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Want to sell your old smartphone? Know the value of your old smartphones using Swappa Price

A new app from Swappa that helps you determine how much a device is worth

A new app from Swappa that helps you determine how much a device is worth

It could be very annoying when it comes to selling an old smartphone. For instance, if you have listed your old phone on Craiglist, it mostly leads to a series of emails from the buyer wherein he is looking to lower the selling price. Similarly, there is eBay where the final sales price of the phone is left up to chance.

Looks like we have an answer to this. Swappa, a website for buying and selling used smartphones, has released a standalone pricing app. The owners can put a device up for sale on this website, and in turn it would give details on what the current pricing trend is for each device.

Called Swappa Price, the app is a simple way of looking up your smartphone’s value. Convenient and intuitive, it pulls from the Swappa system to bring your device’s trending worth. The data is presented in a useful chart that presents historical pricing.

Currently, the free app is available on Android, while an iOS version is in development. However, no time frame has been provided by the representatives of Swappa as to when the iOS version would be available.

The process of using Swappa Price is very simple. Once you launch the app, you are provided a list of devices to select from and price. Look for the device you want to price, and view the historical pricing graph along with the price range of active listings on the site.

Using two methods, a traditional search box or a filter by brand and carrier option, users can search for a specific phone.

You can then make an informed decision when trading in or selling a smartphone with the pricing information available. Once you are ready to either buy or sell the phone, you can tap on the respective buttons which hand off to the (mobile) Swappa website. From there, you can log into your account and start the process of buying or selling.

There’s a quick “share” feature in the app which links to a phone’s respective listing on the Swappa database. For example, you are assisting your friend to sell his old phone, you can look the phone up and share the link via email, messaging, and more.

Additionally, Swappa Price also helps you find out if a device you are interested in buying is within a fair price range.

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CyanogenMod Team releases teaser of a flexible open-source Chromium based browser called ‘Gello’

Are you ready for a new Android browser? CyanogenMod team offers first look at its own take on Chromium called Gello

Are you ready for a new Android browser? CyanogenMod team offers first look at its own take on Chromium called Gello.

CyanogenMod staff member Joey Rizzoli has just come out on Google+ today to announce a new browser project the team has been working on. It’s called “Gello”. It seems apparent that it’s built at least in some capacity on Google’s open source Chromium project (which the Mountain View Company’s flagship Chrome browser is based on as well).

Android ROM developer CyanogenMod has been working on Gello, an open-source browser based on Google’s Chromium project that includes loads of customization options.

Early demo videos show features from the current build that may or may not make it to the final version, including an offline reading mode, immersive and night modes, site-by-site settings for privacy and security and the ability to save downloads in a preferred location and name files before saving them.

A quick trailer released by Rizzoli on his Google+ page, showing off some really quick screenshots of some of the app’s current features. There seems to be some kind of “Night mode” and “Immersive mode” options, configurable download settings (including the ability to choose file paths), an interface that can be customized to the user’s liking, a “save for offline” mode, and more.

It’s worth noting that Gello won’t be released on Cyanogen OS, which runs on the popular OnePlus One phone; that’s a separate project handled by Cyanogen Inc. Instead, it will be available in a future version of CyanogenMod’s Android ROM.

Some of the most notable options in Gello include:

  • the option to save pages for offline reading
  • the ability to rename and alter the save location of downloads
  • night mode
  • immersive mode
  • power saver mode
  • moving between sites with an “edge swipe”
  • site-by-site privacy settings, including pop-up, microphone, and ad controls

CyanogenMod doesn’t yet have a release date for Gello. The team noted that its browser won’t be compatible with older devices that have a small storage partition.

There’s still no word on when Gello will actually launch this, though we’re guessing CyanogenMod will have more news to share soon with every one of us.

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Android M Developer Preview announced for select Sony Xperia devices

Android M Developer Preview announced for select Sony Xperia devices

Sony offers Android M Developer Preview to developers to help build Android M ROMs for Sony devices.

On Monday, Sony announced that a preview version of the upcoming Android M Developer will be made available for selected Xperia line of handsets in the company’s Open Device program, along with other tools.

Users should note that currently the key features of M are missing, as it is an experimental version and are still in the testing stages.

The various Xperia models listed by the Japanese company that will support the Android M Developer Preview includes the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet, Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia E3, Xperia M2, Xperia T2 Ultra, and Xperia T3.

The availability of Android M Developer Preview images is intended to let programmers and designers create apps for Google’s recently announced Android M, which will be officially available to consumers later this year. It will also let them know whether the apps would work on the Xperia handsets and tablets. This move is also seen as an attempt to make Sony’s Xperia models more appealing to developers taking into consideration that no devices from other Android OEM (except the Nexus devices) officially feature Android M Developer Preview support.

At this stage, early adopters might still prefer to use a non-essential device for the Developer Preview of Android M.

Sony in a blog post announced the news said, “You can now create a test image of Android M Developer Preview and flash that onto any Xperia device in Sony’s Open Device program.”

A few changes that have been brought about with Google’s latest Android M such as new permission system have been emphasized by the company. For developers, Sony notes, “To take into account these changes, you may want to test your apps prior to the M release to ensure compatibility.”

In order to make things a bit simpler for users, Sony has provided a guide that provides instructions on how to build AOSP M Developer Preview images by giving the necessary software binaries for the devices.

“It’s important to note that the AOSP software is not certified or intended for regular use. It’s only available for devices with an unlocked bootloader and comes with some limitations, for example, the modem and the camera are not implemented,” wrote Sony.

To remind, some of the new features of Android M include a new and improved form of app permissions, new ways to manage Web links, Google Now on Tap feature, new Chrome feature that will transform the Web experience for Android users, official Android Pay mobile payment system with Android M, new fingerprint APIs for developers to add into their apps, and battery saver features called Doze that will make Android devices smart about handling power. In addition, it also includes adoptable storage devices, new RAM manager, new app drawer, support for USB Type-C ports, auto backup and restore for apps.

The announcement from Sony followed after the Google I/O conference in May, at which Android M Developer Preview was made available for Google Nexus models 5, 6, 9 and the Nexus Player; Android L had been unveiled at I/O in June 2014 before getting a public release in November of the same year.

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Huawei to Build Google’s Next-Gen Nexus Android M Smartphones

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei joins hands with Google to build its Android M powered Nexus smartphones

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei joins hands with Google to build its Android M powered Nexus smartphones

It is now confirmed that Huawei has finally struck deal with Google for manufacturing its Next-Gen Nexus Android M powered smartphones.

A source working for Huawei’s UK division and familiar with the company’s plans told IBTimes UK, that the company is working closely with Google to manufacture its Next-Gen Nexus Android M powered smartphones. However, the source could only give the confirmation regarding the deal and was not able to provide either further details regarding the specifications of the devices nor the exact launch date and just mentioned that the device would be launched towards the end of this year.

Google, uses its Nexus smartphones as a reference device to launch the latest version of its smartphone operating system, Android. Earlier Google has worked with HTC, LG, Samsung, Motorola to build its Nexus smartphones.

For Android M, Google seems to have chosen to work with the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Huawei.

There are speculations that Huawei has entered into this contract with an aim to expand its profile in the West and also to improvise its relation with Google.

Towards the end of May this year, Google launched its Android M, the developer version, at the I/O conference 2015 and now Google plans to release its latest Android version towards the end of the year when it is likely to launch its Next-Gen Nexus smartphone built by Huawei.

According to some reports Google has entered a collaboration with LG as well to launch a second Android M powered Nexus device.

If this is true, then it will be for a the very first time that Google would be launching two devices at the same time for its new Android version.

Few reports indicated that the new Nexus smartphone will be having a 5.7 inches Quad HD screen and it would be slightly smaller than its predecessor, Nexus 6 which was launched last year and had a 6 inches display. Further, the device will also be powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip.

As per the source who gave the information to IBTimes UK, Huawei-Google partnership was essential for the Chinese firm for its expansion in the West.

Huawei has been constantly facing allegations from the U.S. regulators who feel that the company is staunch supporter of Chinese government and thus the regulators feel that the products of Huawei might pose a threat to the national security.

Huawei-Google partnership might not help the company to lessen these allegations from the US regulators; however it will definitely help Huawei to establish itself in the West where it is struggling to gain a foothold.

Though Huawei, is one of the biggest smartphone maker in China; however it will face some problem in selling the Nexus handset in Chinese markets because Chinese government has blocked Google’s online services such as Gmail, Maps and Google search.

During the MWC 2015, held in March, Sundar Pichai, Google’s VP had announced that the company has desires to get back to China and this partnership with Huawei could be the probable path through which Google plans to enter China.

Then Pichai had mentioned:

“China is a phenomenon unto itself. It is important to remember that most of the innovation [happening with Chinese smartphones like Xiaomi and OnePlus] is powered by Android. So we are very committed, we work very hard. I met with partners from China this morning so it’s a big part of what we do. We would of course love to see Google services on top of their experience.”

The Huawei employee on the contrary said they too are trying to “work something out.”

The partnership has its own advantages for Google as well because Google’s Play Store is technically made available in China which allows only for free apps to be downloaded. So when compared to its rival Apple, this partnership will prove to be profitable to Google.

A Huawei spokesperson on the other hand said: “The company is unable to confirm whether it will be working with Google on the upcoming Nexus phone. Huawei are committed to creating innovative and exciting devices and will continue to work towards its vision of producing high quality and affordable products.”

Huawei plans to launch its online store in UK on June 22 and it will be known as “virtual mall”. Through this online store, Huawei plans to make all its consumer electronic devices available to customers here even before going on sale through networks and the retailers.

Google did not disclose any details and just mentioned that it does not want to comment on any kind of speculations.

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How to Root any Android device with Root Genius

Fastest and Easiest way to Root any Android device with Root Genius

Root Genius the quickest and easiest Root tool for Android devices

You want to root your Android smartphone to make your phone faster, remove bloatware, increase battery life, allow it to run more apps, custom software and ROMs which allow complete control over every aspect of your device by allowing superuser and admin level permission.

However, rooting isn’t for everyone. If you don’t know what a command prompt is or you have trouble handling .zip files, please do not use root tool. Also rooting can void your phone’s warranty so please make sure you follow instructions to the letter. Also, always backup your data before you proceed to root your Android smartphone or tablet!

Root Genius is one click root tool designed to work on Windows computer. It helps user to root their Android smartphone and tablet in single click. Here, we are going to guide you how to use Root Genius to root any Android smartphone or tablet.

Requirements: If you are using any Antivirus Application on your computer then disable it first then after follow the below tutorial.

How to use Root Genius to root any Android Device ::

  • Step 1: Enable USB Debugging on your Android Smartphone. To enable USB debugging, Open Settings > Developers Option > USB Debugging > Tick to Enable.
    (Developers Option is hidden for Android 4.2.2 or above, to show this option Go to Settings > About Phone > Built Number (Tap on it for 5-8 times).
  • Step 2: Download and Open Root Genius Application on your Windows Computer.
  • Step 3: Once Root Genius Application is launched, connect your Android device to the computer (with USB Debugging enabled).
  • Step 4: Once Your Smartphone is connected successfully to the computer, Root Genius will automatically detect your Android Device.
  • Step 5: Now, Click on the “Root Now” or “Root it” button to begin the rooting process.
  • Step 6: Now, Root Genius will automatically “Root” your Android Device and install the KingUser Application.
  • Step 7: Now your Android Device is Rooted. To check whether your phone is rooted correctly, open Applications Menu, there you will be able to see a new app installed, called KingUser. If this app exist then it means you have successfully rooted your device.

Before rooting Keep in Mind:
* No data loss process: Your Android Phone Data like contacts, pictures, videos, music etc will be not affected with this method but kindly take a backup to be on the safer side.
* Warranty Void: Your Android Device Warranty may be Void after following the above tutorial.
* How to unroot: To unroot your Device, Open KingUser on your Device > Settings > Remove Root Permission.
* Credits: Root Genius Application was created by SJRoot (Developer).
* If you have tried the above tool to root your Android device, please let us know if it works or not with your Device Model Name.

Download Root Genius v1.8.7 from here or here.

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Top 10 free Android Apps for month of June 2015

Amongst millions of Android apps available on Play Store, top 10 of the ones which deserve your attention in 2015

Top 10 best free Android Apps for the month of June 2015 which every Android user must have in their smartphone

With the advent of new month it’s time we revamp our Android apps and games and get the latest and much more useful apps from the Google Play Store. Now, again for the month of June our team has randomly picked up top 10 Android apps which we feel every Android user must give a try.

Facebook Messenger

Are you a social person who loves to be in constant touch with your friends? Then get this Facebook Messenger app and reach out instantly to your friends and dear ones for absolutely free of cost!! With the Messenger app texting is much easy and also one need not pay for every message as it can work with the data plan. Messenger can work not only for Facebook friends but one can also send messages to people in the phone book. With Messenger users also get chat and group chat options, option of clicking photos and shooting videos right from the app and sharing them. User can continue their conversation even when using other apps though it is bit irksome. Calls through Wi-Fi are free or else the standard data charges apply in case one wishes to make local or international calls. With various other awesome features this is indeed one of the best app for Android device. To download the Facebook Messenger App visit this link.

Snap Me Up

Snap Me Up is a kind of an alarm app. Are you a person who cannot wake up with the buzz of an alarm, then this is the right app which ought to be there in your Android device. The alarm can be turned off only if you click your selfie which gets stored in “My sleepy snaps” album that can be watched and shared on social networking sites. All the snaps taken are absolutely private and personal which only the user of the device can see unless they opt to share it. Besides, if you ever wonder how you look like early morning as soon as you get up then this is the app which you should try and yes…try to get up with a smiling face each day! Get this app now from the given link.

Google Spotlight Stories

Developers and critically acclaimed filmmakers are actually bringing stories to life by using the latest advanced technology in smartphones. By using 2D and 3D animations along with various other advanced technologies the screen of smartphone unfolds into a story. Google Spotlight stories takes you to a world of storytelling that has been made specifically for you. The smartphone device turns into a movie theater with this app. Right now this app is not compatible with all the devices, however you can try out if your smartphone supports this App and get more information by visiting this link.

Periscope

This is one of the awesome live streaming apps which allows user to create live videos and broadcast it to the entire world. As soon as the video goes live it immediately notifies followers of the user who can then join or comment or even send hearts in real time. Users can replay the broadcast or lock it to be watched by some specific people i.e. make it private, tweet it, manage notifications and the most interesting is the ‘hearts’ as the app keeps a track of how many hearts the user actually gets from its viewers so more the number of hearts, user reaches higher in the ‘Most Loved’ list. Interested! then get this app now from here.

Meme Generator

If you are a creative person then get this app and create some of the funniest memes and then share them with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google+,  Email, Dropbox, Picasa. If a person creates the memes in the right way then it can surely convey the message in the correct sense. Meme Generator features more than 600 awesome memes. It has various features which includes image cropping, combining multiple saved memes into one  multi panel meme and many more. Get to know more about this app by downloading from the given link

Echo Notification LockScreen

This is one of the best, fastest lock screen for the notifications on Android device. The app features as one of the top app by Google and has been the choice of users over more than 50 countries. Echo locker is very easy to install and is not a widget also user need not change their launcher settings.  To download this awesome LockScreen App follow this link.

Classnote: Simple Timetable

By using the Classnote app users can organize their assignments and manage their timetable easily. ‘Material Design’ is a new language developed by Google and this application has been build using this new design language. Classnote has an easy UI and can be combined with the school timetable for convenience and better management. Definitely recommended for students who wish to use this simple school timetable application and organize themselves. The application works with Android 4.0.3 and later versions of Android. Download Classnote from here.

Office Lens

Microsoft’s Office Lens is as good as having a scanner in your pocket. Office Lens is one of the must have apps as it is very handy. You can scan a receipt or any document and the resultant image can be converted into a Word document or PowerPoint slide or even into a PDF file and saved to OneNote or OneDrive. Thus it would basically digitize the notes on whiteboards or blackboards. User can sketch their ideas and snap a picture thus helping themselves to remember it later. Definitely a must for professionals and students. Get the details of the app and download if from here.

CM Data Manager-Speed Test

This is one of the reliable apps which can help users to manage the data of their Android device. With the help of the app users can check not only the network speed at all times but also data usage and further monitor the data usage in background as well as foreground. What’s more, users can also save their phone bills by blocking the apps that waste the data allowances. Extremely recommended for users who are facing the problem of running out through their data plans rather quickly, also for the ones who are unnecessarily paying for every MB they are using and for those who want to find the apps that are responsible for wasting their data. Thus if budgeting data and saving the phone bill is your agenda then this is the right app for you. Get the details of the app and download it right now from here.

QuizUp (remake)

This free, award winner multi player trivia game has been revamped with easy and much attractive UI. Users can now meet opponents based on criteria like age, topics, gender thus meeting like minded people becomes easy with this app. Users can also play QuizUp on the desktop using this app. Get this app today from the given link.

These top 10 apps would help users to enhance their communication with their family and friends, improvise their lifestyle, indulge in social fun and entertainment, organize their schedules, aid in education and productivity with better tools, and definitely allows them to rewind themselves from the busy schedule and indulge in some fun games.

Readers might feel there are some other more important and useful apps in the Google Play Store that ought to be a part of this article, please feel free to mention that in the comments so as to benefit other readers.

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Google makes Android Pay Transactions fees free to take on Apple Pay

Google decides not to charge any transaction fees on Android Pay to take on Apple Pay

Google decides not to charge any transaction fees on Android Pay to take on Apple Pay

Welcome to the Google’s new mobile phone payment service, Android Pay, will not garner any transaction fees from credit card companies, which may put pressure on competitor like Apple to drop or lower down its charges, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Apple Pay, which launched last year, reached deals with big banks and other credit card issuers to receive 0.15 % of the value of each credit card transaction, the journal said on Friday. Apple is collecting a 0.5% per purchase on bank debit cards, it said.

Google’s service will not receive anymore fees for the transactions, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation. It said Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc have already made their “tokenization” card-security service free, which prevents payments services from charging fees to issuers.

“There is one agreement with Visa and the banks can have confidence that there are no pass-through fees,” Visa President Ryan McInerney reported to the newspaper.

The Wall Street Journal said the rules may prompt changes in Apple’s mobile phone payment deal with banks. It said some banks are really not happy about sharing fees and would try to use Google’s arrangement to effect changes in Apple’s deals.

Google had already unveiled Android Pay at its Google I/O 2015 developers’ conference in late May. The service is aiming at ramping up the Mountain View giant’s challenge to Apple in mobile payments.
Android Pay will bring together mobile carriers, payment networks, banks and retailers to allow smartphone users to use their handsets instead of payment cards.

Google engineering vice president Dave Burke said Android Pay will be working in more than 700,000 US retail outlets that would accept contactless payments.

“We are at the start of an exciting journey, we are working closely with payment networks, banks and developers,” he said.

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This is how Google’s Android M 6.0 scores over Android 5.0 Lollipop

This is how Google's Android M 6.0 scores over Android 5.0 Lollipop

Android L vs Android M : Google Android M developer preview is now official and here is how it fares against Android 5.0 Lollipop

Google has finally presented its ‘Android M Developer preview‘, during the I/O 2015 conference that was held last week. Till the preview was actually presented Android lovers had made lots of guess work regarding the new version. In this article we will compare the Android M and Android Lollipop version and check how the new Android M version scores over Android Lollipop. The ‘M’ is still a big secret as Google has presented only Developer preview and it will be some time before it releases the actual version. It goes without saying that the features which we may see in Android M may not be there till has been actually released to public and it could be a case that Google might add few novel features by then.

Lets check the different changes that have been incorporated in the new version i.e. Android M and how it scores over its predecessor Android Lollipop (Android L)

  • App Permissions Control: With the Android M, users can now confirm permission to an individual app as per their function and requirement. Further, users will also get an option to revoke individual app permissions again, if need be. On the contrary, with Android L, it was essential to allow all app permission before users could download the required app from Google Play Store.
  • Real Fingerprint API: Google has taken a major move by creating ‘standardized support’ for fingerprint scanners with its Android M. With its earlier versions every manufacturer was incorporating their own software solution and thus uniform access to finger print sensors was not possible. With this version Google has successfully tried to introduce the function which will allow users to use these fingerprint scanners not only to unlock their phones but also to authorize the payments through Android Pay NFC or even purchase apps in Play Store. An (Application Program Interface) API will also be made available to developers to build fingerprint compatibility in their apps.
  • Android Pay: Google had been working on its Mobile pay system for quite some time and now it has officially announced Android Pay at the I/O conference. This is one of the simplest and secured payment option for users. Most important feature of Android Pay is that it does not store the credit card number, on the contrary the system creates a virtual number for each payment thus protecting user’s confidential data. With Android Pay users can now make payments with their credit cards for over 700,000 stores in US. This payment system is compatible with any device that has an in built NFC capabilities and runs on 4.4 KitKat or above. Google has partnered with American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, T Mobile. When combined with the finger print scanner features of Android M, Android Pay seems to be scoring over Apple Pay.
  • Chrome Custom Tabs: Google has introduced this awesome feature of Chrome Custom Tabs which will provide users with a better user experience when they are toggling between the websites and apps. Actually, this feature allows the app to open a customized Chrome window on top of the active app thus helping users with speedy navigation between apps and the web. The Chrome app is not launched separately in this case. The Chrome Custom Tab feature also helps in easy integration of the apps and the web experience because it supports automatic sign-in, saved passwords, autofill, and multi-process security. This can be understood with the example of a Pinterest custom tab which will have a Pinterest share button embedded within it and it can include custom overflow menu options, thus it does not require the Pinterest developers to build their own web browser.
  • USB Type-C for faster charging: Google has introduced the new USB standard in its Android M. With the introduction of this USB, now the smartphone can be charged faster and also used to charge other devices because with USB Type-C the connector can flip both the ways. So the introduction of this USB will definitely help the smartphone & Tablet manufacturers to introduce new handsets in the markets by combining Android M and USB Type-C.
  • DOZE for better Battery Life: Though not much has been revealed yet; however it seems Android M will include a novel battery saving function known as ‘Doze’. The smartphone will have special motion sensors and these will detect if the smartphone is in use or no and accordingly go in the standby mode to save power. Suppose if this function is not put to use then developers might stick to sending the handset into a deeper standby state when not in use. Further, battery saver is turned off automatically when the handset is being charged. Also apps that require synchronization will not update automatically until it has been opened by the user, thus saving the power. On the whole reports confirm that the overall battery life of Android M has been doubled. Google had initially begun its longer battery life feature with Android L’s Project Volta and in this version it seems Android M has been successful in scoring a point over its predecessor.
  • App Links: Earlier, when a web link was selected, Android would not know whether to show it in the web browser and some times it was a case that Android could not recognize which app would support that link. Hence, it was common phenomena with earlier Android versions, wherein the system would display the “open with” tab when users try to open any web link using some app. Usually the tab would ask the user whether they want to open a link with YouTube or with Chrome. However, with Android M, the OS has been incorporated with enormous awareness so that now it can directly open the link with the required app on Android. So now, if user wants to open some Twitter link through an email, Android will not stop users to ask if they want to open the link through Twitter and instead immediately open the link through Twitter. This happens within a spur of second and users will hardly notice this change, however Google has worked on this issue and improvised it.
  • Other improvements: Various other minor improvements made in the Android M over Android L are covered here:
    • App drawer: Android M introduces a new app drawer that scrolls vertical instead of earlier horizontal one. Further, the new version shows the four most recently used applications along a bar which is placed at the top and towards the left hand margin there is an alphabetized scroll available. Besides their is one more search function provided towards the upper right corner. So in all the new app drawer helps user to find their apps in better and much easier way. Further, the apps are placed on white background as against the homepage wallpaper which was seen in the earlier versions.
    • RAM manager: With the Android M, Google has introduced RAM manager which will inform users regarding the average and maximum RAM usage of an app. Earlier Android L version gave detailed information regarding the amount of RAM by each and every app. RAM manager informs user of the RAM consumed by individual app along with the knowledge as to which all apps are running in the background. Thus it will help users to determine which app is consuming more of RAM and hence users can get rid of that app by removing it so as to increase the overall performance and battery life of the Android device. Whatmore, there is also a simple bar provided at the top which displays the current performance of the device and if it reads “good performance” then it is an indication that the device has an efficient set of apps.
    • External storage allowed: With Android M, Google allows new storage feature wherein users can use SD card or USB drive and then format it to act like internal storage space. Thus helping users to move their personal data between the internal storage of the device as well on the adopted external storage source. Google has further provided a sheath of encryption to the external storage devices for security purposes and it will support microSD cards and USB OTG drives. The most important benefit here is that apps can be directly installed on the external storage devices now in Android M version.
    • Improvised version of Google Now: Google has worked to improvise its Google Now feature and has made it is much more smarter by connecting it with Google’s Knowledge Graph which understands more than a billion entities right from sports team to places to gas station and even specific Television shows. In short Google Now has now been made aware of different contexts so as to provide the apt answer which can help user to take the correct required action.
    • Now on Tap: Google Now is likely to roll out its pilot program “Now on Tap” which will contain 100 popular apps. With the introduction of this feature, Android M users can get into Google Now without exiting the current app. For instance, if a person is in music player and wants to know the musician, then they just need to ask “what is his real name?” and the Google Now will answer this query immediately while the user is still in the music player app.
    • Google Photos app: Google Photos app was earlier a part of Google+; however now Google Photos app is standalone Photo and Video storage which provides free unlimited storage up to 16 MP photos and 1080 p videos that can be shared as well. With Android M, users can store compressed versions of their high quality photos and videos in the Google Photos Service which means that these huge files will not be stored on the user’s device thus helping users to scroll through unlimited photos at very high speed. One of the most important feature would be that user’s device is not ravaged with unnecessary  gigabytes of the photos.
  • Rolling out of Android M: For now the ‘Android M Developer Preview’ has been made available for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player and the final version is expected to be launched somewhere in the third quarter of 2015.

With the Android Lollipop, Google had made drastic changes in its OS, however with Android M it seems Google has worked on performance enhancement and mostly made changes in those fields where users had the maximum issues while using Lollipop version.

There are many issues with the upgrade of Android 5.0 Lollipop by smartphone manufacturers. Some manufacturers are simply not upgrading to Lollipop while other who offer out of the box Lollipop devices are relatively new releases. Instead of focusing on releasing new version of Android, if Google had focussed on making Lollipop a widely accepted and used OS that would have been better for the users as well as developers and publishers.

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Security bug in Cordova allows a single URL click to tamper Android Apps

Security bug in Cordova allows a single URL click to tamper Android Apps

Security flaw in the Apache Cordova developer framework could allow for malicious injections into Android apps.

A serious security glitch has been found inside the device APIs used to develop Android applications.

Developed by The Apache Software Foundation, Apache Cordova, is a set of tools of device APIs used by mobile app developers to approach native device functions including accelerometer and cameras from JavaScript.

The APIs give a Javascript library to appeal to different functions. When this is used with Cordova, mobile apps can be built using web technologies such as CSS, HTML and Javascript. The service is adaptable with the Windows Phone, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Bada, Palm WebOS, and Symbian platforms.

Cordova had confessed in a security bulletin posted this week that a “major” security issue has been found in the API platform.

Identified by the TrendMicro Mobile Threat Research Team (TRT), the security susceptibility allows attackers to modify the behavior of Android apps by just clicking a URL. The damage of the modifications can range from crashing the apps completely to causing annoyance for app users.

This is due to the deficiency of clear and detailed values set in Config.xml by Android apps built using the Cordova framework, which in turn creates an opportunity for threat actors to put undefined secondary configuration variables. According to the foundation, this can result in “unwanted dialogs appearing in applications and changes in the application behavior that can include the app force-closing.”

Labelled as CVE-2015-1835, the security susceptibility does require particular conditions to make full use of. At least one of the app’s elements must enlarge from Cordova’s root activity — CordovaActivity — or the Cordova framework must be interfered with to ensure that the framework’s Config.java system is not properly protected. Further, at least one of Cordova supported preferences — except ErrorUrl and LogLevel — is not defined in the configuration file config.xml. TRT says:

“We believe this vulnerability is highly exploitable because the conditions that need to be met for a successful exploit are common developer practices. Most Cordova-based apps do extend the “CordovaActivity” and very few explicitly define all preferences in their configuration.

Moreover, all of Cordova-based apps build from the Cordova Command-Line Interface(CLI)() automatically meet the exploit prerequisites mentioned earlier, thus all of them are vulnerable.”
TRT explained “Our research has revealed that if the base activity is not properly secured and the preferences are set to default, an attacker may be able to alter these preferences and modify the appearance and behavior of the app itself.” An app’s looks could be changed, popups, advertisements and splashscreens could be administered into an app’s interface, the basic functionalities of an app may be interfered with or the app could be forced to crash due to the security fault.

Majority of the Cordova-based app’s that accounts for 5.6 percent of all apps in Google Play are liable to exploit, a fact that was highlighted by the security team.

To fix these security issues, Cordova is releasing version 4.0.2. of the API set. It also suggests that all Android applications built using Cordova 4.0x or higher must be upgraded to use version 4.0.2 of Cordova Android. Mobile app developers who are using older versions of Cordova can also upgrade to 3.7.2 to fix the same security issue. Other platforms are believed not to be influenced by the susceptibility.

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What Google Android M would bring to smartphone users

What Google Android M would bring to smartphone users

Features of ‘Google Android M operating system’ which will be launched on 28th May, 2015

As the Google I/O 2015 conference is nearing it seems certain that Google would release the Android M Operating System and most probably it would focus on performance enhancement. What other novel features would Google Android M bring to us….any guesses?

Not much has been revealed regarding Android M except an accidental mention in the Android for work event schedule, which was later removed by Google.

Android has made tremendous improvement with each version and hence it is very difficult to predict what all novel features Google is planning to unfold with its Android M.

For now, the release of Android M seems to be a bit premature with Android Lollipop capturing only 10% of its distribution; however it looks as if Google is finally settling into an annual update schedule which indicates that just like its Lollipop version the Android M version will also get the developer’s preview first and later towards November it will be made available to the Android users.

Android Lollipop version had seen a major updation in the material design; however experts feel that with Android M, the major focus would be on performance enhancement.

Certain predictions from experts in regards to Android M features:

  •  Android M in the field of Enterprise and Security:
    • When it comes to Enterprise, Google is nowhere a match to Blackberry which has been a perfect choice of platform for Enterprise. However, Google had announced its plans regarding Android for Work concept during  Google I/O 2014 conference.
    • Experts feel that with Android M, Google will enter into the Enterprise sector which will help the Android users to manage work as well as play on the same device.
    • Of late, employers are accepting Android devices in workplaces wherein employees can bring their own device as these prove to be much  cheaper, Google seems to be ready to capture the Enterprise sector with Android M.
    • For now, Google has teamed up with a number of IT partners such as Cisco, BlackBerry, Motorola, Samsung, Box and others to bring a consistent management platform wherein the enterprise managers would be allowed to control the Android devices. Further, Google has plans to add secure business apps and devices to these programs.
    • With Android M, Google seems to be also penetrating into user authentication techniques with its improved Smart Lock feature which will make the security credentials much more robust.
  • Predictions for Voice Control: With Android M, we can probably expect the users to navigate around their devices just with their voices as ‘Google now’ would be rolled across the platforms.
  • Expanding Android to watches, cars and TV: Google with Android M is planning to expand beyond smartphones and Tablets and most probably would expand to cars, watches as well as TV.
    • Android Auto: Just imagine, if the cars are shipped with pre installed Android M; car drivers will not have to depend on the smartphones to stay connected. Seems that Google’s Android M definitely has some interesting prospects for drivers.
    • Android Wear: Smartwatches are the in thing and Google needs to bring in some drastic improvements in this sector. Google’s developers might already have excellent plans to implement Android M in Android wear sector.
    • Android TV: Google seems to be offering newer ways of introducing play games and other contents through their Android TV and Google Cast. Though not much has been revealed regarding these expansions however experts feel that Android M will definitely be expanded in this field.

Lets have a look at what we as users of Android want to see in Android M: 

  1. Rectification in multiple notifications: A common issue faced by Android users with multiple devices is that they keep getting same notifications on all the devices simultaneously, even after it has been deleted on one device. For example, if the Android device gives the weather forecast on smartphone, it will give the same alert on smartwatch as well as Tablet, even though it has been deleted from any one of the devices. Hence, Google needs to take proper steps to synchronize the notification data across platforms so as to develop “unified notification” system, wherein if user has deleted the notification on one device it will not show up on other devices. Users would love to see this feature being incorporated in Android M.
  2. Split Screen and multiple app option on same screen: For a long time Google has been repeatedly requested to introduce the split screen feature which can aid in viewing multiple apps at the same time on the screen. Again this is one of the feature which Android users would appreciate if it has been incorporated in Android M, this feature would be most useful for people who are using Tablets.
  3. An integration of Chrome OS and Android: Android users would appreciate to see integration in Chrome OS and Android with Google’s Android M.
  4. Back up options: Google needs to work on its back up options and with Android M probably we will be able to get easier and faster data back up options in Android.
  5. Android “M”: Android users are pretty curious to know which sweetener has Android chosen for this version and what does the “M” stand for! There are a lot of speculations for the “M” which includes Muffin, Mars Bars, Mermalade, so on and so forth the list is endless.

Google has been known to keep the details of its conference a secret till its actual schedule. Google I/O 2015 would be held on 28th and 29th May. So stay connected to know what all new prospects Google has introduced for Android and what will Android M actually bring for its users.

Readers can definitely add to what other features they are expecting from Android M in the comments section.

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