Sony Xperia XZ Premium is now part of Open Devices program: Know what this means

 

What this means is that Sony is now allowing people especially developers to test, develop and also flash their own version of Android Nougat on the Xperia XZ Premium. The company says that the Open Devices program is meant for developers and not for consumers. However, the company also puts out a warning saying that the software provided can be unstable due to its early stage.

So going with developers might be a wise choice. Further, Sony says that it is offering guides on how to use the company’s AOSP device configurations to build a unique version of Android Nougat and flash it on unlocked Xperia device. However, developers will need to remember to download the necessary software binaries before they begin the development process. “As you may know, the Open Devices program is our way to provide access and tools to build and test your custom software on a range of Sony devices.

You can access all the resources you need through our Open Devices page on Developer World. We value our open source community and welcome you to participate in our projects via GitHub. Feel free to provide feedback on further resources you may need and where we can improve,” says the company.

This is really good for developers who are building an AOSP for the first time. New developers in the scene can always get started by following the guide provided by Sony.

 

Nokia 6, Moto E4 Join List of Amazon Prime Exclusive Phones in the US

 

HIGHLIGHTS
For Prime members, the Moto E4 is up for grabs for $99.99
All the smartphones are up for pre-order right now
Nokia 6 will ship on July 10, while Moto E4 will ship on June 30
The Nokia 6 was announced for the US earlier this week, due to arrive on Amazon. Now, Amazon has now announced it as a Prime Exclusive smartphone – which means it will show offers and ads – featuring a $50 (roughly Rs. 3,200) discount on its price tag. Apart from the Nokia 6, the Moto E4 was also announced as a Prime Exclusive.

The Nokia 6 will be available at $229 (roughly Rs. 14,800) in the US through Amazon for non-Prime members, but Prime members can choose to grab it for $179 (roughly Rs. 11,500) only, complete with offers and ads. Similarly, Moto’s recently announced Moto E4 16GB will be offered at $99.99 (roughly Rs. 6,400) for Prime members ($30 off the full retail price). Verizon still gives you to best price at $69 (roughly Rs. 4,500), but you’re locked on to Verizon with that deal. Both the smartphones are up for pre-order, and the Moto E4 will be shipped on June 30, while the Nokia 6 will be shipped on July 10.Nokia 6, Moto E4 Join List of Amazon Prime Exclusive Phones in the US

Alcatel is also adding to the Prime Exclusive catalogue with the new Alcatel Idol 5S for only $199.99 (roughly Rs. 12,900) for Prime members ($80 off the full retail price), the Alcatel A50 for only $99.99 (roughly Rs. 6,400) for Prime members ($50 off the full retail price), and the Alcatel A30 Plus, available for only $79.99 (roughly Rs. 5,100) for Prime members (also $50 off the full retail price). The Alcatel phones are also up for pre-order and will ship on July 10.

Nokia 6 specifications
Nokia 6, the best-specced of the Nokia Android phones released so far, runs Android 7.0 Nougat and sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display with Corning Gorilla Glass protection and a fingerprint sensor right below the display. The smartphone is powered by Snapdragon 430 processor coupled with Adreno 505 GPU and 3GB of RAM. In terms of optics, Nokia 6 comes with a 16-megapixel rear sensor and an 8-megapixel camera at front for taking selfies.
The US variant of the Android phone from Nokia comes with 32GB inbuilt storage, which is expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB). The Nokia 6 houses a 3000mAh battery, features a 6000 series aluminium body, and has inbuilt dual speakers and Dolby Atmos support. Connectivity options on the smartphone include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, USB OTG, FM, 3G, and 4G.

Moto E4 specifications
Coming to the specifications, the Moto E4 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat and comes with a single-SIM slot (Nano). It sports a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display, and is powered by the 1.4GHz Snapdragon 425 processor or a Snapdragon 427 SoC (depending upon the carrier in the US) paired with 2GB of RAM. The smartphone offers 16GB of inbuiltl storage option with the option to expand further using a microSD card slot.

As for the optics, the Moto E4 has an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, f/2.2 aperture, and single-LED flash support. At the front, there is a 5-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture, fixed focus, single-LED flash, and a beautification mode for better selfies. It packs a 2800mAh removable battery, and connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11n, Micro-USB port, GPS, Bluetooth v4.1, and 4G support. The dimensions are at 144.5×72 x9.3mm, and the smartphone weighs 150 grams. Sensors on board include proximity, light, accelerometer, and magnetometer. In the US, it will be available in Liquorice Black, and Fine Gold colour variants.

 

BlackBerry Seeks Sales Force to Match Software Focus

 

Software maker BlackBerry Ltd’s long-running recovery effort has been slowed by a dearth of salespeople to promote its revamped and more complex products, with CEO John Chen pledging to hire more sales specialists to help achieve its growth target.

While BlackBerry’s traditional customers were security executives in top global companies, its reboot from smartphone maker to seller of everything from automotive software to cyber-security consulting and asset tracking for the trucking industry has seemingly moved faster than its sales force can keep up.

BlackBerry’s revenue started declining in 2013 after Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc wrested control of the smartphone market from the Canadian company. Chen took over as chief executive to fashion a turnaround and has been adding new software businesses to boost revenue, which remains a fraction of what it was in its heyday.

Chen told analysts on Friday he planned to hire more salespeople for industrial software maker QNX, acquired in 2010, as well as for its Internet of Things business, which connects computing devices in everyday objects and includes the Radar asset tracking service for trucking.”Our issue is get it out there and get the deal done,” he said. “And so we really need to ramp up our distribution channels.”

A sales force boost will likely eat into profit, at least in the short-term, as the metrics of success BlackBerry wants to achieve typically depend on higher commissions to motivate sales staff.

“Salespeople are coin-operated,” said Berkeley Warburton, managing director of advanced customer strategy at Accenture. “If you want the right behaviours out of them you have to incentivise them in the right way.”

BlackBerry, which ended February with just over 4,000 employees compared with more than 4,500 a year earlier, declined to say how many of them were involved in sales. Five years ago the company had 16,500 employees, with 1,500 working in sales and marketing.

BlackBerry on Friday disappointed investors with an unexpected software sales decline, pushing its shares down as much as 13 percent after a sharp rally in recent months.BlackBerry Seeks Sales Force to Match Software Focus

BlackBerry’s quarterly revenue miss prompted caution about Chen’s efforts to revive growth.

“It’s really different, in terms of who makes decisions about those things, it’s no longer the IT (information technology) team. It’s now the product design team,” said Eric Johnson, the dean of Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Management.

Coupled with that, many of the products and services it is now pitching are much more complicated than selling smartphones.

“The product doesn’t sell itself in the way that they used to. They have more complex products,” so BlackBerry’s salespeople need to shift focus and sell solutions instead, Accenture’s Warburton said.

For example, BlackBerry’s QNX unit must integrate its automotive software with that of many other vendors as well as the carmaker on a production timeline of years rather than months.

“It’s a highly consultative sales process,” Vanderbilt’s Johnson said. “They’re going to have to make significant investments in their sales force to make it work.”

BlackBerry reached a deal to work directly with Ford Motor Co last year, but Chen told reporters in a briefing on Friday that talks with other automakers were taking a long time to bear fruit.

“The reason is they are going to have to adopt most of our technology for it to make sense,” Chen said. “This is not a technology issue. … The contractual terms and requirements are the long goal.”

Chen also said he might buy companies to boost sales, with a focus on growth areas including cyber-security, machine learning and artificial intelligence, connected cars, and in asset tracking to compliment its Radar product.

 

Android Circuit: New Galaxy Note 8 Leaks, Massive Pixel 2 Screens, Microsoft’s Android Advances

 

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the latest details on the Galaxy Note hardware and pricing, new details on the Google Pixel 2 screens, the Nokia 6’s potential worldwide release, the OnePlus 5 being compared to its predecessor, the EU’s anti trust cast and the implications for Android, Microsoft’s latest Android advances, and why ten years of iPhone is still beaten by Android.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

Galaxy Note 8’s Massive Price Tag

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 looks set to be one of the most advanced smartphones on the planet when it is announced in August, But the technology is not going to come cheap and an unlocked version of the phablet is going to comfortably cost a four figure sum. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:

Posting on VentureBeat, famed leaker Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) states that Samsung is currently informing partners that the model will be “its most expensive cellphone yet” and retail for €999 (over $1,100).

Blass claims says the pricing comes via “an individual briefed on the company’s plans” and his long (and highly accurate) track record means we should take this information seriously. The flipside to this huge price tag is Galaxy Note 8 owners look set to get a lot for their money.

 

More on the pricing here.

Note 8 Fingerprint Features On The Rear

Thanks to the various leaks of schematics and rendered images we have a very good idea on the design of the Note 8. That means the question over the fingerprint scanner has been quietly answered, because it can be seen on the rear of the design. Samsung’s shot at innovating with a screen-based fingerprint reader looks unlikely to happen this year:

As previously discussed here on Forbes, Samsung is having to back down from placing the fingerprint sensor under the screen of the upcoming phablet. If this had been achieved it would have given Samsung an impressive technological ‘first’. Unfortunately it has been reported that the part of the screen with the sensor was not able to be color-matched to the rest of the screen.

The Galaxy Note 8 will retain the expansive and dominant screen, but the requirements in the Android specifications for a fingerprint scanner mean that it has to go somewhere else. And Samsung’s answer appears to be ‘put it next to the camera on the rear of the device’.

My thoughts on the issue are here.

Pixel 2 Screens Revealed

As well as backing up the claims of an OLED screen, details from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL supply lines confirm the physical screen of Google’s own 2017 handsets. I’ve taken a closer look at what this means for the smartphones:

The smaller Pixel 2 is expected to support a 4.97-inch screen, broadly similar to the 5-inch FHD panel used in 2016’s model. The larger Pixel 2 trumps the 5.5 inches of the Pixel XL with a 5.99-inch QHD screen. These screens are expected to be supplied by LG (reports Mario Tomás Serrafero for XDA Developers), while the handsets will again be manufactured for Google by HTC.

…Although three models were initially discussed, the Pixel 2 family looks to have settled on a ‘regular’ smartphone and a ‘phablet’ device to meet market expectations. It also allows the Pixel 2 line to draw a direct comparison to families such as the Android powered Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, and presumably Apple’s update to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus which should be announced in the weeks before the Pixel 2.

More details here on Forbes.

Nokia 6 Set For Worldwide Release

Launched into the Chinese market at the end of CES 2017, HMD Global’s first Nokia-branded smartphone appears set for a worldwide release next month. The mid-range handset could be ready to show up on Amazon, reports Paul Sawers:

The Nokia 6 will be made available exclusively through Amazon for $229 in “early July,” with only two color variants available at first — black and silver. It will also be made available in blue and copper later in the year.

There is nothing particularly standout about the device: It ships with Android Nougat and sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset, dual-SIM, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage — expandable up to 128GB via the MicroSD slot. It also has a 5.5″ IPS LCD screen (full HD at 1920 x 1080), a 16MP rear-facing camera, 8MP front-shooter, and a 3,000 mAh battery.

OnePlus 5 Versus The OnePlus 3T

The recent launch of the OnePlus 5 (reviewed here) brings the Shenzhen-based manufacturer’s flagship handset into line with the current ‘top’ specs. That said, six months ago it refreshed its line-up with the launch of the OnePlus 3T. How much as changed since then? Gordon Kelly makes the comparisons, including the new dual camera at the rear:

With the relatively subtle changes to the OnePlus 5 display and design, it is up to the camera to provide the biggest upgrade from the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3:

* OnePlus 5 – Rear: 16 MP, f/1.7 aperture, 1.12 µm, EIS (gyro) and 20 MP, f/2.6, 1.0 µm 2x optical zoom, no OIS and dual-LED flash.
* OnePlus 3T – Rear: 16 MP, f/2.0, OIS, LED flash. Front: 16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0 µm pixel size, 1080p

Yes that’s a lot specifications. The upshot however is the OnePlus 5 can deliver 2x optical zoom (via a slight cheat) and combine both its rear camera to deliver a Portrait Mode (think heavy background bokeh to mimic the effect of a DSLR) similar to the iPhone 7 Plus.

Read more on the two devices here.

OnePlus 5 (image: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

OnePlus 5 (image: Ewan Spence)

The Impact On Android Of The EU Antitrust Case

While this week’s ruling from the European Union’s Antitrust Regulators does not have a direct impact on Android, the EU is in the process of looking at AdSense and Android.  The ruling points towards the EU’s attitudes to the Mountain View dominance.

The EU ruling is a warning shot for two on-going EU probes into Google’s Android mobile operating system and AdSense ad system, said Richard Windsor, an independent financial analyst who tracks competition among the biggest U.S. and Asian Internet and mobile players, including Google.

“If the European Union turns around and says Google can no longer bundle its Google Play app store as a default feature on many Android smartphones, this opens up the market to other handset makers to put their own software and services front and center on their phones,” he said.

Fortune has more details.

Microsoft Improves OneNote For Android

Microsoft continues to build up and improve its offerings for Android. This week saw a major update to its note-taking and digital scrapbooking application OneNote. As Sean Chan reports, the Android app has caught up with the other clients, as well as bringing in a web snipping tool:

Today, the company has started rolling out the enhanced design for the OneNote app to Android smartphones as well. The new and improved OneNote design offers a simplified navigation system and improves accessibility for users with assistive technology across all platforms, and that includes Android phones, too.

In addition to the improved design, Microsoft is also bringing the OneNote Web Clipper to Android. The app now integrates into the share system for browsers, which means you can now save entire web pages to OneNote just like you can on the desktop thanks to the OneNote Web Clipper.

More at MS Power User.

Microsoft advertises OneNote's cloud capability (image: Microsoft.com)

Microsoft PR

Microsoft advertises OneNote’s cloud capability (image: Microsoft.com)

And Finally…

In the week where every publication is remembering that it has been ten years since the first iPhone went on sale, Seth Fiegerman highlights that in terms of dominance, Android is far and ahead the more successful platform.

Apple created the modern smartphone as we know it, but Android went on to dominate the market through numerous partnerships with carriers and lower prices. In the first quarter of this year, a staggering 86% of smartphones sold worldwide ran on Android, according to data from Gartner.

What happened next? Read on at CNN.

Android Circuit rounds up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future, and of course read the sister column in Apple Loop! Last week’s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!

Follow me on Facebook. Find more of my work at ewanspence.co.uk, on Twitter, and Linked In. You should subscribe to my weekly newsletter of ‘Trivial Posts’.

 

Android 7.1.2-powered Xiaomi ‘riva’ spotted on Geekbench

A new Xiaomi smartphone – dubbed riva – has been spotted in a benchmark listing. The listing on Geekbench reveals the device is powered by an SoC with quad-core 1.40GHz processor, and has 3GB RAM.

Other thing worth noting is that the phone runs Android Nougat (latest version: 7.1.2). Sadly, and as is usually the case with Geekbench listings, nothing else was revealed. However, given that the device has started appearing in benchmarks

 

Mobile council approves new police chief, public safety director

The Mobile City Council has approved the elevation of Mobile Police Chief James Barber to public safety director and Assistant Chief Lawrence Battiste to chief of police.

The moves came at a special Tuesday night council meeting, previously scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. at Holloway Elementary School in District 1 as part of the “Council in the Community” outreach campaign. An audience of about 90 people applauded Barber and Battiste after the motion passed, and the mood was generally congratulatory.

Stimpson Battiste Barber.jpgMobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, left, and Police Chief James Barber, right, look on as Assistant Police Chief Lawrence Battiste speaks about Stimpson’s proposal to make him chief. Subject to city council approval, Stimpson has moved for Barber to become Mobile’s public safety director and for Battiste to be promoted. (Lawrence Specker/LSpecker@AL.com)

“We do want to do something special when you all are sworn in,” said Council President Gina Gregory. “Congratulations. We look forward to working with both of you in your new capacities.”

The personnel shift began to take shape late Friday, when Stimpson announced he’d accepted the resignation of Public Safety Director Richard Landolt and wanted to move quickly in appointing Barber to the position, with Battiste, a former Prichard police who has been with the Mobile department for several years, rising to the chief’s position. At Tuesday morning’s preliminary organizational session, the council signaled that it was willing to move forward with rapid approval.Mobile City Council at Holloway elementary lfs.jpg

If the shifts at the police department were smooth, Tuesday night’s meeting brought more indications that the Stimpson administration intends to push changes at the Mobile Fire Rescue Department.

In his remarks before the council, Stimpson repeated a position stated Monday in a letter to MFRD: The MFRD instituted some raises in the current fiscal year without implementing cuts needed to pay for them and consequently will finish the year in the red if changes aren’t made. The mayor also reiterated that it is now a priority to find a fire chief for the department, which has been led by an assistant chief serving as acting chief since Stimpson took office.

Among those who addressed the council Tuesday was MFRD fire service driver and paramedic Matt Waltman, who also is Vice President of the Mobile Firefighters Association. Waltman said that administration officials had met with MFRD leaders, plus representatives of the Mobile Firefighters Association and the Professional Black Firefighters Association, in early February. At that point, Waltman said, the administration had made clear that it was concerned about the budget situation at MFRD.

Waltman said his organization had a variety of concerns, including staffing, training and the scope of the MFRD mission. He addressed some of them in brief, but said they deserved full consideration and requested that the council’s public safety committee hold a public hearing at which all interested parties could be represented.

“We’re appreciative that Mayor Stimpson has recommitted to finding us a fire chief. That’s going to be very important in the future for us,” Waltman said. “We’re one of the largest divisions in the city of Mobile, and we need someone at the helm.” He went on to say that MFRD need to know the plan for the future of the department and the services it provides.

Councilwoman Bess Rich, the chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said she looked forward to scheduling a meeting on the topic.

Among other business on the evening’s agenda was formal approval of a $2.8 million contract to build a new fire station in Crichton. District 1 Councilman Fred Richardson said he was very pleased to see the station on the verge of becoming a reality, and that it would include a community meeting room as he’d requested.

Richardson said the station would be a boon to a wide swath of Midtown. “It’s going to be great for all the citizens in that general area in terms of response time,” he said.

 

A Good Week for the BlackBerry Brand

 

When Google released its latest report about Android security, the BlackBerry PRIV was perched at the top of the list. When President Trump signed an executive order rolling back the previous administration’s restrictions on ISPs sharing customer information, it was perceived as a potential boost for the way the Canadian company handles that aspect of business.

And when New York Times subscribers open up this Sunday’s print edition, they will be greeted with the sight of a powerful media executive holding a BlackBerry on the cover the magazine. From Jonathan Mahler’s profile of CNN boss Jeff Zucker:

Zucker’s fingerprints are on almost everything CNN does. Over the course of the weeks I spent with him, he was constantly thumbing his BlackBerry, emailing producers and correspondents with suggestions and feedback. Walton rarely attended the daily 9 a.m. news meeting; Zucker presides over it. As the network’s different departments and shows run through their preliminary plans for the day, he makes it clear which stories he wants them to play up and which ones he doesn’t.

These days, BlackBerry concentrates on the software side. However, through a licensing of its hardware, TCL at last month’s Mobile World Conference in Barcelona unveiled a new model. The KEYOne will retail for around $550. And as part of a partnership with Ford announced in the fall of 2016, BlackBerry has revealed that 400 of its employees will move over to the car manufacturer to work on wireless technology.

To HTC’s new shiny expensive U Ultra no

 

If HTC wants to get back to its former days of glory, the U Ultra flagship smartphone is probably not the way to do it. Beloved to many long-time users of Android like me, HTC is a company we’d all like to see back on top of its game. This Taiwanese company put Android on the map and then went on to make some fabulously built can’t-go-wrong smartphones. But that was then. And the U Ultra is now — and the verdict is no.

The one thought that dominates the minds of anyone who’s encountered or considered the HTC U Ultra is the ultra price. ₹59,990 is as unrealistic as it can get given where HTC is with market share today and the competition, which comes in the form of the iPhone, the Galaxy S8s and the LG G6. In fact, phone makers are bringing out similar specs at half the price. Even in the US and other places outside India, the reaction to HTC’s pricing is pure outrage. Now it’s possible that at one point the price may drop, but by then, in my opinion, HTC will have done itself enough damage. And let’s call a spade a spade, the price is no less than ₹60,000 at which point most Indians will say — why shouldn’t I just buy an iPhone? But let’s move on to the device itself.

There are a few schemes including an exchange but that would have worked in the absence of competition.

Quite a beauty

When and if you get past the price, you can stop to admire the brilliant reflective silky glass back of the U Ultra. It’s swanky and trippy, specially in the blue it comes in — availability for which one will need to check. But if you do get a blue unit, few around you will have a phone to match so you’re bound to get enough attention wielding this very eye catching device.

But what you will also get is an exhibition of fingerprint smudges so prominent that HTC is actually providing a soft cloth you should carry along with the phone. This is a first — and one hopes, a last. Put it in a case and it loses one of its main attractions — its looks. Take it out, and it will probably get scratched. So too will the really protruding camera lens. Sure, we have Gorilla Glass 5 protection etc, but I’ll believe it when I see a used unscratched Ultra some months down the line. Until then, you can comb your hair using the Ultra’s back panel.

The shiny back of this phone does make it very slippery. Grip it with one hand and you can feel its slow elegant slide downward. I can’t be sure that it was the right decision to combine the Ultra’s large 5.7-inch size with that much slipperiness. Overall, the phone may be just too big for most people. There have been 5.7-inch phones around, of course, but this one is also broad, compromising the ergonomics.

A strip of screen

Much like the LG V20 — in fact very much like the V20 — the HTC U Ultra has a strip of space on top of the primary screen. It’s exactly the same execution as LG has done and is a place to pin your most frequently used apps and to get notifications.

It’s useful, but by no means a killer feature and one that you can simulate with certain apps, although this would not be an additional screen space but take up place on the main and only screen. Interestingly, the Ultra doesn’t have an always-on display, which is more common these days. Of course, if it had, the 3,000mAh battery would have had more to struggle with, already being too little for this large phone.Image result for To HTC’s new shiny expensive U Ultra — no

Other than this, the 1440×2560 pixels screen is very nice. Unfortunately, at a time when bezels are diminishing, the Ultra’s are a bit too much. Why go in for such a large screen only to have it eaten by broad bezels?

Where’s that jack?

HTC decided to do an Apple with the headphone jack and scrapped it on the Ultra. While Apple supplied an adaptor with its lightning port cable so that you could at least use any existing headphones, HTC didn’t, annoying fans deeply. The sound on the Ultra is great, though not what it used to be long ago, and the earphones supplied are supposed to adjust to you over time, but the omission of the 3.5mm jack is unforgivable. Also missing is a host of other things such as wireless charging (particularly beloved to US users, actually), water resistance, infrared blaster, — and a truly brilliant camera.

From the people who put together Google’s Pixel, still debatably being referred to as the best camera phone, the Ultra’s 12MP camera should have been a deal maker. It’s certainly nice and has the requisite optical image stabilisation, phase detection auto focus and plenty of control over settings, Daylight photographs are good and reproduce colour very well but low light photography still has flaws and can lead to fuzzy, noisy and blurry images in many situations. In any round ups of the top camera phones, the U Ultra doesn’t feature and at this price, it should have.

Smooth and fluid

The U Ultra is however, a very very fast performer and shows no hiccups or hesitations in anything you do with it. It works on a 2.15GHz quad-core Qualcomm 821 processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and Android 7.0 with upgrades hopefully on the way. HTC’s interface, Sense UI, has evolved into a very polished execution causing no impediments to functioning. It’s fast and fluid all the way and with the loud BoomSound speaker and large screen can be a treat for watching videos and movies or gaming.

HTC’s next flagship revealed in biggest leak yet

 

HTC released its U Ultra and U Play earlier this year, but we’ve known for some time the company still had something big in the works.

And while there’s been quite a few leaks and rumours about the upcoming flagship phone, known under the name ‘HTC U Ocean’ or HTC 11, we’re yet to see anything revelatory.

Until now, that is, Prolific tipster Evan Blass, otherwise known as @evleaks, has posted a photo which he claims shows the new HTC flagship in all its glory.

Related: HTC 11

Yes, it seems the HTC 11 will be known as the HTC U, according to Blass, who also tweeted a photo of the new phone:

 HTC logo

The image reveals what looks to be glass on the front and back, but without the screen being switched on, it’s hard to tell exactly where the display begins and ends.

That said, it does seem as though there will be significant bezels on the phone, unlike recent flagship offerings from Samsung and LG.

It also looks like there’ll be a physical home button on the front of the device – so no rear fingerprint scanner as with the Galaxy S8, then.

Blass links to a previous article which lists some specs for the phone, seemingly confirming those specs as accurate – though there’s been no official word from HTC at this point.

Among the rumoured specs are a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 display, a Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB RAM, and a 12-megapixel rear camera.

HTC is also said to have included pressure-sensitive edges which allow for extra control, such as taking a photo, and scrolling.

Blass is generally one of the most reliable leakers, so while there’s no way to confirm the picture and specs as accurate, we’re fairly sure Blass is on the money here – but use the usual caution as this is still an unconfirmed leak.

 

Android Security is Still a Huge Problem

 

According to data found in Google’s annual 2016 security report, the number of potentially harmful applications (PHAs) effecting Google devices is still an inherent problem within the Android operating system.

The 2016 report states that 0.71% of Android devices have had a PHA installed in Q4 2016  versus less than 0.5% of devices during 2015. The newer results are only for one quarter but still show that security is a primary concern within the world’s leading operating system. If you’re thinking that PHA only includes applications found outside the Play Store, think again. Research by Virginia Tech University recently discovered that 23,495 of the most popular applications found in the Play Store have been ‘colluding’ data. This includes personal information such as Contacts and Geo-location. All of this can be achieved without the users permission.Android Security is Still a Huge Problem

Most of these problems lie with security updates, which happen because of device fragmentation. Having such an open-source OS has plenty of positives, but trying patch thousands of different devices quickly becomes a problem. Samsung has over ten handsets currently available, LG about the same. These are sold by hundreds of carriers across the world, who may or may not include their own software on the handset. They also typically use a modified OS, be it LG UX and TouchWiz for Samsung. That amounts to thousands of variations in code, which all needs to be taken into account when releasing a patch. Google has no control over this aside from informing manufacturers and developers of the issue at hand. It’s then up to those guys to sort out an update for their own hardware, as the underlying OS can vary quite widely. It’s no lie that those running a near-stock experience often release security updates faster. Many manufacturers prefer to test their own software in-house before rolling it out the public, leading to a longer rollout. When you throw a customised launcher into the mix, this gets even more complicated. Android Nougat is installed on less than three percent of the overall market, a truly terrible figure. Compare this to iOS 10, which is now on almost 80 percent of all Apple devices, and the answer is very clear. Fragmentation is the main issue to blame here.

Closer relationships with device manufacturers and chip developers in the last year has lead to a faster release date for critical security patches, though this has only really helped flagship handsets. Around half of the lower-tier devices still run on outdated software, putting them at serious risk. Even so, most handset manufactures only commit to flagship security updates for two years, which they consider to be the life-cycle of the product. Anyone owning a handset longer than this should expect a gradual lack of support. Google doesn’t have a solution for any of the above, despite trying for years to come up with an answer. Previously, the company even considered a plan to publicly name and shame mobile carriers and device makers who drag their feet with important updates… Not exactly a way to encourage people to adopt. Those wanting the latest critical updates on time have very little options aside from purchasing a Nexus or Pixel device, which Google has committed to providing monthly security updates for these handsets since 2015.