Mozilla announces launch of Matchstick streaming Internet and media dongle
Creator of the open-source Firefox OS, Mozilla has announced the launch of its own Internet and media streaming dongle device, named Matchstick. A competitor to Google's Chromecast, the dongle runs Firefox OS, and allows users to view content -- via a WiFi connection -- from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop to stream to a big screen TV. TV apps will be available for download through the Matchstick App Store, and both the hardware and software for Matchstick are open-source, providing ready potential for other uses for the dongle to appear. Matchstick has been launched as a Kickstarter campaign, with backers pledging for the Early Bird option receiving one Matchstick dongle for $12. Retail pricing is anticipated to be $25.
More pre-installed Google apps allegedly stipulated in manufacturer contracts
Producers of Android smartphones and tablets will need to increase the promotion of Google apps and services in their devices in the future, according to a report. It is claimed a number of hardware partners including Samsung, Huawei, and HTC will have to accept a new set of terms before being able to use Android, as Google attempts to keep users within its ecosystem.
Agency thinks Android L, iOS 8 security put consumer security ahead of law enforcement
Addressing reporters in Washington today, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey voiced his concerns over the recent shifts in security policy for Android and iOS 8. Specifically, Comey believes that the new security encryption measures that cannot be bypassed for law enforcement puts consumers before possible emergency situations.
New Archos phones available at low-cost, with no contract
Electronics manufacturer Archos has announces the availability of its new range of Platinum smartphones, the Archos 45c Platinum and Archos 50b Platinum. Both entry-level phones feature Android 4.4 "Kit Kat," MediaTek quad-core processors, IPS screens, and a choice of three colored back covers.
Kids' mini remote-controlled drone debuts
Swann's has introduced a new toy to its remote-controlled Xtreem product range, the Mini Stealth RC Drone. The six-inch gadget is designed for kids of all ages, with a rotor diameter of three inches and a weight of under one ounce. Its 2.4GHz frequency allows the Mini Stealth Drone to fly with a strong signal indoors or outdoors of up to 330 feet, and its dual-blade rotors simplify flying for novice "pilots." The rechargeable Li-poly battery inside the helicopter provides up to seven minutes of continuous flight time, and the remote control is powered by six AA batteries. The Mini Stealth RC Drone is priced at $50.
Updated Moto X believed to be inspiration for Nexus 6 smartphone
The next version of the Nexus smartphone from Google could look like an enlarged Moto X, a report claims to show in an image. The rumored device is said to be called either the Nexus 6 or Nexus X, with Motorola expected to reuse some of the design of the updated Moto X to create a larger nexus device running on Android L.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents say they're willing to switch platforms
A new survey suggests that the latest iPhone is attracting a very broad range of customers, with primarily four groups of roughly the same size who say they plan to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. About 26 percent were, as one might expect, current iPhone owners looking to upgrade. About 20 percent said they don't own a phone. A quarter of the 250 poll respondents indicated they would be switching from a non-Android phone, and other 27 percent say they will dump Android for iOS.
Virgin Media updates iOS app with new look, bug fixes
British cable company Virgin Media has overhauled the iOS version of its TV Anywhere app. Engadget notes the app now uses a purple color scheme and some updates to bring it in line with iOS 7 and iOS 8, making the app appear more modern. The app update also precedes an upcoming makeover of Virgin Media's TiVo set-top box interface, with the addition of the Opera app store and an additional "What to Watch Now" function set to be added in October.
Company confident that new larger iPhones will attract switchers
With its combination of more and better apps, better security and now large-screen mobile devices, Apple is expecting the new iPhone and iOS 8 to help persuade more Android users to move up to iOS, and to that end has published a document on its website guiding switchers on how to move content from their Android device to the iPhone. The expectation isn't based on hubris: surveys have shown that at least a third of Android users would consider switching to the iPhone 6 family.
Unlocked, unbranded version of updated Moto X said to be on the way
Motorola will be bringing out a version of its updated Moto X with a stock installation of Android, according to a report. Just like the Google Play Edition of the original Moto X, the 2014 edition of the smartphone is said to have a "Pure Edition" on the way, with the device believed to ship unlocked, unbranded, and without any extra software typically loaded onto smartphones by carriers.
Four Android apps brought to Chromebook operating system, more on the way
People waiting for their favorite Android applications to work on Chrome OS might not need to wait much longer. Today, Google announced the first set of Android apps available for Chromebooks. The move makes good on a demonstration from Google I/O, which teased the idea of Android apps running on Chrome OS through an app runtime.
Google officially extends app refund window from 15 minutes to 2 hours
Google has extended the opportunity to receive a refund from purchases in the Google Play Store to two hours. Android Central notes the support page for the store has been updated to show the upgraded refund period for apps and games, up from the previous 15-minute limit. It is understood that Google offered the longer refund window to some customers over the last few weeks, and has only just made the policy official recently.
Addition to Hangouts signals impending end of Google Voice
Google Voice is being integrated into Google Hangouts on Android, in what appears to be an an attempt by the search company to streamline its messaging services. Previously only available in the iOS version of Hangouts, the Android app now gives the option of making or receiving voice calls, text messages, and the ability to access voicemails on Google Voice.
Prime Instant Video requires separate app installation from Amazon appstore
Amazon has finally started to allow Android users to stream content from Amazon Instant Video. An update to the main Amazon app gives the option to view shows on the service, with the app also including the ability to browse the Amazon Appstore, though subscribers are made to complete a number of tasks in order to get Prime Instant Video streaming.
Update adds TV queuing for YouTube videos, Firefox for Android streams to Chromecast
A few new features have come to the Chromecast on the heels of another update to the streaming device. The recent update to the Chromecast pushes a few updates, but Google has announced additions to the beta Google Cast extension. Mozilla also revealed that it added second-screen capabilities for Firefox for Android, utilizing streaming devices like the Chromecast to do so.
Share gain seen coming from Android, even as new iPhones imminent
Apple continues to be the market leader in smartphones in the US, the latest three-month study from ComScore MobiLens shows. As of the end of July, the iPhone line had gained a full percentage point of share over its position in April. Arch-rival Samsung also grew its share of the US market, but by somewhat less at 0.7 percent change. Drops from other Android makers such as HTC, Motorola and LG seem to have given Apple a boost, even as the debut of new iPhones draws near.
Similar Panasonic hardware runs Windows 8.1 or Android
Panasonic today launched what it says is one of the world's most rugged five-inch handheld tablets with data and voice capabilities at the IFA electronics show in Berlin, Germany. The Toughpad FZ-E1 with Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld and FZ-X1 with Android share the same ruggedized hardware, and are aimed at mobile workers in transportation and logistics, public sector and emergency services, utilities, retail, manufacturing and aviation.
New watch features 'premium' materials, Android Wear, wireless charging
Asus Corporate Vice President Eric Chen today went on stage at a pre-IFA 2014 event to announce the company's latest lineup of innovations, including Asus ZenWatch, the company's first wearable device produced in partnership with Google. Asus ZenWatch is the first wearable device from the company, is powered by Android Wear, and features a version of the Asus ZenUI user interface developed specifically for the product.
Intel Atom processor used in Lenovo Tab S8 with Burst Performance Technology
Lenovo kicked off its IFA device launches, by revealing its first Intel-powered Android tablet. The Lenovo Tab S8 uses a quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 with 2GB of RAM, with the processor's Burst Performance Technology said to help provide more processing power when it is required, in turn saving on battery life when performing lower-impact tasks.
Event country, timing suggests first Android One devices due this month
Google has sent out invitations to an announcement event due to be held on September 15th in India. Though not specifically hinting at a product or service, it is believed the event will involve the launch of the first Android One smartphones, a program Google introduced in June to provide low-cost Android mobile devices to emerging markets.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 delivers the best tablet display yet
As with its smartphones, Samsung has thrown everything it can at the wall when it comes to tablets to see what eventually sticks. However, even though Samsung holds the title as the largest single Android tablet maker, it hasn't made the same sort of inroads against Apple in the tablet space as it has with its Galaxy smartphones. It has launched tablets in all shapes and sizes, with multiple models and sizes targeting the low-end, middle and high-end segments making it a challenge for consumers to navigate. Its latest high-end model, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, however, looks as though the company may finally have its formula right in its never-ending battle with Apple.
Action platforming game Wipeout 2 available for iOS, Android
Activision Publishing has released its action platforming game Wipeout 2, available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for Kindle Fire. Based on the competition TV series "Wipeout," players dodge environmental hazards and challenge to complete each level as fast as possible. Players can choose from 10 playable characters, including Zombie, Pirate and Popstar, with 150 themed obstacles and 135 new levels. Free to download, Wipeout 2 is available on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon App Store.
Now possible to use the same language for apps for all three mobile platforms
A compiler company called RemObjects has created a new front end for its own Elements compiler called Silver that allows developers to write code hooking into APIs and frameworks outside iOS, letting them write native apps for iOS and Android. The project has also been made to work with both the Fire IDE and .NET, allowing Windows Phone developers to use Swift through the Visual Studio IDE. While not a universal write-once-run-anywhere solution, Silver could prove to be a boon for small developers who want to create Android and Windows Phone versions of their iOS apps written in Swift.
Here mapping app for Android exclusive to Samsung
Nokia has made a deal with Samsung to provide Here Maps to its Android devices, as well as items running Tizen. Here for Android will be exclusive to Samsung's Galaxy smartphone line as a free download, while Tizen devices such as the Gear S smartwatch will be able to display maps on their small displays, as well as providing turn-by-turn navigation.
OnePlus One looks set to cause a major headache for the likes of Samsung
OnePlus is an ambitious new OEM out of China founded in late 2013 with designs on conquering the smartphone market. Its first handset is the audacious OnePlus One, which recently started shipping to the US and select European markets. Interestingly, instead of jumping into the market with a 5-inch smartphone, the company's first effort is a 5.5-inch phablet that it is marketing as a 'Flagship Killer.' With its intentions clear, is it possible for a company to come from out of almost nowhere to steal the title of most wanted Android phone from the likes of tech titans like Samsung?
New store has to deal with complexities of multiple carriers, hardware vendors
[/strong]Updated with Verizon statement[/strong] Verizon is allegedly in discussions with other carriers and Android device manufacturers to launch its own app store. According to sources familiar with the matter, the carrier is building up the store, similar to the shuttered V Cast, as a response to reductions in revenue-sharing arrangements with Google through the Google Play store. Verizon has since denied the claims, without providing much information about the report.
Apple, Google, Microsoft required to delete Secret from customer phones or face fines
A Brazilian judge has ordered Apple, Google, and Microsoft to remove Secret, an app used for anonymously sharing information with others, from citizen's phones. The unusual ruling requires both Apple and Google to delist Secret from the App Store and Google Play, with Microsoft ordered to do the same for the Windows Phone-equivalent Cryptic, as well as deleting it remotely from mobile devices in the country.
New tablets feature curated content for children, full Android for adults
Creator of the kid-friendly Nabi tablet, Fuhu has now unveiled the Nabi Big Tab HD 20-inch and Nabi Big Tab HD 24-inch, the world's biggest Android tablets. The very large form-factor tablets are designed around "social interaction, communication, collaboration, and socialized learning," according to the company.
Texas Instruments processor claimed to power Moto 360
More details for the Moto 360 have surfaced, ahead of its expected launch early next month alongside two smartphones. A product listing for the Android Wear smartwatch appeared on the Best Buy website before being pulled from view, and provided not only a full list of specifications for the wearable device, but also confirmed that it will launch at $249.
Apple's iOS very slowly losing ground, but still overwhelmingly dominant in enterprise
A new report from Good Technology on enterprise mobile use has shown that Apple's iOS continues to be the overwhelmingly dominant choice of systems for corporate mobility, with some 88 percent of all business app activations and 90 percent of tablet activations on the platform. However, Android apps climbed to 12 percent of app activations, a gain of four percentage points from the previous quarter, while Android devices climbed to 32 percent of activations versus iOS' 67 percent.
Squarespace releases Blog and Note apps for Android
Website design platform Squarespace has released two new apps in beta format for Android users today, entitled Blog and Note. Originally launched for iOS, Blog facilitates Squarespace site management from a smartphone or tablet, and Note is a minimalist note-taking app.
Clear Image function in OnePlus One camera app creates composite from ten photographs
OnePlus has started to roll out an over-the-air update to the OnePlus One smartphone, upgrading the device to Android 4.4.4. The staggered rollout, which should reach all device owners by the end of this week, fixes a number of bugs in the firmware and updates Android itself to a more recent version, as well as introducing a new function to the camera app called Clear Image.
Square register service adds appointment booking feature
Square has announced today that the register service has added an appointments feature. Square Appointments aims to manage users' appointments, and is available to all business owners -- even those who do not use Square Register -- for a free 30-day trial. Users of Appointments can request to create a booking through a web form that automatically adds itself to the shop's calendar. Pricing for the service is $30 per month for individual sellers, $50 for business owners with two to five employees, and $90 for unlimited staff usage.
Twin leaks point to two HTC smartphone launches in coming months
A pair of leaks for HTC smartphones have surfaced, for Android and Windows Phone devices. One leak includes photographs of the A11, a variant in the Desire range said to use a 64-bit system-on-chip, while another appears to reiterate earlier rumored specifications for a version of the HTC One M8 running on Windows Phone instead of Android.
EU companies polled about Google's Android policies and deals
Antitrust actions against Google in Europe seem to be growing. European Union regulators have sent out questionnaires to those possibly impacted by Google's decisions about Android policies, and are requesting "any written or unwritten" exclusivity deals that the search engine giant has made with wireless carriers, developers, and other companies.
Support no longer offered as Sony transitions to content for PlayStation Vita, Vita TV
Sony announced today that it would no longer be supporting PlayStation Mobile for Android going forward. In a statement on the PlayStation Japan website, Sony outlined that support for the program ends with Android version 4.4.2 (KitKat). Users that haven't updated to Android versions past 4.4.2 will still be able to access the PlayStation store, play games and re-download titles.
Usage begins mirroring device ownership
For the first time, global usage of Android devices has surpassed that of iOS, according to Net Applications tracking data. iOS slipped from 45.61 percent in June to 44.19 percent in July, while Android advanced from 43.75 percent to 44.62. Windows Phone has made some more marginal progress, growing from below the 1 percent mark in April to 2.49 percent.
Samsung claiming MS/Nokia deal negates 2011 licensing agreement
Microsoft has launched a lawsuit against longtime licensee Samsung, alleging that the Korean company has stopped paying royalties for Android-related patents. According to the court filing and Samsung itself, Samsung stopped making the payments from the 2011 lawsuit-ending agreement after Microsoft entered into a deal to purchase Nokia.
Popular narrative-based game returns for third season, release date unknown
During last week's San Diego Comic Con, Telltale Games, the developer of narrative-based adventure games like The Wolf Among Us, announced that it would be producing a third season of its popular The Walking Dead game. Details on the next season of the title are scarce, as it was only mentioned during a panel for Skybound Entertainment, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman's imprint. The game likely won't be out anytime soon, as the company still hasn't wrapped up season two of The Walking Dead. It's also looking to release narrative games in the same style with Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones.
Campaign funds a second low power screen for Android devices
It's time for Thursday's edition of Crowdfunding Critic. Every Tuesday and Thursday here on MacNN and Electronista, we're going to look at crowd-funded projects that we find interesting. Keep in mind that we aren't specifically endorsing anything, or telling you that there aren't any risks in funding a prospective project, we're just pointing out projects we found that we like. Please do your research before investing! Today's selection brings an underused technology, E-ink, to smartphone cases -- the InkCase Plus by Oaxis.
App masquerading as Flash, others, can break Android sandboxing
Mobile device researchers Bluebox Security have discovered a serious flaw in Google's Android operating system that dates back to version 2.1, and is still present (albeit weakened) in the new 5.0 preview. The "Fake ID" security flaw allows a fake app to include an invalid security certificate, claiming that it is an app with sandbox-breaking privileges, in essence, giving the malicious app root access to the phone and all its contents.
South Korean release for combined Android notebook, tablet from LG
LG has revealed a version of its Tab Book, a combined tablet and notebook, running on Android instead of Windows 8.1. The new Tab Book 11TA740 uses an 11.6-inch Full HD IPS display which can slide up and uncover a physical keyboard, with the Android device weighing 1.05 kilos (2.3 pounds) and measuring just 16.7 millimeters (0.65) thick when used as a tablet.
Android L focuses on look, feel, performance rather than features
Google's Android L preview has been made available to developers and any other interested users who own a Nexus 5 smartphone or Nexus 7 tablet. It marks the first time that Google has released an early preview of the latest version of its mobile OS, while is also the first major revamp of the Android UI since Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' which was released three years ago. In that time, Android has become the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. However, despite its popularity, it has slipped somewhat on the technology front with Apple iOS making the leap to 64-bit in August last year. Android L seeks to redress this by adding an all-new 64-bit runtime (ART), coupled with other system enhancements designed to improve performance and battery life.
Publisher activates anti-piracy measures after thousands of plays turn up online
It turns out that winning an early access to game isn't enough to satisfy every fan, as mobile developer Gameloft recently learned. In a contest that gave fans access to Modern Combat 5: Blackout before its expected July 24 release date, one of the lucky winners decided to crack the game and upload it for illegal distribution. Afterward, thousands of players turned up in the game before its release on Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices.
Skype update allows linking of phonebook with Microsoft account
Microsoft has made a few changes to Skype for Android, adding the option to connect the smartphone's address book to the service. At the same time, Microsoft has revealed it is releasing a version of the messaging app client for Amazon's Fire Phone, one which will take advantage of the smartphone's home screen and graphical effects.
Patent lawsuit over notifications asked to be tossed based on Supreme Court ruling
Google has stepped into the ring for another patent dispute in East Texas, this time involving its Android operating system, Samsung and the Rockstar Consortium. Last November, the consortium filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming that Samsung phones using the Android operating system infringed on seven patents that Rockstar holds. The patents in question include messaging and notification systems found on mobile devices, but Google asked to have the case thrown out.
Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app
Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.
Previously released for iOS in August, turns tablets into notebook, sketchpad
Those looking for a note-taking solution or a sketchbook for Windows 8 and Android-based tablets have a new option to look at today. Wacom has expanded the availability of Bamboo Paper, adding tablets beyond the iPad, including the Kindle Fire, Surface 2 and Galaxy Tab 4, to the mix. Bamboo Paper was originally launched for iOS devices in August.
Mobile app from Amazon stores retailer card details, no mobile payments by card yet
Amazon has quietly launched an app to help people manage gift cards and loyalty cards with stores. The Amazon Wallet app for Android and the Fire Phone is able to store membership cards for retailers on the smartphone, allowing shoppers to digitally carry all of their store cards and gift cards without having to also bring along the physical versions.
Twitch overhauls Android app interface, adds user profiles
Game streaming service Twitch has updated its Android app to version 3.0. The app has received a visual upgrade with an updated user interface, while the addition of user profiles provides more details about individual channels and the option to chat on channels which are not broadcasting yet. The app also allows viewers to access offline channels, an improved search, and the option to swipe between channels and users.