Barnes & Noble's releasing a $50 Android tablet that does all the things Amazon won't let Kindles do

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Chris Meadows writes, "Barnes & Noble is coming out with a $50 Nook Android tablet, with hardware specs similar to Amazon's $50 Fire. The kicker is, this new Nook tablet will run plain-vanilla Android 6.0 Marshmallow and include the full suite of Google Play apps--unlike the Fire, which only permits installation of those apps Amazon deems suitable. Will this be enough to rescue the ailing Nook brand?" Read the rest

Your user data is secretly sent to China through a backdoor on some U.S. Android phones

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Included for free with some Android phones: “a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours.”

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Every Android device potentially vulnerable to "most serious" Linux escalation attack, ever

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The Dirty Cow vulnerability dates back to code included in the Linux kernel in 2007, and it can be trivially weaponized into an easy-to-run exploit that allows user-space programs to execute as root, meaning that attackers can take over the entire device by getting their targets to run apps without administrator privileges. Read the rest

Xiaomi phones are pre-backdoored; your apps can be silently overwritten

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Thijs Broenink audited the AnalyticsCore.apk app that ships pre-installed on all Xiaomi phones (Xiaomi has their own Android fork with a different set of preinstalled apps) and discovered that the app, which seemingly serves no useful purpose, allows the manufacturer to silently install other code on your phone, with unlimited privileges and access. Read the rest

Hotel's Android-based lightswitches are predictably, horribly insecure

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Matthew Garrett checked into a London hotel and discovered that the proprietors had decided that "light switches are unfashionable and replaced them with a series of Android tablets." Read the rest

Ultra thin BLU Vivo Air unlocked Android phone on sale for $100

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The BLU Vivo Air, a GSM 4G phone, has just 16GB of internal storage (with no microSD expansion), but at $100, this unlocked 0.2-inch thick phone with a 4.8-inch display is a great deal. A newer LTE version is available for $144. Read the rest

When will we get sex robots?

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Today we travel to the year 2086, a world where sex robots are on the market. What happens when we can buy a humanoid robot as a partner? Who wins and who loses? And where do you store the darn thing? [A note: if you listen to our show with or near young kids be aware that today’s episodes discusses the future of sex, and goes into some detail about sex toys, sex work and other sexy time things. If your kiddos are ready for a calm, reasonable discussion of sex and the sex industry, carry on! If you’re not there yet, that’s cool, but maybe skip this one.]

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In this episode we discuss everything from the warranties that a sex robot might have, to the ethical implications of owning a human form. We also discuss just how far away we are from having sex robots in the first place, something I explored a little more fully over at BBC today. What do you think? Would you use a sex robot?

▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest

DIY smart bathroom mirror

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Smart bathroom mirrors with Internet connections and integrated displays have been fodder for futurists (including me) since the early 1990s at least. Google engineer Max Braun decided to build his own from a two-way mirror, display panel, and Amazon Fire TV Stick running an Android application package for the UI. He posted about the project on Medium:

To the right of where my face would be we have the time and date. To the left is the current weather and a 24-hour forecast. Below are some recent news headlines...

Other concepts I’m playing with are traffic, reminders, and essentially anything that has a Google Now card. The idea is that you don’t need to interact with this UI. Instead, it updates automatically and there’s an open-ended voice search interface for anything else.

"My Bathroom Mirror Is Smarter Than Yours" (Medium)

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The new Nexus phones: beautiful, secure, and a shot across the bow

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Dan Gillmor has been playing with Google's new Nexus phones, the humungous 6P phablet and the smaller 5X, and he's written a shrewd and thorough review of what these phones do -- and more importantly, what they mean. Read the rest

New $50 Kindle Fire won't recognize sideloaded ebooks on SD cards

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The Kindle Fire comes with a SDXC card slot that outclasses every other tablet in its price range, accommodating storage cards that can hold as much as 128GB of media -- but it won't read ebooks from the slot. Read the rest

Newly disclosed Android bugs affect all devices

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The newly released bugs are part of the Stagefright family of vulnerabilities, disclosed by Zimperium Zlabs. Read the rest

Your Android unlock pattern sucks as much as your password did

In Tell Me Who You Are, and I Will Tell You Your Lock Pattern, Marte Løge presented some of her Master's Thesis research on the guessability of Android lock-patterns -- and guess what? Read the rest

WATCH: Why Japan already embraces our android future

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VPRO backlight looks at the current state of androids in Japan, including an interesting segment on geminoids, or robot twins made in the likeness of a human counterpart: Read the rest

Amazon Fire Phone for $159, includes one year of Prime

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On June 23, I posted that an Amazon Fire Phone (32GB, Unlocked GSM) was selling for $179. I almost bought one, because it includes a year of Amazon Prime, which I pay $100 per year for. That meant the real cost of the phone was $79.

Today, Amazon is offering the same phone for $159, including the same one year of Prime deal. That did it for me. I bought one. I'm going to use it as my international travel phone (my iPhone is locked by AT&T so I can't use another carrier's SIM card) and a replacement phone for when my daughter drops her iPhone in the toilet. Read the rest

Texas Instruments graphic calclulator boots Android

It's only Android 1.6, but still, that's impressive! Naturally, the sourcefiles are on Github. Read the rest

Motorola Moto G (2nd generation) - unlocked Android phone for $140

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For the next 8 hours, Amazon is selling the Motorola Moto G (2nd generation) for $140, which is $40 off its regular price. It's got good battery life and a 5-inch HD display. It's only 8gb, so if you buy one, get a 32GB microSD card for about $14.

Motorola Moto G (2nd generation) Unlocked - 8GB White ($140) on Amazon Read the rest

FBI's crypto backdoor plans require them to win the war on general purpose computing

The FBI wants backdoors in all your crypto, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron made backdoors an election promise, but as Stanford lawyer/computer scientist Jonathan Mayer writes, there's no way to effectively backdoor modern platforms without abolishing the whole idea of computers as we know them, replacing them with an imaginary and totalitarian computing ecosystem that does not exist and probably never will. Read the rest

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