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Google Explicitly Bans Ad Blockers From The Play Store, Except All Those Ad-Blocking Web Browsers, Apparently

Google has a brand-new website for content policy on the Play Store that it unveiled today, and that's nice, but nestled away in that news was a far more interesting story regarding ad blockers. Google has long enforced a de facto ban on ad blockers on the Play Store, citing section 4.4 of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, going all the way back to 2013.

This involved a rather convoluted interpretation of a vague policy forbidding apps from interfering with third-party apps or services, but it's the official justification Google has used to date. Now, a new update to the Play Store Developer Policy Center (formerly Google Play Developer Program Policies) makes it clear via an example interpretation of said policy: no ad blockers.

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Xiaomi Customers Are Frustrated By The Manufacturer's Convoluted (And Possibly Biased) Bootloader Unlock Program

Any grizzled veteran of the aftermarket Android community (well, grizzled, in the sense that said community has been around for less than a decade) knows that users complaining about bootloaders is nothing new. Locked phone bootloaders with no user-accessible unlock option have become less of a contentious issue of late, now that customers on Neolithic carriers like AT&T and Verizon have more hardware options. But frustration is brewing in the growing and dedicated fanbase of Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi.

The XDA-Developers blog reports that Xiaomi has added locked bootloaders to several of its phones, including the Redmi Note Pro, Mi 4c, and Mi Note Pro, some of which are getting new bootloaders installed with the latest firmware.

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Google Has Brought Safe Browsing To Android, Active Since Chrome Version 46 And Google Play Services 8.1

The web can be a dangerous place filled with imitation websites, pop-ups that lead to malware, and sites that trick you into giving away your credit card information. Many of us know how to navigate these risks well enough, but for those that don't, and for those times that experienced browsers screw up, it's nice to have services like Google Safe Browsing doing their part to keep folks protected.

Safe Browsing provides that notification you get when you venture to a place Google deems unsafe. You can proceed to the webpage if you like, but Google recommends you back away slowly.

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Black Friday App And Game Sales Roundup [Updated Continuously]

There are a lot of physical things on sale today, what with it being Black Friday and all. However, the price of digital goods is dropping like a rock today as well. This is where we'll keep track of all those sales so you can grab the ones you want. We'll try to keep this post updated as more sales pop up. And make sure to check out our device/accessory sale roundup too.

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You Don't Have To Be A Ninja Anymore With ESET Mobile Security [Sponsored Post]

The following post was provided by ESET Mobile Security.

Common wisdom and exercising caution is sometimes not enough when it comes to ensuring the security of your Android device. To have to pay attention to every link you click on or to every app you download might prove pretty frustrating.

At ESET, we have been combatting malware for nearly 30 years. Our mission remains to allow you to enjoy safer technology, so you don’t have to be preoccupied with security.  In recent years we have analyzed thousands of malware samples − and with more than 1 billion active devices in circulation, we can say with certainty that Android is without a doubt a platform that attracts cybercriminals.

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Reuters: Google To Launch A Version Of The Play Store In China Next Year

Google famously pulled out of China in 2010 rather than continue censoring its search results as required by the Chinese government. However, Android has since come to dominate the Chinese market, and this has led the company to reconsider its position. According to a report by Reuters, Google plans to launch a China-specific version of the Play Store in 2016.

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Vague FTC Anti-Trust Probe Targets Android, Probably Because The FTC Has No Idea How Android Works

In the beginning, there was Android. Android was an open-source, largely hardware-agnostic operating system designed to work on a variety of devices and form-factors, and then Google bought the company that made it (also called Android, founded by Andy Rubin). Then, there was Google's Android. Google's Android was still open source, but now it came with stuff you'd actually want to use. Like an app store. And Google Maps. And Gmail. And Google Search. And did I mention Android itself was and is still open source? Because it was and is, and will continue to be likely for many, many, many years into the future.

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AT&T Files Lawsuit Against Former Employees For Allegedly Giving Third Party Company The Ability To Carrier Unlock Phones

We like to (deservedly) give AT&T a lot of grief around here, but it looks like they have a case in their latest lawsuit. According to the legal documentation, AT&T has evidence of several employees having engaged in a scheme to illegally obtain unlock codes for AT&T customers that were still under contract. Why would they do that? Well, the lawsuit alleges they were taking money from Swift Unlocks, a web-based company that charges a small fee to unlock people's carrier smartphones.

The nearly-defunct two-year contract model that all carriers once used was built on the premise of making top smartphones more affordable up front.

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[Update: Added r15 - r18] AOSP Developer Changelog Posted For v5.1.1_r3 (LMY48B) To v5.1.1_r14 (LMY48M)

T-Mobile began rolling out security-centric updates to Nexus devices yesterday. As we already know, there aren't any big changes due out in this release, but Google has pushed the latest code up to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for the world to see. As usual, we've put together a changelog for easy reading.

Updates for T-Mobile devices are built from a dedicated branch in AOSP with custom code to support the Wi-Fi calling feature. As it turns out, the list of changes for this update to LMY48M closely resembles the r6 to r9 update from last month, otherwise known as the update that (mostly) fixed Stagefright.

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Obi Worldphone, Co-Founded By A Former Apple CEO, Plans To Hit The Non-US Market With Slick $200 Phones Starting In October

John Sculley, a man who served as CEO of Apple for a decade starting in 83, is working with the design firm that helped create Beats headphones to produce a new breed of smartphones for use outside of the US. The idea isn't to hit developing markets with more cheap, plastic devices that serve as hollow shells of the high-end counterparts sold elsewhere. Sculley's Obi Worldphone wants to offer young people a slightly more premium device with spiffy packaging.

Yes, the Obi Worldphone SF1 (named after San Francisco, where the Ammunition design firm is located) is a pretty generic looking black rectangle, but it comes with a unibody design supplemented by metallic accents and a raised glass display.

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