Articles about Android

Following Apple's lead from 2016, Microsoft, Facebook and Google replace gun emoji with water pistol

It is now two years since Apple decided that an image of a gun had no place as an emoji. The company replaced the handgun icon with an image of a water pistol, leading to a debate about whether it was the right thing to do.

With further serious shootings and gun crimes bringing firearms into the spotlight time and time again, more technology companies decided to follow suit. The latest names to follow Apple's lead are Microsoft, Facebook and Google, all of whom plan to kill the gun emoji and replace it with a water pistol.

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Google launches Tasks app for iOS and Android, revamps web version

Google Tasks app

The big news from Google today is the launch of the redesigned Gmail, but it's not the only news. The company has also launched a new app called Tasks which -- no prizes for guessing -- allows for management of to-do lists.

The Google Tasks service is nothing new, and it has been accessible from Gmail inboxes and Google Calendar for quite some time, but this is the first time there has been a dedicated app for it. As well as the app, there's also a revamp of the web-based version of Tasks.

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Google pauses development of Allo in favor of RCS Chat

Google logo

Google has had no shortage of chat and messaging tools over the years, and the company just added another one to its list. Google's Chat is based on the RCS (Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services) protocol which it is hoped will succeed SMS.

The company is hitting pause on Allo -- which only launched towards the end of 2016 -- to focus resources on RCS. Google is transferring "almost all" of the team currently working on Allo to Android Messages which will ultimately feature Chat, its own RCS implementation.

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AI-powered offline translation comes to Microsoft Translator apps

Translation button

Having a translation app on your phone is great when you're abroad and want to be able to speak in the local lingo. But if you find yourself without an internet connection, you might struggle to find the words you need.

If you're a Microsoft Translator user, however, this now changes. Microsoft has introduced free, downloadable AI-powered translation packs which the company says brings "the benefit of neural translation technology regardless of whether the device is connected to the cloud or offline".

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International Shopping experience comes to the Amazon Shopping app

Amazon parcels

Amazon is making it easier to browse for goods from international sellers and have them shipped to your home country. The company is bringing the "International Shopping" experience to the Amazon Shopping app, and this simplifies the process of accessing Amazon with local language support and to track down items that ship to your country.

The new experience is available to iOS and Android users, and there is support for Spanish, English, Simplified Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese and German. To start with 25 currencies are supported, but more are due to be added later in the year.

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Android 8.1 Oreo officially rolls out for OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5T back

A little over a month after introducing Android 8.1 in the open beta channel, today OnePlus officially rolls out the latest Oreo version to OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5 users across the globe. This makes it one of the few Android makers to have its latest flagships running up-to-date software.

The official build, OxygenOS 5.1.0, on top of upgrading Android, adds a couple of interesting new features and improves security, as it comes with the latest Android security patch (for April 2018). Of all the changes listed by OnePlus, only one is exclusive to the OnePlus 5T.

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Thousands of Android apps have built-in crypto keys and passwords

Red and blue security padlock

A large number of free Android apps suffer with flaky security because software developers are leaving cryptographic keys embedded and passwords hard-coded.

Speaking at the BSides security conference in San Francisco, software vulnerability analyst Will Dormann revealed how he had found serious security problems in thousands upon thousands of apps. After testing 1.8 million apps, he found almost 20,000 featured built-in passwords and keys, and even when a separate password store was used, user data was still open to attack from simple password crackers.

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Android P could be Android Popsicle

Android Popsicle

Given the order of the alphabet, it came at no surprise that the name of the successor to Android Oreo was going start with the letter P. Until now it has simply been referred to as Android P, but now Google may have given away what the full name will be.

Over on Instagram, Google shared a series of images which were designed to be screengrabbed and used as wallpapers -- something which has become common on Instagram. One of the wallpapers features popsicles, leading to speculation that Android P will in fact be called Android Popsicle.

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Is your smartphone lying to you about having the latest Android security updates?

Updating Android

If you thought your Android phone was patched with all of the latest security updates, it might be time to think again. A report by Security Research Labs found that some phone manufacturers were not only failing to deliver security updates, but were hiding this fact from users.

The company found that some devices suffered a "patch gap" whereby manufacturers altered the date reported to Android -- and users -- about when security updates were last installed, without actually installing any patches.

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The HP Chromebook x2 with detachable screen is ready to take on the iPad Pro and Surface Pro

HP Chromebook x2

There's a new Chromebook on the block -- or there will be soon -- and this HP offering is determined to stand out from the crowd... and give both the Surface Pro and iPad Pro a run for their money.

Running Chrome OS, the HP Chromebook x2 supports Android apps, features a stylus, and -- importantly -- has a detachable screen so it can be used as a tablet or a laptop. The 12.3-inch device comes in at a shade under $600, and the hardware specs are impressive... for the price, at least.

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Discover the best apps and games with Google's Android Excellence April 2018 update

Android Excellence April 2018

It's less than a year since Google launched the Android Excellence program through which the company highlights the very best Android apps and games. The list is refreshed every three months, and Google has now published details of the winners of the accolade for April 2018.

The latest installment includes titles such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC, SoloLearn: Learn to Code for Free, and MARVEL Contest of Champions.

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Intel Remote Keyboard app nixed after discovery of critical remote control vulnerability

Intel logo building

Intel has issued a security advisory about its remote keyboard app after discovering a bug that made it possible for a remote user to mimic keyboard and mouse input with elevated privileges.

Intel Remote Keyboard was available for both iOS and Android, but the critical vulnerability -- and two other bugs with a High rating -- means that it has now been pulled from Google Play and the App Store. Intel is also recommending that anyone using the app uninstalls it as soon as possible.

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Case-Mate launches 'Power Pad' Qi fast wireless charger for iPhone and Android

Wireless charging is nothing new -- I first used it many years ago with a lowly Nokia Lumia running Windows Phone. For years, many Android phones have had this feature too. Apple's iPhone was very late to the Qi charging party, only launching in 2017, but I suppose late is better than never, right?

Today, Case-Mate launches a new wireless charger that is compatible with all Qi smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the latest iPhone devices -- 8, 8 Plus, and X. In fact, it supports fast wireless charging, so you can juice up your device more quickly (not as fast as using a wire, though). Best of all, it has a very unique design, where the charging pad itself can be inserted into a base. This allows the device to charge while laying flat or propped up in either portrait or landscape modes. In other words, you can decide how the phone is positioned, and you can change it whenever you want -- a very clever design.

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6et ready! OnePlus teases the OnePlus 6 and opens forum for the upcoming flagship

OnePlus 6 6et Reader teaser video

There's always a great sense of excitement surrounding the announcement of a new OnePlus phone, and this is something that the company is only too happy to play on.

We've already seen a leaked photo of the yet-to-be-released handset and heard that the phone has an iPhone X-style notch; now OnePlus has (pretty much) confirmed the phone's name and started its "6et ready!" teaser campaign. While we were all but certain about the name, it has now been officially established that it will be called the OnePlus 6. Well ... almost.

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Less than half of Android security apps offer effective protection

A new study from independent testing lab AV-Comparatives reveals that of over 200 Android security apps tested the majority are dubious, unsafe or ineffective.

The company downloaded 204 apps from the Google Play store in January this year and found 84 of the apps detected over 30 percent of malicious samples, and had zero false alarms. 79 detected under 30 percent of malware samples and/or had a high false alarm rate.

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