‘Insidious and sick’ Fruitfly malware has been spying on Mac users via their computer’s camera for YEARS

A type of malware that has infected hundreds of Macs remained undetected for years

FruitFly malware uses the Mac’s camera to spy on users and log what is happening on screen.

A security firm called Malwarebytes discovered FruitFly earlier this year, but researchers have since found a new strand of it hiding under a slightly different code.

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FruitFly uses the computer's camera to spy on users and logs what is happening on screen - and it's been infecting computers for years (stock image)

FruitFly uses the computer’s camera to spy on users and logs what is happening on screen – and it’s been infecting computers for years (stock image)

FRUITFLY

FruitFly uses the computer’s camera to spy on users and captures key strokes and what is happening on screen – and it’s been infecting computers for years.

There are multiple strains of FruitFly which rely on different codes, making it particularly hard to detect.

According to security firm Synack, there are around 400 computers known to be infected with FruitFly and likely to be many more.

Although they are not sure when the bug first came around, researchers have found it works on the Mac Yosemite operating system – which was released back in October 2014.

According to security firm Synack, there are around 400 computers known to be infected with FruitFly and likely to be many more.

Although they are not sure when the bug first came around, researchers have found it works on the Mac Yosemite operating system – which was released back in October 2014.

‘Mac users are over-confident’, Patrick Wardle, chief security researcher at security firm Synack told CNN.

‘We might not be as careful as we should be on the internet or opening up email attachments’, he said.

Mr Wardle anaylsed the strain for months and then managed to decrypt it to set up a server that intercepted signals from computers that had been infected.

‘Immediately, tons of victims that had been infected with this malware started connecting to me,’ he said.

There are multiple strains of FruitFly which rely on different codes, making it particularly hard to detect.

It is now known how it first got on computers but Mr Wardle does not believe it is part of state espionage.

MacSpy (pictured) allowed users to monitor an infected system, capture passwords and other sensitive details through the use of key stroke logging, screenshots and clipboard contents

MacSpy (pictured) allowed users to monitor an infected system, capture passwords and other sensitive details through the use of key stroke logging, screenshots and clipboard contents

MACSPY AND MACRANSOM

In June, Mac users were warned to be vigilant after two separate pieces of malware emerged from the dark web – MacSpy and MacRansom.

MacSpy allowed users to monitor an infected system, capture passwords and other sensitive details through the use of key stroke logging, screenshots and clipboard contents.

MacRansom worked in a similar manner to the WannaCry software that plagued computer systems around the world, including the NHS, last month.

It encrypted the contents of a user’s computer and threatens to delete all of the information it contains, unless a ransom of 0.25 Bitcoins, around £530 ($684), is paid.

‘I believe its goals were a lot more insidious and sick: spying on people,’ Mr Wardle said

Apple has been contacted for comment.

In June, Mac users were warned to be vigilant after two separate pieces of malware emerged from the dark web.

The tools were specifically developed to allow would-be hackers to takeover Apple’s desktop and laptop machines, and even ransom their data.

They were being given away for free by their creators, who are believed to be professional software engineers.

The two systems were called MacSpy and MacRansom.

MacSpy allowed users to monitor an infected system, capture passwords and other sensitive details through the use of key stroke logging, screenshots and clipboard contents.

MacRansom worked in a similar manner to the WannaCry software that plagued computer systems around the world, including the NHS, last month.

It encrypts the contents of a user’s computer and threatens to delete all of the information it contains, unless a ransom of 0.25 Bitcoins, around £530 ($684), is paid.

[“Source-dailymail”]

Huawei Mate 10 Will Sport Bezel-Less Display, Take on iPhone 8, Says CEO

Huawei Mate 10 Will Sport Bezel-Less Display, Take on iPhone 8, Says CEO

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Huawei CEO confirms bezel-less display for Mate 10
  • Mate 10 to take on Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8
  • Expected to be unveiled in September

We’re fast approaching a new age where bezel-less displays are the new norm. Xiaomi kicked it off with the Mi MIX, while LG and Samsung followed with the G6 and Galaxy S8, respectively, and Apple is expected to do the same with its upcoming tenth anniversary iPhone. Huawei is also looking to shift to ‘full-screen’ displays when it launches the Mate 10 flagship, CEO c confirms.

Bezel-less displays have been trend for smartphones in 2017, and Huawei’s CEO has confirmed rumours that began earlier this month that the successor to the Mate 9 will feature a near bezel-less display as it looks to grow mobile shipments tis year and take on the giant Apple. In an interview with Bloomberg, Richard Yu said that the Mate 10 will be unveiled right around the time Apple reveals its next iPhone, which means we’re looking at a possible September unveiling. In fact, Huawei’s CEO unabashedly revealed that the Mate 10 will have features that will trump Apple.

“We will have an even more powerful product,” Yu says. “The Mate 10, which has much longer battery life with a full-screen display, quicker charging speed, better photographing capability and many other features that will help us compete with Apple.”

The CEO’s remarks comes soon after Huawei reported a slowdown in smartphone shipments the year with an estimated 140 million-150 million smartphones expected to ship by year-end. This is only marginally better than last year’s 139 million figure. Huawei claims the reason behind this is that the company is focusing on chasing profits rather than volumes, and it plans on doing this by shifting focus towards high-end phones.

The Chinese manufacturer also plans on unveiling an “AI processor” this year that looks to make smartphones “intelligent”. Yu, however, did not clarify whether Huawei’s dedicated AI processor will be included with the upcoming Mate 10.

As for everything else that is expected to come with the Mate 10, earlier this month it was reported that the upcoming smartphone will come with facial recognition, support for AR, and could have 3D sensing as well. Additionally, the smartphone is tipped to come with iris scanning and is expected to be powered by Huawei’s HiSilcon Kirin 970 SoC based on the 10nm process.

The Huawei Mate 10 is tipped to come with a 6-inch (1080×2160 pixels) display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, identical to the LG G6 and similar to the Galaxy S8. Cameras on the smartphone are expected to be Lieca-branded, as was the case with the Mate 9. Going by CEO Richard Yu’s statement, the Huawei Mate 10 could be unveiled some time in September.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Subway gives itself a makeover — with tech updates

Subway is debuting a new look.
On Monday, the fast-casual restaurant chain unveiled a new store design intended to provide a more distinctive and welcoming customer experience. The new “fresh forward” design, by FRCH Design Worldwide, includes a bright color palette, inspired by the hues of fresh vegetables, wall decor that communicates the brand’s emphasis on quality ingredients, and more contemporary-looking seating. It also features such tech enhancements, such as self-ordering digital kiosks.
“We’ve created a modern design that gives our guests choices – from how they order, to how they pick up their food, to how they enjoy their meal,” said Trevor Haynes, VP of operations at Subway, which operates more than 44,800 franchised locations.
Highlights of the redesign include:
Digital: Self-order kiosks in select locations, digital menu boards and, as always, Apple and Samsung Pay options. A separate food preparation area and a designated pre-order pick-up location for kiosk, mobile app, delivery, catering and bot for Messenger orders allow  for a speedy customer experience.
Dine-In Experience: Bright and playful décor, curated music, and comfortable seating with USB charging ports and complimentary Wi-Fi create a welcoming environment.
Food: Fresh veggie display with whole tomatoes, green peppers, onions and cucumbers that are sliced daily, plus new bread and cookie displays on the front of the line.
Subway debuted its new “fresh forward design” in nine pilot locations in the United States, including four in Florida (Tamarac, Winter Park, and two in Orlando), along with two in Canada and one in the United Kingdom.
Subway’s new design will be featured in all future locations and remodels starting this year, with the majority of remodels to begin in 2018, reported CNBC. About 85 locations in North America are in the process of rolling out the new format, the report stated.
[“Source-chainstoreage”]

Experts: Software theft shows threat of mercenary hackers

Experts: Software theft shows threat of mercenary hackers

This image released by the FBI shows a poster containing a photo of Mohammad Reza Rezakhah, who the agency is seeking to apprehend on charges of conspiring with others to hack into a Vermont defense contractor and to steal sophisticated software, outlined in an indictment unsealed Monday, July 14, 2017. (FBI via AP)

On an October morning in 2012, the system administrator of a tiny Vermont defense contractor arrived at work to find the business’ computers had been hacked and a sophisticated software program stolen. Prosecutors later concluded the thieves were a group of Iranians who sold the software to organizations within the Iranian government.

The hack, revealed in an indictment unsealed last week, shows that mercenary hackers who sell stolen data to friendly governments are a growing threat to defense contractors, experts say.

“They are essentially nonsanctioned espionage groups,” said Brian Wallace, the lead security data scientist for the Irvine, California-based company computer security company Cylance Inc. “The government doesn’t create them, they don’t own them. They operate and get almost of their income from the government.”

The South Burlington company, Arrow Tech Associates, makes software used to monitor projectiles in flight.

Arrow Tech President Charles Hillman said the firm was able to track the hackers’ every keystroke, which helped the FBI trace the intrusion to three Iranians.

“We were very impressed with what they got done in just a few hours,” he added.

Iranian officials in Washington referred an emailed question on the issue from The Associated Press to “the pertinent department.” There was no further reply.

The eight-count indictment released last week alleged that from at least 2007 through May 2013 the three men broke into computers in “Vermont and elsewhere.” It said the group also stole software from an unidentified Western aerospace company in July 2012.

Arrest warrants were issued for two of the men: Mohammed Reza Rezakhah, 39, and Mohammed Saeed Ajily, 35. They were indicted in April 2016, and FBI wanted posters say the two men are believed to be in Iran.
Experts: Software theft shows threat of mercenary hackers

This image released by the FBI shows a poster containing a photo of Mohammad Saeed Ajily, who the agency is seeking to apprehend on charges of conspiring with others to hack into a Vermont defense contractor and to steal sophisticated …more

The third man, Nima Golestaneh, had been indicted in 2013, but the case was sealed until February 2015, when he was brought to the U.S. from Turkey.

Golestaneh pleaded guilty in Vermont in December 2015. The next month, he was pardoned by then-President Barack Obama as part of a prisoner swap with Iran that included the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.

Such hacks are a growing threat for defense contractors, said Phil Sussman, the president of Norwich University Applied Research Institutes, which works on cyber security issues at the private Vermont military college.

“In the last five or six years anyways, it has been common knowledge that these kinds of services are readily available on the dark web and could be purchased,” Sussman said.

Wallace said such arrangements are not exclusive to Iran.

“We can see a lot of similar activities coming out of Russia where you had independent hacking groups that don’t work directly for the Russian government, but they do have very strong ties to the Russian government,” he said.

Arrow Tech, which employs fewer than 10 people, sells software that measures the performance of projectiles. “Anything that comes out of a gun tube is in our wheelhouse,” Hillman said.

It’s unclear if the stolen ballistics software, used to analyze and design bullets and GPS-guided artillery shells, ever worked for the hackers. Hillman said he doubts the hackers could have even unlocked the software, because it requires a physical key, called a dongle, to operate.

Hillman said Arrow Tech has had to assure some of its 600 licensed customers in more than two dozen countries that their information is safe.

“Their information is not stored on these servers that are accessible from the outside,” Hillman said. “I can’t even access our servers from outside the building.”

[“Source-phys”]

The stupidity of South African workers’ fight against technology

Image result for The stupidity of South African workers’ fight against technologyWhen Pick n Pay unveiled self-service terminals at its Ottery store in Cape Town last year, consumers praised the excellent use of technology to make their lives easier.

Cobus Barnard, Pick n Pay’s group executive for retail office and supply chain, said the self-help checkout points are aimed at making shopping more convenient.

He said the checkout points will help customers who are in a hurry, letting them go through the checkout process themselves.

Not everyone was happy, however. Cosatu and its affiliates were up in arms, saying it was not consulted regarding the self-service terminals.

According to Cosatu, Pick n Pay employees were fearful the self-service tills would impact their jobs.

Cosatu said it would oppose the self-service terminals and even threatened boycotts – as the technology was “anti-worker, and anti the objectives of South Africa”.

The same situation is now playing out in the taxi industry, where metered taxi operators are fighting against Uber in South Africa.

Instead of embracing technological advances in the transport industry, which make consumers’ lives easier, metered taxi workers are attacking Uber drivers and destroying their cars.

While aggression and violence may result in small wins against Uber and self-service terminals, progress is inevitable.

To embrace new technologies which enhance consumer experiences is always better, and more profitable, as many Uber drivers found out.

And if a local industry is concerned that an international player may eat its lunch, there is always the option to develop your own technology.

Be the technological advance

If anyone thinks it is impossible to fight against global giants like Uber, think again.

Ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing crushed Uber in China, and acquired Uber’s China unit in August 2016.

The argument that technological advances will cost jobs is also not informed.

The World Economic Forum said investments in technology create jobs and are an important enabler of innovation and development.

This is in addition to other benefits, such as contributing to GDP growth, creating new and sustainable industries, and business innovation.

Technological progress does not cost jobs, it creates jobs, and is necessary for South Africa to remain competitive in a global market.

The idea that technological advances are “anti-worker, and anti the objectives of South Africa” is misguided and should be dismissed with contempt.

Unfortunately, the ANC government continues to buckle under pressure from workers’ unions and other groups which are holding technological progress – and job creation – back. Let’s hope this changes soon, for the sake of South Africa and its citizens.

[“Source-mybroadband”]

Yogi Adityanath calls for solution to Ayodhya issue through talks

Image result for Yogi Adityanath calls for solution to Ayodhya issue through talksHe said the Ramayana circuit will connect all cultural and traditional centres mentioned in the epic, adding that the circuit would be extended to Rameshwaram.

AYODHYA: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath today stressed that a peaceful solution to the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid issue should be found through bilateral talks.

Both parties must abide by the Supreme Court’s advice regarding negotiations, said Adityanath who was on a visit here. He added that the government would take care of the sentiments of both Hindus as well as Muslims.

In his speech, the chief minister referred to Indonesia and said it was the biggest Muslim country where Ramayana was celebrated.

Indonesians have accepted Islam as a way to worship God, but they are still very much attached to their old tradition of Ramayana, he said.

Adityanath also said that the Union government is thinking seriously to construct a Ram Sethu (Adam Bridge) connecting India to Lanka to give a full and final shape to Ramayana circuit.

He said the Ramayana circuit will connect all cultural and traditional centres mentioned in the epic, adding that the circuit would be extended to Rameshwaram.

The Centre as well as the state government are developing all spots which are traditionally and culturally connected with the Hindu religion, he said.

Development of ghaats along the rivers and cultural activities such as ‘Ram Leela’ and ‘Krishna Leela’ were also priorities, he said.

Adityanath was in Ayodhya to pay tributes to Ram Mandir movement leader Ram Chandra Das Paramhans whose death anniversary falls today. Paramhans, one of the accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, had died fourteen years ago.

This was Adityanath’s second visit to Ayodhya in less than two months.

After becoming chief minister he had visited Ayodhya on 31 May to take part in the birthday celebration of VHP leader Nritya Gopal Das, president of the Ram Janambhoomi trust.

Yogi, had during his last visit to the temple town also offered prayers at the makeshift Ram temple here.

About a thousand people including sadhus and BJP leaders attended the chief minister’s public meeting in a small place adjacent to Digambar Akahara.

Some persons including some sadhus expressed displeasure saying they were forcefully removed by the police as the chief minister was to arrive.

Faizabad district magistrate S K Rai however said “no one was removed forcefully but we requested some sadhus to go before the arrival of CM for security reasons”.

[“Source-economictimes”]

Doctors view technology as largely problematic

Image result for Doctors view technology as largely problematic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Health) – When an endurance runner with a history of heart failure felt under the weather, he brought his activity tracker data from a workout to his cardiologist.

Dr. Michael Blum examined the runner’s heart rate readings. The cardiologist could see when his patient was pushing to climb a hill or to increase his speed, and when he was slowing down.

“I could tell how hard he was working,” said Blum, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco. “I had this amazing data.”

Ultimately, though, he had to inform his worried patient: “This is all really interesting, but I can’t tell you what it means.”

Blum joined three other doctors who spoke last week on the promise – and the reality – of technology in a San Francisco panel discussion sponsored by Medscape and titled “Technology, Patients and the Art of Medicine.”

Technology in the form of diagnostic software helped one of the panelists, Dr. Abraham Verghese, conclude that a patient was suffering from neurosarcoidosis – a diagnosis the Stanford University professor didn’t initially consider but one a software program immediately recognized given the patient’s symptoms.

Technology offers doctors a view inside patients’ hearts, brains and bowels. And technology may speed the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness, said panelist Dr. Jessica Mega, who leads the healthcare team at Verily, formerly Google Life.

Nonetheless, 69 percent of the 100 doctors in the audience said increased reliance on technology and electronic health records only served to separate them from their patients.

As evidence of the problem, the panelists cited apps that claim to do things they don’t really do, like accurately measure blood pressure.

But the biggest problem stemming from technology for the doctors, and the bane of many doctors’ existence, is the electronic health record, also known as an EHR.

The U.S. government has touted electronic records, initially designed for billing, as a way to dramatically improve patient care and has used financial incentives to speed their adoption. The hope was that the widespread use of EHRs would reduce medical errors, inefficiencies and inappropriate care.

The effort has failed, according to Dr. Eric Topol, editor-in-chief of Medscape and the panel moderator.

American doctors continue to make 12 million diagnosis errors a year; one in four patients in U.S. hospitals continue to be harmed; and healthcare costs continue to soar, he said.

Topol called electronic health records “a complete mess.”

“Why do we just put up with pathetic technology?” he asked.

The panelists, as well as the doctors in attendance, bemoaned the time it took them to complete electronic records, time they longed to spend with patients.

Verghese credited electronic records with billing well, with reducing medical errors and with keeping him out of dusty basements in search of patient files. At the same time, he blamed EHRs for tying doctors to their computers and at least partially for his colleagues’ unprecedented suicide rates, depression, burnout and disillusionment.

“I find it pretty incredible,” he said, that with “all the wonderful, sophisticated imaging technology, we still have this dinosaur of an electronic medical record.”

Verghese, a best-selling author, is vice chair for the theory and practice of medicine at Stanford University and has championed the return of what he considers the lost art of the physical exam. He questioned how physicians allowed EHRs to take over medical practices without physician input on how to make them work.

“We allowed this to happen on our watch,” he said. “How did we let this happen?”

“My sense is that the current dysphoria in medicine revolves to a great degree around the electronic medical record but not solely. I think the other piece of it is everything moving much faster, so many more patients, so much more information per patient,” he said.

Blum had nothing good to say about electronic health records. But he refused to blame them for all medicine’s ills.

High rates of physician burnout, depression and suicide predate the government’s relatively recent push for electronic records, he said. He traced the problem back at least 10 years to increased government regulations that turned doctors’ notes into billing documents.

“Then you throw the electronic health record on top of that,” Blum said. “That just took a bad situation and made it horribly worse.”

Blum, who leads the Center for Digital Health Innovation at the University of California, San Francisco, considers electronic health records separate from technology.

He believes technology has transformed medicine in a positive way and will continue to do so.

“The office visit and the experience of the bonding has clearly been disrupted” by doctors having to type into electronic records, Blum said. On the other hand, he said, “patients can send me a note whenever they want, and within a day, I’ll get back to them.”

As further evidence of technology’s benefits, he cited a study showing that patients expressed more satisfaction following a video visit with their doctors than visits to the office.

“It’s going to explode,” he said, “when we see the next generation of technology.”

Source:-.reuters.

MS Paint to be removed in the next Windows 10 update

Microsoft published a list of applications and services that will be removed or deprecated in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. One of the applications stated for deprecation is the 32 year old MS Paint, that has been part of every version of Windows ever made.

After an overwhelming response from users on the internet, Microsoft announced in a blog post that the venerable drawing utility will be removed as part of default software suite but will be available as a download through the Windows Store. Microsoft instead wants users to use Paint 3D, which was introduced earlier this year in the Windows 10 Creators Update and features a much expanded set of drawing tools, including 3D objects.

The new version of Windows will be available later this year in fall.

[Source:-gsmarena.]

How to declutter your technology

Mother board: for work-from-home mums it's important to organise your technology. Image: Getty

If you have ‘worked’ from home with young children, you’ll understand the quotations.

Often not a great deal of work gets done.

It’s difficult to maintain your mental focus when you’re constantly being interrupted by small humans piping up about Tiny Teddies and toilet time.

But for many mums despite the struggle, spending those early years at home alongside your children and still working (a little or a lot) is a good option.

As a writer, it was an easy decision for me to work from home. I only need a screen, some ideas and a little peace.

So I pushed on, conducting interviews while children cried in the background and typing articles while breastfeeding.

And I’m really glad I did.

It kept a smidge of a career chugging along and although now I’ve headed back into the big smoke, I still work two days in my home office while the kids are at school.

One problem I discovered working from home is – there’s no IT number to call when something hi-tech and impossible to grasp happens. And there’s no one to help you set up clouds and drop boxes and all those other things.

The first step is to have your devices and software set-up properly to start with (ask an expert!). Then ensure it’s super organised. I’ve done it and you should too. Here’s how to declutter your office technologically, with tech expert Trevor Long from Officeworks …

1. Folder planning

Get your desktop icons organised and colour-code them. It will give you clarity and ensure your hard work isn’t lost.

Think of your computer folders as a family tree – start at the top with the client or project and then create additional separations within the main folder to separate in categories, such as ‘finance and admin’ and file your documents accordingly

2. Go wireless

Random cords and wires can create the illusion of clutter. The main culprits are your computer desktops, laptop chargers, keyboards and the computer mouse. Though desktops will need to be plugged into a power outlet, there are numerous Bluetooth enabled wireless keyboards and mouses which will streamline your workspace. Upgrade your keyboard and mouse with Wireless Bluetooth enabled devices to create a cord-free space.  My top pick is the Logitech MK235 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo.

When it comes to your desktop and monitor cords, firstly untangle your cords, then apply cord straps to contain your cables in a tight and organised bundle – colourful straps such as these Wrapt Up Hook and Loop Cord Straps will help you organise numerous cables in the workplace.

3. Shred it

If paperwork comes and goes in your office, consider purchasing a shredder to sit under the desk or in the office to manage any unnecessary paper that lands on your desk.  Shred it, recycle it and manage the clutter as you go – simple and effective.

4. Back Up

Your digital data is often your most important tool so ensure you back up your information regularly. Some Portable Hard Drives have pre-installed ‘Back Up’ software to take the leg work out of ensuring you’re protected. Don’t leave your information at risk, try the Seagate 1TB Backup Plus Slim Portable Hard Drive.

5. Reach for the skies

The ‘cloud’ is a word often used, but many are unsure about what it is.

In its simplest form, it’s a storage system that runs over the internet rather than on a computer’s hard drive.

It provides the same levels of security as a hard drive, but the big advantages are reliability and accessibility — you can access files on the go from any device providing there is internet connection.

Regardless of the age of your computer, Cloud Storage is strongly recommended as an off-site backup. It instils confidence that if there’s a computer failure you have a back-up copy of all your important documents.

Microsoft OneDrive is a great Cloud Storage option. It comes standard with 5GB of free Cloud storage as part of the Microsoft Office Home and Business package.

6. Protect your tech

  • Keep your firewall turned on. A firewall is an internal security system that protects your device from hackers. Most operating systems incorporate firewall protection, though the key is ensuring it is switched on and stays on.
  • Install and/or update your antivirus software. This is different to firewalls. Internet Security software detects and protects against any obscure or dangerous software programs. Norton Antivirus has a range available – remember to protect all your connected devices such as phones and tablets as well as computers.
  • Be careful with what you download. It goes without saying, but it’s a common mistake for people to open all attachments, links and files. This can be dangerous and lead to a lethal virus and a system shut down. If you don’t know the person, don’t open the accompanying document.
  • Remember to investigate product insurance to protect your new portable device for 12 months from purchase from accidental damage, loss or theft.

[Source:-honey]

What you can expect from Android O

Image result for What you can expect from Android O

The next version of Android, still just named “O” for now, is almost here. The Android O release candidate has just been released. And, unlike earlier Android releases, more users than ever should be able to use the new Android, thanks to Google’s Project Treble.

Project Treble has redesigned Android to make it easier, faster, and cheaper for manufacturers to update devices to a new version of Android. It does this by separating the device-specific, lower-level software — written mostly by the silicon manufacturers — from the Android OS Framework.

This change, which is being added in Android O, is actually this release’s most important new feature by far. While it will be invisible to users, it’ll enable smartphone vendors and carriers to bring new releases of Android to smartphones in weeks or months instead of the months and years (or never) we now see. It’s also expected to reduce Android fragmentation.

A new stable vendor interface between Android and the vendor’s hardware implementation bridges the gap between operating system and firmware. With this stable interface providing access to Android’s hardware-specific parts, device makers can deliver a new Android release to consumers by just updating the Android OS framework with no additional silicon coding.

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA), the Android O development team said, “We’re working closely with device makers and silicon manufacturers to both get required Android customizations (such as carrier-specific requirements) into AOSP, and reduce their cost and complexity when updating to the new version of Android. For example, Sony and Qualcomm have already contributed dozens of features and hundreds of bug fixes into AOSP [Android Open Source Project) so they no longer need to rework these patches with each new release of Android.”

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ANDROID O:

The only people certain to get the release are using Google phones. Specifically, you’ll get it on the Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, the Pixel C tablet, and the forthcoming Pixel 2

Faster boot and application start times – Google promises that with Android O, you’ll see faster boot times and applications launches. Overall, Android O will have snappier performance from the same hardware than what you’re seeing from devices running Android Nougat.

Picture in Picture (PiP) mode – With Nougat, you can already run apps in split-window mode, but this enables you to have an app that supports it running on top of another app. So, for example, if you want to watch a YouTube video while downloading files, you can do that.

Improved battery life – Who doesn’t want more battery life? Android O uses restricted background activities to squeeze out more minutes. This de-prioritizes background functions. This is in addition to improvements to Doze, which turns off idle applications. The net result could be as much as an hour or two more of battery life.

Contextual press-to-act options – I’m looking forward to this one. Android O will learn what you want to do when you click on information in an application. Say, as I did yesterday, I had to copy and paste an address from an email and then paste it over to Google Maps. It’s doable, but it’s difficult. After I do it a time or two on Android O, the system will work out I want to use Maps to get directions when I press on an address, and it will automatically start me on my way.

Improved Bluetooth audio – Tired of sub-par Bluetooth audio? Android O comes with native support for LDAC, Sony’s hi-res Bluetooth audio codec. With a bitrate of up to 990Kbps, LDAC promises to be close to lossless audio codec quality. Other changes will give audio application developers more control over sound quality. The end result should be better audio for all of us.

Notification Dots – Variations of this are already on custom launchers such as Samsung’s TouchWiz. With this, when a new alert or message comes to an application, an alert message appears over the icon. For example, I can tell at a glance on my Samsung Galaxy S7 that I have 17 unread messages in my email. Google is building this into Android O. In addition, if you long-press the icon, a pop up on the launcher window gives you a list of actions to deal with the notification. Yes, let’s ignore those inbox messages for now.

This combination of features will make Android even more a pleasure to use. The real improvement, as I mentioned earlier, is that with this release users will finally have a chance to use the most recent version of Android without having to buy a new phone.

Finally!

[“Source-zdnet”]