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  1. Intel has announced a new software solution to deliver seamless connectivity between your Windows PCs and phones, including iPhone models. Launched as Intel Unison, Intel’s latest software solution promises to offer a simple pairing process across operating systems. Intel Unison is Intel’s take on Microsoft’s Phone Link. The former will allow users to connect their phones with PCs to stay updated with all the latest phone notifications right on their computers. It will also support file transfer between PCs and Android or iOS devices, which means you can now take a photo or shoot a video to seamlessly edit them on your PC. Users will also get full access to their phone’s contact lists using the new software from Intel. Making and receiving voice calls will be possible on your PC. Also, users can send and receive text messages using Intel Unison. All these features are already available on Microsoft’s Phone Link, except that it does not support iOS devices. Phone Link is meant to connect your PCs with your Android devices. While Intel Unison has a slight edge over Phone Link, as the former supports iOS devices, the latter offers a lot better in terms of feature counts. Another major downside is that Intel’s solution only supports select Intel Evo laptops based on 12th Gen Intel Core processors from Acer, HP, and Lenovo for now. The company has promised to make it available for 13th Gen Intel Core-based designs starting early in 2023. While Phone Link might sound better for those who use Android and a Windows PC, Intel says it will continue to add support for more form factors, functionality, and operating systems in the future to make Intel Unison better than what it is at launch. Intel has not given us a demo of how its new software solution will seamlessly connect PCs and Android/iOS devices. But hopefully, we will hear more regarding those details from the company sooner rather than later. Intel Unison can deliver seamless connectivity between your PCs and iOS devices
  2. Microsoft Edge on Android is far from being a popular browser. According to the latest Statcounter report, Edge's market share is too small to appear on the charts, as Android customers do not want to move away from Chrome or Samsung Internet. Still, a new feature in Edge for Android might tempt users to ditch mainstream browsers in favor of Microsoft's solution. As spotted by Leopeva64-2, Edge for Android has received a new experimental flag to improve how the browser blocks ads. With the new configuration, Edge for Android should block video ads better, such as YouTube prerolls. According to Leopeva64-2, the flag blocks video ads reasonably well, but your experience might be slightly different. To test the updated ad blocker in Microsoft Edge on Android, download the browser from the Google Play Store and go to the edge://flags/#edge-block-video-ads page. Set the flag to Enabled and restart the browser. After that, try opening YouTube or any other website containing video ads. Do you think the improved built-in ad blocker is enough to tempt Android customers to ditch Chrome or Samsung Internet? Share your thoughts in the comments. As an online publication, Neowin too relies on ads for operating costs and, if you use an ad blocker, we'd appreciate being whitelisted. In addition, we have an ad-free subscription for $28 a year, which is another way to show support! Microsoft Edge on Android gets improved video ad blocking
  3. Microsoft has introduced several new features to Office Insiders for iOS and Android. The latest versions add new features for apps such as PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook. However, it introduces no bug fixes and performance improvements alongside those changes. Office Insiders on iOS has received Version 2.65 (22082900), which now lets users view, create, and edit PowerPoint slides in portrait orientation on their iPhone or iPad devices. You can go to the Design tab in the ribbon and tap Orientation, then tap Portrait and see the slide in focus change to portrait orientation. iOS users are also getting the option to enable dark mode while they working on a document quickly. You can tap the More Options (…) menu in the upper-right corner of the screen and toggle on or off the Switch to Light/Dark Background button. The complete official changelog is given below. Office Version 2.65 (22082900) for iOS There is something for Android users too. Microsoft is adding a new capability to Outlook, enabling you to set rules around meeting forwarding, RSVP requests, new time proposals, and hiding attendees. You can learn more about the functionality in the complete official changelog below. Office Version 16.0.15629.20002 for Android All the features Microsoft introduced to Office Preview builds will eventually be available to the general public in the future. However, we cannot tell when they will be available. But they should not take a long time to arrive for the Office stable users since Office Insiders are testing them. Meanwhile, Microsoft will hopefully release a new Office Insider Build next month for both Android and iOS users. We’ll keep you updated if we find anything interesting in the update. If you’re not a part of the Office Insider program, you can join Office Insider for Android by following a few simple steps. You can click on this link for a step-by-step installation guide. If you’re an Insider on iOS, you can install the latest Office update on your device to try these new features. You can download the Microsoft Office app from the below link. Download QR-Code ‎Microsoft Office Developer: Microsoft Corporation Price: Free+ Microsoft brings new features to Office apps for Android and iOS users
  4. The ability to establish connections without relying on cellular connectivity could be very common in the future. Google's senior vice president, Hiroshi Lockheimer, took to Twitter to share that the company is excited to support Android phone makers in enabling support for satellite connectivity in the next version of Android. Lockheimar has not disclosed much about the company's plan for the rollout of satellite connections on Android devices. But if 9to5Google is to be believed, "the next version of Android" the senior vice president has mentioned is Android 14. Satellite connectivity support in Android will perhaps require compatible hardware, and if that is the case, it rules out the possibility of all the Android handsets, including entry-level ones, getting the support for establishing connections over satellite connectivity. However, companies like Samsung would unlikely hesitate to include it in their flagship Android models, such as the Galaxy S series. Not only will satellite connections be something that's cool to have on the phone, but the piece of tech will also be helpful in a situation where you do not have proper cellular connectivity to send an emergency message. It will be super beneficial in times of emergencies. Besides Google, Apple's next-generation iPhone 14 models could support satellite connections. A week ago, SpaceX and T-Mobile jointly announced universal cellular connectivity, with an aim to provide smartphone connectivity everywhere in the United States. One significant advantage of SpaceX and T-Mobile's solution is that it won't require you to modify your smartphone, nor will it need you to install an app. It will be interesting to see how Google does it. via Android Authority | 9to5Google Future versions of Android may support direct satellite connectivity
  5. WhatsApp for Android may finally get support for Face Unlock Back in 2019, Facebook released an update for WhatsApp on iOS that added support for Face ID and Touch ID, allowing users to unlock the app by utilizing these technologies. Unfortunately, after more than a year, Android users still don't have the option to use Face Unlock on WhatsApp. However, that might change soon as the folks over at WABetaInfo have spotted a couple of additions to the latest version of WhatsApp Beta. The version 2.20.203.3 update of WhatsApp Beta contains a redesigned privacy page that renames the current "Fingerprint lock" to "Biometric lock" indicating support for Face Unlock. Facebook has also updated the description of the page to indicate that users can now use "fingerprint, face or other unique identifiers to unlock WhatsApp". Apart from that, WABetaInfo also noticed a feature called "Join missed calls". The idea is to allow users to join calls in certain situations like when a group call is made and a participant did not join immediately, they can join the call at a later time, provided the call has not ended. Both of these features are currently under development and there is no word on when Facebook will roll them out to the public. WhatsApp does have an active beta program for Android users that you can join if you want to get your hands on these features as quickly as possible. Source: WABetaInfo WhatsApp for Android may finally get support for Face Unlock
  6. 64-bit-only mode promises better performance and security. An official picture of the Pixel tablet, due out next year. Google Android 13 hit AOSP the other day, and included in the code source dump is an interesting commit spotted by Esper's Mishaal Rahman. It sounds like Google is planning to—or at least experimenting with—moving the upcoming Pixel tablet to a 64-bit-only build of Android. The commit doesn't beat around the bush, saying: "Move tangor to 64-bit only." "Tangor" is the codename for the already-announced Pixel tablet. iOS, with its single hardware manufacturer, has been 64-bit only since 2017. Android has a million moving parts split across a bunch of different companies, so getting to 64-bit only is going to be a long road. Getting there is worth the effort, though, with a promise of increased performance and additional security features. The Google Play app ecosystem is probably furthest along in supporting 64 bit. Any apps written entirely in Java or Kotlin already get automatic 64-bit compatibility from the system. Google mandated that Google Play apps using native code (usually these are games) needed to provide 64-bit versions back in 2019. There were exceptions for a few popular SDKs like Adobe Air and Unity, but these exceptions were ended in August 2021, when all apps were required to have 64-bit versions. As for hardware, every SoC should support 64-bit by now, and some flagship Android SoCs are actually reducing their ability to run 32-bit code. Any flagship chip following the recommended ARM design only supports 32-bit processing on three of the eight cores—the other five are 64-bit only. ARM wants to drop 32-bit support entirely from its 2023 flagship SoC design, but there are already rumors stating that Qualcomm doesn't want to follow that recommended design. The most likely reason is because of China. Google's 64-bit app requirements apply only to apps in Google Play, which doesn't exist in China. China has a big collection of competing app stores with more lax policies, so 32-bit apps have not been phased out as aggressively. China is working on this issue, though, with the top-five Chinese app stores—from Alibaba, Baidu, OPPO, Tencent, and Xiaomi—agreeing to ban 32-bit-only apps by the end of this month. There's also the issue of 64-bit compatibility among packed-in apps from OEM skins, which app store rules don't apply to. Rahman found another commit that suggests 64-bit-only support might be a regular feature of 2023's Android 14, so the Pixel tablet, which is already officially confirmed for next year, is looking like a test run to see how everything goes. Android could go 64-bit only in 2023, starting with the Pixel tablet
  7. Microsoft launched the Android application Outlook Lite in select countries this week. Designed to provide new and existing Microsoft customers with a resource-friendly version of Outlook's mobile version, it is more lightweight and faster than the main Outlook app for Android. Outlook Lite is available in the following countries only at the time of writing: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela. When you visit the official Google Play Store listing, which is available here in any modern web browser, you are informed that the app is not available, unless you are connected from one of the official launch countries. Outlook vs. Outlook Lite Before we tell you how to get your hands on the Outlook Lite app, regardless of the region you are in, we will take a look at the differences between the Outlook app for Android and its Outlook Lite sibling. First thing you will notice is that the Outlook Lite app is much smaller than the official Outlook app. At about 5 Megabytes, its size is about 18 times smaller than the Outlook apps' 88 Megabytes. That is not all though. Outlook Lite is optimized to run on devices that have less than 1 Gigabyte of RAM and will use less battery when it is used on a device. Outlook Lite supports Outlook.com, Hotmail, MSN, Live, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Exchange Online accounts. That is less than what the main Outlook app can do, as it supports Microsoft Exchange Server, GMail, and Yahoo! Mail, as well as OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box besides those. If you require one of the missing services, you can't use the Outlook Lite app for that as these are not supported by it. How to get the Outlook Lite app for Android If you live in one of the supported regions or are there right now, visit the Google Play Store to download the app from it. While you may be able to use a VPN connection to one of the supported countries to download the Outlook Lite app this way, you may also download it from an APK download site. APK Mirror is a popular and well respected site. Please note that there is always a risk involved when downloading Android APK files from third-party sites. Visit the Microsoft Outlook Lite profile page on APK Mirror and download the latest version of the application to the Android system. You need to enable the installation of Android apps from unknown sources in the Settings to install the app. There is no regional block in place during installation or afterwards. Now You: do you use email apps on your Android device? If so which, and why? Microsoft Outlook Lite: core differences to Outlook, how to get the app
  8. Google has added support for the DNS-over-HTTP/3 (DoH3) protocol on Android 11 and later to increase the privacy of DNS queries while providing better performance. HTTP/3 is the third major version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which relies on QUIC, a multiplexed transport protocol built on UDP, rather than TCP like previous versions. The new protocol fixes the problem of "head-of-line blocking," which slows down internet data transactions when a packet is lost or reordered, something quite common when moving around on mobile and switching connections frequently. Protocol stack comparison (Wikipedia) Android previously supported DNS-over-TLS (DoT) for version 9 and later to bolster DNS query privacy, but this system inevitably slowed down DNS requests due to the encryption overhead. Moreover, DoT requires a complete renegotiation of the new connection when changing networks. In contrast, QUIC can resume a suspended connection in a single RTT (time needed for a signal to reach the destination). With DoH3, many of DoT's performance burdens are lifted, and according to Google's measurements, achieves a 24% increase in performance for median query times. In some cases, Google has seen performance increases up to 44%. Query latency measurements (Google) Additionally, DoH3 may help with unreliable networks, even outperforming traditional DNS thanks to the proactive flow control mechanisms that immediately generate package delivery fail alerts instead of waiting for timeouts to elapse. DNS-over-HTTPS is already widely supported by many DNS providers to provide increased privacy when performing DNS requests. With Google supporting DNS-over-HTTP/3 Android and DNS-over-QUIC now a proposed standard, we will likely see increased adoption by DNS providers shortly. However, as part of this feature's launch, Android devices will use Cloudflare DNS and Google Public DNS, which already support DNS-over-QUIC. In the future, Google plans on adding support for other DoH3 providers through the use of Discovery of Designated Resolvers (DDR), which automatically selects the best provider for your specific configuration. Secure and lean implementation Another point of superiority of DoH3 is the use of Rust in its implementation, which resulted in a lean system comprising 1,640 lines of code that use a single runtime thread instead of DoT’s four. “We built the query engine using the Tokio async framework to simultaneously handle new requests, incoming packet events, control signals, and timers. In C++, this would likely have required multiple threads or a carefully crafted event loop.” - Google. The result is a performant low-level system with a few dependencies, is light, and uses a memory-safe language that reduces the number of bugs attackers can leverage to abuse it. Roll-out At the time of reading this, all Android devices running Android 11 and later should use DoH3 for Google DNS and Cloudflare DNS (more to be added soon). In addition, a subset of Android 10 devices whose vendors adopted Google Play system updates early will also receive this new feature. The end-users don’t have to take any action to enable the new feature, as Android will handle this part automatically. Google boosts Android privacy with support for DNS-over-HTTP/3
  9. VideoLAN, maker of the popular open source media player VLC, has released VLC 3.5 for Android. The release is already in distribution, but it may take a while before VLC installations on Android devices are updated. VLC users who do not want to wait for that to happen may download the latest version directly from the VideoLAN website. VLC 3.5 for Android VLC 3.5 for Android is a new major release. It is the first stable release of the media player in 2022; the last release, VLC for Android 3.4.0, dates back to September of 2021. VLC for Android 3.5 includes several major improvements and changes. Widgets, for one, have undergone significant changes and improvements. Widgets support Material You now and include customization options, such as setting the opacity or forward and backward time delays. Another new feature is the ability to create shortcuts to media files directly on the home screen. Just select the settings icon of the media file and then "create a launcher shortcut" from the menu that opens to do so. VLC supports all major media formats, which means that it can be used to play audio files. When you play audio files for the first time in VLC 3.5 for Android, you may notice audio screen improvements. The album screen, for instance, displays more information than in previous versions of the player. One interesting new feature is the ability to customize player controls. A tap on the settings icon while media plays and the selection of control settings displays the customization options. Here you get access to the following configuration options: Audio-boost (enabled by default). Volume and Brightness gesture. These are available while the video plays to change the volume or brightness with a single swipe. Double-tap to seek or play/pause. Swipe to seek. Double tap time delay. Show rewind and fast forward seek buttons. Define seek button delays and long tap functionality. Video player controls hiding delay. Other new features in VLC for Android 3.5 include improved tablet and foldable devices support, automatic detection of a device's form factor to adjust the interface accordingly, and Samba shares network indexation support. The developers of VLC for Android improved the performance and resource usage of the player in the new version, especially on low-end and older devices. There is also a new permissions dialog that explains the three different options and functionality of the player depending on the choice made. No Permission -- auto-discovery of media is not available. Standard permissions -- auto-discovery of regular media files supported. Manage all files permission -- auto-discover all file types, including compressed files and less popular ones. Closing words VLC for Android 3.5 is a huge step in the right direction for the media player. It adds customization options and a lot of polish to VLC, and improves playback on older and low-end devices. Now You: which media player do you use on your mobile devices? Media Player VLC 3.5 for Android has been released
  10. Microsoft has announced that it is updating the user interface of its OneNote app for Android. The Mac version has also been updated with a much-needed feature, local backup. What's new in Microsoft OneNote for Android Home tab Instead of listing your notebooks, the OneNote Android app has a new startup screen, called the Home tab. The page displays a rich preview of the note's contents. Tap the button near the top right corner to switch between the List mode and Grid mode. The button next to it lets you Sort and Filter the notes by modified date, created date, or alphabetical order. The List mode displays more of the contents, while Grid mode places more notes on the screen. The Home tab has a toolbar at the bottom, called the Quick Capture Bar. It has shortcuts to select the input methods: Text, Ink, Voice and Camera. The + Page button allows you to add more notes quickly. Tap the three-dot button to create a Sticky Note, it will place the note at the top of the screen. Tap on a note to view it, or edit it. Long-pressing a note marks it for selection, you can choose multiple notes, and perform an action such as delete the notes, organize (move or copy), share them, or add shortcuts to the notes on your mobile's homescreen. Users who are signing in to the OneNote app for the first time will be prompted with the single sign-on (SSN) experience, which will prompt them to select one of the Microsoft accounts that they are signed in to on their phone using the account picker. If you want to sync your notebook manually, pull down the screen (swipe down gesture). The image option integrates with Microsoft Lens, for scanning documents and extracting text. The voice input method can be used to dictate notes, and even to format the text. To access the app's settings, tap on your profile picture in the top left corner. Here's a screenshot that shows the app's old interface for comparison, the new interface looks a lot better, doesn't it? The new features are available in the Microsoft OneNote for Android app version 16.0.15128.20270 and later. Microsoft says it is rolling out the features in stages, so don't be surprised if you are on a higher version of the app but don't have the new UI yet. You can get the new UI by opting in to the beta of the app on the Google Play Store. Microsoft has stated that the new interface is not available for Tablets and Dual-Screen phones. Microsoft OneNote for Mac gets local backup feature The OneNote app for Mac now supports local backup. In addition to saving the data to the cloud, the app will now automatically save a copy of your notes in a local folder on your Mac. Users can manage the options from the app's Preferences > Backups section. It also allows you to access the backup folder, customize the schedule for automatic backups, and run a backup task manually. The local backup feature is available in Microsoft OneNote version 16.63, you can download it from the Mac App Store. Microsoft announces a new design for OneNote on Android, and adds local backup option for OneNote for Mac
  11. Microsoft recently updated the 365 Roadmap to include a version of Outlook for Android which will be marketed as Outlook Lite. This version of the app will bring the main features of the existing Outlook app to budget devices that are lower end, with the size being smaller but the performance being speedier, which will be supported on any network. This will be a benefit to those who are looking for a less demanding Outlook client, particularly if they are a business who utilise lower end devices, however, it is not yet confirmed exactly which features will be included and which will be cut from this stripped down version. The expectation will be that the core features, such as Mail and Calendar access, will be included with this version as a bare minimum. Microsoft already have one Lite offering with Skype, and this brings them alongside numerous companies who have already created versions of their apps with a more stripped back experience that is less demanding on devices, such as Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Firefox and Google themselves with their Go branding. The roadmap states that the app will be made available later this month internationally on the Google Play store. Microsoft confirms that Outlook Lite is coming to Android
  12. The developers of the open source Thunderbird email client confirmed today that the open source Android email app K-9 Mail will become Thunderbird for Android. Thunderbird product and business development manager Ryan Lee Sipes confirmed in May 2022 that Thunderbird would become available for Android soon. The release would fill a gap, as Thunderbird has been available for desktop operating systems only up until now. The Android version enables Thunderbird users to sync data between desktop versions and their mobile Android devices. The development of an Android email client from the ground up was one of the options that the team discussed, but it would have been a large project that would have required considerable effort and resources. The idea to collaborate with an existing open source email project for Android was born in 2018, when Sipes started talking to Christian Ketterer, the K-9 Mail project maintainer, about potential collaborations. K-9 Mail "aligns perfectly with Thunderbird's values of using open standards, respecting the user, and enabling power users with unmatched customization" according to Sipes. Ketterer has joined the Thunderbird team already, "bringing along his expertise and experience with mobile platforms", and the K-9 Mail application. Thunderbird will "devote financial and development resources to improving K-9 Mail", including an improved account setup, something which Thunderbird received already in a recent update, improved folder management, support for message filters, and the option to sync data between desktop and mobile clients. The team expects to introduce synchronization support in the Summer of 2023. K-9 Mail will turn into Thunderbird for Android eventually, but this won't happen overnight. The client will undergo visual changes to align it closely with Thunderbird. K-9 Mail remains available, but users who have installed it will experience transformations in the coming months and years to align the email application closely with Thunderbird's brand and feature set. The latest interface update has seen mixed reviews. Some users who use multiple email accounts in the application stated that they find it less intuitive to use. Others like its open source nature and that development is financed by donations. Closing Words Joining forces with an existing application and developer makes sense on lots of levels. K-9 Mail is already available and it will take less time to make it look and feel like Thunderbird. Creating an app from ground up would take more resources and more time, and users would probably be unhappy if the initial version would lack certain expected features. The lead developer and team need to take user criticism seriously, as the 3.1 out of 5 stars rating is not the greatest. There is a good chance that several Many of theses will be addressed, thanks to additional development resources becoming available. Now you: what is your take on the decision? K-9 Mail app will become Thunderbird's Android email client
  13. Image credits to 9To5Google Google continues to be productive in recent days by making some changes in the designs of its products. Recently, it made a lot of changes in Google Play, including the addition of the Compatibility section, removal of the Movies and TV tab, and a lot more. Now, it is testing a new design for the New Tab Page of Chrome Android by turning the 4×2 Favicon grid into a scrollable carousel. The new design change is reportedly being tested on some users over the weekend, as spotted by 9to5Google. Under this new design, the Chrome New Page on Android will be seen in a much neater layout since the presently space-consuming grid of eight shortcut icons would be just one long line of carousel. If your Discover and Following feed is turned off, it gives you a clean bottom New Tab Page. If you choose to activate it, on the other hand, you get a more spacious feed to scroll on. It is the only feature reportedly seen in this test, which is still located in the same spot where the current 4×2 grid resides. That said, Chrome Android users will still see the Omnibox address bar with the voice and image search icons, the Discover/Following feed section, and the rest of the details of the present Chrome. Image credits to 9To5Google It can be recalled that Google previously tried this same Favicon carousel setup in Chrome Android in April this year, together with the addition of a new “Continue browsing” section. It is placed just above the Discover feed section of the tab and uses the carousel effect with a “View all” option. That test was not tested widely and obviously didn’t get implemented on users globally, but the resurrection of the icon carousel on Chrome Android must mean it will be rolled out formally this time. Google replaces icon grid with carousel on Chrome New Tab Page in new Android test
  14. Total Commander for Android no longer allows you to install APKs that you downloaded. The popular file manager boasts a cult following among the PC and Android users. Total Commander for Android removes the ability to install APKs Here's what happened. Christian Ghisler, the developer of Total Commander, has revealed that Google sent him a warning that his app would be removed from the Play Store within 7 days unless he modified his app. What was the offense? The app was reportedly not compliant with the Device and Network Abuse policy. The policy forbids apps from modifying, replacing or updating itself from any other source except the Play Store. It also restricts apps from downloading other apps from third-party sources. Google claimed that Total Commander was violating this policy. The developer blocked the installation of Total Commander, so it can't update itself via its own APK (when the user downloads it from elsewhere), but Google sent a second warning with the same wording. A third warning will remove the app from the Play Store altogether, as has happened to other developers. Ghisler tried reaching to Google to appeal the decision, but was unable to reach a real person at the company. The irony is that Android's stock Files app, Google Chrome allow installation of APKs, as do all third-party file manager apps and browsers. That's why the restriction posed on Total Commander feels unfair. It's just Google being Google. How is Total Commander responsible for what the user does? It is up to the user to choose what apps they download, where they download it from, and to install them on their devices. Total Commander plays a very small role in this scenario, particularly in the third step, it just enables the user to install the apps that they have downloaded. The file manager does not have the ability to browse the internet, let alone download APKs. One user suggested the issue could have been caused by the Plugins page in the app. Total Commander for Android supports plugins, which can be downloaded from the Play Store. The file manager app has an "add plugins" option that lists the plugins, with the word "Install" next to them. Tapping these leads to the plugin's Play Store page. It is possible that Google misunderstood these options, and perceived it as downloading third party apps, and issued the warning to the developer. Future of Total Commander for Android Ghisler has removed the options to download the plugins from the Play Store version of Total Commander, but it seems to be to no avail. The developer points out that removing the ability to install APKs could result in a lot of negative opinions, i.e., 1-star reviews, and that this could hurt the reputation of the app. As a result, he may be forced to remove the app from the Google Play Store entirely. All is not lost, as Ghisler has released a standalone version of Total Commander that allows installation of APK files. The unrestricted version of the app is available for download on the official website. The EU is set to enforce the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in 2023, which will force Apple to allow installation of iOS apps from third-party sources. Being able to customize the user experience is Android's strongest point, this includes the freedom to download and install apps from wherever we want, but Google seems to be heading in the opposite direction by banning APK installs in Total Commander. Google forces Total Commander developer to remove the ability to install APKs on Android devices
  15. Microsoft today announced a big feature update for Windows Subsystem for Android, which is responsible for running Android apps on Windows 11-based computers. The most notable changes include moving to Android 12.1, a redesigned Settings app, better integration with Windows, and improved input. The latest version of Windows Subsystem for Android (2204.40000.15.0) is now available in the Microsoft Store on computers enrolled in the Dev channel of the Windows Insider program. Here are the changes. Update to Android 12.1! We have updated the experience to Android 12.1! This update may cause some apps to fail to launch (see the known issues below for more details). Optional Diagnostic Data With this update, telemetry collection (optional diagnostic data setting in the Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app) is now off by default. To help us make Windows Subsystem for Android better and provide useful telemetry about Android app usage, please enable this setting in the Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app! Advanced Networking Networking for Windows Subsystem for Android on newer Insider Preview builds (OS Build 22621+) has been improved to enable Android apps to connect to devices on the same network as your Windows PC. With advanced networking, you can play your favorite content on a speaker on the same network, or set up a security camera (or other smart home device) with a compatible Android app. Settings app redesign The Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app has been redesigned and updated in a huge way. We’ve redesigned the app from the ground up, now with clearer settings groups, grouped navigation and an all-around cleaner user experience. We’ve also added a diagnostic data viewer where you can examine all the diagnostic data collected by the Subsystem, and configuration options in the new compatibility settings to turn on fixes for specific apps such as forcing apps to be non-resizable or enabling swipes for arrow keys. Improvements to Windows integration We’ve made some great improvements to Android apps integrating with Windows in this update. For newer Insider Preview builds (OS Build 22621+), Windows taskbar icons will now show which Android apps are currently using microphone, location, and other system services in the system tray, and an auto-hidden taskbar will now correctly hide/show when Android apps are running. Android toasts will now be reflected as Windows notifications, and the Window title of an Android app will now reflect the Android activity title. Also, for newer Insider Preview builds (OS Build 22621+), Android apps will not be restarted when your devices come out of connected standby but will instead pick up where you left off. Improvements to camera in Android apps Many camera updates are being shipped in this update. The camera orientation is now fixed to natural orientation, and issues with incorrect camera preview, bugs with letterboxing and squishing of the camera feed have now been addressed. Improvements for input devices Mouse and keyboard support in Windows Subsystem for Android has been improved, with fixes such as improved scroll-wheel support, fixes for the onscreen keyboard focus and fixes for the Android software keyboard displaying correctly. Microsoft also warns about the following issues currently plaguing the latest preview version of Windows Subsystem for Android: Instability with camera on ARM devices Instability printing via Android apps Some apps rendered at lower resolutions may lay out incorrectly Some VPNs may not work with Advanced Networking. If you use a VPN and find Android apps do not have network connectivity, please disable Advanced Networking in the Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app Some apps that were previously available might be missing from the experience, fail to launch, or function incorrectly for various known issues. We’re working with our partners to address these issues as soon as possible. If you want to provide feedback about Windows Subsystem for Android in Windows 11, go to Feedback Hub and visit the Apps > Windows Subsystem for Android section. Microsoft updates Windows Subsystem for Android with new features and Android 12.1
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  17. MX Player Pro v1.42.13 [Final] [Patched] [AC3] [DTS] [Mod Extra] Requirements: 5.0+ Overview: Powerful video player with advanced hardware acceleration and subtitle support. a) HARDWARE ACCELERATION - Hardware acceleration can be applied to more videos with the help of new HW+ decoder. b) MULTI-CORE DECODING - MX Player is the first Android video player which supports multi-core decoding. Test result proved that dual-core device's performance is up to 70% better than single-core devices. c) PINCH TO ZOOM, ZOOM AND PAN - Easily zoom in and out by pinching and swiping across the screen. Zoom and Pan is also available by option. d) SUBTITLE GESTURES - Scroll forward/backward to move to next/previous text, Up/down to move text up and down, Zoom in/out to change text size. e) KIDS LOCK - Keep your kids entertained without having to worry that they can make calls or touch other apps. (plugin required) Subtitle formats: - DVD, DVB, SSA/ASS subtitle tracks. - SubStation Alpha(.ssa/.ass) with full styling. - SAMI(.smi) with Ruby tag support. - SubRip(.srt) - MicroDVD(.sub) - VobSub(.sub/.idx) - SubViewer2.0(.sub) - MPL2(.mpl) - TMPlayer(.txt) - Teletext - PJS(.pjs) - WebVTT(.vtt) ****** About "Draw over other apps" permission: This permission is required to block system buttons when input blocking is activated on the playback screen. About "Pair with Bluetooth devices" permission: This permission is required to improve AV sync when Bluetooth headset is connected. About "Disable screen lock" permission: This permission is required to remove screen lock temporarily when Kids lock mode is used. Nevertheless, secure screen lock will not be disabled. About "Control vibration", "Prevent device from sleeping" permissions: These permissions are required for media playback on some devices. ****** If you are facing "package file is invalid" error, please install it again from product home page (https://sites.google.com/site/mxvpen/download) ****** What's New: - This update brings you the support for USB OTG devices (FAT32 only) - Support for casting of all media formats - Support AI subtitle translation - MX Share now supports sharing files from other apps - Speed Controls in Local Video Player now supports direct inputs from the keyboard. Mod Info: No root or Lucky Patcher or Google Play Modded required; Disabled / Removed unwanted Permissions + Receivers + Providers + Services; Optimized and zipaligned graphics and cleaned resources for fast load; Ads Permissions / Services / Providers removed from Android.manifest; Ads links removed and invokes methods nullified; Ads layouts visibility disabled; Changed activation icon in Menu / About; Removed forced startup Consent; Removed splash screen; Disable Popup Rate dialog; Play DTS-HD / DTS-X / EAC3 audio from any video container mkv, mp4, ts, m2ts; Google Play Store install package check disabled; Debug code removed; Remove default .source tags name of the corresponding java files; Analytics / Crashlytics / Firebase disabled; No active trackers or advertisements; AOSP compatible mode; Languages: Full Multi Languages; CPUs: armeabi-v7a, arm64-v8a, x86, x86_64; Screen DPIs: 120dpi, 160dpi, 240dpi, 320dpi, 480dpi, 640dpi; Original package signature changed; This app has no advertisements More Info: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mxtech.videoplayer.pro Downloads: armeabi-v7a: Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode [?]: /files/0IBPYOCB/MX%20Player%20Pro-v1.42.13_build_1310001503-AC3-DTS-NEON-Mod-armeabi-v7a.apk_links arm64-v8a: Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode [?]: /files/1AHYCLVU/MX%20Player%20Pro-v1.42.13_build_1330001503-AC3-DTS-NEON-Mod-arm64-v8a.apk_links x86: Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode [?]: /files/02YXNZWY/MX_Player_Pro-v1.42.13_build_1370001503-AC3-DTS-Mod-x86.apk_links x86_x64: Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode [?]: /files/QKT3QJYP/MX%20Player%20Pro-v1.42.13_build_1380001503-AC3-DTS-Mod-x86_64.apk_links
  18. Google is rolling out a new toolbar shortcut on Chrome for Android. Currently, the toolbar on Chrome features a home button, a new tab button (denoted by a plus sign), address bar, tab switcher, and an overflow menu (three dots) that houses the rest of actions in a long list. Now, the toolbar will have either new tab, share or voice search (microphone). What button you will see is "based on your usage" with Google providing a "Current recommendations" option. The new tab and share buttons are features that are used quite often. Moving them to the toolbar based on usage will make it a bit easier. Google also allows users to manually select the shortcut they want. Users even have the option to turn the toolbar completely off as well. The toolbar shortcut has been rolling out to users after Chrome version 101 was launched, although Google has yet to make an official announcement about it. Users can go to Settings and then scroll down a bit to find "Toolbar shortcut" to use this feature. For those who do not have the update, there's also a flag from which you can manually set the options: chrome://flags/#adaptive-button-in-top-toolbar-customization Google is not known to include huge UI tweaks or change the interface on Chrome because of its extremely large user base. According to research, there are around 3.2 billion users worldwide that use Chrome as their main browser. The second most used browser is Safari with a little over 576 million users that tells us the market share Google has when it comes to Chrome. Source: 9to5Google Google is rolling out a new toolbar shortcut in Chrome for Android
  19. Twitter is currently working on what many people have been asking for a very long time. The micro-blogging site is finally working on an Edit button. However, it is not the only major feature Twitter users will get in the future. As spotted by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, the micro-blogging site is also working on a new feature that will allow users to attach photos, GIFs, and videos to a tweet at the same time. Paluzzi has also shared the screenshot of the UI, which explains how the feature works. Twitter seems to have started working on this feature a long time ago. The reverse engineer first found the reference for this in the Twitter Android app back in 2020. But for some reason, the company has taken two years to materialize the idea. It shouldn’t take much longer from now to launch the feature for the general public since the company seems to be giving it the final touch. Paluzzi has also found references for this feature in the iOS app today, a big enough hint that it could also become available for iOS users when it is ready. To sum it up for you, the feature will likely be available for both Android and iOS users. However, the reverse engineer said nothing about whether it will be available for the Twitter web client. It is worth pointing out, though, that the ability to attach photos, videos, and GIFs to a tweet at the same time is still in the development phase. We are hoping that the micro-blogging site will release it to the public in the coming few months. We will, of course, notify you once it becomes available for everyone. What do you think about this new feature? Is it something that you find useful on Twitter? Let us know what you think in the comments section. Twitter may allow users to attach photos, videos and GIFs to a tweet at the same time
  20. Twitter has announced that they’ve begun rolling out a new “CC” button, allowing iOS and Android users to easily turn on or off closed captions. Rolling out to iOS users for testing now, and Android users whenever “soon” might be, the new CC button to turn on or off closed captions appears in the top right corner of videos on Twitter, as the company displayed in their own tweet announcing the feature. In Twitter’s own tweet about the new feature, the social media giant didn’t explain exactly why they are adding this much-requested feature, but in their defence, they didn’t really need to either, as closed captions are an obvious and major win for accessibility, regardless of if you use them or not. Alongside this feature to better suit your closed captioning preferences, Twitter also recently implemented alternative text badges (ATL), allowing users to add detailed descriptions of any photos they upload in order to aid screen readers and further improve accessibility. Additionally, under the impending threat of Elon Musk taking over the company, Twitter is also finally working on an edit button for tweets. Reportedly rolling out to paid Twitter Blue subscribers first, the edit button is said to also have an “immutable” quality to it, meaning the original unedited tweet won’t be deleted after changes are made. Twitter is getting a new closed captions button for videos
  21. Security analysts have found that Android devices running on Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets were vulnerable to remote code execution due to a flaw in the implementation of the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). ALAC is an audio coding format for lossless audio compression that Apple open-sourced in 2011. Since then, the company has been releasing updates to the format, including security fixes, but not every third-party vendor using the codec applies these fixes. According to a report Check Point Research, this includes Qualcomm and MediaTek, two of the world's largest smartphone chip makers. The sound of RCE The analysts have not provided many details about the actual exploitation of the flaws yet but promised to do so at the upcoming CanSecWest in May 2022. From the details available, the vulnerability enables a remote attacker to execute code on a target device by sending a maliciously crafted audio file and tricking the user into opening it. The researchers are calling this attack "ALHACK." The impact of remote code execution attacks comes with severe implications, ranging from data breach, planting and executing malware, modifying device settings, accessing hardware components such as the microphone and camera, or account take over. The ALAC flaws were fixed by MediaTek and Qualcomm in December 2021, and are tracked as CVE-2021-0674 (medium severity with a 5.5 score), CVE-2021-0675 (high severity with a 7.8 score), and CVE-2021-30351 (critical severity with a 9.8 score). From the researchers analysis, the ALAC decoder implementations from Qualcomm and MediaTek suffer from possible out-of-bounds reads and writes, and improper validation of audio frames passed during music playback. The possible consequences include information disclosure and elevation of privileges with no user interaction required. BleepingComputer asked Qualcomm for a comment about the currennt risk for customers. A company spokesperson provided the statement below: Providing technologies that support robust security and privacy is a priority for Qualcomm Technologies. We commend the security researchers from Check Point Technologies for using industry-standard coordinated disclosure practices. Regarding the ALAC audio decoder issue they disclosed, Qualcomm Technologies made patches available to device makers in October 2021. We encourage end users to update their devices as security updates have become available The case with audio codec flaws Fixes of remote code execution flaws in closed-source audio processing units are present almost in every monthly Android security update. However, exploiting them is rarely trivial, and the component vendors provide few technical details to reduce exploitation risk. For example, Android patches from April included nine fixes for critical vulnerabilities in closed-source components. One of them is CVE-2021-35104 (9.8 severity score) - a buffer overflow that led to improper parsing of headers while playing FLAC audio clips. The bug affected chipsets present in almost the entire range of products Qualcomm released over in the past several years. How to stay safe The standard security advice applies here, too: keep your devices up to date, in this case it means running the Android patch level "December 2021" or later. If the device no longer receives security updates from the vendor, installing a third-party Android distribution that still provides Android patches is valid option. Finally, when receiving audio files from unknown or suspicious sources/users, it is best not to open them since they could trigger the vulnerability. Critical bug in Android could allow access to users' media files
  22. Google has announced intentions to effectively kill off most call recording apps on Android. Since there are legal hurdles in many countries when it comes to call recording, Google has already been deprecating certain associated APIs in recent years. This effort was also underway to improve security and privacy on the company's mobile platform. Now, Android Authority notes that Google has clarified in a policy update as well as a developer webinar that its Accessibility APIs cannot be used for call recording purposes. Recently, many developers had begun using these APIs to circumvent Google's policies against call recording; this will not be possible after May 11, which is when the policy change goes into effect. This means that third-party apps in the Play Store that are used to record calls will no longer function since this is effectively the last nail in the coffin of this functionality. It is important to note that the change does not affect brands such as Google Pixel or Xiaomi which come with the native capability to record calls. Google explained that: If the app is the default dialer on the phone and also pre-loaded, accessibility capability is not required to get access to the incoming audio stream, and hence, will not be in violation. It will be interesting to see whether Google will start removing call recording apps in violation of its policies from the Play Store after May 11 or if they will simply stop functioning. Source: Google via Android Authority Google is killing off most call recording apps next month
  23. Microsoft Launcher has received an update on Google Play Store, adding some noteworthy new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements. One of the useful new features in the latest version of Microsoft Launcher is the ability to pin historical search queries to the top. This capability will come in handy when you have some important keywords that you search daily. You will now be able to pin those keywords to the top so that you don't have to type those words every time in the search bar. The latest version of the Microsoft Launcher app also lets you enable More/Less footer for search history section. Here is the complete official changelog for the update: Enable long click to pin a historical search query to top. Enable More/Less footer for search history section. Known bugs were fixed and performance improvements were made. The latest update takes the app to version 6.220304.0.1041800. If you are using Microsoft Launcher on Android, you can go to the Google Play Store to download the update. As a reminder, Microsoft Launcher, along with Surface Duo OS, SwiftKey, Phone Link, and other Android projects, are now part of the new Android Microsoft Platform and Experiences (AMPX) division. Microsoft Launcher will hopefully play a key role in realizing Microsoft's goal of further integrating Android phones with Windows PCs than what's available through Phone Link. Microsoft Launcher gets updated with historical search query pinning and more
  24. Earlier this month, reports of Microsoft creating a dedicated division for better Android support began to surface. The new division is called "Android Microsoft Platform and Experiences" or AMPX for short. The report suggested that AMPX will be responsible for making Android integration on Windows more refined than what is currently available through applications like the newly refreshed Phone Link app. Additionally, all other Android projects from Microsoft including Surface Duo OS, SwiftKey, Microsoft Launcher, will all also be coming under the ambit of the AMPX. While the report is only a couple of weeks old, it looks like Microsoft is pretty serious about AMPX as the Redmond company is already looking for talent for its new AMPX team. The firm recently posted a couple of job openings (1, 2) for Senior Software Engineers in AMPX as you can see in the image below: This suggests Microsoft is itching to get to work on all things Android and while there is no confirmation about this, it is possible that some of Microsoft's AMPX effort could be spilling over to Android apps support on Windows 11 as well. Currently, the company offers Android apps on Windows 11 via the Amazon Appstore, but something like Google Play Store is what many users probably desire. There is some good news for such users though as it has been confirmed that Google Play Games will be arriving on Windows 11 this year as a native app. Also, Microsoft's system requirements for Android apps are on the very heavy side right now so a little work on bringing these requirements down will likely be beneficial to a lot of users. Via: Windows Latest Microsoft job posting suggests better Android support on Windows 11 may finally be coming
  25. Google has announced several key policy changes for Android application developers that will increase the security of users, Google Play, and the apps offered by the service. These new developer requirements will take effect between May 11th through November 1st, 2022, giving developers enough time to adjust to the new changes. Among the list of policy changes that will be introduced, the most important ones related to cybersecurity and fraud include: New API level target requirements. Banning of loan apps whose Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is 36% or higher. Prohibiting the abuse of the Accessibility API. New policy changes for the permission to install packages from external sources. New API level targets Starting from November 1, 2022, all newly released/published apps must target an Android API level released within one year from the latest major Android version release. API level targeting requirement for newly published apps (Google) Those that fail to abide by this requirement will be rejected from inclusion in the Play Store, Android's official app store. Existing apps that do not target an API level within two years of the latest major Android version will be removed from the Play Store and will no longer be discoverable. API level targeting requirements for existing apps (Google) This change aims to force app developers to adopt the stricter API policies that underpin newer Android releases, typically better permission management and revoking, notification anti-hijacking, data privacy enhancements, phishing detection, splash screen restrictions, and more. As Google explains in the blog post about the new policy: "users with the latest devices or those who are fully caught up on Android updates expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer." App developers that need more time to migrate to more current API levels may request a six-month extension, although this is not guaranteed for everyone. This policy change is expected to force many outdated apps to adopt more secure practices but will also inevitably push several projects that are no longer actively developed outside the Play Store. One side effect of the latter could be people turning to obscure sources to get an APK of their favorite app, only to get scammed and infect themselves with malware. Accessibility API abuse Android's Accessibility API allows developers to create apps that can be used by those with disabilities, allowing the creation of different ways to control the device and use its applications. However, this feature is commonly abused by malware [1, 2] to perform actions on an Android device without the user's permission or even knowledge. Google's new policies further restrict how this policy can be used, as listed below. Change user settings without their permission or prevent the ability for users to disable or uninstall any app or service unless authorized by a parent or guardian through a parental control app or by authorized administrators through enterprise management software; Work around Android built-in privacy controls and notifications; or Change or leverage the user interface in a way that is deceptive or otherwise violates Google Play Developer Policies. Policy for package fetching Another key policy change announced by Google tightens the "REQUEST_INSTALL_PACKAGES" permission. Many malicious app publishers submit innocuous code onto the Play Store to have their submission approved but hide package-fetching functionality that downloads malicious modules after installation. Users see these actions as "request to update" or "download additional content," so they approve of the action when served the associated prompt or don't see anything because it happens in the background. Google wants to close this loophole by enforcing new policies for the permission, shedding light on a previously poorly regulated space. The functions allowed now will be limited to web browser, search, communication, file sharing, file transfer, file management, and enterprise device management. Apps using this permission must now fetch only digitally signed packages, while the user's consent will still not allow self-updates, code modifications, or bundling of APKs in the asset file. The new REQUEST_INSTALL_PACKAGES policies will go into effect on July 11th, 2022, for all apps using API level 25 (Android 7.1) and above. Google boosts Android security with new set of dev policy changes
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