Galaxy 8 to not have a headphone jack?

Apple invited a wave of controversy earlier this year when it decided to remove the iPhone’s headphone jack, replacing it with headphones that connected to the handset’s charging port, and was lampooned for describing the move as an act of “courage”.
But it appears that its arch-rival Samsung is set to follow in the company’s footsteps next year by releasing the next version of its flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, without the 3.5mm audio port… More at The Telegraph. 

Surprising. Really surprising. 

Android malware scares are rarely scary

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Research like this is important work done by very smart people. But make no mistake, the goal is to drum up publicity and (eventually) sell you security software. That’s why new Android vulns come with catchy nicknames and sometimes even logos — particularly around the time of the big hacker conferences like Defcon and Black Hat. It’s a neat pre-packaged story sure to attract attention, easily turned into headlines like “Android users beware: Over 900 MILLION smartphones are vulnerable to this crippling hack.” (That was British tabloid The Mirror on QuadRooter, by the way.)

That sounds scary, but it’s in the interest of those doing the disclosing (and, let’s be honest, the clickthirsty online media) to wave their arms around and make it appear as bad as possible… More at Android Central.

Many iPhone users, like me, quietly (or loudly) sneer at the problems Android faces from time to time, but it’s good to see the counter-argument.

Gooligan

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Nicknamed “Gooligan,” the malware uses a phishing scam to steal authentication tokens for Google accounts, allowing it to download fake apps to the users’ Android phones and tablets without their knowledge, according to Checkpoint Security.

Gooligan’s primary motivation appears to be monetary. Its creators likely receive payment when the apps it downloads promote themselves by using the hijacked Google account to leave fake positive reviews and simulate tapping on ads… More at PC Mag.

This week I had to spend some time fixing a friend’s HTC phone which had a Chrome issue. A web page continuially popped up advising that the device had a virus and to install an app etc etc.

I’m not saying nothing like this ever happens on an iPhone, but I like living in a bubble where I presume everything is perfectly safe (because it hasn’t happened yet).

Nokia is back

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Nokia-branded mobile phones are on sale, once again, on the Finnish company’s website.

For now, the range is limited to some pretty basic models, but that should change when Android-powered smartphones and tablets are added soon.

It’s thanks to a deal with a small team based at a business park on the fringes of Helsinki, who are engaged in what will seem to many a foolhardy mission.

They call themselves HMD Global – and they believe they can make Nokia a big name in mobile phones once again… More at BBC.

I wonder how successful this will be. Whatever, good to have another player in the game.

Hands ON: The Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch Classic And Frontier

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As the number of smartwatch offerings continues to proliferate, the choice is often framed as a dichotomy: on the one hand you have the Apple Watch, running watchOS, and, on the other hand, you have a plethora of smartwatches running Android. The overwhelming likelihood, of course, is that if you’re in the market for a smartwatch, you’ll go for the one in the same ecosystem as your smartphone – the Apple Watch isn’t compatible with Android at all, and while you can kinda-sorta use an Android Wear watch with an iPhone, generally you are going to get a pretty restricted experience.. More at Hodinkee.

Excellent coverage of these watches by Hodinkee. Nice to see some concentration on the design as well as the functionality.

Android is getting closer

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Out of curiosity I tried a Samsung tablet with what I believe is the latest version of Android. Considering that when I last tried Android many years ago, I found it a bit clunky, today’s version is every bit as slick as iOS, at least for the 5 minutes I tried it. For the average user, I couldn’t see any significant difference in usage between the two. Obviously 5 minutes is too short a time to investigate in detail, but almost everything seemed intuitive. Those things that weren’t would become automatic in no time, just like iOS. And I did like the direct access to the file system. I wouldn’t say that I was stunned because I would expect a lot of advancement over the years, but I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. The next time I need a new phone, I’ll have some serious deciding to do.

I mirror these thoughts and understand where Bob is coming from. Android is getting closer to iOS for hardened iOS users and does feel much more natural these days. The better each is, the better devices we will all see in the future.

Samsung is selling a 2013 phone on Black Friday: naughty!

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I know this, and most of you know this, but the unsuspecting average consumer looking for a deal on Black Friday may not know this. And because of that, Samsung needs to respect its potential customers and not attempt to sell them a used phone that launched in 2013 and will not be supported from the day they purchase it. That’s the kind of money-grabbing insensitive move that any company should be repulsed by the thought of, particularly a company skating on thin ice when it comes to consumer confidence in its phones… More at Android Central.

I agree. $249 is not huge for a phone like this, but there are many potential problems coming down the road and lack of longevity if you buy this today in place of a similarly priced modern handset. Sorry, but Samsung should not be selling it today.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Review: does it outdate the iPhone?

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I say mostly, because there is a caveat: the borders around the Mi Mix are not as thin and invisible as Xiaomi’s official press images depict. Still, this doesn’t take much away from Xiaomi’s accomplishment, because though the Mi Mix’s borders are quite visible, they’re still much thinner and smaller than the bezels on all other phones on the market right now. And when consuming high quality photos and videos on the screen in full, the visual effect is jaw-dropping… More at Forbes.

Great phone without a doubt. I suspect that after using it for a while, it must make other phones look and feel quite clunky.

My son, the green bubble friend

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My son’s iPhone 6 bent at the exact point that a lot of iPhone 6 phones bend and so we took it to Apple. It is 18 months old and Apple’s view was that they would give us a new device for just £229. I laughed, had a bit of an argument and walked out of the store.

That was a few weeks ago and so he persevered with a bent phone, but then I realised that Three offer 24 months of cover and so if I go back to the Apple store and pay Apple £229, Three will reimburse that money and so we end up with a refurbished iPhone 6. Sounds like a plan.

And then it broke completely and the screen stopped working. I made an appointment with Apple (again) and gave him a Motorola G4 Play to use in the meantime, and he loves it. He has been exploring the Play Store, playing with the interface and is genuinely amazed by the improvement in battery performance over the iPhone.

He has (possibly) become a green bubble person and is now debating whether he even wants the iPhone back. It took him a few hours to cover all of his needed apps with Android versions of the same apps and he is more than pleased.

Lesson for Apple: He looks after his phones with great care. You made a phone that bends and you were dicks about it. You lost.