How to get a sneak preview of Instant Apps

February 23rd, 2017

2017February22_Android_AAt its I/O 2016 conference, Google introduced us to Android Instant Apps. This built-in feature allows users to access a cloud version of an app without having to download it from the Google Play Store. While the technology isn’t yet available to the general public, Google is running a limited test of the technology for a few devices. Here’s how you can opt in and test Instant Apps.

Activating Instant Apps To enable Instant Apps, go to your phone’s Settings menu, find Google under the Personal category, then select Instant Apps under Services and toggle it on.

Since this feature has limited availability some Android users might not have this option. Reports indicate that Google Pixels running Android 7.1.2 and Nexus 6P devices with Android 7.1.1 installed are able to access Instant Apps.

However, don’t worry if you don’t have any of these phones. Google usually rolls out new updates in waves, so make sure to update your Android OS as often as possible and check for the Instant Apps feature every week.

How to use it If you manage to activate Instant Apps, simply go to Chrome, search for an application -- so far, Wish, Periscope, Viki, and Buzzfeed are the only Instant Apps available for testing -- look for a search result that includes the word Instant, then click on Open App.

Once you’ve loaded up the app, you can use it like you would any other local app. For example, you can open up the Wish Instant App to access your online shopping account, browse through product catalogs, and even make a purchase right from your phone’s web browser.

But if you want a local version of the application, pull down the Instant Apps Menu and tap on Install.

What’s the reason for the new feature? The lack of quick and easy access to applications dramatically slows down app adoption rates. Sometimes users just want to access an app quickly, get what they need, and move on.

Another case for Instant Apps is when users are dealing with a crowded WiFi or 4G/LTE connection. In these situations, downloading full applications would take too long, whereas Instant Apps give you access to only what you need without using too much bandwidth.

And although the Instant Apps feature is still in its testing phase, it does present eCommerce and online services companies with new possibilities to market their applications and their business.

The only downside is, users have to be patient for just a bit longer to get their hands on Instant Apps. Fortunately, we’re always on top of the latest Android and Google developments. Contact us today, and we’ll make sure you get Instant Apps the moment it rolls out to all users.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
February 8th, 2017

2017February7_Android_AThanks to Google, the apps on your Android phone that you wish you could use on a larger device might finally find their way to a bigger platform. Even though Android apps are designed for a mobile platform, the apps are also available for the Google Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks. Does this mean Android is taking over the more established players in laptop apps? Not necessarily, but they’re taking the first steps in turning that into reality.

Simplicity, functionality, variety

Chromebooks are marketed as no-frills computers that bank on their simplicity, functionality, and security. By giving Chromebooks access to Google Play, the search engine giant’s application store, users can access thousands of apps, including Skype, and manage Office files more seamlessly.

Certain types of Chromebooks are now able to install Android apps, but they are few. The good news is that 2017 Chromebook models from manufacturers such as Acer, Asus, Dell, H&P, and Lenovo are included in the list of Chromebooks that will work well with Android. If this move proves successful, other operating systems, especially Windows, may struggle to find a way to keep up.

Benefits of a Chromebook-Android combination

The most obvious benefit would be the increased number of options for Chromebook users. While Chromebooks have their own set of useful Google apps, having the capability to download Android apps is a substantial enhancement. For instance, users can now download and use Skype on their Chromebook.

As Chromebooks welcome Google Play in its environment, they usher in more capacity without increasing the prices. Manufacturers such as Lenovo and Acer have Chromebook models that are competitively priced at just under $300.

A caveat for those looking to switch to Chromebook

If you’re thinking of switching to Chromebooks to get the most of Google apps, there are a few things you should remember. Since Android apps are designed for touchscreen devices, it might be a bit of a letdown for users of Chromebooks that have no such feature. Android will definitely adjust the specifications of Chromebooks apps, but non-touchscreen Chromebook users won’t enjoy the same benefits that users of the new models have. Moreover, not all Android apps may be fully optimized for laptop (or Chromebooks), although the masterminds behind this merger will certainly make the necessary tweaks soon after the initial verdict comes in.

Is it time to buy a Chromebook?

If you’re a Google apps power user, Chromebooks are a good way to go. They’re sleek, functional, and adaptable. But don’t ditch your current laptops or Macs just yet. The integration is yet to be finalized, so the Android-powered Chromebooks may well be “unfinished products” at this stage.

There’s always a good reason to assess the computers your business uses. Your system’s speed, functionality, and security dwindle over time and upgrades or replacements may be necessary. If you need dependable recommendations on computers that are best for your office, get in touch with us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
January 19th, 2017

2017January18_Android_AGoogle Now has been around for years, but the service still doesn’t have the name recognition of Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. Considering that it is delivered on nearly every new Android device, it’s a crime that it doesn’t get more use. For a crash course in some of Google’s best AI-powered voice-commands, take a look at five of our favorites.

Before you can start playing with Google’s AI, you need to turn on the service. On your Android device, press and hold the home key at the bottom of the screen, then swipe upwards. This will open the Google Now interface. Tap the search bar at the top of the screen, then the Google icon on the left-hand side of the search bar.

From there, tap the three stacked lines in the upper left corner of the screen, followed by Settings, and then Voice. Once you’ve toggled the “From any screen option,” saying the phrase “Ok Google” any time your phone is unlocked will prompt it to start listening for a command. Turn it on and try some of the examples below!

Tip #1: Reminders

Google Now can certainly help with information discovery, but what about when you just need a little help managing your calendar? The phrase “Remind me to [action] + [time]” is all you need to set a quick reminder before you have a chance to manually add it to your calendar.

And if you’re not sure when you need to be reminded, ask Google to set the notification based on location. “Remind me to buy eggs next time I’m at Safeway.” If you have location services turned on, your phone will prompt you next time you're near the store.

Tip #2: Anything involving your clock app

Whether you want to “Set an alarm/time for [time]” to achieve productivity goals, or you need to know “What time is it in [location]” before calling a client in another time zone, Google Now can essentially perform any task from your native clock app with a simple request.

Tip #3: Convert/calculate anything

As the business landscape becomes more and more globalized, we’re constantly calculating currencies, units of measurement, and simple sums. For example, “What is X dollars in euros?” could help you easily convert the price of an invoice, or “How many kilometers are in X miles?” could shorten the time required to calculate how much material you need to order for a new product.

Tip #4: Retrieve documents from Gmail

Searching Google from your desktop, you may have noticed that important documents from your email account occasionally show up at the top of a search page. That’s because Google can recognize official documents such as flight itineraries, hotel receipts, and utility bills. Just say “Show me my flight to Phoenix” and Google Now will pull it up immediately.

Tip #5: Basic phone commands

The majority of the applications that came with your phone can receive voice commands. “Take a photo,” “Open acme.com,” “Turn on Wi-Fi,” and “Open Salesforce1,” are just some of the ways you can minimize the time you spend tapping your phone.

There are dozens more, and while such small tasks may seem silly, they represent a fundamental shift in the way we interact with our technology. Smartphones should help you do more, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s just a waste of time. Spend a few moments tinkering with your Google Now and give us a call today to find out more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
December 31st, 2016

2016december30_android_aGoogle is the driving force behind a wide variety of devices and operating systems today. It is well-established that Google is in charge of Android devices and operating systems. However, Google has announced its latest operating system, Android Things, and people are wondering what this will mean for operating systems from Google going forward. Get to know more about Android Things and what impact it may have on your business dealings and customer base.

Android Things is a Google operating system designed for use and compatibility with connected speakers, routers, security cameras, smart thermostats, and more. Essentially these are the "things" that need to be connected through WiFi to a smartphone or tablet to be controlled as part of a larger network or system.

Google originally announced an Internet of Things operating system referred to as Brillo. However, Brillo did not do as much or as well as expected, and it has rarely been mentioned since. Rather than continue to allow Brillo to fade into obscurity, Google decided to rebrand Brillo as Android Things, an improvement that offers the same developer tools as other Android operating systems.

It is important to keep in mind that Android Things is a background operating system rather than an obviously visible system like the system on a phone or tablet. But the fact that it can accomplish more complex tasks quickly and efficiently can mean big things for its use in business.

If you are interested in knowing more about Android Things or about using devices that put this OS to use, contact us right away. We’ll help you keep up with the latest development updates so you can be the first in line when Android Things products are widely released.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
December 16th, 2016

2016december15_android_aGoogle has to contend with yet another malware attack that targets older Android users. Gooligan is a variation of the very successful Ghost Push malware that infected more than four million phones in 2015. This time the point of attack is the Google account. The malware does not attempt to glean info, but rather to initiate downloads. Read on to find out more about the Gooligan virus and how it is affecting your business

It is estimated that since Gooligan’s August 2016 appearance, the malware has infected more than 1.3 million Google accounts -- one of the largest single thefts in recent history.

With the range of personal data available in Google accounts, it is interesting to note that Gooligan's purpose isn't to steal the valuable information; instead, it’s to distribute advertising fraud. With as much as $320,000 a month going into the pockets of Gooligan developers, it is obvious that the ploy is working.

How Gooligan is Moving Through the Internet Consumers are falling prey to the virus when they attempt to download a fake app from a third-party app store. Instead of getting the program that they were promised, they inadvertently allow the Gooligan malware to root into their Android OS and take control of it. Once in control, the virus downloads apps using your Google information. These apps are infused with ads that belong to Gooligan developers, bringing them a never-ending stream of income.

Where Gooligan Came from and Where it's Going Gooligan appears to be a variation of the 2015 Ghost Push malware, which was also wildly successful at infecting Android users. Google is currently working with Android engineers and Internet security firms to quelch the malware; they believe that through cooperative efforts, it will disappear from public attention. As it is, those who have updated Android versions of 6.0 or greater are not affected by the malware.

You can lower your chances of contracting the Gooligan malware by downloading apps only from Google Play and checking your system through the security firm Check Point to ensure your Android hasn't already been infected. For more information on Gooligan and how you can protect your company, contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
November 30th, 2016

2016november29_android_aAndroid users may have reason for concern regarding their device security as well as the information transmitted by their phones. A backdoor security breach has recently been identified in Android devices that could cause user data to be sent to China. Because of the major risks that this security breach poses, it is important for Android users to learn about this vulnerability as soon as possible.

Android devices are made with various software and firmware from a variety of companies. One company that creates firmware and software for numerous companies around the world is known as Adups, a Chinese company based in Shanghai. One of the features of the offerings is that the firmware or software automatically sends data back to Adups every 72 hours. The data sent includes information like contact lists, phone call lists, and text messages.

A company known as Kryptowire, a security firm that specializes in detecting potential risks and breaches, found that the firmware developed by Adups may have been installed on a wide array of Android devices, unbeknownst to consumers that purchased the products. Adups, for its part, claims that the software was developed for a specific client that needed to track such information to determine customer service and satisfaction.

Even if the software was designed only for one specific client, Kryptowire found it on the product of at least one other Adups client and has concerns that other companies and devices that work with Adups may also be affected. The leaking of data to Adups or other companies and persons in China (or anywhere in the world) represents a huge security risk for both business and individual Android product users. The backdoor access to the device does not just let data get transmitted to Adups but makes it possible for someone to access and take control of the device without the Android device owner knowing or allowing the access.

As of yet, Google is attempting to catch up with Kryptowire's findings and the known affected clients to try to close this backdoor access and keep user data as safe and secure as possible. Contact us for further information or to find out whether your device is one of those known to be affected by this significant and worrisome data breach.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
November 17th, 2016

2016november16_android_aWith new technological devices released almost on a daily basis, your new Android tablet can become obsolete before you've even gotten any productive use out of it. But instead of tossing it into the drawer with your old cell phone and other electronic gadgets, recycle it into something you can use long into the future. Keep reading to find five new uses for your old Android tablet.

Security Camera As long as your Android has a workable battery and screen, you can turn it into a webcam security system. Simply download a security app like Salient Eye (easily found on Google Play) or At Home Video Streamer, set it up as per the directions and place it where you want to observe. It can even be rigged to turn on as it senses movement.

Digital Camera Photo Frame Don't spend $30 on a digital picture frame when you can use an old Android tablet. Again you will have to visit the Google Play or other app store, search for a program similar to Photo Slides, plug the Android into a wall socket, and you have pictures you can scroll through whenever you want and display on your mantel.

Portable Reference Library You have probably used your Android for book storage already, so why not turn it into a functional library? Visit Amazon Kindle or Google Play Books and download your choice of reference books and eBooks. Kwix, the offline version of Wikipedia, can provide you with encyclopedia-like entries without having to go online.

Radio or Wireless-only device You can download Pandora or I Heart Radio and use your Android to play your favorite music without interfering with other open computer programs and without using valuable memory.

Universal Remote It is so easy to lose the remote in the folds of the couch or slots in a magazine rack. It's not so easy to lose an Android tablet. By installing a universal remote app like Peel Smart Remote, AnyMote, or Irdroid, you can use your old Android as a universal remote for televisions and other electronic systems in the office.

There is no reason to throw your old Android tablet into a drawer when you upgrade -- especially not when there are so many apps available that can help you repurpose your device into something useful and unique. For more information on how to recycle your old tech devices, give us a call. We'll be glad to help you save money and find a new use for your old tablet.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
October 29th, 2016

2016october28_android_aAndroid developers are on the lookout for a malicious malware that is attacking app stores and users across the United States, France and other European countries. The malware, known as DressCode, is particularly dangerous to corporations that allow employees to use their own devices for work. Read on to find out more about the DressCode malware and what you can do to keep it from affecting your online activity.

DressCode

The malware in question is part of the DressCode family of malicious programs. It has the potential to invade and spread through large corporations, infiltrating and downloading sensitive files directly from their networks. There are currently more than 3,000 cases of the ‘trojanized’ apps being sold in popular app stores, including 400 instances in the Google Play store alone.

The real danger of DressCode malware

This new Android malware is particularly hard to contain, as it hides within games and optimization boosters, occupying very little of the programming footprint and thus being very hard to detect. When an app containing it is downloaded, DressCode can invade whatever network the infected device is connected to. For corporations that allow employees to bring their own devices into the office for work, this ability to springboard from one device to another can be devastating.

The DressCode malware, once in control of a system, can communicate with the trojan’s developers and receive orders from them. It can turn infected devices into digital zombies than can be commanded to send spam and carry out attacks on other systems.

Avoiding the Impact of DressCode

There's no doubt that this new Android malware is a vicious infection that can leave hundreds of thousands of Android users suffering. But there are ways that you can avoid being one of those suffering from its effects.

To ensure that the apps you want to download are legitimate, it’s a good idea to start by checking their reviews. And while it should go without saying, we must remind you to never download anything from an app store that isn’t backed by reliable providers like Apple and Google.

Another solution is to install a mobile security program that blocks malware from being downloaded onto your Android device. Finally, always avoid unsecured networks, including public Wi-Fi.

We absolutely love our Android devices. Unfortunately, mobile devices, regardless of their brand, are some of the most vulnerable pieces of technology on the market. They switch between networks like you switch between apps, and that means a lot of security exposure. The only way to truly minimize these concerns is to hand off the management of your mobile device protocols to the professionals. Get in touch with us today to start the conversation about how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
October 14th, 2016

2016october13_android_aTechnology companies have been pushing phone-based payment methods for years now. And the various vehicles for this type of transaction are surprisingly similar, right down to their names: Apple Pay (for iPhones) and Android Pay (for Android devices). For those who have been waiting for Google’s mobile wallet to find its footing, we believe that time has come. Read on for a quick review of how the service works.

Google introduced Android pay in September of 2015 as a successor to its simpler, less functional Google Wallet. And for the majority of its lifespan, Android Pay has been available only in the US, but as of July this year it’s also available in the UK, Singapore, and Australia. With the addition of those three countries came hundreds of supported financial institutions, totaling nearly 400 in all.

So, we know the who and the where...but what exactly is Android Pay? One of its functions is to safely store credit card, debit card, membership card, and gift card information until you need those details to complete a financial transaction. After installing and opening the app, you’ll see credit cards that are already associated with your Google account, and an option to add new cards -- which is as simple as taking a picture of it.

Obviously, we wouldn’t write an entire blog on a service that just stores this information, so you’ve probably guessed that you can also make payments from your phone as well. If technology is all about making things easy, Android Pay is way ahead of the curve. To make a payment, just unlock your phone and place it near any point-of-sale device that is compatible (usually marked by an Android Pay sticker). You don’t need to open up the app; the two devices automatically exchange a one-time encrypted token to create a secure connection, and you can tap which card you’d like to use.

All your transactions are organized in the app for quick reference and tracking, including payments made online rather than via tapping your phone at physical locations. All you need to utilize this futuristic service is a smartphone with Android 4.4 or higher and near field communication (NFC) hardware. Both are common on most modern smartphones.

Details on the security protocols for Android Pay are a bit complicated for this venue, but in a nutshell your accounts are even more safe than using physical credit and debit cards. Previously, when breaches of major retailers took place, attackers had access to records detailing customer card numbers. With Android Pay, all they have access to is the randomly generated tokens that authorize the transaction -- your account numbers are never transmitted wirelessly to prevent snooping criminals from grabbing them out of thin air.

It seems like every day there is some new technology or service that feels like something from a distant future. Between work and a personal life, most of us don’t have a lot of time for adopting groundbreaking technology, be it social or business-related. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Get in touch with us today, and your Android device will never be behind the times again.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
September 28th, 2016

2016september27_androidtablet_aHuawei is one of the biggest manufacturers of networking and telecommunications equipment in the world. While Huawei ranks highly among smartphone manufacturers in Asia, it has yet to break into the North American market. In the most recent development, Huawei and Google are planning a partnership that would propel Huawei into the American tablet market. Keep reading for more details. People spend a lot of time looking for and comparing the best tablets on the market. Obviously, some prefer the iPad Pro 12.9 for its gigantic screen, but for those who just can't get enough of the customizations available for Android devices, a Google Nexus Android tablet is best.

But whether Google retains the ‘Nexus’ name remains to be seen. On October 4, the tech giant will host an event to release devices in their new ‘Pixel’ line and may add a Huawei tablet to this family. With its rumored 4GB of RAM and top-of-the-line specifications, the new device from Google and Huawei will enable users to enjoy an experience on par with that of a full-fledged desktop computer -- all while stripping the out-of-the-box model of any unnecessary manufacturer software and bloatware.

In 2015, Huawei manufactured Google’s Nexus 6P smartphone, which was lauded as "the most premium Nexus ever." That fact, combined with Huawei’s existing tablet prowess from its experiences with the MediaPad M3, make this an all-star team-up.

Although we only know a handful of specifics about this new tablet, we do know that we love the Huawei/Google smartphone collaboration and can expect good things. Being a leader in the industry means constantly keeping your ear to the ground for new and exciting releases. You can trust us to always be one step ahead of the competition with our insider knowledge. For all your Android and mobile device questions, we’re the authority. Get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android