Apps

The future of Android messaging gets support from carriers worldwide

Ready to battle with iMessage

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Now that Google is setting aside Allo and Duo to focus on building out a suite of advanced messaging features into the core Android Messages app, it’s time for third-party players to help the search giant deliver these to users. We’re talking about telco operators and phone manufacturers around the globe.

The new unified messaging platform aptly called Google Chat uses the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard which will make it very similar to internet messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber. But, what will make Google Chat better among the mentioned apps is that it’s built on top of Short Message Service or SMS.

RCS is a new universal standard meant to succeed SMS and bring in IP-based messaging features like read receipts, image sharing, and file transfers, but with minimal mobile data usage. It’s going to be like iMessage of Apple devices.

It’s not only Google that’ll be upgrading to RCS because Microsoft is also a partner provider. Both Google and Microsoft will follow the GSMA’s Universal Profile, a specification that guarantees interconnection among different platforms and providers. It’s like how SMS is universally available among all GSM phones.

Here’s the list of carriers to support Google Chat:

  • Advanced Info Service (AIS) – Thailand
  • Airtel – India
  • América Móvil – Mexico
  • AT&T – USA
  • Axiata – Malaysia
  • Beeline – Russia
  • Bell Mobility – Canada
  • China Mobile – China
  • China Telecom – China
  • China Unicom – China
  • Claro – Latin America
  • Deutsche Telekom – Germany
  • Etisalat – UAE
  • Globe Telecom – Philippines
  • Ice – Norway
  • Indosat Ooredoo – Indonesia
  • KDDI – Japan
  • KPN – Netherlands
  • M1 Limited – Singapore
  • MegaFon – Russia
  • Millicom – Latin America and Africa
  • MTN Group – South Africa
  • MTS – Russia
  • NTT Docomo – Japan
  • Optus – Australia
  • Orange – France
  • Personal – Argentina
  • Play – Poland
  • Reliance Jio – India
  • Rogers – Canada
  • Singtel – Singapore
  • Smart Communications – Philippines
  • Sprint – USA
  • StarHub – Singapore
  • Telcel – Mexico
  • Tele2 – Nordic countries
  • Telefónica – Spain
  • Telenor – Norway
  • Telia Company – Sweden
  • Telkomsel – Indonesia
  • Telstra – Australia
  • Telus – Canada
  • TIM – Italy
  • T-Mobile – USA
  • Turkcell – Turkey
  • Verizon – USA
  • VEON – Netherlands
  • Vodafone – UK

And the list of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to incorporate Google Chat and other RCS messaging features:

  • Alcatel
  • ASUS
  • General Mobile
  • HTC
  • Lava Mobiles
  • Lenovo
  • LG
  • Huawei
  • Intex
  • Samsung
  • ZTE

With Chat, Google will finally introduce RCS into Android Messages which is pretty much what most Android phones have by default. This will make sure RCS features will be available on every Android phone — may it be budget or flagship.

Apps

QuickShare will be Samsung’s alternative to AirDrop

It has cloud powers too

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Samsung is developing an alternative to AirDrop. It has a rather straightforward name of “Quick Share” and appears to carry all the functions of Apple’s offering.

Spotted by XDA-Developers, the feature lets Samsung users quickly share files, photos, and videos to other Samsung users. They can set to receive from their trusted contacts by selecting “Contacts Only”. Alternatively, they can receive files from any nearby user by choosing “Everyone”.

To differentiate it from Apple’s seamless file-sharing feature, Samsung will let users upload files to Samsung Cloud. Nearby SmartThings appliances will download the files and stream it to the user’s Galaxy device. However, there is a size limit of 2GB per day with this feature.

This feature will probably debut on Galaxy S20 when it launches on February 11th. It will likely remain exclusive to newer Samsung devices sporting OneUI 2.0. However, it is possible that this feature will roll out to other devices through over-the-air updates.

Samsung is not the only company developing its own nearby file sharing tool. Last August, rivals OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi announced an unprecedented partnership to develop an AirDrop-like feature for their devices. These are a welcome development for Android users longing for a decent AirDrop alternative.

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Apple isn’t encrypting iCloud backups because of the FBI

Public security is their concern

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One of Apple’s selling points for its products is encryption by default. For a long time, the Cupertino company advertised device encryption for its iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.

For users, it means better security and privacy against malicious hackers wanting to steal sensitive information. All device data is securely stored and encrypted so only the users can access them.

However, there is one thing missing from Apple’s encryption clause. By default, iCloud backups are unencrypted — Apple can see any data users store in the cloud service.

Privacy no more

While the company remained mum on the issue, a report by Reuters revealed why Apple didn’t encrypt iCloud backups for many years.

It turns out, the company planned on encrypting all iCloud backups last 2016. During that year, the company successfully fought a court battle against the FBI for unlocking the iPhone of a school shooter. The encrypted iCloud plan has the code name “Plesio” and “KeyDrop”.

Apple discussed the encryption plans with the FBI but the agency complained about its implications. Pressured by FBI and several US agencies, Apple later caved in and dropped plans to encrypt iCloud backups.

Sources gathered by Reuters also suggest one reason for dropping encryption: more users will find it hard to retrieve their data once they lost their password.

Implications and repercussions

With iCloud backups remaining unecrypted, FBI can easily request a court order for Apple to turn over precious data to the agency. As such, iCloud data became one of the preferred evidence for the agency, with more than 1,568 cases involving its use.

Apple has not yet commented on the issue. However, expect the fallout from this relevation to be swift and widespread, as more tech companies face the dilemma of balancing users’ privacy against the need for upholding public security.

Source: Reuters

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WhatsApp is finally getting a dark mode for Android

Currently available only in beta

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Android’s dark revolution is finally in full swing. Following the launch of Android 10, the operating system has slowly updated its supported apps to accommodate the much-awaited dark mode. Android apps are getting darker, potentially saving millions of eyes at night. The revolution has already swept the heavy hitters like Twitter and Instagram.

Now, the popular messaging service, WhatsApp, is getting the same treatment. More specifically, WhatsApp has rolled out the feature for its Google Play Beta Program.

On the updated app, users can access four types of display modes. The first two are the basic Light and Dark modes: dark text on a white background and white text on a black background. The third automatically switches between the two modes, depending on the time of day. The fourth, dubbed as Set by Battery Saver, switches depending on your current battery.

Unfortunately, the Beta Program is not accepting new members at this time. Only current members of the program can access the new mode. Currently, if you want a makeshift dark mode, you can change your chat wallpaper to a dark image.

Given the timeliness of the beta update, a public release will likely roll out in the near future.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp may soon get disappearing messages

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