Microsoft Garage's project keeps pumping up new apps and ideas for Android and the latest is Favorites Lock Screen. As the name implies, this is a lockscreen replacement app that puts emphasis on your favorite things. Unlike Microsoft's graduated Next Lock Screen, this one is still in its infancy and it shows. The icon is disturbingly low-res and the interface doesn't feel half as polished as Next. However, it could still be worth checking out if you'd like some news to go with your phone unlocking.
The idea behind Favorites is to have two screens: one has an HD image with a Bing search bar, camera icon, and quick access to Bing searches for the character in the wallpaper; and the second has a stream of news for your favorite topics. Read More
Android O's fourth developer preview was released today, and you know what that means: more feature spotlights. We already covered the new octopus Easter egg, but there are still a few other changes, even in the final developer preview. The lockscreen and notification panel have both seen a few minor visual tweaks. Read More
Earlier in March, Cortana got updated on Android to version 2.5 with one important feature: optional lockscreen integration. This allowed users to swipe from their lockscreen to reveal their personal feed including calendar appointments, news, and contextual information they might need. However, it didn't include the ability to interact with Cortana or ask it questions.
With today's update to v2.6, that is now possible. You can ask Cortana questions, set reminders, and more without unlocking your device first. It's more about convenience and less about security I presume. There are also improvements to the way the Cortana home feed is displayed on Android, easier ways to set reminders and lists without using voice, and a few other enhancements. Read More
While Google Assistant is rolling out to more devices, Microsoft is continuing to improve its own virtual helper. Microsoft's Cortana assistant made the jump to Android in 2015, and has continued to improve since with regular updates. The latest update, version 2.5, allows users to add Cortana to the lockscreen. Read More
One of the more annoying things about buying a non-Nexus (erm, non-Pixel) device is that sometimes you have to put up with the OEM's weird and whacky software quirks. Sometimes these genuinely add to the experience, other times... they don't. An example of one that falls into the latter category is the tiny notification bell on the lockscreen of ZTE's otherwise perfectly good Axon 7.
Ransomware is one of the nastier types of malicious software to emerge in the last few years. It's not exclusive to mobile, but the basic gist is that it locks down either specific files or an entire machine until the user sends money to a shady, untraceable online account to get their digital life back in order. The combination of easily-exploited security vulnerabilities, relatively small payments spread out over thousands of devices, and users reliance on their phones or computers has proven incredibly lucrative for malware developers. Read More
Wish, a shopping platform with over 100 million users, feels like a cross between Pinterest and Amazon. The site's Android app provides an experience where you don't just browse products, you view how people look wearing and using those products. It's like a catalog tailored to you.
Today Wish announced that it has acquired Locket. Read More
Google has been rolling out updates to Smart Lock over the past months, adding On-body detection and Trusted voice, and while this recent change doesn't bring other options to the table, it does make the feature more user-friendly.
Previously, if you had set your Android phone or tablet to trust a certain place, Bluetooth device, or any of your physical attributes, it would keep your phone unlocked when those variables were in effect, but you'd still come across a secure lock screen if you left your handset untouched for a period of time. We didn't have any explanation as to the duration of the lock trigger, but that's changing now. Read More
Most of the user interface additions to Android 5.0 and higher are welcome, but one of the more notable losses is the ability to embed widgets on the lockscreen. The new placement of notifications in that space has left no room for widgets. That's not a huge problem, but it does require some adjustment if you're used to getting at that information in a very specific way. Developer Udell Enterprises hopes to fix that with an app called, appropriately, Notifidgets.
Notifidgets creates a semi-permanent notification that contains the widget or widgets of your choice. This allows you to access said widget without unlocking your device. Read More