Android Creator Andy Rubin Said to Be Near Comeback With ‘Essential’ Phone

Just over two years after leaving Google, Andy Rubin is preparing to take on the smartphone industry he helped create.

Android Creator Andy Rubin Said to Be Near Comeback With 'Essential' PhoneRubin, creator of the Android operating system, is planning to marry his background in software with artificial intelligence in a risky business: consumer hardware. Armed with about a 40-person team, filled with recruits from Apple and Google, Rubin is preparing to announce a new company called Essential and serve as its Chief Executive Officer, according to people familiar with the matter.

A platform company designed to tie multiple devices together, Essential is working on a suite of consumer hardware products, including ones for the mobile and smart home markets, one of the people said.

The centerpiece of the system is a high-end smartphone with a large edge-to-edge screen that lacks a surrounding bezel. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, Rubin discussed the smartphone with mobile carrier executives, including some from Sprint Corp., people familiar with the talks said.

Rubin registered Essential Products Inc. with California regulators in November 2015. In late 2016, the company registered “Essential” with the US Patent and Trademark Office, listing smartphones, tablets, accessories and “computer operating software for mobile phones” among its goods and services. It’s unclear if the devices will run on software based on Android.

While still in the prototyping stage, Rubin’s phone is aimed at the top of the market where Apple’s iPhone and Alphabet Inc.’s new Pixel reside. It’s expected to include high-end materials and the ability to gain new hardware features over time, the people said. Representatives for Rubin and Sprint declined to comment.

Rubin sold Android to Google in 2005. He spent eight years at its helm at Google, turning the operating system from a tiny project into the globe’s most dominant software for running mobile devices. In 2013, he stepped down from Android to form Google’s robotics unit before leaving altogether in 2014. Rubin’s next venture was a startup incubator called Playground Global, which backs artificial intelligence, robotics, and augmented reality projects.

Rubin is convinced AI is the next big change to ripple through the technology industry. “New computing platforms happen every 10 to 12 years,” he said at the Bloomberg Technology Conference in June. “What’s the next platform?… It’s about data and people training AI systems to learn.”

Playground Global, which occupies a sprawling warehouse in Silicon Valley, has raised at least $300 million from big investors including Hewlett-Packard, Google, and Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. The latter, known as Foxconn, is in talks to manufacture Rubin’s new smartphone, according to people familiar with the matter.

At least one prototype of Rubin’s phone boasts a screen larger than the iPhone 7 Plus’s (5.5-inches) but has a smaller overall footprint because of the lack of bezels, one of the people said. The startup is experimenting with enabling the phone’s screen to sense different levels of pressure, similar to an iPhone, the person said. Rubin’s team is testing an industrial design with metal edges and a back made of ceramic, which is more difficult to manufacture than typical smartphone materials, two of the people said.

Essential’s engineers are developing a proprietary connector that serves double duty for charging the battery and expanding the phone’s functionality over time, one person familiar with the planning said. The magnetic connector would allow Essential or even third parties to create hardware accessories that add features to the smartphone. For instance, Rubin’s engineers are working on a sphere-shaped camera add-on that shoots high-resolution 360 degree photographs, the person said.

Rubin is aiming to put the phone on sale around the middle of this year for a price close to that of an iPhone 7 ($649), a person familiar with the matter said, adding that all of the plans are still in flux. Technology news website The Information earlier reported Rubin was working on a phone.

Helping run the project are former Google colleagues and Apple managers, including Rebecca Zavin, Joe Tate, Linda Jiang, and Jason Keats. Zavin, a former senior Google software manager, is running software for Rubin. Keats and Tate are helping run hardware engineering, and Jiang is a key designer for Essential, according to a person familiar with the startup. Kelly Liang, a former business executive with the Google X lab, is managing business development and Brian Wallace, a former Samsung and Magic Leap executive, is leading marketing.

Android N name could be acknowledged in a ‘Few Weeks’

Last month at the employer’s developer-centered conference Google I/O, the hunt large took it upon itself to take Android enthusiasts on a solely-for-leisure-functions experience by means of asking them for call guidelines for its most up-to-date model of the mobile OS, Android N.

Android N Name Will Be Known in a 'Few Weeks'

That contest, so to talk, changed into presupposed to ultimate until June eight and now that the date has come and long gone, Google has said that it will monitor the name for Android N – which would possibly or won’t be a fan concept – in “some weeks” time. The employer additionally made a video harking back to its April 1 efforts again then to encourage human beings to come up with names, and it is following that up with another one that you could see under.

Android N will release in the fall with the new Nexus devices, after which will ship out to assisting gadgets over a length of two weeks to 6 months, relying on how responsive the manufacturer of your cellphone is. which means the world of Android customers is heavily fractured at any given point, with Android 6.zero Marshmallow simplest currently hitting the double-digit mark.

Currently, the latest version of Android is available as a “developer preview” for a pick bunch of devices. Android N is predicted to bring in quite a few upgrades that we already realize of, from higher multi-tasking, seamless updates and likely the killer characteristic of all – instant apps.

Google additionally announced heaps of recent things alongside Android N trends at Google I/O final month, maximum extensively the Alexa competitor Google home, a brand new VR framework Daydream and new messaging apps – Allo and Duo – amidst enhancements to Android put on, auto and tv.

To refresh your memory, you can test out our full insurance of the three-day event in a written shape, or pay attention to the devices 360 podcast if you prefer a arms-loose experience.

Safeguard your Android Device with the Bitdefender Mobile Security

Bitdefender Mobile Securityis one of the most powerful and effective mobile security solutions. It deploys cloud scanning technology to protect your Android handheld devices. It has the very latest virus detection software tools as well. The best part is that it doesn’t interfere with your mobile performance and even doesn’t hamper the battery life.

Detailed scanning

Bitdefender Mobile Security has a powerful scanning engine. Our applications have been successful certified for detecting almost more than 99% of the virus that malign your android

High Speed &Performance

Because of the cloud-based detection of the threats and reliable security services, Bitdefender mobile security tool prevents the installation of all those applications that are malicious in nature and can hinder the performance of your phone.

On-Demand Scanning

The On-demand scanning can be performed at any time. This is done to ensure that all the applications installed on the phone are safe and virus free.

Zero Configurations

Bitdefender Mobile Security protects against the various threats and virus attacks. Once it is installed in your phone, it starts to guard your phone against malware and other security threats right away, requiring no manual configuration. It has an Autopilot feature that automatically scans all the new apps that you install on your phone.

Privacy Advisor

This is a very interesting feature that lets you know what your applications are doing to your system. It gives you a detailed status of the performance of the applications running in the background of the device and how they are affecting the performance of your device.

Bitdefender Anti-Theft

This feature takes a snapshot of anyone who makes an attempt to access your phone and its information when you are not around. With the Anti-theft option you will also be able to send a message to your Android device.

App Lock

For the apps that are sensitive in nature, they can be easily be locked by a PIN code. Once these are locked, the virus threats cannot penetrate to the app and malign it. Once you are in a Wi- FI network that you trust, you can deactivate the PIN Code.

Wear ON Watch

You can also extend Bitdefender Mobile Security to your wearable devices, such as your Android watch. Even when you are not near your phone, you can check your watch for any incoming calls or messages.

Low Battery Impact

Since it relies on the cloud technology for detection of threats and providing effective security services, Bitdefender Mobile Security makes your browsing experience a pleasant one makes sure that no application is installed in your phone that can cause potential harm to your device.

The main three features of the Bitdefender Mobile security are:

  • Protection from Malware
  • Cloud based detection &scanning
  • No impact on battery life

It comes as the most advanced and effective cybersecurity application for your Android phones and gives your device protection against all the threats and viruses. In the year 2015, as per the AV- Test Bitdefender Antivirus was awarded with the Best Android Security Product award.

Some of the newly added features of the Bitdefender Mobile security tool are:

  • Fixing of minor bugs in the device
  • Request Android 6 permissions at Runtime
  • Enhance Web Security for Chrome
  • Enhanced user experience

Android 6.0 Marshmallow Now Running on 0.7 Percent Active Devices: Google

Android 6.0 Marshmallow Now Running on 0.7 Percent Active Devices: Google

Google has updated its Google Play distribution data for the seven-day period ending January 4. As Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow version rolls out to more devices, its adoption has gone up – slightly. According to Google’s latest Android distribution chart, the Android 6.0 Marshmallow now runs on 0.7 percent active Android devices. This is 0.2 percent increase from the December figure of 0.5 percent.

Sharing the distribution data of different versions of Android, Google reported that Android Lollipop has a total share of around 32.6 percent of active Android devices (with Android 5.0 Lollipop running on 16.9 percent of devices and Android 5.1 at 15.7 percent) that check into Google Play.

According to the latest data, Android 4.4.x KitKat version is going down steadily in charts and now powers 36.1 percent devices compared to 36.6 percent last month – a decrease of 0.5 percent.

The Android distribution data also shows that Android Jelly Bean has a combined share of 24.7 percent – falling 2.2 percent from December’s 26.9 percent. Android 4.1.x is seen on 9 percent devices (down from 10 percent), Android 4.2.x on 12.2 percent (down from 13 percent), and Android 4.3 on 3.5 percent devices (down from 3.9 percent).

android_distribution_chart_jan_7_official.jpg

Android 4.0.x or Ice Cream Sandwich, in Google’s latest numbers, registered a share of 2.7 percent, down 0.2 percent from December. Android Gingerbread (v2.3.3-2.3.7) and Android 2.2 Froyo’s device distribution shares are 3.0 percent (down 0.4 percent) and 0.2 percent (at the same number) respectively in the latest charts. To note, the figures are gathered from devices visiting the Google Play app, which supports Android 2.2 and above.

The OpenGL version distribution across active Android devices, on the other hand, saw OpenGL 2.0 dominating at 54.3 percent (from 55 percent last month), and OpenGL version 3.0 steadily rising to 38.9 percent (38.8 percent last month).

Google Releases January Android Security Update for Nexus Devices

Google Releases January Android Security Update for Nexus Devices

Google has been keeping its promise of releasing Android security update every month. The company released security updates in November and last month, it bundled the security update with the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow update release. Now, Google has started pushing the January Android security update for its Nexus range of devices.

In its ‘Nexus Security Bulletin’ for the month of January, Google has listed one of the most severe vulnerability that could enable remote code execution on an affected device through multiple methods such as email, web browsing, and MMS when processing media files. The company however said that it received no reports of active customer exploitation of the newly reported issues.

Some of the other critical security vulnerabilities listed by Google include elevation of privilege vulnerability in misc-sd driver, elevation of privilege vulnerability in the imagination technologies driver, elevation of privilege vulnerabilities in trustzone, and elevation of privilege vulnerability in kernel. The company also revealed that partners were notified about the issues on December 7 or earlier. Google will be releasing source code patches for the new issues to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository in the next 48 hours.

Unlike the December security update, the January Android security update is purely focused on security fixes.

The factory images for Nexus range of devices are also available on Google’s Android Developers’website. Both the OTA update and factory images are for devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will get the new Android security OTA update with build MMB29P. TheNexus 5 and the Nexus 9 Wi-Fi only and LTE will receive OTA updates with build MMB29S. The Nexus 7Wi-Fi only and LTE will get an update with build MMB29O. Nexus Player will start receiving OTA security updates with build MMB29T while the Nexus 6 will get MMB29S build.

Give back this holiday season with these great charity apps for Android

charity apps

The Christmas season is supposed to be about giving.

Not in the sense of bestowing a deluge of gifts on overindulged children, but supporting those who are in actual need.

Yet even if that’s your goal, it can be tough to do. For every worthwhile cause, there’s a flooded market of shady actors who want to take advantage of your compassion by lining their pockets.

Put this sad commentary on human nature aside and take heart: in my own personal giving and research for this story I’ve discovered several good, reputable Android apps that connect you to a ton of excellent causes. These apps make it convenient to find new efforts to support and share with others.

Make a global impact with Share the Meal

The United Nations is at the forefront of working to help the most impoverished communities around the world. The Share the Meal app helps you contribute modest donations toward the United Nations World Food Programme.

share the meal
Just tap how much you want to donate, and then make the contribution instantly via PayPal or a credit card. This would be a great place to integrate Android Pay, as you could send the funds just as quickly as making an impulse buy in the app store.

There’s a social element too, as you can share your good deeds on Facebook. The goal isn’t to brag, but to get others to help out in something that’s relatively simple but can impact a ton of kids who need the assistance.

Advertise a cause with Donate a Photo for Charity

If you’re the social type, then this unique app called Donate a Photo for Charity from Johnson & Johnson may be the one for you.

The idea is you take a picture and share it to Johnson & Johnson’s collection and across social networks to drum up support for a cause (a temperamental kitty always works).

donate a photo
Every time you do that, the company will give $1 to the effort you chose. Some of the charities include Save the Children, Born Free Africa, and United Service Organizations. You can browse a gallery of others’ pictures and which causes they got behind.

Google One a Day

Google’s really good at creating simple, powerful solutions for its tech products. That power went to even better use with its Google One a Day app.

You’ll get pinged daily with a new cause to support. With just a couple of taps you can send that particular charity $1 and carry on with what you were doing.

one today google

The money comes right from whichever credit card you have tied to your Google account, so there’s no setup process. Just give and go.

Browse through the various causes and give more beyond the standard dollar if you wish. You’re also able to register for a “Random act of kindness” by offering to match the donations that your contacts make.

Charity Miles

If you run or work out regularly, then all that energy can go towards a good cause (not that your health isn’t worthwhile).

When you sign up with Charity Miles, you earn 10 cents per mile for biking or 25 cents per mile for walking or running for a favorite cause.

The money comes from the app’s corporate sponsors, which means you’ll see some advertisements when using it.

charity miles

However, there’s a good collection of charities involved, so it should be easy to find some type of cause that you can back. You can also connect your profile to Facebook and encourage others to join in with the giving.

Even if you contribute regularly to a favorite organization or religious entity, there’s good reason to use apps like these to find others to get behind. Micro-giving can add up, especially when you consider how many smartphone users are out there.

These apps also aggregate the vast number of charities into one place where you can trust the money is going toward a reputable entity. Giving is so much better when you can trust that it will go toward the need.

The first things you should do with your new Android phone

moto x pure edition new device

A new Android phone can turn anyone into a kid again. Whether you got one as a gift or bought it yourself from one of the many holiday sales, we’re here to get you started off on the right foot.

That’s because getting back on the Android saddle isn’t always a smooth ride. While there are many aspects of the operating system you can bend to your liking, it can feel a little overwhelming if you’re new to Google’s OS or are returning from a long absence.

A quick setup, with options

One of the most greatly-improved aspects to Android is the setup process. The startup screen walks you through the steps to sign in into your Google account and offers to replicate the applications you had on your previous device. Essentially just follow the prompts and you’ll be using your phone in no time.

There are essentially two options for recovering your old apps. If your previous device is sitting right next to you and you want to copy over the same setup, use Google’s Tap and Go. Make sure NFC is enabled, and touch the devices back to back when prompted.

android welcome screen

Be patient with this next step, whereby your old apps and settings are download, as it can take a while. But the advantage is it will bring over all your apps, some data, and your home screen setup.

Alternatively, your Google account saves the some of the app installation details from your previous phone. So you can select “Restore from a previous device” and choose one of your older phones. Pro tip: when asked to select which apps you want, don’t just blindly install them all. That’s because everything, including bloatware, will be selected by default. There are a lot of apps from AT&T, Verizon, and others installed against your will you’ll be glad to dispense with.

android restoreIf you’re setting up a new Motorola device (like the Moto X Pure Edition or Droid Turbo 2) be sure to take advantage of Motorola Migrate, particularly if you want to move over SMS/MMS messages. It’s the best and most consistent tool I’ve ever come across for doing this. Unfortunately, Motorola is killing it off with Android Marshmallow, so use it while it lasts.

Finally, there’s always the fresh install. Just bypass the option to setup from a previous device and go with a fresh start. Personally I like this option best as it prevents any bugs or other weirdness. It does take more work, however, as you’ll need to download your favorite apps again. But that’s why we’re here.

Get more Google apps

Yes, an Android phone comes with plenty of Google apps. But a couple of the best ones aren’t bundled with your phone by default, and others need a little more attention.

First up is Inbox by Gmail. It’s an excellent method for triaging the deluge of email you receive and allows you to snooze messages for later. It keeps getting smarter, with reminders that integrate with your calendar and automatic replies. It’s clearly the future of Gmail, so it’s a ship you should want to jump aboard.

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Another essential is Google Keep. It has the look of a very minimalist Post-it note app, but it benefits from cross-platform sync with the web and an iOS app. Keep isn’t quite ready to knock off OneNote or Evernote when it comes to heavy productivity, but it’s something that could happen one day, as you’ll find Google is typically better than everyone else at tying the data from its services together.

Finally, be sure to launch the Google app and enable Google Now. If you’re returning from Android after a long absence, you’ll find Google Now is a helpful aide that gives you contextual information about your day, sports teams, and news.

google now

If you’re just switching devices, your Now stream should be up and running with the same details as when you last saw it. For new Nexus devices with Android Marshmallow, touch and hold the home button and you’ll be introduced to the world of Google Now on Tap.

google now calendarTouch and hold the home button and Google will essentially scan the contents of your screen and search for important related information. It’s definitely hit-and-miss, but it can be useful, for example, if you’re discussing a restaurant and want to instantly get directions.

Get ready to message

The default messaging app will vary depending on your phone. If it’s a Nexus device, it will be Google’s Messenger. It’s a great app, and probably better than the ugly texting app that came with your Samsung or LG phone.

messenger google

However, you should spend a couple minutes in the Play Store looking atother SMS options. Another alternative: if you use Hangouts a lot, you can set up the app to handle both SMS/MMS and Hangouts chats. Go to Settings > SMS and press SMS disabled.

hangouts sms

Then all your conversations will be tucked away neatly in the same app. Try it out and see if it’s a setup you like.

Grab a custom launcher

One of the advantages of Android is the degree to which you can customize your phone. An excellent way to place your mark on your device is through a custom launcher.

If you have a Nexus device, there’s nothing wrong with the stock Google Now Launcher. But if you want to change things up more, then check out Nova Launcher Prime and Action Launcher 3.

nova launcher prime

With Nova Launcher, you can change up just about everything: the screen scroll effects, how icons look, and how many apps you can cram on each page. It’s well worth the $4, and it will feel downright liberating if you’re coming from the iPhone.

Action Launcher 3 is the other top dog here, with the ability to add in custom gestures and get as crazy as you want by turning the Google search bar teal. The app also embraces Material Design, so it could be a good alternative if you like Google’s aesthetic but want more customization choices.

Set Do Not Disturb mode

As with any operating system, some of the new features are hiding in plain site. One of them is the Do Not Disturb mode. It works a bit differently in Marshmallow than Lollipop, but either way you can get to it by opening Settingsand going to the Sound and Notificaiton menu. This allows you to put your phone into a “leave me alone” state where push alerts won’t pester you.

20 do not disturb

If you have a device running Android 6.0 or later, check out our guide because it got quite the revamp. Some of this may differ depending on your device, but you’ll want to know how it works because it can give you some needed peace and quiet. And you don’t want notifications beeping and buzzing and waking you up in the middle of the night.

A couple more to-do items

Another key item is online photo backup. You’ll likely use your new phone to take thousands of pictures, and you don’t want to lose them just because you drop your phone down the stairs. The best is Google Photos. If you have a non-Nexus phone the app may not be set as default, as many handset makers include their own image gallery.

google photos who is this

Use Photos and turn on auto backup, which is unlimited if you’re willing to live with a little compression. Otherwise photos count against your Google storage, which starts at 15GB for all your Gmail and Google Drive content.

The last tip to worry about is that if you’re moving from an iPhone, you need to disable iMessage. Otherwise when someone text messages you from an iPhone, it will still try to go to your old iOS device. Apple has adedicated site to turn this off, so messages sent to you will default to SMS or MMS and come to your Android phone.

Live and learn

Android is powerful, but it can also be more complicated. You’ll have to pay attention to software updates. That’s because unless you have a Nexus device (where the updates come directly from Google), your manufacturer controls when you get the latest version of Android. And if it’s a carrier-branded device, the update has to go through another layer of testing with your carrier.

The good news is that practically all of Google’s apps are updated through the Play Store. Same goes for Google Play Services, which controls a lot of APIs that developers can tap into to add functionality to their apps. So even if you don’t have the latest build of Android, you may still be able to get the most recent features.

Despite these shortcomings, Android is an exciting place to be. Marshmallow is the best release yet, and Google has finally built an excellent, stock device with a great camera in the Nexus 6P.

Celkon CT722 tablet with 7-inch display, Android Lollipop, and 3G launched

Celkon added a new tablet to its portfolio with the launch of the CT722. It is an entry-level slate that comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out-of-the box and offers a single SIM slot for 3G connectivity. There’s no word on if the Celkon CT722 supports voice-calling, but the press render shows a earpiece and a call icon on the screen, so we assume it does.

Celkon CT722

The Celkon CT722 offers a 7-inch display bearing a resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels. The slate is backed by a 1.1GHz quad-core Intel Atom x3-C3230RK processor, aided by 1GB of RAM and a Mali 450 MP4 GPU. For storage, it gets 8GB of internal memory, further expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card.

The CT722 offers a 3.2-megapixel primary camera with an LED flash, and a 1.3-megapixel secondary snapper. Apart from single-SIM slot and 3G, the slate offers USB OTG, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and micro-USB. It is powered by a 2,800mAh battery.

The Celkon CT722 has been priced quite affordably at Rs 4,999. The slate comes in black, silver, blue and gold variants, and will be exclusively available on Snapdeal.

Motorola Moto G 3rd-gen gets Android Marshmallow update in India

Motorola has announced the roll out of the Android Marshmallow update for the Moto G 3rd-gen smartphone in India. The Android Marshmallow update for the Moto G 3rd-gen is being rolled out soon after the brand released thesame for the Moto X Style and Moto X 2014 edition in India.

 

Moto G 3rd gen Marshmallow update India

 

Motorola hasn’t yet released the change-log of the Android Marshmallow update for the Moto G 3rd-gen. However, users can expect a handful of new features such as Doze mode that extends the battery life, new app permissions, Google Now on Tap, and simpler volume controls. The update also brings enhanced security features, and the Direct Share feature that lets you share pictures, news, links and more with your favourite contacts easily.

The new firmware is being rolled out to Moto G 3rd-gen users over the air. You will be automatically notified about the update, but you can also do a manual check by going to Settings > About Phone > System Update.

SwiftKey launches Symbols Android app to help non-verbal people with special needs communicate

SwiftKey, the company behind the popular third-party keyboard app, has launched Symbols, an app that is designed to open up a different way for non-verbal individuals to communicate. As per the brand, the free app is geared towards youngsters with autism who may struggle communicating. Autism is estimated to affect around one percent of the world’s population.

SwiftKey Symbols app

The SwiftKey Symbols app is only available for Android for now, but will be released for other platforms as well. The app allows users construct entire sentences by picking images from different categories like people, actions, colours, and from the smart suggestions bar. The app utilises the prediction engine technology of the SwiftKey SDK. Similar to word prediction on the keyboard, the SwiftKey SDK engine is capable of suggesting expressions to use next.  The more a user uses the app, the better it becomes in prediction.

SwiftKey Symbols app features

The SwiftKey Symbols app was built during one of SwiftKey’s Innovation Weeks and is being released in SwiftKey Greenhouse. It features Symbol sentence builder, next symbol prediction, audio playback, adding custom photos as categories or individual symbols, day and time specific predictions, and supports Android smartphones and tablets powered by 4.4 KitKat or higher.

“Earlier this year a small team of SwiftKey staff, some with experience with autism in their families, came up with the idea of developing an assistive app powered by SwiftKey’s core contextual language prediction technology. We wanted to bring an accessible, free app to people with talking and learning difficulties so that they could communicate more easily with their friends and family,” said the company in a blog post.

SwiftKey further added that its core technology is already being used by professor Stephen Hawking and an Israeli startup called Click2Speak, which is working towards bringing better ways for people with mobility issues to communicate.