Millions of Android phones don’t completely wipe data

Allie Coyne reported for iTnews about Android’s factory reset flaw.

Twenty-six second-hand Android phones running versions 2.3 to 4.3 of the operating system, sold by five handset makers, were tested.

The researchers found that all retained at least partial amounts of data from contacts information, images and video, SMS, email, and data from third-party apps like Facebook.

They were able to recover Google authentication tokens in all devices with flawed factory reset, and were able to access master tokens in 80 percent of cases.

To test their findings, they used one of the recovered master tokens from a reset to restore the credential file.

“After the reboot, the phone successfully re-synchronised contacts, emails, and so on,” they wrote.

“We recovered Google tokens in all devices with flawed Factory Reset, and the master token 80 percent of the time. Tokens for other apps such as Facebook can be recovered similarly. We stress that we have never attempted to use those tokens to access anyone’s account.”

Good luck, Android users.

Forget being an iPhone 6 killer, Galaxy S6 sales are a total disaster for Samsung

Cult of Android reported on the disastrous Samsung Galaxy S6 sales.

According to a new report, however, the next-gen Samsung Galaxy device is faring even worse than its predecessor — boasting sales of just 10 million units so far, which is about what the iPhone 6 managed in its first weekend.

The reasons are simple. You can copy the appearances but it is harder to craft a delightful user experience.

According to a follow-up research note newly issued by investment bank Oppenheimer the result is down to Samsung failing to provide any convincing reason for customers to go with its latest offering — even with its bolder-designed S6 Edge:

“When we look at Samsung’s flagship in 2015, the Galaxy S6 Edge, almost all of its differentiators fall back to hardware: a cutting-edge CPU, curved display, iPhone-like metal casing, front area fingerprint sensor, and camera with OIS. At the same time, we see little improvement in Samsung’s software user experience, and no value-added to existing Samsung users who are on prior generations of devices.”

It might just be 1 million units less than the S5 sold in the same period last year, but when you realise that we are comparing sales of S5 to the combined sales of S6 and the S6 Edge, it shows how dire the situation is for Samsung.

Gordon Kelly wrote a brief analysis on Forbes.

Perhaps more concerning, however, is where this places the S6 ranges’ sales historically. Notably the Galaxy S4 shipped 10M units in 27 days while the much criticised Galaxy S5 took 25 days to ship 10M units. In fact it was the lack of growth from the Galaxy S5 that inspired the radical reboot of the line seen in the S6es.

Consequently for combined sales of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge to only pass 10M in a similar timeframe to the S5 and S4 represents a disastrous return. This is particularly true for the cheaper Galaxy S6 given Samsung has already confirmed demand for the Edge variant has been unexpectedly high.

All of which poses the obvious question: if Galaxy S6 Edge sales are performing above expectations, just how bad are Galaxy S6 sales?

I wonder.

Samsung Clear View case ruins Galaxy S6 Edge

BGR reported on Samsung Clear View case damaging the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Can you imagine the backlash and media uproar we would see if Apple ever sold an accessory that ruined iPhone displays? “Casegate” would be sung far and wide, and even your local news anchor would demand on air that Apple take action. Well, you won’t see quite that amount of attention in this case, but it looks like Samsung is selling shoddy protective cases that leave customers with badly damaged smartphones.

The importance of paying attention to the details when designing a product.

SwiftKey Emoji Analysis

We’ve analyzed more than 1bn pieces of data to create the definitive assessment of how you use emoji.

Some of the stuff that they’ve discovered:

Canadians score highest for the poop emoji compared to other countries

Judging by their use of emoji, Americans are the most LGBT, using these emojis more than others

via SwiftKey

If you’re using third party iOS keyboards like SwiftKey, you might just want to be sure that you’re okay with them analysing your typing habits.

For privacy and also performance reasons, I prefer to stick to Apple’s official iOS keyboard.

The evolution of mobile screen sizes

MG Siegler posted an interseting graphic on the evolution of mobile phone screen sizes.

Those early mobile screens are about the size of the Apple Watch screen, I imagine.

via ParisLemon

I remember not too long ago, the smaller the phone was, the more premium it was deemed. Nowadays, it’s the total opposite. “Mini” versions of devices are considered lower-powered or budget versions of the top end model.

How times change.

Samsung’s latest video looks oddly familiar

Rene Ritchie reported on iMore about Samsung’s latest video.

If being original doesn’t work, copy what’s successful.

Apple Watch and James Bond watches

John Gruber wrote about Apple Watch and James Bond watches.

Look at this Pulsar from Moore’s first Bond movie, 1973’s Live and Let Die. It had a red LED display that, to preserve battery life, only turned on to display the time when you pressed a button. (Hold that thought.) And then there’s this gem — a Seiko DK001 from 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, which could receive secure text messages from MI6.

The idea of a digital watch that can receive secure text messages was remarkably prescient. The idea that the messages would print out on ticker tape was remarkably silly. How could a device that size include a label printer? How many messages could it receive before running out of tape? Why would a spy want secret messages from headquarters printed out?1 The proper design, in hindsight, is obvious: the messages should have been displayed on screen — which is exactly how Bond’s Seiko worked in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only. And look at the design. Even the style of Apple’s link bracelet is reminiscent of that ’70s Seiko.

On the new MacBook

Introduction

When I initially heard the rumours that Apple was making a MacBook with only a single port for data and charging, I didn’t believe it, but here we are and the new MacBook is real. Here’s what I think of it.

Reviews

This post isn’t intended to be an actual review, but if you’re looking for reviews, here are some pretty good ones:

It’s all in the usage pattern

Before going any further, I’d like to stress that this is probably the most important factor when considering whether the MacBook is suitable for you or not. Price aside, it doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles it has, what matters most is whether it suits your usage pattern or not.

I would say it’s designed for the professional that has a more powerful machine at the office (or home), but has to make frequent trips outside. It’s also a great coffee shop notebook. Something to bring with you to Starbucks instead of the iPad.

Advantages

One thing I haven’t listed as here is Apple’s new Force Touch trackpad. It’s innovative, but at this point I don’t think the pressure sensitivity is an important differentiating factor just yet, unless you plan to use it for drawing.

  • Retina display: Retina displays are beautiful and one of the main weaknesses of the MacBook Air is the lack of a Retina display. The MacBook has one, and that’s awesome.</p>
  • Thinness and portability: Apple’s obsession with thinness continues and with it comes increased portability. The MacBook is really thin.

  • Display size: One neat trick Apple has done with the display is reduce the size of the bezel around it. This means that you get a larger screen than you should get for a 12-inch notebook.

  • Can be charged via USB Type-C: Apple’s proprietary notebook chargers aren’t cheap. Due to the price, I’m not willing to buy two chargers (one for the office, one for home) for convenience, but with USB Type-C charging, that means I could theoretically use compatible USB chargers and Type-C cables to charge the MacBook, inching me closer to my dream of having a charger in three places: My home, the office, and my backpack.

Possible Limitations

I’ve deliberately titled this section as “possible limitations” as I don’t really think that they’re major issues, aside from the lack of USB ports, but these are the only issues I could find with the MacBook.

  • Only one USB port: This has been the main complaint about the MacBook, and I don’t blame users. Most notebooks today (even the MacBook Air) have at least two USB ports. What makes matters worse is that Apple uses the same USB Type-C port to charge the MacBook. So if you’re charging your MacBook, you won’t be able to leave a portable hard drive plugged in. Apple’s vision of this is one where we only charge the MacBook once a day while we sleep, similar to how we charge our phones, but there will be times when you’ll need to charge your MacBook and also need your data on some external device. It’s a deal breaker for me as I keep a lot of data on my external drive, and I usually plug an additional external drive to my MacBook Pro to run backups, something which definitely won’t work on this MacBook. If you need any other types of ports, you’ll need to buy an adapter, though I’m sure compatible ones (read: cheaper) are on the way.</p>
  • The keyboard: Apple’s new keyboard design is thinner, which means there is less travel (how deep you can press the key). You’ll get used to it pretty quickly, but it’ll probably irritate keyboard fanatics like myself. It’s a fair trade for portability though.

If you don’t type a whole lot, or very fast, you may not care about the substantially reduced key travel. And you can get used to it. But it’s just a tiny step up from typing on flat touchscreen glass. I managed to score almost 120 words per minute on TypeRacer on the MacBook keyboard, but I didn’t enjoy it. If you’re someone who notices when a keyboard feels different or weird, you will notice this keyboard. If you’ve never really understood why people write about keyboards, you probably won’t care—but why are you even reading this section? Via Six Colors.

  • CPU power: I wouldn’t consider this an issue, but it’s worth mentioning that Apple has put in a lower powered Intel Core M processor here in order to omit the need for a fan, and also maximise the battery life. Don’t let the term “low powered” fool you though, if you’re not doing any heavy lifting like video or serious photo editing, the processor should be fine for day to day use.</p>
  • Limited RAM: The notebook only offers you the option of 8GB of RAM. It’s fine at the moment, as I don’t notice any issues with my MacBook Pro which has 8GB of RAM, but it would be nice to have the option to pay a little more for 16GB of RAM.

Conclusion

The new MacBook isn’t cheap, but don’t expect it to be. It’s a great notebook for someone on the move, and if you’re not planning to use it as a desktop replacement, it should be just fine.

I’m currently using a Retina MacBook Pro (2014), so I won’t be upgrading anytime soon. Like the original MacBook Air, I fully expect Apple to further refine the MacBook, and in a year or two, it’ll be one of the more popular notebooks around. If Apple ever adds a second USB port to the MacBook, I’ll definitely get that over the MacBook Pro the next time I upgrade.

One thing is that for sure, is that the new MacBook is definitely from the future, though it could be said that it’s a little ahead of its time.

Apple reports record second quarter results

John Gruber wrote about Apple’s record second quarter results.

But overall, Apple’s growth continues to amaze. They’re the largest company in the world by market cap, but are reporting double-digit growth. For context, five years ago Steve Jobs noted, with considerable pride, that Apple had become a $50 billion company in annual revenue. Today, they’re a $50 billion company in quarterly revenue, and are easily on pace to book $50 billion in annual profit this financial year.

Staggering growth in the past five years.

The difference between Apple and Samsung industrial design

Rene Ritchie reported on iMore about the difference between Apple and Samsung industrial design.

Some people might not care. Like painting the back of the fence or finishing the underside of the cabinet, it’s a detail that only people who take tremendous pride in craft really care about. And, of course, people who look for just exactly that kind of quality.

That’s because it takes an incredible amount of time and resources to achieve it. It takes an incredible amount of planning and coordination as well. It also takes the willingness to not do something if you feel doing it right is important enough.

To align everything along the edge of a device takes designing and mounting the boards in a certain way, and the ports and speakers, and the buttons and jacks, and the grills and every other detail so they all line up at exactly the right place at the end. Painstaking is likely an understatement.

It matters to some people, but not everyone will appreciate it. Just like how there are people who can live with thinking that they just need to sweep the dirt under the furniture to consider the room is clean.

This is a great example of how much effort Apple puts in to creating something that they care for. Samsung can copy the design but they can’t copy the spirit that goes into the design process.