator for Epic Games. But in the end, it all comes down to money. If Epic were to distribute Fortnite through Google Play, it would have to forfeit 30 percent of the revenue from in-app purchases to Google. To put it simply, Epic wants complete and total command of this revenue stream and thinks that side-loading is the way to go. “Avoiding the 30 per cent ‘store tax’ is a part of Epic's motivation."... Read more...
Pandora is taking a page from Spotify's book and has unveiled a new plan that will let multiple family members have their own sub-accounts. The Pandora Premium Family Plan costs $14.99 per month, which is the same price Spotify asks for its family account. The new membership gives full access to Pandora Premium features for up to six people in the family. That is where Pandora is trying to set itself apart from the Spotify family plan with its five member slots. Each family member can listen to what they want, when they want. Each can create radio stations and custom playlists, download music for offline listening, and skip or replay songs. All music on the Premium Family Plan is accessible without... Read more...
Over 1,000 North Korean citizens try to defect to South Korea each and every year, and for each of them, the sudden sense of freedom must feel overwhelming. Naturally, North Korea isn't happy with anyone who decides to leave, and the country certainly has the means to seek out and track those who've done so. While the country may not send out investigators to follow everyone who defects, the North Korean government has other creative ways to keep tabs on its former citizens, including creating its own sophisticated malware. More specifically, this mobile device malware will read your personal information, and even upload your photos to a remote cloud server. Clearly, if you want to defect... Read more...
It's May 4th and at least one person near you has said "May the 4th Be With You Today" which is the official catchphrase of Star Wars Day. If you are a Star Wars fan and want to celebrate the day by spending some money, Google Play has a sale for you. To celebrate the day all sorts of audio books, comics, TV shows, and games are on sale. Most of the audiobooks are 25% off with some of the notable titles including The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition, Thrawn (Star Wars), Aftermath: Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Novel. If audiobooks aren't your bag, there are e-books and comics in the sale as well. Notable titles in those genres include... Read more...
One of the things that sets Android apart from other mobile devices and tablets is access to the Google suite of apps that are commonly called GApps. The GApps suite includes a number of applications including Google Play, Gmail, Camera, Keyboard, and others. Google is now adding tighter restrictions on what devices can access the GApps suite. Normally when an OEM complies with Google's requirements for GApps and pre-loads them on their devices, the devices have been certified for the apps to ensure everything works as Google intended. The problem is that some smaller OEMs were skipping that certification process, yet the OEMs were installing and shipping the GApps on their devices. Some OEMs... Read more...
If your Android phone has suddenly started bombarding you with advertisements, you might the victim of malware, and specifically a strain that recently infiltrated Google Play by disguising itself as a bunch of handy utilities. Researchers at security firm Sophos discovered the tricky malware, saying that infected apps amassed over half a million downloads before Google removed them. Six of the booby-trapped apps claimed to be QR code readers, while another billed itself as a smart compass. All of them actually worked as advertised. To further mask the scent of foul play, the hidden adware in each of the infected apps would not fire up right way, "lurking innocently for a few hours before unleashing... Read more...
Google is extending its Instant App experience to now includes select games in the Google Play Store. Called "Google Play Instant," the new feature allows Android users to play game demos by clicking on a link instead of actually downloading and installing the full app. This is an added convenience for Android device owners, and should also benefit developers who can more easily tempt users with their games. "With Google Play Instant, you can just tap and try a game without having to download it first—whether you’re looking to storm a castle on Clash Royale or become a wordmaster with Words with Friends 2. Google Play Instant experiences will be available in the Google Play Store,... Read more...
Google's Android operating is often seen as having a bad reputation with regards to security. We often hear about malware coursing its way through the Google Play Store that can hijack your smartphone, but Google is here to tell us that Android is secure -- or rather, it is at least as secure as Apple’s iOS. With over 2 billion devices actively running Android, securing the wide variety and types of devices can be a challenge. But Google says that "Android security made a significant leap forward in 2017 and many of our protections now lead the industry." Google lays out its long-running efforts to fortify Android's defenses in a 56-page report when you can find here [PDF]. Rather than... Read more...
Google has announced that it has beefed up its efforts to keep Android users safe by expanding the enforcement of its Unwanted Software Policy. The updated policy will help Google to reduce unwanted and harmful behavior on Android. Android users will now see Google Safe Browsing warnings on app and websites that collect the user's personal data without their consent. Google's Paul Stanton wrote, "Apps handling personal user data (such as user phone number or email), or device data will be required to prompt users and to provide their own privacy policy in the app. Additionally, if an app collects and transmits personal data unrelated to the functionality of the app then, prior to collection and... Read more...
A fake WhatsApp application was downloaded more than 1 million times from Google's Play Store before it was finally removed, and that should serve as a wake-up call that Google needs to do a better job vetting its submissions. In this case, the malicious app slipped through the cracks by spoofing the legitimate version, both in appearance (it initially used the same icon) and the developer field. The malicious version was spotted by Nikolaos Chrysaidos, a security researcher at Avast, one of the better known antivirus companies (particularly in the realm of free AV). According to Chrysaidos, the fake WhatsApp application was used by its author to generate revenue through ads. For that to be worthwhile,... Read more...
There is strength in numbers, and that is part of what is driving an increase in cryptocurrency mining malware. The idea is to infect as many mobile devices as possible, and tap into the combined computing power to crunch numbers for profit. Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend (on both mobile and PC)—security outfit Trend Micro says it found apps with malicious cryptocurrency mining capabilities on Google Play. This is not the first time these kinds of apps have appeared in Google Play, and it probably will not be the last. What they have in common is that they use dynamic JavaScript loading and native code injection to avoid detection. Trend Micro is able to identify these types of apps,... Read more...
Google knows that exploits make it through the app development process and could be lurking in some of the most popular apps on the Google Play Store, waiting for a nefarious hacker to take advantage. To help weed out these vulnerabilities, Google has launched the Google Play Security Reward Program. Developers of popular apps are invited to opt-in to the program and if they do, Google will pay out  up to$1,000 for bugs found in those apps. Google writes, "Developers of popular Android apps are invited to opt-in to the program, which will incentivize security research in a bug bounty model. The goal of the program is to further improve app security which will benefit developers, Android... Read more...
Samsung has updated its two-year-old Flow app to now support unlocking Windows 10 devices using compatible smartphone devices and Windows Hello, a handy security feature that is baked into Microsoft's latest operating system. For this to work, the Samsung-brand smartphone must have a fingerprint scanner, and of course Samsung Flow needs to be installed (it is a free download from Google Play). While not all smartphones support this feature, there are nearly a dozen that do. They include the following handsets (as listed by Samsung on the app's Google Play listing): Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, and S6 Edge+ Samsung... Read more...
Silly human, did you really think you would spend this summer lounging at the beach and frolicking at the park? Pshaw! Maybe that is what regular people do, but geeks like us, we take advantage of numerous sales and then bask in the warm glow of our PC monitors! It is not our fault—blame Steam for its Summer Sale, Amazon for its Prime Day extravaganza, and now Google for its markdowns on Google Play.That's right, as if we did not already have plenty of online shops to spend our hard earned cash as we get this summer party started, here comes Google with discounts across the board. Starting today, you will find deals for movies, apps, games, music, TV shows, and books. The sale runs through July... Read more...
Here’s the thing about most types of mobile malware in the wild; they’re avoidable. That doesn’t mean, however, if you’re not paying attention--and especially if you’re the type that likes to customize things as the Android platform is so capable of--that you might not stumble into some nasty code deplorables. Such is the case with a new, very sneaky strain of Android ad malware that has been downloaded to literally millions of devices globally, though predominantly in Southeast Asia. AndroidOS_Xavier_AXM, or Xavier for short, as it is more commonly known, is a tricky little payload that has been up on the Google Play store hiding in over 800 applications and downloaded millions of times. Its... Read more...
Be careful what you download from Google Play, as auto-clicking adware dubbed “Judy” is believed to have infected up to 36.5 million users. The apps have been deemed as malware, despite their overall high review ratings on Google Play. Judy was found on forty-one apps developed by a Korean company Kiniwini, registered on Google Play as ENISTUDIO corp. Hackers developed bridgehead apps that, once downloaded, established a connection with their Command and Control server (C&C). The server replied with payload that included JavaScript code, a user-agent string and URLs that were controlled by the hackers. The Check Point Mobile Research Team noted, "The malware opens the URLs using the user... Read more...
Official app stores are supposed to be safe havens for mobile users to download and install programs and games without fear of mucking up their smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Researchers at veteran security outfit Check Point, makers of the popular ZoneAlarm personal firewall, recent detected a new strain of malware on Google Play that seems intent on enlisting the help of unsuspecting users to participate in a botnet. Dubbed "FalseGuide," the researchers discovered the malware hidden inside more than 40 guide apps for games, the oldest of which was uploaded as early as November 2016. That means it was able to hide for at least five months. Check Point estimates... Read more...
There’s no doubt that the NVIDIA SHIELD TV is an incredibly powerful media platform that not only allows for immersive gaming, but also supports popular 4K streaming services. Powered by a Tegra X1 processor (which also powers the incredibly popular Nintendo Switch), the SHIELD TV does battle with devices like the Apple TV, Fire TV and various Roku models. Today, NVIDIA is expanding the streaming capabilities of the SHIELD TV by adding 4K streaming support for Google Play Movies and TV. The SHIELD TV already had 4K streaming support for services like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Video (among others), but the inclusion of Google Play Movies and TV now puts the media streamer far above all others... Read more...
Everybody likes free things, right? Of course we all do, at least when there are no strings attached. Well, we have good news for Android users—at long last, Google has added a "Free App of the Week" section to the Play Store. Just like it sounds, the new section features a paid app that is temporarily available to download for free. This is a great way to beef up your app catalog with paid titles that you otherwise might have skipped over.Image Source: Google Play (Cartoon Network) This week's free app is Card Wars - Adventure Time by Cartoon Network. The app normally runs $2.99 but is currently available at no cost if you own a compatible Android device. "Floop the Pig! It’s Adventure Time... Read more...
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