Blackberry has launched the all-new Evolve and Evolve X in India. Ever since its inception, Blackberry has been piggybacking on its security features. Today things have changed, the iPhone and other flagship phones are encrypted and this makes us think about what security features does Blackberry has to offer. In this segment let us take a closer look at all the security features BlackBerry Evolve and Evolve X has to offer,
In the recent past, BlackBerry has ditched its very own operating system for Android. However, Blackberry still offers certain unique features and DTEK is one of them. The DTEK by BlackBerry lets you see which apps are using your info on the device. While it is perfectly normal for the apps to have access to certain features/hardware it is also not uncommon for the apps to intentionally access certain features without your knowledge.
The DTEK security feature in BlackBerry monitors when an app takes a picture using the camera, attempts to access the device calendar, tries to edit or add contacts, sends text messages or tries to access the location of your device. That's not all, DTEK also creates a log that lets you see which features an app has accessed in the recent past. We have already seen how some apps are programmed to eavesdrop on our conversation and in such cases, the DTEK is a life saver.
BlackBerry has its very own Password Keeper on Android. This application keeps a track of all your passwords across various apps and services. The vault saves all your passwords so that you don't have to remember each one of them. All of this is secured with a master password. Additionally, you can also import your Password Keeper data from your previous BlackBerry phones. The only downside as I see is that the app doesn't offer password protected notes and an option to add bank account/credit card details. In my opinion, BlackBerry deserves to be entrusted better as opposed to third-party services.
Apart from Password Management the Keeper also offers the following features, auto lock, support for adding security questions and answers, auto clearing the clipboard, generating a strong password and it also supports BlackBerry keyboard.
Well, I am sure the Android purists and the geeks would cry foul, but BlackBerry prefers including root Protection on its phones. Rooting is a method used by power users to gain high-level privileges and better control over hardware. BlackBerry believes that rooting is not for everyone and offering the Evolve devices with unlocked boot-loaders can cause problems. The point of concern is that normal users might brick or cause serious issues with system stability. Moreover, it's a known fact that rooting also exposes sensitive hardware/software of the device to the malware.
Both the BlackBerry Evolve and the Evolve X come with an Integration Detection feature. This security feature continuously monitors the security of the device. Integration Detection does the following, Checks the integrity of the kernel on device bootup, unauthorized changes to the SELinux policy, file system mounting permission and barring unauthorized apps from acquiring escalated privileges. The BlackBerry Integrity Detection can be verified by heading over to DTEK app and ensuring that there is a green checkmark next to the “Operating system integrity.”
Worried about the sneaky people who keeps staring at your phone in public places. Well, BlackBerry has you covered. The BlackBerry Privacy Shades blacks out a part of the screen thus making it impossible for the strangers to have a peek at your phone and spy on your personal messages. The app also offers controls for opqauness of the shade. The feature can be activated for notifications or any part of the screen. This reminds me that the BlackBerry’s strategic pivot to software experiences seems to be finally paying off.
BlackBerry Hub isn't exactly a security feature. Thanks to its utilitarian edge it deserves a shout out. The BlackBerry Hub aggregates notifications from a wide array of services and displays it on a single dashboard-like interface. It supports apps like Reddit, Discord, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Slack, Messenger, and others. It is always useful to have all the notifications aggregated on a single screen instead of singularly checking each app.
In a surprise announcement, Google made Android 9.0 official today and it is named Android Pie. Starting today the existing Pixel phones will receive updates. The other phones which participated in Android P beta program will get the update later.
"Devices that participated in the Beta program from Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Essential, as well as all qualifying Android One devices, will receive this update by the end of this fall! We are also working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year," Google said in a blog.
Here are some of the noteworthy features of Android Pie:
Android Pie comes with improved security and privacy features as well. Google has worked especially on biometrics as many devices are looking to support methods such as IRIS and Face Unlock.
These features are coming later to the devices running Android Pie. Wellbeing feature is available in beta at the moment for Pixel devices.
Remember when we used to joke about Samsung releasing a Bixby powered speaker? That's real now and it is called Galaxy Home. Samsung announces the smart speaker today at its Unpacked event along with Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch.
At the first look, the speaker looks like a Wineglass meets a tripod. It has eight far field mics to listen to the command that triggers Bixby. It also has AKG Harman powered six speakers and subwoofer for good sound output. We don't really know if those speakers are really pleasing as we have just seen the demo. The speaker also has control buttons on top to skip tracks and adjust volume.
This means that Samsung has now entered the battle of smart speakers and it will take on Apple's Homepod, Google Home and Amazon's Alexa powered Echo. However, it might be a while till we actually see the Bixby powered speaker going head to head with the other giants. Samsung said that it will announce more details about the Galaxy Home later in the year at its developer conference.
Samsung also announced a partnership with Spotify which allows the music service to work across the devices seamlessly. So the Galaxy home will benefit from Spotify connect like implementation.
Apple has officially unveiled the iOS 12 at its annual WWDC conference. And thankfully it will be coming to all the same devices as iOS 11 (no depreciating this time) plus the new 2018 devices that will be launched later this year. "With iOS 12, we're doubling down on performance," Apple's senior VP of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said with a promise to focus on old devices such as iPhone 6. The latest iOS will make app launches 40% faster and also quicken the slide to take photo feature by 70% as compared to iOS 11.
Let’s look at some of the key features:
Finally, after years of wait, Apple has introduced the group notifications. With more refinement and focus on making you less of a phone addict, iOS 12 has changed notifications for the better. Now they will be grouped by app, topic, or thread -- and you’ll be able to swipe old notifications away in bulk.
Do Not Disturb During Bedtime
Activating Do not disturb during bedtime (the new mode in control centre) will hide all the chatty notifications until you get up. They’ll start showing in the morning once you tap to accept the notifications.
Screentime and App Limits to Reduce Smartphone Addiction
Screentime will notify you of the total time you’ve spent on your device including how often you use it, how many notifications from each app, how many per hours, and more. Along with App Limits feature (notifies if you use an app for too long) that lets you restrict your and children’s (say yes to parental control) usage for individual apps, it is Apple’s way to make you use your smartphone a tad less.
Who doesn't love animoji? But now you can make an animoji of yourself using the front-facing 3-D camera. You can make the mimoji feel like you by adding skin tone, hairstyles, facial features and accessories like sunglasses. Some might say that Apple 'copied' Samsung. Plus iOS has added four new animojis including a koala, a ghost, a tiger... and a T-rex.
With iOS 12 you can do a Group FaceTime with up to 32 members and it also allows for the integration of animoji and sticker packs. Even the layout has been made so that it accommodates everyone’s faces in form of tiles and a roster at the bottom which houses all the listening members. When someone speaks their tile gets enlarged giving everybody a better view. However, at one time there would be only four active tiles on the screen.
An Improved Siri
Siri gets a new shortcuts feature that provides you with information and services you need throughout your day. For example, it’ll remind you to turn off your ringer, when you go for a movie or prompt you to call your mother on her birthday, etc.
Siri will also identify your behaviour patterns and offer actions that make your life easier. You’ll be able to program Siri to fulfil certain tasks by creating voice prompts like "find my keys", "order my groceries," etc. A new shortcuts app with a shortcuts editor will help you set these up. Customised shortcuts are much like routines of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant where users can trigger multiple commands through a single phrase.
Another highlight of iOS 12, ARKit 2.0 allows multiple users to interact with the same AR experience using their own devices in real time. Apple hopes to make AR more social this way. Plus there’s a new app called Measure that uses the phone’s camera to measure real-life objects accurately. AR on iPhone also allows you to drop any 3D object into the real world like a toy, object or a character. And to help ease the burden of app developers, Apple has developed a new file format called USDZ, in conjunction with Pixar.
Better Search in Photos
In iOS 12 you’ll be able to search for multiple search terms, people, and scenes. Also in the ‘For You’ tab you’ll see recommendations for memories to revisit, suggestions to share photos with your key people and suggestions like apply loop to this photo. Moreover, photos will share at full resolution out of your iCloud photo library.
These are some of the most exciting features of iOS 12. There weren't any major announcements regarding special features for iPhone X or upcoming versions. The beta version of iOS 12 will be available later this month.
Security and privacy
One of the focus areas for Apple has always been security and privacy of its users. iOS 12 introduced a bunch of features in that verticle. Most notably, Safari will prevent trackers to look at your data while browsing. A lot of companies such as Facebook and Google track general browsing data to show ads to you later. Which won't be possible now.
Additional Reading: There are the Privacy and Security features on iOS 12
Harley-Davidson’s first electric motorcycle – the LiveWire is set to go on sale next year. Announced as a sub-500-pound concept back in 2014, LiveWire packed just 58 pound-feet of torque. But having it available from zero rpm made it quite an interesting little motorcycle at the time. In the past four years, the bike has gone through some interesting design changes and has no longer remained the sole electric bike in Harley’s line-up for the coming years.
The American motorcycle manufacturer today unveiled its 'More Roads to Harley-Davidson' growth plan, giving us an insight into the company’s growth plan till 2022 and beyond. In order to inspire the next generation of bikers and grow its foothold in the market, Harley will release three electric models, their first ever adventure touring model, the Pan America 1250 and a 975cc Streetfighter model in 2020 and a future custom motorcycle that features "stripped down" styling and 1250cc of power in 2021.
As per Harley-Davidson, the LiveWire is “the first in a broad, no-clutch, 'twist and go' portfolio of electric two-wheelers designed to establish the company as the leader in the electrification of the sport.” The image, however, is only a prototype and the actual motorcycle's features may change in the final production variant, said the press release. The other two electric models set to release in 2022 include a lighter, dirt-bike-styled model and an odd, city commuter/moped-style bike.
Apple’s main supplier in Asia is caught in the eye of a major PR storm after reports emerged that it had illegally employed student interns to assemble iPhone X units to meet the mounting demand for the flagship device. According to The Financial Times, Hon Hai Precision Industry, more commonly known as Foxconn, had employed 3,000 students from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School for assembling units of the new flagship device.
Six of these student interns, all of whom are between 9 and 17 years years of age, were quoted in the news report as saying that they worked an average of 11 hours a day at the company’s Zhengzhou factory, even though their employment is in clear violation of Chinese law. The students also added that they had to put in a minimum of three months at the factory in order to get ‘work experience’ mandatory for graduating. Foxconn, on its part, maintained that the students’ employment was part of an internship program, which had the sanction of local government authorities and the co-operation of several vocational schools in the country.
The news report also quoted an 18-year-old, who goes by the name Ms Yang (first name withheld out of fear of a backlash) as saying that the students were being forced by their schools to work at the Foxconn production unit. She also went on to add that she had assembled as many as 1,200 iPhone X cameras in a single day, even though the job had nothing to do with her course curriculum. Ms Yang aspires to be a train attendant.
Even though neither Foxconn nor Apple has come out with a categorical statement on the controversy, the same report mentions that both the companies admitted that they were aware of student interns working overtime and have promised remedial actions in the matter. However, the companies maintain that these students have been working at the China-based manufacturing unit voluntarily.
Apple’s tenth anniversary iPhone has been in the news for production issues, supply shortages and delays right from the beginning. In fact, Apple had to defer the iPhone X shipping to November, as opposed to September-end, which is typically when the new iPhones hit the markets year after year.
Be that as it may, this case of students being utilised to assemble units isn’t a one-off incident. The Financial Times report also quoted a Foxconn employee, who stated that the company employed students on an annual basis, between August and December, to cope with an increased demand from Apple. The number of employees at the said Zhengzhou factory often triples during this period, going from nearly 100,000 to over 300,000.