Google Android One Program Lands in Europe

Google’s Android One, a standard created for Android systems, mainly targeted at a range of customers looking forward to buying their first smartphone. The devices are usually low-end and run the latest version of Android. This program is already up and running in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Philippines and Indonesia.

Google has announced that Turkey will get its first Android One smartphone, the General Mobile 4G on May 15th. The device is mid-end on the basis of specifications. It will run the latest version of Android and will be supported by Google for 2 years from launch; it is priced at $263 off contract.

  • 4G LTE Enabled
  • 13 MP front camera and a 5 MP camera
  • 5 ” IPS with Resolution of 1,280 × 720 and protected by durable Gorilla® Glass 4
  • Qualcomm’s 64 Bit Chipset, Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916) with 2 GB RAM

This is one of the biggest launches we’ve done anywhere, not just India, Phillipines and Indonesia. For us Android One was a journey to try and reach the next 5 billion people. And India accounts for a substantial portion of the share where free border trade with Nepal was also included. It was found that nearly 7 percent of Android Ones produced in India were bought by people from Nepal. Android One was conceived deeply with India in mind. VP of Google, Sundar Pichai said in NDTV Interview.

Thank you Google Turkey Blog for providing us with this information.

Samsung Unleashes Three New Galaxy Note 4 Ads, Injects Humour

Apple may have its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on the market, but Samsung is just beginning to heavily push its new Galaxy Note 4 phablet. The South Korean giant has just unveiled a bunch of new advertisements, highlighting the various functions of its QHD-powered handset.

The new ads are part of Samsung’s ‘Do You Note?’ series, hitting Samsung Mobile’s YouTube account. The three videos, Read, Set, Saved; Ready Set, Photo War; and Ready, Set, How-to show off various functions of the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. These ads highlight the use of the S Pen, some of the special features found inside of the Note 4, the Photo Note app, app multitasking, and Smart select, respectively. Check out the three new ads below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMJ0WYiadnE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEP6Np0BO4g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlId9Yv6xsU

Source: BGR.

Google Fixes Android Wear Bug Preventing Paid Apps From Being Installed on Wearables

Google has posted an update on its Android Developer blog to help developers ensure their paid apps work on Android Wear-powered smartwatches.

Since developers are still becoming more familiar with wearables, standalone Wear apps aren’t available yet – and because Wear app installation is “very codependent” – paid apps feature App Encryption. Downloaded paid apps are given device-specific keys, so they become more difficult for hackers to break through; however, the encryption keys reportedly didn’t reach the watch.

The entire situation was rather confusing, because malfunctioning paid apps likely shouldn’t have taken place at all – but there are only a small number of paid Wear apps right now, so only impacted a small number.

Before Google scrambled to release a fix, the only way to install to smartwatches was to not charge for paid apps, so the encryption security from the Play Store doesn’t interfere.

The smartwatch market is expected to boom over the next few years, with Google prepared to use its popular Android OS to try to capture immediate dominance.  However, developer support will need to expand rapidly to meet potential interest from third-party app creators trying to cash in.

Thank you to Android Police for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of The Next Web

Selling Your Google Android Smartphone? Might Want to Double Check All Data is Wiped

Consumers reselling their Google Android smartphones need to focus on overwriting data because simply deleting files isn’t enough anymore, AVAST Software recently discovered.

The security company was able to easily retrieve personal data from smartphones it purchased online, including 40,000 personal images, emails, and text messages.  In a small number of cases, AVAST was also able to identify the previous owner of the device.

As for the exact rundown of what was found on the devices, Avast offered this rather amusing – yet frightening assessment:

  • More than 40,000 stored photos
  • More than 1,500 family photos of children
  • More than 750 photos of women in various stages of undress
  • More than 250 selfies of what appear to be the previous owner’s manhood
  • More than 1,000 Google searches
  • More than 750 emails and text messages
  • More than 250 contact names and email addresses
  • Four previous owners’ identities
  • One completed loan application

Here is what Jude McColgan, AVAST Mobile President, in a statement:

“The amount of personal data we retrieved from the phones was astounding.  We found everything from a filled-out loan form to more than 250 selfies of what appear to be the previous owner’s manhood.  We purchased a variety of Android devices from sellers across the U.S. and used readily available recovery software to dig up personal information that was previously on the phones.  The take-away is that even deleted data on your used phone can be recovered unless you completely overwrite it.”

On popular auction website eBay alone, there are more than 80,000 used smartphones for sale everyday – not including Craigslist, Internet forums, and exchanging phones among friends and family.

Thank you to Avast for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Xda Developers

BlackBerry CEO John Chen Takes a Jab at Samsung Android Mobile Security

BlackBerry CEO John Chen applauded Google for its efforts to increase Android mobile operating system security, but also took the time to throw a few jabs at Samsung.

Android, which is the most popular mobile phone OS, has struggled to defend against malware and other security problems.  Samsung created Knox, a hardware and software security platform for its Android-powered smartphones, designed for enterprise users.

In addition to saying less than 2 million Samsung phones are running Knox, Chen said its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) security software is widely deployed – and battle-tested for enterprise users.

Here is what Chen said:

“Tens of millions of BlackBerry devices are trusted every day by Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.  Our BES software dominates the enterprise mobility management space, with more business customers than our top three competitors combined.  And while Knox tries to build a fortress upon an insecure foundation, BlackBerry’s entire infrastructure is constructed upon a multi-decade bedrock of mobile management and security expertise.”

Despite the Apple iPhone, and then Samsung Galaxy S line of smartphones completely stealing the smartphone market from BlackBerry, the company remains popular among enterprise users.  However, both Android and iOS are developing enhanced security measures to allow their respective smartphones to be securely used in the workplace.

Thank you to Information Week for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Yahoo Financial

LG Shows Off G Watch, a Google Android Wear Smartwatch

The first Google Android Wear-powered smartwatch to be released will be the LG G Watch, and indicates the South Korean electronics company is ready to throw down in a competitive market.

The LG G Watch has the following specifications: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.65-inch LCD, 512MB RAM, 4GB memory, and Bluetooth 4.0.  It measures 37.9×46.5×9.95mm and weighs 63 grams. The smartwatch is running the Android Wear.

Here is what Dr. Jong-seok Park, LG Electronics Mobile Communications president and CEO, said in a statement:

“As one of the first to market with Android Wear, LG wanted to develop a product that functions as an essential companion device but most importantly, was simple to use.  We wanted a device that would be simple to learn and so intuitive that users wouldn’t even have to think about how to use its features.  That’s what the LG G Watch is all about.”

Interested consumers can pre-order the watch via Google Play for $229 (£135).

The smartwatch market is getting crowded, with Samsung, Pebble, and multiple other companies competing with one another.  Don’t forget Apple also wants to make a big splash in the surging market, to carve out a piece of the pie for itself.

Thank you to LG Electronics for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of LG

Razer’s Android TV-Powered Device Expected in Fall 2014

Gaming peripheral company Razer continues to expand its product line, and announced plans to develop a micro-console using the Google Android TV operating system.  The connected entertainment device will be geared towards gamers, and with Android TV’s design towards gamers, there is huge potential despite an intensely crowded market.

The Razer device will stream movies, TV episodes, music and apps, and navigation can be done via Android-powered smartphones, tablets, and through voice control.

The micro-console marks Razer’s first Android-specific product the company has manufactured, but cannot afford to make too many mistakes.

Here is what Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO, said in a press statement:

“This is a console of the future.  Built on Google’s incredible Android TV platform, the Razer micro-console incorporates not only hardcore and casual gaming, but music, movies and other entertainment and social applications, all on an affordable system.”

The device will be available this fall.  Pricing was not released but an “affordable” MSRP has been promised.

Razer originated by making peripherals such as mice, keyboards and gaming headsets, but has expanded to laptops, gaming systems, and wearables.  The design team comes up with creative techniques and listens to feedback from the community to make improvements.

Thank you to Razer for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Razer

Google Rolls Out Android TV, Ready to Compete With Rivals

After months of speculation and rumors, Google publicly announced the Android TV, a custom service that will help provide viewers with recommendations on what you might like to watch.

Users will be able to control Android TV with a remote control, gaming controller, mobile app, human voice, or using a smartwatch powered by Android Wear.  App support from Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and Google-operated apps will be immediately available, as Google recruits other developers to jump on the bandwagon.

Looking ahead to 2015, Android TV will find support high-definition and ultra-high-definition support from Sony, Philips, Sharp, and TP Vision.  Gaming peripheral company Razer and electronics maker ASUS also will jump into the Android TV fun.

There is an ongoing race from Google, Apple, Roku, Amazon.com, and other set-top box manufacturers to control digital content in the living room.

The Google TV, a failed attempt at trying to capture attention in the living room, showed Google that simply bringing apps on smartphones into the living room wouldn’t work.  Learning from its mistakes, Google should be better prepared to make a splash with Android TV, as even more users interact with Android-powered technologies.

Every time someone uses an Android-powered device, it provides Google another opportunity to display advertising.  To help keep costs under control, expect Google to woo app developers to provide support for its new technology.

Thank you to the Wall Street Journal for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Google

Kaspersky Lab Detects New Mobile Malware Targeting Google Android, Apple iOS Devices


New malware created by the HackingTeam is targeting mobile devices powered by Apple iOS and Google Android, as security companies largely struggle to keep up, according to security firm Kaspersky Lab.

The use of ‘Remote Control System’ (RCS) malware has been detected in the past, but the Italy-based HackingTeam is continuing to perfect their craft.  In an unusual twist, the RCS is licensed for use by governments and law enforcement agencies to snoop on users.

The Trojan is designed to operate in a discreet, stealthy manner, and won’t largely interfere with a user’s normal interaction with a smartphone.  The security issue intercepts phone calls and SMS messages, along with monitoring messages sent through third-party chat message programs.

HackingTeam has an extensive RCS infrastructure, with at least 326 servers operating in 40 different countries spread throughout the world.  Most of the servers are located in the United States, UK, Ecuador, Kazakhstan and Canada, Kaspersky said in its report.

Here is what Sergey Golovanov, Kaspersky Lab Principal Security Researcher, said in a press statement:

“The presence of these servers in a given country doesn’t mean to say they are used by that particular country’s law enforcement agencies.  However, it makes sense for the users of RCS to deploy C&Cs in locations they control – where they are minimal risks of cross-border legal issues or server seizures.”

As more users transition towards smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, cybercriminals are largely targeting these types of devices.  Law enforcement and government also are interested in snooping on mobile devices, understanding many users have large amounts of personal information stored on phones and tablets.

Thank you to Kaspersky Lab For providing us with this information

Image courtesy of The Hacker News

Facebook Android App Runs Lighter, Faster For Emerging Markets


Facebook recently rolled out an app update for Google Android devices, explaining insight on how a trip to Africa helped make global changes.  The company wants to ensure users in emerging markets have the same Facebook experience, with a focus on design.

Following a recent trip to Africa, where developers tested the latest Facebook app on several different Android devices, there were a number of overlooked issues.  A combination of low-bandwidth and unreliable Internet service and memory space proved to be a major problem.  Monthly data plans were ripped through in just 40 minutes.

The Facebook developers returned home and created a roadmap to improve its mobile service.  The new Facebook app is 65 percent leaner and cuts data consumption in half, a critical oversight for many users that have unlimited data.

Here is what Alex Sourov, Facebook engineer, said in a recent blog post:

“Our trip to Africa really highlighted the importance of our work on mobile performance, data efficiency, networking reliability, and application size for emerging markets.  We’ve made a concerted effort to improve in all these areas and achieved a significant amount of success in the past year.”

When Facebook began to understand the importance of mobile service, the company quickly streamlined development.  As many users access the Web only through phones and mobile devices, this will be beneficial.

Thank you the Facebook Blog for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Facebook

First Bus Rolling Out Mobile Payments, Digital Ticket System

Bus company First Bus plans to launch an app for Apple iPhone and Google Android smartphone users, giving them the chance to buy tickets using their smartphones. The app is scheduled for release on Monday.

Once the app has been downloaded, riders have to enter payment information and create a secure PIN number – and will be able to purchase tickets on their smartphones before boarding the bus, and then showing the bus driver a digital ticket.

First Bus is reportedly one of the first bus carriers to offer this type of service in the UK. However, as casual users become increasingly comfortable downloading and using apps, it could become common in the future.

Digital tickets isn’t a make or break deal for First Bus, which has become more creative in their marketing efforts. The company’s effort to cut fares in Bristol has paid off with a boost in passenger growth from the risky gamble.  First Bus will see how its recent marketing campaigns work and will modify behavior as needed.

Thank you to The News for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of East Norfolk Bus

Google Android, Microsoft Windows Phone to Receive Smartphone Kill Switches


Following a drop in theft due to the Apple iPhone iOS 7 kill switch, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone mobile operating systems will also receive similar treatment.

It’s good to see Microsoft including a kill switch, but this is critical to deter theft for Android – the Samsung Galaxy S series of smartphones are popular among consumers, and equally popular among criminals. It’s unknown when Microsoft and Google will roll out these kill switches, but they will become available soon.

In major metropolitan areas, especially in the United States, theft and robberies related to smartphones is a common occurrence. Thieves are able to steal popular smartphone models and flip them on the black market quickly, hopefully before the owner is able to brick the device.

Here is what the New York Attorney General said:

“An activated kill switch converts an easy-to-sell, high-value multimedia device into a jumble of plastic and glass, drastically reducing its street value.”

In Europe, one in three Europeans experienced theft or loss of a smartphone during 2013, according to reports. Police authorities, phone manufacturers, and wireless carriers hope kill switches will deter thieves away from smartphones, which can be remotely bricked before they are re-sold.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information

Emerging Markets Embracing Low-Cost Smartphones as Competition Rises


The Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S smartphones dominate the United States and Europe, but struggle to sell their pricey models in emerging markets.  Meanwhile, local smartphone makers are finding great success selling their low-cost devices in China, India, Africa, and other select locations.

Handset makers Spice, Intex, Celkon and other companies release devices with starting prices as low as £17 to consumers, wooing first-time smartphone users.  Micromax, Lava Play and Karbonn have 31 percent of the Indian smartphone market, releasing smartphones for £50 – but lower-cost devices will make the booming market even more competitive.

Here is what Vishal Tripathi, Gartner research firm principal research analyst said:

“There may be a plethora of devices in the ultralow-cost smartphone price band, but their success will not be determined only by providing basic connectivity and access to app store, but they meet users’ expectations of decent camera quality, acceptable battery life, quick touch and response time, no heating issue at minimum usage.”

Mozilla also plans to jump into the market in India with its low-cost device running the Firefox operating system.  The popular software company looks to make it easier and more affordable for consumers transitioning from feature phones to smartphones.

Although many western smartphone users wouldn’t be interested in purchasing low-cost, entry-level models, expect Google to push its Android platform to eager first-time smartphone customers.  Chinese manufacturers such as Xioami, Zopo, JiauYu, Mogu, Meizu and Iocean also ship their products outside of China, prompting a price war in South America, Africa, and other select Asian markets.

Thank you to The Economic Times for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of SCMP