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  • Qualcomm Begins Contributing To Reverse-Engineered Freedreno Linux Driver

    An anonymous reader writes: For over two years there's been a Freedreno driver project that's been reverse-engineering Qualcomm's Adreno graphics hardware. Freedreno consists of both a user-space Gallium3D driver providing OpenGL / OpenGL ES support and a DRM/KMS kernel driver to replace Qualcomm's open-source kernel driver designed just around Android's needs. The community-based, reverse-engineering Freedreno driver project is finally paying off and gaining critical momentum with Qualcomm now contributing to the driver. QuIC through the Aurora Forum provided Adreno A4xx hardware support to the Freedreno MSM kernel driver.

    15 comments | 10 hours ago

  • Android Co-Founder Andy Rubin Leaving Google

    An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that Andy Rubin is leaving Google. Rubin co-founded Android in 2003 and stayed on when the company was acquired by Google in 2005. Rubin led Android through the acquisition of over a billion users, until 2013 when he moved to Google's robotics division. He was replaced in the Android division by Sundar Pichai, who continues in charge of that, Chrome, Google+, and many other products. Rubin's robotics role will be filled by James Kuffner. "Mr. Rubin's departure is a blow to Google's robotics efforts. However, Mr. Kuffner is experienced in the sector, having worked on human-like robot technology for over two decades, including seven years at Carnegie Mellon University and five years on Google's self-driving car project."

    80 comments | yesterday

  • Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

    Microsoft has announced the availability of "Microsoft Band," a wearable device that goes on the wrist. It's designed to do health- and fitness-related tasks, like monitoring heart rate and how well a wearer sleeps, and its on-board GPS lets users map their run/bike routes. The company says Band plays nicely with iOS and Android devices in addition to Windows phones. It also has full support for viewing phone notifications and calendar alerts, and a built-in microphone enables queries through the Cortana personal assistant software. The display is rectangular, 11mm x 33mm (0.43" x 1.3"), and has a resolution of 320x106. They claim a battery life of 48 hours, with a charge time of 1.5 hours or less. The device costs $200.

    128 comments | yesterday

  • Lenovo Completes Motorola Deal

    SmartAboutThings writes If somehow you missed the reports of Lenovo buying Motorola – which was also bought by Google for $12.5 billion back in 2011 – then you should know that the deal is now complete. Lenovo has announced today that Motorola is now a Lenovo company — which makes Lenovo not only the number one PC maker in the world but also the third-largest smartphone maker.

    58 comments | 2 days ago

  • New Microsoft Garage Site Invites Public To Test a Wide Range of App Ideas

    An anonymous reader writes Microsoft today launched a new section on its website: The Microsoft Garage is designed to give the public early access to various projects the company is testing right now. The team is kicking off with a total of 16 free consumer-facing apps, spanning Android, Android Wear, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows, and even the Xbox One. Microsoft Garage is still going to be everything it has been so far, but Microsoft has simply decided it's time for the public to get involved too: You can now test the wild projects the company's employees dream up.

    72 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Delivering Malicious Android Apps Hidden In Image Files

    An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have found a way to deliver a malicious app to Android users by hiding it into what seems to be an encrypted image file, which is then delivered via a legitimate, seemingly innocuous wrapper app. Fortinet malware researcher Axelle Apvrille and reverse engineer Ange Albertini created a custom tool they dubbed AngeCryption, which allows them to encrypt the payload Android application package (APK) and make it look like an image (PNG, JPG) file . They also had to create another APK that carries the "booby-trapped" image file and which can decrypt it to unveil the malicious APK file and install it. A malicious app thusly encrypted is nearly invisible to reverse engineers, and possibly even to AV solutions and Google's Android Bouncer." (Here's the original paper, from researchers Axelle Apvrille and Ange Albertini.)

    113 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Which Android Devices Sacrifice Battery-Life For Performance?

    MojoKid writes: A couple of weeks ago, Futuremark began handing out copies of PCMark for Android to members of the press, in an effort to get its leaderboards filled while the finishing touches were being put on the app. That might give you pause in that the results, generated today, are not going to be entirely accurate when the final version comes out, but that's not the case. Futuremark has encouraged publication of results generated with the benchmark. What makes PCMark for Android useful benchmark is that it not only tests for performance, but also for battery-life and performance combined. As such, you can easily figure out which devices sacrifice battery-life for performance and which ones have a good blend of both. The HTC One M8 really stands out, thanks to its nearly balanced performance/battery-life ratio. A result like that might make you think that neither value could be that great, but that's not the case at all. In fact, the battery-life rating on that phone places far beyond some of the other models, only falling short to the OnePlus One. And speaking of that phone, it becomes obvious with PCMark why it's so hyped-up of late; it not only delivers solid performance, it boasts great battery-life as well.

    108 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Barometers In iPhones Mean More Crowdsourcing In Weather Forecasts

    cryptoz (878581) writes Apple is now adding barometers to its mobile devices: both new iPhones have valuable atmospheric pressure sensors being used for HealthKit (step counting). Since many Android devices have been carrying barometers for years, scientists like Cliff Mass have been using the sensor data to improve weather forecasts. Open source data collection projects like PressureNet on Android automatically collect and send the atmospheric sensor data to researchers.

    79 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Microsoft Gearing Up To Release a Smartwatch of Its Own

    SmartAboutThings writes The smartwatch market is still in its nascent form, but with Apple releasing its AppleWatch in early 2015, things are going to change. And Microsoft wants to make sure it's not late to the party, as it has been so many times in the past. That's why it plans on releasing its own smartwatch, which would be the first new category under CEO Nadella. The device could get launched with two specific features that could make it stand apart from other similar devices — much better battery life and cross-platform support for iOS and Android users. A release before this year's holiday season is in the cards, with no details on the pricing nor availability. (Also at Reuters and The Inquirer.)

    172 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Ask Slashdot: LTE Hotspot As Sole Cellular Connection?

    New submitter iamacat writes I am thinking of canceling my regular voice plan and using an LTE hotspot for all my voice and data needs. One big draw is ability to easily use multiple devices without expensive additional lines or constantly swapping SIMs. So I can have an ultra compact Android phone and an iPod touch and operate whichever has the apps I feel like using. Or, if I anticipate needing more screen real estate, I can bring only a Nexus 7 or a laptop and still be able to make and receive VoIP calls. When I am home or at work, I would be within range of regular WiFi and not need to eat into the data plan or battery life of the hotspot.

    Has anyone done something similar? Did the setup work well? Which devices and VoIP services did you end up using? How about software for automatic WiFi handoffs between the hotspot and regular home/work networks?

    107 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Google Releases Android 5.0 Lollipop SDK and Nexus Preview Images

    An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Google today released the full Android 5.0 Lollipop SDK, along with updated developer images for Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (2013), ADT-1, and the Android emulator. The latest version of Android isn't available just yet, but the company is giving developers a head start (about two weeks), so they can test their apps on the new platform. To get the latest Android 5.0 SDK, fire up Android SDK Manager and head to the Tools section, followed by latest SDK Tools, SDK Platform-tools, and SDK Build-tools. Select everything under the Android 5.0 section, hit "Install packages...", accept the licensing agreement, and finally click Install. Google also rolled out updated resources for their Material Design guidelines.

    77 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Android On Intel x86 Tablet Performance Explored: Things Are Improving

    MojoKid writes: For the past few years, Intel has promised that its various low-power Atom-based processors would usher in a wave of low-cost Android and Windows mobile products that could compete with ARM-based solutions. And for years, we've seen no more than a trickle of hardware, often with limited availability. Now, that's finally beginning to change. Intel's Bay Trail and Merrifield SoCs are starting to show up more in full-featured, sub-$200 devices from major brands. One of the most interesting questions for would-be x86 buyers in the Android tablet space is whether to go with a Merrifield or Bay Trail Atom-based device. Merrifield is a dual-core chip without Hyper-Threading. Bay Trail is a quad-core variant and a graphics engine derived from Intel's Ivy Bridge Core series CPUs. That GPU is the other significant difference between the two SoCs. With Bay Trail, Intel is still employing their own graphics solution, while Merrifield pairs a dual-core CPU with a PowerVR G6400 graphics core. So, what's the experience of using a tablet running Android on x86 like these days? Pretty much like using an ARM-based Android tablet currently, and surprisingly good for any tablet in the $199 or less bracket. In fact, some of the low cost Intel/Android solutions out there currently from the likes of Acer, Dell, Asus, and Lenovo, all compete performance-wise pretty well versus the current generation of mainstream ARM-based Android tablets.

    97 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

    An anonymous reader writes In addition to Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google today also announced the first devices running the new version of its mobile operating system: the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9. The former is a phablet built by Motorola, and the latter is a tablet built by HTC. The Nexus 6 is going up for pre-order on October 29, starting at $649. The Nexus 9 meanwhile is going up for pre-order this Friday (October 17), and you'll also be able to get it in stores on November 3.

    201 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Firefox 33 Arrives With OpenH264 Support

    An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 33 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include OpenH264 support as well as the ability to send video content from webpages to a second screen. Firefox 33 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Full changelogs are available here: desktop and Android."

    114 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Interviews: Ask Florian Mueller About Software Patents and Copyrights

    Florian Mueller is a blogger, software developer and former consultant who writes about software patents and copyright issues on his FOSSPatents blog. In 2004 he founded the NoSoftwarePatents campaign, and has written about Microsoft's multi-billion-dollar Android patent licensing business and Google's appeal of Oracle's Android-Java copyright case to the Supreme Court. Florian has agreed to give us some of his time in order to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.

    187 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Microsoft Develops Analog Keyboard For Wearables, Solves Small Display Dilemma

    MojoKid writes Have you ever tried hunting and pecking on a miniature keyboard that's been crammed onto a smartwatch's tiny display? Unless the tips of your fingers somehow resemble that of a stylus, you're in for a challenge. Interestingly enough, it's Microsoft that might have the most logical solution for typing on small size displays running Google's Android Wear platform. Microsoft's research division has built an analog keyboard prototype for Android Wear that eliminates the need to tap at tiny letters, and instead has you write them out. On the surface, such a solution seems like you'd be trading one tedious task for another, though a demo of the technology in action shows that this could be a promising solution — watch how fast the guy in the video is able to hammer out a response.

    100 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Google Takes the Fight With Oracle To the Supreme Court

    whoever57 writes Google has asked the Supreme Court to review the issue of whether APIs can be copyrighted. Google beat Oracle in the trial court, where a judge with a software background ruled that APIs could not be copyrighted. but the Appeals court sided with Oracle, ruling that APIs can be copyrighted. Now Google is asking the Supreme Court to overturn that decision. (Also of interest.)

    146 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

    swillden writes: There's been a lot of discussion of what, exactly, is meant by the Apple announcement about iOS8 device encryption, and the subsequent announcement by Google that Android L will enable encryption by default. Two security researchers tackled these questions in blog posts:

    Matthew Green tackled iOS encryption, concluding that the change really boils down to applying the existing iOS encryption methods to more data. He also reviews the iOS approach, which uses Apple's "Secure Enclave" chip as the basis for the encryption and guesses at how it is that Apple can say it's unable to decrypt the devices. He concludes, with some clarification from a commenter, that Apple really can't (unless you use a weak password which can be brute-forced, and even then it's hard).

    Nikolay Elenkov looks into the preview release of Android "L." He finds that not only has Google turned encryption on by default, but appears to have incorporated hardware-based security as well, to make it impossible (or at least much more difficult) to perform brute force password searches off-device.

    146 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Cyanogen Inc. Turns Down Google, Seeing $1 Billion Valuation

    An anonymous reader writes: According to a report at The Information (paywalled), Cyanogen Inc., the company trying to commercializa the popular CyanogenMod mobile OS based on Android, recently met with Google's Android chief to talk about an acquisition. The report says Cyanogen turned down Google's offer and instead seeks funding from investors and major tech companies at a valuation around $1 billion. "Cyanogen has told potential investors that it has a deal in place to bring its custom version of the Android OS to India through a manufacturer called Micromax. Alongside Samsung, Micromax currently holds almost as much share of the smartphone market in India, making this deal a very large step to get Cyanogen into the hands of millions of more people. Lastly, the report claims that Cyanogen should be wary of modifying Android too much. During the process, the company must continue to follow Google's compatibility requirements which ensure third-party applications will work on their devices. If those requirements are not met, devices will not be licensed to run Google's services, such as Google Play and other Google applications."

    107 comments | about a month ago

  • Samsung Paid Microsoft $1 Billion Last Year In Android Royalties

    An anonymous reader writes: According to recently unsealed court filings, Samsung Electronics paid Microsoft more than $1 billion in annual fees to use patented Microsoft technology in Samsung's Android phones. The patent treasures include methods for displaying multiple windows in a Web browser. "Samsung originally signed its patent deal with Microsoft in 2011, ahead of its impressive dominance of Android shipments, but late last year Samsung decided it was tired of paying on time, or paying interest when a late payment was finally made. Microsoft has taken Samsung to court over the issues, and the Korean company insists it wants to walk away from the original deal because of Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s phone business. Samsung claims the acquisition invalidates the cross-licensing IP agreement, but Microsoft doesnt agree and wants the company to pay $6.9 million in unpaid interest from last year."

    93 comments | about a month ago

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