mardi 23 janvier 2018

Motorola Moto Z2 Play Android Oreo Update is Being Soak Tested in Brazil

When Motorola decided to use the Moto Z branding for their new flagship lineup, they also released a mid-range version for those who may not have the money to pay for the higher priced model. The Moto Z Play became incredibly popular due to its impressive battery life, but some were let down when the Moto Z2 Play was announced with a higher price and a smaller battery. This may be why we haven't really heard much about this device since it was released, but it looks like Motorola has begun soak testing Android Oreo (8.0) on these devices in Brazil.

As of late, we have actually been seeing more attention paid to the more expensive Moto Z2 Force with a rollout to Oreo and then kernel sources being released a couple of weeks later. This type of prioritization is to be expected since the people who are buying the more expensive phones generally offer more to a company's bottom line than the low-end and mid-range offerings. Thankfully, the Z2 Play hasn't been ignored completely by Motorola or the community as it still has its dedicated fans.

Those who own the Moto Z2 Play will be excited to hear that Motorola has finally began one of their first soak tests of the upcoming Android 8.0 Oreo update. The company has a history of first testing these new software updates in Brazil, and it looks like that is what we are seeing here this week. The information was brought to our attention thanks to XDA Senior Member Crix.Ful92 who first posted some screenshots of the update notification yesterday afternoon.

Since then this information has been corroborated by other XDA members, so it looks like the company is slowly letting more and more beta testers try out this new update. It's unclear how long it will take for Motorola to transition from a soak test to the official rollout (due to the possibility of critical bugs being discovered), but it looks like things are on the right track for the Moto Z2 Play to receive Android Oreo in the near future.



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Less than 10% of Gmail users have Two-Factor Authentication Enabled

If you don't use Gmail's two-factor authentication, you're not the only one. At the Usenix Enigma 2018 security conference this week, Google software engineer Grzegorz Milka revealed that more than 90 percent of active Gmail users hadn't enabled two-factor authentication on their accounts, and that 10 percent of those who had activated it had trouble figuring out how to use the SMS authentication codes sent to their phones.

"It's about how many people would we drive out if we force them to use additional security," Milka said, when asked why Google doesn't enable two-factor authentication by default. "The answer is usability."

Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a protocol that adds an extra layer of authentication to the login process. When you've enabled 2FA on an online service and enter your username and password, you're prompted for an additional bit of information before you're allowed to sign in — usually a randomly generated string of letters and numbers sent via text message or an app like Google Authenticator. Other forms of 2FA require a special hardware token (typically in the form of a USB keyfob such as Yubico's Yubikey) certified by the FIDO Alliance, the industry consortium tasked with developing interoperable security standards.

So why don't people use it? According to some researchers, they don't trust it. In a study conducted by cybersecurity firm Sophos in 2016, over 15 percent of respondents cited privacy concerns about 2FA. Their fears aren't baseless: Some experts have pointed to weaknesses in SMS-based 2FA, citing risk of interception by attackers who manage to spoof phone numbers.

Google, for its part, lets G Suite enterprise customers actively disallow weak SMS authentication tokens, and it's working on alternatives.

In October, it rolled out a new method for 2FA that replaced SMS with the "Google Prompt", a verification screen built into Google Play services on Android and the Google app on iOS. It doesn't require you to enter a passphrase, instead using heuristics like your phone's geographic location and the time of day verify your identity. The company's also launched a new service, Advanced Protection Program, that requires high-profile accounts to use hardware-based USB 2FA security keys instead of the Google Prompt or SMS.

"One of the truths we've found is that people won't accept more security than they think they need," Mark Risher, a manager on Google's identity systems team told The Verge in an interview in July. "As a large-scale consumer internet provider, we want to find that right balance."


Source: The Register



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lundi 22 janvier 2018

Android 8.1 Oreo’s Wi-Fi Menu Shows Speed Labels for Public Networks

When you're surrounded by public Wi-Fi networks, it's nearly impossible to tell which is fastest without connecting to each one, conducting a speed test, and dutifully recording the results. Luckily, Google's introducing a new feature in Android 8.1 Oreo that does all the legwork for you: Speed labels in the Wi-Fi settings menu.

In the coming days, devices running AOSP-based Android 8.1 Oreo-based software will begin to see four different speed indicators in Android's Wi-Fi settings menu (Settings > Network and Internet > Wi-Fi): Slow, OKFast, and Very Fast. Google describes each of them in a support document:

Source: Google

The gist is that Slow and OK networks aren't good for much else besides calling, texting, browsing the web, and streaming tunes. Networks fast enough to get the Fast and Very Fast designation, on the other hand, can handle data-hungry apps like Netflix and YouTube.

Just how much faster is Very Fast than Fast? According to Android Police, which reached out to a Pixel User Community Manager for comment, these are the thresholds for each label:

  • Slow = 0 – 1 Mbps
  • OK = 1 Mbps – 5 Mbps
  • Fast = 5 Mbps – 20 Mbps
  • Very Fast = 20 Mbps+

Speed labels are enabled by default, but you won't see them next to private networks that require passwords or hotspots that use a canary URL opt out of Android's Wi-Fi Assistant service. If you prefer not to see them on any network, you can turn them off by heading to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Preferences > Advanced > Network rating provider.

Wi-Fi speed labels aren't Android Oreo's only network-focused feature. Oreo adds support for Wi-Fi Passpoint, an authentication protocol that allows devices to hop seamlessly between multiple hotspots in a network, Google Pixel devices on Android 8.0 and newer automatically connect to "high-quality saved networks". If Oreo's new speed labels work as advertised, they'll be a worthy addition to a growing suite of Wi-Fi conveniences.


Source: Google Support Via: +Android



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Samsung Reveals New ISOCELL Camera Sensors, May Hint to Galaxy S9 Camera Upgrades

The Galaxy S9 isn't too far away now. We have seen a lot of information about it, from CAD renders and case renders to rumored ship dates. Samsung has confirmed that the phone will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress next month, and it's expected to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip in US and China markets and Samsung's Exynos 9810 in international markets. Now, Samsung has revealed a new ISOCELL camera sensor family, hinting at the Galaxy S9's camera capabilities

The first product in the new ISOCELL lineup is ISOCELL Bright, which uses Samsung's Tetracell tech to improve light sensitivity by amalgamating four neighboring pixels into one big pixel. The technology was announced last year, and Samsung integrated a Smart WDR feature that enables the sensor to record multiple exposures in a single shot. The mix of Tetracell and Smart WDR allows the new camera sensor to capture greater detail in both bright and dark lighting conditions compared to competing products on the market.

Next in the new ISOCELL series is a three-stack fast readout sensor called ISOCELL Fast, which supports Full HD video recording at frame rates as high as 480 FPS and high-speed PDAF autofocus that leverages Samsung's Dual Pixel and Super PD technologies. The ISOCELL Slim, meanwhile, is a 24MP high-resolution sensor that's "thin and small", with a tiny 0.9 micron pixel size.

ISOCELL

Source: Samsung

Finally, Samsung revealed ISOCELL Dual, a camera sensor that supports features such as optical zoom, low light shots, and bokeh adjustment.

So what conclusions can we draw from the new ISOCELL sensor family about the Galaxy S9's camera features? Since the Galaxy S9+ is rumored to have dual cameras, there's a pretty good chance it'll have some variant of the ISOCELL Dual. The sensors announced this week probably won't be the ones used on the Galaxy S9, but their features might show up in Samsung's 2018 flagship phone.

The Galaxy S9 reportedly has Dual Pixel sensors with large pixel sizes, and might have features such as a variable aperture and slow-motion video recording. It's also rumored to have a "Super Speed" camera tech, a 12MP Dual Pixel rear camera and an 8MP front camera with autofocus, optical image stabilization, a "Super Slow-mo" mode, and a variable aperture range from f/1.5 to f/2.4.

We expect to learn more about the Galaxy S9 and the S9+ in the days leading to the launch event.


Source: SamsungVia: NDTV Gadgets



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Xiaomi Plans to Expand its Offline Store Network in India

Xiaomi's expansion into offline retail in India was one of the phone maker's boldest moves in 2017 — previously, it sold its phones exclusively online. The strategy was a success to some extent, but was also an impediment to growth. Rival China-based smartphone vendors such as Oppo, Vivo, and Samsung dominated the offline retail market, and Xiaomi changed course in response.

In May 2017, the company opened its first brick-and-mortar Mi Home store. Since then, it has embarked into a rapid offline expansion program with Mi Home stores, Mi Preferred Partner stores, and large format retail stores such as Croma. Xiaomi's phones are now available at a variety of offline retailers, and it's enjoyed increased brand recognition as a result. Its market share has also grown exponentially, to the point where it tied with Samsung in the third quarter of 2017 for the top spot in the $100 billion Indian smartphone market, according to IDC.

Now, Xiaomi plans to expand its India store network, according to a Reuters report. Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain told the publication that the biggest change in 2017 and 2018 is the company's focus on offline retail. It already operates 17 Mi Home outlets in India, and Mr. Jain said that the company is on track to open 100 Mi Home stores by mid-2019.

Xiaomi's strategy has, up until now, hinged on flash sales and e-commerce portals such as Amazon and Flipkart, a strategy which helped it save on expensive marketing. Mr. Jain said that the company will launch six to eight new smartphones across key price ranges in 2018, and that the company intends to improve on what it launched in 2017.

Xiaomi released eight smartphones in 2017 priced from Rs. 5000 ($78) to Rs. 33,000 ($516). Samsung, on the other hand, sells more than 40 smartphone models in India.


Source: Reuters



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Google’s Hangouts Meet App Gains Support for Android Tablets and iPads

Google took the wraps off Hangouts Meet, an enterprise-centric version of its Hangouts chat platform, in March 2017. It's chock full of nifty features like meeting reminders and Google Drive integration, but ever since launch, it's lacked tablet support. The search giant rectified that longstanding shortcoming with a tablet-forward update for the Hangouts Meet app. Starting today, it's officially supported on Apple iPads and Android tablets.

The updated Hangouts Meet app, which started rolling out Monday, is the latest in a series of enhancements Google's made to the business-focused G Suite tool. In July, it added an in-conference messaging feature that let video chat participants share messages and links in a dedicated, slide-out tab, and dial in support for phones that aren't compatible with the Hangouts Meet app. And in November, it bumped the maximum number of video chat participants to 50 from 30.

The update also follows on the heels of Hangouts Meet hardware, a $2,000 package with a touchscreen, camera, microphone, and Chromebox designed for conference rooms that Google announced in October 2017. The eye-popping price tag nets you a high-tech camera that uses machine learning to properly frame meeting participants, a Google-designed speaker microphone, and a capacitive touch display from Mimo that costs $500 on its own.

Hangouts Meet might not be the most consumer-oriented product in Google's portfolio, but it's a breeding ground for innovation. Video calls can be shared with a simple link. Native integration with G Suite means meeting updates get pulled directly from Google Calendar, eliminating the need to manually update meeting times across multiple platforms. And the web app's natively supported in Chrome and Firefox — it doesn't require an additional plugin.

Google says the new Hangouts Meet app will roll out to all G Suite Enterprise Edition users by the end of this week. If you've already installed it on your iPad or Android tablet, it'll update automatically.

Hangouts Meet (Free, Google Play) →


Source: Google



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MIUI 9.2 Global Stable ROM Brings Mi Drop, Mi Video, and Other New Apps to Xiaomi Phones

Xiaomi, the China-based company that's among the world's biggest smartphone brands, announced the newest version of its in-house Android skin, MIUI 9, in November 2017. Since then, it's rolled out to folks enrolled in the MIUI Global Beta, but those in the stable channel were kept waiting. That changed this week, though, with the debut of MIUI 9.2 Global Stable ROM.

MIUI 9.2 Global Stable ROM, which went live Monday for the Mi Mix 2, Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4, Redmi Y1, Redmi Y1 Lite, and Redmi 5A, is packed to the brim with new features, applications, and other enhancements. App Vault, an app that shows Google Now-like cards containing shortcuts, upcoming calendar appointments, notes, and sports scores, is in tow, as is Mi Video, a first-party Xiaomi video player. Also new is Mi Drop, a file sharing app that lets you transfer data to a Xiaomi device via file transfer protocol (FTP).

Most of the other changes are aesthetic. MIUI 9.2's revamped notifications shade features bundled notifications, which group multiple notifications together on a per-app basis, and quick reply, an Android Nougat-like option that allows you respond to SMS messages and emails directly from the corresponding notification. Xiaomi says MIUI 9.2 contains a patch for the KRACK WPA2 security vulnerability uncovered by security searchers last year, and fixes a bug involving duplicate WhatsApp and Telegram notifications.

MIUI 9.2 Global Stable is available for devices that have received the MIUI 9 Global Stable ROM. If your phone's supported and running MIUI 5 Global Stable or newer, you can update to MIUI 9.2 by waiting for an over-the-air (OTA) update notification to arrive and letting the ROM install automatically, or by flashing the ROM in your phone's recovery menu. If you opt for the former option, be forewarned that it's a staged rollout — some devices will get the update before others.

You'll find installation instructions and files at the source link.


Source: Xiaomi Via: FoneArena



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