Silent Circle, the company behind the Blackphone, has announced that it has joined Google's Android for Work program, along with its newest smartphone. The Blackphone 2 will be the company's first product for the program, as it looks to offer customizable solutions while still focusing on privacy and security.
As a general rule, it's pretty widely understood that if you want something to stay private you keep it off the Internet. There's never going to be a 100% guarantee that a private message will stay private, because at some point in the process a human being is involved and those folks can't be universally trusted to do the right thing. That doesn't stop companies from giving it a try, and with each revision of this idea we get closer and closer to something that might work in most situations. The latest effort is an app called Kaboom, and if nothing else it's got a nice UI for deleting your message from the Internet when you decide it needs to go.
Essentially, Kaboom is a hosted message service with baked in social sharing and a tool that lets you decide how long a message or photo exists on the Internet before it is removed from the Kaboom servers. You can send a private message with a photo attached and have it disappear in five minutes, or you can post something to Facebook and have the information hidden in the link go away in 24 hours. You get a notification that lets you know when someone has clicked and viewed the message, as well as a button to destroy the message outside of the pre-determined window you initially assigned.
Kaboom also includes the ability to send messages to other Kaboom users, along with a helpful sign-up link for those who aren't already using the service. Since the app can't disable screenshots, your name and phone number are part of the registration process, and photos you take in the Kaboom app still show up in Google Photos, it's not entirely clear why you would do that unless all of your friends were already using this as a messaging service. The links generated by the service are the same everywhere, so it's essentially the same number of steps.
Kaboom is a great tool for streamlining the kill process with messages and photos you don't want to stick around for a while, and as long as you use it in precisely that way and not try to rely on it as an actual privacy tool it can be a useful app in your drawer. It's also free, and you can check it out for yourself starting today.
Every time a hot new phone comes on the scene, the instant reaction is to compare it to one of the biggest names — the leading Galaxy S device from Samsung of the year. This year it's the OnePlus 2 drawing the attention of phone enthusiasts, and the Galaxy S6 is the current big name in Android phones.
OnePlus' co-founder reflects on the journey of the OnePlus One, and its successor's path to release.
Whether you think the OnePlus 2 is the next big thing or it's not even on your radar, there's no arguing how impactful OnePlus as a company has been over the last year and a half. As a new company, the way we talk about OnePlus and the kind of buzz they have created for themselves is significant. A lot of that is the result of decisions made by co-founder Carl Pei.
He's not exactly what you'd expect from someone running a company like OnePlus, but then again OnePlus isn't exactly a normal smartphone manufacturer. Throughout the OnePlus 2 launch event you could see him float from table to table, engaging everyone hovering over his phones and cautiously asking about initial impressions, so we took a few minutes to ask him some questions about the progress OnePlus has made over the past year.
The rugged Alcatel OneTouch Conquest available today for $129.99, budget-friendly Alcatel OneTouch Elevate arrives in August for $99.99.
Boost Mobile sees their phone lineup grow a bit today with the announcement of two Android phones from Alcatel OneTouch.
The Alcatel Conquest (pictured above) comes in with a 5-inch 720p display, a quad-core processor and IP67 waterproofing and dustproofing for those who need a bit of extra protection. The Conquest is available now at Boost Mobile's online store for just $129.99, and can be used on any of Boost Mobile's Data Boost plans.
The Alcatel OneTouch Elevate will be available in August, and at just $99.99 it comes in at a price-point that many will find attractive. It's quad-core processor powers Android 5.1 Lollipop, and it's 4.5-inch FWVGA display should prove to be easy on the battery for those who don't want or need a big phone.
The full press release follows.
Two new ALCATEL ONETOUCH smartphones arrive at Boost Mobile
Celebrate summer stress-free with the weather-ready ALCATEL ONETOUCH Conquest; Or harness the excitement of 4G LTE data speeds without spending a fortune with ALCATEL ONETOUCH Elevate
When you're planning to enjoy some fun in the sun, a new smartphone shouldn't hold you back.
Planning to be outdoors? Not to worry, ALCATEL ONETOUCH Conquest™1 eliminates the stress about whether your phone can handle the outdoors. For the budget-minded, ALCATEL ONETOUCH Elevate™ is a smartphone that keeps you connected on-the-go without breaking the bank.
Get Conquest at www.boostmobile.com/conquest/ now for $129.99 (plus tax), and Elevate will be available in August at www.boostmobile.com for $99.99 (plus tax).
Conquer the elements this summer
Summer is in full swing, and it's time to get outside for some fun in the sun. Grab your sunscreen for protection against sunburn, and put your hands on Conquest from Boost Mobile for a smartphone ready to take on the elements.
IP67 waterproof and dustproof: Don't fear a little water or dirt. With IP67 your Conquest will keep going strong through the elements2.
Android™ 5.0, Lollipop: Android Lollipop provides enhanced multitasking, and material design offers Conquest users a better experience, complete with the Google Now Launcher, which brings "OK Google" voice commands and content like local weather, directions and upcoming calendar alerts right to your home screen.
5-inch 720p HD touchscreen display with Dragontrail Glass: Be ready for anything with a 5-inch high-definition display that's sturdy enough for outdoor adventures while offering a beautiful viewing experience.
5-megapixel auto focus camera with LED flash and 2-megapixel front camera: Capture gorgeous memories on the beach or at the pool with the Conquest's 5MP camera, which includes built-in filters, allowing you to capture all your moments perfectly. The 2MP front camera is perfect for video chatting or just taking a great selfie.
Quad-core 1.2GHz processor: Power your mobile life with the best balance of performance and low power consumption delivered by Conquest's quad-core processor.
3G/4G LTE/Enhanced LTE3: Browse the Web, download a game or upload a photo with faster 4G LTE speeds.
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you can't have great gear. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ quad-core processor and featuring a 2,000mAh battery, Elevate has all the power you need to take your daily mobile use to a whole new level.
Android 5.1 Lollipop: ALCATEL ONETOUCH Elevate features the latest version of Android 5.1 Lollipop, providing users an enhanced multitasking experience, complete with the Google Now Launcher, which brings "OK Google" voice commands and content like local weather, directions and upcoming calendar alerts right to your home screen.
4.5-inch FWVGA display: Perfectly portable compact form factor easily fits into purse or pocket, but still provides a large quality screen for staying connecting on-the-go.
5-megapixel auto focus camera with LED flash and 2-megapixel front camera: Never miss a moment with Elevate's 5MP camera, or enjoy video chatting or capturing the perfect selfie with the phone's 2MP front camera.
3G/4G LTE/Enhanced LTE3: ALCATEL ONETOUCH Elevate brings the power of LTE to the masses. Browse the Web, download a game or upload a photo with faster 4G LTE speeds.
Quad-core 1.1GHz processor: Powered by a quad-core processor, Elevate delivers smooth performance with low power consumption, so you can rise above whatever the day throws at you.
Data Boost Plans
Boost Mobile is one of the best values in the prepaid wireless industry with the $30 Data Boost Up plan4. After signing up for automatic payments with Auto Re-Boost, get unlimited talk, text and data with 2GB of high-speed data for $30 per month.
$30 with Auto Re-Boost
Talk & Text****
Unlimited — Includes 2GB of high-speed 3G/4G data
Unlimited — Includes 1GB of high-speed 3G/4G data
Unlimited — Includes 5GB of high-speed 3G/4G data
Unlimited — Includes 10GB of high-speed 3G/4G data
IP67 includes complete dust protection and water immersion protection up to 1m (or about 3 feet of water)
Nationwide Sprint LTE network reaches more than 280 million people. The Enhanced LTE network is available in limited markets. Visit www.sprint.com/coverage for information.
Plan increases to $40 without Auto Re-Boost enrollment.
Unlimited features are on-network only; international services extra.
Video streaming limited to 3G speeds. 3G/4G speeds subject to coverage/device availability. Once plan's applicable 3G/4G data allotment reached, speeds (including video) reduced to 2G speeds for remainder of plan cycle and restored when new plan cycle begins.
The folks at OnePlus have put on quite a show this week, ending months of hype and teasers in a celebration of reasons they think you should purchase this new smartphone. Our initial impressions of the OnePlus 2 are quite positive, but as users all over the world furiously refresh to check their status in the invite queue there's a group of folks out there wondering if the upgrade one One to 2 is something they absolutely need to do.
While we're not ready to put down a full review of this "2016 Flagship Killer" it's important to take a moment an appreciate the way OnePlus has improved their design language over the last 460 days. Here's a quick look at the OnePlus One and the shiny new OnePlus 2.
OnePlus made a lot of people very happy with the Sandstone Black default to the One, and it's not hard to see why. It's by far the grippiest backing since HTC's soft touch coating, and didn't scratch or scuff easily through daily use. While Sandstone Black has returned in the OnePlus 2, it's one of several options that will be available for users to swap around as they choose. It also doesn't wrap around the sides of the phone on the 2, which is an important distinction to make. OnePlus is using an aluminum frame around the exterior of this phone, which gives it an entirely different feel in your hand. You still get plenty of grip on the back of the phone, but the sides are a little cooler to the touch and noticeably less grippy.
The OnePlus 2 isn't just a better phone than the OnePlus One on paper, it looks and feels like a phone of noticeably superior quality.
Like the OnePlus One, the ability to remove the back of the OnePlus 2 doesn't get you access to much. The dual-sim tray under the plate is a little different, but there's still no access to the battery. Across the sides of the phone, however, there's some significant differences. The power and volume keys are a lot less flimsy on the OnePlus 2, and there's a new notification toggle called the Alert Slider that works quite well.
The front of the phone is another matter entirely. The addition of a well-made fingerprint sensor, higher quality display, and a generally improved design with more subtle edges makes this experience much more enjoyable. Like its predecessor, the buttons on the bottom of the phone can be disabled if you're not a fan. The inclusion of a home button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor makes that decision a little pointless, though. You're going to want to use that feature once you've set it up, and having the other nav buttons there just makes sense even if it's not the "Nexus" way of doing things.
While the design language for the OnePlus 2 is undeniably similar to its predecessor, the refinement of that language in every step of the design is impressive. The OnePlus 2 isn't just a better phone than the OnePlus One on paper, it looks and feels like a phone of noticeably superior quality. Unless you absolutely need NFC to live, or you're looking at more than just OnePlus for an upgrade, deciding between these two phones is simple. Perhaps more important than choosing between the two, OnePlus has demonstrated a continued dedication to their design language and build quality, and their sophomore effort builds on that in big ways.
As we await the arrival of the rest of Moto's 2015 lineup, we've already got our hands on the latest version of the company's most popular phone, the Moto G. The latest version of Moto's mid-range wonder is better than ever, with a bigger battery, and LTE and water resistance as standard. Some of the AC editors have the new 2015 Moto G in their hands following the recent international launch events, and we're answering questions over on the Moto G forums.
As Motorola's successful Moto G line enters its third generation, you might be wondering exactly what has changed on the hardware side over the year. The Moto G has always been about finely-balanced hardware and software, and as smartphone technology has progressed we're seeing ever more impressive internals in affordable phones like the G.
Sometimes things are as clear as mud when a smartphone launches. And a couple of the more important points surrounding the new Moto X — aka the Moto X Style or Pure Edition, depending on where you live — was the victim of a bit of this confusion.
So let's clear things up. As it stands, this is where you'll be able able to buy the new Moto X, whatever its called.
With the introduction of the Moto X Style and the Moto X Play we're now three generations into the Moto X family, which has brought some of the most simple yet solid smartphones to the Android ecosystem. Here's a breakdown of how each of the four phones compare — from the first generation in 2013 to the most recently announced models.
Moto X 2013Moto X 2014Moto X StyleMoto X Play
4.7-inch 720p AMOLED
5.2-inch 1080p AMOLED
5.7-inch Quad HD
5.5-inch 1080p HD
Snapdragon S4 Pro
65.3 x 129.3 x 5.6-10.4mm
72.4 x 140.8 x 3.8-9.9mm
153.9 x 76.2 x 6.1-11.06mm
148.0 x 75.0 x 8.9-10.9mm
Android smartphones are judged on a huge number of variables, and depending on who you ask all of them have significance in weighting the purchase of a new phone. This is one of the struggles faced by OnePlus right now. Its latest smartphone, the OnePlus 2, has a lot of great things going for it. To call it the "2016 Flagship Killer" is probably a stretch, even if all the company is referencing is a dollar for dollar value in hardware quality and user experience.
We don't need to wait for 2016 to test this theory, however. With an LG G4 sitting right here on the desk, we can just put the two side by side and see what shakes out.
Truth be told, if you've held a G4 you've already go the basic shape and size of the OnePlus 2. LG's design is a little more curved, but the two phones are of nearly identical thickness and you have the same basic concerns with reaching the top of the screen with a single hand. Sitting side by side, you notice the OnePlus 2 is taller than the G4, but in actually using the two phones it doesn't make a noticeable difference. What does make a big difference is the more durable feel to the OnePlus 2, thanks to the aluminum frame that wraps around the phone. Despite both phones having removable backplates, the G4 with a plastic cover feels a lot more flimsy than the OnePlus 2. Leather backplates are another story, but in some cases that adds to the cost of the device.
The Alert Slider on the OnePlus 2 is by far the most elegant way to address Google's new notification system.
The Snapdragon 810 and 4GB of RAM in the OnePlus 2 should in theory outperform the Snapdragon 808 and 3GB of RAM in the LG G4, but for day to day tasks these two phones perform remarkably similar. OnePlus clocked the 810 lower for this release, and 4GB of RAM is only going to matter when you've been using the phone for a few days and a ton of information is cached between multiple apps. It's nice to have, but not really something you're going to need anytime soon.
The implementation of all the buttons is where things get different. LG's Rear Key design puts all of your buttons in your index finger, but the impressive fingerprint sensor on the OnePlus 2 make securing and unlocking your phone much easier. The Alert Slider on the OnePlus 2 is particularly unique, and by far the most elegant way to address Google's new notification system. Both setups are fairly unique in the Android ecosystem, and neither is necessarily better than the other. It's all about person preference here.
Ultimately this compare comes down to pricing and extras, unless you absolutely can't stand either LG's version of Android or OxygenOS. The $600 G4 comes with 32GB of onboard storage with a microSD slot, removable battery, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, NFC, and an option to add wireless charging for extra cash. The $389 OnePlus 2 comes with 64GB of onboard storage, no expansion or battery replacements, no Quick Charge capabilities, and no NFC or wireless charging.
Financially speaking the OnePlus 2 is a no-brainer if you're buying these phones outright, but if you're able to get the phone subsidized that may not apply here. There's no doubting the G4 offers more in the way of features, but it's up to you to decide if those features are worth the extra $200+.
Every phone gets compared to the iPhone, and for good reason, so we're going to do that with the Moto X Style. Motorola's making the comparison, so why not? These two phones are about as different as they could be while still being smartphones, so let's get right to it.
The Moto G 2015 is now official — and available — and here is where you can buy one. Motorola's latest budget phone packs quite a mean punch for an affordable price, and is likely to be something that will interest many. Featuring a 5-inch 1280x720 display, the phone is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, with 1GB or 2GB of RAM depending on which model you purchase.
Motorola surprised us today by introducing not two, but three new smartphones, with the Moto X Style standing as their new flagship. It's a big phone, physically and in aspiration. Where the previous generations of Moto X have been well-regarded but always offered a critical flaw, Motorola's pulling out all the stops with the Moto X Style.
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