All the latest Android news, updated throughout the day.
Welcome to the new way to keep track of all the latest Android news here on Android Central. Throughout the day we'll update this running feed everything happening in the world of Android, from the smaller bite-sized nuggets to more important game-changing developments.
All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).
August 15, 2016
04:50 We're getting our first look at what might be 2016's HTC-built Nexus phones Read More
August 13, 2016
1:50 pm Evan Blass has outed photos of the unannounced HTC Desire 10 Pro in black and white. The phone has unique gold accents, and is believed to be the new head of the Desire family, launching in September. Earlier in the week Blass outlined the entry-level Desire 10 Lifestyle on VentureBeat; that model apparently sports a quad-core Snapdragon processor and 720p display.
August 12, 2016
8:55am Sony has released a new app in the Play Store allowing Xperia X Performance users in a small number of countries to sign up for an Android 7.0 Nougat beta, as the company did with its Xperia Z5 devices and Marshmallow.
According to Xperia Blog, the beta is only available in the Nordics, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Netherlands.
August 11, 2016
5:45 pm It appears that Google is no longer requiring Google+ logins for leaving reviews in the Play Store. The news comes from Android Police, who noticed that the company is slowly removing Google+'s +1 buttons, which traditionally stood in for "likes" on the social network.
This is not the first unbundling of Google+ from the overarching Google infrastructure; last year, the company made it possible to leave YouTube comments without a Google+ account.
8:00am PTC has announced Vuforia 6, its latest AR development platform. This platform will support phones, tablets, VR platforms and more.
Vuforia democratizes AR development by providing simple solutions to difficult problems. For developers, the Vuforia Engine delivers advanced computer vision technology that determines the precise 3D location of certain objects in the camera's field of view. By using this location, a developer can create AR content that will appear anchored to the object beneath.
Interested developers can get more information and the tools from PTC's site.
7:55am OnePlus has announced that the next OTA update for all of its phones will include fixes for the Qualcomm exploits. Carl Pei does not state when the updates will be available at this time.
4:00am Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note 7 in India. The phone will retail for ₹59,900 ($895), and will be available in stores starting September 2.
3:45am U.K. carrier Three has expanded its "Feel At Home" program — which lets its customers roam abroad without incurring any charges — to 24 new countries, covering most of the EU. The move comes nine months ahead of EU's mandate requiring the removal of roaming charges, although it remains to be seen how the Brexit vote impacts roaming in the region.
August 10, 2016
9:30pm LG has announced that the V20 will be the first phone with a 32 bit Quad DAC. Much like last year's V10, LG is partnering with ESS to bring premium audio to its upcoming flagship. The phone will also be the first to offer Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. That's all we know for now, but we should have all the details on September 6, which is when LG will unveil the V20.
5:45pm A Canadian court has ruled that SMS messages are not private, and "once sent," are no longer under your control. From the ruling:
The Crown's position ... is that once a person sends a message into the ether, he or she loses the requisite level of control over that message needed to challenge its subsequent acquisition by authorities from sources outside of that person's control.
Thankfully, there are alternatives like WhatsApp that offer end-to-end encryption. Here's everything you need to know about getting started with WhatsApp.
9:15am Samsung's latest phone screen is better than Samsung's previous phone screen. Who'd have thought? Kidding aside, DisplayMate, a well-known display testing company, has crowned the Galaxy Note 7 with the title of the best smartphone screen ever. Not only does Samsung's newest phone have a wide, accurate DCI-P3 color gamut, but it is the brightest on the market, going up to 1000 nits in the right situations.
9:05am The Canadian variant of the Galaxy Note 7 will run a Snapdragon 820 chip, rather than the Exynos 8890 powering other international variants. According to Samsung Canada, the move was made to better align the phone with U.S. markets.
8:50 am ASUS' ZenWatch 3 will have a round display, as revealed by a recent FCC filing. We're expecting to see the latest Android Wear device from ASUS at the IFA show in Berlin, and it'll almost certainly be running the new Android Wear 2.0 out of the box.
7:00 am Could Samsung launch its China-only 6GB Note 7 elsewhere? We've got some thoughts.
5:30 am Samsung Galaxy S6 edge starts getting the Aug. 2016 Android security patch in Europe, according to SamMobile. The changelog for the update mentions fixes for a "critical security vulnerability." Worth noting: This has nothing to do with QuadRooter, as the GS6 doesn't use Qualcomm internals.
August 9, 2016
2:30 pm TripIt refreshes its Android app with modern design, easier navigation. The fresh design shows a more comprehensive timeline-like view of trips, and lets you quickly jump between different parts of itineraries with a new tabbed interface. You can download the latest version from the Google Play Store.
2:20 pm Kia announces free Android Auto upgrades for some cars that run the latest navigation and UVO3 infotainment systems. To see if your car is eligible for the free software update to enable Android auto, visit Kia's UVO website.
2:00 pm Google Chrome will finally block all Flash content by December 2016. An update to Chrome 53 in September will block all non-essential Flash content on webpages by default, and in December Chrome 55 will go a step further by blocking all Flash content entirely. Only pages that rely on Flash content to display the page properly will be allowed through.
1:00 pm Google's Inbox adds project-management tie-ins with Trello and GitHub. The new feature lets Inbox roll together several disparate email notifications from the platforms into an easy-to-digest email that gives you a glimpse at all of the recent changes. Further, the latest update adds better integration for Google Alerts, combining multiple Alerts into one email, and Google Drive, where you can now insert and manage Drive links locally.
10:00 am CAD renders claim to offer an early look at the LG V20. The upcoming successor to the V10 looks like a collision between that phone and the G5. Renders obtained by Android Authority appear to show second ticker display and possible modular section, along with a hefty dual-lens camera bump.
6:30 am Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in South Korea have totalled over 200,000, according to the Korea Herald. The number is double that of the Galaxy S7, and the highest for any Galaxy device in the country.
6:20 am Google Now is making it easier to follow interests, including personalities, TV shows, sports teams and stocks. Screenshots obtained by Android Police show a colorful new UI for choosing from a wide selection of categories, including things that are "popular in your area."
4:30 am Google has confirmed to AC that Android's Verify Apps feature can block the big scary QuadRooter exploit. That's a big deal because Verify Apps is enabled by default on 90 percent of Android phones (back to 4.2 Jelly Bean).
4:15 am Google Maps has picked up a sizeable update with a new Wi-Fi only offline mode. The feature is designed to facilitate navigation in areas of no cellular connectivity, with the app switching to offline mode until it finds a Wi-Fi network. There's also the option to save offline areas to an SD card.
3:30 am LeEco is discounting several products as a part of its "LeMall for all" promotion. The sale sees LeEco's USB-C earbuds bundled with the budget Le 2, and a price cut on the manufacturer's accessories. Those in the market for a Le Max 2 will receive a free case, screen protector, ring bracelet, as well as the USB-C earbuds.
3:15 am Facebook is testing its Wi-Fi service in India. Called Express Wifi, the service lets customers purchase data from local internet service providers. Facebook is providing the software that gives local vendors the ability to roll out data services through public Wi-Fi hotspots in rural areas. The social network finished its first trial with state-run BSNL, offering data via 125 rural Wi-Fi hotspots.
With Express Wifi, we're working with carriers, internet service providers, and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity to underserved locations around the world. We're currently live in India, and are expanding to other regions soon.
Express Wifi empowers local entrepreneurs to help provide quality internet access to their neighbors and make a steady income. Working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they're able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.
August 8, 2016
8:00 pm Niantic Labs released another significant update to the incredibly popular Pokémon Go for Android, introducing a host of new features. Now the game detects when you are in a vehicle and asks you to confirm, a là Waze, that you are not driving. The company is also testing a replacement for the Nearby box called "Sightings," which appears to work similarly, but makes it easier to track Pokémon spawned in the vicinity.
5:30 pm HTC offering free JBL USB-C headphones with every HTC 10 purchase from its online store. The headphones offer active noise cancellation without the need for extra batteries, and have a "sport" design with an ergonomic design and water resistance.
The headphone deal gets even sweeter as HTC is also throwing in a $100 accessory gift card for use on its website when you buy the phone as well.
5:00 pm eBay adds One Time Passwords, Android Wear support in its latest app update. The new One Time Password system lets you log into your eBay account on mobile or the desktop via a one-time use code that's sent via SMS to your phone. On Android Wear, the eBay app can now search and see basic information about items before pulling it up on your phone, as well as receive alerts about auctions.
You can download the latest version of the eBay app for Android from the Google Play Store right here.
4:30 pm Google Drive is down for a small number of users, according to Google's Apps Status page. The company says, "We estimate that the issue is affecting less than 1.5% of the Drive user base." As of the time of writing, the issue has been persisting since 11:50 am EST.
Update: As of 5:30 pm ET, the issues with Google Drive appear to be resolved.
11:50 am The Moto Z will cost close to $900 CAD when it launches in Canada in September, says MobileSyrup. The Moto Z's outright price will be affected by the weak Canadian Dollar, which has led to higher handset prices across the board.
11:45 am Is Check Point Software's claim that 900 million Qualcomm-based Android phones are vulnerable to malware the real deal? Alex Dobie breaks down the 5 things you need to know about the QuadRooter vulnerabilities.
We don't have explicit confirmation from Google that "Verify Apps" is scanning for QuadRooter, but given that Google was informed months ago, chances are it is. And if it is, Android will identify any QuadRooter-harboring app as harmful and show a big scary warning screen before letting you get anywhere near installing it.
In that case, are you still "vulnerable?" Well technically. You could conceivably go to Security settings, enable Unknown Sources, then ignore the full-screen warning that you're about to install malware. But at that point, to a large extent, it's on you.
10:05 am The world's worst-named smartphone, the BlackBerry DTEK50, is now available from Unlocked Mobiles in the UK, priced at £274.99.
8:20 am Pokémon Go hits 100 million installs on the Play Store. It took just over a month, but the most popular mobile game of all time has just surpassed 100 million installs on Android. Having recently expanded to 15 new countries, the game has been attracting a steady stream of new players.
5:50 am OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei squashed rumors of a mini variant of the OnePlus 3. The company will continue to focus on one flagship a year. (And why not, with the OnePlus 3 apparently selling extremely well.)
5:45 am Qualcomm has signed a 3G/4G patent license agreement with vivo in China. Qualcomm has similar deals in place with Lenovo, QiKu, Haier, Tianyu, and OPPO. From the press release:
Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm has granted vivo a royalty-bearing patent license to develop, manufacture and sell 3G WCDMA and CDMA2000 and 4G LTE (including "3-mode" GSM, TD-SCDMA and LTE-TDD) complete devices for use in China. The royalties payable by vivo are consistent with the terms of the rectification plan submitted by Qualcomm to China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
5:30 am Amazon is discounting a whole lot of phones for its Great Indian Sale. We're finally seeing a price cut on Xiaomi's Mi 5, which is available for ₹22,999 ($345).
3:20 am Security firm Check Point reports that driver-level vulnerabilities in some Qualcomm-based Android devices could put users at risk in a collection of exploits it's calling "QuadRooter." We'll dig deeper into this in a dedicated article later today, but this latest security scare follows a familiar pattern: Sexy brand name, headlines saying X hundred million vulnerable, and of course there's an app to download to see if you're affected.
Bottom line for most users: There's no evidence that this is being used in the wild, and Google is almost certainly filtering this stuff from the Play Store already. (We've got emails out to confirm.) Stay tuned for an in-depth breakdown later today!
Update: We've compiled 5 things you need to know about QuadRooter.
2:30 am Also noteworthy from the Korean press: Koh suggests Samsung is working on foldable smartphones, but that "we need more time to provide meaningful innovations and convenience considering the current status of technology."
Previous reports have suggested Samsung could launch such a phone as early as MWC 2017 next February.
2:00 am The president of Samsung's mobile business Koh Dong-jin hinted at the possibility of eliminating the standard flat-screen variant from the Galaxy S line. The company is hitting satisfactory yields of edge displays, and will likely focus on the curved screens as the differentiator for upcoming models in the Galaxy S series.
From Korea Herald:
Samsung has considered that it would make the edge display as the identity of the Galaxy S smartphone lineup if the company can provide consumers differentiated user experience through software and user-friendly functions (for the curved screen).
August 7, 2016
5:00 pm Android Central's new news page went live, and there was much rejoicing!!
4:55 pm Steve Hemmerstoffer (aka @onleaks) posts CAD images of the Sony "Xperia XR". It's the phone we saw leaked in the flesh a few weeks back. But the dimensions make this look closer to a 5-inch handset, not the larger model we were hoping for. Release date unclear, but Sony has a press conference coming up at IFA on Sept. 1.
Update: The leaker suggests a speculative release date of early September for the new Sony phone.
12:00 pm Evan Blass (@evleaks) says Verizon is currently testing this year's (purportedly HTC-built) "Nexus" smartphones. Blass implies that the phones may not be Nexus-branded after all, saying "note the quotation marks."
3:00 am Pokémon Go expands to 15 new Asian countries, including Taiwan and Singapore. Read More
2:30 am Verizon Wireless is now taking pre-orders for the HTC Desire 530 ahead of the budget phone's availability on Aug. 11. Read More