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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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Protecting Android with more Linux kernel defenses

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 02:34 PM PDT

Posted by Jeff Vander Stoep, Android Security team

Android relies heavily on the Linux kernel for enforcement of its security model. To better protect the kernel, we've enabled a number of mechanisms within Android. At a high level these protections are grouped into two categories—memory protections and attack surface reduction.

Memory protections

One of the major security features provided by the kernel is memory protection for userspace processes in the form of address space separation. Unlike userspace processes, the kernel's various tasks live within one address space and a vulnerability anywhere in the kernel can potentially impact unrelated portions of the system's memory. Kernel memory protections are designed to maintain the integrity of the kernel in spite of vulnerabilities.

Mark memory as read-only/no-execute

This feature segments kernel memory into logical sections and sets restrictive page access permissions on each section. Code is marked as read only + execute. Data sections are marked as no-execute and further segmented into read-only and read-write sections. This feature is enabled with config option CONFIG_DEBUG_RODATA. It was put together by Kees Cook and is based on a subset of Grsecurity's KERNEXEC feature by Brad Spengler and Qualcomm's CONFIG_STRICT_MEMORY_RWX feature by Larry Bassel and Laura Abbott. CONFIG_DEBUG_RODATA landed in the upstream kernel for arm/arm64 and has been backported to Android's 3.18+ arm/arm64 common kernel.

Restrict kernel access to userspace

This feature improves protection of the kernel by preventing it from directly accessing userspace memory. This can make a number of attacks more difficult because attackers have significantly less control over kernel memory that is executable, particularly with CONFIG_DEBUG_RODATA enabled. Similar features were already in existence, the earliest being Grsecurity's UDEREF. This feature is enabled with config option CONFIG_CPU_SW_DOMAIN_PAN and was implemented by Russell King for ARMv7 and backported to Android's 4.1 kernel by Kees Cook.

Improve protection against stack buffer overflows

Much like its predecessor, stack-protector, stack-protector-strong protects against stack buffer overflows, but additionally provides coverage for more array types, as the original only protected character arrays. Stack-protector-strong was implemented by Han Shan and added to the gcc 4.9 compiler.

Attack surface reduction

Attack surface reduction attempts to expose fewer entry points to the kernel without breaking legitimate functionality. Reducing attack surface can include removing code, removing access to entry points, or selectively exposing features.

Remove default access to debug features

The kernel's perf system provides infrastructure for performance measurement and can be used for analyzing both the kernel and userspace applications. Perf is a valuable tool for developers, but adds unnecessary attack surface for the vast majority of Android users. In Android Nougat, access to perf will be blocked by default. Developers may still access perf by enabling developer settings and using adb to set a property: "adb shell setprop security.perf_harden 0".

The patchset for blocking access to perf may be broken down into kernel and userspace sections. The kernel patch is by Ben Hutchings and is derived from Grsecurity's CONFIG_GRKERNSEC_PERF_HARDEN by Brad Spengler. The userspace changes were contributed by Daniel Micay. Thanks to Wish Wu and others for responsibly disclosing security vulnerabilities in perf.

Restrict app access to ioctl commands

Much of Android security model is described and enforced by SELinux. The ioctl() syscall represented a major gap in the granularity of enforcement via SELinux. Ioctl command whitelisting with SELinux was added as a means to provide per-command control over the ioctl syscall by SELinux.

Most of the kernel vulnerabilities reported on Android occur in drivers and are reached using the ioctl syscall, for example CVE-2016-0820. Some ioctl commands are needed by third-party applications, however most are not and access can be restricted without breaking legitimate functionality. In Android Nougat, only a small whitelist of socket ioctl commands are available to applications. For select devices, applications' access to GPU ioctls has been similarly restricted.

Require seccomp-bpf

Seccomp provides an additional sandboxing mechanism allowing a process to restrict the syscalls and syscall arguments available using a configurable filter. Restricting the availability of syscalls can dramatically cut down on the exposed attack surface of the kernel. Since seccomp was first introduced on Nexus devices in Lollipop, its availability across the Android ecosystem has steadily improved. With Android Nougat, seccomp support is a requirement for all devices. On Android Nougat we are using seccomp on the mediaextractor and mediacodec processes as part of the media hardening effort.

Ongoing efforts

There are other projects underway aimed at protecting the kernel:

  • The Kernel Self Protection Project is developing runtime and compiler defenses for the upstream kernel.
  • Further sandbox tightening and attack surface reduction with SELinux is ongoing in AOSP.
  • Minijail provides a convenient mechanism for applying many containment and sandboxing features offered by the kernel, including seccomp filters and namespaces.
  • Projects like kasan and kcov help fuzzers discover the root cause of crashes and to intelligently construct test cases that increase code coverage—ultimately resulting in a more efficient bug hunting process.

Due to these efforts and others, we expect the security of the kernel to continue improving. As always, we appreciate feedback on our work and welcome suggestions for how we can improve Android. Contact us at security@android.com.


Android Match

United Airlines updates Android app with fingerprint authentication

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 01:48 PM PDT

UnitedAirlines

Frequent United flyers may find themselves using the airline's Android app more often than they realize. The latest update cuts down on how often you have to type out your password as you sign in to your MileagePlus account. Now you can tap a fingerprint scanner instead.

The app notifies you of the addition following the update, but you can also find the feature under Settings. You can opt to scan when booking with miles or with money.

Read More

United Airlines updates Android app with fingerprint authentication was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Pushbullet will limit API-based pushes to 500 per month on free accounts starting August 1

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 12:46 PM PDT

Pushbullet-ThumbThere was a bit of a dust-up the other day when Pushbullet began sending out some scary-sounding emails to users. The emails explained that a few services making very heavy use of the Pushbullet API were going to be blocked. Today, Pushbullet has decided to change its approach to coping with this problem after getting feedback form users. Nothing will be blocked, but there will be a new API push limit for free accounts.

Read More

Pushbullet will limit API-based pushes to 500 per month on free accounts starting August 1 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Google Play Family Library lets family members share apps and content across devices

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 11:05 AM PDT

Google wants to make it easier than ever to share content, from apps and games to movies and books, with your family members. To do that, the company has announced and launched the Google Play Family Library.

With Family Library, sharing a variety of content, from movies, TV shows, books, comic books, and even games, is all a possibility. There are no additional sign-up fees to get it going. Just signing up gets a family on the right path, which includes setting up a shared credit or debit card with which purchases can be made from one device to another, and that content shared between them. Family members will be able to select their own personal payment methods, too, even if a family card is saved. And purchases made by the younger members of a family can be approved before finalized.

Users within a family will be able to add content to the Family Library and keep content private, too. That means a family can keep R-rated movies away from kids easily enough. The content can be shared between six different family members with Android devices, and movies, TV shows, and books can be shared on iOS devices and the web.

The Google Play Family Library is rolling out now, and it will be available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. You can sign up right here.

Google also took some time to promote its Google Play Music family plan, which allows for six members to share the subscription for only $14.99 per month. That feature launched late last year, but Google is now expanding it to Ireland, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand.


Android Match

Android Developer Story: Culture Alley reaches millions of English learners on Google Play

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 10:21 AM PDT

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Google Play team

Culture Alley developed the app Hello English to help Indians learn English through gamification, supporting over 15 dialects. More than 13 million people now use Hello English in India and around the world.

Hear Nishant Patni, Founder & CEO and Pranshu Bhandari, Co-Founder, explain how they optimized the app to address challenges faced by emerging markets. Learn how they used various Google Play tools to address varying levels of connectivity and device capabilities, and improve user retention.

Learn more best practices about building for billions and watch the '10 tips to build an app for billions of users' video to get more tips. Also, get the Playbook for Developers app and stay up-to-date with more features and best practices that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.


Android Match

Introducing new app categories -- From Art to Autos to Dating -- to help users better find your apps

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 10:21 AM PDT

Posted by By Sarah Karam, Google Play Apps Business Development

With more than 1 billion active users in 190 countries around the world, Google Play continues to be an important distribution platform for you to build a global audience. To help you get your apps in front of more users, it's important to make them more quickly and easily discoverable in Google Play. That's why we rolled out major features, such as Search Ads, Indie Corner, store listing experiments, and more, over the past year.

To improve the overall search experience, we're introducing new app categories and renaming a few existing ones, making them more comprehensive and relevant to what users are looking for today.

The new categories include:

  • Art & Design
  • Auto & Vehicles
  • Beauty
  • Dating
  • Events
  • Food & Drink
  • House & Home
  • Parenting

In addition, the "Transportation" category will be renamed "Maps & Navigation," and the "Media & Video" category will be renamed "Video Players & Editors."

To select a new category for your app or game

  1. Sign in to your Google Play Developer Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. On the left menu, click Store Listing.
  4. Under "Categorization," select an application type and category.
  5. Near the top of the page, click Save draft (new apps) or Submit update (existing apps).

Newly added categories will be available on Google Play within 60 days. If you choose a newly added category for an app before the category is available for users, your current app category may change. See additional details and view our full list of categories in the Help Center.


Android Match

Improvements for smaller app downloads on Google Play

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 10:21 AM PDT

Posted by Anthony Morris, SWE Google Play

Google Play continues to grow rapidly, as Android users installed over 65 billion apps in the last year from the Google Play Store. We're also seeing developers move to update their apps more frequently to push great new content, patch security vulnerabilities, and iterate quickly on user feedback.

However, many users are sensitive to the amount of data they use, especially if they are not on Wi-Fi. Google Play is investing in improvements to reduce the data that needs to be transferred for app installs and updates, while making data cost more transparent to users.

Read on to understand the updates and learn some tips for ways to optimize the size of your APK.

New Delta algorithm to reduce the size of app updates

For approximately 98% of app updates from the Play Store, only changes (deltas) to APK files are downloaded and merged with the existing files, reducing the size of updates. Google Play has used delta algorithms since 2012, and we recently rolled out an additional delta algorithm, bsdiff (created by Colin Percival1), that our experimentation shows can reduce delta size by up to 50% or more compared to the previous algorithm for some APKs. Bsdiff is specifically targeted to produce more efficient deltas of native libraries by taking advantage of the specific ways in which compiled native code changes between versions. To be most effective, native libraries should be stored uncompressed (compression interferes with delta algorithms).

An example from Chrome:

Patch DescriptionPrevious patch sizeBsdiff Size
M46 to M47 major update22.8 MB12.9 MB
M47 minor update15.3 MB3.6 MB

Apps that don't have uncompressed native libraries can see a 5% decrease in size on average, compared to the previous delta algorithm.

Applying the delta algorithm to APK Expansion Files to further reduce update size

APK Expansion Files allow you to include additional large files up to 2GB in size (e.g. high resolution graphics or media files) with your app, which is especially popular with games. We have recently expanded our delta and compression algorithms to apply to these APK Expansion Files in addition to APKs, reducing the download size of initial installs by 12%, and updates by 65% on average. APK Expansion file patches use the xdelta algorithm.

Clearer size information in the Play Store

Alongside the improvements to reduce download size, we also made information displayed about data used and download sizes in the Play Store clearer. You can now see actual download sizes, not the APK file size, in the Play Store. If you already have an app, you will only see the update size. These changes are rolling out now.


  1. Colin Percival, Naive differences of executable code, http://ift.tt/jEJzsZ, 2003. 

Example 1: Showing new "Download size" of APK
Example 2: Showing new "Update size" of APK

Tips to reduce your download sizes

1. Optimize for the right size measurements: Users care about download size (i.e. how many bytes are transferred when installing/updating an app), and they care about disk size (i.e. how much space the app takes up on disk). It's important to note that neither of these are the same as the original APK file size nor necessarily correlated.


Chrome example:
Compressed Native LibraryUncompressed Native Library
APK Size39MB52MB (+25%)
Download size (install)29MB29MB (no change)
Download size (update)29MB21MB (-29%)
Disk size71MB52MB (-26%)

Chrome found that initial download size remained the same by not compressing the native library in their APK, while the APK size increased, because Google Play already performs compression for downloads. They also found that the update size decreased, as deltas are more effective with uncompressed files, and disk size decreased as you no longer need an compressed copy of the native library. However, please note, native libraries should only be uncompressed when the minimum SDK version for an APK is 23 (Marshmallow) or later.

2. Reduce your APK size: Remove unnecessary data from the APK like unused resources and code.

3. Optimize parts of your APK to make them smaller: Using more efficient file formats, for example by using WebP instead of JPEG, or by using Proguard to remove unused code.

Read more about reducing APK sizes and watch the I/O 2016 session 'Putting Your App on a Diet' to learn from Wojtek Kaliciński, about how to reduce the size of your APK.

Android Match

Nextbit Robin now comes in Ember red for a limited time

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 10:19 AM PDT

The Nextbit Robin is a unique device both in features and design, and now it's getting an even more pop-and-awe color scheme.

Nextbit has unveiled the brand new Ember variant of the Robin. With this color scheme, there's a solid deep-black neutral color for the main body, but there are bright red end caps to make it really stand out. Nextbit makes it perfectly clear that there were only a limited number of Ember models produced, and when they're gone, they're gone.

The device goes on sale today and retails for $299. It's worth noting that in India, Nextbit will be selling the Ember model through FlipKart, with sales beginning next week.

nextbitrobinemberfrontaam

One final thing: There's an August update on the way that will let the Nextbit Robin support videos in smart storage. With the new software, old videos can be archived to save space on the device. There will be a local thumbnail saved to your camera roll, though, so it won't disappear altogether. Beta testers can begin testing the feature now, and it should roll out to the public in August.

Do you plan on picking up an Ember Robin?

nextbitrobinembersidelarge


Android Match

Xiaomi unveils the dual camera Redmi Pro and Mi Notebook Air laptop

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 10:19 AM PDT

Xiaomi's long-running Redmi lineup expands again with another high-end device, and now the company has a brand new laptop headed to the Chinese market as well.

First up, the new Redmi Pro with a 5.5-inch OLED full HD display with 2.5D curved glass. There are three variants coming down the pipeline. The high-end variant features a deca-core MediaTek Helio X25 processor under the hood. There's a fingerprint reader on the front, just below the display. The Redmi Pro also features 128GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot, 4GB of RAM, and the battery is measured in at 4050mAh. It also boasts a hybrid SIM card slot and a USB Type-C port.

The other two variants will launch with some variations. Specifically, one variant features a MediaTek Helio X20 chipset, along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage. The other two variants feature 3GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage, and finally the aforementioned 4GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage option. The base variant is priced at RMB1499, while the other two variants are marked at RMB1699 and RMB1999, respectively.

The other feature all variants share is a dual-camera setup on the back. The primary shooter is a 13MP camera, while the secondary camera is a depth sensor that boasts a 5-megapixel shooter.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air

The other new device is the Mi Notebook Air, a brand new laptop from Xiaomi. It boasts a 13.3-inch full HD display with edge-to-edge glass protection. The bezels measure in at only 5.59mm thin. It's a full metal body, and the keyboard supports backlit keys, with 1.3mm keystrokes. There is one HDMI port, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, and a single USB Type-C port.

Inside, the Mi Notebook Air features a GeForce 940MX GPU, which Xiaomi says supports Boost 2.0 gaming effects, DirectX 12, and PhysX for good measure. The Intel Core i5 processor can be clocked up to 2.7GHz, and it features 8GB of RAM. There's a 256GB SSD inside, and there's an expandable SSD slot, too. The Mi Notebook Air is running Windows 10 out of the box. It's priced at RMB4999.

On top of all that, Xiaomi also announced a 12-inch variant of the same laptop, which Xiaomi says can last over 11 hours on a single charge. It boasts an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, and runs Windows 10. It's priced at RMB3499.

Both laptops go on sale in China on August 2.

What do you think of Xiaomi's new devices?


Android Match

HERE Maps is now HERE WeGo, gets some navigation improvements to go along with the new name

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 09:43 AM PDT

Banner1_930x300

HERE Maps was a pretty descriptive name, but it lacked pizzazz. Starting today, the app is called HERE WeGo, and it's getting a few improvements to make navigation easier. There are even some entirely new navigation options displayed in the app if you happen to be in certain cities.

According to the developers, the new search box goes right to selecting a navigation method without an extra click of the "Find a route" button.

Read More

HERE Maps is now HERE WeGo, gets some navigation improvements to go along with the new name was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Google Play Family Library: Share what you love with the ones you love

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 08:36 AM PDT

(Cross-posted on the Google Blog)

Friday night is movie night at our home, and my wife and I look forward to our weekly ritual of putting the kids to bed, getting some takeout, and catching up on our movie wishlist. Whether it's making the BLUE STEEL face from Zoolander, swapping tips on playing Monument Valley, or reading Dragons Love Tacos to the kids at bedtime, these shared moments bring us closer together. 

For families like mine, who bond over shared entertainment, we're introducing Family Library, a way for up to six family members to share purchases on Google Play. When you buy an eligible app, game, movie, TV show, or book in the Play Store, you can now share it with your family—across devices—with no additional sign-up fee.
Share across your family's devices
Today's families have a lot of devices, and it should be easy to share content no matter where we are or what we're doing. Everyone in my family loves the Star Wars movies and we all want to be able to watch them, on our phones, tablets, laptops, or TV. All purchases added to Family Library are available across Android devices, and movies, TV shows, and books can be enjoyed on iOS devices and the web.

Easily manage sharing and family purchases
As with most family matters, flexibility and choice is important. With Family Library, you can choose which items you want to share and which to keep to yourself—for example, I'll probably keep my collection of comic books in my personal library. Flexibility is also built into your purchasing options. When you sign up, you'll select a credit card to share as your family payment method, but your family members will always have the option of buying stuff with their personal credit cards or gift cards. And for your younger family members, you'll have the option to approve each of their purchases.

Share a Music subscription with your family
Finally, if your family loves music, you can also subscribe to the Google Play Music family plan. On this plan, up to six family members can stream millions of songs on demand for $14.99 a month. We launched the family plan late last year, and today we're expanding it to Ireland, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand. And you can now sign up on the web, in addition to your Android device.

Starting today, Family Library will be rolling out over the next few days and will be available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. To get started, sign up in Google Play, invite your family members, and start sharing what you love!


Android Match

Fresh Meat: 10 new Android apps worth checking out

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 07:14 AM PDT

New apps need lovin' too, right? Every day there are thousands of additions to the Google Play store, but many go unnoticed and never receive the attention they deserve. We've shown in the past that this community can discover great apps and propel them to new heights. Our weekly Fresh Meat column highlights new apps with fewer than 100,000 installs. Browse our new Android app picks below and let us know which ones you enjoy.

Truebill

Truebill

Description: Truebill is the easiest way to find, track and manage your paid subscriptions and recurring bills. Truebill is the fastest and easiest way to take control of where your money goes.

 

RazerGo

RazerGo

DescriptionWe're helping you be the very best trainer (like no one ever was) by bridging the communications gap with our location-location based chat app – RazerGo. Discover, team-up and chat with fellow Pokémon GO players in your vicinity today!

 

Swiftmoji

Swiftmoji

DescriptionSwiftmoji emoji keyboard helps you reach your true emoji potential. Get perfect emoji predictions based on what you've just typed.

 

SpareMin

SpareMin

DescriptionMaking conversations possible again through calls that are convenient, useful, and fun. No need to give out your phone number or email. Pre-screen people via their social profiles. Only take calls when you want – no more interruptions.

 

Ello

Ello

DescriptionThe Creators Network. Ello is a place where passion triumphs over conformity, and success is measured in ideas shared, not ads served. Ello is for anyone who respects, enjoys, or participates in the creative process.

 

Guardian Circle

Guardian Circle

DescriptionGuardian Circle is peer-to-peer safety. In many cases, your network is closer and can help you fastest. Know that you and your loved ones are safe, even when it seems like no one is around.

 

Masterpass

Masterpass

DescriptionMasterpass™ by Mastercard® is your all-in-one digital wallet that simplifies the way you pay, however you like to shop. Online, in mobile apps and now tap & pay in-stores using your Android device and a participating Mastercard (see banks below).

 

Prisma

Prisma

DescriptionPrisma transforms your photos into artworks using the styles of famous artists: Munk, Picasso as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. A unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence helps you turn memorable moments into timeless art.

 

The Official South Park App

The Official South Park App

DescriptionThe Official South Park App is the ultimate hub for true South Park fans! Listen to hundreds of hilarious audio clips from over 30 characters, watch clips, and set reminders for upcoming episodes on Comedy Central.

 

Isotope – Periodic Table

Isotope

DescriptionThe periodic table of chemical elements itself is a genius invention but it's appearance is seldom attractive. Isotope allows you to explore all the elements with a high quality user interface!

 


Android Match

Bravo Now and SyFy Now let you stream full episodes of the two channels' shows

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 06:40 AM PDT

syfy-now-12-monkeys

There are many ways to stream your favorite shows nowadays, from Netflix to Hulu to Play Movies & TV, and now you can add two more to the list. NBCUniversal Media has released dedicated apps for two of its channels: Bravo and Syfy.

The apps, not-so-aptly titled Bravo Now and Syfy Now, let users stream full episodes of their shows the day after they're aired. Previously available episodes might also be accessible, but only for select shows.

Read More

Bravo Now and SyFy Now let you stream full episodes of the two channels' shows was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

[Update: Tampa (TPA) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU)] Mobile Passport app now works at airports in San Jose and Minneapolis-St. Paul

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 06:40 AM PDT

  • Another update has rolled out to the app to add support for two more airports: Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and Tampa International Airport (TPA). Here's the new changelog, including other improvements: [note] WHAT'S NEW +

image (4)The US Customs and Border Patrol's mobile passport app has been out for a little over a year. Lately they've been adding the streamlined customs process to approximately one airport a month, which means that every passenger airport in the country should get official support in the next few decades.

Read More

[Update: Tampa (TPA) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU)] Mobile Passport app now works at airports in San Jose and Minneapolis-St. Paul was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

[Deal Alert] Sleep Cycle alarm clock $0.25 worldwide, Colin McRae Rally €0.10 and Cameringo+ €0.10 in select countries

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 06:10 AM PDT

collin-mcrae

I come bearing deals. They're not gifts per se, but they're nice deals for two apps and a game that you can grab for next to nothing this week. Without further ado, here are the discounts. You can find the download links to all of them at the end of the post.

Sleep Cycle alarm clock is an alarm app that monitors your sleep — for that, your phone has to be placed on your mattress next to your pillow ideally — and analyzes your movement to figure out the most appropriate time to wake you in your light sleep phase.

Read More

[Deal Alert] Sleep Cycle alarm clock $0.25 worldwide, Colin McRae Rally €0.10 and Cameringo+ €0.10 in select countries was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Pokémon GO Plus wrist accessory has been delayed to September from its original release date of July

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 03:55 AM PDT

pokemon-go-plus

Along with the Pokémon GO game announcement, Nintendo said it would release a Pokémon GO Plus accessory in late July to help players stay on top of the game wherever they are and without taking their phones out of their pockets. This wrist bracelet / wearable pin connects over Bluetooth Low Energy to your Android/iOS phone and alerts you with vibrations and LED flashes to nearby Pokéstops and Pokémons. You can check more of what it does and how it works on its official page, but suffice it to say that it should make any trainer's life a little bit easier and their phone battery life a little bit longer.

Read More

Pokémon GO Plus wrist accessory has been delayed to September from its original release date of July was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Runkeeper 7.0 adds running groups to challenge and motivate your friends

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 03:25 AM PDT

runkeeper-groups

One of the best ways to stay motivated to exercise is by enlisting friends and doing it in groups. I can't tell you how often I've gotten off my chair and walked around frantically to beat someone at a Fitbit challenge, which amounts to added activity that I would have never done otherwise. Now this friendly competition aspect is making it into the Runkeeper app.

Version 7.0 of Runkeeper is adding the option to create running groups.

Read More

Runkeeper 7.0 adds running groups to challenge and motivate your friends was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

YouTube is testing an improved comment UI in the Android app: likes, dislikes, reactions, and sorting

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 02:55 AM PDT

youtube-comments-new-ui

Open your eyes wide because a miracle is about to happen. You know how YouTube has long had some comment tools on its website to change the sorting order and like/dislike comments? Well, the Android app doesn't have any of that. What you get is just a regular list of comments with the option to add your opinion to the mix and... nothing else really.

However, that might be about to change. Some users are seeing a new comment interface on the YouTube Android app with the cool features from the website.

Read More

YouTube is testing an improved comment UI in the Android app: likes, dislikes, reactions, and sorting was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Google adds eight new categories to the Play Store, renames a couple more

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 01:55 AM PDT

play store

We may all lament the state of app discoverability in the Play Store at times (it still sucks you can't do advanced searching), but at least Google is trying to improve the experience. Today it's added eight new categories and renamed two others, meaning apps will be better sorted into the relevant category, which will hopefully result in users being able to find what they're looking for quicker and easier.

New Play Store categories:

  • Art & Design
  • Auto & Vehicles
  • Beauty
  • Dating
  • Events
  • Food & Drink
  • House & Home
  • Parenting

Some of these are pretty interesting, such as Auto & Vehicles and Dating - both of these have seen massive uptake from developers and users in recent months, with apps like Uber, Lyft, Tinder, and OkCupid having over 200 million downloads between them.

Read More

Google adds eight new categories to the Play Store, renames a couple more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

[Update: Gone from the beta too] Twitter removes its homescreen widget support from the latest alpha

Posted: 27 Jul 2016 01:25 AM PDT

twitter-widget-gone

Twitter is struggling to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Life can be tough when you're a social network that almost everyone has heard about but no one knows how to use when they're just joining for the first time.

But despite these tumultuous times at Twitter's headquarters, the Android app has seen some of its best days in the past few months: an overhauled Material Design inspired interface, a test for a night mode, Android N Direct Reply, and more.

Read More

[Update: Gone from the beta too] Twitter removes its homescreen widget support from the latest alpha was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Motorola puts up developer site for Moto Mods

Posted: 26 Jul 2016 05:03 PM PDT

We now have two big companies making modular phones: Both the LG G5 and the Moto Z feature removable modules, though the implementation differs significantly between the two.

Motorola has now officially opened up Moto Mods to third-parties. The company just launched a developer site for Moto Mods, which will help other companies make custom Moto Mods. Not only will this mean more Mods for customers, but it'll make the Moto Z a lot more attractive.

Motorola is offering the MDK, or the Mods Development Kit, with a reference Moto Mod to help developers start creating cool stuff. Hopefully it takes off, as third-party accessories may really make this the first successful modular smartphone.


Android Match

Latest Street View update adds satellite mode, 'available for hire' option for Trusted Photographers, and more [APK Download + Teardown]

Posted: 26 Jul 2016 04:58 PM PDT

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There's a fresh update to Street View rolling out today and it has a little something for everyone. Counting among the changes in this release, there's a new satellite mode and a toggle for photographers to market themselves for work. A few visuals have been tweaked, including a better-looking search results screen. And a teardown item lets us know that the developers are planning a cool little feature that can take care of blurring out faces before uploading photos for the public to see.

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Latest Street View update adds satellite mode, 'available for hire' option for Trusted Photographers, and more [APK Download + Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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