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Google Aims to Defrag Android Universe
July 01, 2014
As any Android user knows, the version you're using can vary widely because it depends on parties other than Google. That's why nearly two-thirds of users are running a version of Android introduced in 2012 or earlier. With Android making the leap to wearables and the Internet of Things, however, Google is aiming to make that kind of fragmentation a thing of the past.
Google's GAL Makes Glowing I/O Debut
June 27, 2014
One of the many notable things to come out of Google's I/O conference this week was the announcement that 40 new auto industry companies representing 25 brands had joined the Open Automotive Alliance, which Google formed earlier this year. Google also unveiled Google Automotive Link, or GAL, which works like Apple's Carplay, along with an Android Auto software development kit.
Google I/O Offers Devs Big Bonanza
June 25, 2014
Google on Wednesday announced a plethora of opportunities for developers at its I/O conference. The upcoming version of Android, currently known as "L," will have 5,000 new apps. Android L offers a new design language consistent across Android, desktops, tablets and the Web. "It's all about developing the ecosystem," said tech analyst Ronald Gruia.
Nokia X2 Mixes and Matches Android Apps, Windows Phone Services
June 25, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced the launch of the Nokia X2, the first device to come out in Nokia's Android-based X line since Microsoft acquired the company earlier this year. The Nokia X series targets emerging markets with a low-cost family of smartphones offering access to Android apps and Microsoft services. However, the new Nokia X2 offers an enhanced experience.
HTC May Trot Out Nexus 9 Before the Brand Is X'ed Out
June 23, 2014
Specifications for HTC's 8.9-inch Volantis tablet, which may be renamed "Nexus 9," have surfaced. The device reportedly will ship with a 2048 x 1440 display, a Tegra K1 Nvidia Logan 64-bit processor, and 2 GB RAM. It can have either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage, and will come with 8 MP rear-facing and 3 MP front-facing cameras. It may prove both thicker and heavier than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.4.
Researchers Find Android Security on Par With iOS
June 18, 2014
The open source mobile operating system Android long has been considered by security experts to be the mobile OS most vulnerable to security threats, but iOS is just as vulnerable. However, the two OSes expose users to different types of threats. The perceived greater security of iOS rests on Apple's control of app distribution rather than on any inherent superiority of the OS over Android.
Mozilla Trumpets Firefox Smartphone Progress
June 11, 2014
Mozilla showcased the latest developments in its plan to offer inexpensive smartphones running the open source Firefox OS at the Mobile Asia Expo this week in Shanghai. Although Mozilla has announced plans to sell Firefox smartphones for less than $25 and has teamed with Chinese fabless semiconductor firm Spreadtrum to create reference designs, it did not mention pricing in its expo announcements.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Android Launcher Apps
June 05, 2014
One easy way to refresh an aging Android smartphone phone is to replace the home screen with a Launcher. Launchers are skins with themes and unique behaviors, like transparency and scrolling styles. Our No. 1 pick is Nova launcher, an extremely customizable launcher app designed to speed up performance. Neat tricks include substituting KitKat-styled icons for the aging Ice Cream sandwich versions.
Samsung to Try Out Tizen Smartphone in Russia
June 03, 2014
Samsung this week officially launched its long-anticipated Tizen phone, at the Tizen Developer Conference being held in San Francisco through Wednesday. One description of Tizen is that it's an open source Linux-based operating system from Samsung -- but that might be open to debate. The Samsung Z Tizen phone initially will debut in Russia in the third quarter.
Will Samsung and Apple Lay Down Their Swords?
May 20, 2014
After years of legal wrangling over their mobile technology intellectual patent rights in courtrooms around the world, Apple and Samsung apparently are ready to call it a day. Representatives of the companies reportedly are in negotiations to settle their legal differences out of court. This is not the first time such a rumor has surfaced, noted Peter Toren, partner with Weisbrod Matteis & Copley.
Xiaomi Serves Up Apple-Flavored Mi Pad
May 16, 2014
Xiaomi fired a new salvo in its attempt to compete with major names like Apple and Samsung as it introduced its first tablet, the Mi Pad. The 7.9-inch Android device -- which has the same-size surface as the iPad mini -- uses an Nvidia quad-core Tegra K1 processor and will be manufactured by Foxconn, cofounder and CEO Lei Jun announced. The Mi Pad includes 2 GB of RAM and WiFi connectivity.
For Safe, Private Mobile Browsing, Huddle Under F-Secure's Freedome
May 15, 2014
At a meeting with the press earlier this year, F-Secure Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen -- yes, the man who sparked the angry exodus of a small group of malware vendors from the RSA security conference -- mentioned the company would soon unveil Freedome, a cloud-based service that would be pretty much the bees' knees for protecting mobile devices.
Ending the Embedded Linux Patent War Before It Begins
May 13, 2014
The Open Invention Network was created in 2005 as a white hat organization to protect Linux. It has considerable financial backing from Google, IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. More than 800 organizations worldwide have joined the community by signing the free OIN license. A clamor recently has been growing for OIN to take steps to protect embedded Linux from patent pillagers.
All Things Appy: Top 5 New or Improved Android Apps
May 01, 2014
Five of the top free Android apps that either have been introduced for the first time or significantly updated this year are in the categories of password management, Web browser compression, lock screen functionality and media. Google's Android OS apps can be obtained in Google's Play Store. Browse to the Play Store -- you'll find it in your device's app drawer. Then search for the app.
Google Mounts $100K Project Ara Dev Challenge
April 16, 2014
Google announced a $100,000 developers' challenge prize on Wednesday, the second day of its Project Ara modular phone developers' conference. The top two runners-up will get all-expenses paid trips for two or three people to the next Ara devcon -- there will be a few more held this year -- and guaranteed hardware for the project, said Project Ara lead Paul Eremenko.
Fun and Angst With Google Glass
April 15, 2014
Google Glass, which has been the focus of considerable controversy, went on sale Tuesday -- for one day only -- at $1,500, with Android KitKat and new features that include improved battery life, photo bundles, photo replies and voice command sorting. However, one feature -- video calling -- has been eliminated because fewer than 10 percent of Explorer beta users employed it.
Mozilla in the Eye of the Storm
April 15, 2014
The uproar that erupted over Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich's appointment as CEO of its subsidiary Mozilla Corp. and resulted in his stepping down perhaps was symptomatic of the troubles the foundation is going through, in that opposition to his taking the post had both political and technological dimensions. Politically, the firestorm was over Eich's anti-gay marriage stance.
Americans Distrust Tech Companies
April 07, 2014
The steady stream of reports on government surveillance of Americans has taken a toll on the image of high-tech companies, according to a Harris poll. More than two-thirds of Americans -- 67 percent -- feel technology companies violate their users' trust by helping the government spy on its citizens, suggests the poll of 2,000 consumers, which was sponsored by ESET.
Sony Gives Android Wear the Cold Shoulder
March 25, 2014
It's been just barely a week since Google's Android Wear project made its initial debut, but already one major maker of wearable devices has snubbed the new platform. Sony this week said it will stick with its own Android-based SmartWatch platform for wearables instead. Consumer electronics manufacturers including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung have signed on as Android Wear partners.
Android-x86 Just Might Make a Good Linux Desktop Alternative
March 20, 2014
Working with the Android OS on a desktop computer environment takes personal computing in a new direction. How many will follow it remains to be seen. The release of Android-x86 version 4.4-RC1 (KitKat-x86) by the Android-x86 Project brings the viability of an Android distro as an alternative desktop several steps closer, but it is still a work in progress.
Android Stomps Into Wearables Field
March 19, 2014
Google on Wednesday released a developer preview for Android Wear, a day after announcing the project, which Android head honcho Sunder Pichai teased at SXSW earlier this month. The preview, which includes a software development kit, an Android emulator and a preview support library, is for development and testing only -- not for production apps.
WhatsApp Flaw Opens Database Doors to Hackers
March 12, 2014
An Android developer's disclosure that it's possible to hack into the WhatsApp database and read the text of the chats from another application could be a big headache for Facebook, which has agreed to purchase the app for $19 billion. "This is not a bug, but a design decision of WhatsApp," said Bas Bosschert, chief technology officer of Double Think.

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