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Samsung targets Android enterprise integration with Knox

Android was designed with open-source, open-market viability in mind – so it was, by design, low in “private sandbox” security features. This is something that makes the platform a very risky one for those in enterprise security. Enclosed architectures like BlackBerry OS and iOS have legitimate advantages here in one sense, but Samsung is belatedly trying to join the party with its KNOX B2B (business-to-business) apps.

Samsung is taking a tiered approach to KNOX, with a free downloadable “My KNOX” app for an enterprise with employees who use Samsung devices – the app is compatible only to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 for now. Together with the app, there’s a two-level subscription service for device security – the first being KNOX Express.

KNOX Express offers basic security features, including KNOX Workspace which is a secured “sandboxed” container that keeps your enterprises data safe. It also features KNOX EMM, a cloud-based solution that makes it easy to deploy proprietary information and apps without the additional cost of taking devices into the office personally. All of this is upgraded when you try the KNOX Premium subscription.

KNOX Express starts out free for every device, but KNOX Premium charges USD$1.00 per device. BlackBerry and iOS are understandably ahead of the game in this market, but do tell us what you think about it. Would your business need something like this for Android devices?

DOWNLOAD: Google Play Store

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Dolphin V11 brings new mobile browsing experience to Android

There are numerous web browsers for Android but only a few deliver fast mobile browsing. Dolphin, one of the best Mobile Web Browsers for Android, was recently updated with new features and some bug fixes. Its developer added a Search engine option and support for multiple-thread downloads.

Dolphin V11.2.3 has improved the Right-To-Left support to more interfaces. Big issues have been fixed as well, including error on inputting works on search box, emoticons not showing then posting on Facebook, and error in choosing file to upload on some websites. The problems of incorrect naming when downloading files and issues with Facebook have already been fixed too.

The mobile browser for Android can now do Gestures, allowing the user to access web by simply creating a gesture or symbol. The Sonar feature allows voice control to search, bookmark favorite sites, navigate, and share on social networks. With the One-tap Share, you can tweet, post to Facebook, and save files directly to Box or Evernote with a single tap. Meanwhile, Tabbed browsing allows you to toggle between screens as if you are browsing on a desktop.

Just like a desktop browser, Dolphin now allows Add-ons for different tasks. Such add-ons can enhance mobile Interner browsing. To save bookmarks and passwords, sync history, open tabs easily, there’s the Dolphin Connect feature. Other basic features include custom themes and wallpapers and adding your favorite sites to the home screen.

Still not convinced that the Dolphin for Android is worthy to be installed? The web browser app also allows WiFi Broadcast so you can share links with people on your WiFi network or are nearby.

Download Dolphin V11.2.3 from the Google Play Store.

google-play-store-logo

Google Play coming changes: developer address, IAP price range

To comply with consumer protection laws, according to this leaked communication, Google will be changing some of its Google Play Store policies and features. While the ability to see a list of price ranges for apps with in-app purchases is definitely a welcome development, displaying a developer’s physical address might scare off not just a few from publishing on Google Play Store.

In-app purchases have been the bane of app stores, not just Google’s but including Apple’s and Amazon’s. Currently, Google Play Store does display if an app has in-app purchases but stops at that. Then again, Google’s wording below is a bit ambiguous and can be a bit open to interpretation. What will that list contain? Will it list top apps with IAP just like Google Play Store lists top free and paid apps? Or will it list the IAP purchases inside an app, which is a more difficult thing to keep track off. We will just have to wait for Google to formally roll out these changes to find out.

“We will display the price ranges for apps that offer in-app purchases and/or subscriptions on the app’s store listing page.”

The other more major change affects developers more than users. The developer console is now requiring developers that provide paid apps or apps with IAP to give a physical address. That in itself is probably nothing surprising, as it increases the sense of accountability for an app and could very well help curb the number of fake apps with IAP. However, what follows the requirement is the part that’s more worrying for developers. Google says that the physical address will be displayed on the app’s details page in Google Play Store, definitely a cause for concern about the privacy, not to mention the safety of the developer.

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“Beginning September 30, 2014, you need to add a physical address to your Settings page. After you’ve added an address, it will be available on your app’s detail page to all users on Google Play.”

Aside from the address requirement, the rest of the changes, or the reasons for them, are not yet set in stone. The information comes from a developer who asked Google why such a worrying change is being made. While it is commendable that Google is actively working to protect consumers (though some might point out only after it has been hit by numerous lawsuits), It should not forget to also fairly treat its developers, who provides the goods that users will be paying for, and not like criminals in the making.

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Goodbye nokia.com? Microsoft redirects UK visitors to its own site

Slowly but surely, Microsoft is bringing everything related to Nokia’s devices and services division inside its own corporate structure.

The company’s latest move is to shift this part of its business away from Nokia.com and over to a new home managed underneath Microsoft.com. At the moment this only affects the UK version of Nokia’s website, although it’s likely other geographical variants will follow in the future.

The Nokia.com site is still live for people in the UK, but you’ll find that accessing most pages will simply redirect you to the new Microsoft portal.

It’s a small change, but one that follows rumors stating Microsoft will eventually abandon the Nokia and Windows Phone branding. If that’s the case, we might look back on this as a crucial moment in the transition.

If you’re wondering, the part of Nokia that Microsoft didn’t acquire is using company.nokia.com as its URL.

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Smartphone microscope uses a small glass sphere for lens

Microscopes that are used in labs and educational institutes around the world are expensive devices. They are also typically rather large and bulky meaning that they can’t easily be taken into the field for work on site in many instances. A new and inexpensive smartphone attachment has been designed that can turn your mobile device into a microscope on the cheap.

The smartphone microscope was developed at the US Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. It is made using a 3D plastic printed clip that holds a small glass sphere. The tiny spheres are very cheap at about a penny each and are used commonly for making reflective runway markings at airports.

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The microscope made at the lab is very compact at about the thickness of a typical smartphone case and has 1000x magnification. Lower magnification versions with 350x or 100x are available as well. The overall cost of the plastic clip and the glass sphere to make the microscope is under a dollar.

The scientists who created the smartphone microscope say that it works particularly well with the iPhone. However, it can be used with any smartphone on the market including Android devices.

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Logitech Harmony shows a new way to automate smart homes

You may have heard of countless “Internet of Things” appliances and gadgets from the likes of Nest, Honeywell, or Phillips and may even own a few of them. Keeping them all under rein, especially when coming from different brands, might be more work than you’re prepared to do. Enter Logitech’s update Harmony lineup, which promises to maker your smart home even smarter.

Logitech is introducing a new batch of Harmony remotes and home hub, which we’ll get to in a while, but perhap the most interesting part of it is a new feature common to all of them, including its Android and iOS app, called Activities. Sure you can set different appliances, bulbs, and monitors to do something at a touch of a button or at a certain time, but do you really want to do all that from separate apps or remote controls? With Logitech Harmony Activities, you not only have a single app to control them, you can make them work in concert with each other. A “Movie” activity, for example, would let you dim the lights, turn on a lamp, pull down the shades, and start the DVR, all by tapping a single button. A “Morning” activity, on the other hand, can be set to pull up the shades, adjust the temperature and start the morning news on TV all at the same time.

As mentioned, you can get this functionality on mobile apps as well as the new remote controls Logitech is unveiling. The Ultimate Home model combines both analog buttons and a touchscreen interface with what looks like Android running inside. Those too overwhelmed by a touchscreen can opt for the simpler Home Control, which makes room for even more buttons. Both naturally support the new Harmony activities feature. Both also come with the Logitech Harmony Home Hub which makes all the inter-appliance communication possible. It has Bluetooth, IR, RF, and WiFi to account for almost every connection possible. And if that weren’t enough, you can also get the Logitech Harmony Home Hub Extender which adds Zigbee and Z-Wave to the mix.

The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home, which comes in black and white color options, sells for $349.99 while the Logitech Harmony Home Control goes for only $149.99, also in black and white choices. The Logitech Harmony Home Hub, which can also be purchased on its own, has a $99.99 price tag. The Extender, on the other hand, will still be coming soon. From September 21 to November 1 this year, existing Logitech Harmony owners can take their old remotes to Best Buy and upgrade to a Ultimate Home version and even get a $100 discount for it.

Download: Logitech Harmony on Google Play Store

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Amazon outs new Fire HD models and Fire HD Kids Edition

Amazon is on a roll today, unleashing a barrage of new Kindle devices to make bibliophiles swoon. But for those who want a bit more functionality out of their device at the expense of e-ink, Amazon has a new generation of Kindle Fire HDs just for them. There is even one made especially for kids!

There are two new models in this Fire HD line. The Kindle Fire HD 7 replaces last year’s model while the new 6-inch Fire HD 6 is totally new to the family. Aside from the difference in sizes, both sport the exact same specs. They both have the same 1280×800 HD resolution, which gives the Fire HD 6 a higher pixel density of 252 ppi versus 216 ppi on the Fire HD 7. An unnamed 1.5 GHz quad-core runs inside, noted to have 3x more graphics muscle than Samsung’s budget Galaxy Tab 4 line, making it suitable even for some resource intensive games. RAM isn’t mentioned but storage comes in 8 and 16 GB configurations. There is a 2 megapixel camera on the back, capable of shooting 1080p videos, and a front-facing VGA shooter.

Of course, that’s just the hardware. Ultimately what makes Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets special are the Amazon apps and services to be enjoyed within. Among those include some that you may be already be familiar with in existing Fire HD and Fire HDX devices, like X-Ray for looking up actor or video info, Second Screen, and Prime Instant Video downloads. Others are quite new to the ears. ASAP or Advanced Streaming and Prediction is a Fire TV feature that Amazon is now making available for its tablets as well. ASAP tries to guess what movie or TV episode you will want to watch next and starts downloading them in the background so that when you hit that play button, the video is ready for you.http://cdn.androidcommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/kindle-fire-hd-new-3.jpg

The new Fire HD is a very family-friendly device. Multiple user profiles lets you set up different accounts for each family member, with their own settings, app data, and bookmarks. But while you may want to keep personal data separate, you might want to share apps and media among family members. With Family Library, you can do that easily, letting you share books, videos, apps, and games between family members, either on the same device or across multiple Android devices or even Amazon’s mobile apps on other platforms. To add even more fun into the equation, the new Kindle Fire HD will come in five color options of black, white, cobalt, magenta, and citron.

But if those family features aren’t enough to make you hand over the Fire HD to your kid, then Amazon’s new Fire HD Kids Edition might. Amazon is starting them young, both for reading and for learning, with a bit of entertainment on the side. Amazon, however, insists that this is not a toy and is a capable tablet in children’s clothing. It isn’t giving out the specifics, but a quad-core processor, an HD display, and rear and front-facing cameras are probably enough to convince most. Front and center, however, are the services, content, and features that make the device something kids will surely love.

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited subscription removes the worry of accumulating bills from app and content purchases by giving it all for free, a value of up to $120 according to Amazon, at least for the first year. Of course, you, not your kid, are the ones to set the rules of what they see and how long they can see it. Those rules can be tailored according to type, so that you can encourage unlimited reading but put a cap on videos and games. But the retailer knows that even well-intentioned kids can become one of the most destructive forces in the known world, so it is throwing in a two-year guaranteed to replace broken tablets, no questions asked.http://cdn.androidcommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/kindle-fire-hd-kids-3.jpg

The pricing details for these new Kindle Fire HD tablets are as follows:

• Kindle Fire HD 6 – 8 GB ($99), 16 GB ($119)
• Kindle Fire HD 7 – 8 GB ($139), 16 GB ($159)
• Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition – 6-inch ($149), 7-inch ($189)

All of these are now available for pre-orders, with shipping slated to start in October.

 

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Microsoft has Universal Mobile Keyboard for your mobile devices

If you are like most people in this mobile generation, you almost always have a smartphone, a tablet and a laptop with you whenever you’re traveling or just moving from one meeting to another. The problem sometimes is that you want to use both your smartphone and tablet as more than just a device that you slide or swipe through, but like you would a regular laptop or desktop. Microsoft is proposing a solution to that with its new Universal Mobile Keyboard.

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Yes, it’s not a virtual keyboard but an actual one where you can dock your device, whether the platform is Android, Windows or iOS. With its protective case, you can lug it in your bag and anywhere you want. As soon as you remove the cover, it automatically turns on and off it goes when you shut down the cover. It connects with your device through Bluetooth and has an integrated, detachable stand so you can choose where you place your device while typing.

So this means, if you’re at an airport and you suddenly have to answer the email of your boss, but it’s too lengthy to just rely on your smartphone, you can whip out the universal keyboard and type out your email just like you would on your desktop. Or if you need to revise a presentation you’ll be giving, but it’s saved on your tablet, again, you can just use your spanking new keyboard to make those changes.

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First Brain-To-Brain Communication Carried Out Between 2 People 5,000 Miles Apart

Some words need not be spoken and the phrase may become quite literal owing to the fact that the first ever conversation without typing and talking – that is, brain to brain conversation – has taken place online between two participants who were about 5,000 miles apart. The words ‘hola’ and ‘ciao’ were sent from India to France over the internet directly without speaking or typing them.First Brain-to-Brain Communication Carried out Between Persons 5,000 Miles Apart4

The unique study is being carried out by a team of international neuroscientists and robotic engineers. In words of Alvaro Pascual-Leone from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School; ‘We wanted to find out if one could communicate directly between two people by reading out the brain activity from one person and injecting brain activity into the second person, and do so across great physical distances by leveraging existing communication pathways. One such pathway is, of course, the internet, so our question became, could we develop an experiment that would bypass the talking or typing part of internet and establish direct brain-to-brain communication between subjects located far away from each other in India and France ?’First Brain-to-Brain Communication Carried out Between Persons 5,000 Miles Apart3

He further said that; ‘By using advanced precision neuro-technologies including wireless EEG and robotized TMS, we were able to directly and noninvasively transmit a thought from one person to another, without them having to speak or write. This in itself is a remarkable step in human communication, but being able to do so across a distance of thousands of miles is a critically important proof-of-principle for the development of brain-to-brain communications. We believe these experiments represent an important first step in exploring the feasibility of complementing or bypassing traditional language-based or motor-based communication.’First Brain-to-Brain Communication Carried out Between Persons 5,000 Miles Apart2

As to why is it different from the previous seemingly similar studies; they involved communication between a human brain and a computer. However, for this particular research the recipient was a human brain as well. A total of 4 healthy participants volunteered for this project, all aged 28-50. One of these subject was to make use of the brain-computer interface, BCI, while the rest three were on the receiving end known as computer-brain interface, CBI.First Brain-to-Brain Communication Carried out Between Persons 5,000 Miles Apart

By making use of EEG, the team managed to translate the two words into binary code and then sent them via email to France where the message was conveyed to the receiver’s brain via non-invasive brain simulation. The receivers said that they experienced this as flashes of light in their peripheral vision also known as phosphenes.

We wonder how far away is a future where we won’t need to type or speak in order to communicate.

mIUI6

‘Unstable’ version of MIUI 6 released for Xiaomi Mi 2, 2S

Sometimes I don’t get Xiaomi and their approach with MIUI, but that’s just me – a lot of people will come on here and testify to great experiences with the Chinese manufacturer’s brand of user interface over the Android foundation. After an official debate of sorts that Xiaomi officially started on the merits of Android KitKat for their Mi 2 and Mi 2S devices, they are finally releasing MIUI 6 for the said devices, but not without caveats.

The Xiaomi Mi 2 is a capable device, if we look at it from a hardware perspective. Powered by a Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5Ghz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320 GPU – it should point to a more than tolerable Android 4.4 experience. The Mi 2 came out with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box.

mi2

After the official debate, it seems that Xiaomi has found it worth its while to give Mi 2 users a taste of KitKat via the MIUI 6. Installation is pretty straightforward – and by “straightforward” I mean that if you have installed MIUI before, you probably know what to expect. Check out the source thread for the very specific instructions – AND do not ever forget to backup all your data to off-device storage. Xiaomi’s installation procedures for ROMs typically wipe-out the internal storage area of the device.

Now, all of this should have been well and good, if not for some warnings that Xiaomi itself posted about the MIUI 6 for the Mi 2 device. Firstly, it claims that this release is “an UNSTABLE ROM”. Why oh why would you put a lot of your users to grief by putting out an unstable ROM for your own devices? That warning was repeated twice, in that this is apparently not even a “dev” version like the version released for the Mi 3 and Mi 4 recently. I don’t get that, but it might just be me. Then again, if you want to get Android 4.4 on your Mi 2, this seems to be what the official choice you would have. Enjoy.

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