Author Archives: JC Torres

An open source contributor and holds doubly lethal degrees in Philosophy and Computer Science. When not working, he spends his time lurking and helping out in KDE Project.

Google Maps AR mode can be more precise, more useful than GPS

Google Maps AR mode can be more precise, more useful than GPS

You may not know it yet, but your location is almost as important as your email address and password. It is one of the things hackers and advertisers love to know, precisely because of how much we've come to unknowingly depend on it. From check-ins to store deals to, of course, navigation, we've come to rely on location data in our modern lives. Even in navigation, however, location can be a hit or miss, both powered and limited by GPS technology. That is why for the next evolution of Google Maps, the search giant is mashing together augmented reality, computer vision, and AI to deliver more accurate and more useful directions and information.

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LG G8 ThinQ price leak raises the stakes

LG G8 ThinQ price leak raises the stakes

LG has recently reported a not so small loss in its mobile business but while that's not going to put the entire company out of business, it still doesn't look good. At MWC 2019 later this month, the Korean OEM will have a chance to redeem itself, at least in the public's eyes, with the debut of the LG G8 ThinQ as well as the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. With the stakes already high, however, LG may have decided to raise it even higher by raising prices to match its rivals.

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Android phones vulnerable to maliciously crafted PNG images

Android phones vulnerable to maliciously crafted PNG images

Apple may have had the bulk of attention thanks to its FaceTime bug that may be because it rarely gets such serious flaws. Or at least they rarely get reported. Android's more open nature, however, brings exploits to light more easily and more regularly, which, in theory, should mean they also get patched up faster. Google's latest security bulletin mentions one such bug that could let hackers run arbitrary code on your phone simply by making users open an image of a cute cat on your Android phone.

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Huawei P30, P30 Pro design leaked by case maker Spigen

Huawei P30, P30 Pro design leaked by case maker Spigen

Huawei might be waiting for MWC 2019 to pass before making its own big splash, but some accessory makers are already getting ahead of themselves. It's not that uncommon for this or that lesser known brand to claim some insider scoop, but when a relatively major one like Spigen publishes cases for unreleased phones, it's a different matter. The case maker has just published some products for the Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro, confirming their designs, both the good and the bad.

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Surface devices expand to 20 markets, Headphones to 8 more in March

Surface devices expand to 20 markets, Headphones to 8 more in March

Microsoft struck gold with the Surface. Starting with the Surface Pro to the latest Surface-branded accessories, Microsoft's Surface brand has reported impressive profits in the company's recent earnings report. Spurred by this good fortune, Microsoft is now announcing the launch of the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, and Surface Studio 2 in an additional 20 markets. In addition, the Surface Headphones will also launch in 8 other markets next month.

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Snapdragon 712 boasts a little bit more performance

Snapdragon 712 boasts a little bit more performance

As of today, Qualcomm has five distinct "mobile platform" lines manufacturers can choose from for every smartphone tier. There's the entry-level Snapdragon 200, the mid-range 400, the "premium" 600, the high-end 800, and the newest kid on the block, the 700 series. Launched just last year, the Snapdragon 700, followed by the 710, was unexpected and odd and few OEMs have jumped onboard. Of course, that hasn't stopped Qualcomm from putting out this year's chip, the Snapdragon 712, with just a little performance boost and a Quick Charge version that barely anyone uses.

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Opera for Android with built-in free VPN goes into beta testing

Opera for Android with built-in free VPN goes into beta testing

There is a lot of shenanigans happening online these days and many of them happen through our smartphones. From malicious apps both subtle and overt to websites we visit, it seems that anyone and everyone is out to get us, or at least our data. And while there is no shortage of apps and tools to protect our privacy even on mobile, not all of them are as easy as flicking a switch. To fill that need, Opera is now testing a built-in VPN for its Android browser so that you won't have to install anything extra just to get around eavesdroppers and even region locks.

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Honor 10 Lite Review: Honor 8X on a budget

Honor 10 Lite Review: Honor 8X on a budget

Honor, an independent Huawei subsidiary, is well-known and well-loved for offering high-end specs, higher than Xiaomi's, at lower prices. In some cases, it almost rivals its parent by putting almost the same specs and features as, say, a P or Mate series into a more affordable package with only a few compromises. That said, it also has room for smartphones a little lower down the ladder for those with even tighter budgets. The Honor 10 Lite is the latest in that roster and we take it for a spin to see whether it cuts off too many corners in the process.

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iOS 12.2 to remove Safari’s ineffective Do Not Track feature

iOS 12.2 to remove Safari’s ineffective Do Not Track feature

One of the side effects of promoting yourself as a staunch privacy advocate is that all your actions in that regard will be heavily scrutinized. Apple is indeed facing such attention in light of a major Group FaceTime bug and Facebook's misuse of its enterprise creds, but even the little things are getting some time in the spotlight. Apple is making some changes to the iOS version of Safari and while this removal of the "Do Not Track" setting may sound antithetical at first, it ironically protects users even more.

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Galaxy Watch Active specs leak leaves one question unanswered

Galaxy Watch Active specs leak leaves one question unanswered

Samsung may have just made its next smartwatch, which will undoubtedly be eclipsed by the Galaxy S10 and its foldable phone, a bit more curious. Sadly, it might not all be in a good way. Recent leaked images of the Galaxy Watch Active, now believed to be the name of what was previously called the Galaxy Sport, hinted at the removal of Samsung's iconic rotating dial. Now a new leak has come up detailing the wearable's specs but comes up short in answering that mystery.

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Popular iPhone apps caught recording screens without user knowledge

Popular iPhone apps caught recording screens without user knowledge

Apple positions itself as a champion of privacy and security, especially on mobile, but recent events have shown that not everyone is on the same page. Both Facebook and Google have abused their Enterprise Certificates to get and pay users to install logging apps outside of the App Store. Now it seems that some highly-used iPhone apps are recording screen taps and swipes without informing the user, much less asking for their permission.

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Galaxy Note S Pen might have a camera inside for selfies

Galaxy Note S Pen might have a camera inside for selfies

How much can you squeeze inside a thin stick like the Galaxy Note 9’s S Pen? Well, there is a button, a supercapacitor acting as a battery, a Bluetooth radio, and a spring. If that sounds like a lot already, apparently Samsung thinks that isn’t enough. For its next S Pen trick, it may put a camera inside. Still not satisfied, it might even add optical zoom that is mostly absent in larger smartphones.

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