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2017

Much of the news coverage this week demonstrates how serious Google is about clamping down Android security. There's also news about a giant robot at Amazon, drones in Walmart stores and an Android "O" on the horizon.

 

Must-Read: Android Security Year-in-Review 2016

This 70-page report details the Android security protocols currently in place, ways that products from the community can cause harm and the major known vulnerabilities.

 

Must Watch: Android Security Year-in-Review 2016 (video)

For those too busy to read the paper, Adrian Ludwig, directory of Android security, covers Android's year in security in this 30-minute video.

 

Five Tips for Successful Google Play Launches

Adam Gutterman, Google Play Games' go-to-market strategic lead, posts some insights on getting launch right the first time, and embeds some videos to drive home the point.

 

Diverse Protections for a Diverse Android Ecosystem

Adam Ludwig and Mel Miller  blog about the 2016 Android Security Year-in-Review, and emphasize some important security enhancements coming in Nougat.

 

Android "O" Developer Preview is Here

Background limits, notification channels, adaptive icons, a new low-latency audio API and many more cool new features are coming in the O-flavored dessert. Google VP of engineering Dave Burke takes a look.

 

Here's Phandroid's First Take on Android O

For a look inside Android O while letting someone else crack the plastic, Android-only news site launches a series on the latest announced version with a promise of more to come.

 

Heads Up Developers: Java 8 Will End Jack Support

A brief note posted by Google PM James Lau indicates that support for Java 8 will be added directly to the javac and dx tools, and not into Jack, the part of the toolchain that compiles Java source into dex bytecode.

 

Amazon CEO Channels His Inner 'Aliens'

It wasn't able to do much more than swing its arms, but this giant humanoid robot appears to have the potential to pick from the highest shelves.

 

Walmart Kicking the Tires on Drones

Walmart is toying with the idea of using drones in their stores to fetch items for customers and bring them to a designated area of the store.

 

Google Maps Offers Advice on Parking

The app that helps get drivers to their destination is expanding to include parking advice. Leveraging its "popular times" data, Google Maps now estimates the chances of finding a place to leave the car.  

For developers using Zebra's EMDK for Android and have updated to Android Studio 2.3, please read the story immediately below. There's also news this week for developers using Visual Studio, MySQL, ReactJS and Docker, and not all of it is good.

 

EMDK for Android Bug Fix for Latest Android Studio

The release last week of Android Studio 2.3 revealed a bug in Zebra's EMDK add-on for the SDK. Here's the fix.

 

Microsoft Releases .NET Core Tools 1.0

On the heels of Microsoft's release of Visual Studio 2017, the company has unveiled .NET Core Tools 1.0, with add full C# support to any of the Visual Studio editions, including VS Code for Mac.  

 

Study: ReactJS, Docker Show Big Growth in Jobs

The landscape of the developer job market is changing. Dev-job and community site Stack Overflow has run the 2017 numbers and ReactJS and Docker are gaining fastest.

 

MySQL Vulnerability Revealed as 'Bad Dump'

Christopher Tarquini, technical lead at cloud services provider Linode, details a flaw in the popular open source database MySQL that could open a back door using an imported dump file.

 

Gmail App Now Can Transfer Funds

Forget using PayPal or SquareCash to send money to a friend or pay a bill. Now Gmail can attach funds like a photo.

 

Apple Turns Attention to Services

With its iPhone sales at a plateau, Apple is focusing its efforts on building the services side of the house, where margins are in the clouds.

 

Motorola Unveils a 5G Add-on

With Qualcomm's plans for a Gigabit LTE network inching closer to reality, Motorola hinted in New Orleans last week that a "Moto Mod" could be in the works in time for 5G in 2019.

News of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's leaked security documents sent Android and iOS developers scrambling this week, and both groups have responded. Almost lost in the shuffle was IBM's big-data array, which boasts 200,000 hard drives.

 

Latest iOS Version No Longer Hackable by CIA

Apple claims that the latest version of iOS all the vulnerabilities revealed last week by the documents published on the WikiLeaks web site.

 

Google Claims to Have Patched 'Most' WikiLeaks

Never to be outdone by Apple, Google reportedly says is "confident" that Android is free of "most" of the vulnerabilities uncovered by Julian Assange and company.

 

Forbes Reports Google Has 'Few Leads' in Search for Vulnerabilities

Just one day before telling CNET it was "confident" it had put most of its security troubled behind it, Google was reportedly having trouble figuring out where to begin.

 

132 Apps Discovered on Google Play with Malware

Palo Alto Networks tipped off the folks at Google, which found that scores of apps from seven different developers lay in wait for unsuspecting downloaders.

 

Trojan App Tricks Users Into Giving it a Thumbs Up

Google's malware woes continue to mount, as another malicious app was discovered, this one twisting the user's arm until it taps out a positive review.

 

Read the Latest Android Security Bulletin

As if on cue following recent Google Play snafus, the latest Android security patch fixes 60 vulnerabilities, the most severe of which can run malicious code using multiple media.

 

IBM Building Big Array for Big Data

With an array of 200,000 interlaced hard drives and a new file system to match, IBM's new 120 petabyte gives new meaning to the term "Big Data."

 

Android Studio 2.3 Mainly Fixes Bugs, But Adds a Few Goodies Too

The latest version of the official Android IDE now converts images into WebP format, simplifies adding Android App Links to apps and more.

 

Google Acquires Artificial Intelligence Firm Kaggle

Google last week confirmed its acquisition of Kaggle, a San Francisco-based company that hosts data science and machine learning competitions. Perhaps it can help the company secure Android and its app store.

 

Self-Driving Wheelchair Not Related to Google

Researchers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago are developing a self-driving wheelchair that could be used in hospitals and nursing homes.

While Apple is looking to beef up its menu of red meat for the enterprise, Google wants to cleave off a section of the messaging market that Apple has been hogging for years. Microsoft, meanwhile, is patching a major hole in its browser code while prepping for a major Visual Studio launch.

 

Google Unveils Dozens of New Carriers, Device Makers Supporting its 'iMessage'

Apple will no longer have a corner on native messaging for devices running its operating system. Google's RCS takes a major leap forward with support from 27 carriers and device makers.

 

SAP Reveals iOS Dev Tool as Apple Plays for the Enterprise

Apple and SAP have set a release date of March 30 for a tool that the companies claim will let enterprise developers build simple iOS apps that can access SAP back-end systems and data. 

 

Sharing Files Through Intents Part 2: Fixing Permissions Before Lollipop

Ennova Group's Lorenzo Quiroli delivers the next installment of his series on using Nougat's intent-based file sharing to maintain (or fix) backward compatibility. In case you missed it, here's Part 1.

 

Google Reveals Bug in Microsoft Browser Code

Time's up Microsoft. After discovering and reporting to Microsoft a severe vulnerability in its Edge browser that could result in a take-over, Google has reported the bug to the world, citing the expiration of its self-imposed 90 waiting period during which Microsoft was to build a patch.

 

A Guide for Migrating from SHA-1 to SHA-2 Encryption

When it comes to migrating to new technology standards, things don't always move quickly in the corporate world. However, it looks like SHA-2 encryption, which was recommended as a standard in 2002, will become compulsory over the next two years.

 

Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 Available Tomorrow

On March 7, Microsoft kicks off a two-day launch event for the latest version of Visual Studio, which was first release 20 years ago. Here's the schedule for this no-holds-barred event.

 

Facial Recognition Puts Money Where Your Mouth Is

If you thought that paying with your smartphone was cool, wait until you can pay with your face. It's already happening in China. 

 

New Classes for Xamarin Begin March 9

As part of its Visual Studio 2017 celebrations, Microsoft has launched a new series of webinars for the education of Xamarin developers. Classes begin March 9.

What's old is new again, and what's new is spreading. The digital assistant is back, but this time it's a hand-held organizer app from Google. Meanwhile, drone technology is spreading across the U.S. and Canada, and wireless charging advancements could start leaking from the Magic Kingdom.

 

Google Assistant Sees Wide Release

Don't confuse this digital assistant with the palm-sized organizers that became symbols of success two decades ago. The Google Assistant is an app that the company will let run on non-Google devices.

 

Don't Use Android In-App Billing APIs Alone

For those about to monetize, we salute you. We also suggest reading this piece by Opera Software developer Sergey Solovyev about the pitfalls using just the Android APIs to implement in-app purchases.

 

Disney Researchers Build Wireless Charging Room

Researchers at Disney give new meaning to the phase "go to your room" with news that the group has developed a chamber that will deliver "ubiquitous wireless power" to devices that enter the room.

 

What Do Unit Tests Say About Android Activities?

People building Android apps using Activities and Fragments (and who isn't?), probably aren't doing a whole lot of Unit Testing. This piece is for those who question why, and vows to help fix it.

 

Get Ready for Nougat and the FileProvider Intent

Apps built for KitKat and higher have enjoyed the "file://" URI syntax for years. Ennova Group's Lorenzo Quiroli explains how to use Nougat's intent-based file sharing and maintain (or fix) backward compatibility.

 

Artificial Intelligence Holds Its Own at Texas Hold'em

Die-hard poker players might cry "foul" at Libratus, Carnegie Mellon's artificial intelligence system that defeated four poker pros last month. The reason? It's impossible to tell when a computer is bluffing.

 

Why Poker is the Holy Grail of AI

It's one thing to teach a computer how to win a game show, in which correct answers can usually be found on the internet. But as this MIT Tech Review piece explains, poker play is not an exact science, and teaching a computer why the best hand doesn't always win has until now been among the most vexing issues.

 

Hospital Fined $3.2M After Losing a Device

Some asset intelligence might have helped the Children's Medical Center of Dallas, which lost a device in 2009 that was found to be in violation protocols set forth by HIPAA, the U.S. law governing healthcare and patient data protections.

 

UPS Drone Demo Didn't Go As Planned

The Canadian United Parcel Service is developing a drone program to simplify delivery logistics in rural areas. But the company's octo-copter nearly got crushed in its inaugural flight before the media.

 

Another Ground-breaking Flight Simulator: Microsoft AirSim for Drones

Hard to believe it was 1982 when Microsoft released its first Flight Simulator, setting the bar for all that would follow. Now the company taking flight with drones, and an open source development kit is intended to help developers do the same.

 

Verizon is Going Skyward with Drone Acquisition

If Verizon has its way, drones will not only be part of future skylines, they'll also have LTE capabilities. The telecom giant last month acquired commercial drone software maker Skyward, calling the move a part of its strategy of "in-flight wireless connectivity through our Airborne LTE Operations initiative."