Latest Android news — August 8
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 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