Google, Android manufacturers agree to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

 

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Google has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Google introduced the Android Device Manager application last year, allowing users to locate or wipe lost or stolen devices. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Microsoft may have silently killed its Scroogled ad campaign (updated)

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With the introduction of a new CEO and a few personnel shifts, Microsoft is definitely making some changes, but along with its corporate restructuring, the company appears to have a new take on marketing as well. Derrick Connell, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of Bing recently stated during an online Q&A session that the company was done with its highly publicized Scroogled ad campaign.

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30-second smartphone charge demonstrated using biological semiconductors

I’d find this video hard to believe were it not for its credentials. The WSJ reports that StoreDot, the start-up behind the technology, has its background in the Nanotechnology department of Tel Aviv University, and it’s been demonstrated at Microsoft’s Think Next conference.

Ultra-fast battery charging has been seen before, but using special (and not very portable) battery technology. This system charges batteries compact enough for smartphones. It’s demonstrated here with a Samsung Galaxy S3, but the company says that it plans to make versions for other phones …  Read more

Microsoft announces OWA for Android coming later this year

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Microsoft made some announcements related to upcoming Office features and the evolution of its email products today and within the blog post announced an upcoming OWA app for Android.

OWA, that’s Microsoft’s Outlook Web App that is already available on Windows Phone and through an iOS app, will arrive later this year as a native Android app. That doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t continue working directly with Android manufacturers to integrate Exchange support, but the app will give Android users access to the latest OWA features whenever they are ready to roll out.

Microsoft didn’t provide any other details but said that OWA for Android along with other email features announced in the blog post will roll out to Office 365 subscribers later this year.  Read more

Microsoft engineer exploits Google Maps openness to intercept FBI & Secret Service calls

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It’s not just fictitious towns you have to look out for on Google Maps: Microsoft engineer and former Marine Bryan Seely demonstrated to ValleyWag how he was able to exploit the open nature of the product to intercept phone calls to both the FBI and Secret Service.

The technique Seely used was incredibly simple …  Read more

The rumors were true: Nokia X phones run Android … but only just

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Rumors of Nokia launching an Android phone seemed unlikely for a company acquired by Microsoft, but the company today announced not just one Android device, but three: the Nokia X, X+ and XL. The company’s flirtation with Android does, however, appear to be a token one – not that Microsoft is pleased.

The three budget phones are effectively hybrid devices. Not only have they been given an overlay designed to make them look like they are running Windows Phone, they aren’t even running a standard version of Android and won’t be able to run apps from the Google Play store …

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