Android P initial impressions: Two weeks daily driving Google’s latest OS

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Android P is the latest iteration of Google’s mobile operating system, and it’s been available to test as a Developer Preview on the company’s Pixel phones for about a month now. I flashed the preview on my Pixel 2 XL a few weeks ago and have been using the phone as my daily driver since.

Overall, this is easily the most polished day-one build Google has released. I’m not having any battery drain issues, annoying app crashes, or random reboots.

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Android P initial impressions: Two weeks daily driving Google’s latest OS was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ Initial Impressions: I Can’t Believe How Well This Plays

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We were blown away earlier this month when Epic Games announced that Fortnite: Battle Royale would be coming soon to iOS. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last week and a half, Fortnite has been busy overtaking Minecraft and PUBG in popularity while breaking Twitch stream records. A few of us over at TouchArcade were in the first wave of invites went out earlier today to check out the iOS version. I’ve been playing Fortnite: Battle Royale for a few hours now and it simply blows my mind how well it works in the mobile arena.

I’ll save the long diatribe for how games like Battle Royale and PUBG operate, but to put it simply, you enter a game with 99 other people in a last man standing arena style combat. Along the way, you’ll find weapons and ammo to attack and defend yourself, and accumulate resources to build your way to hopeful victory. Fortnite has been steadily rising in popularity primarily due to how well Epic Games has improved on this formula.

What everyone wants to know at this point is how well Fortnite: Battle Royale plays on iOS. Well, at least on my iPhone X, I can safely say that I’m blown away with just how amazing it plays. Battle Royale’s colorful visuals are well represented in this mobile port and the game runs at a pretty smooth framerate with some occasional popup. The touchscreen controls do take some time to get used to, but the game’s strafe and aim assist do a decent job of compensating for the understandably lost of precision. The same goes for build mode, where the game’s intelligent placement system works well enough in letting me quickly build structures on the fly. Cool control options such as double tapping to lock in running and multiple fire options also do a great job of transitioning to touch screen controls. In fact, my biggest issue with the controls probably has to do with switching between weapons, as having to tap between each one on a small screen takes some practice to be precise.

So, Fortnite: Battle Royale easily passes the visual, framerate, and control tests in my book. But, most importantly, is it still as fun on mobile as it is on other platforms? I’d say the answer to that is a resounding yes. The general length of games are perfectly acceptable for holding a mobile device (although expect some heavy battery drain) and the game’s myriad of cosmetic unlocks combined with the gameplay itself lends the title to an insane amount of replayability.

I plan on continuing my adventures in Battle Royale indefinitely, but there are a few things to keep in mind. My awesome experience was on an iPhone X, so these impressions don’t cover other versions of iPhone or the iPad or controller experience (which I imagine would be quite a bit different from a control standpoint). Also, I haven’t had a chance to play a cross-platform game, which may change the general difficulty depending on your opponents. Even still, based on what I’ve seen and played so far, this is going to be the game to play for quite some time. If you’re interested in checking the game out ahead of its release, be sure to register for a chance to get an invite.

TouchArcade

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Initial pre-orders for Samsung Galaxy S9 reportedly down compared to Galaxy S8 sales

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Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9, may be underperforming compared to the previous model, with a report on South Korean sales and an analyst’s pre-order note suggesting the main rival to Apple’s iPhone’s launch is lower than the electronics giant anticipated.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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Initial benchmarks find iPhone X superior to Samsung Galaxy S9+

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With the Galaxy S9 and S9+ now in the hands of tech reviewers, some are beginning to evaluate how Samsung’s latest handsets stacks up against Apple’s flagship iPhone X. One head-to-head shows the S9’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU, while speedy, is easily bested by Apple’s A11 Bionic power plant.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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Amazon still isn’t selling the Chromecast, nearly three months after initial announcement

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Google and Amazon have been in a feud of sorts for years, starting when Amazon pulled the Chromecast and Nexus Player from its online store in 2015. The war culminated late last lear, when Amazon added a YouTube client to the Echo Show without Google’s permission or involvement, leading Google to remove YouTube from the Fire TV and Echo Show altogether.

Perhaps as a way of mending its relationship with Google, Amazon announced in December of last year that it would once again stock the Chromecast.

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Amazon still isn’t selling the Chromecast, nearly three months after initial announcement was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Apple DMCA request confirms source code leak of iBoot, iOS’ key initial security app


The source code for Apple’s iBoot, the little-known but critically important secure bootloader for iOS, leaked online yesterday. Apple this morning confirmed the leak by filing a DMCA copyright takedown request with the code’s host, GitHub.

Though the publication of iBoot was enthusiastically dubbed “the biggest leak in history” in the initial Motherboard report, the source code is believed to be from three-generations-old iOS 9. It is thus likely mostly a concern for users of older iOS devices lacking the “secure enclave,” a hardware security feature found in all Touch ID devices since the iPhone 5s.

iBoot is not labeled or marketed by Apple in any way. It is, however, the first app that runs when you turn on an iOS device, silently transitioning from a black screen to the white Apple icon to iOS’ colorful Home screen.

iBoot is designed to guarantee that a valid, trusted version of iOS is being loaded. Unlike other portions of iOS that have been open-sourced, it’s been kept opaque for security reasons. Apple considers bugs in iBoot to be so important that it pays security researchers up to $ 200,000 per vulnerability.

The disclosure of iBoot’s source code could considerably improve hackers’ chances of spotting issues, and reignite a jailbreaking scene that all but dried up as iOS’s hardware and software security improved. Motherboard speculates that the leak could also enable programmers to emulate iOS on non-Apple platforms.

That said, it’s unclear how much of the iOS 9-vintage code remains in the current iOS 11 and near-future iOS 12 iBoot process, nor how improvements to the secure enclave hardware may have mitigated risks to almost all iOS devices currently being sold.

Apple – VentureBeat

Initial developer tests of ARKit 1.5 show off impressive vertical surface, image detection

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Developers have been testing out Apple’s ARKit 1.5 since the refreshed augmented reality platform saw release with iOS 11.3 beta last week, and a few early projects offer a glimpse into the technology’s ability to detect vertical surfaces, images and more.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Firefox 57.0.4 rolling out to all platforms with initial fixes for ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ CPU vulnerabilities

Yesterday, Google released information about a series of CPU vulnerabilities it discovered. The first was ‘Meltdown,’ which allows malicious programs to read protected memory – but only affected Intel-made x86 processors. The second issue, named ‘Spectre,’ applied to just about every modern processor, and gives malicious programs the ability to steal data from the memory of other applications.

Since the above vulnerabilities can be used through JavaScript, web browsers also need to be updated to avoid exploitation. Mozilla released Firefox 57.0.4 today, which disables the JavaScript features required for the attack.

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Firefox 57.0.4 rolling out to all platforms with initial fixes for ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ CPU vulnerabilities was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Apple modem supplier Qualcomm rejects initial $103B bid from Broadcom

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Apple cellular chip provider Qualcomm has turned down an unsolicited $ 103 billion takeover bid made by another Apple supplier, Broadcom, though that may not be the end of acquisition talks.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Android 8.1 lets you restore data after initial phone setup

Android 8.1 is the first maintenance release after Android 8.0 Oreo. Currently, Pixel owners can download and install the Android 8.1 Beta now, before the update is publicly available. The new update brings a few notable changes like the possibility of Chrome and SMS integration and self-dimming navigation buttons to prevent burn-in. One other new feature that was spotted on Android 8.1 is the ability to restore data from a Google account after choosing to skip the option during the phone’s initial setup. The change was discovered by Henry Roggy, who reported the change on his Google+…

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