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Created by Google, Android is a smartphone OS and platform that is open-source and open for any manufacturer to use to make a smartphone. Most Android phones use a version that is mostly provided by Google and requires Google services. Android phones can run Android apps, available from the Google Play Store, or, optionally, from other sources.

by:  Google


Gabb Launches Data-Free Smartphones for Kids

Today, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

A new kid-oriented phone service launches today nationwide. Gabb Wireless offers basic voice and messaging service for parents who want their kids to be connected, but "protect children from too much technology too soon". Although both phones offered by the company are Android smartphones, they have no data service, no app store, and no games. Gabb service runs $20/month for unlimited SMS and voice. MMS service runs an extra $3/month. Service is pay-as-you-go and contract-free. Gabb offers an entry-level ZTE phone called the Z1 for $100. The step-up offering is the Samsung S1 for $200, which is similar to the Samsung A10e. Compared to the Z1, the S1 offers a larger screen thanks to its modern, tall screen with a small notch. It also offers better cameras and Bluetooth.


Final Version of Android 10 Available to Pixel Phones

Sep 3, 2019, 12:40 PM   by Rich Brome

Google released the final version of Android 10 today, after several months of public beta versions. It's available now for all of Google's own Pixel phones, and will be available for other phones in the coming weeks and months. The new OS offers a system-wide dark mode, new gesture navigation, and new privacy controls, among many features and improvements. For the new gesture navigation, a swipe in from the left or right edge of the screen performs the "back" action, while a swipe up from the bottom edge takes users to the home screen. Some apps will need to be updated to avoid triggering the back action accidentally. Users will also be notified when an app requests location data while running in the background, and users can decline those requests. Google recently changed the version naming scheme for Android, switching to simple numbers instead of letters and dessert names.


Google Expands Its Bounty Program to Include 3rd-Party App Bugs, Data Privacy Violations

Aug 30, 2019, 8:34 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has dramatically expanded its bug bounty program to include non-Google Android apps in Google Play with 100 million or more installs, as well as data privacy issues in any app. Google will work with developers' own bug/vulnerability bounty programs, but will pay out bounties in addition to those of developers. Google will also use reports of security vulnerabilities through the new program to improve its automated scanners that look for security issues in all apps uploaded to the Play Store. Google is also starting a new program called Developer Data Protection Reward Program (DDPRP) that will offer similar rewards for people who find proof that an app in the Play Store is violating Google's policies on data privacy. Google will pay up to $50,000 to people who identify situations where user data is being used or sold unexpectedly, or repurposed in an illegitimate way without user consent.


ZTE Axon 10 Pro Brings Its Flagship Specs to the US for $549

Aug 28, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

ZTE today launched a US version of its Axon 10 Pro flagship phone for $549. It comes with more RAM (8-12 GB) and storage (256 GB) than the global version. It also has better support for US 4G LTE networks than most unlocked phones, supporting Cat. 12 LTE across bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 25, 26, 30, 41, 66, and 71, (plus overseas bands). The 10 Pro sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 4,000 mAh battery, and a 6.5-inch, full-HD AMOELD display with curved sides. Its triple rear cameras include a 48-megapixel main camera (f/1.7), 20-megapixel wide-angle (125º), and 3x telephoto (8 megapixel). The selfie camera clocks in at 20 megapixel. It also has Quick Charge 4.0 fast charging, wireless charging, NFC, memory card slot, water resistance, and an optical in-display fingerprint reader. The design features a deep blue color, matte-finish aluminum frame and 3D curved glass front and back. It comes with Android 9 and a clean Google interface design. It does not have a 3.5mm audio jack, but an adapter is included in the box, along with a fast charger and TPU case. The standard model with 8 GB RAM is available today, unlocked, for $549 from ZTE, B&H Photo, and Newegg. The 12 GB RAM version runs $599.


Blu G9 Pro Includes Wireless Charging

Aug 27, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 27, 2019, 9:30 AM

BLU today announced the G9 Pro, the company's latest higher-end phone in its lineup of affordable unlocked Android phones. Unusual features for its price class include wireless charging and triple rear cameras. The front sports an all-screen design with a 6.3-inch, full-HD display with a small notch. The glass rear has a shimmering blue/purple design. The main camera is 16 megapixel, assisted by a 5-megapixel depth camera for portrait mode. The third camera is a 20-megapixel module dedicated to night mode. The selfie camera clocks in as 24 megapixels. The G9 Pro is powered by a MediaTek Helio P60 processor paired with 4 GB of RAM. It comes with 128 GB of internal storage and supports an additional 128 GB via its memory card slot. It also has a large 4,000 mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging via USB-C. The phone also has a fingerprint reader on the back, 3.5mm audio jack, and FM radio. Included in the box are a clear case, fast charger, and 3.5mm earbuds. The phone is normally $250, but "lucky customers who are first in line will be able to purchase the G9 Pro ... for $199.99 while supplies last." The phone is available now from Amazon.


Verizon Launches Nokia 3.2 as Nokia 3 V

Aug 23, 2019, 2:59 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon today launched the Nokia 3 V, which exactly like the Nokia 3.2 but with support for Verizon's 4G LTE network bands. This $168 Android phone sports a large 6.26-inch HD display with a small notch, and a large 4,000 mAh battery. Other specs include a Snapdragon 429 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, a memory card slot, and a 13-megapixel camera. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and comes with Android 9.


Google Drops Dessert Names with Android 10

Aug 22, 2019, 9:40 AM   by Rich Brome

The tenth version of the Android operating system for phones will be known simply as "Android 10", dropping Google's long-running practice of publicly referring to OS versions by "internal code names" named after desserts. Android 9 was named "Pie", 8 was named "Oreo", and 7 was "Nougat". Google says the change will make the naming more accessible to a global audience, including places where "pie" is not a dessert, or marshmallows are uncommon, for example. Google also revealed a new logo for the OS.


Microsoft App Brings Spam Filter, AI Sorting to Your Text Messages

Aug 19, 2019, 3:30 PM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft SMS Organizer is an alternative SMS app for Android that includes a configurable spam filter and several smart sorting and filtering features. The app was launched in India last year, but xda-developers discovered that it has now become available in the US, UK, and Australia as well. The app uses machine learning to automatically sort incoming SMS messages into categories such as promotional, transactional and personal. Promotional messages are considered spam; they won't trigger a notification and can be deleted automatically after a configurable amount of time. The apps also detects and helps organize info received by text about travel, tickets, and bills. The app can also backup and restore messages from Google Drive. The app is available now, for free, from the Google Play Store.


Nvidia Bringing its Cloud Gaming Service to Android Phones

Aug 19, 2019, 3:13 PM   by Rich Brome

Nvidia's will make its GeForce Now cloud gaming service available on certain high-end Android phones "soon". Some games will require a gamepad accessory. The company did not announce timing nor pricing.


Google Stops Sharing Coverage, Speed Data With Carriers

Aug 19, 2019, 8:52 AM   by Rich Brome

For two years, Google shared coverage and speed data, collected from Android phones, with network operators worldwide. Google shut down the program this April over concerns that it might attract scrutiny from privacy regulators, according to a report from Reuters. The data was only collected from Android users who opted in to sharing location history and usage and diagnostics with Google. Data shared with carriers was aggregated so as not to identify any individual users. The data was essentially a map of signal strength and data speeds. It included data relating to a carrier's own service and that of competitors, which were not identified by name. Google provided the service for free and many carriers found it useful for improving service.


New Android Feature Speaks When You Can't During a 911 Call

Aug 2, 2019, 2:55 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 2, 2019, 11:12 PM

Google is adding a new feature to some Android phones that can speak to an emergency operator on your behalf when you call 911. During an emergency call, three new buttons — "Medical", "Fire", and "Police" — will be available in case you're unable to speak. They will initiate a voice message to the emergency operator that explains the nature of the emergency and your current location. After you activate the service, you can always speak directly to the operator as well. The feature will become available in the US over the coming months, starting with Pixel phones.


Moto e6 Offers Portrait Mode for $150

Jul 25, 2019, 8:52 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola today announced the Moto e6, a $150 Android phone with a 13-megapixel main camera and portrait mode, in a new design that drops the iconic Motorola look in favor of something more like an iPhone. Motorola calls the design "unibody", although the battery is removable. Compared to the e5, the display and battery are smaller, at 5.5 inches and 3,000 mAh, respectively. The display offers HD+ resolution. The processor has been updated to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, which Motorola claims is 50% faster than last year's 425 chip. The improved camera has f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, auto HDR, an LED flash, manual mode, and RAW output. It can also record full-HD video and support both time-lapse and hyper-lapse. The selfie camera is 5 megapixel with f/2.0 aperture. The phone also has a micro-USB port, 3.5mm headphone jack, memory card slot, and dual-band Wi-Fi. The Moto e6 is available today from Verizon, and will also be carried by T-Mobile, Metro, Boost, US Cellular, Consumer Cellular, and Xfinity Mobile.


Smarter Bluetooth Features Coming to Android

Jul 23, 2019, 10:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Android Q will include a smarter, richer interface for Bluetooth devices that support Google's Fast Pair standard. Google has announced the final features and look of this interface as Android Q inches closer to final release by September. With True Wireless Stereo earbuds, Android Q phones will be able to show individual battery levels for the left earbud, right earbud, and case. Fast Pair devices will also now work with Google's Find My Device service. Owners can view the location and time of last use, as well as ring the buds to locate when they are in range. The new interface will also display links to Google Assistant and notification settings, if applicable, and key additional settings available in the companion app, if there is one, such as a custom sound equalizer. More than a dozen devices already support Fast pair, with more on the way.


Asus ROG Phone II Maxes Out the Specs

Jul 22, 2019, 3:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The new Asus ROG Phone II builds on the basic design of the original but improves on it in almost every way, offering a larger screen, larger battery, improved software, and faster refresh and response times in every area. Designed for gaming, it includes an extra USB-C port as well as extra antennas and microphones to optimize performance in landscape orientation. The full-HD AMOLED screen has been stretched to 6.6 inches and sports 120 Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, 240 Hz touch sampling, HDR, and Gorilla Glass 6. The battery is 6,000 mAh and supports fast charging via Quick Charge 4 as well as USB-PD. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset with 12 GB of LPDDR4x RAM and up to 512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage. It also supports 802.11ad gigabit Wi-Fi using 60 GHz for wireless display. The shoulder buttons have improved latency, haptics, and ergonomic options. The cameras have been upgraded to the same 48-megapixel + 13-megapixel wide cameras found in the new ZenFone 6. It also has an in-display fingerprint reader, front-firing stereo speakers, and NFC. Like the original ROG Phone, it has an elaborate cooling system to prevent processor throttling, and a new cooling accessory with a fan is 4x quieter than the original, and adds an extra 3.5mm jack for landscape use. Other optional accessories include gamepad controls that can be attached to the sides or used wirelessly, and a second-display accessory. The software includes multiple optimizations for gaming, including per-game options. Users can choose between an Asus interface theme or stock Google Android. The phone will launch in western markets starting September 4th. Pricing has yet to be announced.


Google Maps Adds Real-Time Bike Sharing Info

Jul 17, 2019, 8:49 PM   by Rich Brome

Google Maps now includes real-time data on how many bikes (and empty spots) are at each bike-sharing dock station in 24 major cities. Available in both iOS and Android version of the Maps app, the information covers Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kaohsiung, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, New Taipei City, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco Bay Area, São Paulo, Toronto, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zurich. To use the feature, search in a covered city for a phrase like "bike share", or the name of the local system, like "Bixi". Result cards include an indicator in the top-right showing the current number of bikes and the total number of spots.


Comcast Xfinity Mobile Now Supports Android BYOD

Jul 16, 2019, 9:10 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 1, 2019, 10:29 AM

Comcast's mobile service — Xfinity Mobile — will now let customers bring their own Android phone instead of requiring a new phone purchase. Recent high-end Samsungs are supported now, with additional Android device support coming later this year.


T-Mobile Revs Up REVVL Series with Fast Charging

Jul 9, 2019, 4:15 PM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile's 3rd generation of own-brand REVVL phones have larger, notched screens, fast charging, and modest spec upgrades all around. Dubbed the REVVLRY and REVVLRY+, these mid-range phones ship July 19th. The larger REVVLRY+ has a 6.24-inch, full-HD screen with a small notch. It has a 27W fast charging, Snapdragon 636 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB storage, and Cat. 12 LTE. It has a 16+5-megapixel dual rear cameras and a 12-megapixel selfie camera. It will sell for $350. The smaller REVVLRY has a 5.7-inch HD display with a large notch. It also has 10W fast charging, Snapdragon 632 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, Cat. 6 LTE, and a 13-megapixel camera. It will sell for $200. Both phones have a 3,000 mAh battery, fingerprint reader, basic water resistance, and Android 9 (Pie).


Qualcomm Raises the Floor for Entry-Level Android Phones With Snapdragon 215

Jul 9, 2019, 6:30 AM   by Rich Brome

Qualcomm today announced a new Snapdragon chip to power the most affordable Android phones. The Snapdragon 215 replaces the 210, and offers greater performance in a number of key areas. As the most affordable Snapdragon chips, the 200 series sets the bar for the minimum amount of performance in $100 phones. The 215 has a number of firsts for the 200 series, including: support for NFC, Hexagon DSP for low-power processing of audio and sensor data, full-HD video capture, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, dual ISP for dual camera support, 64-bit CPU, and support for screens up to 1560 x 720 resolution. The CPU is up 50% faster compared to the 210, and the Adreno 308 GPU offers up to 28% faster graphics. The 215's X5 modem supports Cat 4 LTE. The chip also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 1.0.


Firefox for Android Gaining Ad Tracking Protection

Jul 1, 2019, 10:01 AM   by Rich Brome

Mozilla has released a preview version of a completely revamped Firefox browser app for Android. Firefox Preview uses Mozilla's own GeckoView web rendering engine instead of Google's Blink. This enables Tracking Protection by default, which keeps advertisers and bad actors from tracking your activity across different web sites. Mozilla also promises speeds up to twice as fast. GeckoView and Tracking Protection debuted in the minimalist Focus browser app. Mozilla is now folding these features into its more full-featured Firefox browser. Firefox Preview also includes Collections, which lets users define a set of web sites to open at once, such as "morning routine" or "travel planning". Firefox Preview is available now, and with the final version available as the Firefox app this fall.


LG Stylo 5 Debuts First on Cricket

Jun 28, 2019, 1:50 PM   by Rich Brome

Cricket launched the LG Stylo 5 today, an update to LG's affordable, large-screen phone with a stylus. Compared to last year's Stylo 4, the new model has Android 9 (Pie) and a slightly larger battery at 3,500 mAh. The Stylo 4 was offered by many US carriers, and FCC filings reveal that the Stylo 5 may also be offered by Sprint, T-Mobile, Metro, and Verizon. The Stylo 5 looks much like the 4 and has many specs in common, including a 6.2-inch full-HD display, 13-megapixel main camera, USB-C connector, 32 GB storage, and a memory card slot. Cricket is selling the Stylo 5 for $230. The Blonde Rose color is a Cricket exclusive; the company is also offering the phone in Platinum Gray.


Google Makes it Easier to Share GIFs

Jun 27, 2019, 11:45 AM   by Rich Brome

The Google app for iOS and Android now makes it easier to search for animated GIFs and share them directly to popular messaging apps. When searching for "excited gif", for example, a new "share GIFs" section in image results will show GIFs based on how likely they are to be shared, and include a "share" button that connects directly to apps including Whatsapp, Android Messages, Gmail, and Hangouts. The feature is also available in when searching Google in Chrome on Android.


Nokia Brings Another Affordable Phone to Cricket

Jun 20, 2019, 9:40 AM   by Rich Brome

Cricket has started selling the Nokia 3.1 C, a more-affordable version of the Nokia 3.1 Plus that Cricket launched in January. Like its higher-end sibling, the 3.1 C has a tall (2:1 ratio) HD display, USB-C connector, Android 9 (Pie), 32 GB of storage, and 2 GB of RAM. It has a 5.5-inch display, 2,990 mAh battery, a single 8-megapixel rear camera supporting Motion Photos, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 processor. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio, and memory card slot. Nokia's web site also now lists an identical model called the 3.1 A, implying that Cricket's parent company AT&T will also offer the phone.


Coolpad Legacy Comes to Boost

Jun 18, 2019, 2:14 PM   by Rich Brome

Boost Mobile now offers the Coolpad Legacy, a $100 Android phone with a premium metal design, a huge 6.36-inch screen, and several features not usually found on phones in that price range. Metro by T-Mobile launched the Legacy a month ago for $130 (now $180). The phone has a fingerprint reader, full-HD display with 2:1 aspect ratio, 4,000 mAh battery, Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging, USB-C connector, and Android 9 (Pie). It also offers dual rear cameras, FM radio, and dual-band Wi-Fi. It's powered by a Snapdragon 450 processor, with 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and a memory card slot. Boost already offers the lower-end Coolpad Illumina, which has since been renamed "Legacy Go".


Tiny Palm Phone Now Available Unlocked

Jun 18, 2019, 1:48 PM   by Rich Brome

The miniature Palm Android phone — originally a Verizon exclusive — will be available unlocked for $350 in August. With LTE 2/4/5/12/13/66, it's compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro, and Verizon.


Facebook-Led Group Launches a Cryptocurrency for Consumers

Jun 18, 2019, 9:38 AM   by Rich Brome

Facebook today announced Libra, a new digital currency that aims to combine the best features of other cryptocurrencies in order to be more consumer-friendly. The currency will be administered by the Libra Association, a new non-for-profit based in Geneva. Founding members include Facebook, Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Stripe, eBay, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Vodafone Group, and Coinbase, as well as non-profit and academic members. Facebook's new Calibra subsidiary will create a Libra wallet app. The Calibra wallet will not require a Facebook account and Calibra will not share transaction data with Facebook. Third parties will also be able to create their own Libra wallet apps. Users will be able to exchange local currency for Libra (and vice versa) through these wallet apps, and at physical locations. The local currency will be transferred to the Libra Association to provide 100% backing for Libra currency. Interest on those deposits will pay for operating expenses, investments in the ecosystem, engineering research, and grants to non-profits and other organizations. Excess interest will be distributed to founding members. Libra transactions won't carry the high fees that credit cards do, although a small (less than one cent) transaction fee will deter certain spam and denial attacks. The symbol for the Libra is ≋ (three wavy lines). The value of a Libra is tied to a basket of deposits in historically stable international currencies, which can be rebalanced to keep the Libra stable. The Libra's starting value will be close to one dollar, euro, or pound. Libra is much faster and more efficient than Bitcoin, able to handle 1,000 transactions per second and designed to scale much higher. When a transaction is submitted, each of the Libra nodes, run independently by Libra Association members, runs a blockchain calculation. Two-thirds of the nodes must come to consensus that the transaction is legitimate for it to be executed and written to the blockchain. Facebook's Calibra will implement Know Your Customer rules in the sign-up process to prevent fraud, requiring a government-issued photo ID, for example. The Libra Association will incentivize other wallet providers to do the same. Libra is launching a limited test network today. When Libra launches to consumers in the first half of 2020, Facebook will launch Calibra as a standalone wallet app, but also as a feature within Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp on both Android and iOS.


Google Launching RCS Service as Carriers Drag Feet

Jun 17, 2019, 3:58 PM   by Rich Brome

Google will offer its own RCS service for Android users on networks that have not yet launched RCS. RCS is an open industry standard for enhanced messaging, designed to replace SMS and MMS. It offers many of the features of Apple's iMessage, such as read receipts, high-quality attachments, and typing indicators. Most new Android phones support RCS via Google's Messages app and its Chat feature, but it requires support on the network side. RCS was designed so that network operators could launch RCS support on their own networks, but most operators have been slow to adopt RCS. Sprint has launched it. T-Mobile has also launched it, but does not yet support it on all Android phones. Verizon has launched it for Pixel phones and promised greater support in 2019. AT&T does not yet support the Universal Profile that makes it RCS standard and interoperable between networks. RCS servers can be located anywhere on the Internet, though, so Google is launching its own. Google is rolling out the service on a country-by-country basis, starting with the UK and France this month. When available, Android users without an active RCS service will see a new prompt when opening the Messages app, asking if they want to opt in to Google's RCS service. Google has pledged to delete message content from its servers as soon as message delivery is confirmed.


New Police Tool Can Access Any Locked Phone

Jun 17, 2019, 9:32 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 17, 2019, 9:32 AM

An Israeli company that supplies law enforcement agencies worldwide announced that the newest version of its tool to access locked phones can access almost any smartphone, including Apple devices running iOS 7-12.3 and most Android phones. The company, Cellebrite, promises that its new UFED Premium device offers nearly complete access to Apple devices and "flagship Samsung devices", as well as support for accessing the file system on "popular device models from Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi." The company boasts that its device lets law enforcement "Bypass or determine locks and perform a full file system extraction on any iOS device, or a physical extraction or full file system (File-Based Encryption) extraction on many high-end Android devices.... gain access to 3rd party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, deleted content and more". Apple has added features to iOS in recent years to thwart this kind of access, and is rolling out iOS 13 this summer and fall.


Hands On with Anker's tiny new USB-C fast chargers

Jun 14, 2019, 11:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 14, 2019, 11:01 AM

Anker continues to crank out a steady stream of universal chargers, batteries, and similar accessories that are at the leading edge of functionality and small form factors. Their latest PowerPort chargers offer high-power USB-C charging in tiny packages, now with flip plugs for even more portability. They're compatible with all Android fast charging techs, as well as iPhone, via Anker's Apple-certified USB-C-to-Lightning cable. We checked them out in person.

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Skype Launches Screen Sharing

Jun 5, 2019, 9:40 AM   by Rich Brome

The Skype app for iOS and Android now supports screen-sharing in video calls. Microsoft announced the launch of the feature this week, after making it available to beta testers a few weeks ago. The feature lets you share whatever is on your phone's screen, including other apps, with the person on the other end of the video call. Skype also tweaked its video call interface with a new design and the ability to hide all controls during a call.


Google Tightens Play Store Rules on Loot Boxes, Marijuana, More

May 30, 2019, 9:55 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is adding new restrictions on Android apps available through its Play Store. Games that offer "loot boxes" for sale must now clearly disclose the odds of receiving items in advance of purchase. Apps that facilitate marijuana sale or delivery are now banned. Developers of all apps must now associate their app with more specific age targets (such as 6-8 and 13-15) and comply with stricter rules for younger age groups. Google is now applying much stricter rules regarding sexual content and hate speech.


Bittium Launches New Ultra-Secure Phone

May 28, 2019, 9:38 AM   by Rich Brome

Bittium's new Tough Mobile 2 is a mid-range smartphone with unusually advanced security features, designed for organizations with exceptional security needs, including governments and militaries. A privacy switch disables microphones, cameras, and Bluetooth at a hardware level, and reduces sensor sensitivity to prevent fingerprinting. The operating system is secured against rooting and tampering, validated in hardware and software at boot. A hardware secure element stores user credentials. A Workspaces feature creates isolated OS environments that keep work data separate from personal data, and confidential data from different organizations separate. The phone is designed and manufactured in Finland, and Bittium supervises phones from manufacturing to customer delivery. Also, the component and software solutions can be audited by authorities. The phone is also rugged, military rated for shock and drop, and IP67 for dust and water. The 5.2-inch full-HD screen works when wet and through gloves. The Tough Mobile 2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 chip with 4 GB of RAM. It runs Android 9 (Pie) and has 64 GB of internal storage plus a memory card slot. Its 12-megapixel main camera can record 4K video. It has customizable physical shortcut buttons, including privacy, PTT, and emergency. It has NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0. It's fully compatible with all LTE bands used by Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, including FirstNet (band 14). Pricing starts at 1550 €.


Google Duo Gains Group Video Calling

May 23, 2019, 4:41 PM   by Rich Brome

Google today announced the global launch of a group video calling feature for its Google Duo app. The feature lets up to eight people join a live video chat at once. It's available for both iOS and Android. Apple's FaceTime has supported group calls of up to 32 people since January, but only works on iOS devices.


Hands On with the Blu G9

May 22, 2019, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The Blu G9 is $180 Android phone that tries very hard to look like a flagship-level phone, and pulls off the look pretty well. Its HD screen has a small notch, it supports fast charging of the large 4,000 mAh battery, and it has 4GB of RAM, so there's substance behind the style. What's this eye-catching phone like in person? We checked it out.

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Blu G9 Offers Large Battery, Premium Look for Less

May 22, 2019, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The Blu G9 went on sale today, offering mid-range specs and flagship looks for just $130 for a limited time on Amazon, and $180 thereafter. The phone has a metallic frame and glass-like metallic back with color gradient. Its 6.3-inch HD screen has a small notch and a 19:9 aspect ratio. Its large 4,000 mAh battery supports fast charging via USB-C. It also has dual rear cameras, Android 9 (Pie), a MediaTek Helio P22 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage. It also has a fingerprint reader, 3.5mm audio jack, and memory card slot. The G9, an unlocked phone, has Cat. 6 LTE in bands 2, 4, 5, 12, and 13, providing basic support for AT&T and T-Mobile networks.


Tor Privacy Browser Now Available for Android

May 22, 2019, 8:59 AM   by Rich Brome

The Tor web browser is now available for Android phones. Tor provides complete privacy and anonymity using "onion routing", which routes traffic through multiple servers to mask its source, and encrypts it each step of the way. The Tor browser interface is based on the familiar Firefox browser. It also provides protections against cross-site tracking and fingerprinting. The Android version has been in alpha since September, but just became available in a final, stable release. It's available now from the Play Store.


ARM Halts Business With Huawei

May 22, 2019, 8:30 AM   by Rich Brome

ARM has stopped doing business with Huawei, potentially ending Huawei's mobile chip business. Essentially all current processors for mobile phones are based on ARM technology and intellectual property. Crucial processor and SoC chips from Qualcomm and Apple are based on ARM designs. Similarly, Huawei's own Kirin chips rely on ARM intellectual property (IP). All major mobile OSes, such as Android, are designed to work on ARM's architecture. The US government recently barred US companies from doing business with Huawei, cutting off Huawei's access to hardware from Qualcomm and software from Google. Huawei was relying on its own Kirin chips to continue making phones independently of Qualcomm, but Kirin chips face an uncertain future without access to ARM IP. This challenges Huawei's future ability to make phones and sell them outside of China. ARM is headquartered in Cambridge, UK and it owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, but ARM has significant offices in the US and its designs contain "US origin technology".


Wiko's First US Phone is The Ride, an $80 Phone for Boost

May 21, 2019, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome

French phone maker Wiko today made its US debut with launch of the Ride, an $80 Android phone available now from Boost. The Ride is an entry-level phone with a 5.45-inch display, 5 megapixel main camera, 2 megapixel selfie camera, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, and a 2,500 mAh removable battery. It has a memory card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, and runs Android version 9 (Pie). Wiko is a 5,000-person company that makes phones with a focus on design that are popular in Western Europe. To support its US operations, the company is opening offices in Plano, TX and Atlanta, GA.


Trump Ban Cuts Huawei Off From Google's Android

May 20, 2019, 10:33 AM   by Rich Brome

The Trump administration issued an executive order last week preventing "foreign adversaries" from doing telecommunication business in the US. Although the order's wording was vague, the implementation includes preventing Huawei from doing business with any US software or hardware supplier, including Google, Intel, Qualcomm, and Broadcom. This means Huawei will no longer be able to ship new phones to western markets with Google's version of Android that includes the Play Store, Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Gmail. Huawei can still use the open-source version of Android, but Android phones without Google services are a tough sell in western markets. Although Huawei can use its own SoC chips instead of Qualcomm's, being cut off from US hardware suppliers is likely to affect its smartphone business worldwide. The company has reportedly been stockpiling chips and parts from US companies for months to prepare for this possibility.


Minecraft + AR + The World = Minecraft Earth

May 17, 2019, 8:41 AM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft is working on a new Minecraft game for phones that uses AR to overlay Minecraft as a persistent, massively multiplayer game over the whole planet. Players will be able to build with Minecraft blocks anywhere in public. Players will be able to see avatars of other players and collaborate. Adventure challenges will pop up in the game, with rewards like treasure and rare blocks. Microsoft says it will kick off a closed beta of Minecraft Earth this summer on iOS and Android. Microsoft is also starting with select locations before eventually expanding the game to be truly global.


Coolpad Legacy Offers Premium Features for $130

May 13, 2019, 10:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Metro by T-Mobile launched the Coolpad Legacy today, a $130 Android phone with a huge 6.36-inch screen and several features not usually found on phones in that price range. It has a metal frame with Gorilla Glass 3 front, fingerprint reader, full-HD display with 2:1 aspect ratio, 4,000 mAh battery, Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging, USB-C connector, and Android 9 (Pie). It also offers dual rear cameras, FM radio, and dual-band Wi-Fi. It's powered by a Snapdragon 450 processor, with 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and a memory card slot. The phone is on sale starting today.


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