Author: Adam Ismail

Cellnet Review

How to Buy the LG V30 Unlocked and on Every Carrier

The LG V30[1] is arguably one of the best smartphones of the year, boasting LG’s huge and beautiful display, Qualcomm’s latest chip, the Snapdragon 835[2], and even IP68 water-resistance.

It makes sense, therefore, that you might want to get your hands on the device for yourself. But how can you do so? So far, the phone has only been launched in South Korea[3], while other markets are set to get the phone “soon.”

Here’s everything we know about buying the LG V30 in the U.S. so far.

Buying an LG V30 unlocked

If you’re willing to pay full price for the LG V30[4], then perhaps the best thing to do is buy one unlocked. Why? Well, not only does that mean that you can take the phone to whatever carrier you want, but it also means you don’t have to worry about paying extra fees each month — because you’ve already paid those extra fees.

It hasn’t been confirmed if the LG V30 will be available unlocked, but we’ll update this article as we hear more. The phone has been released in South Korea, and its price equivalent comes out to be around $840 for the 64GB model, and $885 for 128GB.

Buying an LG V30 from your wireless carrier

Don’t want to buy it outright or have some credits from your carrier to use? You’re in luck — wireless carriers around the U.S. will offer the LG V30, and while they’ll likely offer slightly different deals and prices, your carrier should be able to set you up with the new device. Here’s everything we know about buying the LG V30 on a wireless carrier.

Buying an LG V30 from AT&T

AT&T has confirmed[5] that it will indeed be offering the LG V30, but it has not given us a specific release date or pricing for the phone just yet.

Buying an LG V30 from Sprint

Sprint will offer the LG V30, as the company’s CEO confirmed on Twitter[6]. We’ll update this article when we hear pricing and availability.

Buying an LG V30 from T-Mobile

T-Mobile said it will carry the LG V30, and it says it will be the first smartphone to support the “un-carrier’s” 600MHz LTE, which means better cell signal for you. It has “nothing to share” about V30 availability or pricing, but we’ll update this article when that changes.

Buying an LG V30 from Verizon

Verizon will offer[7] the LG V30, but it hasn’t announced pricing or availability. We’ll update this article when that changes.

References

  1. ^ LG V30 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ Snapdragon 835 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ South Korea (androidcommunity.com)
  4. ^ LG V30 (www.lg.com)
  5. ^ has confirmed (about.att.com)
  6. ^ CEO confirmed on Twitter (twitter.com)
  7. ^ will offer (www.verizon.com)
Cellnet Review

How to buy the LG V30 unlocked, and on every carrier

The LG V30[1] is arguably one of the best smartphones of the year, boasting LG’s huge and beautiful display, Qualcomm’s latest chip, the Snapdragon 835[2], and even IP68 water-resistance.

It makes sense, therefore, that you might want to get your hands on the device for yourself. But how can you do so? So far, the phone has only been launched in South Korea[3], while other markets are set to get the phone “soon.”

Here’s everything we know about buying the LG V30 in the U.S. so far.

Buying an LG V30 unlocked

If you’re willing to pay full price for the LG V30[4], then perhaps the best thing to do is buy one unlocked. Why? Well, not only does that mean that you can take the phone to whatever carrier you want, but it also means you don’t have to worry about paying extra fees each month — because you’ve already paid those extra fees.

It hasn’t been confirmed if the LG V30 will be available unlocked, but we’ll update this article as we hear more. The phone has been released in South Korea, and its price equivalent comes out to be around $840 for the 64GB model, and $885 for 128GB.

Buying an LG V30 from your wireless carrier

Don’t want to buy it outright or have some credits from your carrier to use? You’re in luck — wireless carriers around the U.S. will offer the LG V30, and while they’ll likely offer slightly different deals and prices, your carrier should be able to set you up with the new device. Here’s everything we know about buying the LG V30 on a wireless carrier.

Buying an LG V30 from AT&T

AT&T has confirmed[5] that it will indeed be offering the LG V30, but it has not given us a specific release date or pricing for the phone just yet.

Buying an LG V30 from Sprint

Sprint will offer the LG V30, as the company’s CEO confirmed on Twitter[6]. We’ll update this article when we hear pricing and availability.

Buying an LG V30 from T-Mobile

T-Mobile said it will carry the LG V30, and it says it will be the first smartphone to support the “un-carrier’s” 600MHz LTE, which means better cell signal for you. It has “nothing to share” about V30 availability or pricing, but we’ll update this article when that changes.

Buying an LG V30 from Verizon

Verizon will offer[7] the LG V30, but it hasn’t announced pricing or availability. We’ll update this article when that changes.

References

  1. ^ LG V30 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ Snapdragon 835 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ South Korea (androidcommunity.com)
  4. ^ LG V30 (www.lg.com)
  5. ^ has confirmed (about.att.com)
  6. ^ CEO confirmed on Twitter (twitter.com)
  7. ^ will offer (www.verizon.com)
Cellnet Review

Google’s ad blocker found in Chrome dev release ahead of 2018 launch

Why it matters to you

Chrome is the world’s biggest browser, and soon it will come with a built-in ad blocker — albeit one based on Google’s guidelines.

We’ve known for some time that Google is planning an ad blocker[1], to be released in all versions of its Chrome browser. While it’s not expected to launch until 2018, we’re getting our first look at it early thanks to the latest developer build of Chrome on Android, via the Canary[2] app.

The ad blocker was discovered by German-language Caschys Blog[3]. In Canary, it takes the form of a toggle in preferences, though it’s switched off by default. Not all Canary users have received the setting at this time, so it appears to be a server-side update.

Part of the reason Google is waiting until the new year to launch its ad blocker is to give web developers some time to prepare. Chrome’s native solution won’t block all ads indiscriminately — only those ads that don’t comply with Google’s new guidelines that denote “intrusive” ads. That includes pop-ups (which Chrome already blocks), autoplay videos, and timed ads that lock away content behind a countdown.

The guidelines were developed in partnership with the Coalition for Better Ads[4], which includes other big names such as Facebook, News Corp., and Thomson Reuters.

Google’s primary source of revenue is ads, so it may seem counterproductive for the company to build a blocker into the world’s most widely used desktop and mobile browser. The thought process is that if Google can do away with the kinds of ads users really can’t stand, they won’t have as much motivation to install a third-party blocker, and can simply rely on Chrome’s.

If you do opt to continue to use a third-party blocker, however, Google is developing a new tool for sites that asks users to disable them, or pay a fee for ad-free access.

In recent months, developers of other major mobile web browsers, like Apple and Samsung[5], have embraced support for ad blocker plugins, while Google has prepared its own built-in solution. The ability to download and run Samsung’s Internet app[6] was opened up to non-Samsung devices around the same time, making it a popular choice for mobile Chrome users frustrated with the browser’s lack of compatibility with third-party blockers.

References

  1. ^ planning an ad blocker (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ Canary (play.google.com)
  3. ^ Caschys Blog (stadt-bremerhaven.de)
  4. ^ Coalition for Better Ads (www.betterads.org)
  5. ^ Samsung (www.digitaltrends.com)
  6. ^ Samsung’s Internet app (play.google.com)

Moto Z2 Force vs. Moto Z2 Play: Which modular marvel is worth your money?

The Moto Z2 Play[1] has proven itself to be a competent, well-rounded midranger, especially for those who don’t require the latest processor or display technology. However, Lenovo recently announced the Z2 Force[2], which boasts stronger specs in many areas. Will they make a difference where it counts, though, especially in terms of everyday usage? Below, we pit the Moto Z2 Force vs. Moto Z2 Play to find out which one comes out on top.

Specs and performance

Lenovo Moto Z2 Force

moto z2 force vs play lenovo isolated 2

Lenovo Moto Z2 Play

moto z2 force vs play lenovo isolated 3

Size 155.8 x 76 x 6.1mm (6.13 x 3 x 0.24 in) 156.2 x 76.2 x 5.99mm (6.14 x 3 x 0.24 in)
Weight 5.04 ounces (143 grams) 5.11 ounces (145 grams)
Screen 5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED P-OLED touchscreen 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED touchscreen
Resolution 1,440 x 2,560 (538ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401ppi)
OS Android 7.1.1 Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage 64GB (U.S.) 128GB (International) 32GB
MicroSD card slot Yes Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 626
RAM 4GB (U.S.) 6GB (International) 3GB
Connectivity 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera Dual 12MP rear, 5MP front 12MP rear, 5MP front
Video 4K 4K
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 (update to Bluetooth 5 coming with Android 8.0) Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Gyroscope, accelerometer, ambient light, proximity sensor Gyroscope, accelerometer, ambient light, proximity sensor
Water resistant Yes (water-repellent nano-coating) Yes (water-repellent nano-coating)
Battery 2,730mAh 3,000mAh
Ports USB-C, Moto Mod connector USB-C, Moto Mod connector
Marketplace Google Play Google Play
Color offerings Super Black, Fine Gold, Lunar Grey (T-Mobile exclusive) Lunar Grey, Fine Gold
Availability Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Best Buy[3][4][5][6] Verizon, Motorola[7][8]
Carriers Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular Verizon
Price Starting at $750 Starting at $408
DT review Hands-on[9] 3.5 out of 5 stars[10]

The Z2 Play features Qualcomm[11]‘s Snapdragon 626 processor, which is a strong chip on its own, but easily outclassed by the Snapdragon 835 found in the Moto Z2 Force. The Z2 Play’s 3GB of RAM also pales in comparison to the Z2 Force’s 4GB. While the Z2 Force comes with 64GB of storage in the United States, the Z2 Play is only available in a 32GB configuration.

Although the Z2 Play handled a wide variety of tasks with ease in our testing, it wasn’t flawless. Graphics-intensive games caused some hiccups, which is less likely to be an issue with the Z2 Force’s superior silicon. If gaming is important to you, or you’re a power user who juggles many different apps simultaneously and could use the extra gigabyte of RAM, the Z2 Force will likely better serve your needs.

Winner: Moto Z2 Force

Design

Moto Z2 Play angled on table

Not much has changed in terms of the way these phones look and feel, though, that’s somewhat to be expected. Lenovo had to keep as much similarity between the two phones as possible, so the Moto Mods that are currently available[12] would remain compatible with the new Z line. Both devices support a range of attachments, including Hasselblad’s TrueZoom[13] mod and JBL’s SoundBoost 2[14] speaker, as well as the recently-released Moto TurboPower pack[15] and the upcoming 360-degree camera[16].

While the Moto Mod issue has limited what could be done in terms of design, the first Moto Z was an attractive device, and so are both of these phones. Lenovo shaved about a millimeter off the original Z Play, however, and two millimeters off the Z Force. The mix of materials has also slightly changed, and the antenna band now circles the metal slab that comprises the rear of the phone. This creates a two-tone effect in both devices, though it will likely be covered up by a Moto Mod, or one of the interchangeable Style Shells.

Overall, however, the Z2 Force and Z2 Play have almost identical proportions. They feel similar to hold, and you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart unless you knew precisely where to look. Fortunately, even if you spring for the less-expensive Z2 Play, you won’t be sacrificing anything in terms of design.

Winner: Tie

Display

Moto Z2 Play hero shot

While both the Z2 Force and Z2 Play feature a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, there is one major difference between them. The Z2 Force’s screen sports a 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution, while the Z2 Play touts only a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. Although the full HD panel is certainly sufficient, the added clarity offered by QHD makes the display on the Z2 Force the superior option.

No matter which Z2 you buy, both benefit from Moto Display, a feature where you can glance at notifications simply by waving your hand above the phone. It’s a small addition that really differentiates Lenovo’s products, and leverages the AMOLED technology and proximity sensors in a clever, practical way.

Winner: Moto Z2 Force

Battery life and charging

Moto Z2 Play in hand bottom view

Lenovo[17] has made a controversial choice with the Z2 Force, and that’s the decision to slim down the battery from last year’s model. Although the phone’s predecessor offered a 3,500mAh battery, the Z2 Force only has room for a 2,730mAh unit. This would be frustrating for most devices, but it especially hurts the Z2 Force, given that long life was such a huge part of its predecessor’s appeal.

Fortunately, the Z2 Play has a larger battery, though it too is considerably smaller than the one in the device it has replaced. The Z2 Play’s 3,000mAh battery provided nearly two full days of use in our testing. Lenovo seems to have traded longer battery life for thinness, and while we preferred the extra 500mAh found in last year’s Z Play, the newer midranger still managed to exceed our expectations. Hopefully, the Z2 Force is also not terribly affected by the slimmer design.

Both the Z2 Force and Z2 Play also offer TurboPower, fast-charging tech that provides eight hours worth of juice in 15 minutes with a specialized wall adapter.

Winner: Moto Z2 Play

Camera

Moto Z2 Play angled view close up

The photography experience looks to be very different between these two devices. Lenovo has jumped aboard the dual-camera train with the Z2 Force, trading last year’s 21-megapixel lens for a pair of 12-megapixel ones, each with an f/2.0 aperture. In terms of the front-facing camera, there’s a 5-megapixel shooter for selfies — same as the Z2 Play.

Speaking of the Z2 Play, its camera setup is much more conventional. A single, 12-megapixel lens is all the phone employs, and we found it to be pretty mediocre in our testing. Broad daylight shots were solid, but the Z2 Play struggled in low-light scenarios. The lack of optical image stabilization and the occasional, small shutter lag also resulted in blurry photos from time to time.

We’re expecting an improvement across the board with the Z2 Force, and the tricks that many phones with dual lenses employ — like depth-of-field for portraits, in the case of the iPhone 7 Plus[18] and OnePlus 5[19] — should make things a little more interesting. For example, one of the Z2 Force’s cameras shoots exclusively in monochrome, allowing for true black-and-white photography. If Lenovo can deliver better low-light performance and speed up the shutter, the Z2 Force has a much better camera.

Winner: Moto Z2 Force

Software

Moto Z2 Play in hand front

Both the Z2 Force and Z2 Play run the latest version of Android, version 7.1.1 Nougat. The Moto brand[20] is known for keeping the operating system as close to stock as possible, and as such, the company doesn’t make any dramatic changes or tack unwanted layers onto the experience.

The Z Force Droid, however, was a Verizon exclusive last year, and so it inherited all of the carrier’s apps, as well as a heap of bloatware that couldn’t be uninstalled (only disabled). Thankfully, the Z2 Force will arrive on other networks this go-around, meaning there could be less unnecessary apps to put up with depending on where you go to buy your phone.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

Moto Z2 Play mods on top

Motorola will make the Z2 Force available for $800. Meanwhile, carriers are charging a bit less, at least at launch.

Verizon has listed the full price for the Z2 Force at $756. However, customers who enroll in a two-year contract with the carrier will be able to snag one at $15 a month over 24 months. Meanwhile, Sprint’s Z2 Force runs $792, with the option of $33 over 18 months. Finally, T-Mobile is charging $750 outright, or $30 over 24 months. Some carriers are sweetening the deal with a free Instashare projector Moto Mod, too, which typically runs $300.

Meanwhile, the midrange Z2 Play comes in at half the price, starting at just $408. So long as you don’t mind missing out on the better processor, display, and camera, you can save roughly $400 and nab a phone that’s compatible with the same Moto Mods and features a bigger battery. It’s a convincing offer if you’re not swayed by the latest tech, as the Z2 Play has more than enough power for most users. Besides, you’ll have more cash to spend on some Mods, which can get pretty pricey.

The Z2 Play is currently a Verizon exclusive, though that will change at the end of the summer when Motorola says it will make an unlocked version available through its website. Whether the phone will arrive on any other carriers down the line remains to be seen.

Winner: Moto Z2 Play

Overall winner

There’s no getting around it — the Z2 Force will be a better phone, with state-of-the-art internals that the Z2 Play simply cannot compete with. However, the $300 price differential between the devices, along with the Z2 Play’s better battery life, complicates the comparison. Ultimately, the one you choose will be based on your priorities. If a tighter budget or maximizing time between charging is important to you, the Z2 Play is likely a better fit. But if you want the most powerful modular phone on the market, the Z2 Force is a serious flagship with a price tag to match.

References

  1. ^ Moto Z2 Play (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ Lenovo recently announced the Z2 Force (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ Verizon (www.verizonwireless.com)
  4. ^ T-Mobile (www.t-mobile.com)
  5. ^ Sprint (www.sprint.com)
  6. ^ Best Buy (www.bestbuy.com)
  7. ^ Verizon (www.verizonwireless.com)
  8. ^ Motorola (www.motorola.com)
  9. ^ Hands-on (www.digitaltrends.com)
  10. ^ 3.5 out of 5 stars (www.digitaltrends.com)
  11. ^ Qualcomm (www.qualcomm.com)
  12. ^ Moto Mods that are currently available (www.digitaltrends.com)
  13. ^ Hasselblad’s TrueZoom (www.digitaltrends.com)
  14. ^ JBL’s SoundBoost 2 (www.motorola.com)
  15. ^ Moto TurboPower pack (www.motorola.com)
  16. ^ upcoming 360-degree camera (www.digitaltrends.com)
  17. ^ Lenovo (www3.lenovo.com)
  18. ^ iPhone 7 Plus (www.digitaltrends.com)
  19. ^ OnePlus 5 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  20. ^ Moto brand (www.motorola.com)

Making sense of it all: Smartphone specs and terms explained

When shopping for a new smartphone, there are tons of questions you’ll have racing through your mind. How much battery life can I expect? How good is the screen? How well will it handle multitasking? Devices have gotten so complex, there’s a litany of technical terms and jargon out there that can overwhelm even the experts among us. With the lightning-quick pace of advancement in the mobile space, there’s new language seemingly popping up every day[1]. Fortunately, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explain a host of smartphone specs and terms, with real-world examples to help you make sense of it all.

Processor

iphone 7 more powerful macbook air a10 chip

This is the spec you’ll probably see most frequently to denote performance. The processor is really the heart and soul of your phone. Different processors are usually classed by speed, which is expressed in gigahertz, or GHz. Additionally, modern processors are made up of multiple cores, which are individual processing units that can handle separate tasks. Duties can be split among the cores, allowing for parallel computing, and thus, faster output. Processors, specifically for smartphones and other mobile devices, are also termed “system-on-chips” or “chipsets” because they are usually a collection of multiple components on a single integrated circuit, like the device’s radios for calls and data, as well as the graphics processing unit.

Simply put, the faster a processor is and the more cores it has, the faster your phone should be. Here are some more specific descriptions of terms related to processors.

Manufacturers and brands (i.e. Qualcomm, MediaTek, etc.)

There are just a handful of companies that make processors for mobile phones. Qualcomm is the biggest, and they’re responsible for the Snapdragon series[2]. Most devices running Google’s Android operating system feature Snapdragon chipsets, and Qualcomm has broken up its products into four classes: 200, 400, 600, and 800. In Qualcomm’s naming convention, the processors get faster as the numbers get bigger. So if you read that a phone contains a “Snapdragon 835,” you’re looking at Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processor. Conversely, a “435” is a relatively lower-end chipset.

MediaTek[3] is the second-largest producer of processors in Android phones. Devices running their chipsets are typically more common in Asia, though you can certainly find products in the Americas and Europe containing their hardware. MediaTek’s high-end processors are known as the Helio X series, with the Helio P series slotting just underneath. The rest of its offerings have less remarkable names, beginning with MT67, followed by some more numbers. As you’d expect, the bigger the number, the more powerful the processor — so an MT6753 outclasses the MT6738, for example.

There are other companies that produce processors too, like Huawei with its Kirin brand, as well as giants like Samsung and Apple that produce chipsets exclusively for their own products. Samsung’s processors are dubbed “Exynos,” while Apple has adopted a naming scheme of “A,” followed by a number. Apple’s processors are more generational in nature, so while the same rule of bigger number equals better performance applies, the A10 is also two years newer than the A8. There’s also the “X” series, like the A10X and A9X — though these are reserved for iPads and have yet to appear in a smartphone.

As an example of three high-end phones with relatively similar performance, the Samsung Galaxy S8[4] uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in North American models, and Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 internationally. Apple’s iPhone 7[5] uses the company’s own A10 chip, while the Meizu Pro 6[6] is one of only a few phones to use MediaTek’s Helio X25.

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)

Packaged with a mobile processor is a graphics processing unit, or GPU. The GPU is responsible for handling a device’s visual output, particularly where the creation of three-dimensional images is concerned. It usually comes into play with video games and, more recently, augmented reality applications  (where the device “augments” the feed coming from its camera with computer-drawn objects and effects).

Because the GPU is packaged within the processor on a smartphone, you won’t find many straight comparisons being made between GPUs in different devices. For example, any phone using a Snapdragon system-on-chip will also employ one of Qualcomm’s Adreno GPUs. Again, the higher number is better, so going back to the Snapdragon 835 as an example, the GPU used is Qualcomm’s Adreno 540. In terms of measuring GPU power, floating point operations per seconds, expressed as GFLOPS, are typically a better indicator of performance.

References

  1. ^ seemingly popping up every day (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ Snapdragon series (www.qualcomm.com)
  3. ^ MediaTek (www.mediatek.com)
  4. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  5. ^ Apple’s iPhone 7 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  6. ^ Meizu Pro 6 (www.digitaltrends.com)
Cellnet Review

Recently patched vulnerabilities provided hackers complete access to iPhones

Why it matters to you

Although new exploits are being discovered all the time, researchers are working tirelessly to protect you and your information.

A new report from a mobile security firm has highlighted a series of vulnerabilities in previous versions of iOS that, when used in the right context, could give an attacker complete control of a user’s device. The findings were published by Zimperium[1], and relate to two components in particular: the IOSurface and AppleAVE kernel extensions.

These components are responsible for driving a device’s display and allowing hardware acceleration for videos, respectively — though Zimperium has outlined eight ways in which they can be used to compromise an iPhone or iPad. The vulnerabilities concern the elevation of privileges, so unscrupulous parties can be granted free rein over the system. Once they’re in, a hacker can access a variety of personally identifiable information, like the device’s GPS location data, contacts, microphone, and even photos.

The IOSurface extension in particular has been previously linked to jailbreak[2] methods, and with the release of iOS 10.3.2, Apple has patched[3] the issues. However, users of older devices are still left unprotected. According to Zimperium’s Adam Donenfeld, who discovered the vulnerabilities, the exploits are so discreet that they can be performed without the user’s knowledge.

“Before the patch, the only way for a user to guard itself was to install a third-party mobile protection solution,” Donenfeld told Digital Trends. “Unless patched, without a third-party mobile protection solution there’s no way for a user to know whether he’s being attacked.”

Thankfully, Donenfeld noted that Apple has acted swiftly in issuing fixes. Zimperium notified the company of its findings toward the end of March, and Apple pushed out iOS 10.3.2 to devices in mid-May. The oldest iPhone currently supported with updates is the iPhone 5, meaning the wide majority of current iOS users have been covered. Zimperium will publish an expanded proof-of-concept explaining the vulnerabilities in greater detail soon, but the report is currently being delayed at Apple’s request.

Mobile devices carry unique risks. That’s the reason why firms like Zimperium exist — to address the concerns of smartphone and tablet users, who face a very different threat[4] from their desktop counterparts. One of the dangers Donenfeld identifies is the behavior of many mobile devices in automatically connecting to available public Wi-Fi networks.

“Network-based threats are significant and far too easy to execute,” Donenfeld said. “Plus, malware in many forms has grown at an alarming rate in recent years. We’ve seen an increasing number of mobile vulnerabilities — such as Stagefright — being discovered.”

Despite manufacturers’ and researchers’ best efforts, Donenfeld doesn’t expect the rising tide of crime to turn anytime soon.

“Mobility provides a huge number of assets with much less risk of discovery and prosecution than traditional crimes, so it is only logical that mobile threats will continue to grow.”

References

  1. ^ Zimperium (blog.zimperium.com)
  2. ^ jailbreak (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ Apple has patched (support.apple.com)
  4. ^ very different threat (www.digitaltrends.com)
Cellnet Review

Apple patent surfaces for iPhone ‘panic button’ using Touch ID tech

Why it matters to you

Having a quick way to trigger emergency services discreetly is a tremendously useful resource all phones should have, and this was at one time Apple’s proposed solution.

An Apple patent dating back to 2013 that uses the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor in an interesting way has surfaced this week. The proposal would turn the device’s home button into a “panic button” for scenarios when the user is in danger.

Called “Biometric Initiated Communication,” the technology relies on Touch ID’s ability to distinguish between different fingers, as well as the strength or position of each press of the home button. Apple was seemingly at one point considering allowing users to record certain fingers or patterns as a panic response, according to SlashGear[1]. That trigger could be used to directly and discreetly alert emergency services, theoretically without alerting an assailant.

Personal safety has become an increasingly important consideration of mobile devices — particularly phones, as we carry them around with us all day. While this patent is roughly four years old at this point, Touch ID may not have been dependable enough at the time for Apple to launch such a feature, or it may have been scrapped for other reasons. As always with patents, there is the possibility it might eventually materialize for consumers one day — perhaps in the iPhone 8[2].

Granted, it’s not a perfect proposal, and maybe Apple felt it wasn’t effective enough at what it set out to do. There’s always the threat of accidentally setting off the panic function, if it’s too simple. However, a pattern or scheme that’s overly complex could be too difficult to trigger in a potential life-or-death situation. It’s a delicate balance to strike, and hopefully a phone maker will eventually stumble upon the right one.

In April 2016, India mandated[3] that all smartphones must come equipped with a panic button of some sort before the end of the year. The law came as part of the government’s efforts to improve women’s safety and stamp out sexual assault. Eventually, the “button” arrived in several forms — one of which was a new national emergency number, 112, as India previously lacked a centralized emergency hotline, CNN reported[4] at the time. The country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology also worked with phone manufacturers to make quickly pressing the power button three times another way to notify authorities.

References

  1. ^ SlashGear (www.slashgear.com)
  2. ^ iPhone 8 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ India mandated (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ CNN reported (money.cnn.com)

Google Play Store’s new Editors Choice pages put curated apps front and center

Why it matters to you

Google’s new Editors’ Choice pages will make it easier to compare apps, and find the right one for your needs.

Finding new apps on the Google Play Store can be a daunting task. Even though the storefront has gone through numerous iterations over the past several years, the abundance of options can still make it tough to come across something that catches your eye. Fortunately, Google is rolling out a redesigned Editors’ Choice[1] section today, July 19, that delivers more curated recommendations to users in simple, brief packages.

There are a couple app guides already live, like the five essential road trip apps[2], or the best apps for learning a new language[3]. Google Play’s editors have handpicked a selection of apps for a variety of categories, and each one is accompanied by a quick blurb as well as three standout features. These pages are available on both mobile and desktop versions of the store, and are currently live in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, with other regions to follow soon.

google play store editorial pages googleplay

The goal, Google says, is to “take out the guesswork” in trying out different apps to find the right fit. It’s something Apple is also attempting to do with the upcoming App Store redesign[4] planned for iOS 11[5]. After the update arrives in the fall, users will be presented with a new “Today” page upon opening the App Store. The tab will highlight different iPhone and iPad apps on a daily basis in an effort to encourage shoppers to visit more regularly.

In addition to making it easier to find apps, Google also plans to make it easier to use them with the release of Instant Apps[6]. Fully unveiled at the company’s I/O conference in May, Instant Apps allow developers to post a lightweight version of their apps that users can experience immediately — no download necessary. Instant Apps won’t always offer the same degree of functionality as full apps, though they should be better-equipped than mobile web pages and are ideal for one-time uses.

A good example is Hotel Tonight, one of the first companies to make an Instant App available to the public. It’s a nice fit for the platform because it allows users to easily make a booking without necessitating a full install of the app, which they’ll probably only use for a weekend. There are many more Instant Apps out in the wild, like Periscope, The Weather Channel, and Ticketmaster — though they’re still only available on certain devices at the moment.

References

  1. ^ Editors’ Choice (play.google.com)
  2. ^ five essential road trip apps (play.google.com)
  3. ^ best apps for learning a new language (play.google.com)
  4. ^ App Store redesign (www.digitaltrends.com)
  5. ^ iOS 11 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  6. ^ Instant Apps (www.digitaltrends.com)