Android

Introducing PAX: the Android Networked Cross-License Agreement

In Latin, the word pax means “peace.” In the world of intellectual property, patent peace often coincides with innovation and healthy competition that benefit consumers. It is with a hope for such benefits that we are announcing our newest patent licensing initiative focusing on patent peace, which we call PAX.  

Under PAX, members grant each other royalty-free patent licenses covering Android and Google Applications on qualified devices. This community-driven clearinghouse, developed together with our Android partners, ensures that innovation and consumer choice—not patent threats—will continue to be key drivers of our Android ecosystem. PAX is free to join and open to anyone.

Already, Android is distributed under open-source licenses that allow anyone to use it for free. This openness has resulted in enormous choice for manufacturers and users. The Android ecosystem has grown to include more than 400 partner manufacturers and 500 carriers who have produced more than 4,000 major devices in the last year alone with an astounding 1.6 billion active users. We believe PAX will further expand the openness of Android for its members, promoting patent peace that will free up time and money for members, who can then dedicate those resources to creating new ideas.

PAX members currently include Google, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Foxconn Technology Group, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview. The members collectively own more than 230,000 patents worldwide. As more companies join, PAX will bring even more patent peace and value to its members through more freedom to innovate.  

PAX is the latest innovative licensing effort that Google has helped develop in order to provide balanced patent solutions. Other efforts include the LOT Network and the Open Patent Non-assertion Pledge, as well as our participation in such initiatives as the Open Invention Network and IP3 run by Allied Security Trust. Initiatives like these—and PAX—are among the many ways Google contributes to fair and balanced patent systems across an interconnected world.  

We encourage interested companies, large and small, around the world to join us in PAX and enjoy patent peace. To learn more, please visit the PAX website.


Source: Android

Belgium, Meet Android Pay

Whether you’re doing your daily shopping or heading for a night out, your Android phone is all you need as you walk out the door – thanks to Android Pay. Starting today, Android Pay is available in Belgium, helping you pay simply and securely with your Android phone. It’s the 10th country in the world to benefit from Android Pay.

You will be able to use Android Pay at more than 85,000 retail locations throughout Belgium that accept contactless payments. This includes your favourite shops like Carrefour, McDonald’s, Media Markt, H&M, and much more – take a look here for more places where you can use Android Pay.

AP_BE stores

How does Android Pay work?

Using Android Pay is simple. Just wake up your phone (you don’t even have to open an app or unlock it), hold it to the payment terminal, and voilà — your payment is done. After you check out, you’ll get helpful information on your phone about your recent transactions.

AP_BE hero 3

Android Pay will also let you breeze through checkout when you shop in your favorite mobile apps. There’s no need to enter your payment or address details every time. Look for the Android Pay purchase button in apps like Deliveroo, TransferWise and Vueling, with many more to come.

AP_BE apps

To get started, download Android Pay from the Play Store and add an eligible MasterCard and/or Visa credit card from BNP Paribas Fortis, Fintro and Hello bank!. Debit cards from those banks and CBC/KBC will be coming soon. Android Pay is available on all Android phones on KitKat 4.4 or higher for online purchases and requires NFC for in-store purchases.

AP_BE banks 3

We’ve teamed up with many leading payment platforms, processors, and technology providers such as Braintree and Stripe to make it even easier to accept Android Pay. Visit the Android Pay API developer site to learn more.

AP_BE processors

Get started with Android Pay in Belgium today: download the app on Google Play, add your card and start shopping. It’s as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.


Source: Android

Shielding you from Potentially Harmful Applications

Earlier this month, we shared an overview of the ways we keep you safe, on Google and on the web, more broadly. Today, we wanted to specifically focus on one element of Android security—Potentially Harmful Applications—highlighting fraudsters’ common tactics, and how we shield you from these threats.

PHA_SecurityIllustration.png

Potentially Harmful Applications,” or PHAs, are Android applications that could harm you or your device, or do something unintended with the data on your device. Some examples of PHA badness include:

  • Backdoors: Apps that let hackers control your device, giving them unauthorized access to your data.
  • Billing fraud: Apps that charge you in an intentionally misleading way, like premium SMS scams or call scams.
  • Spyware: Apps that collect personal information from your device without consent
  • Hostile Downloads: Apps that download harmful programs, often through bundling with another program
  • Trojan Apps: Apps that appear benign (e.g., a game that claims only to be a game) but actually perform undesirable actions.

PHA_illustration.png

As we described in the Safer Internet post, we have a variety of automated systems that help keep you safe on Android, starting with Verify Apps—one of our key defenses against PHAs.

Verify Apps is a cloud-based service that proactively checks every application prior to install to determine if the application is potentially harmful, and subsequently rechecks devices regularly to help ensure they’re safe. Verify Apps checks more than 6 billion installed applications and scans around 400 million devices per day. If Verify Apps detects a PHA before you install it or on your device if, it will prompt you to remove the app immediately.

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Sometimes, Verify Apps will remove an application without requiring you to confirm the removal. This is an action we’ll take very rarely, but if a PHA is purely harmful, has no possible benefit to users, or is  impossible for you to remove on your own, we’ll zap it automatically. Ongoing protection from Verify Apps has ensured that in 2015, over 99 percent of all Android devices were free of known PHAs.

Verify Apps is just one of many protections we’ve instituted on Android to keep billions of people and devices safe. Just as PHAs are constantly evolving their tactics, we’re constantly improving our protections. We’ll continue to take action when we have the slightest suspicion that something might not be right. And we’re committed to educating and protecting people from current and future security threats—on mobile and online in general.

To ensure Verify Apps is enabled on your Android device, please follow these steps: Settings>Personal>Security>Verify Apps>Scan device for security threats.


Source: Android

Coming soon: Your Google Assistant on Android TV and more

When we announced the Google Assistant, we said that we wanted to help you get things done across a number of different places, contexts and situations. As we usher in the new year — and with it, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — we wanted to share an update on just a few of the ways you can expect to interact with your Assistant in the coming year.

Android TV and more

The Google Assistant is making its way to Android TV in the coming months. As part of an upcoming update on supported TVs and set-top boxes powered by Android TV, you’ll be able to ask the Google Assistant for help so you can enjoy the content you love, faster than ever, on the best screen in your house. No more typing or struggling to get to what you’re looking for — just ask the Google Assistant for help and you’re off to the races.

Assistant and Android TV

Netflix streaming membership required.

From playing media to planning for your day, here are some ways the Google Assistant on Android TV can help:

  • Play content: “Play Stranger Things on Netflix.”
  • Discover content: “Search YouTube for Jimmy Kimmel.” And you can also ask a follow-up if you’re interested in more videos by saying: “Play the second one.”
  • Get answers: “Tell me about Jurassic Park?”
  • Set the right mood: “Dim the lights.”
  • Get ready for your day: “How long will it take to get to work?”  

In the coming months, the Google Assistant on Android TV will come to the NVIDIA SHIELD, along with all Android TVs in the US running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or Android 7.0 Nougat, such as the AirTV Player, Sharp Aquos, Sony Bravia, Xiaomi Mi Box, and more. And once available, the NVIDIA SHIELD will be the first TV device to offer a hands-free Assistant experience — so “Dim the lights” will only be an “Ok Google” away!

Over time, you’ll also see the Assistant come to other new surfaces, like smartwatches running Android Wear 2.0, Android-powered in-car infotainment systems and many other types of devices through the Embedded Google Assistant SDK.

Actions on Google

Last month we announced Actions on Google, the developer platform for the Google Assistant. Since then, we’ve had a number of services release new and interesting ways for Google Home users to have a conversation with them — from meditating with Headspace to getting things done in the kitchen with Food Network.

This week at CES, you’ll hear from a handful of other partners, including Daimler and Hyundai. For both, the Google Assistant on Google Home will soon help make sure you’re ready to hit the road, just ask “Ok Google, ask Mercedes how much gas is in the tank.”

All of these announcements and more will be part of this week’s CES. You can expect to start using some of these Assistant integrations over the coming months and we’ll share more information as they become available.

Happy New Year and happy CES!


Source: Android

Android Pay says “hajimemashite”

The next time you pop into your local “conbini”, your Android phone will be all you need to take with you. Starting today, Android Pay — the new digital wallet for Android smartphones — is available in Japan, helping you pay for things and earn loyalty points quickly and conveniently when you are on-the-go.

Android Pay Japan

We are launching with Rakuten Edy, so you can use Android Pay at over 470,000 locations in Japan that accept Rakuten Edy eMoney – including shops like Bic Camera, Family Mart, Lawson, McDonald’s and Yodobashi Camera.

JP_Android Pay store grid2

To start using Android Pay, download the app from the Google Play store onto an eligible Android smartphone running Kitkat 4.4 or above. You can create a new Edy card in seconds directly in the app, or, if you already have a mobile Rakuten Edy, you can also enable it in Android Pay. Adding money to your Edy card is quick and easy in Android Pay – you can top-up instantly in the app with your credit card, or at any local store that supports Rakuten Edy top-up.

To pay,  just tap your phone to the eMoney reader and see your balance update. It’s easy to keep track of your purchases, with a long-term transaction history viewable right in the app. You can also add your plastic loyalty cards for supported point programs like Rakuten Super Points.

JP_UI final

And there’s more to come. In 2017, we plan to continue working with FeliCa Networks to support more eMoney providers and are working with payments companies like The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Visa and Mastercard in many new ways – such as helping you speed through checkout with Android Pay in your favorite apps. Stay tuned for more announcements.

Get started with Android Pay in Japan today: download the app on Google Play, create a card and start shopping. And, as an added bonus, for a limited time, new users will receive a 400 yen sign-up gift when they create a Rakuten Edy card in Android Pay. It’s as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.


Source: Android

Android Wear: The Magic Minute Project

What’s possible in a minute? You can fall in love. Launch a rocket ship. Set a rap world record.

Today, Android Wear is teaming up with with makers, doers, and dreamers to launch The Magic Minute Project. It’s a collection of one-minute films celebrating what time means to all of us—told one #MagicMinute at a time.

A music and video producer, Andrew Huang has a penchant for working within absurd, self-imposed limitations. Using his Android Wear watch to time his performance, Andrew attempts to rap 300 words in one #MagicMinute.

Bruna Kajiya is a Brazilian kiteboarder and World Champion and the first woman to land a double handle pass in kiteboarding. The final minute of a competition is always the most intense: The riders perform their “all or nothing” tricks and everything is on the line.

Time trials have become popular in Parkour. Setting a route across an urban landscape, leaping between rooftops—it’s seen as the highest test of practice. Kie Willis, one of the most well known freerunners in the world, attempts a one-minute Parkour while keeping his heart rate low.

Putting together the perfect look takes time, but a versatile accessory can help. Zanita Whittington—model, photographer, and creative director—completes her look by personalizing her Android Wear watch face.

Mike Relm is a world renowned turntablist and director, known for sampling music in surprisingly innovative ways to create new sounds. He has sampled and scratched many sounds in his life, but this is the first time using his wife’s voice!

Just as traditional watches help tell the time, Android Wear watches help make the most of our time. Whatever makes a minute magical to you, why not share it with the world too? It can be anything you imagine: paint, play, code, cook, rap or render.

Submit your own #MagicMinute for a chance to be featured in The Magic Minute Project film. Follow @AndroidWear on Twitter or visit g.co/magicminute to explore the best #MagicMinute videos.


Source: Android

Android Pay Comes to Ireland

Ireland Doodle

Whether you’re doing your daily shopping or heading for a night out, your Android phone is all you need as you walk out the door — thanks to Android Pay. Starting today, Android Pay is available in Ireland, helping you pay simply and securely with your Android phone.

You will be able to use Android Pay at thousands of retail locations throughout Ireland that accept contactless payments. This includes your favourite shops like Eason, McDonald’s, Tesco, SPAR, and much more — take a look here for more places where you can use Android Pay.

IE Featured Stores

How does Android Pay work?

Using Android Pay is simple. Just wake up your phone (you don’t even have to open an app or unlock it), hold it to the payment terminal, and voilà — your payment is done. After you check out, you’ll get helpful information on your phone about your recent transactions.

IE Tap

Android Pay will also let you breeze through checkout when you shop in your favorite mobile apps. There’s no need to enter your payment or address details every time. Look for the Android Pay purchase button in apps like Adverts.ie, Deliveroo and Uber, with many more to come.

IE Featured Apps

To get started, download Android Pay from the Play Store and add an eligible MasterCard or Visa card (credit or debit) from AIB and KBC with more banks being added in the coming months. Android Pay is available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled and running on KitKat 4.4 or higher.

IE Issuers

Because Android Pay doesn’t share your actual credit or debit card number with stores when you pay, it’s even safer than using a plastic card. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can simply use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password, or wipe it clean of your personal information.

We’ve teamed up with many leading payment platforms, processors, and technology providers such as Braintree and Stripe to make it even easier to accept Android Pay. Visit the Android Pay API developer site to learn more.

IE Featured Processors

Get started with Android Pay in Ireland today: download the app on Google Play, add your card and start shopping. It’s as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.


Source: Android

Android Pay says Kia Ora

Whether you’re shopping for new summer threads or brunching at your local favourite, your Android phone will be all you need as you walk out the door. Starting today, Android Pay is available in New Zealand, helping you pay for things simply and securely with your Android phone.

Android Pay New Zealand Infographic

You will be able to use Android Pay everywhere contactless payments are accepted, including your favourite shops like The Warehouse, Domino’s, BP, BurgerFuel, McDonalds and more. Just wake your phone and tap as you would with your card. It’s that simple. And businesses across the country with contactless terminals don’t need to do anything else to be able to accept Android Pay in store.

New Zealand Featured Stores

To start using Android Pay you’ll need to download the Android Pay app on Google Play and have a BNZ Flexi Debit Visa card.

New Zealand Android Pay

Android Pay keeps your card information secure by not sharing your actual card number with stores when you pay – while allowing you to continue enjoying all the rewards and benefits of your cards.

Get started with Android Pay in New Zealand today: download the app on Google Play, add your card and start shopping. It’s as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.


Source: Android

Android: Choice at every turn

In 2007, we launched Android, a free and open-source operating system. Smartphones back then were an expensive rarity. We wanted to change that — to stimulate innovation and increase choice for consumers — and it worked.

Android means manufacturers don’t have to buy or build expensive mobile operating systems. As a result, smartphones are now available at dramatically lower prices — as little as 45 euros — and have become much more accessible to many more people. Today, more than 24,000 devices from over 1,300 brands run on Android. And European developers are able to distribute their apps to over a billion people around the world. Android is not a ‘one way street’; it’s a multi-lane highway of choice.

Android: An operating system for everyone

Last April, the European Commission issued a Statement of Objections raising concerns over how we manage Android compatibility and distribute our own apps. The response we filed today shows how the Android ecosystem carefully balances the interests of users, developers, hardware makers, and mobile network operators. Android hasn’t hurt competition, it’s expanded it.

First, the Commission’s case is based on the idea that Android doesn’t compete with Apple’s iOS. We don’t see it that way.  We don’t think Apple does either. Or phone makers. Or developers. Or users. In fact, 89% of respondents to the Commission’s own market survey confirmed that Android and Apple compete. To ignore competition with Apple is to miss the defining feature of today’s competitive smartphone landscape.  

Second, we are concerned that the Commission’s preliminary findings underestimate the importance of developers and the dangers of fragmentation in a mobile ecosystem.  Developers — and there were at least 1.3 million of them in Europe in 2015 — depend on a stable and consistent framework to do their work.  Any phone maker can download Android and modify it in any way they choose. But that flexibility makes Android vulnerable to fragmentation, a problem that plagued previous operating systems like Unix and Symbian. When anyone can modify your code, how do you ensure there’s a common, consistent version of the operating system, so that developers don’t have to go through the hassle and expense of building multiple versions of their apps?

To manage this challenge, we work with hardware makers to establish a minimum level of compatibility among Android devices.  Critically, we give phone makers wide latitude to build devices that go above that baseline, which is why you see such a varied universe of Android devices. That’s the key: our voluntary compatibility agreements enable variety while giving developers confidence to create apps that run seamlessly across thousands of different phones and tablets. This balance stimulates competition between Android devices as well as between Android and Apple’s iPhone.

Compatibility

Android’s compatibility rules help minimize fragmentation and sustain a healthy ecosystem for developers. Ninety-four percent of respondents who answered questions on fragmentation in a Commission market survey said that it harms the Android platform. Developers worry about it, and our competitors with proprietary platforms (who don’t face the same risk) regularly criticize us for it.  The Commission’s proposal risks making fragmentation worse, hurting the Android platform and mobile phone competition.

Third, the Commission argues that we shouldn’t offer some Google apps as part of a suite. No manufacturer is obliged to preload any Google apps on an Android phone. But we do offer manufacturers a suite of apps so that when you buy a new phone you can access a familiar set of basic services. Android’s competitors, including Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Windows phone, not only do the same, but they allow much less choice in the apps that come with their phones. On Android, Google’s apps typically account for less than one-third of the preloaded apps on the device (and only a small fraction of device memory). A consumer can swipe away any of our apps at any time. And, uniquely, hardware makers and carriers can pre-install rival apps right next to ours. In competition-speak, that means there’s no “foreclosure”.

Real Estate

There’s also plenty of evidence that consumers can easily choose which apps they want — something the Commission has recognized in other investigations. The average Android user in Europe downloads an additional 50 apps over the lifetime of their device. Downloading and replacing an app or widget is simple — you can do it in thirty seconds. Users downloaded 65 billion apps from Google Play in 2015 — an average of more than 175 million apps a day. Since 2011, apps offering similar functionality to those in our suite have been downloaded almost 15 billion times. Again, there’s no evidence of foreclosure.

Many pre-installed apps don’t succeed, and many have been extremely successful through user downloads — think of Spotify or Snapchat. Our apps suite approach explicitly preserves users’ freedom to choose the apps they want on their phones.

App Competition

Finally, distributing products like Google Search together with Google Play permits us to offer our entire suite for free — as opposed to, for example, charging upfront licensing fees. This free distribution is an efficient solution for everyone — it lowers prices for phone makers and consumers, while still letting us sustain our substantial investment in Android and Play.

Today’s mobile devices show all the signs of fierce competition with a wide range of business models: from vertically integrated ones like Apple’s iOS to open-source systems like Android. The rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices we see in smartphones represent the hallmarks of robust competition.

Android has unleashed a new generation of innovation and inter-platform competition. By any measure, it is the most open, flexible, and differentiated of the mobile computing platforms.

But open-source platforms are fragile. They survive and grow by balancing the needs of all participants, including users and developers. The Commission’s approach would upset this balance, and send an unintended signal favouring closed over open platforms.  It would mean less innovation, less choice, less competition, and higher prices. That wouldn’t be just a bad outcome for us. It would be a bad outcome for developers, for phone makers and carriers, and, most critically, for consumers.  

That’s the case we are making to the Commission in our filing today. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.

For more Android facts, visit android.com/everyone


Source: Android

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