Latest Android distribution numbers show Lollipop running on 23.5% of all devices
Google has just sent out updated Android distribution numbers for the month of October, showing that Lollipop now runs on 23.5 percent of all active Android devices. This number has risen 2.5 percent from last month’s numbers, which can be found here.
As for the other versions, Android 4.4 KitKat is still installed on the most devices, sitting at 38.9 percent. KitKat saw only a .3-percent decrease from last month’s distribution numbers. Jelly Bean currently resides on 30.2 percent of all active Android devices, a decrease of 1.6 percent month-over-month.
Related: Android 6.0 Marshmallow factory images arrive for Nexus 5, 6, 7 (2013), 9 and Player
Ice Cream Sandwich saw a .3-percent decrease since last month, now sitting at only 3.4 percent. Gingerbread is still holding strong at 3.8 percent, down from 4.1 percent in the month of September. And yes, Android 2.2 Froyo is still installed on .2 percent of all active Android devices. We should see this ancient version of Android drop off the distribution chart sometime soon, as any version with less than .1 percent of installs are not shown.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow just started rolling out to current Nexus devices yesterday, so it obviously didn’t make the cut. While we wait for the new version make its way to more devices, it’s nice to see Android 5.0 Lollipop becoming more widely adopted throughout the Android ecosystem.
Google’s Nat and Lo walk us through the history of Android Easter eggs
By now we should all be aware of Android Easter eggs, the cute little treats Google leaves inside all recent Android devices’ settings menus for our viewing pleasure. They’re accessible by tapping numerous times on the Android version number under the About section. These have been around since Android 2.3 Gingerbread, when a certain Googler received a painting of a Bugdroid next to a zombified gingerbread man and thought it was a good idea to hide it somewhere within the platform. Ever since that release, Google has included different Easter eggs for every major release of Android.
Most recently, Android 5.0 Lollipop featured a full game for its Easter egg, as a nod towards the most famous mobile title that released last year, Flappy Bird. This was possibly the most positively received Easter egg Google has ever released, so it’s no surprise to see it return for the Android 6.0 Marshmallow Easter egg.
Related: Android Marshmallow launches next week
To get a better look at the history of the Android Easter egg, Google’s Nat and Lo have created a short video that walks us through every step of the way. You can find the video attached below:
What’s your favorite Android Easter egg? Is it Lollipop’s Flappy Bird clone, or are you more a fan of Jelly Bean’s “BeanFlinger” game?
Android vulnerability allowing attackers to easily bypass passwords in lock screens
We like to think our password-protected lock screens will keep our data secure. At the very least it should force thieves to perform a factory reset and keep our private information away from strange hands, right? The truth is this is not always the case. As with any other operating system, Android has its faults, and the guys over at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered a pretty nasty bug that can grant anyone access to certain phones.
The attacker needs no software or coding, nor does he really have to be an experienced tech geek. This is really pretty simple to do, which is why we can’t call it a hack. The good news is that it only affects devices running Android 5.0 to 5.1.1 Lollipop.They also have to be using a password-protected lock screen. In addition, the attacker has to have the phone in his/her possession for some minutes.
How to access Android 5.x devices
This is no rocket science. The idea is pretty much to input so many characters into the password field that it will force the device buffer too much, choke and give in. But the phone can handle a lot of text, which is why the intruder will need to open up the camera app at the same time (which is also accessible without a password input).
In the video, we see the tester launching the phone app (Emergency Call) and creating a long string of characters by copying and pasting. Once it’s long enough, he switches over to the camera app, pulls down the notification bar and presses on the Settings button. This, of course, will request a password. From there, just keep pasting the same string of characters over and over within the text field. Eventually, the device will not be able to handle the lockscreen process and let the user right in.
Where’s the fix?!
Pretty scary, right? I mean, it was reported only last month that about 18.1% of active Android devices are on Lollipop. That’s a whole lot of us, but we do have good news for you. This vulnerability has already been fixed for devices like the Nexus 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10.
Other large phone makers should be jumping on board relatively soon… or at least we hope so. You know how manufacturers and carriers can drag their feet when taking care of these software updates.
How to protect yourself
Thankfully, we don’t necessarily have to rely on software updates to keep our Android smartphones protected. Just switch over to PIN or pattern unlock methods and you will be fine. These other lock screen protection techniques are not susceptible to this vulnerability.
Latest Android distribution numbers posted, Lollipop now resides on 21% of all devices
Google has just released an update to the Android distribution numbers, giving us a good look at how many active mobile devices are running each version of Android. Currently, 21 percent of all Android devices are running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher, which is a 2.9-percent increase over last month’s numbers.
As for the other numbers, 39.2 percent of Android devices are running 4.4 KitKat, which is only a .1-percent decrease from last month. Jelly Bean currently resides on 31.8 percent of all devices, down from 33.6 percent from last month. Ice Cream Sandwich has also seen a .4-percent decrease from last month, now sitting at just 3.7 percent. Gingerbread is still holding on at 4.1 percent of all device (down from 4.6 percent in August), and yes, Froyo is still installed on some Android devices as well. It’s only at .2 percent (down from .3 from last month), so we should see it drop off the distribution numbers chart sometime relatively soon. Any Android versions with less than .1 percent distribution are not shown.
It’s certainly great to see Lollipop becoming more widely adopted throughout the Android ecosystem as we near the official launch of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Android version stats: Lollipop now on 18.1% of active devices
Google usually updates the information in its developers’ dashboards every month, but it skipped the July release for some reason. That’s why the changes between the previous update (June 1) and the current one (August 3) are quite significant.
Starting with the latest Android version available, Lollipop (Android 5.0 + Android 5.1) is now at 18.1 percent, an impressive 6 percentage points increase compared to the June update. That can be explained by the proliferation of Lollipop running devices, both at the high- and the low-end. Indeed, while in past years, it was pretty common to see new devices launching with outdated Android versions, that’s far less common these days, as even the cheapest phones can keep up with the demands of Lollipop.
KitKat, however, remains the dominant Android version, with 39.3 percent, a fraction more than last month’s 39.2%. The combined share of Jelly Bean dropped, from 34.7 percent in June, to 33.6 right now. Meanwhile, the shabby Gingerbread and Froyo continue their prolonged descent into oblivion, now scoring 4.6 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. It’s safe to assume that we will be saying goodbye to Froyo in the coming months, as Google stops counting versions that have less than 0.1 percent of the market.
These stats include active Android devices, which Google defines as phones that have checked into Google’s Play Store app. As such, it doesn’t include non-Google Android devices, including the hundreds of millions of smartphones used in China.
As the second part of the year is traditionally a time of growth in the smartphone business, we expect Lollipop’s share to pick up over the coming months. Android M has been promised for Q3 2015 (by the end of September), but it’s likely that M-running devices won’t be captured in Google’s dashboard until December.
‘Super Mid-Range’ Sony Xperia M5 announced
Following its leak last week, Sony has today announced the Xperia M5, the successor to the Xperia M4 Aqua which comes with a more impressive camera. The Xperia M5 has a 5-inch Full HD display, waterproof omnibalance design and a new 21.5MP Hybrid Autofocus camera. Sony is dubbing this handset as a ‘super mid-range’ phone, presumably in a bid to set it between the mid-range and the high-end flagship tiers.
The Xperia M5 key specs include:
- Display: 5.0-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels, ~441 ppi density)
- SoC: 64-bit MediaTek Helio X10, 2.0GHz octa-core processor
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 16GB plus microSD expansion slot
- Main Camera: 21.5MP Hybrid autofocus camera, f/2.2 lens
- Front Camera: 13MP
- Battery: 2600 mAh
- OS: Android 5.0
- Dimensions: 145 x 72 x 7.6 mm
- Weight: 142.5 grams
The dual cameras are the key unique features for Sony’s latest mid-range handset and – on paper, at least – they certainly could be, especially compared to other cameras in the mid-range market. The camera reportedly uses a hybrid autofocus system to allow the handset to focus in a quarter of a second and also offers f/2.2 aperture and up to 3200 ISO. The 13MP front camera is what most phones usually have on the back but unlike the Xperia C5 Ultra that it was announced alongside, the Xperia M5 does not have a front selfie flash.
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The 64-bit octa-core Helio X10 should deliver in the performance department and is more than worthy of a mid-range handset while Sony claim that the modest 2600 mAh battery will keep the Xperia M5 ticking for two full days, although – as always – this is subjective to your actual usage.
Sony says the Xperia M5 will launch in emerging markets in the next few weeks and has yet to reveal how much it’ll cost and whether it will launch in western markets. On paper, the specs should appeal to most customers and Sony could gain by bringing this to developed markets at a reasonable price tag. The handset will be available in black, white and a blinging gold with actual availability likely to vary by market.
London, 3rd August 2015 – Sony Mobile Communications (“Sony Mobile”) today reveals two new smartphones with the introduction of Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 to its impressive range of devices. Offering advances in camera, design, battery and performance, the products support Sony’s leadership in the smartphone market.
“We are pleased to present two new products that highlight Sony’s advances in camera technology,” said Tony McNulty, Vice-President, Value Category Business Management at Sony Mobile Communications. “We understand that camera capabilities are important to smartphone users, so we ensured that Sony’s existing camera brilliance was once again surpassed in the new Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 without compromising on other features across design and performance.”
Xperia C5 Ultra – the all new PROselfie smartphone with two 13-megapixel cameras and an innovative near borderless 6” Full HD display
Starting with the Xperia C3, Sony Mobile has been the front runner to address the digital native’s need with our PROselfie offering. Xperia C5 Ultra incorporates an industry first twin 13-megapixel front and rear camera, which offers stunning high-resolution imagery. Whether you’re shooting incredible scenery or taking a selfie with friends, your images are always captured in crystal clear quality. Both cameras include Sony’s leading Exmor RS™ sensor, HDR for picture and video, and an easy to use preset Auto scene recognition mode that analyses and adjusts settings automatically to give the perfect results every time.
Selfies are also enhanced with the integration of Sony’s enhanced Selfie Flash that supports the front camera and lightens up more of the frame to ensure every part of your photograph’s beauty is captured. The device’s 22mm wide-angle lens also means that you can fit more in the frame. Unleash your creativity with a host of Selfie camera applicationsthat are available to download.
Xperia C5 Ultra provides a high quality viewing experience, with its large display, complete with a super-thin bezel for a near borderless display. The large 6” Full HD display with IPS featuring Sony’s TV technology Mobile BRAVIA® Engine 2 lets you enjoy your videos and pictures in the finest detail. A one-handed operation mode is also available to help you easily use the device with options for both right-handed and left-handed users.
With an aluminium frame and three colour variations, including black, white and a glossy soft mint, Xperia C5 Ultra offers a premium design, whilst allowing you to showcase your individual style. Sleek, stylish and a comfortable fit in the hand, Xperia C5 Ultra feels as good as it looks.
Performance is assured thanks to the advanced 1.7 GHz 64 bit Octa-core processor with 2GB RAM and 4G network support for a fast user experience. With the reliable up to two-day battery life(1), and up to 7 hours 47 minutes(2) of video playback, you will never have to worry about losing power during important moments. What’s more, Ultra STAMINA Mode optimises battery usage further to ensure it is used most effectively.
Xperia M5 – Sony camera brilliance packed in a premium waterproof(3) design
Following Xperia M4 Aqua’s success in raising the bar and defining the “super mid-range” with its camera leadership, Xperia M5 has an even more impressive 21.5MP rear camera that lets you snap extraordinary moments like a pro. When you can’t get near enough to your subject, 5x Clear Image Zoom allows you to get close without losing any quality.
With the power to capture videos in 4K, Xperia M5 offers the quality and performance of a compact digital camera. The result is sharp, clear and bright footage every time.
Sony’s camera brilliance doesn’t end there – Xperia M5 has a powerful 13MP front-facing ‘selfie cam’, which also comes with integrated autofocus and Full-HD video recording, so you can take exquisite selfies to share with friends and family.
What’s more, a host of camera applications elevate your selfies to the next level – including Face in picture, AR mask and Style portrait.
Boasting a sharp, bright and vivid 5” Full HD display, your favourite Sony entertainment will really come to life. Mobile BRAVIA® Engine 2 gives you enhanced sharpness and contrast for immersive viewing, whilst IPS ensures excellent viewing at any angle and accurate colours from edge to edge.
Unique like our flagship devices, Xperia M5 is also waterproof and dust-tight(3), with a capless USB port for added convenience and easy charging. With a waterproof smartphone, you don’t need to worry if your device gets dirty, just rinse it off under the tap. It is also protected against accidental splashes, so you can use your Xperia M5 under the rain or shine, wherever you are.
For beauty and perfection in every direction, Xperia M5 features Sony’s distinctive design with the OmniBalance style in a sleek premium glass finish on both sides. It is also designed for durability with stainless steel corners to protect against bumps.
Xperia M5 integrates a large 2,600mAh battery offering up to two-days battery life(1), so you don’t have to worry about charging your phone every day. An impressive 64-bit 2.0 GHz Octa-core processor powered by MediaTek Helio X10 with 3GB RAM provides amazing performance and speed to optimise your battery life. Meanwhile, ultra-fast smartphone connectivity is enabled with 4G, for quick downloading of audio and video content.
Both Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 also have an expandable memory with up to 200GB uSD card and the devices are available in both Single and Dual SIM variants. Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 will be available in selected countries across emerging markets from mid August.
Nextbook Ares 11 2-in-1 Hybrid Android tablet/laptop review
he division in device computing is no longer just the battle between PC and Apple, or Android vs Apple. It is now also tablet versus laptop. When tablets first hit the scene, they were a breath of fresh air. Tablets provided a convenient easy carry option and the ability to interact with a touch screen making for an awesome user experience. Like any new product, you have early adopters, new platform haters, and cross-genre copycats.
After being around for a few years and the need to push the tablet platform to new levels we have begun to see new fresh iterations of the tablet genre. Further adding fire to the battle of who will prevail keeping users computing experience.
Nextbook has created a hybrid tablet The Nextbook Ares 11 2-in-1 Android Quadcore Tablet.
The Nextbook Ares 11 2-in-1 comes preinstalled with Android 5.0 Intel Atom Quad-Core 1.8GHz processor, 64GB of internal memory with a microSD card slot that expands to an additional 64GB of storage. The Nextbook Ares is also equipped with an 11.6-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and resolution of 1366×768. Given it is a hybrid, the Nextbook has an additional feature – a detachable keyboard making the device a tablet and laptop combination similar to the Microsoft Surface.
The Nextbook Ares 11 Features
11.6 inch High-resolution 1366 x 768 IPS Screen
• Intel® Atom™ Quad-Core /1.8GHz (Z3735F)
• 1GB DDR3L; 64GB onboard storage
• WIFI 802.11 b/g/n
• Bluetooth 4.0
• Front facing 2.0 camera
• Back Camera 2.0 M
• Micro HDMI Port
• Blue Trim and Backlit Keyboard with two standard 2.0 USB Port
• Micro-SD card slot for expansion to 64GB
• Support 3 -axis G-sensor
• Built-in microphone
• 9000MAH Internal rechargeable battery
• Charging indicator light
• Android OS 5.0 Lollipop
I’ve spent the last 15 days using the Nextbook Ares casually some days, and other days forcing myself to use it for all of my computing, social, and entertainment needs.
The tablet itself is light weight (2.97pounds with the keyboard) and durably made of a smooth rubber finish that provides ample grip and feels good in the hand. Even though the tablet totes a huge 11.6-inch screen, and I have moderately small sized hands, I was still able to hold it comfortably and reach all the screen real estate that I wanted to swipe or touch. The button placement is baffling to me being this device is new.
The buttons are camouflaged on the back of the device, not along the edges like the majority of today’s devices. In order to access the buttons, I had to turn the device over or peek my head over the screen, to figure out the button’s location. The buttons are nearly flush with the device, and have the same smooth finish as the backing. The button placement makes it difficult to make a selection quickly because you have to first find the placement fiddle with them to make sure it is the desired button then press it wasting time unnecessarily. When you have hunted down where the buttons are located, the buttons are very clicky and respond well. After overcoming being baffled, I assume the thought process of placing the buttons on the back of the device is to prevent possible accidental touches. Although over the past few years, the button placement has been almost standard for today’s devices where you have an up and down volume rocker on the side, and a power button on the side of the device. As a consumer, I have enjoyed that feature because I know exactly where the buttons are located and can easily control them one handed as needed.
The tablet packs underwhelming front and back facing 2-megapixel cameras. The quality of the photos are lackluster and grainy, and nearly not worth using. If you are competing with tablets and laptops, you are giving your product a disadvantage as most laptop cameras are now HD quality and tablets are ranging from 4MP and up. If you are going to give a device a 2MP rear camera it isn’t even worth adding it to the device.
Attaching the keyboard enables a whole new user experience. I have never used a touch screen laptop so I was anticipating what I could do with the Nextbook Ares. Attaching the tablet to the keyboard is effortless and clicks in place nicely. The keyboard itself is constructed durably, has a smooth textured finish that also feels comfortable in the hand and looks sleek. The keyboard is a shrunken down laptop keyboard and has top number rows but does not include 10 keys. For the most part when I pressed a function or key with the keyboard it responded intuitively with the tablet. Although I did notice multiple times when I used the keyboard button to brighten or dim the tablet or control the audio with speaker buttons it stopped video playback which I found annoying.
Also, the tablet is advertised as back lit which you can enable on or off. The catch is that the keys are not illuminated just the spacing between and around the keys illuminate, so when the room is completely dark you still have to search for the keys due to the fact the keys are black and not visible in the darkness. The keyboard is equipped with multiple useful shortcuts just to mention a few camera, calendar, recent apps, and home button. These quick keys are extremely helpful and keep you from having to go into alternate screens or unnecessary move your hands off the keyboard. Keeping your hands on the keyboard is important because even though you have a keyboard you will have to go through a learning curve on how to use it accurately if typing with proper hand placement. Compared to a laptop keyboard the Nextbook’s keys are undersized and can be difficult type two handed naturally with their smaller stature.
Playing games and watching video content is enjoyable with the multiple viewing angles provided, with being able to adjust the screen viewing angles while attached to the keyboard. On the other hand, the screen resolution leaves much to desire. The Nextbook Ares screen does not get very bright enabling a flat pixelated screen that lacks definition and color. Be prepared to use headphones or a bluetooth speaker to actually hear the audio from the Nextbook Ares – the speakers are located on the back of the device the audio quality is muffled and low. It would have been nice, that once connected to the keyboard that you would gain added bolder louder speakers that are on the keyboard.
The Nextbook Ares 11 2-in-1 is a good entry level tablet/laptop for young children that are just getting introduced to laptops and is a good transition to having their own device. Since most young children already have experience using their parents cell phones and tablets. The Nextbook is also great for older adults who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a tablet or laptop but need something cheap to use for emails, quick document creation, or streaming digital content. The Nextbook Ares is also great for an alternate tablet/laptop option for traveling or just office usage due to the fact it’s price point is only $197 at Walmart.
What We Like
- 11 inch form factor
- Storage space,
- HDMI and USB ports
What We didn’t Like
- Keyboard keys are not back-lit
- Volume is raspy and low
- Lackluster screen resolution
The Nextbook Ares 11 2-in-1 hybrid features a budget-friendly price point and it makes it an attractive device. Although the device has multiple cons I was able to overcome them and enjoy using the device. I found myself using the device more than my Samsung tablet due to the convenience of the Nextbook Ares keyboard feature. The Nextbook Ares 11 2 in 1 doesn’t do any one thing particularly great, but the size, keyboard, price, expandable memory, and 64GB internal memory makes for a heck of a deal.
If you’ve liked what you’ve read about the NextBook Ares 11 2, be sure to let us know what you like about it below, and you can grab it from Walmart for only $197.
The post Nextbook Ares 11 2-in-1 Hybrid Android tablet/laptop review appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Verizon LG G3 receives another Lollipop update to fix bugs
The Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the Verizon LG G3 earlier in the year was apparently plagued with technical issues and bugs, but a new update has just been release that should fix at least some of these problems.
The update is labelled version VS98524B, or simply 24B. The changelog states that the update introduces a few new features, including a Bluetooth button to the in-call screen. The Lollipop Interrupt feature from has also been implemented and notifications can now be set to completely off, Priority mode for messages and events, or all be allowed to sound. This option can be found under the Quick Settings menu.
Finally, Advanced Calling settings have been implemented, which allows for HD Voice and Video Calling. LTE Video Calling will also be automatically disabled if the customer isn’t subscribed to the service.
The original Lollipop update for the Verizon LG G3 caused some users to experience excessive battery drain, Wi-Fi stability issues and even random reboots. Oddly, there isn’t a list of any bug fixes included with the changelog, so it’s not clear exactly which of the issues have been addressed. The update unfortunately doesn’t bring the G3 up to the latest version of Android 5.1 Lollipop either.
The update should be rolling out to customers as we speak and will be making its way to handsets throughout the week. Keep an eye out for that OTA notification or check out www.vzw.com/lgg3update for instructions on how to download the update manually.
Android is still suffering from horrendous audio latency
It has been a little while since we last looked at the long running, unresolved issue of audio latency and Android. I wish I could tell you that things were all fixed up with the roll-out of Android Lollipop, but sadly there doesn’t appear to have been enough of an improvement.
Results compiled by Nervous Systems using data collected the SuperPowered measurement application, which we talked about before, show that the most popular Android handsets are still far too slow at providing a round-trip from jack/mic to speaker for real-time audio processing. The results from the 20 most popular phones can be seen below.
For reference, the threshold of latency detection for audio, among other senses, is around 20ms before the brain will perceive the delay as two separate sounds. Keep in mind that this test is a simple round trip with no time spared for any processing! Even the best Android phones still fall well short of the 5-20ms target, with most modern handsets putting in a best score of 60-70ms.
On the plus side, there has been an improvement since Android 5.0 Lollipop, with many phones showing around a 40ms reduction in latency. But the final results are still far too high for real-time processing. It is especially disappointing that Apple devices score less than 10ms in the same test. Despite showing the biggest improvements, even the Nexus 5 doesn’t come close.
Samsung has its own Professional Audio SDK which exposes jack audio data directly to Android applications for reduced latency somewhere in the much more acceptable 10-15ms range. However, this has to be implemented on a per-app basis and likely isn’t used very widely and was disable for the test.
This issue is a problem not because it affects day-to-day audio playback, but because it is still locking Android out as a creative platform for real-time audio. Real-time apps that require jack or mic data just aren’t feasible with Android, years after the issue was originally raised.
Sadly, there’s not much we can do about it, other than keep complaining and hoping that Google comes up with a solution.
No Android Lollipop for the UK Samsung Galaxy S3 or Note 2
Samsung has issued many an Android Lollipop update this year, but Samsung UK has stated that the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 smartphones in the UK will remain absent from the update list.
The news was issued via the Samsung Mobile UK’s Twitter account, but no reason has been given for the lack of an update. This news is even more curious as a Lollipop update for the Galaxy Note 2 has already been confirmed for release in Poland, Denmark and Finland. Although last month Samsung Gulf announced that it won’t be releasing Lollipop for the Note 2.
@WesoLabeshnai We don’t like to give out bad news Rohan but the Note 2 and the Galaxy S3 won’t be receiving the Lollipop update.
— Samsung Mobile UK (@SamsungMobileUK) July 4, 2015
It appears that regional branches have their own control over updates, at least when it comes to some of Samsung’s older handsets.
Back in late June, Samsung UK also declared that the Galaxy Ace 4 would be left out from any Lollipop updates. However, this was expected to have something to do with incompatible hardware.
Samsung was never likely to be able to bring Lollipop to all of its smartphones. Fortunately with updates scheduled for other regions, there’s always the possibility that custom ROMs could bring Samsung’s Android Lollipop to the UK Galaxy Note 2 and S3.