Weekly Android Wrap-Up: Issue 007

This week’s Android news brings a slew of new devices at IFA, SSL weakness in a number of popular apps, a guide to permissions management and refurbished Beats.
Here is your AndroGeek Weekly Wrap-Up for the week of September 1st.

#News

Samsung vs. Google: A New War in Mobile? ~ XDA Developers
From the rise of Tizen to Samsung’s recent announcement that it is making Here available for Galaxy devices, it would seem that Samsung is slowly working to push more of Google’s services into the background on their devices and establish a competitive set of their own.

Google Says Android Wear About to Get Even Smarter ~ CNet
Google is planning to push some updates to Android Wear devices in the near future. Current features include GPS support and the ability to connect Android Wear devices to more devices. However, this is just the start. According to Google, the lack of connection to carriers will allow them to push updates more frequently and they plan to take advantage of it.

Google Offers A Very Important Security Feature And You Should Enable It Right Away ~ Business Insider
With all the buzz this week about account hacks and leaked personal information, it is important to make sure you’re keeping your information secure. Google offers two-step verification for your Google Accounts. Better yet, you can enable it directly from your Android device.

Hundreds of Android apps open to SSL-linked intercept fail ~ zdnet
SSL is a popular way of securing data transmissions on phones and other devices. While you might think that seeing SSL listed in the options means you are safe to do as you please, you could be in for a surprise. A recent report exposed 308 apps, including the popular SwiftKey Keyboard, that fail to properly authenticate SSL credentials.

#Devices

IFA 2014 is upon us and the floodgates of new Android devices has opened. While we strive to provide quick updates on new devices here at AndroGeek, we also want to keep with the concept that this newsletter is a quick summary of all things Android. To avoid a 40-page wall of text in your inbox, we’re recommending checking out Android Pit’s excellent wrap up of the show.

Devices include the Samsung Gear S, Note 4, Note Edge, Gear VR, Sony Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, Z3 Tablet Compact, ASUS ZenWatch, Motorola Moto G (G2), Moto X (Moto +1), Moto 360, Huawei Ascend Mate 7, and HTC Desire 820 at the time of writing.

Huawei Ascend P7 Found to be Cheating–Futuremark Disqualifies It ~ Phone Arena
Ah! The gritty world of device benchmarks, where new devices slug it out to be at the top of the pile for frame rates, floating points and more. If you’ve been considering the new P7, you might want to take a second look. Seems Huawei has been tinkering to bloat benchmark scores.

Vibrating Smart Ring Brings Notifications Center to Your Finger ~ Mashable
Seems the market for wearables just keeps expanding. While it doesn’t offer the flexibility of a smartwatch, MOTA’s new smart ring fits on your finger and makes sure you never miss a notification again.

#Rumors&Leaks

Google May Replace Your Broken Nexus 5 For Free Under A New ‘Unofficial’ Warranty Policy ~ Android Police
With all the official device news flying fast and furious at IFA this weekend, rumors are a bit scarce. But if you happen to one a broken Nexus 5, this rumor could be one of the best you’ve heard in a very long time. Details are still a little sketchy at this point, but this round-up gives you all the information you need to give it a shot.

#Games&Apps

What to Look for in Android Permissions ~ TechRepublic
With Android continuing to gain popularity, they are increasingly targetted for malware and other shady dealings. The permissions system offers a way to check out exactly what an app has access to before installing it. Unfortunately, it is a bit cryptic to say the least. TechRepublic offers a handy guide on how to break down the explanations of permissions and ensure your apps are safe. For further explanation, Yahoo! Tech recently shows just what many apps might be doing with your permissions and data.

Chrome on Android is the Latest Google App to Get a Flatter Design ~ Engadget
Google’s new Material Design movement is gaining momentum. If you’ve recently noticed that Chrome looks different on your favorite device, it seems that updates are rolling out. We’re already seeing it on our Galaxy S4 here at AndroGeek and have to say, it looks nice.

Evernote for Android Completely Overhauled with New Look, Navigation, Web clipper and More ~ The Next Web
Evernote is a popular note taking and organization application with an endless number of uses. The recent 6.0 update features a new design that completely overhauls the user experience. The new + button makes creating and sorting notes even simpler while swipe controls puts everything at your fingertips in an intuitive manner.

Facebook Becomes First Non-Google App to Hit 1-Billion Installs in the Play Store ~ Android Police
Love it or hate it, it seems that the Facebook is popular in the Android ecosystem. Even more surprising, Facebook Messenger is catching up quick, with over 500-million downloads under its belt.

#Deals

  • Protect your sheep and revel in exploding alien invaders for free in the fast-paced tower defense game TowerMadness on StackSocial
  • Enjoy seamless access to your PC from your Android device with Jump. The RDP and VNC client is on sale this week for just $2.49. Save yourself making one trip back to the office for an important file and you’ve already recovered the cost!
  • Music lovers seem to have a love or hate relationships with Beats by Dre. However, if you love your music with plenty of boom, Groupon has the Over-Ear Studio model on sale this week for just $179.99.
  • The Kiwi Choice U-Powered Solar and Portable USB battery charger offers compatibility with virtually any USB-equipped device. Solar power and USB charging provides plenty of ways to keep your battery and devices topped up while on the go while a 2000mAh cell provides plenty of juice to top off most devices.
  • Etymotic Research HF-series earbuds were recently featured in the Best Earbud Headphones round-up at the Informr. If you’re looking for an excellent set of earbuds and don’t mind refurbished, the HF2’s are available on eBay at just $73.99.

That’s the big news in Android for this week!
We’ll be back next weekend with a new list of bits and bytes for you to enjoy.