How to Enable Snapchat’s New Alpha UI on Android

Android Snapchat users have been waiting for a faster, more stable version of the popular social media app since the company first teased a big update back in 2017. The new build is finally nearing a full release, and some Android users can check out an Alpha version of the new Snapchat right now. If you’re curious… Read more...

Android 9 Pie (Go edition) arrives this fall

With Android Pie now available (on a handful of devices, at least), Google’s prepping the launch of its low-powered counterpart. Android 9 Pie (Go edition) — the successor to the more pithily named Android Go — will be hitting arriving on devices this fall.

Like Android Oreo (Go Edition), the latest OS is a stripped down version of its latest full operating system, designed to run on devices with 1GB of RAM. The more modest hardware requirements make it a compelling match for low-cost devices and thus a solid option for developing markets.

Among other things, it will offer faster boot times than standard Android and will free up space on the phone’s storage. There are new security features on board as well, along with a dashboard for monitoring data consumption. There are a number of updates to individual Go apps, too, including the ability to read sites’ content aloud

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“Unhackable” BitFi crypto wallet has been hacked

The BitFi crypto wallet was supposed to be unhackable and none other than famous weirdo John McAfee claimed that the device – essentially an Android-based mini tablet – would withstand any attack. Spoiler alert: it couldn’t. First, a bit of background. The $120 device launched at the beginning of this month to much fanfare. It consisted of a device that McAfee claimed contained no software or storage and was instead a standalone wallet similar to the Trezor. The website featured a bold claim by McAfee himself, one that would give a normal security researcher pause: Further, the company offered a bug bounty that seems to be slowly being eroded by outside forces. They asked hackers to pull coins off of a specially prepared $10 wallet, a move that is uncommon in the world of bug bounties. They wrote:
We deposit coins into a Bitfi wallet
If you wish to participate
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Here’s where to sign up to get Fortnite for Android

Fortnite’s journey to Android has been a complicated one. A few months back, Epic Games promised to bring the wildly popular survival sandbox title to the mobile OS, but only after side stepping the traditional process for doing so. Fittingly, while it now appears to be live for Android, the process of actually getting the game is, well, complicated.

If you want to get started, you’ll need to sign up for a beta of the game. That’s right, while the title has been up and running on any number of other platforms (including its three-day head start on Samsung devices), it’s still in beta on Android. Give Epic your email address, and they’ll send you an invite…”as soon as you can play.”

How soon is that? Well, there appears to be a waiting list at the moment. How long all of this will take is anyone’s guess, though

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Google will lose $50 million or more in 2018 from Fortnite bypassing the Play Store

When Fortnite Battle Royale launched on Android, it made an unusual choice: it bypassed Google Play in favor of offering the game directly from Epic Games’ own website. Most apps and games don’t have the luxury of making this choice – the built-in distribution Google Play offers is critical to their business. But Epic Games believes its game is popular enough and has a strong enough draw to bring players to its website for the Android download instead. In the process, it’s costing Google around $50 million this year in platform fees, according to a new report. As of its Android launch date, Fortnite had grossed over $180 million on iOS devices, where it had been exclusively available since launching as an invite-only beta on March 15th, before later expanding to all App Store customers. According to data from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the game has earned Apple
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Google isn’t sure how to spell “Fortnite Battle Royale”

The launch of Fortnite Battle Royale has left Google in a slight predicament. While Google is in no way hard up for cash, Fortnite Battle Royale for Android certainly represented the potential for a relatively big revenue stream for an app. That is, until Epic Games decided it would launch Fortnite for Android from its own website, circumventing the Play Store. But revenue aside, there’s also the matter of Google probably not liking the idea of huge titles circumventing the Play Store as a precedent. Plus, the lack of Fortnite Battle Royale within the Play Store poses a slight security risk to users, as there are quite a few V-bucks scams and malicious clones looking to capitalize on the popularity of Fortnite. That’s why the Google Play store now displays a message to users in response to searches for “Fortnite,” “Fortnite Battle Royale,” and other similar search queries.
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Ibuki is the 10-year-old robot child that will haunt your dreams

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro makes robots in Osaka. His latest robot, Ibuki, is one for the nightmare catalog: it’s a robotic 10-year-old boy that can move on little tank treads and has soft, rubbery face and hands. The robot has complete vision routes that can scan for faces and it has a sort of half-track system for moving around. It has “involuntary” motions like blinking and little head bobs but is little more than a proof-of-concept right now, especially considering its weird robo-skull is transparent. “An Intelligent Robot Infrastructure is an interaction-based infrastructure. By interacting with robots, people can establish nonverbal communications with the artificial systems. That is, the purpose of a robot is to exist as a partner and to have valuable interactions with people,” wrote Ishiguro. “Our objective is to develop technologies for the new generation information infrastructures based on Computer Vision, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.” Ishiguro is
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Apple defends decision not to remove InfoWars’ app

Apple has commented on its decision to continue to allow conspiracy theorist profiteer InfoWars to livestream video podcasts via an app in its App Store, despite removing links to all but one of Alex Jones’ podcast content from its iTunes and podcast apps earlier this week. At the time Apple said the podcasts had violated its community standards, emphasizing that it “does not tolerate hate speech”, and saying: “We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.” Yet the InfoWars app allows iOS users to livestream the same content Apple just pulled from iTunes. In a statement given to BuzzFeed News Apple explains its decision not to pull InfoWars app’ — saying:
We strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions, and
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Fossil announces new update to Android Wear watches with HR tracking, GPS

Fossil’s Q watch line is an interesting foray by a traditional fashion watchmaker into the wearable world. Their latest additions to the line, the Fossil Q Venture HR and Fossil Q Explorist HR, add a great deal of Android Wear functionality to a watch that is reminiscent of Fossil’s earlier, simpler watches. In other words, these are some nice, low-cost smartwatches for the fitness fan. The original Q watches included a clever hybrid model with analog face and step counter. As the company expanded into wearables, however, they went Android Wear route and created a number of lower-powered touchscreen watches. Now, thanks to a new chipset, Fossil is able to add a great deal more functionality in a nice package. The Venture and the Explorist adds untethered GPS, NFC, heart rate, and 24-hour battery life. It also includes an altimeter and gyroscope sensor. The new watches start at $255
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Gmail for iOS and Android now lets you turn off conversation view

When Gmail launched with its threaded conversation view feature as the default and only option, some people sure didn’t like it and Google quickly allowed users to turn it off. On mobile, though, you were stuck with it. But here’s some good news for you conversation view haters: you can now turn it off on mobile, too. The ability to turn off conversation view is now rolling out to all Gmail app users on iOS and Android . So if you want Gmail to simply show you all emails as they arrive, without grouping them to”make them easier to digest and follow,” you’re now free to do so. If you’ve always just left conversation view on by default, maybe now is a good time to see if you like the old-school way of looking at your email better. I personally prefer conversation view since it helps me keep track of conversations
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Google plans to roll out digital wellness features in Pie but Apple’s already got ’em

Google hopes to add a few digital wellness features to its latest desserted update, Pie (out today) but Apple is already on this health track with its latest update for iOS 12. Digital wellness allows users to keep track of time spent on and unplug from your digital device when needed. Google announced the new wellness features coming to Android at I/O in May, including a dashboard for digital wellness, or the ability to track just how much time you spend on your device, an app timer that lets you set time limits on apps, a new Do Not Disturb feature that silences pop-up notifications and Wind Down, a feature to help you switch on Night Light and Do Not Disturb when it’s time to hit the hay. Apple is also making digital wellness a focus. New features in this space were announced during its WWDC conference earlier this summer
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Google acquires GraphicsFuzz, a service that tests Android graphics drivers

Google has acquired GraphicsFuzz, a company that builds a framework for testing the security and reliability of Android graphics drivers. The news, which was first spotted by XDA Developers, comes on the same day Google announced the release of Android 9 Pie. A Google spokesperson confirmed the news to us but declined to provide any further information. The companies also declined to provide any details about the price of the acquisition. The GraphicsFuzz team, which consists of co-founders Alastair Donaldson, Hugues Evrard and Paul Thomson, will join the Android graphics team to bring its driver-testing technology to the wider Android ecosystem. “GraphicsFuzz has pioneered the combination of fuzzing and metamorphic testing to yield a highly automatic method for testing graphics drivers that quickly finds and fixes bugs that could undermine reliability and security before they affect end users,” the team explains in today’s announcement. The company’s founders started their
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15 names that would have been better than Android Pie

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you make a mobile operating system, and somewhere along the line, you decided whimsically to name major updates after alphabetical dessert foods. What a fun idea!

Sure, some letters will prove harder than others. “K” and “O” are admittedly tough, but that’s nothing that little bit of clever cross-branding can’t fix. Who doesn’t love a good Kit-Kat or Oreo? (Don’t @ me.) Others, however, will be simple. In fact, some letters will be such an embarrassment of riches. “P” is one such letter. There are a ridiculous number of options for the consonant.

So, naturally, Google went with the most boring one possible.

Pie. Freaking Android Pie. It sounds more like a rejected Philip K. Dick manuscript than mobile operating system. If this was Android 3.14, maybe, sure. The nerd jokes are just way to strong not to go all-in. But Slices jokes

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Say hello to Android 9 Pie

The nickname for Android 9 is “Pie.” It’s not the most inspired of Android names, but it’ll do. What really matters at the end of the day are the new features in Pie — and there are plenty of those. If you are a Pixel owner, you’ll be happy to hear that Pie will start rolling out as an over-the-air update today. The same goes for every other device that was enrolled in the Android Beta (that includes any Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and Essential devices that got the betas) and qualifying Android One devices. Everybody else, well, you know the drill. Wait until your manufacturer launches it for you… which should be the end of the year for some — and never for quite a few others. Overall, Pie is a solid upgrade. The only real disappointment here is that Pie won’t launch with Android’s
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MOV.AI raises $3M in seed funding to create an ‘Android for Robotics’

We all know what Android for smartphones is. A free, (almost) open source operating system for smartphones. But right now there is no equivalent of the “Android for robots.” Instead there are many, many proprietary systems. A new startup plans to address this problem in order for the robotics market to really take off, and for it to have a good slice fo the pie. MOV.AI plans to create an ecosystem where developers, integrators and manufacturers collaborate to develop the first industry-grade O/S for autonomous intelligent collaborative robots. This could potentially produce smarter robots on a large-scale for operation and production lines. It’s now raised $3M in seed funding in a round led by Israel-based Viola Ventures and SF-based NFX. MOV.AI describes itself as an ‘ROS compatible operating system’. That means it enables industry-grade deployment of fleets of autonomous robots. The idea is that this will decouple
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The Google Lens-Bing Visual Search Showdown

It feels like Google has held the market on “point your camera at it to learn more” technology for some time now, first through its Translate app, which let you target signs in foreign languages with your smartphone’s camera and receive translations on the fly, and now via Lens, which expands this technology to give… Read more...

Chinese tech stocks tumble from more than just trade tensions

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on TechNode, an editorial partner of TechCrunch based in China. Reports of trade tensions between China and the US in the past few months have been hard to ignore. In early July, the US imposed $34 billion on Chinese goods, prompting the Shenzhen Component Index, dominated by technology and consumer product stocks, to fall to its lowest point since 2014, igniting fears among investors. “The U.S. tariffs, coupled with a falling yuan, will significantly increase the cost for many Chinese technology companies that rely on imported raw materials, such as semiconductors, integrated circuits, and electric components,” Zhang Xia, an analyst for China Merchants Bank Securities, told the South China Morning Post. Additionally, the U.S. commerce department announced yesterday it will place an embargo on 44 Chinese companies—including the world’s largest surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision—for “acting contrary to the national
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