Sony today announced its intent to transform its smartphone business with a eye on making it a profitable operation. The company, in effect, admitted its goal of becoming the world's number three smartphone maker behind Samsung and Apple was perhaps too ambitious. The company will reduce the number of handsets it makes moving forward, focusing cuts on entry-level and mid-range devices for select markets. Sony said it expects to layoff some employees as a result. "Our urgent task is to make the business profitable even if we face declines in sales by 20% or 30%," said Hiroki Totoki, the new head of Sony’s mobile unit. The company will further reduce its presence in China and some emerging markets, while retaining a toehold in Europe. Sony said it is still evaluating how much it will commit to the U.S. Sony sells only a few handsets in the U.S., many of which are made available directly to consumers via its web site. Right now, The Xperia Z3v and Z3 are offered by Verizon and T-Mobile, respectively, but the Z3 Compact is not offered by any U.S. carriers.
Square founder Jack Dorsey said the company will add support for Apple Pay at Square-based terminals at some point in 2015. Square makes a dongle that attaches to smartphones and tablets, as well as a tablet-based register device, in order to help small businesses use modern tools to expand their customer base. "We're not building a credit card," said Dorsey to CNN. "We're not building a payment device. We're building a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments." Apple Pay is accepted at about 220,000 retail locations around the U.S., and just this week became available at Winn-Dixie and Harveys grocery stores. Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners make tap-and-go payments at compatible terminals.
Google disclosed this week that it has settled a lawsuit filed against it by Rockstar regarding mobile device patents. Rockstar is a patent-holding consortium led by Apple. It outbid Google to acquire thousands of old Nortel patents back in 2011 and filed the lawsuit against Google and others in 2013. Terms of the settlement were not revealed.
Apple was found guilty of violating four patents held by Mobile Telecommunications Technologies. The Texas-based company's heydey was during the 90s, when it operated SkyTel 2-Way pagers. The company sued Apple last year over five patents covering the two-way exchange of data, such as messages and calendar invites. Apple was exonerated of violating a patent pertaining to emoji. Mobile Telecommunications Technologies initially sought $237.2 million. Apple was ordered to pay $23.6 million in damages. Apple didn't immediately comment on the verdict.
Apple today released WatchKit, the set of tools developers need in order to create apps for the forthcoming Apple Watch. Apple said developers can create notifications for their apps that appear on the Apple Watch, as well as create Glances (Apple parlance for quick nuggets of app-specific data). The WatchKit tools include programming guides, human interface guidelines, and templates. Apple said that developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch beginning later next year. The WatchKit developer tools are found within the iOS 8.2 SDK, which is available for download from Apple's developer site beginning today.
Bi-Lo Holdings, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, Harveys, and BI-LO grocery stores, today said Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners can use Apple Pay at most of its locations across the southeast. Winn-Dixie, Harveys, and BI-LO stores are available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Bi-Lo didn't specify exactly how many stores are involved. Apple Pay uses an NFC radio embedded in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that is connected to a credit card for making payments at contactless terminals. Apple Pay is accepted at about 220,000 locations around the U.S.
Apple today made available iOS 8.1.1, a minor update meant to help improve the performance of the iPhone 4s and iPad 2. The update also resolves some on-going bugs for newer Phones and iPads. It is free to install.
MHL today said it has developed an HDMI cable that is compatible with with the forthcoming Type-C USB port. Using what it calls MHL Alt Mode, a USB Type-C connector and cable can support the MHL 3 specification, which includes 4K video and multi-channel surround sound audio. The Type-C connector specifications were finalized earlier this year. Type-C will replace the Type-B connector (microUSB) found in most modern mobile devices. One of the key aspects of the Type-C connector is that it is reversible and can be inserted either way (much like Apple's Lightning connector). The Type-C connector supports the USB 3.1 spec for delivering quick data transfer and power. The new MHL Alt Mode cable will make it easy for smartphones and tablets of the future to push content though a wired connection to devices such as HDTVs.
BlackBerry and Samsung today agreed to sell one another's security software. The joint effort is meant to help Samsung sell more phones and to help BlackBerry win more BES customers. Samsung's Knox security platform is embedded on many of its devices. It can be used to separate work and personal information, as well as secure that data on the device. BlackBerry's BES services allows businesses to remotely manage Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone smartphones. The companies think this partnership will appeal to businesses that want to use Samsung handsets for the Knox platform, but manage them via BES. BlackBerry's enterprise chief John Sims said the deal "isn't about one company displacing the other. This is about one and one makes three." BlackBerry's presence in the smartphone market has been reduced to practically nil in the face of stiff competition from Apple, Samsung, and others, while Samsung has long been making overtures to potential business customers.
Verizon Wireless today announced that it will give away a wide selection of content to all U.S. wireless users on November 26. Verizon has dubbed the day before Thanksgiving as "Connection Day." The content includes mobile access to movies and TV shows via the FiOS Preview app; 10 free apps from Amazon and two free books from Audible; a "special offer" from Apple's iTunes store; 17 free Conde Nast digital magazines; 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi at airports (via Boingo) and aboard airplanes (via GoGo); and a seven-day trial of Pandora One. In partnership with Verizon, JetBlue has pledged to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi on flights between Nov. 26 and Dec. 24. Verizon Wireless' More Everything customers who register for Connection Day online are eligible to receive a one-time gift of 1GB of shareable data applied to their account, plus another 1GB of data for the following billing cycle. Last, Verizon customers who aren't on a More Everything plan are eligible for a discount on a Mophie Powerstation 4000. In order to access the content, wireless customers will need to navigate to Verizon's Connection Day web site.
Apple must face a lawsuit in federal court over vanishing text messages. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh said Apple has to hear the claim from Adrienne Moore, who says Apple blocked messages sent by iPhone users to her after she switched from an iPhone 4S to a Samsung Galaxy S5. Moore further claims that Apple's iMessage system interfered with her contract with Verizon Wireless. "Plaintiff does not have to allege an absolute right to receive every text message in order to allege that Apple's intentional acts have caused an actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship," said Judge Koh. Just this week Apple released a tool that lets former iPhone owners delist their numbers from the iMessage service. The issue has been a problem for former iPhone users for years.
Apple has published a tool on its web site that makes it easy for people to remove their phone number from iMessage. Phone users who switch away from the iPhone but keep the same number sometimes lose text messages from other iPhones because Apple keeps them within the iMessage service. Apple suggests that, if possible, users first turn iMessage off directly on their Apple device. People who are no longer in possession of an Apple device, however, now have another option. The web site makes it possible to deregister from iMessage by typing the phone number into the site and confirming it via an SMS code. Once these steps are completed, former iPhone users should receive text messages without issue.
RadioShack recently launched Defense Mobile, wireless service meant exclusively for members of the U.S. armed forces, their families, and veterans. Defense Mobile resells access to AT&T and Sprint's networks, and offers the most popular devices available, including the Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5. According to RadioShack, Defense Mobile is supported by a 100% veteran-staffed Member Care organization and offers perks to active members of the military. Defense Mobile offers prepaid individual plans that start at $30 per month and family plans with scalable data for up to six lines starting at $110 per month. Defense Mobile includes bonus services for military members, such as a banking application associated with a pre-paid MasterCard, an app that helps military members and their families find veteran benefits, and a free email service that's associated with their branch of the armed forces. Defense Mobile service is available at 2,500 RadioShack locations around the country.
U.S. Bank and M&T Bank today both added support for Apple Pay to their credit and debit cards. Customers with cards issued by U.S. Bank and M&T Bank should be able to add their cards to Apple Pay on their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Once added, they'll be able to make mobile payments at more than 220,000 retailers around the country. Apple Pay launched with dozens of banks on October 20, and will be available through more than 500 banks by the end of the year.
Madstar Mobile today announced itself as "the newest national wireless carrier." The MVNO resells access to Sprint's 3G/4G networks and claims to offer the benefits of postpaid and prepaid services at the same time. It bills for service on a postpaid basis, but it doesn't require credit checks, deposits, or contracts. Madstar says customers can cancel their service at any time with no fear of ETFs. The company offers a range of feature phones, smartphones, and access points. Customers can choose to pay full price for their phones or finance them with monthly payments. For example, the HTC One (M8) is available for $665 or as low as $29 per month on an installment plan. Other handsets in Madstar's roster include the Apple iPhone 5, Google Nexus 5, Kyocera Kona, and the Samsung Galaxy S5. Alternately, customers can bring their own compatible device and port their existing wireless number if they wish. The least expensive service plan costs $22 per month and includes 250 voice minutes, 250 messages, and pay-as-you-go data. Plan pricing jumps by $11 increments, with the most expensive option topping out at $88 per month. It includes unlimited voice minutes, messaging, HD Voice, and 2GB of data "Our goal is to provide subscribers with a cost effective, convenient and reliable wireless service using the device of their choice,” said David Pearsall, Madstar Mobile's founder & CEO. "Wireless devices and service have become a necessity, not a luxury and should be affordable to everyone without the need to prepay now for the right to service later." The company is based in New Milford, Conn.
Microsoft today announced Microsoft Health, a new platform that's similar in basic approach to Apple's HealthKit and Google's Google Fit programs. Microsoft Health relies on a cloud-based service where consumers and the industry both store health and fitness data. The Microsoft Health application is available today for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices. It collects information from third-party apps and services and saves the data to the cloud, where it can help users manage their health and fitness goals. Microsoft Health doesn't combine data points from apps locally on smartphones, which both HealthKit and Fit do. Instead, the data is analyzed by Microsoft's Intelligence Engine online, which can be used to generate graphs, charts, and other ways to assess the data. For example, Microsoft Health can tell people which exercises burn the most calories, or calculate the quality of users' sleep. Though Microsoft Health works with select third-party devices, such as Jawbone Up, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Band wearable. The band was designed to be worn all day long. It has 10 sensors inside that track steps, calories burned, heart rate, and more. Together with the Microsoft Health app, the Microsoft Band offers guided workouts created by Gold's Gym, Shape, and others. The band also includes notifications for incoming calls, messages, or social networking updates. The Band is available from Microsoft's web site and retail stores beginning today for $199. Last, Microsoft is offering SDKs and APIs to health providers and app developers so they may hook their products into Microsoft Health.
MCX took to its company blog today to "set the record straight" on what its forthcoming CurrentC product will and won't entail. First and foremost, MCX said participation in its payment service is voluntary. "MCX merchants make their own decisions about what solutions they want to bring to their customers; the choice is theirs. When merchants choose to work with MCX, they choose to do so exclusively. Importantly, if a merchant decides to stop working with MCX, there are no fines." In other words, companies that pick CurrentC to power mobile payments in their stores will not be permitted to accept alternate mobile payment services, such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet. MCS will not penalize members that decide to switch allegiances. According to MCX, CurrentC will work with most Android or iOS devices and will offer loyalty programs, coupons, and payments all in a single transaction. It claims to meet the industry standard when it comes to fraud protection, and will allow consumers multiple different payment methods (credit card, merchant card, bank account). MCX claims consumers will be in control of their personal data (including location) and they can share as much or as little as they want with retailers. The company believes its QR code-based system will work well at retail locations, and points to the success Starbucks has had with a similar system. It said it might add other payment options, such as Bluetooth, down the road. MCX came under fire this week after CVS and Rite-Aid, which support CurrentC, ceased accepting Apple Pay and Google Wallet. CurrentC is currently being tested in select markets and won't fully launch until next year.
Softcard announced that it is accepted at more than 14,000 McDonald's locations around the country beginning today. Smartphone owners can make NFC-based mobile payments at the register and the drive-thru at all McDonald's restaurants. Softcard is free to download and is compatible with more than 80 Android handsets sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Softcard (formerly Isis) competes with Apple Pay.
CVS and Rite Aid have disabled the NFC-based payment systems within their stores, effectively preventing consumers from using Apple Pay to make tap-and-go payments. Spokesperson Ashley Flower said Rite Air "does not currently accept Apple Pay" and that Rite Aid is "still in the process of evaluating out mobile payment options." CVS did not provide a comment, but Apple Pay worked in CVS stores when the service launched on October 20 and and ceased to work over the weekend. Neither CVS nor Rite Aid was ever officially named by Apple as an Apple Pay supporter, but both have NFC-equipped payment terminals in their retail locations. Though neither company said why they don't support Apple Pay, some believe it is because they are backing a rival mobile payment system being developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange. The MCX launched in 2012 with the goal of creating a mobile payment service for smartphones. The MCX app is not expected to reach consumers until next year. The original list of supporters included 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, CVS/Pharmacy, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe's, Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, and Sunoco, though an unknown number of organizations have joined since 2012. According to the New York Times, MCX's app will be called CurrentC and involves scanning a QR code on the phone's display. Apple Pay is simpler to use, as consumers don't even have to wake their phones to make payments.
Facebook today announced Rooms, a new chatting service that harkens back to the early days of the internet. With Rooms, people can create small chat spaces around any topic that allows them to post comments, photos, and videos anonymously. Room creators pick the topic for the Room and can customize look and feel of the Room, such as colors, and even appoint moderators to police behavior. Users can adjust their "Like" button appearance, as well as create custom permissions for Room members. Room participants can invite others via QR codes. For now, Rooms is limited to the Apple iPhone. It is free to download and use.
Apple beat back a lawsuit brought on by a small Honolulu-based company over mobile device patents. GPNE alleged that nine Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad, violated certain patents it holds regarding pager technology. GPNE is a patent holding and licensing firm. It doesn't make or sell products, but instead generates revenue through patent licensing fees and litigation. It was seeking $94 million in damages from Apple. The case was overseen by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose. Koh is a familiar character in Apple trials, and has presided over its large cases against Samsung. Apple was pleased with the court's decision. "Apple invents products that revolutionize industries, and relies upon the U.S. patent system to protect our innovation," said Apple said in a statement. "We urge congressional leaders to continue focusing on reform in this important area of patent law." Apple is often a target of patent firms seeking a payday.
Members of Congress have responded to comments made by FBI Director James Comey regarding security measurers Apple and Google have added to their respective mobile operating systems. Both iOS 8 and Android 5.0 use encryption by default to protect user data from spying. The FBI doesn't like this. Comey last week asked Congress to pass legislation that would force smartphone makers to provide a back door into smartphones for law enforcement purposes. Congress has spoken up. "I think the public would not support it, certainly industry would not support it, civil liberties groups would not support it," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren in a statement provided to The Hill. "I think [Comey is] a sincere guy, but there's just no way this is going to happen." Senator Ron Wyden offered similar thoughts. "I'd be surprised if more than a handful of members would support the idea of backdooring Americans' personal property." Representative Darrell Issa added, "To FBI Director Comey and the [administration] on criticisms of legitimate businesses using encryption: you reap what you sow." Congress believes the American public is inherently distrustful of law enforcement's data collection techniques after the revelations made by Edward Snowden. FBI Director Comey wants Congress to update 1994 legislation called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which required phone companies to make it easy for law enforcement to tap calls. The Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, however, that CALEA already protects encryption measures put into place by companies. The law states companies "shall not be responsible for decrypting, or ensuring the government's ability to decrypt, any communication encrypted by a subscriber or customer." The Hill suggests the FBI isn't going to simply drop the matter and will continue its push for broader access to smartphones.
Apple today released iOS version 8.1. The system update, for iPhones and iPads, activates Apple Pay and fixes a number of bugs. Apply Pay is Apple's mobile payment system. It makes use of the NFC radio and Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to enable tap-and-go payments at participating retailers. iPads can use Apple Pay to make in-app purchases. iOS 8.1 also provides access to iCloud Photo Library beta, and adds support for SMS messaging on the iPad and Mac computers. iOS 8.1 is free to download over the air.
FBI Director James Comey has again voiced his displeasure with the new encryption tools added to Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8. Both Google and Apple added the default encryption to their mobile operating systems in order to protect user data. Comey says this is an impediment to law enforcement, making it more difficult -- if not impossible -- to intercept real-time communication, such as phone calls and text messages. Comey said more and more criminals are turning to technology to hide or enable their unlawful activities. He beseeched Congress to create legislation that will require tech companies to provide back-door access to encrypted communications between suspected criminals. The American Civil Liberties Union disagrees. "Any effort by the FBI to weaken encryption leaves our highly personal information and our business information vulnerable to hacking by foreign governments and criminals," said ACLU director Laura Murphy. Congress has not responded publicly to Comey's comments.
Apple today revealed the iPad Air 2, and along with it a new way to handle SIM cards. According to Apple, the new Apple SIM gives iPad Air 2 owners unprecedented flexibility when it comes to choosing an LTE service provider. "Whenever you need it, you can choose the plan that works best for you -- with no long-term commitment," explained Apple. "And when you travel, you may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip." The multi-carrier SIM is compatible with AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S., as well as EE in the U.K. The iPad Air 2 supports 20 different LTE bands, similar to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The carriers named by Apple have not yet discussed the particulars regarding no-contract data plans. There's no word on why Verizon Wireless isn't included in the list of U.S. carriers. It's possible that the Apple SIM will find its way to future Apple products, including its iPhones.
Apple today revealed details about iOS 8.1, an update to its smartphone and tablet platform. iOS 8.1 targets numerous bugs that have caused issues for iPhone and iPad owners since its debut, such as connectivity and crashing. As far as new features, iOS 8.1 adds support for Apple Pay and includes the public beta of iCloud Photo Library for sharing photos. The update also brings back the camera roll within the photo application. Apple said iOS 8.1 will be available for download beginning Monday, October 20.
Apple today announced that Apple Pay will go live Monday, October 20. Apple Pay is Apple's NFC-based mobile payment service. The service hooks into iPhone owners' iTunes accounts and the associated credit cards. Apple Pay will also (eventually) work with cards issued by more than 500 banks across 220,000 locations operated by dozens of retailers. Apple Pay is limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus due to their embedded NFC radios. Apple Pay also works on the web, and can be used to make purchases from select online services.
AT&T has ceased offering a discount on the Beats Music subscription service. Since early this year, the carrier offered access to the streaming service for $15 per month for families with up to five lines and 10 devices. The discounted price is no longer available through AT&T. "There haven't been any changes for AT&T customers who currently have the Beats Music family plan or who are within the free trial period," said AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel to FierceWireless. "New subscribers can still get Beats Music through their app store or at beatsmusic.com." Apple closed its acquisition of Beats Music earlier this year and the service's fate has been undefined since then. The $10 monthly subscription to the service is still available.
Boost Mobile today said it will offer the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus beginning October 17. Boost is charging, in general, about $100 less than Apple is for the iPhones. Boost is selling the iPhone 6 for $550, $650, and $750 for the 16-, 64-, and 128-GB models, respectively, and the 6 Plus for $650, $750, and $850 for the 16-, 64-, and 128-GB models, respectively. Boost is a prepaid carrier operated by Sprint. It doesn't require contracts.
Google today updated its Gmail application for Apple's iOS devices. The new version supports the screen sizes and resolutions of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Gmail is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple recently published a web site that allows prospective buyers of used iPhones to check the phone's status before making a purchase. As long as the IMEI or serial number is available, users can enter the data into Apple's Activation Lock site to determine if the device was reported stolen by its rightful owner. Apple's Find My iPhone tool lets people not only locate lost or stolen iPhones, but wipe them and render them useless through the Activation Lock. Devices that cannot be activated are essentially worthless. The tool works with the iPad and iPod Touch, as well.
The NFC Forum today launched the NFC Developer Program, a series of resources aimed to help developers create NFC-enabled apps. The NFC Developer Program will include events, as well as web-based tools, such as SDKs, tech specs, news, and product highlights. The NFC Forum believes this program will help catalyze developer interest in NFC and bringing it to their applications. The NFC Forum is hosting a product showcase to help spur interest in the program. Developers can find the pertinent details on the new Tap Into NFC web site. Most mid-range and high-end smartphones include NFC radios. To-date, NFC is generally used for pairing devices, though efforts such as Softcard and Apple Pay rely in NFC for mobile payments.
eBay today announced plans to separate its online auction business from its online payments business. eBay will spin off PayPal into its own company, a move it expects to complete during the second half of 2015. eBay and PayPal have long worked hand-in-hand to let people make online purchases easily with just their email address. PayPal has expanded its scope beyond simple online transactions, but will need to push further into the mobile space to combat the likes of Apple Pay and Softcard. "For more than a decade eBay and PayPal have mutually benefited from being part of one company, creating substantial shareholder value," said eBay CEO John Donahoe. "However, a thorough strategic review with our board shows that keeping eBay and PayPal together beyond 2015 clearly becomes less advantageous to each business strategically and competitively." Activist investor Carl Icahn long pushed for eBay and PayPal to separate, but eBay resisted the move until today. Devin Wenig, eBay Marketplace President, will be the new eBay's CEO. eBay has tapped American Express executive Dan Schulman to run the new PayPal. He is joining PayPal immediately. Donahoe will oversee the separation of the two companies, and will then step aside.
Apple today issued a statement concerning reports of bent iPhones. It said bent iPhones are "extremely rare" under normal use, and the company has only received nine such compliants from customers. Videos and images have spread across the internet in recent days depicting iPhones 6 Plus handsets that nave been bent. Apple said the device has undergone rigorous durability tests and consumers have no reason to worry.
Apple published directions on its support web site that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners can use to revert their devices to iOS 8 from iOS 8.0.1. The work-around restores cellular connectivity, which had been broken by the yanked iOS 8.0.1 update. It involves downloading the .ipsw file from Apple and using it in conjunction with iTunes on a computer to install a clean version of iOS 8. Apple also noted that it is preparing iOS 8.0.2, which will also resolve the cellular issue as well as resolve the bugs iOS 8.0.1 was meant to fix.
Apple released a new version of iOS 8 this afternoon only to yank it shortly thereafter. The purpose of iOS 8.0.1 was to resolve a wide range of bugs impacting iOS devices, such as the inability to download HealthKit apps from the App Store. Instead, the update caused even more grief as it disabled cellular service on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus across multiple carriers. The update also broke Touch ID functionality. Once users reported losing cellular service on their devices, Apple removed the update from its servers. "We have received reports of an issue with the iOS 8.0.1 update," said Apple in a statement. "We are actively investigating these reports and will provide information as quickly as we can. In the meantime we have pulled back the iOS 8.0.1 update." iPhone owners who've lost cellular service due to the update should be able to regain access to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon by restoring their iPhone to iOS 8.
Google today rebranded and relaunched its Google Currents app for iPhones and iPads. The new name of the magazine and news service is called Google Play Newsstand - a named markedly similar to Apple's own Newsstand app. Along with the new name, Google redesigned the app. It features new navigation tools to help users find articles more quickly; a 'read now' tool for jumping to fresh articles amongst the user's subscriptions; and an expanded library that stores all the user's articles in one spot. Google Play Newsstand is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Verizon has made its Advanced Calling 1.0 feature available to the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The free service will pass voice calls over Verizon's LTE 4G network rather than the cellular network. It offers high-quality voice calls and video calls. In order to enable the service, owners of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus need to use the settings tool to allow "voice & data" over LTE directly on their phone. Once enabled, the feature will appear as active in their Verizon account online. VoLTE calls only work between two Verizon VoLTE-enabled devices. The only other Verizon devices that support VoLTE right now are the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G2.
Google today said that encryption will be turned on automatically in the next release of Android, which is expected to arrive next month. Encryption will make it harder for law enforcement to access user data on such devices. "For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement," said company spokeswoman Niki Christoff to the Washington Post. "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." With encryption turned on, only those who enter the correct password will be able to gain access the device and the information stored on it, such as photos and videos. New devices that ship with Android L will benefit from this immediately. In the mean time, Android device owners can turn on encryption manually in the settings menu. Earlier this week, Apple said it took similar steps with the latest release of its mobile operating system, iOS8, which is also encrypted.
Twitter today updated its application for iOS devices. The new version of Twitter makes two major changes. First, it places a greater emphasis on user profiles, which are easier to see. Twitter explains that bios are visible as soon as you get to the profile page for any given user, it no longer requires a swipe to access. The improved profiles are visible to all devices running iOS7 and up. Second, Twitter for iOS8 takes advantage of some of the new features in the operating system from Apple. iPhone owners running iOS8 will be able to interact directly with push notifications from Twitter, meaning they can Retweet, favorite, and follow directly from the notifications as they appear on the screen. Twitter is free to download from the App Store.