Verizon to Test AppFlash Search Tool On Some Android Phones

Verizon Wireless is prepared to roll out a new search tool on select Android handsets over the next few weeks. The tool, called Appflash, was developed by Evie. AppFlash will serve as the device’s default launcher, or essential home screen experience. Much like the Google Now launcher, AppFlash will take over the left home screen of select Android devices where it will present a search tool for seeking out movies, music, restaurants, apps, as well as on-device content. AppFlash will offer recommendations based on user preferences, which it will learn over time. In order for it to do that, AppFlash will collect quite a bit of user data. According to the company’s privacy policy, AppFlash will collect “your mobile number, device identifiers, device type and operating system, and information about the AppFlash features and services you use and your interactions with them.” The app also looks at what apps are installed on the device, location data, and contacts. Verizon insists the information is used to improve the AppFlash user experience, but it may also be shared with “the Verizon family of companies,” including AOL for advertising purposes. Verizon insists the tool requires an explicit opt-in before it can be used, and that users can prevent AppFlash from collecting location and contact information. AppFlash users will be able to opt-out of certain targeted advertisements, but they won’t be able to stop the app from collating basic data points once they give the initial green light. Verizon spokesperson Scott Charlston told Phone Scoop that AppFlash requires only about 20 MB of storage and is being tested in a limited commercial trial rolling out to certain new phones. AppFlash will be preinstalled on these phones before they ship, but end users can disable AppFlash and use the launcher of their choice. Verizon said the LG K20 V is the first phone to ship with AppFlash on board.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Bug Puts Android Wear 2.0 Rollout On Hold

Google has pulled back the reigns on its deployment of Android Wear 2.0. Earlier this week the company said select smartwatches should expect to see the update soon. However, Google ran into some trouble. “We have started rolling out the Android Wear 2.0 update to Fossil Q Founder, Casio Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10 and Tag Heuer Connected,” said Google in a statement provided to 9to5Google. “For other devices, the update is currently being delayed due to a bug found in final testing. We will push the update to the remaining devices as soon as the issue is resolved.” Google didn’t say how long it might take to resolve the bug. Android Wear 2.0 is eventually expected to reach the Asus ZenWatch 2 and 3; Casio Smart Outdoor and Pro Trek Smart; Fossil Q Marshal and Wander; Huawei Watch; LG G Watch R, Watch Urbane, Watch Urbane 2nd Ed; Moto 360 (2nd Gen and Sport); and New Balance RunIQ.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Verizon's HTC 10 Scores Android 7 Nougat

Verizon Wireless recently began pushing the Android 7 Nougat update to its variant of the HTC 10 smartphone. The update includes split-screen multitasking, Data Saver, simplified settings, faster app switching, and direct replies from notifications. It also includes the latest security patches. Verizon says the update is rolling out via WiFi over the next few weeks.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

BlackBerry Overhauls Productivity Tab for Android

BlackBerry today pushed out a brand new version of the Productivity Tab application for Android handsets, including the Priv, DTEK50, and DTEK60. BlackBerry says the Productivity Tab is now cleaner and more user friendly thanks to the addition of features such as Quick Triage for items in the Hub. It also introduces a new Quick Actions tool for entries in the contacts app. BlackBerry says Android device owners who use this app will be notified of the update over the next few days. It should appear automatically. The Productivity Tab will be installed on BlackBerry’s newest handset, the KeyOne, when it is released later this year.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Microsoft to Sell Customized Versions of Galaxy S8 and S8+

Microsoft will sell the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ in its brick-and-mortar retail stores beginning April 21, reports ZDNet. Microsoft will customize the S8 and S8+ by adding a number of its own apps and services, though Microsoft declined to state exactly which ones. Likely contenders include OneDrive Cortana, Outlook, and MSOffice. “The new device customization is an example of bringing together Microsoft applications on more devices so customers can work, play and connect from their pockets,” said Microsoft in a statement provided to ZDNet. Microsoft has preinstalled its software on Samsung handsets in the past. Microsoft will charge the same $750 and $850 retail prices for the S8 and S8+, respectively, as Samsung and other retailers. Microsoft did not say if the customized phones will be sold unlocked.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Review: LG G6

The LG G6 is a strong offering from the Korean company that goes toe-to-toe with the best from Apple and Samsung. The G6 features a gorgeous design, the best materials, a waterproof chassis, and killer cameras. Toss in extras like Google Assistant, a unique screen and powerful Android software, and the G6 is hard to beat. Here is Phone Scoop’s in-depth review of LG’s 2017 flagship handset.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Samsung Galaxy S8 Arrives April 21: What to Expect

Pre-orders started today for Samsung’s newest smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus, both of which are set to hit the U.S. market on April 21.

Samsung has a lot riding on the success of these new flagship phones, which arrive just months after the company’s costly failure with the fire-prone and, ultimately, recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7. In addition, the South Korean firm has only a few months to make a splash until rival Apple releases its iPhone 8 later this year.

The 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 is priced starting at $720, while the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 Plus will sell for around $840. Both feature bodies of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and are available in midnight black, orchid gray, and arctic silver.

‘Large Display, Not Large Phone’

The biggest design change evident in the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus is something Samsung calls the “Infinity Display” that creates a curved-edge and nearly bezel-free screen. Reviewers have noted the design makes both devices feel bigger than phones that are similar in size, with the standard bezel bordering the screen. “The result is a large display, not a large phone,” according to Samsung.

With the new design, Samsung has eliminated the physical home button at the bottom of the front screen, replacing it with a pressure-sensitive control area that’s integrated into the display. That change means the fingerprint-based security sensor has been relocated to the back of the phone near the camera lens. Another significant design change is the addition of a new Bixby button on the side of the phone to activate Samsung’s intelligent digital assistant.

The Galaxy S8 design opens up “new ways to experience the world,” said Samsung Mobile Communications president DJ Koh in a statement. Koh said that the new phones are also aimed at rebuilding customers’ confidence,…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Toshiba Says Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Japan’s embattled Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday that its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, marking a key step in its struggles to stop the flow of massive red ink.

Toshiba said in a statement that it filed the Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York. The move had been largely expected.

Toshiba has said it’s expecting a loss of 500 billion yen ($4.3 billion) for April-December of last year, including a 712.5 billion yen ($6.2 billion) hit from its embattled nuclear business. It said Wednesday that it was working out revised numbers, and warned that the loss for the fiscal year may grow to 1 trillion yen ($9 billion).

Toshiba acquired Westinghouse in 2006 with much fanfare, making nuclear power an important part of its business strategy.

After the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, costs of the business have ballooned because of growing safety concerns and regulations, and a souring of sentiment toward nuclear power in some countries, such as Germany.

Toshiba has been eager to get Westinghouse off its books to improve its plight, and it said it would do just that from this fiscal year. It has said earlier it wants to sell Westinghouse. Toshiba said Westinghouse had racked up debt of $9.8 billion.

Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa said the move was aimed at “shutting out risks from the overseas nuclear business.”

“We want to make this our first step toward recovering our solid business,” he told reporters after the announcement.

Toshiba reiterated its view that at the root of the problem was the acquisition of U.S. nuclear construction company CB&I Stone and Webster. It declined comment on possible future partners in the rehabilitation of Westinghouse.

Toshiba, which has been unable to report its financial results as required, postponing it into next month, said it would monitor…
Source: Mobile Tech Today