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Networking

Dueling Home Automation Systems at SXSW (Video) 46

Posted by Roblimo
from the to-serve-man dept.
Austin has a strong western heritage and more country and western music than you can shake a fiddle bow at. So when Timothy came back from SXSW with video clips from two home automation companies with different approaches to this question: "How can you work with a whole bunch of lights and thermostats and other IoT home automation pieces that all have different OSes and control APIs?" we obviously had to call the resulting video 'Dueling Home Automation Systems.'

The two companies shown in this video are called WigWag and Yonomi. WigWag sells you a "Relay," which they say "is a powerful mini computer that gives you control of your home's smart devices." The minimum pre-order buy-in for WigWag seems to be a $149 WigWag Relay. Their 'products' page his page shows the Relay -- and many other gadgets and kits that could easily run your total tab up to $1000 or more. Yonomi, on the other hand, "resides on your phone and in the Cloud. No need for a hub, controller box or other additional hardware. Yonomi magically finds and enhances your existing connected devices allowing them to interact with one another in ways never before possible."

Yonomi may start with a free Android app (iOS coming soon), but you still need to buy lights, speakers, thermostats, and other things that are Internet-aware, so you're not going to save much (if anything) over buying a WigWag relay and the rest of what you need to create your own, private Internet of Things. And what about good old X10 and other home control systems? They're still out there, still doing their thing in millions of homes even if they aren't getting all the IoT buzz. In any case, it's nice to see new home automation alternatives coming down the pike, even if their cloudness may make them easier to hack than an old-fashioned appliance like this coffeemaker.
Software

Developers and the Fear of Apple 259

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-different-except-about-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes: UI designer Eli Schiff has posted an article about the "climate of fear" surrounding Apple in the software development community. He points out how developers who express criticism in an informal setting often recant when their words are being recorded, and how even moderate public criticism is often prefaced by flattery and endorsements.

Beyond that, the industry has learned that they can't rely on Apple's walled garden to make a profit. The opaque app review process, the race to the bottom on pricing, and Apple's resistance to curation of the App Store are driving "independent app developers into larger organizations and venture-backed startups." Apple is also known to cut contact with developers if they release for Android first. The "climate of fear" even affects journalists, who face not only stonewalling from Apple after negative reporting, but also a brigade of Apple fans and even other journalists trying to paint them as anti-Apple.
Android

Android's Smart Lock Won't Ask You For a Password Until You Set Your Phone Down 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the staying-on dept.
jfruh writes Nothing confronts you with how addicted you are to your phone more than constantly taking it out of your pocket and entering your passcode over and over again to unlock. But without fanfare, Google is releasing an Android update that might solve the problem: a "smart lock" that can figure out if your phone has been set down since the last time you unlocked it. As long as it stays on your person, you won't need to re-enter your password.
Technology

Lenovo CEO Reportedly Posts Image of Next Gen Moto 360 Smartwatch 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-look dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "When the Android Wear platform was unveiled last year, the star of the show was undoubtedly the Motorola Moto 360. With its stainless steel body and round display, the smartwatch looked futuristic while retaining styling that was somewhat familiar to traditional time pieces. However, it's been a year since the original Moto 360 was unveiled and there have been a number of round-faced Android Wear devices that have either hit the market or will in the coming months. Motorola, of course, is still pushing ahead with a second generation Moto 360 and it appears their new parent company — Lenovo — may have just leaked the design of the upcoming smartwatch. Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing posted an image to Weibo, which shows a number of smartwatches in various states of assembly. The image is interesting, because it provides us with two interesting bits of information. First, the new Moto 360 appears to adopt a traditional, exposed-lug design, which should make it easier for users to swap out the band that comes with the Moto 360 for a wider variety of third-party bands. Also, what you can glean from the photo is that, it appears that the "flat tire" display found on the original Moto 360 will carry over to its successor. The Moto 360 currently houses its ambient light sensor and display driver in the crescent-shaped cutout at the bottom of the display."
Android

Apple May Start Accepting Android Phones As Trade-Ins 147

Posted by timothy
from the whatever-you've-got dept.
HughPickens.com writes Bloomberg reports that according to a person with knowledge of the matter, Apple plans to start accepting non-Apple devices as trade-ins as the company seeks to extend market-share gains against Android smartphones. Apple is seeking to fuel even more iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales after selling 74.5 million units in the last three months of 2014. Thanks to record sales, shipments of iPhones surpassed Android in the US with 47.7 percent of the market compared with Android's 47.6 percent. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook Apple "experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches in the three previous years." While Android phones don't hold their value as well as iPhones, it still makes sense for Apple Stores to accept them, says Israel Ganot, former CEO of Gazelle Inc., an online mobile device trade-in company. "Apple can afford to pay more than the market value to get you to switch over," says Ganot, "on the idea that you're going to fall in love with the iOS ecosystem and stay for a long time."
Android

Google 'Experts' To Screen Android Apps For Banned Content 139

Posted by timothy
from the less-pressing-less-flesh dept.
An anonymous reader writes Google has announced that it will start an official human-based screening process for all of the apps featured in its Google Play store, in a bid to "better protect the community" and "improve the app catalogue." The search giant revealed yesterday that a "team of experts" would be reviewing apps and all updates offered across the Google Play platform for those which violate Google's developer policies. The team will also give direct feedback to developers on what they need to do in order to fix their apps before they can be listed on the Store. A dedicated review page will allow developers to gain further "insight into why apps were rejected or suspended," as well as offering them the opportunity to "easily fix and resubmit their apps" for those who have violated minor regulations.
Android

Google, Developers Demo Impressive Gaming and VR Apps For Project Tango Tablet 15

Posted by timothy
from the very-cool-piece-of-gear dept.
MojoKid writes Google's Project Tango Android tablet offers a new way to interact with the world through the use of 3D mapping and real-time depth sensing. Combined with custom software and hardware sensors, Project Tango devices are capable of performing over a quarter million 3D measurements per second to create a 3D model of the world we see. There are endless possibilities as Google notes. "What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping? What if the visually-impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places? And there are obvious big advantages in gaming applications for positioning, augmented reality, etc. Google was offering a first-hand experience with virtual reality gaming using Project Tango at GTC in San Jose today, and the results are pretty impressive. The first demo involved Zombie Gunship Reality, which allows you to take aim at killer zombies from the relative safety of the air. Using an NVIDIA Tegra K1-powered Project Tango dev tablet, you're able to aim your weapon by moving the tablet around in front of you, which provides for a more immersive experience than just tapping/swiping away on the screen alone to move. Google also demoed how a Project Tango device could be used to create a 3D capture of a room or even an entire building, giving users a way to navigate through unfamiliar surroundings without the need for Wi-Fi or GPS hardware.
Microsoft

Is Microsoft Trying to Become "King of Search" With Cortana Strategy? 107

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-move dept.
New submitter Ammalgam writes: Microsoft recently announced that they were porting Cortana over to both Apple and iOS. This move seems to be puzzling to the larger Microsoft community because on it's face, Cortana is not per se a commercial product. But there is an interesting theory emerging. Windows10update.com is speculating that the insertion of Cortana into other platforms is a "Trojan Horse" strategy that will ultimately have Windows, iOS and Android users sending their search requests to Bing. The theory is that enough of those requests will bring Bing to Google's level.
Blackberry

BlackBerry's Latest Experiment: a $2,300 'Secure' Tablet 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-people-who-think-high-end-tablets-are-too-cheap dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After missing the boat on smartphones, BlackBerry has been throwing everything they can at the wall to see what sticks. From making square phones to insisting users want physical keyboards, their only standard is how non-standard they've become. Now they're expanding this strategy to the tablet market with a security-centric tablet that costs $2,300. And they're not doing it alone — the base device is actually a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. The tablet runs Samsung Knox boot tech, as well as software from IBM and encryption specialist Secusmart (which BlackBerry recently purchased). The device will be targeted at businesses and organizations who have particular need for secure devices.

"Organizations deploying the SecuTablet will be able to set policies controlling what apps can run on the devices, and whether those apps must be wrapped, said IBM Germany spokesman Stefan Hefter. The wrapping process—in which an app is downloaded from a public app store, bundled with additional libraries that encrypt its network traffic and intercept Android 'intents' for actions such as cutting or pasting data, then uploaded to a private app store—ensures that corporate data can be protected at rest, in motion and in use, he said. For instance, it can prevent data from a secure email being copied and pasted into the Facebook app running on the same device—yet allow it to be pasted into a secure collaboration environment, or any other app forming part of the same 'federation,' he said."
Security

Flaw In Dropbox SDK For Android Lets Attackers Steal Data Sent To Users' Account 23

Posted by Soulskill
from the many-points-of-failure dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from IBM's security team have discovered an authentication flaw in the Dropbox Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android that can be exploited to capture new data a user saves to its Dropbox account. The flaw has been extensively documented by the researchers in a blog post, but the things you initially need to know are these: the vulnerability can be exploited if you use an app that uses a Dropbox SDK Version 1.5.4 through 1.6.1 (the latest one is v1.6.3), or if you visit a specially-crafted malicious page with your Android web browser targeting that app, and that's only if you don't have the Dropbox for Android app installed. Also, an attacker can't access the data you have previously stored in your Dropbox account.
Microsoft

Microsoft Asks US Court To Ban Kyocera's Android Phones 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-kyocera-is-totally-making-bank-off-your-patents dept.
angry tapir writes: Microsoft has asked a court in Seattle to ban Kyocera's DuraForce, Hydro and Brigadier lines of cellular phones in the U.S., alleging that they infringed seven Microsoft patents. The software giant charged in its complaint that some Kyocera phone features that come from its use of the Android operating system infringe Microsoft's patents.
Android

Google Announces Android 5.1 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Google has officially announced Android Lollipop 5.1. This is a small update to the mobile operating system, and focuses on stability and performance. The main new features include support for multiple SIM cards, high definition voice calls on supported devices, and the ability to join Wi-Fi networks and manage Bluetooth pairings through Quick Settings. The biggest new feature is "Device Protection." They say, "With Device Protection, your lost or stolen device will remain locked until you sign in with your Google account — even if someone resets your device to factory settings. This feature will be available on most Android phones and tablets shipped with Android 5.1 in addition to Nexus 6 and Nexus 9."
Android

NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-challenger-appears dept.
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA held an event in San Francisco last night at GDC, where the company unveiled a new Android TV streamer, game console, and supercomputer, as NVIDIA's Jen Hsun Huang calls it, all wrapped up in a single, ultra-slim device called NVIDIA SHIELD. The SHIELD console is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1 SoC with 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, Gig-E and 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO WiFi. It's also 4K Ultra-HD Ready with 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264) with encode/decode with full hardware processing. The company claims the console provides twice the performance of an Xbox 360. NVIDIA demo'ed the device with Android TV, streaming music and HD movies and browsing social media. The device can stream games from a GeForce powered PC to your television or from NVIDIA's GRID cloud gaming service, just like previous NVIDIA SHIELD devices. Native Android games will also run on the SHIELD console. NVIDIA's plan is to offer a wide array of native Android titles in the SHIELD store, as well as leverage the company's relationships with game developers to bring top titles to GRID. The device was shown playing Gearbox's Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, Doom 3 BFG Edition, Metal Gear Solid V, the Unreal Engine 4 Infiltrator demo and yes, even Crysis 3.
Music

A Versatile and Rugged MIDI Mini-Keyboard (Video) 56

Posted by Roblimo
from the Willy-and-the-poor-boys-playing-that-MIDI-can't-be-beat dept.
The K-Board won a "Best in Show" award at CES 2015. Plus, as Timothy said, "I always like pour and stomp demos." And it's totally cross-platform. If your computer, tablet or smartphone has a USB port and (almost) any kind of music software, it works. In theory, you could hook a K-Board to your Android or iOS device and use it to accompany yourself while you sing for spare change on a downtown corner. Or noodle around to get a handle on a theme you'll use in your next major symphony. Or...?
Android

Google Backs Off Default Encryption on New Android Lollilop Devices 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-the-people-what-the-government-wants dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Although Google announced in September 2014 that Android 5.0 Lollipop would require full-disk encryption by default in new cell phones, Ars Technica has found otherwise in recently-released 2nd-gen Moto E and Galaxy S6. It turns out, according to the latest version of the Android Compatibility Definition document (PDF), full-disk encryption is currently only "very strongly recommended" in anticipation of mandatory encryption requirements in the future. The moral of the story is: don't be lazy — check that your full-disk encryption is actually enabled.
Google

Google Prepares To Enter Wireless Market As an MVNO 43

Posted by samzenpus
from the trying-something-different dept.
jfruh writes Google is getting into the wireless connectivity business, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to use them as your wireless connectivity provider any time soon. The company isn't building its own cell network, but will rather be a "mobile virtual network operator" offering services over existing networks. Google says it won't be a full-service mobile network in competition with existing carriers; instead, the MVNO will offer a platform through which it can experiment with new services for Android smartphones.
Encryption

BlackPhone, In Wake of Gemalto Fallout, Receives $50 Million In Funding 59

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 85

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? 136

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 147

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.