Android L to use device encryption by default
Niki Christoff is a spokeswoman for Google and has been quoted as saying “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”
There are many security benefits to encrypting your Android device, including, but not limited to, preventing would be thieves from accessing your data on device without your password, and even blocking law enforcement from accessing data like your stored messages and photos. Google makes it clear that they do not store any encryption keys off of device, so they cannot help law enforcement access your phone, even if they wanted to.
While the encryption process will be setup within the device activation process, thus making it a default setting, users will have to keep in mind that the security pin or password they put in place should remain private and secure. Let’s face it, if you lose or forget this password, you will be locked out too.
Another major benefit to device encryption, aside from being a theft deterrent, is that your personal files will no longer be able to survive a device factory reset. We recently reported that determined individuals were able to recover many personal files from a collection of devices that had been factory reset and were on their way for resale as used electronics. A little bit scary, but will not be a factor for new Android L devices.
As a default offering, this is a great move by Google to go a step above and beyond their Android Device Manager‘s remote locate and wipe functionality to protect users and their data. We also suspect that this is a part of Google’s overall strategy to comply with new California law requiring new devices to ship with anti-theft measures baked in. It may be of note that Apple has also just announced they will have similar measures in iOS 8.
Have you been using Android’s device encryption or other more drastic security measures?
Source:: android authority
iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus drop test!
It’s that time of year again, folks. And no – we’re not sorry.
The iPhone is a formidable device. It represents the bulk of Apple’s revenue, and it’s arguably the most iconic and widely recognized smartphone in the world.
With that said, you know that Apple has spent billions of dollars to put its very best effort forward, and has brought us two different sizes this time around.
Josh, Derek and I all went to Hong Kong to get them for the explicit purpose of being able to provide you a closer look at the device itself, to compare it to leading flagships of the day, and to drop it!
Watch on to see how it fares!
There you have it folks. The new iPhones passed our drop test with flying colors. Nobody can deny that Apple created another sturdy device with the latest generation of the iPhone, even if the rumored sapphire screen didn’t pan out. Regardless, the glass on the front of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is extremely solid, as the two frontal drops have proven.
We love Android, but we’re technology fans first and foremost. So we won’t deny it – we’re impressed with Apple’s new devices. With larger screens, an improved OS, and — apparently — extreme resilience, how will the best of Android compare against iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? That’s exactly what we’ll show you over the next hours and days, as we put all the top devices on the market through our trademark comparisons.
Stay tuned for more!
Source:: android authority
Android L will keep your device more secure by enabling encryption out of the box
In a world where government snooping is becoming normal, companies are finding new ways to combat the invasion of privacy. One of the simplest ways to do this is by offering encryption for the contents of a device. Google has been offering encryption on some Android devices since 2011, but it’s always been shut off by default and hasn’t been easily accessible to turn on, leading very few to take advantage of it.
In light of last year’s onslaught of NSA leaks and surveillance allegations, Google is taking a further step in Android L. Device encryption will be enabled out of the box, foiling any plans to access the device’s contents without a password. This should prevent police forces and other law enforcement officials from accessing a phone’s content. While the feature won’t come until the release of Android L, it’s good to see Google being proactive in security.
Samsung gives you a Gear VR content sneak peek
Samsung’s Gear VR will not only create an immersive gaming experience, it will also become a center for media and other services. We have gone hands-on with the Gear VR and must say it’s an amazing experience. It is a bit hard to explain the feeling and you must really test it first-hand to fully understand.
Samsung is taking a step forward to at least give you a hint at how the Samsung Gear VR works. You get a sneak peek into the UI, some video watching and the gaming experience. It’s clear the device follows your head movements, making the experience much more immersive than ever.
Samsung goes into some Cirque du Soleil and Avengers content, as well as the game Temple Run VR. The $200 headset will be a bit limited, as it is only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Does Samsung have enough pull to make such an accessory successful and entice enough developers?
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a great phone, but it seems like a bad idea to make the Gear VR exclusive to one device, no matter how popular it may be.
Source:: android authority
Qualcomm goes all in on eyewear, releases SDK for VR headsets
If there is such a thing as an era of wearables, we can bet we find ourselves in the very beginning of it. Smartwatches are probably the most popular in this new generation of devices, and sadly it seems most companies are not going all in on this new form factor.
Qualcomm has decided to break down the doors and help eyewear developers in a market where they are mostly ignored.
Qualcomm has decided to break down the doors and help eyewear developers in a market where they are mostly ignored. The company’s yearly developer conference, Uplinq, took off this morning with the announcement of the Qualcomm Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear.
This developer kit will help app makers develop more powerful virtual reality and augmented reality apps. These apps would be able to recognize objects in your surroundings, as well as your location in reference to these objects.
This movement will be great for devices like the Samsung Gear VR or Epson’s Moverio headset. I find myself in San Francisco testing all these new features at Uplinq and must say I am quite impressed at what some of these can do. Whether you are playing games or getting down to work, plethora of markets will see these helpful in the future.
The SDK for Digital Eyewear is to become available in beta this Fall. Only an exclusive list of developers will get to see it during its launch. The rest of us will have to keep our eyes open for more details to come.
Source:: android authority
Android Customization – Choosing a default keyboard and changing its settings (so you can stay ahead of the iPhone users)
This week on our Android customization series, we revisit an oldie, but a goody, keyboards. If you’ve been following all the technology news of the last couple weeks, you know that Apple just gave its users the power to change out their keyboard and play with its settings on their mobile device. I probably don’t have to tell you that Android has been doing this for years.
In the spirit of making sure you can still show up your iPhone using friends, let’s take a quick run down of using different keyboards, and tweaking them to suit your needs.
Before we get started
To follow along today, you will need to have at least two keyboards installed on your device. As a minimum, I recommend the Google Keyboard, which comes by default on many devices out there. From there, there are tons of keyboard options, which is why our app guy Joe Hindy has spent some time providing you many examples.
Google Keyboard: Free in the Google Play Store.
SwiftKey: Free in the Google Play Store.
Most third party keyboards will guide you through the process of setting them up as your default keyboard. If you cannot find their tutorials or just want to take stock of all of your installed keyboards, I recommend going through your System Settings.
As is normal for our Android customization series, we will be using a stock Android experience device, you may find that your device has slightly different settings, but the idea remains the same.
Open your System Settings.
Open Language & Input.
First, you’ll need to activate the keyboards, just tap the checkbox on the left of each.
Then, under Keyboard & Input Methods, tap on Default.
Choose your desired default keyboard (and language, if applicable) from the list.
You will now be able to use the chosen keyboard the next time you are ready to type something out.
Alternatively, you may see the default keyboard chooser popup if you go through the individual keyboard setup procedures, this works as well.
How to access the settings of a keyboard
Once again, your chosen keyboard will have differing settings and methods to access them, and once again, we can bypass the apps built-in access methods by getting to it through our System Settings.
As above, navigate to the Keyboards & Input Methods section in your System Settings.
Tap on the settings icon beside any activated keyboard. The icon is three horizontal lines with ‘sliders’ on each.
Your specific keyboard app settings will now open up and you can play with the settings.
Personal preference is a huge factor here, but myself, I truly do not like the haptic feedback nor the beeps and boops when I press a key on my keyboard. Once again, every keyboard will have different settings here, so I will use the Google Keyboard as my example. As eluded, let’s turn off, or at least turn down, the haptic and audio feedback.
Turn off Sound and Haptic feedback on keypress
Following the above instructions to access your keyboard settings, Google Keyboard has haptic and sound controls right near the top of the list of options.
Simply de-select Vibrate on keypress and/or Sound on keypress by tapping the checkbox on the right.
Google Keyboard has a few nifty settings hidden away in a sub-menu called Advanced settings. You may recall the Advanced settings menu from when we showed you how to revert to Blue after a recent update that changed the keyboard all grey/white. It is ok if you don’t remember, but feel free to check that out here before we go on.
Let’s say you did not want to turn off the haptic nor sound feedback as I had above, but they are still not quite right. Google Keyboard will allow you to manually adjust the volume of sound and even the vibration duration of the haptic feedback. Both are fairly simple, just make sure that Vibrate on keypress and Sound on keypress are still turned on in the main menu, then dive into the Advanced settings menu.
To change the volume of the keypress sound
In Advanced Settings scroll to nearly the bottom and tap Keypress sound volume.
Move the slider to your desired volume level. A setting under 40 will be a quieter than default, and maxing out to 100 gives only a moderate boost.
Keep in mind that keypress sound will still be muted when your phone is in silent mode.
To change haptic feedback vibration setting
In Advanced settings, scroll to nearly the bottom and tap Keypress vibration duration.
Move the slider to your desired vibration level. To my touch, default feels to be around 18ms. A setting …read more
Source:: android authority
Top 10 new Android games this week: Octagon, Hyper Trip
Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we’re playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any suggestions for next week’s post.
Description: Run as far as you can in this unique, color-matching, runner game! Challenge your combination skills and perception! Beat your own and your friends’ record! The one and only rule is extremely simple: swap the RED, GREEN, and BLUE buddies to step on their color.
Beach Buggy Racing
Description: Beach Buggy is back with an explosive sequel! Drive into an action-packed, surprise-filled world of off-road kart racing mayhem. Race against a field of rival drivers, each with unique personalities and special abilities.
Description: Phantom Rift is an adventure/RPG with a unique battle system (inspired by Mega Man Battle Network), hundreds of spells to collect and use, endless equipment combinations to customize your wizard with and much more.
Light in the Dark
Description: Help the Totems find their adorable lost children in this light-bending, color blending puzzle game. The Totems shine brightly as you are tasked with solving each challenging and fun filled scenario! Move boxes, slide lenses and adjust mirrors so the Totem’s light can awaken the slumbering babies!
Description: AntiSquad Tactics gives you various missions, including infiltration, escape, elimination, assault and a whole lot more! Sometimes it might even seem like there’s no way out, but trust us, there’s always a solution! A little bit of cunning is all you need to beat any foe, no matter what the restrictions are.
Description: Arm yourself with incredible bows, combat bracers with unique powers, arrows and fantastic magic potions. Stand your ground against the attack of the skeleton warriors. Enter the battleground firing and customize your defense strategy with the help of specialized towers and blockades. Enter into a fantastic, epic world with incredible 3D graphics.
Description: Hyper Trip is a frenetic reflex game set in a futuristic 3D neon lit environment. Tap left or right to guide a square. Avoid hitting a wall.
Description: Paint wind, hurricanes and lightning on the screen with the tip of your finger and thereby navigate your balloon through the riddles and obstacles of each level. A world full of magical equipment and incredible inventions is waiting to be explored at a slow and relaxing pace: Monumental wind turbines on the horizon, an impressive hangar door behind you and a surreal fauna and flora around you.
Description: Octagon is a minimal arcade game where you have to move fast or be left behind. As the floor moves beneath you, spin your world around to dodge speed bumps. Flip upside-down to avoid holes, surf on top of the Octagon —whatever you can do to survive the mad race through this trippy 8-sided tunnel.
Description: Gameplay-wise, Goat Simulator is all about causing as much destruction as you possibly can as a goat. It has been compared to an old-school skating game, except instead of being a skater, you’re a goat, and instead of doing tricks, you wreck stuff.
Samsung will give you $200 if you trade your old phone for the Note 4, even if it’s worth less
By Andrew Grush
Earlier today we learned the Note 4 will go up for pre-order in the UK and US starting tomorrow. For those that are planning to upgrade from an older handset, Samsung has now announced its “guaranteed $200 total trade-in” promotion.
In short, if you pre-order the Note 4 between tomorrow and 10/16 through any carrier or retailer, you’ll be eligible to trade in an existing handset for $200, even if the phone isn’t worth that much. As you can expect, there’s a bit of a process involved for getting your money back for the trade-in, but this could be a heck of a deal for those with older handsets like the Galaxy S3 and Note 2. For those with newer devices, you’re probably better listing your phone for sale online, as you’ll likely get much more than just $200.
For more details on the trade-in process, you’ll want to head on over to Samsung’s website. Anyone plan on trading in their aging handset for the Note 4? Conversely, do you feel most folks are better off selling their phones online?
Source:: android authority
Sprint LivePro review: lots of functions for a lot of money
By Lanh Nguyen
While we get to see some fantastic Android devices each and every day, rarely do we come across one that offers multiple unique capabilities in a single package. The Sprint LivePro, manufactured by ZTE, is one such device. First announced back in January during CES 2014 and officially launched by Sprint in July, the LivePro is an Android device that can be used as an external battery bank, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a projector.
Of course, whether all this functionality is something you’ll want or need is entirely up to you, but how does it do with all the features it offers? We find that out, and more, in this review of the Sprint LivePro!
When it comes to the design, the LivePro has a square design and is made entirely of plastic. It is large, and quite thick, and while it won’t fit into any pockets, it’s still portable enough to carry around in a backpack. The size isn’t a big deal considering its multiple purposes, and it is still fairly compact for a projector.
On the bottom are little rubber feet to keep it from sliding around when placed on a flat surface, and there is also a tiny kickstand to prop the device up when using the projector. On the left side is the power button, a button to turn the power bank on or off, as well as a dial to adjust the focus of the projector. Hidden under a plastic flap are the microSIM card slot and the microSD card slot.
On the back is where you’ll find the 12V input for charging the device, a USB port, a HDMI port, and a standard headphones jack. The headphones jack will prove to be particularly useful to connect a set of external speakers to the device, as the built-in speaker doesn’t sound very good, and doesn’t get very loud either. On top is where you’ll find the 4-inch display, below which is the capacitive button layout that includes the back, home, and menu key. You also get a dedicated button to turn on and off the display, a button to turn on the projector, along with volume up and down keys.
When it comes to the display, you get a 4-inch screen with a relatively low 800 x 480 resolution. The viewing angles aren’t great either, so you’re not going to have the best experience if you plan to use it like an Android smartphone or tablet, despite the fact that is runs a full version of stock-like Android that allows you to do so. A device like this may not warrant the latest version of Android, but you do get Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean on-board, giving you the ability to download applications, watch videos, and play games, as you would on any other Android smartphone or tablet.
On the hardware front, you get a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, clocked at 1.2 GHz, and backed by 1GB of RAM. It may not be the most impressive of specifications, but it’s important to remember that the LivePro isn’t meant to function as a smartphone. So while you can perform basic tasks, anything too processor-intensive won’t do well.
Talking about its features, the Sprint LivePro can work as an external power bank to charge your device, and its 5,000 mAh battery is large enough to help you get close to two full charges. It can also function as a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing for up to eight simultaneous connections. Of course, you will need a special plan to use this feature, with plans starting from $34.99 for 3GB of 3G/4G data, up to $79.99 for 12GB of data. If you do plan on picking up this device for its hotspot capabilities, remember to check the coverage in your area first. But with good coverage, you get pretty decent speeds with Sprint’s Spark network.
But, the LivePro feature that will interest the most is its projector mode. The LivePro comes with a 100 lumen DLP bulb that isn’t super bright, but does very well in dimly lit rooms. If you’re hoping to use this projector as a home theatre replacement, the LivePro isn’t for you, but it’s quite good nonetheless.
Speaking about the projector, we have to mention the various ways to use the device. You can use the device directly, which is certainly the easiest, as you don’t have the hassle of connecting another device, with the device projecting whatever is running on the display. That said, you’re restricted to the resolution of the display, so you won’t be able to watch movies or Youtube videos in HD. Secondly, you have the ability to connect your smartphone or tablet to the LivePro wirelessly, and then project anything that is running on your device. The problem with this method is that there’s a delay between what you do on your device and what the projector shows. Unfortunately, it’s not just a visual delay, with audio going out of sync as well, making watching videos very difficult.
The third method, that offers the best results, is to the use the HDMI port of the LivePro, to which you can connect a laptop, or smartphone or tablet with the appropriate adapters. This is certainly the best option as far as media streaming is concerned, as there are no issues with latency of any kind, and you can watch movies and videos in HD, display photos, and show presentations without a hitch. A HDMI cable is included in the box.
Regardless of which method you choose, a big annoyance is how loud the fan gets when the projector is on, so if you’re watching a video, the sound of the fan does interfere with the audio.
As mentioned, the LivePro comes with a …read more
Source:: android authority
Google’s insane new requirement forces app developers to list a physical address
In a new mandate, Google is requiring developers of paid apps or apps with in-app purchases to list a physical address on their app details page. Jared Rummler, of JRummy Apps, pointed out the change in a new Google+ post today. He included a screenshot of the new requirement informing developers that, as of September 30, developers of paid apps or apps with in-app purchases will need to include a physical mailing address in the app details section.
The requirement doesn’t give any sort of argument to support the new change, making it even more controversial. While Google has had access to developers’ addresses for a long time, they were only available to find if you purchased the app and then went into your Google Wallet account and looked at the details of the purchase. This new change makes it far easier for spammers and others to find a physical address for developers.
One of the issues surrounding the change is that developers already frequently get spam through email. Throwing a physical address out there in the open could cause spam to come to their home and even allow others to find them in their own home. Jared Rummler points out the example of this very week when a disgruntled customer emailed him, threatening his life because he believed that JRummy worked for the government and stole his personal information. That in itself is enough to turn you against the new requirement.
What are your thoughts on the change?