Most people would be truly alarmed if they understood how easily criminals can hack into their cell phones and retrieve personal and potentially damaging information. Criminals today have devices that allow them to hack into your cell phone by just dialing the number. In fact, with this technology, they can also listen to your calls, read your emails, text messages, access your photos and any other information you store on your phone. They can even retrieve your  password to your online bank account. For this very reason it is important to learn about security for mobile phones.

What makes this situation more frightening is the fact that phone hacking instructions can be found on the internet for any dishonest person to access. Therefore, it is crucial for people to to set up security for mobile phones. In this past year alone, more than a billion cell phones have been hacked due to the fact that they were unprotected, according to experts. Most cell phone owners weren’t even aware they could install security for mobile phones.

Today, cell phones have become so smart – they are more like computers than phones. This has left them wide open to hackers who now have good reason to want to hack unprotected cell phones. Before a person is even aware their phone has been hacked, the criminal has access to all their private information. This is why security for cell phones is so important for users.

Another common hacking method, also known as “the man in the middle,” allows a criminal to hack into a mobile phone’s operating system and then reroutes all the data to a third party who is just sitting there waiting to utilize stolen information.

Some cell phone hackers can even have a device perform this when a mobile phone is turned off, which makes all mobile phones vulnerable for attack.

Securing your phone from hackers requires multiple steps including creating secure passwords, avoiding public Wi-Fi and diligence in checking links in emails and messages to ensure authenticity before clicking on them.

As part of your overall security plan, we recommend securing phone calls and messages, with end-to-end encryption, ensuring no one other than you and the intended recipient can access the call or message. For information on securing phone calls and messaging, Contact KoolSpan.

Author : Glenn Schoonover

Source : https://koolspan.com/hack-a-cell-phone/

Categorized in Internet Privacy

FILE- In this Jan. 9, 2007, file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an iPhone at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. Jobs introduced the first iPhone a decade ago. Jobs' "magical product" reshaped culture, shook up industries and made it seem possible to do just about anything with a few taps on a screen while walking around with the equivalent of a computer in our pocket. 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Few people realized it at the time, but the world shifted fundamentally a decade ago when Steve Jobs pulled the first iPhone from Apple's bag of technological tricks.

"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," Jobs declared as he paced across a San Francisco stage.

It obviously wasn't an empty boast. We all know now that Jobs' "magical product" has reshaped culture, shaken up industries, put computers in billions of pockets and made it possible to do just about anything with a few taps on a screen. Besides its then 3.5-inch touch screen, the first iPhone featured a browser for on-the-go web surfing and built-in apps to check email and get directions.

GOING MOBILE

Apple has sold more than 1 billion iPhones since its debut, spawning millions of mobile applications and prodding other technology companies to make similar smartphones that have become like phantom limbs for many of us.

We use iPhones and their copycats to instantly share video and pictures with friends and family from almost anywhere. We use them to figure out where we are going. We use them to find the best deals while shopping in stores and to pay for stuff at the checkout stand. We use the phones to a hail ride, to tune instruments, to monitor our health and help find our next jobs.

Phones have gotten so smart that they even talk back to us via helpful digital concierges such as the iPhone's Siri and the recently introduced Assistant on Google's Pixel phone.

"IPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live," Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook, boasted in a retrospective that the Cupertino, California, company posted on its website.

ROADKILL IN ITS WAKE

The iPhone's revolutionary touch screen doomed the BlackBerry, another once-popular internet-connected phone. Mobile phones and their tablet cousins triggered a downturn in personal computer sales that is still unfolding.

An estimated 219 million desktop and laptop computers shipped worldwide last year, down from 264 million in 2007, according to the research firm Gartner Inc. Meanwhile, nearly 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped last year, up from 1.15 billion in 2007.

All told, Gartner estimates about 5 billion mobile phones are currently in use around the world compared to 1.3 billion PCs.

The eroding popularity of PCs spurred shake-ups at powerful tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, none of which adapted nimbly to the mobile world unleashed by the iPhone.

Then-Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer scoffed at Apple's glass-and-metal gadget, telling USA Today in April 2007 that "there's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance."

Microsoft wound up squandering the $7.6 billion that it spent to buy phone maker Nokia in a futile attempt to catch up to the iPhone. Ballmer stepped down as CEO three years ago and was replaced by Satya Nadella, who introduced versions of Microsoft's popular Office programs that worked on Apple's iPad — a tablet based on the iPhone.

A HUGE HIT ... AND THEN A STALL

The iPhone's success helped make Jobs a revered figure for many, and one whose October 2011 death was mourned around the world.

The device has established Apple as the world's most profitable company with earnings of $45.7 billion on sales of $216 billion during its latest fiscal year. (Prior to the iPhone's release, Apple posted an annual profit of $2 billion on sales of $19.3 billion.) Its stock-market value is hovering around $635 billion, thanks to a split-adjusted stock price that's risen by nearly a factor of 10 since the iPhone's debut.

Lately, though, the iPhone appears to be losing some steam. People are keeping older models for longer before upgrading or switching over to competing phones that run on Google's Android software.

Apple suffered its first-ever decline in iPhone sales in its last fiscal year, causing the company to miss its revenue projections and hitting Cook with a 15 percent pay cut.

Most smartphones now run on Android, partly because Google gives away the software. That has helped iPhone rivals woo price conscious consumers, especially outside the U.S., with phones that are much cheaper than the iPhone, whose latest models now cost more than $649 to $849.

In his statement, though, Cook promised the iPhone is "just getting started. The best is yet to come."

Author : Michael Liedtke

Source : http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Apple-proved-a-phone-can-change-the-world-in-just-10845999.php

Categorized in Science & Tech

We’ve all come a long way, the good people and the black hats and the tech we all depend on. It used to be rainbow tables and dial-up, and most people weren’t online at all. Now your stuff connects to the Internet and phones home — often whether or not you want it to — and how many people do you know who don’t have a smartphone? In perfect lockstep with progress, there now exists a malware vector by which your smartphone can be forced to mine a new cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency is called Zcash, and it debuted on October 28. Its developers claim that it’s more anonymous than Bitcoin: “If Bitcoin is like HTTP for money, Zcash is HTTPS.” Zcash started out hot but rapidly declined in value, though it’s still in the top ten most profitable according to CoinWarz.

The malware is comparatively benign, as malware goes. All it does is eat processor time, tie up RAM, and raise your power bill to mine Zcash. But coin mining software will often take up all the RAM you’re not actively using, which means this malware can really kneecap performance. It’s distributed via links for things like pirated software, according to Kaspersky researcher Alexander Gostev, and there are around a thousand possibly infected computers so far.

Zooko Wilcox, founder and CEO of Zcash (a currency can have a CEO?), told Motherboard that the most users can do at this point is take preventative measures, like anti-malware, because he can’t rein the whole thing in; nobody can.

“Unfortunately, we have no way to prevent this kind of thing, since Zcash is an open source network, like Bitcoin, that nobody (including us) controls,” Wilcox said in the interview. “Our recommendation to security companies that detect this kind of activity, like Kaspersky, is that their software should alert users when potentially malicious software (like that described in their blog post) is detected, and give the user the option of shutting it down or, if it was deliberately installed by the user, allowing it to run.”

Botnet mining isn’t huge and probably isn’t going to get that way, because even a huge botnet can’t compete with ASICs. But Zcash was supposed to be the exception. Zcash’s creators say it’s ASIC-resistant because it’s not economical to implement on ASICs. ASIC market fraud and difficulty getting cryptocurrency turned into cash are probably what will make it most ASIC-resistant, though — not any wizardly subtlety of the algorithm.

Either way, Zcash is supposed to be lightweight and deeply decentralized. Its site crows that you can leave your smartphone mining while it’s plugged in and charging overnight. This is clearly both a blessing and a curse.

Author : Jessica Hall

Source : https://www.extremetech.com/internet/241021-malware-cryptocurrency-mining-zcash

Categorized in Internet Privacy

When local grandmother Marjorie Haffner recently received a call from one of her grandkids, she knew something was up.

She had dealt with this before.

“The voice didn’t sound like one of our grandsons,” Haffner said. “He said, ‘Grandma, write this down,’ and I asked him, ‘Who is this?’ He said, ‘Who else would be calling you grandma?’”

What the caller didn’t know is Haffner has 16 grandchildren.

“I told him I wouldn’t write anything down until he identified himself,” Haffner said.

That’s when he hung up.

Haffner believes the man was a phone scammer: strangers have impersonated her grandchildren before, often asking for money. Usually it’s a little more sophisticated.

“They just must think we are all ignorant,” she said.

It’s one of the busiest times of year for phone scams, even in Alaska. Andrea Jacobson, an investigator with the Alaska State Troopers Financial Crimes Unit, estimates that Alaskans are targeted by around 15 phone scams a month, though “numbers could be way higher than that. Some people are embarrassed to report that they’ve been scammed.”

Jacobson said she’s not sure if it’s seasonal, but there’s definitely been an uptick in phone scams targeting Alaskans in the past two years, especially on landlines owned by the elderly.

“It’s a national, widespread issue right now, it’s huge,” Jacobson said. “They definitely target the elderly.”

Haffner has received several of these calls in the past couple of years, most of them during the holidays. Other schemes have been more convincing.

“One guy said a grandkid was in jail. He was asking for money to help get him out,” Haffner said. “He knew the name of one of our grandkids, but when I asked him his middle name, he gave me the first name of my husband, which was the wrong answer.”

Another caller claimed a grandkid was hurt, and the Haffners needed to send money to help with his recovery. That caller hung up as soon as Haffner said she was recording the call.

“Some of them are pretty sharp,” Haffner said. “But we’ve never been taken in by any of them.”

Recently, the state is dealing with at least two widespread phone scams. One, believed to be a money laundering scheme, has callers impersonating the Publishers Clearing House. According to Jacobson, one Alaskan lost $100,000 to this scheme. Another, an 85-year-old cancer patient, lost $25,000.

“They’re picking on people who are particularly vulnerable to these scams for various reasons, sometimes they have an ill relative or they’re in a situation that they really need the money,” Jacobson said. “People want to believe so badly that they’ve won.”

In this case, fraudsters will use a call masking technology which allows them to appear as a local numbers. Jacobson’s partner did some digging on one of these calls, finding they used a phone service called Twilio to temporarily buy a local 907 number.

In another widespread scam (Jacobson cited reports in seven different Alaska cities, including Juneau) fraudsters impersonate Alaska State Troopers, claiming they need payment to keep victims out of jail.

Callers in these cases will often demand targets buy store bought credit cards from major retailers, and call back with the confirmation number. Jacobson said these scammers will ask that you call them “every step of the way” to ensure you’re following through — and not second-guessing — their demands.

Jacobson said it’s common, like in Haffner’s case, for callers to instill a sense of urgency in their targets by making up a desperate story. The first thing to do is get off the phone and verify some information.

“They usually make it sound pretty realistic. There are some variations: kidnappings, in jail, broken down in a foreign country,” Jacobson said. “In these cases the most important thing to do is get off the phone and call whomever they say is in trouble, often that will sort everything out. If they are claiming they have an arrest warrant, call the local trooper station. If they are claiming to be a grandchild, call that grandchild.”

The important thing is to get off the phone and don’t let a caller’s sense of panic push you to give them money, Jacobson said.

The next step is to report the call to your local police department.

In addition, the Financial Crimes Unit encourages people to report to the Federal Trade Commission at www.spc.gov or 877 382-4357.

The AARP also has a fraud network. That can be reached at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or toll free at 800 646-2283. Callers don’t have to be AARP members to call.

Jacobson said to look out if you’re on a landline as these numbers are easier for scammers to obtain than cellphone numbers. The elderly are the largest remaining demographic of landline owners, making them particularly vulnerable.

In addition, Jacobson cautioned people to keep track of the information they post on the internet. Scammers can put this to good use in impersonating law enforcement or family members.

Author : KEVIN GULLUFSEN

Source : http://juneauempire.com/local/2016-12-07/phone-scammers-tis-season

Categorized in Science & Tech

Not every phone is a winner. Check out the handsets that will only crush your mobile dreams.

 

We review a lot of phones here at CNET. A lot. A few are standouts, most are decent and affordable, and a very few just aren't worth the trouble, low price be damned. Gathered below is the rogues gallery of recent disappointments that just weren't able to live up to their promise. Arm yourself with the knowledge of the phones you can safely skip, then cheer yourself up with this list of rock stars.

 

Editors' note: This post updates frequently. It was originally published March 2012.

Sony Xperia XA

sony-xperia-xa-product-3.jpg

 

Despite an eye-catching, barely there bezel and a petite frame, the Xperia XA isn't so great. It has a low screen resolution, a disappointing battery life (it lasted only 8 hours and 45 minutes during our tests), annoying bloatware and just 16GB of storage. Read the full review.

 

BlackBerry DTEK 50

 

Sony_Xperia_XA.png

With the DTEK50, BlackBerry put its own spin on Google's Android OS. And while the software experience was relatively fine, everything else was sort of meh. The camera was weak in low-light settings and the phone's performance was slow. Worst of all, the claim that the device is "The World's Most Secure Android Smartphone" is overblown. In reality, its security features come included in most Android phones. Bummer. Read the full review.

HTC Desire 520

 

 BlackBerry_DTEK_50.png
 

The Desire 520 has a few things going for it. It's affordable, has loud speakers and has expandable storage. But those things can't outweigh the fact that its screen is rather dull, its battery life is short and the plastic casing feels cheap. Read the full review.

ZTE Speed

 

HTC_Desire_520.png

Though its petite design makes it comfortable to handle, the Speed is equipped with a slow processor that makes it anything but. In addition to its unimpressive camera, its 960x540-pixel resolution display doesn't respond very quickly to taps and swipes. Read the full review.

LG Leon

 

ZTE_Speed.png

With its 4.5-inch display, the Leon is pocket-friendly and it's pretty cheap. But its 5-megapixel camera, which lacks touch-focus, captures dull photos and its quad-core processor takes forever to carry out tasks. Read the full review.

 

Source : https://www.cnet.com

Author : 

Categorized in Science & Tech

$250 gift cards being bundled with Android smartphones, up to $100 being knocked off Android tablets by big retailers for Black Friday 2016

It’s a lot easier to find Black Friday 2016 deals for Android smartphones and tablets than it is for competing Apple products, so if you’re a fan of Google’s Linux kernel-based mobile OS or willing to give it a shot, then Best Buy, Target and others are more than happy to accommodate on Nov. 25.

Here’s where to look if you want to compare Android products to those from Appleor running Windows

Android smartphones

Verizon: $10/month for Android smartphones

Verizon is offering phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, Pixel Phone from Google and Moto Z Droid for $10/month for 24 months, 0% APR, which is a savings of up to $400 on these devices.

moduleplant id="558"]

Best Buy: Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge bundled with VR kit

Best Buy will sweeten the purchase of a new Android phone, which costs about $28 per month for 24 months under an installment plan, by tossing in a $250 store gift card PLUS A Samsung Gear VR viewer.

samsung galaxy s7 or s7 edge vr kit

Samsung Galaxy S7 VR kit bundles can be had at cut-rate prices for Black Friday 2016

Target: Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge

Like Best Buy, Target is offering a $250 store gift card, plus a Samsung Gear VR headset. In addition, Target includes a $50 Oculus content pack to supplement the VR headset. 

Newegg: ZTE Axon Pro unlocked smartphone

This 5.5-inch Android phone comes in Gold, boasts 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, with a 13mp rear camera and 2mp dual-lens front camera. Online retailer Newegg is slicing the price from $400 to $250.

Samsung: Gear VR headset

Slap this 1-pound device onto your Samsung smartphone and start seeing things in 360 degrees. Samsung is cutting the price from $100 to $70.

Android tablets

Samsung: Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch tablet

Samsung starting on Nov. 18 will cut $100 off of this big-screen 16GB Android device with Wi-Fi support, bringing the price down to $200.

galaxy tab a 10.1 inch tablet

Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch tablet

Shopko: Samsung Galaxy Tab E Lite tablet

Shopko’s Black Friday sales start online the day before Thanksgiving and online at 4pm Thanksgiving Day. Among the deals, this 7-inch Android tablet for $70, which is $60 off the regular price. It comes with 8GB of storage and can be expanded via a 32GB microSD card.

Meijer: Samsung Galaxy Tab E Lite 7.0

Marked down from $120 to $70, plus you get a $20 store gift card tossed in. Android device features 8GB of storage, 1GB of RAM and a 7-inch screen.

Sam’s Club: Samsung 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab A tablet

This Android tablet bundle, for $189 ($100 off), comes with 16GB of internal storage, plus a 32GB microSD card. The tablet weighs a bit more than a pound and boasts a 2mp front-facing camera and 9mp rear-facing one.

BJ’s Wholesale Club: Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablet

BJ’s is offering this 7-inch Android tablet with 16GB of storage, plus a bonus 16GB microSD card, for $90, which is $50 off the regular price. BJ’s is offering this deal from Nov. 18 through Nov. 29, though stores are closed on Thanksgiving.

Staples: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7-inch tablet

Staples, whose Black Friday 2016 deals start online on Thanksgiving day, is cutting the cost of this Android device with 8GB of storage by a third to $100

Kmart: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7-inch tablet 

This Android device with 8GB of storage regularly goes for $150, but Kmart is selling it for $100 and including $50 of Shop Your Way Reward points to use at a later time.

Staples: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch tablet

The office supplies retailer is knocking $70 off of this 16GB Android tablet, which is powered by a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor.

Toys R Us: Polaroid Wi-Fi tablets

Yes, Polaroid makes tablets, too! The toy store is offering Polaroid 7- or 9-inch Wi-Fi tablets for $30 ($30 off) and $40 ($30 off) respectively. The tablets run Android and come with 8GB of storage.

Walgreens: Polaroid 7-inch tablet

Walgreens might not be the first place you think of to buy tablets and Polaroid might not be the first manufacturer you think of either for this item, but Walgreens is cutting the price of Polaroid’s 7-inch tablet to $30, so if you’re looking for an inexpensive one, you don’t have much to lose here. The Android device comes with 8GB of storage.

Walmart: RCA 7-inch tablet

Walmart is cutting the price of this Andoid device from about $50 to $28. Add a folio or bumper for $8.

Source : http://www.networkworld.com

Author : Bob Brown

Categorized in Social

In a world where everything which your computer can do, can be done on your smartphone, hacking cannot be left behind.

The world is full of smartphones these days. Most people rely on their smartphones and other portable devices to carry out their day to day activities. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that smartphones have taken over laptops in terms of productivity. Thus, it becomes extremely important to know about the (ethical) hacking tools available on your android phone. Who knows, you might need them one day!

 download.png

Hacking, nowadays, is not something which is the exclusive domain of the “experts”. With the help of a few applications and basic knowledge of the true capabilities of your android phone, you, too, could delve into the world of hacking. So, let’s discuss some of the apps for your android phones which will turn you into a hacker!

1. AndroRat

AndroRat stands for Android Remote Administration Tool. As the name suggests, it is a remote administration tool which is used to control another device even if you have no physical access to that device! Manipulating other devices can be easily done using the app which is quite useful in case you’re away from your device and need it to perform some task. It is also useful in inducing some giggle and amazement amongst your friends and family members!

2. DroidSheep

The word “hacking” for many is hacking into your friend’s social media account for giggles. Or it may be used for even something useful like extracting some important information from someone’s social media accounts. DroidSheep does the job for you. It hijacks the sessions of social media activities carried out on your network. You need the knowledge of the basics of hijacking and by installing the app on your android device you’re all set to ‘hack’ your friend’s online social life!

3. Kill WIFI

This open source ethical hacking app is one of the most popular ones in this field. Similar to the net cut app in Windows, this app is capable of cutting off anyone’s WiFi over your network. Kill Wifi is extremely useful when you have an open WiFi not protected by a strong password. You can cut off the WiFi of the intruder by just a few clicks on your device. This app is easy to use owing to its lucid and interactive interface and easy-to-use tools.

4. SpoofApp

Won’t it be wonderful if you could place a call to your friend phone, but instead of showing your phone number different number flashes on your friend’s phone? SpoofAppis exactly what this app does. Apart from changing your phone number, this app can also change your voice and record your entire conversation! However, you will need SpoofCards to use this app. Overall a nice app for bringing smiles on your and your friend’s face.

5. WiFi Mac Changer

One of the most useful ones, Wifi Mac Changer app changes the MAC address of your device you make your activities almost untraceable. With your rooted android phone, you can change the MAC Address of your device temporarily so that your online activities cannot be traced back to you. The app provides you two methods of changing your MAC Address. One is the easier way which reflects no change in your WiFi settings. The other method is a bit tougher which allows you to enter apps which are password protected and this will reflect the changed address in your WiFi settings.

Conclusion

These apps may not seem very productive at a first glance but with prolonged use, you will certainly realize the potential that these apps possess. Who knows someday you may need to spy upon your friend’s/significant other’s social media account? Or you may need to kick off an intruder from your network. Thus, gear up for the path untraveled and watch your world in an entirely different light using these apps!

Source : www.hackread.com

Author : Ali Raza

Categorized in Social

Android has had some exciting new additions to its device line-up this year. From Google's new Pixel phones to Kodak's first move into the smartphone market, Android is continuing its dominance as a leading OS.

Android does, however, seem to have a security problem – even if its reputation isn't entirely accurate, and especially compared to how people view iOS. This is one of the reasons Android is so hot on security, and why Google has made it a key feature of all Android apps thanks to its “Application Sandbox”. This means that even if malware is accidentally opened, it is forbidden to access any other apps on a device.

Android's Adrian Ludwig recently revealed more about the software's security features in a series of blog posts and during a talk at this year's inaugural WIRED Security event.

And if you want to boost your device's security even further, we round up the top Android apps to do just that below. Alternatively, if you have an iPhone or iPad, here are the best iOS apps for data protection.

1Password

If there's one simple way to stay safe, it is to change your passwords, though it can get confusing remembering the different passwords to each account. 1Password does the hard work for you by remembering everything. All data is encrypted, so the app keeps the information safe and allows you to sign into your favourite sites with one click. Free

Applock

Applock is a secure Android-specific app which locks all your important apps up, including Facebook, Whatsapp, Gmail and Settings, to prevent unauthorised access to private data and guard privacy settings. Free

Find Your Phone

Should you ever lose your Android device, Find Your Phone is a new feature. By searching ‘find my phone’ on any Google browser, you can locate your phone, lock and call it, secure your account and leave a callback number on the screen for the person who finds it.

Google’s director of Android Security, Adrian Ludwig, explains how it works.

my Secure Mail

This universal email client allows people to manage an unlimited number of mail accounts from various providers. My Secure Mail keeps all your emails in one place and ensures they are safe using encryption and password-protected sign ins. Free

NordVPN

If you've never used a VPN before, it is a way to keep all your online activity private by encrytping all the data coming in and out of the device and securing all internet traffic. The new NordVPN Android app re-routes and encrypts all internet traffic to make the connection private and secure. Free

Signal

The encrypted messaging and voice-calling app Signal is a sure-fire way to communicate safely on an Android device. It provides end-to-end encryption to secure all communications and the app can also verify the identity of who people are messaging, as well as the integrity of the channels they are using. Free

Tor Messenger

Similar to Signal, Tor Messenger is a safe and encrypted way to have private conversations. It's a cross-platform chat app that is secure by default and sends all messages over Tor Network. The ChatSecure app allows you to send communications across Tor. Free

Source : wired.co.uk

Author : AMELIA HEATHMAN

Categorized in Social

With Android thoroughly dominating the mobile industry, picking the best Android smartphones is almost synonymous with choosing the best smartphones, period. But while Android phones have few real opponents on other platforms, internal competition is incredibly fierce.

From sleek devices that impress with premium design, to powerhouses brimming with features, to all-around great devices, and affordable phones that punch above their weight, the Android ecosystem is populated by a staggering variety of attractive phones.

But “greatness” is subjective, and sometimes spec sheets and feature lists are not enough to make an idea of how good a phone really is. In this roundup, we’re looking at the absolute best – the Android phones you can’t go wrong with.

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list regularly as new devices launch.
Update, November 2016: This month we removed the Nexus 6P from our list to make room for the Google Pixel, Pixel XL and LG V20.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they truly are some amazing smartphones.

Not only are they the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant on board, they also come with plenty of exclusive software features and some of the best smartphone cameras in existence.

Under the hood, they sport some killer specs, too. Both devices have an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage and long-lasting batteries. The overall design of these phones may not be the most unique, but they do feel like premium phones through and through.

There are a few things about these phones that will turn some people away, though. For starters, they only sport an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning they’re not nearly as waterproof as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. There are ways around that, but none that will make the devices truly waterproof. Plus, if you buy the Verizon model, you’ll have to deal with a small amount of bloatware (though you will be able to uninstall it), you won’t be able to unlock the bootloader, and Verizon will be handling all Pixel and Pixel XL software updates (though the company swears it won’t delay them).

If you’re in the market for a new flagship Android phone and don’t mind spending over $650, you should buy the Pixel or Pixel XL… these are two of the best Android phones out there.

Specs

Google Pixel

  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,770mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm, 143g

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Google Pixel XL

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,450mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm, 168g

Source : androidauthority

Categorized in Science & Tech

You would think that magic, as a hobby and a profession, would have gone the way of the typewriter by now. After all, there’s no video scene you can’t create digitally these days, and audiences know perfectly well that any prop you can dream up can be manufactured.

Yet magic is alive and well. Magicians on YouTube rack up millions of views. Magic shows in Vegas regularly sell out. And every birthday, thousands of elementary-school boys (yes, usually boys) joyously open up magic kits, smitten with the idea of fooling the grownups. I was one of them. I performed magic shows at about 400 birthday parties during my teenage years — and went on to write “Magic for Dummies.”

It’s no surprise, then, that smartphones should become the latest frontier for illusions. App stores offer long lists of magic-trick apps. Sometimes, the trick happens on the phone’s screen — the app does the magic. Sometimes, the phone is part of the secret — the audience doesn’t even know that it’s involved in helping you perform.

Some tricks are free or cheap little throwaways — the equivalent of the fun, self-working, plastic beginner tricks that you get in magic kits. Others are unbelievably powerful effects designed for professional magicians, costing $50 or even $100, good enough to perform at corporate parties or on TV.

The problem with buying magic apps is the same problem with buying magic tricks: You don’t know how it works until you’ve bought it. Plenty of people buy what looks like a terrific trick only to find that it’s too hard for them to perform — and you can’t return a magic trick.

Therefore, as a public service, I have downloaded, learned, and tested 20 of the most promising magic apps online. (You can see four of them in the video above.) I’ve listed them here in order of difficulty. Please — hold your applause.

Marty’s Magic Coin (free, or $3 for the nicer version)

The effect: You rub a quarter on your phone’s screen — and it appears inside the screen, rolling around noisily as you tip the phone. When you’ve had enough, you give the phone a sharp shake — and the quarter falls off the screen and into your hand.

The review: Nobody will think that your real quarter is actually under the glass; anyone can see that it’s really a video representation of the quarter. But I dearly love this trick because it’s very easy to perform, the video instructions are fantastic and clear, and the concept is funny. (You can see the whole thing in my video above.)

The free version shows a quarter rolling around against a black screen. For $3, you get a choice of 32 different coins — or even a carrot slice — and you can install your own home screen as the background instead of the black screen. The full version also includes write-ups for some bonus tricks.

This one’s a great little goof, a good one for kids. (The hardest part of it is performing a French Drop with the quarter — but the instructions even give you an alternative way that involves even less skill.)

My only beef: The app doesn’t remember which kind of coin you prefer to use, or what your home screen looks like. You have to have to choose those settings every time you open the app.

For iPhone. But for Android, see Magic Trick #6, below.

Marty’s Magic Card ($3)

The effect: Your volunteer chooses a card from a deck. The phone reveals the selected card — by making its full-size image fade in through your home screen, like a ghostly X-ray.

The review: This one’s not quite as much fun as Marty’s Coin, because, well, I’ll just say it: You have to force the card, meaning that the spectator only thinks she got a free choice of card. (I’m not spoiling anything here — the reviews of this app on the app store make it clear that a force is necessary.)

Turns out a lot of “smartphone magic” apps are in this category: They’re fancy ways of revealing a card, but it’s your job, as the magician, to ensure that the volunteer has chosen the right card in the first place.

This one would be great for kids or total novices — forcing a card is actually easier than the French Drop — but Marty’s Magic Card needs Marty to do some updating. The look of the app is stuck in 2009-land, it doesn’t adapt to today’s larger iPhone sizes, and it crashes when you try to choose your home screen as the backdrop.

For iPhone. But for Android, see Magic Trick #6, below.

Magic Trick #1 ($3 or $4)

French magician Mikael Montier has created a series of charming magic apps, numbered #1 through #12. All are available for Android, some for iPhone.

In most cases, the toughest part is figuring out what the trick is. Most of them come without any video — not even a video showing someone performing the trick. You get only a handful of text screens that aren’t always crystal-clear.

The effect: Your volunteer chooses a card. You reach over to your phone, which has been sitting on the table, face-up and dark — and you scrub away the darkness, revealing the picture of the chosen card as though it’s a scratch-off lottery ticket.

  

The review: In this trick, your volunteer truly does get to choose a card (it’s not forced — much). Of course, the secret is how you tell the phone which card to reveal, without seeming to touch it or communicate with it in any way — and it’s an exceptionally clever, convincing secret.

And yet it’s not difficult at all. Fully beginner-approved.

On this one, the instructions are included in the form of a slickly produced private YouTube video, which makes learning the trick easy.

For iPhone or Android. (For some reason, Montier’s apps cost $1 more on Android.)

Magic Trick #2 ($3 or $4)

The effect: You email a link to your spectator. The link takes him to a Tic-Tac-Toe game online:

You play a normal game of Tic-Tac-Toe against your spectator — except you don’t get to see the screen. You’re standing several feet away, hands empty, back turned, even blindfolded. You can’t see what moves your opponent is making!

Yet when it’s your turn to play, you confidently say, “OK, put me in the lower-right” or whatever. And, of course, you win.

The review: I love this trick so much. There’s this one moment where it dawns on the spectator that (a) she’s about to lose, and (b) holy cow, you did it without even seeing the game board!

I’m not going to tell you the secret, but obviously, the app tells you where to make your next move. It works even if you’re blindfolded and far away. You can, in fact, be milesaway, conducting the game over Skype or the phone.

Usually, you win the game; worst case, it’s a tie, just as in regular Tic-Tac-Toe.

The only drawback is that business of having to email the link to your spectator. It’s a little time-consuming and fussy.

But otherwise, this is an extremely easy, wildly creative trick.

For iPhone or Android.

Magic Trick #3 ($3 or $4)

The effect: You hand your phone to a volunteer, open to the calculator app. With your back turned, you ask her to type in any three-digit number; multiply it by any other three-digit number; and divide by any four-digit number.

You now hand her a book — a physical book — and ask her to turn to the page number indicated by the calculator’s final answer. When she does, you’re able to tell her the first and last words on that page.

The review: The “book test,” where the magician somehow knows what word you’ve chosen from a book, is an age-old mental-magic classic effect, and there are many different ways to perform it.

This one’s very easy, but not, alas, one of the greats. For two reasons: First, the amount of setup work on your end is considerable; it will literally take you hours. (It’s a one-time thing, but still.) Second, using the calculator to arrive at a random page number feels a little contrived; if you’re so magical, why can’t your spectator just name any page number she likes?

For iPhone or Android.

Magic Trick #4 ($3 or $4)

The effect: You set up a grid of physical objects on the table, three rows of three: A pencil, a ring, a paper clip, a key, and so on. You ask an audience member to put a drinking glass upside-down over one of the objects. You explain the rules: On each turn, the spectator can move the glass up or down its row or column, but can’t skip over any object that’s been taken off the table.

At this point, the phone conducts the magic trick, on autopilot. A man’s voice comes out of its speaker. “Since the glass is not on the pencil, you can remove it.” He seems to know what’s happening on the table — he always knows what object the glass is on. In the end, he knows where the glass winds up.

The review: OK, it’s fairly cool the way a prerecorded voice seems to know what’s happening. The problem is with the recording itself: It’s an American voice, but he’s reading what seems to be a Google translation from French. He says things like, “Move again two times the glass” and “It will be free the dice and capture the key.”

That weirdness, and the complexity of the rules, make this one less impressive than the others.

For iPhone or Android.

Magic Trick #5 ($3 or $4)

The effect: You make a prediction, then hand your phone to the volunteer. It’s running an app that shows a virtual deck of cards whose backs are showing. You ask him to flip through them, tapping each card to see its face; he sees that they’re all different. You tell him to stop at a card that seems worthy. He taps to reveal its face — your prediction was right!

The review: I love, love, love this trick. You can see it in my video above. It really amazes people, even though it’s ridiculously simple to perform.

In the 20 times I’ve performed this trick, twice people guessed the secret — but with a little change in the patter, I’ve eliminated that weak spot.

(In case you buy the trick, I’ll share my modification with you: Grab the phone yourself to put on top of your prediction. “I’m gonna cover up my prediction so neither one of us can touch it. …” Done.)

For iPhone or Android.

Magic Trick #6 ($4)

The effect: You make something appear inside the screen of your phone — a coin, a folded dollar, a card, a business card, a credit card. You slide it around, and then yank it “out of the screen” into your physical, actual hand.

The review: Sound familiar? This is the same concept as Marty’s Magic Coin, above, except that it works with a lot more objects than coins; in fact, you can take a picture of anything you want to appear in the screen. (Note: On some older Android phones, you can’t get rid of the black border around the object.)

Easy to use, but it’s a one-pony trick.

For Android.

Magic Trick #11, Magic Trick #12 ($3 or $4 each)

The effect: Someone chooses a card. After putting the deck back into its box, you use your phone as a sort of magic X-ray machine. It reveals the chosen card on the screen with a special animated visual-effects flourish.

The review: What’s unusual here is that these are augmented-reality apps. That is, they actually see the box of cards in 3-D space (it must be a Bicycle brand deck) and, in the video image, they superimpose spectacular graphics that move and adjust on the screen as you move the phone in space. In Magic Trick #11, you see the card rise out of a computer-generated treasure chest; in #12 — well, I don’t even know how to describe it. Some futuristic alien thing.

For $2 more, you can buy additional revelation effects within #11.

These are really just conclusions of tricks; it’s up to you to force the card that will later be revealed. They’re cute, but not especially mystifying.

For iPhone or Android.

Magic Kit ($20)

The effect: This app contains 15 magic tricks, just as the name implies. The quality varies widely.

Several of them are nothing more than visually rich revelations of a card that you’ve forced; for example, the Mystic Hand displays a mechanical robot hand that “reaches into” the deck to pull out the chosen card, and Pencil Stab is an on-screen version of the old “stab the deck with a knife and pull out the chosen card on the tip” effect.

Two of them are “reach into the screen and pull a displayed object out into the real world” tricks — one with a match, one with a bottle cap.

Another set are prediction tricks: Predict which ace someone will choose, or which color (out of three swatches).

The review: The graphics are lovely, but the actual tricks just aren’t especially mysterious. You’d be better off spending that $20 on other apps listed here.

For iPhone.

City Prediction ($16)

The effect: You ask your spectator to open up the Apple Maps app on her own phone.You pick up her phone and type something in, then turn the phone face-down on the table.

Now you ask her to name any city in the world that means something to her. When she does, you ask her to look at her phone. Sure enough, Apple Maps is now open to the city she named!

The review: This one gets into serious miracle territory. I’ll tell you this much: It does not have anything to do with voice recognition, forcing, or installing anything on your spectator’s phone. (You can see this trick in the video above.)

What’s not clear from the marketing blurb is this: To work the way it’s described here, you need a secret assistant who’s also watching.

You can perform the trick all by yourself, but there’s an extra step: Before revealing the city prediction, you pick up your own phone and Google the city your spectator has named, while making conversation about it — to check out its population, for example.

Either way, it’s a powerful, unforgettable trick. It’s not a kids’ trick by any means, though, and it requires a good Internet connection and practice.

For iPhone.

Photo Prediction ($5)

The effect: A spectator chooses or names a card. You wake your phone and open up your photos app — and there, for your spectator see, is one and only one picture of a card. It’s his card!

The review: Your spectator really does get a free choice of card. And your photo roll really does contain one photo of a card, date-stamped the day before. The only possibility is that you’re telling the truth: that you knew the card before you started the trick! That’s a disconcerting notion, and the trick is a total baffler.

You’ll need to practice for about 30 minutes to get the hang of it. (The same app also lets you reveal a predicted number instead of card, between 1 and 129. You can also customize the revelation in some sneaky ways.)

Also, note that Ghost Card, described next, sounds similar — but it’s even more memorable, because the spectator is in the background of the photo. Then again, it costs $15 instead of $5. …

For iPhone. (Similar, for Android: Foto Prediction, $4.50.

Ghost Card ($15, iPhone)

The effect: You, the magician, pull a card out of the deck — and, without revealing what it is, use your phone to take a picture of it with your spectator in the background.

Now you ask the spectator to name or choose any card. You now reveal the picture you took, showing the correct card.

Your awestruck spectators are welcome to email or text themselves that photo as a souvenir — or to hunt through your other photos; they won’t find any other pictures of cards.

The review: There are two really sensational aspects to this one. First, you don’t force the card; the spectator really can choose any card, or even name one if you don’t have a deck handy. Second, the spectator is in the picture and saw you take the picture. It’s absolutely impossible.

The secret is some incredibly sophisticated technology. Practice this one a few times, and you’ll leave a trail of thoroughly mind-boggled audiences in your wake.

For iPhone.

Telefoto ($25)

The effect: You give a Web address to your spectator, who enters it on her own phone. It’s a Web slideshow of 50 Las Vegas photos. She scrolls through until she finds one she likes — and you somehow read her mind, telling her which photo she’s seeing. Over and over again.

The review: Greg Rostami is responsible for the next batch of tricks described here; most are intended for professional magicians, or at least amateurs who are willing to put some work into performing the tricks smoothly. They all come with copious, well-written instructions, and you can find YouTube videos of people performing them. (Rostami has, in honor of this column, cut his apps’ prices in half for the next two weeks; this trick, for example, is usually $50.)

I’ll be straight with you: This is my favorite. It’s part of my repertoire now. You never touchthe spectator’s phone. You can have your back turned, you can be blindfolded, you can be across the Internet from this person — and it still works.

You can also substitute anything you like for those Vegas photos. The app comes with a set of ESP-symbol “cards” as a preset, but you can also upload your own set of photos — anything you like, as many as you like.

It works exactly as you see it in my video above, and it’s an absolute stunner. It requires an Internet connection, and it requires you to spend some time learning the trick and practicing.

For iPhone or Android.

iPredict+ ($5)

The effect: Someone chooses, names, or even whispers a card. You pull out your phone, open Contacts, and ask your spectator to contact Christen, a remarkable psychic you’ve met — either by phone or by text.

If the spectator calls Christen, he gets Christen’s voicemail — where she says, “I’m not home right now — but your card is the Seven of Clubs” (or whatever). If the spectator sends her a text (it can say anything, like “What card?”), Christen responds with a text, identifying the card.

The review: This is another knockout effect, especially since the spectators can use their own phones to contact Christen. (They really do place a call or send a text.) It’s not a force, and not voice recognition. It just seems unimaginable that someone who’s not even present can identify the card.

The only downsides I can think of: The trick works only in the U.S., and it’s not really repeatable for the same audience at the same sitting. If you’re willing to practice and read the instructions carefully, you won’t find a more impressive effect for this little money.

For iPhone or Android.

iForce ($5, iPhone or Android)

The effect: You open a doodling app on your phone and, with your finger, scribble a prediction. You ask your volunteer to pull a bill from her purse. When you flip the phone screen up, sure enough, you predicted which bill it would be.

The review: Actually, you can predict anything — what coin, bill, ESP symbol, or number your volunteer will choose — as long as the universe of possibilities isn’t greater than 8.

One really cool one: The spectators put a salt shaker (or something) next to your phone, at a chosen corner or edge — and when you flip the phone over, they can see that you’ve drawn an arrow pointing to the correct side or corner!

For a long time, this was my favorite magic app, if only because the secret is so dang clever. Over time, I’ve stopped trusting it as much. Sometimes people guess the secret, and sometimes the trick misfires.

RA ($5)

The effect: It’s an update to the magic world’s classic “any card at any number” trick.

You talk about the statistical odds of finding a certain card at a certain position in a deck, and direct your volunteer to open a site called CardOdds.net on her own phone, tablet, or laptop. On this Web site, she can choose any card and enter a number from 1 to 52. The Web site calculates the statistical odds of that card being at that position in the deck (“21” would mean the twenty-first card down).

Sure enough: You hand over a deck of cards — and at position 21, there’s the chosen card!

The review: Another ingenious Rostami effect — and another one for pros, or people willing to learn, work, and practice. This time, you need both some mental and some card skills.

But the effect really smokes people’s brains — it just doesn’t seem possible.

For iPhone or Android.

iPredict Pro ($50, iPhone or Android)

The effect: Same idea as iPredict+ described above — except this time, the spectator calls your phone and gets your voicemail greeting. And you correctly identify the card!

The review: If there’s a more impossible-seeming prediction trick, I can’t imagine it. There’s no forcing, no secret assistants. The spectator uses his own phone, which you never touch, to call your voicemail, or send you a text.

Your voicemail can reveal other things besides cards, by the way. It can reveal a chosen number, or state, or, indeed, anything at all.

Clearly, this trick is aimed at pro magicians; the $100 price tag (OK, $50 for now) should tell you that. The setup is especially complex; it’s intended for people who will do a lot of work in the name of perfecting a killer effect.

The Grand Finale

The main thing is this: Right under our noses, a whole new realm of magic tricks has sprouted up. Some are for pros, some are for the rest of us, and a lot of them are dazzling.

If you’re young or new at this, start with Marty’s Magic Coin (for pure entertainment) or Magic Tricks #1, #2, or #5 (to really baffle people). If you’re an intermediate magician, try City Prediction, Photo Predict, or TeleFoto. And if you’re a pro, the time you put into Ghost Card or iPredict+ (or even iPredict Pro) will reward you handsomely in reputation points.

Yes, even in this age of cynicism, magic is alive and well — and blowing minds wherever fine smartphones are carried.

Source : yahoo

Categorized in Science & Tech
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