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Encryption

BlackPhone, In Wake of Gemalto Fallout, Receives $50 Million In Funding 47

Posted by timothy
from the small-steps dept.
An anonymous reader writes The BlackPhone, a $600-plus encrypted Android handset designed to keep the prying eyes of criminals and the government out of mobile communications, is now fully owned by Silent Circle thanks to the company raking in investment cash. Terms of the buyout deal with Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone, the phone's hardware manufacturer, were not disclosed. Silent Circle said Thursday that it has raised $50 million and plans on showing off an encrypted 'enterprise privacy ecosystem' at World Mobile Congress next week. A BlackPhone tablet is on the way, too.
Media

VLC Gets First Major Cross-Platform Release 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-available-on-palm-pilots-and-apple-newtons dept.
An anonymous reader writes VideoLAN today launched what is arguably the biggest release of VLC to date: an update for the desktop coordinated with new versions across all major mobile platforms. The world's most-used media player just got a massive cross-platform push. The organization says the releases are the result of more than a year of volunteer work on the VLC engine and the libVLC library. As a result, VLC has gained numerous new features, has seen more than 1,000 bugs fixed, and has significantly increased its scope of supported formats.
Android

Who's Afraid of Android Fragmentation? 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the aside-from-actual-androids dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: The dreaded term "fragmentation" has been applied to Android more times than anyone can count over the past half-decade. That's part of the reason why game developers often build for iOS before Android, even though Android offers a bigger potential customer base worldwide, and more types of gaming experiences. Fortunately, new sets of tools allow game developers to build for one platform and port their work (fairly) easily to another. "We've done simultaneously because it is such a simple case of swapping out the textures and also hooking up different APIs for scores and achievements," London-based indie developer Tom Vian told Dice. "I've heard that iOS is a better platform to launch on first, but there's no sense for us in waiting when we can spend half a day and get it up and running." So is fragmentation an overhyped roadblock, or is it a genuine problem for developers who work in mobile?
Firefox

Firefox 36 Arrives With Full HTTP/2 Support, New Design For Android Tablets 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 36 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions to the browser include some security improvements, better HTML 5 support, and a new tablet user interface on Android. The biggest news for the browser is undoubtedly HTTP/2 support, the roadmap for which Mozilla outlined just last week. Mozilla plans to keep various draft levels of HTTP/2, already in Firefox, for a few versions. These will be removed "sometime in the near future." The full changelog is here.
Google

Google Teams Up With 3 Wireless Carriers To Combat Apple Pay 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the working-together dept.
HughPickens.com writes AP reports that in an effort to undercut Apple's hit service Apple Pay, Google is teaming up with three wireless carriers by building its payment service into Android smartphones sold by AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA. Besides trying to make it more convenient to use Wallet, Google also is hoping to improve the nearly 4-year-old service. Toward that end, Google is buying some mobile payment technology and patents from Softcard, a 5-year-old venture owned by the wireless carriers. Financial terms weren't disclosed but Apple Pay's popularity probably helped forge the unlikely alliance between Google and the wireless carriers. Google traditionally has had a prickly relationship with the carriers, largely because it doesn't believe enough has been done to upgrade wireless networks and make them cheaper so more people can spend more time online.

The biggest challenge however is one that both Apple and Google face: Only a small fraction of the 10 million or so retail outlets in the U.S.–220,000 at last count–have checkout readers that can accept payments from either system. Both wallets use a radio technology called Near Field Communication to send payment, and it's expected to take years for most stores to be upgraded. What's at play? The big tech companies and carriers seem convinced that our phones will eventually replace our wallets. For carriers, that could make mobile wallet technology table stakes over the next few years as they compete for consumers.
Youtube

YouTube Kids Launches On Android and iOS 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
An anonymous reader writes As expected, YouTube today launched YouTube Kids for Android and iOS, described as a "family-friendly destination" and "the first Google product built from the ground up with little ones in mind." You can download the new app for free, available only in the U.S., directly from Google Play and Apple's App Store. The app's main selling point is that it only has content deemed appropriate for kids. In other words, the pitch to parents is very simple: This app will ensure that your kids can watch videos posted online without stumbling on clips you wouldn't want them to see.
Games

"Exploding Kittens" Blows Up Kickstarter Records 104

Posted by timothy
from the someone's-gotta-be-in-the-lead dept.
The Register reports that the crowdfunded Exploding Kittens card game from Oatmeal (and Tesla museum fund-raiser) Matthew Inman, along with X-box veterans Elan Lee and Shane Small, has become the highest-grossing game project yet on Kickstarter. After an intensive fundraising campaign, the trio collected $8.78m from 219,382 backers to launch the game. This breaks the record for the largest ever Kickstarter game project, previously held by hackable Android gaming console Ouya. According to the blurb on Exploding Kittens' (now closed) Kickstarter page, players "take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game."
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Parental Content Control For Free OSs? 256

Posted by timothy
from the good-idea-or-not dept.
m.alessandrini writes Children grow up, and inevitably they will start using internet and social networks, both for educational and recreational purposes. And it won't take long to them to learn to be autonomous, especially with all the smartphones and tablets around and your limited time. Unlike the years of my youth, when internet started to enter our lives gradually, now I'm afraid of the amount of inappropriate contents a child can be exposed to unprepared: porn, scammers, cyberbullies or worse, are just a click away.

For Windows many solutions claim to exist, usually in form of massive antivirus suites. What about GNU/Linux? Or Android? Several solutions rely on setting up a proxy with a whitelist of sites, or similar, but I'm afraid this approach can make internet unusable, or otherwise be easy to bypass. Have you any experiences or suggestions? Do you think software solutions are only a part of the solution, provided children can learn hacking tricks better than us, and if so, what other 'human' techniques are most effective?
Google

Antitrust Case Against Google Thrown Out of SF Court 62

Posted by timothy
from the like-the-swiss-miss-marshallow-scam dept.
Mark Wilson (3799011) writes "Just a few days ago Google was threatened with legal action for anti-competitive behavior in Russia. While we don't yet know if that will amount to anything, there has been some better news for the search giant in the US. A San Francisco judge dismissed a case brought against the firm by two men who thought the inclusion of Google services in Android pushed up the prices of their handsets."
Sony

Why Sony Should Ditch Everything But the PlayStation 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the quit-your-day-job dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A couple weeks ago, we were surprised by news that Sony was spinning off its game development studio. More recently, the company has been thinking about exiting both the mobile phone market and the TV market. An opinion piece suggests Sony shouldn't stop there, focusing more on the its PlayStation division and a few other areas — and giving up on the rest. "Continuing to concentrate on phones and other products actually makes the PlayStation experience worse for most people. Take the PS4's ability to stream games to mobile devices — a killer feature needlessly limited to the PS Vita and Sony's Xperia Android line. Why can't I play Destiny on my iPad when the TV's occupied? The iOS PlayStation app, meanwhile, is a confusing mess that hasn't even been updated for the iPhone 6. These sound like minor points, but imagine what Sony could do if everyone at the company were focused on making its most important product as good as possible. As Microsoft is learning with its recent iOS and Android experiments, you have to serve the customers where they already are."
Android

New Android Trojan Fakes Device Shut Down, Spies On Users 118

Posted by timothy
from the let's-listen-in dept.
An anonymous reader writes A new Android Trojan that tricks users into believing they have shut their device down while it continues working, and is able to silently make calls, send messages, take photos and perform many other tasks, has been discovered and analyzed by AVG researchers. They dubbed it, and AVG's security solutions detect it as PowerOffHijack.
Google

Google Faces Anti-Trust Probe In Russia Over Android 149

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-a-good-look dept.
First time accepted submitter Mark Wilson writes Google has a new battle on its hands, this time in the form of a potential anti-trust probe in Russia. Yandex, the internet company behind the eponymous Russian search engine, has filed a complaint to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). Yandex claims that the US search giant is abusing its position by bundling Google services with Android. It claims that users are forced into using the Google ecosystem including Google Search, and that it is difficult to install competing services on smartphones and tablets. There are distinct echoes of the antitrust lawsuits Microsoft has faced for its bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows.
Sony

Sony To Release Google Glass Competitor 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-linux-on-the-facetop dept.
jfruh writes: With Google retooling its Glass offering, Sony appears to have jumped into the breach to offer an Android-compatible wearable face-computer. The developer edition of SmartEyeglass will be available in March for $840, with a commercial release planned for 2016. The device must be manipulated with a separate, wired controller unit that houses a microphone, speakers and an NFC module.
Microsoft

Report: Samsung Replacing Its Apps With Microsoft's For Galaxy S6 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the trading-proprietary-for-proprietary dept.
An anonymous reader writes: SamMobile is reporting that the next major revision of Samsung's Galaxy S line of phones is going to have some major changes. According to insider sources, Samsung has gotten rid of many of their pre-loaded apps, making them optional downloads. What's interesting is that they're replacing these apps with software from Microsoft — apps like Skype, Office Mobile, and OneDrive. "With Windows Phone failing to make a dent on the smartphone market, Microsoft has recently shifted focus to its software services, and having them pre-installed on one of the bestselling Android smartphone lineups might just give the Redmond giant the exposure it needs to court consumers into switching from Google's massively more popular services that come preloaded on all Android devices."
Media

VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: Two weekends ago an update for VLC media player was shared during a presentation in Brussels at FOSDEM. Lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf covered VLC's continued vibrant development, as well as features that are coming for VLC 2.2 and VLC 3.0. VLC 2.2.0 will feature automatic, GPU-accelerated video rotation support, extension improvements, resume handling, support for new codecs/formats and rewrites to some of the existing formats, VDPAU GPU zero-copy support, x265 encoder support, etc. Further out is VLC 3.0.0, which is planned to have Wayland support, GPU zero-copy support for OpenMAX IL, ARIB subtitle support, HEVC / VP9 hardware decoding on Android, a rework of the MP4 and TS demuxers, and browsing improvements. The VLC FOSDEM 2015 presentation is available in PDF form. The VLC Git shortlog can be used to follow the development of the project.
Security

EU Parliament Blocks Outlook Apps For Members Over Privacy Concerns 24

Posted by timothy
from the network-hygiene dept.
jfruh writes Microsoft last week released Outlook apps for iOS and Android, but one group that won't be getting to use them is members of the European Parliament. They've been advised by their tech staff that the apps are insecure and that they shouldn't download them — and if they have, they should change their Outlook passwords.
Open Source

Linaro Launches an Open-Source Spec For ARM SBCs 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the helping-you-make-new-toys dept.
DeviceGuru writes: Not content to just standardize ARM-based Linux and Android software, Linaro has just launched 96Boards, an open-source spec for ARM-based single board computers. Along with the spec's rollout, Linaro also announced a $129 HiKey SBC based on a HiSilicon 64-bit, octa-core Kirin 620 SoC, and compatible with the 96Boards Consumer Edition (CE) spec's 85 x 54mm 'standard' form factor option. The 96Boards initiative plans to offer a series of specs for small-footprint 32- and 64-bit Cortex-A boards, including an Enterprise Edition (EE) of its spec in Q2.
Google

The Prickly Partnership Between Uber and Google 77

Posted by samzenpus
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along? dept.
HughPickens.com writes Google, with billions of dollars in the bank and house-by-house maps of most of the planet, seemed like the perfect partner for Uber, the hugely popular ride-hailing service. But Mike Isaac writes in the NYT that just two years after Google's venture capital arm poured more than $250 million into Uber there are signs that the companies are more likely to be ferocious competitors than allies. Uber recently announced plans to develop self-driving cars, a longtime pet project at Google. Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO, has publicly discussed what he sees as the inevitability of autonomous taxis, saying they could offer cheaper rides and a true alternative to vehicle ownership. "The Uber experience is expensive because it's not just the car but the other dude in the car," Kalanick said at a technology conference in 2014, referring to the expense of paying human drivers. "When there's no other dude in the car, the cost [of taking an Uber] gets cheaper than owning a vehicle." Uber is also adding engineers who are experts on mapping technology. And the company, based in San Francisco, has been in talks with Google's advertising archrival, Facebook, to find ways to work together.

Not to be outdone, Google has been experimenting with a ride-sharing app similar to Uber's and both companies have long toyed with the idea of offering same-day delivery of items like groceries and other staples. Last month Google announced it would start presenting data from third party applications inside Google Now, a service that displays useful information prominently on the screen of Android smartphones. Google said it had struck deals to draw data from such apps as Pandora, AirBnb, Zillow, and the ride-sharing service Lyft. The company most obviously missing from that list? Google's old and possibly former friend, Uber. According to Isaac, for young companies, even one as well funded as Uber, dancing with giants is a part of doing business — even if there is always a risk of getting squashed. "There are some hard lessons about the dangers of cooperation that are strongly in the memories of these companies," says John Morgan. "Something that makes partnering harder, even when it might make economic sense to do so."
Operating Systems

The First Ubuntu Phone Is Here, With Underwhelming Hardware 177

Posted by timothy
from the early-days-yet dept.
A few days ago, Fast Company reviewer Jay Cassano was enthusiastic about Ubuntu's approach to apps for its new phone OS: namely, not relying on them, and instead interfacing seamlessly with existing websites and protocols. Now, new submitter ablutions (4006541) writes with a less than glowing review at The Daily Dot of the actual hardware that the OS is launching on. A sample that conveys the gist: Let's start with the good stuff: It sports a 4.5-inch multi-touch screen and a respectable 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel lens on the front. That's pretty much it. The list of negatives is a bit longer.
Handhelds

Dell Venue 8 7000, "World's Thinnest Tablet" With Intel Moorefield Atom Reviewed 120

Posted by timothy
from the straight-outta-round-rock dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Dell recently launched their Android-based Venue 8 7000 slate, claiming it's the "world's thinnest" tablet. It measures a mere 6 millimeters thick, or 0.24 inches and change. That's 0.1mm slimmer than Apple's iPad Air 2 and 1.5mm flatter than the iPad mini 3, giving Dell full bragging rights, even if by a hair. Dell also opted for an Intel Atom Z3580 processor under the hood, clocked at up to 2.3GHz. This quad-core part is built on Intel's 22nm Moorefield microarchitecture. Compared to its Bay Trail predecessor, Moorefield comes in a smaller package with superior thermal attributes, as well as better graphics performance, courtesy of its PowerVR G6430 graphics core. The Venue 8 7000 also features one of the best 8-inch OLED displays on the market, with edge-to-edge glass and a 2560x1600 resolution. Finally, the Venue 8 7000 is also the first to integrate Intel's RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera, which offers interesting re-focusing and stereoscopic effects, with potentially other, more interesting use cases down the road. Performance-wise, the Venue 8 7000 is solid enough though not a speedster, putting out metrics in the benchmarks that place it in the middle of the pack of premium tablets on the market currently."