Ever since KitKat, Android has verified your device’s boot process to make sure that rootkits and other forms of malware don’t operate undetected. However, it hasn’t done much more than alert you of potential problems (as of Marshmallow)… until now. Google explains that Android Nougat strictly enforces that boot check, giving you far more than just a warning. If your boot image or partition is corrupt, Android will either start in a limited-use mode (with your permission) or won’t start at all. The feature will first show up in devices that ship with Nougat out of the box.
For most people, this is likely to be helpful — it’ll prevent your device from becoming a playground for viruses, at least after you restart. Google notes that it could create some hiccups, however. It’s more likely that you’ll notice error-related corruption, since the verification could shut off access to data blocks and trigger unusual behavior. Also, this may make it tougher to tweak your phone with custom firmware. Google says that any device with a locked bootloader will use this addition to check for modifications — while those bootloaders weren’t exactly mod-friendly to start with, it’s going to get that much harder when Nougat rolls around. Thankfully, this won’t affect the Nexus line or other devices where bootloaders are unlocked as a matter of course.
Source: Android Developers Blog
While smartphones have led to the rise of mobile gaming and led to a surge in the play style, one problem it has is the size of screen. This is why tablets are starting to claim dominance with gamers and is becoming the mobile gaming device of choice.
What the tablet brings is the versatility of the smartphone, including the ability to do online gaming but most importantly it offers more power and bigger screens. Gaming is evolving at a rate that even mobile gaming is requiring more graphical power, and the games are becoming more complex. It comes as no surprise that gamers are now looking to the tablet and their increased size to give that needed screen space for their games.
What tablets hold is the ability not only to host graphically complicated games, but also the versatility to play many types. If you like to create chance with bingo sites, or slots, or the latest version of Candy Crush Sage, the choice is there. While some games may not happily sit well on the smartphone, the tablet gives the ability to play whatever you want.
Another aspect of the tablet is game streaming, and this has been made possible by the NVidia Shield. What makes this tablet different than most is the fact that not only is it designed to be an Android tablet, but it is also designed to allow streaming of PC games onto the tablet device. This includes controls that make it easy for the player to play the game, which is obviously important.
With the rise of tablets as the mobile device of choice it is likely that we’ll see this trend grow. The smartphone will always sit next to the tablet, offering a more pocket friendly device that can be used on the move, but the tablet offers that needed versatility for true gaming pleasure.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for tablets, and how the innovation in processors and GPUs improve the world of mobile gaming. What we do know is that tablets are here to stay, and mobile gaming is set to reach all new heights.
Last month, Microsoft quietly launched a program for individuals to lease its Surface detachable tablets to small businesses so they could use top-line machines without a lot of up-front cost. Today they’re rolling out a more ambitious plan that takes a page out of the SaaS playbook, letting partners rent out the devices alongside the tech giant’s more popular office software.
As part of their Surface as a Service initiative, authorized third parties will offer the tablets along with Microsoft cloud services, Windows 365, Windows 10 and other ISV software. Unlike last month’s small business-focused membership program, the tech giant wants more options to broaden its appeal to both the SMB and enterprise markets. Microsoft has already launched the program with ALSO, a cloud solutions provider in Europe, and will roll out globally as they secure similar partnerships, according to the company’s post.
It will be interesting whether Microsoft expands the concept to its other hardware products. It might suit game consoles’ iterative release schedule: lease an Xbox One now, automatically upgrade to the slimmer Xbox One S as it comes out and then get boosted to the Xbox successor Project Scorpio when it’s expected to launch at the end of 2017. While we may not see the tech giant try to push Windows phones, the company has shown itself willing to sacrifice profits by using bundle sales to get hardware in new hands.
Source: Microsoft blog
We knew it wouldn’t be long before ASUS rolls out its latest smartphones after the Computex unveiling, but it turns out the company has saved a little surprise for us. At the Taiwan and Hong Kong launch event today, ASUS revealed that its flagship 5.7-inch ZenFone 3 Deluxe has been given a chipset upgrade — from Snapdragon 820 to the speedier Snapdragon 821 announced yesterday. And yes, it’s officially the world’s first device to feature this 2.4GHz processor, while still benefiting from the same old Cat 13 LTE radio, a slightly faster Adreno 530 GPU, dual-SIM support (Micro SIM plus Nano SIM) and Quick Charge 3.0.
The metallic ZenFone 3 Deluxe comes in three flavors, with its top model offering pretty much all the best possible specs to date: 6GB of DDR4 RAM plus 256GB of UFS 2.0 internal storage (expandable by up to 128GB via microSD using the second SIM slot). But this will cost you NT$24,990 or about US$780. The remaining two variants are still based on the 2.15GHz Snapdragon 820, and you get either 4GB RAM with 32GB storage (NT$15,990 or about US$500) or 6GB RAM with 64GB storage (NT$17,990 or about US$560). It’s worth mentioning that these are certified for Google’s Daydream VR platform.
The rest of the features are identical, including their 1080p Super AMOLED touchscreen (with glove mode), Gorilla Glass 4, a 3,000 mAh battery, NFC, 23-megapixel f/2.0 main camera (with OIS, laser AF and dual-tone flash). 8-megapixel f/2.0 front camera and fingerprint reader on the back. The series will become available in Taiwan and Hong Kong as early as August, though we’re also told to expect the Snapdragon 821 variant to arrive later.
Also announced today is the ZenPad 3S 10 (Z500M). This is a mid-range 9.7-inch tablet featuring a 2,048 x 1,536 LCD, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (with microSD expansion), an 8-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel front imager and Android 6.0. It runs on a hexa-core MediaTek chip (MT8176; dual 2.1GHz Cortex-A72 and quad 1.7GHz Cortex-A53) so it should be more than enough for general usage, plus it has a fingerprint reader, 802.11ac WiFi, DTS Headphone:X audio, a 5,900 mAh battery, USB Type-C port and Quick Charge 3.0 (but charger sold separately). The tablet will be available in Taiwan for NT$10,990 or about US$340 in August.
Buying a Nexus device straight from Google can be a little intimidating to newcomers. It’s not as if you can visit a Google store or your carrier for help, after all. If an Android Police leak is accurate, however, you might not have to. The Android creator is reportedly working on a Google Support app that would offer live help somewhat akin to Amazon’s Mayday. If needed, you’d have the option sharing your screen with a service agent — they could walk you through changing a setting without having to guess what you’re looking at. It’s not certain what else is in store, but it’s safe to say that chat would be part of the experience.
Just when it’d arrive is also murky, and that’s presuming it happens at all. Remember that Android Silver program that was supposed to offer live support and never materialized? Yeah. With that in mind, leaked app visuals suggest that this isn’t just a theoretical exercise. It wouldn’t be shocking if Support showed up alongside this year’s Nexus phones, giving you a safety net at the same time as you pick up that slick new handset. It wouldn’t just cheaper and more direct to get Nexus hardware, in other words — you’d get a special experience that gives rookies a reason to pick a Nexus besides the low price or pure Android.
Source: Android Police
Microsoft’s Surface 3 has been on the market for over a year with no successor in sight, but it now looks like the lower-cost Windows tablet is on its way out… well, eventually. The company has confirmed to ZDNet that it will stop producing the Surface 3 by the end of December, or more than a year and a half after it hit store shelves. As it stands, the company says that stock is “limited.” You might not get the model you want at your preferred store, then.
The question is whether or not there will be a replacement around that time, assuming there is one in the works. Microsoft says that there has been “strong demand and satisfaction” for the Surface 3, but it’d odd to wind down sales of a popular product half a year before production stops. And there’s no doubt that the higher-end Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are the stars of this hardware generation. While the Surface 3 lowered the barrier to getting a Microsoft tablet with pen support and a full app ecosystem, its Atom chip and limited storage make it a tough sell as a laptop replacement. This isn’t necessarily the end of the line for non-Pro Surface models. However, Microsoft may only want to jump back in when it can sync with a major new Windows release (ZDNet points to the rumored “Redstone 2”) and make a more compelling case for a lower-cost tablet.
Look, we know: accessing your company’s intranet is about as exciting as watching paint dry. However, wouldn’t you rather have the option of using it from your phone, instead of having to sit at a computer? Microsoft thinks so. It just launched SharePoint for iOS, its first mobile SharePoint app. The tool gives you access to the files, portals, sites and teams that you’re used to on the desktop. It’s also smart enough to hop between apps depending on what you’re accessing. It’ll jump to OneDrive if you’re peeking at the company’s document library, for instance, or switch to one of the Office apps if you’re opening a recent file.
Microsoft is quick to admit that this is a “first step,” and that there may well be features you’ll miss (such as company-wide announcements) that are coming later this year. You should also see Android and universal Windows apps in a similar time frame. So long as those aren’t showstoppers, though, the app should be worth grabbing — if just because it can keep you away from your desk for a little bit longer.
Source: Office Blogs, App Store
Viacom is making good on its promise to parcel out its channels as individual services for cord cutters. It’s launching a BET Play app that lets you watch the network’s black culture programming for $4 per month on your Android and iOS devices. You’ll largely end up watching like Chasing Destiny or Real Husbands of Hollywood on demand, but there is a smattering of live content. It has a live feed of BET Soul’s music, and it’ll be the only official way to livestream the BET Awards (conveniently, taking place on June 26th).
The service is available in 100 countries around the globe, so you don’t have to be American to give it a whirl. However, support for it on TVs is pretty limited. You can use AirPlay to send videos to your TV if you have iOS gear, but you won’t find native Apple TV or Android TV apps, and there’s no Chromecast support. It’s not a perfect substitute for your cable or satellite subscription right now, then — you’ll probably have to be content with watching on your phone.
Via: The Verge
Ask iPhone-toting Sonos speaker owners about their biggest gripe and they’ll probably point to the lack of at-a-glance controls. You have to launch the app every time, which is a pain when you just want to pause a song from across the room. Life is about to get much easier, though: Sonos has updated its iOS controller app to introduce lock screen controls. They behave almost exactly like what you’d see for on-device music playback. The only big difference is that it’ll identify both the source of the tunes and where they’re playing. You can’t switch rooms or audio sources, alas, but it’s still far more convenient than unlocking your phone.
There’s more. If you have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you finally have 3D Touch support for shortcuts to common tasks from the home screen (such as accessing favorites) and peek-and-pop access to content. You’ll get Split View and Slide Over on the iPad, too, so you don’t have to constantly juggle apps to see what’s playing. There’s simpler Trueplay speaker tuning and higher-quality Napster/Rhapsody streaming as well. About the only thing missing is an Apple Watch app to control tunes from your wrist (seriously, Sonos, get on that). If that’s not an obstacle, though, you can check out the new features today.
Source: App Store
VLC for Android just became much, much more useful if you like full control over how and where you play your videos. The newly released VLC 2.0 rolls in a few big features that you may well have missed, most notably network browsing. Yes, you can find that elusive movie on your home media server. The upgrade also brings a pop-up video window that’s helpful for tablet owners eager to multitask.
Other big improvements? The Android TV version has a fresh interface (and has merged with the regular mobile app). You can create video playlists, and it doesn’t need as many permissions to play nicely with your device. All told, VLC has matured enough that it’s worth considering if your existing Android media app just isn’t cutting it.
Via: VideoLAN (Twitter)
Source: Google Play, JB Kempf