Google Looks Ahead With 2020 Vision

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Google Looks Ahead With 2020 Vision

With 2020 upon us there’s surely been an influx of not only new years resolutions, but new decade resolutions.  Sure, you may have already fallen off on a couple of them, but we’re all looking to make this decade a better one than the last.  Well, resolutions aren’t just for the individual.  Google is looking forward to 2020 as another opportunity to grow and create a new world of tech.  Starting with Google I/O 2020.

Revisiting 2019:

The company’s annual developer conference takes place every spring, and this year will be no different with the dates being set for May 12-14.  Last year was full of useful talks sharing new advances in the ways we can envision, build, and share apps.  And beyond the scope of Android there were demonstrations of impressive advances on tech such as Google Assistant.

A lot has happened since 2019’s conference.  Android has moved on to Android X and away from the classic dessert naming convention.  New tech like the Pixel 4 and old tech like Google Glasses came back into being.  And languages like Flutter grew to gain more widespread adoption.  Here are some of the things we should prep to see continuing this tradition in 2020:

Android Hardware:

Odds are we’ll be seeing a Pixel 4a at Google I/O 2020.  We saw the 3a last year, and after hearing about how the 4 didn’t quite live up to expectations it only seems natural for a budget version to emerge.  The price will likely be lower due to weaker specs, but I would bet the 4a still runs on the newest Android version as is tradition with other Pixel devices.

I’m not that excited about the Pixel 4a though, what really captures my interest is the possibility of a Pixel watch.  We’ve seen Apple absolutely dominate the wearables market over the past few years with Samsung making a small dent as well. But loyal Android fans have been waiting for quite some time to see a watch developed by Google emerge into the mix.  If this ends up being revealed, you can be sure it will be awe inspiring.

Android Software:

And with both of these new pieces of hardware you can be sure that they will come loaded with the new software…meaning Android 11 of course.  Very little is known about it at this time, but Google has been steering towards higher security and privacy for their users over the past few rounds of Android.  With new permissions coming into the mix and higher consolidation between apps information is guarded more tightly than ever.  I’m sure Android 11 will crack down even harder on this.

But phones aren’t all about security.  We want the user to actually enjoy their experience, so it’s natural to assume we’ll see a couple new features as well.  With things like multi resume and picture in picture emerging over the past few years it will be interesting to see what else Google can bring to the table.

All the Rest:

                There is of course more the Google I/O than Android, that’s just where our focus at RootJunky tends to gravitate.  In an ever changing landscape of Machine Learning and Augmented Reality we’re sure to see some great advances on both of these fronts.  Google Assistant is probably going to come in stronger than ever with another killer demonstration showing how well it can react to a user’s voice commands.

And Augmented Reality will see its next wave of realistic lighting and other effects.  Personally I think we might see some interesting interactions with outside forces. Imagine a character being blown around on your screen because it’s actually windy outside.  The sky is the limit when you get creative with it!

Mark your calendars for Google I/O 2020, it’s going to be a good one. And be sure to let us know in the comments below what you’re most excited to see this year.

Google Ups Their Security Ante

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Google Ups Their Security Ante

If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about cyber-security (and are also interested in Android’s) then there’s never been a more enticing offer on the table.  This week Google has officially announced a new top reward for being able to pinpoint a security flaw in the operating system.  Are you hooked yet?  Well, here’s the new figure: $1.5 million dollars!

A Quick History:

Way back in 2015 Google announced the launch of a security rewards program for Android (The one we’ve come to know and love today as it’s improved the operating system). The program covered security vulnerabilities affecting Nexus phones and tablets, and asked individuals to try to find defensive holes.  In exchange for finding one of these you could earn up to $38,000.

This is no small chunk of change, but it’s also obviously a long way away from $1.5 million.  What happened?  Well Android grew in popularity and more security researchers came on board unearthing security flaws.  In fact, from it’s first bug bounty program in 2010 Google was paying over $1 million a year to hundreds of researches who found issues.  So it’s not a complicated story.  Google offers rewards for security help.  People find flaws.  Google makes a more secure environment and ups the ante.  Rinse and repeat.

The $1.5 Million Dollar Man:

Which brings us to the 2019 cap in the program.  Google won’t pay that large a sum to just any bug though.  Their looking for a “full chain remote code execution exploit with persistence which compromises the Titan M secure element on Pixel devices.”  In simpler terms they want to find a bug that lets a hacker execute code on a device even after it’s been reset and without physical access. 

The Titan M security chip was first introduced in the Pixel 3.  Its job is to oversee security (passcodes, verify firmware signatures, and identify malicious apps).  It’s done a fairly good job and has been carried over into the new Pixel 4. And since it does such a good job security flaws are harder and harder to find.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  The only way security can get better is by someone figuring out how to hack it.  If you find a hole in your defenses, you know exactly what needs to be patched up.

So the $1.5 million dollar bug is the big one, but it’s not the only reward.  There are plenty of other security flaws that have led to hundred thousand-dollar payouts to dozens of individuals.  If you are interested in learning about Android security, it’s safe to say these prizes are only going to go up, so there’s no time like the present to start!

Pixel 4 Leaks Become Floodgates

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Pixel 4 Leaks Become Floodgates

Over the past few years leaks of new phones have become a commonplace trend.  It almost has to happen nowadays in order for anticipation to build up.  But the Pixel 4 is shattering this trend.  Almost every other day it seems a new leak is springing up.  Let’s look at some of the recent unveilings:

Videos Galore:

This week we saw an influx of videos revealing details about the new device.  One of these was from the YouTube channel AnhEm TV showing almost 7 minutes of details about what the Pixel 4 looks like.  I’d recommend watching it for yourself, but it covers things pretty well showing that the phone has a square shaped camera module similar to what we saw on the iPhone 11 just 2 days ago.

Another video from the channel Rabbit TV shows off the three colors we’re expected to see soon.  These include black, white, and to mix things up a bright orange.  In addition, it seems that the phone does not wear the traditional Pixel fingerprint scanner.  As to what this means for face id or on screen fingerprinting we can’t say, but I would personally LOVE to see some print scanning available anywhere on the touch screen.

Cameras Sell Phones:

I think it’s safe to say most of us are not professional photographers, yet cameras have become one of the biggest selling points for new phones.  On Tuesday Apple spent a good portion of their iPhone 11 presentation fixated on the camera (in fact it was almost all they talked about), and every time a new Pixel comes out the camera is marketed heavily as a use feature of the phone.  The Pixel line always has top rated cameras so don’t get me wrong I’m excited to see what’s in store, but it seems some people forget there are other things to a phone!

But that rant aside, on Monday this week we got a video of a video showing off some new camera fun.  A recording of a Google ad marketing their phone being made “The Google way” demonstrated that the phone would be useful in low light environments again.  But on top of tis you “Even get the stars”.  The new camera will have an astrophotography mode designed to help take pictures of the night sky.  So whether you’ll actually be utilizing it or not, the camera is sure to be very impressive.

Coming Soon to a Store Near You:

Google isn’t expected to do an official announcement of the Pixel 4 until October, but it feels like we’re pretty much there right now.  As more details of the new device come out we’ll keep things updated here, so be sure to stay tuned!

What are your thoughts on the Pixel 4 and it’s leaks?  Let us know in the comments below.

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