New malware masquerades as a ride-sharing app


An update to the venerable Faketoken.q Android malware has made it easier for the program to steal your credit card information from ride-sharing apps. Faketoken attacks Russian ride-sharing apps by overlaying text boxes on the credit card information pages that can capture your credit number and other important information.

Kaspersky writes:

After getting onto a smartphone (judging by the malware icon, Faketoken infiltrates smartphones through bulk SMS messages with a prompt to download some picture) and installing the necessary modules, the Trojan hides its shortcut icon and starts background monitoring of everything that happens in the system.

The trojan masquerades as a photo app on your phone and is specially camouflaged for maximum sneakiness. It then watches all your apps…

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Google to livestream Android O launch event timed for total solar eclipse


Google is using a astronomical event to debut its newest Android operating system update: Android O is set to arrive on August 21, with a livestreamed unveiling event timed for 2:40 PM ET in NYC – which is roughly when the maximum solar eclipse is set to occur for New York.

Android O will get a full reveal at that time, which seems like kind of a weird time to do it since a lot of people will be watching the NASA eclipse livestream that Google is also promoting, or staring at the sky (with the caveat, hopefully, that they have procured proper glasses for safe viewing).

Google says that Android O will have some “super (sweet) new powers,” most of which we know all about thanks to pre-release builds and the Android O teaser Google provided at its annual I/O developer event this…

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Android newbie HMD’s Nokia 8 flagship lets you livestream ‘frontbacks’


Rebooting the venerable Nokia smartphone brand has not been a rush job for HMD Global, the Foxconn-backed company set up for the purpose of licensing the Nokia name to try to revive the brand’s fortunes on smartphones.

But after starting with basic and mid-tier smartphones, it’s finally outted a flagship Android handset, called the Nokia 8, which it will be hoping can puts some dents in Samsung’s high end. And/or pull consumers away from Huawei’s flagships handsets — or indeed the swathe of Chinese OEMs surging up the smartphone market share ranks.

With the Nokia 8, HMD is putting its flagship focus on content creators wanting to livestream video for their social feeds.

Competition in the Android OEM space has been fierce for years and there’s no signs of any slack…

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Google is testing a data-friendly version of its Search app


Google might soon release a data-friendly version of its search app for mobile.

That’s because the company is currently piloting such an app in Indonesia, as the eagle-eyed team at Android Police first spotted.

“Search Lite” — which TechCrunch understands is not the name of the app, but it is certainly an accurate description of it — is essentially a modified version of the Google search app that’s optimized for those using poor quality connections, with limited mobile data allocations, or in possession of a smartphone with little internal memory.

In that respect it’s similar to the YouTube Lite app that Google launched in India last year, and other ‘lite’ apps from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. India has been a core markets for these data-friendly apps…

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Beijing’s public transport system gets an app for paying fares — but Apple isn’t invited


Apple continues to be locked out of China’s massive mobile payments space. The latest reminder came this week when Beijing’s transportation system opened up to smartphone payments… via an Android app.

Already Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay services dominate China’s mobile payment space, which is estimated to have processed $3 trillion last year, but now Apple has missed out being part of what is sure to be a very convenient usage case.

The Financial Times reports that Beijing’s public transport payments company Yikatong launched an app for ‘most’ Android devices that allows commutes to ditch their physical card and pay fares via their phone.

Apple isn’t included most likely because its operating system doesn’t support third party payments…

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Opera shuts down Max


Only a few years ago, Opera Max was the rising star in the browser maker’s portfolio. The service offered a system-wide data-saving proxy that funnelled all app data through Opera’s servers to compress images and videos. Now, however, Max is heading for the deadpool. The company, which is now owned by a consortium of Chinese firms, today announced that it will shut down Max.

“Opera has now decided to discontinue Opera Max. The product had a substantially different value proposition than our browser products, and represented a different focus for Opera,” the company writes in its announcement. “We, therefore, focus on our browsers and other upcoming services.”

Opera did not provide any further reasoning for this move, though we’ve reached out to the company for a more…

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Escher Reality is building the backend for cross-platform mobile AR


The potential of mobile augmented reality is clear. Last summer Pokemon Go gave a glimpse of just how big this craze could be, as thousands of excited humans converged on parks, bus stops and other locations around the world to chase virtual monsters through the lens of their smartphones.

Apple was also watching. And this summer the company signaled its own conviction in the technology by announcing ARKit: a developer toolkit to support iOS developers to build augmented reality apps. CEO Tim Cook said iOS will become the world’s biggest augmented reality platform once iOS 11 hits consumers’ devices in fall — underlining Cupertino’s expectation that big things are coming down the mobile AR pipe.

Y Combinator-backed, MIT spin-out Escher Reality’s belief in the social power…

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Facebook buys Ozlo to boost its conversational AI efforts


Facebook has gone ahead and purchased Charles Jolley’s conversational AI startup Ozlo. Jolley, formerly Head of Platform for Android at Facebook, will not be returning to the company. The Ozlo team is expected to join Facebook to work on natural language processing challenges.

Ozlo launched with a consumer-facing app back in October 2016. Jolley told me at the time that the conversational AI space was rapidly consolidating (Samsung had just bought Viv) and he was happy to run a service independent of the major tech giants. With today’s acquisition, Ozlo is no longer independent and the conversational AI space grows just a bit more consolidated.

In March, Ozlo launched a suite of APIs. One of the company’s key differentiators was its knowledge graph — its database of facts…

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