Microsoft set the world on fire this week with the release of Windows 10 as a free download for existing Windows users. And in our review of the OS, we found that Edge, Windows 10’s new web browser, is a sleek and speedy onramp to the information superhighway. Simply upgrading to the latest and greatest software doesn’t make you impervious to harm on the internet, however, so last week we asked you to share how you stay secure online. Caroline Leopold doles out some handy tips for password management and stresses the importance of HTTPS. Meanwhile, Jess James has a bone to pick with Google’s all-encompassing power over Android, and Bob Summerwill thinks we could all be more efficient at our jobs if we eliminated synchronous operations from the workplace and embraced asynchronous communication instead.
Since we’ve told you what we think of Microsoft’s latest version of Windows, we want to hear your thoughts too. This week, tell us if you’ve taken advantage of Satya Nadella’s largesse to grab a copy, and what you think of Win10. If you’re a Windows person, but don’t plan to upgrade, well, tell us why not? And finally, if you’re a Mac user, are you tempted to leave the cozy confines of OS X?
“Well guess what? Our work “work streams” suffer from exactly the same concurrency problems as computers, because these patterns are the nature of the beast for any coordinated activities, whether that is in digital form for computers or in organization form for team activities within corporations.”
Read the rest of Why I will probably refuse your meeting request and not answer my phone by Bob Summerwill
“One of the biggest security risks is when you are using an unsecured Wifi hotspot. Hackers can collect all of the data you sending, including private emails, credit card information and security information. Then, hackers take that information and masquerade as you, which can cause havoc to your bank account and compromises your identity.”
Read the rest of How-to: stay secure online by Caroline Leopold
“And so, when I put inserted my SD card all excited that my awesome solution was imminent, and headed giddy and breathless into the configuration of my Google Music app (and my camera app, for that matter), to tell it to use my SD card I was met with nothing but a greyed out button and the bitter sting of disappointment.”
Read the rest of Digital Therapy: share your most frustrating tech moments by Jess James
Your Dose of Inspiration
Microsoft has finally made Windows 10 available to the world, and upgrading is free for existing users. Critics’ responses has been good, but we want to know if you’re on board the Win10 train, and what you think of the OS. If you’re not, well, we want to know that too. And, if you’re a dyed in the wool Mac fan, are you now tempted to take the Microsoft plunge? Why or why not?
Earlier this week, mobile software startup Nextbit revealed that it’s about to launch its first smartphone. The move comes as no surprise — it’d be silly for a company to hire Scott Croyle, HTC’s former head of design, just to work on some cool continuity software on Android, right? We caught up with Nextbit CEO Tom Moss at Hong Kong’s RISE conference and learned that not only will Foxconn be manufacturing the phone, but the design will “easily stand out” from the crowd.
Moss, who was in charge of Google’s Android business development from 2007 to 2010, said the first device will be very focused on solving pain points and improving the entire experience through cloud technology — some of which may be monetized from power users. As to what features we can expect, we imagine they will be something along the lines of Nextbit’s app continuity technology and virtual limitless storage, though Moss wouldn’t confirm. Likewise, the exec was mum on whether it’ll run CyanogenMod or a different Android ROM, despite the fact that he is a founding board member of Cyanogen Inc.
“There is a shift happening where the new high-end for Android is $300 to $400.”
But one thing’s for sure: Much like the flagship phones from Xiaomi and OnePlus, Nextbit is aiming for the same “affordable premium” space to offer great specs for a reasonable volume with its Foxconn-made device. “There is a shift happening where the new high-end for Android is $300 to $400 (off-contract). That’s where there are Android consumers who are willing to spend more money for a higher-spec phone, but they’re not willing to give in the extra $300 on fashion brands that iPhone consumers do.”
The exec went on to explain that Apple has pretty much dominated the higher price tier, even though spec-wise the iPhones may be inferior to their Android counterparts, which proves his point on how it’s more about the experience. While Samsung manages to maintain some volume in that same space, it also spends billions of dollars in marketing each year to get there. Other mobile giants such as HTC and LG have also struggled recently, and given their scale, they simply can’t afford to cut prices.
“At that price point, Android devices just can’t sell, period. That price band should be off-limits for Android users.”
Moss wasn’t afraid to admit that Nextbit’s new business model has taken a page out of Xiaomi’s book: cut out the middle man, actively engage with users and deeply integrate services. On the stage at RISE, the CEO added that Nextbit’s first phone won’t be headed to a US carrier, as it would otherwise cost about $4 to $5 million more for the testing and certifications, not to mention that it would take an extra six to nine months to get to market as well.
“It’s a great fucking phone, I promise. It’s my personal guarantee.”
Ironically, it was the same stage where Kirt McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen Inc., openly criticized Xiaomi of copying Apple. “If you look at what Xiaomi does, they just rip off Apple and make a semi-modified version of Android, there’s really not a lot of innovation happening there.” Hugo Barra, VP of International at Xiaomi, has repeatedly responded to such accusations by suggesting that Apple copied HTC’s design, aka the work of Scott Croyle, who is now working with Cyanogen’s founding board member at Nextbit. The circle is complete.
Just before we parted ways, Moss reminisced about seeing the first public reaction on the T-Mobile G1, the first commercially available Android phone, after working tirelessly on it. The jolly exec hopes to evoke a similar emotional feel when the Nextbit phone is released, and yes, he may even be shedding tears of joy that day.
“Once you see it… I swear to god, you’re gonna fucking love it. It’s a great fucking phone, I promise. It’s my personal guarantee.”
If you have been waiting for your 3rd installment of the Android M developer previews, originally slated by Google to be released at the end of July, you can go ahead and take a moment to relax: it’s not happening anytime soon.
According to Android Developer Advocate, Wojtek Kaliciński, the preview has been indefinitely postponed.
Google had intended for each of the three developer previews to be released at the end of each month since Android M’s announcement (May, June, and July), but for various reasons, Developer Preview 2 was a few weeks late and not reaching devices until mid July. Maybe it has been this particular setback that’s delayed Developer Preview 3 or a whole new set of unforeseen problems that’s made it unready for release.
Android M Developer Preview 3 is expected to be the final developer preview before the official launch of the yet unnamed Android M sometime in late Q3. As is customary, the official launch will more than likely coincide with the announcement of the 2015 Google Nexus devices.
Stay tuned to Talk Android and Google’s official Android Developers page on Google+ to find out when the 3rd preview is available.
Source: Wojtek Kalicinski (Google+)
Come comment on this article: Android M Developer Preview 3 is officially delayed until further notice
We sort of loved the dual-screened YotaPhone 2, and we weren’t alone — nearly 450 people ordered devices from the company’s Indiegogo campaign earlier this month, and a few of them are going to be very disappointed. In an email (obtained by The Verge) fired off to backers earlier this morning, Yota Devices cancelled the phone’s US launch entirely thanks to “unforeseen delays including both production and delivery of the North American variant of YotaPhone 2 from our manufacturer.”
Long story short, the project’s key supplier couldn’t come through in time and US customers would’ve received their units much later than their friends abroad. That probably wouldn’t have been an issue for at least some backers, but Yota Devices said those lengthy delays could potentially screw up its plans for 2016 — including production of a new, “cheaper and better” YotaPhone model. Just to be clear, if you backed this project and live outside the United States, you’re just peachy — you’ll get the international version more-or-less on time. If you fall into that other, less fortunate camp, you’ve got two options right now: Either make do with an international model that doesn’t support US LTE bands, or request a full refund/wait patiently. Managing supply chains are a proper pain in the ass, but if there’s something of a silver lining here if you look closely enough. The folks in charge have linked up with a new manufacturer and they seem confident that these supply SNAFUs won’t plague the company as it spreads the dual-screen love to new markets. We’ll just see about that.
Filed under: Mobile
Via: The Verge
Smartphones are pretty quick these days, offering buttery smooth multi-tasking and packing enough grunt to push out plenty of pixels for high resolution gaming. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the world of smartphones was quite different not so long ago. So, let’s take a little time to appreciate just how far our little smartphones have come.
We could spend ages talking through every new chip, technological breakthrough and chip design under the sun, but I just can’t bring myself to type out that many model numbers, instead let’s talk performance. Although benchmarks might not be perfect, they’re not a bad guide to theoretical peak performance between devices running the same test. GeekBench is one of the more reliable and has achieves that go back quite a way, so we’ll be pulling some data from there.
Android vs iOS
There’s no better place to start than the old Android vs Apple grudge match, so let’s delve back in time to see who topped the smartphone benchmarks each year. Apple may have been the first on the market all those years ago, but it’s an advantage that Android has been very quick to close in on.
Much as it did back then, Apple still has a heavy input into the design of its smartphone SoCs, while Android mostly relies on big market players to provide chips for a range of products. Perhaps not unexpectedly, it’s been a close run race for several years, but the past couple have seen an interesting trend emerge. Apple’s iPhone range has built a steady lead with single core performance, while the best Android phones have leapt ahead with multi-core performance.
We can directly correlate this large jump in performance to the introduction of big.LITTLE octa-core SoCs, while Apple remains more interested in per core performance. We have previously discussed how Android makes use of multiple cores and this is helping Android see notable performance gains in certain scenarios, as well as aiming to improve battery life in less demanding tasks.
Performance by brand
Android is a big place, so it’s only right to examine the broader competition. For this chart we’re looking at the major flagship releases each year from some of Android’s biggest global brands. It’s tricky to find data on every handset, but should give us a rough idea about where the competition has been.
This chart nicely demonstrates Motorola’s shift to and from the mid-tier market, while LG managed to keep up with the big players in the market thanks to its Nexus handsets. Samsung has consistently held a position at the front of mobile processing technology, partly thanks to its own range of Exynos Socs, as has Sony, for the most part.
We shouldn’t be surprised to see a close run race between all of the big Android players, as most smartphones have been making use of the same processors in each generation, many of them from Qualcomm. The only real performance differences tend to last a few months, as companies race to be the first to the next milestone.
This past few years have been an interesting period in the mobile SoC arms race, as manufacturers leapt from the older Qualcomm S4 designs up to faster, quad-core chips and finally into the octa-core behemoths of today’s handsets, all in the space of just two to three years. Samsung managed to leapfrog the competition with its octa-core big.LITTLE Galaxy Note 4 at the end of 2014 and seems to have maintained a notable advantage this year thanks to its 14nm technology. Other companies have transitioned over to Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon 810 octa-core chip this generation, but is a tad behind on a 20nm manufacturing process.
LG has seen the slowest rate of improvement in the past few years, having been early into the Snapdragon 800 series with the Nexus 5 but then choosing to avoid the more recent 810 in favour of Qualcomm’s hexa-core 808 for its LG G4.
Bang per buck
One of the greatest things about technology is that it gradually become more affordable. You don’t have to pay top dollar for compelling smartphone performance these days, but that has not always been the case. Take a look at this next chart which plots performance against price over the past five years.
As we would expect, today’s handsets cost half as much as they did a few years ago and offer up equal, if not improved performance.
As an example, the sub $150 Moto E second generation offers up similar performance to yesteryear’s $500+ Galaxy S2, and runs circles around this decade’s early and far more costly Android handsets, such as the HTC Nexus One.
We can also spot an interesting dynamic that has played out between the very premium $500+ market and the mid-range game. 2012 and 2013 saw the gap between the high and low tier markets close thanks to the Nexus 4 and 5. This ended with the introduction of the pricey Nexus 6, but low cost brands from Asia have picked up the baton.
That said, there is now a more notable performance gap between the very high-end phones packing the latest octa-core chips and those which are still relying on older or cheaper SoCs. Samsung, Sony, HTC, and LG have a lead so far this year as first adopters, but this is already changing, as lower cost manufacturers gear up their own next-gen releases, such as the OnePlus 2 and the Moto X Style, which boast flagship performance with sub $400 price tags.
Another interesting trend can be seen when we look at the single-core performance of these same handsets.
Turning to the sub $250 market, the trend looks quite similar to the premium market of five years ago. Single core performance has been close run between the two tiers, the performance gap has occurred as budget smartphones remained locked on old dual-core setups. However, falling prices in multi-core and more powerful core architectures has seen the $150-$250 price bracket really close the gap with more expensive handsets, thanks to low-cost smartphones like the ZTE Grand S2.
High Performance phones on a budget
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Today we’re left with a more evenly spread range of options for both price and performance than we had even two years ago, let along five. The hardware that fits in our pocket has come a huge way in less than a decade and it’s going to be exciting to see where we end up.
For developers, allowing the public to evaluate apps before general release is paramount — it helps weed out the bugs that could derail an otherwise successful launch. Both Apple and Google offer the capability, but TestFlight features have only been baked into iOS for the better part of a year and Android owners have typically had to jump through a number of hoops in order to sign up. With that in mind, Google has made some welcome changes that take the hassle out of the process.
First up is a new open beta option that lets developers share a link and let you sign up with a single click. No groups, no step-by-step processes, just follow the link and start testing. Next up is email testing. App makers conduct a private test, but can choose to share their creations with participants via email. Similar to an open beta, click the link and you’ll immediately be opted-in.
Creators can still use their old Google+ communities or Google Groups, but they’ll now have the option to move across to an open test without losing their existing user base. For developers that like to give their apps some air before unleashing them on the world, the extra choice will be welcome. If you enjoy testing apps, it means you’ll still be able to try out cool new features, but it’ll now be easier to do so.
Source: Google Android Developers Blog
Developer Finji launched a new puzzle game in the Google Play Store called A Day in the Woods. The game features a gorgeous art style and has a series of 60 small puzzle games, allowing you to play one or two while you’re on the go. It’s the perfect game if you only have five or ten minutes to decompress.
The game throws you into the shows of Little Red Riding Hood’s sprightly friend who helps Little Red Riding Hood on her path by moving and sliding puzzles around. While the puzzle aspects are a core part of this game, the wood-cut art style really makes the game.
The game will run you $4.99, and if you’re interested, be sure to scan the QR code or hit the download link below.
Come comment on this article: Gorgeous wood-cut puzzle game A Day in the Woods launches in the Google Play Store
If you own a Sony Xperia Z3 then you can now get your hands on the concept Android software Sony have been developing for the past few months. It comes courtesy of XDA Developers and is a leaked ROM, so before proceeding please appreciate this will probably be extremely buggy.
You don’t need root access or even an unlocked bootloader, just the firmware itself and the Flashtool utility for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
How to install
1. Head on over to XDA and grab the firmware file.
2. make backup of your data (you will lose all of them)
3. download latest Flashtool – http://www.flashtool.net/downloads.php
4. download also Sony’s Android™ Concept ROM for XPERIA Z3
5. paste the ftf file downloaded in step c) to folder „Firmware“ included in the XPERIA Flashtool
6. open the XPERIA Flashtool, click on flash and choose downloaded firmware, than click ok
7. turn off your phone and when Flashtool shows pop up window, connect phone to PC with holding volume down button
8. after few minutes all is done and your phone gets Sony’s Android™ Concept ROM
Despite this being an early leak, reviews are suggesting that the ROM is incredibly stable given its life span and is fast, with a cross between AOSP and Sony’s close to stock Xperia experience.
The post Here’s how to download and install Sony’s new concept Android software appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Google on Thursday announced its Android for Work program has expanded to include 40 partners, including wireless service providers. Among those joining the initiative are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile; Canadian providers Rogers, Bell Canada, and Telus Mobility are getting involved, too.
Launched earlier this year,is designed to provide security, device management, and other tools for smartphones. Samsung, for instance, brings its KNOX services to the table while Silent Circle’s Blackphone 2 will offer enhanced privacy and security features.
Working collectively, the consortium can make it easier for IT managers to remotely work with devices. Additionally, the BYOD space is more consistent when everyone chips in.
According to Google, more than 10,000 businesses are testing, deploying, or using Android for Work. Notable names already include the World Bank, the U.S. Army, SAP, and Guardian Life Insurance Company.
The post Android at Work expands to 40 partners; carriers now involved appeared first on AndroidGuys.
For the first time in six years, Rovio has launched a sequel to its incredibly popular Angry Birds title, which incidentally surpassed 500,000,000 downloads last year. The new game goes by the name of Angry Birds 2 and bundles a plethora of new levels, characters and tournaments for us to enjoy.
Check it out in the gameplay video below:
If you like the look of Angry Birds 2 and would like to install it on your Android-powered smartphone or tablet to see if its just as addictive at predecessor, hit the download link below. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code to initiate the installation process immediately.
Come comment on this article: Angry Birds 2 launches for Android