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Devices running Android 6.0 or higher will get permission auto-reset feature
by Paul Hill
Google is planning to bring Android 11’s permission auto-reset feature to devices running Android 6.0 or higher. This will give users more control over the data that apps can request. The feature will be delivered via an update to the Google Play services and should become available from December 2021.
The permission auto-reset feature works by resetting sensitive runtime permissions that a user has previously granted if the app hasn’t been used for a few months. In this way, users can be sure about what data the app has access to if they don’t use it regularly; with regards to the permissions, it’ll be as though they just installed the app.
In some cases, it would not be ideal to revoke permissions access so there are some exceptions to the changes. Google says Device Administrator apps used by enterprises will not have their permissions reset nor will those permissions reset that are enacted by enterprise policy. Additionally, developers will be able to ask users to switch off auto-reset for their app but users should be wary of the potential impact of doing this.
While users can expect to see this feature begin rolling out in December 2021, it could take until the end of March 2022 until all supported devices get the update. Despite the wait, it’s a nice privacy and security update and it’s good that Google could bring it to devices running Android 6.0, which was released in 2015.
Motorola announces the Moto E20 with Android 11 Go edition for €99
by Paul Hill
Motorola has unveiled the latest arrival in the Moto E family; the Moto E20. The product is set to arrive in select countries in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East for €99 and is aimed at people on a budget or who might be new to smartphones. Anyone that’s looking for a new low-cost device should be aware that the Moto E20 comes with the stripped-down Android 11 Go edition operating system but this should ensure the device runs faster.
In terms of hardware, the Moto E20 packs a large 6.5” Max Vision HD+ display that promises ‘more vivid details’. The Moto E20 features a 20:9 aspect ratio which should mean you don’t have to scroll as much to see the content you’re looking at – it should also make it easier to use the phone one-handed.
The device also includes an octa-core processor, an AI dual-camera system, and a long-lasting 4000 mAh battery to give you 40 hours of battery life. It also features a fast-focusing 13 MP camera and a 2 MP depth camera to help you take better portrait shots. The front camera is 5 MP so it’s nothing groundbreaking but should do the job.
The firm’s official announcement neglected to mention the amount of RAM and storage on the Moto E20 but luckily GSM Arena has some more details. As with all low-end devices, it looks like the Moto E20 will be restrictive in terms of memory and storage. Two variants will be available; one with 32 GB storage / 2 GB RAM and another with 64 GB / 4 GB. Android 11 Go edition should help the lower-end option perform better if you can’t get your hands on the higher-spec edition.
Once available, you’ll be able to pick up the Moto E20 directly from Motorola’s website. It’s also common to see these low-cost devices in phone shops and supermarkets so keep your eyes peeled if you’d rather buy the phone offline.
Samsung announces OneUI 4.0 beta program for Galaxy S21 series
by Anmol Mehrotra
Earlier this year, Google officially announced the Android 12, bringing UX changes, new features and more. While Android 12 is slated to arrive this fall, Samsung has announced that it will start letting users beta test its new OneUI 4.0 update based on Android 12.
In a press release, the Korean giant announced that Galaxy S21 users can now enroll into the OneUI 4.0 beta program. Galaxy S21 users can head to Samsung Members app and register themselves for the beta program.
As for the features, Samsung is bringing a revamped UI with the OneUI 4.0 update. The update will include a ton of options "to configure your home screen, icons, notifications, wallpapers and much more. "
Furthermore, the update will include "enhanced privacy and protection functions that make it easier for users to understand exactly how their data are being used to customize their settings and deliver a more personalized mobile experience." OneUI 4.0 will also be borrowing indicator alerts from iOS that will notify users when an app is using the microphone or camera. Lastly, OneUI 4.0 will keep a log of permission history for the last seven days, allowing users to manage app permissions with ease.
Dr. TM Roh, President and Head of Samsung Electronics Mobile Communications Business said:
The OneUI 4.0 builds can be unstable so it is recommended to take a full backup before installing the new update. Samsung is looking for feedback from S21 users to improve the OneUI experience for the official launch that is scheduled to happen later this year. Currently, only Galaxy S21 series is supported but we are expecting other models to join the list in the near future.
By Usama Jawad96
Google announces Private Compute Core Services for deeper network and ML model isolation
by Usama Jawad
Back when it announced Android 12 in May, Google also announced Private Compute Core. This is an open-source initiative that offers a sandboxed and secure environment that isolates services like Smart Reply, Now Playing, and Live Caption from the rest of the OS and apps. The idea is to keep your data private to your device and utilize the cloud in a privacy-preserving manner. Now, Google has further enhanced this initiative with Private Compute Core Services.
Google explains that a lot of Android features utilize machine learning to update models to offer you an experience tailored to you. With Private Compute Core Services, the company will ensure that these updates happen over a private path, such that Private Compute Core features like Smart Reply and Live Caption don't have direct access to the network. This will be done by leveraging from specialized open-source APIs which preserve privacy by removing personally identifiable information (PII) and use techniques like Federated Learning, Federated Analytics, and Private information retrieval, some of which it detailed in May too.
Google boasted that:
The tech giant has stated that it will publish the source code for Private Compute Core Services publicly so it can be audited by any security researcher.
By Usama Jawad96
Material You is rolling out to Google Workspace apps on Android this month
by Usama Jawad
Google announced Material You, a new design language for Android apps, back in May. The UI focuses on offering customizability to users so they can tailor an app to their needs. We already started seeing the refresh in Android 12's beta builds but with the OS' general release just a few weeks away, Google has begun to roll out the revamp to its Workspace apps too.
For now, the Material You refresh for Workspace apps on Android includes updated navigation bars, Google sans text for better readability in smaller font sizes, and enhanced floating action buttons. On Pixel devices running Android 12, you'll also notice additional customization and personalization options. Google has also touted that Material You will automatically adjust line width, contrast, and size according to your preferences.
The availability status of Material You for Workspace apps on Android is as follows:
Gmail: Already available on Gmail version 2021.08.24 and newer Google Meet: Rollout begins on September 19 for Meet version 2021.09.19 Google Drive: Rolling out on Drive version 2.21.330 and newer since September 9 Google Docs, Sheets, Slides: Rollout began on version 1.21.342 since September 1 Google Calendar: Rollout begins on version 2021.37 and newer from September 20 If you haven't received the UI revamp yet or don't start seeing it at the aforementioned dates, note that the rollout pace has been set to "extended", which means that it may take over 15 days since initial rollout for a feature to become visible to you. In the meantime, check out the gallery below containing screenshots for the Material You refresh for Workspace apps on Android.