The next generation of Google’s Android operating system, due for release next month, will encrypt data by default for the first time, the company said Thursday, raising yet another barrier to police gaining access to the troves of personal data typically kept on smartphones.
Android has offered optional encryption on some devices since 2011, but security experts say few users have known how to turn on the feature. Now Google is designing the activation procedures for new Android devices so that encryption happens automatically; only somebody who enters a device's password will be able to see the pictures, videos and communications stored on those smartphones.
When CEO Tim Cook and his fellow Apple executives unveils iOS 8’s great new features on stage during their WWDC 2014 keynote presentation back in June, the most dramatic audience response might have come when the crew unveiled iOS 8’s new Continuity features. With this great new functionality, iOS devices and Mac computers will be more closely connected than ever, able to quickly and easily exchange files and other data. Better still, iOS device notifications appear on a user’s connected Mac, and messages can even be sent and received right from within OS X.
But there’s a catch: despite the fact that Apple released iOS 8 to the public on Wednesday, none of this awesome new functionality is available to iPhone and iPad users yet. If you have an Android smartphone or tablet, however, all of these great features and more are already available thanks to a single fantastic app.
Calm down, Apple fans. Your beloved iPhone 6 may not be all its cracked up to be. In fact, it's a lot like an Android phone ... from 2012.
It may be shiny and new, but you could look at the iPhone 6 as a time warp to two years ago, as Ars Technica Reviews Editor Ron Amadeo points out in the following graphic.
Foisting computers on schools has been a lucrative business, one easily disguised as charity. Among Pearson’s allies is the Gates Foundation, which works alongside Microsoft’s education arm to promote the Common Core in schools and support libraries, with Microsoft software in hand. Gates’ competitor for the richest-person-in-the-world slot, Mexican telecom monopolist Carlos Slim, has proposed to bypass schools altogether by bankrolling the online-only Khan Academy. Now Rupert Murdoch is trying to enter the education tech business with a tablet of his own.
One might, for instance, consider replacing the iPad with a little device called a Raspberry Pi. About the size of a credit card, it’s a fully featured computer, though a keyboard and screen need to be plugged in separately. It comes as a single circuit board with no casing, which reflects its philosophy; the basic parts of the machine are plain for a student to see — the video card, the CPU, the power system, the USB ports. The nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation sells it for as little as $25, compared with $299 to $929 for an iPad. One Laptop per Child (OLPC), another nonprofit project, produces low-cost laptops and tablets with education in mind.
Software can be even cheaper. The Raspberry Pi and OLPC run on Linux, a free, open-source operating system, which is constantly being improved and expanded by thousands of programmers around the world. An enormous variety of free, community-developed programs, including fully featured office suites, graphics tools and games — as well as popular commercial programs such as Skype and Dropbox — can be installed on the device. Apple and Microsoft often tell us that open-source software is unreliable and unfriendly to use, but that hasn’t stopped Linux from being the basis of Android phones, many everyday appliances and most of the Internet. The computer I used to write this article runs Linux.
Google's first update to Android Wear is coming this week, and several more will follow it before the end of the year as Google moves to quickly iterate on its new wearable software platform. In an interview with CNET, two leading Android engineers lay out what we should expect to see in some future updates. This first one sounds as though it may not be much — just some navigation and voice control improvements — but a few useful features are coming down the road. That includes Google officially beginning to support custom watch faces from third-party developers: some developers have already figured out how to build them, but Google is working on a toolkit for developers that will allow watch faces to easily be made. Google previously teased details of this in a Google+ post.
Linux doesn't have any kind of PR, and in the collective mind of the people, there is still an impression that Linux users spend their time inside the terminal and in dreary desktops. In fact, most of the current Linux desktops are much better than anything made by Apple of Microsoft.
When a new operating system is launched from Microsoft or Apple, it stays pretty much the same as long as it's supported, and even when updates are released, the desktops change very little. On the other hand, Linux developers are pushing the boundaries of what can be done in an operating system every day, and new ideas and applications that enhance the desktop experience are popping up all the time, regardless of the OS devs are doing on their front.
While Android users everywhere are rejoicing at the announcement of what is perhaps the biggest revamp to the open-source mobile operating system, Apple users are impatiently twiddling their fingers for iOS 8 to land on their smartphones. Following its own major revamp last year with iOS 7, Apple seems to have found its voice by letting go of skeuomorphism and following a more holistic design that measures up to the latest trends of "flat design". Also, iOS 8 is a huge stepping stone for "convergence" the big utopia major operating systems are aiming for today. Where does Android L stand on all of this? Well, it matches iOS 8 in pretty much every department. And that is what makes this mobile OS battle so exciting.