Google is once again targeting its next billion users. The next billion as referred to here are non-smartphone users in the developing world. If this sounds familiar, it is because Google previously tried to target the lower-end phone market with its Android One initiative. Unfortunately, Android One was not the world-changing strategy that Google envisioned. The new initiative is called Android Go.

Android Go will follow a different plan to Android One which was a blueprint for lower spec phones running the full version of Android. Instead, Android Go will focus on building a version of Android specifically for phones with as little as 512MB of RAM. Even the apps will be optimized around lower bandwidth requirements.

There will be a version of the Play Store designed for Android Go apps, much like the YouTube Go app which is running a beta in India. A program called “Building for Billions” will guide developers to create or optimize existing apps for the new platform.

Android Go starts with the latest version of Android, currently called “O”. Google has committed to an Android Go release with every release of Android going forward. In fact, every phone with less than 1GB of RAM will get Android Go.

With this move, it is likely that Google will also gain some of the markets that goes to cheaper devices which get much older versions of Android and other pre-loaded apps without Google Services. With this move, it is quite possible that Android will pass 3 billion users in the next two years.


gigatech2Phishing is a targeted method of infecting someone with malware or a trojan. This type of attack is getting more and more frequent. Especially for business users who deal with financial information. Another type of malware spreading fast is ransomware. When you get infected, the entire computer or your key data directories are all encrypted. The only way to get your data back is to pay a ransom to an anonymous hacker. While some of these attacks can be difficult to avoid, the most basic versions can be mitigated by a set of best practices:

Avoid Links

The most common way to spread malware of any sort is a link. The user needs to click the link and will then be taken to a page which loads the malware onto the phone or computer.

Admin Access

Too many end users give themselves admin access to install applications. The best practice here is to give a separate account admin rights and then use that account when you need to install an application of make system level changes. The windows UAC is helpful in this regard but is also too often switched off.

Malware

It is a good practice to also have a virus scanner like Windows Defender running and updated. Protect yourself from malware that we know about.

OS Updates

Always keep the computer up to date. Whenever updates are available, install them. A lot of flaws are detected and fixed and by keeping your computer updated, a lot of the readily available tools online will be negated.


gigatech2For a long time, Microsoft made a killing with its licensing deals with Android manufacturers. It was to the tune of a billion dollars and the best part was that Microsoft made money from almost every Android handset that was sold. Unfortunately it looks like the proliferation of cheap Chinese phones is causing that licensing revenue to fall:

From Business Insider:

“In the release, Microsoft noted that its patent-licensing revenue was down 26% from a year ago. And it’s because of Android. […] Suh also noted that not every Android manufacturer has a licensing deal with Microsoft. He didn’t name names, but Chinese phone makers typically take a very loose approach toward licensing American intellectual property, and as those inexpensive phones take over the world, Microsoft doesn’t benefit as much.

At one point, Microsoft was reported to be booking $2 billion a year from licensing its patents and other intellectual property to Android handset makers like Samsung and HTC. Microsoft has never confirmed that number, but it’s probably a drop in the bucket compared to the overall Windows business, which booked revenue around $4.2 billion this quarter. (“Windows revenue decreased $292 million or 7%,” the release says.)

Still, the Android gravy train is slowing down for everybody.”

The fall in sales for licensed partners like HTC, LG and Sony and the increase in sales of the iPhone with chinese phones is leading to less royalties. The concern for Microsoft is that this looks like it will only get worse.


gigatech1With Google IO just a few months away, the rumor mill has started on the changes in the upcoming N edition of Android. As the opening keynote of Google IO draws nearer we will start to see more images and larger leaks. Till then we will have to live with second hand accounts of those who have seen and try to recreate the current builds available internally. Here are a few of the rumors making the rounds:

App Drawer

This rumor has gotten the most publicity so far due to the potential similarity to Apples iOS. Android has always had a launcher which was widget capable. This was always a differentiator to iOS and it would be a big departure for Android. It also makes sense. The average user does not use widgets nor do they do any customization of their homescreens. If Google was to go ahead with the change in the final build, it will be a decision backup up by Googles internal data. For users who prefer the current setup, there are plenty of third party launchers available.

Notification Drawer

The next big change is to the notification shade. Android Police has seen this first hand and have posted mockups of the layout. It comes across as an improvement over the existing lollipop design both in form and in function. Here is the Android Police Description:

“The first thing you’ll notice is the notifications are full-width, and the separation between items is less distinct. Each item in the list also includes a line with the app that produced the notification. That information is available in the current notification UI, but you have to long-press to see it. Notifications also appear to be able to display some limited color text elements. App icons are smaller and less obvious as well.”

These are just two leaks that have come out. Based on these rumors it will not be surprising to see some larger changes. Android has been losing the higher end of the market to Apple for sometime now and will be looking to polish the OS to regain lost ground.


By Allied Time

Even if you run a small business, you probably have at least an employee or two below you. If you have a medium-sized business or bigger, then, by definition, you definitely do. In any case, it’s probably obvious to you that these people are the most important investment you’ve made in your company. At the same time, they’re also the most expensive. For both of these reasons, it is vital that you’re getting as big a return as possible from them.

AlliedTime2While there are a number of ways you could do this, nothing will compare to using employee time clocks. Doing so is just as effective as it is simple and, best of all, affordable. If you want to spend a bit more, you can go with a fingerprint time clock to ensure the validity of whoever signs in. However, for the most part, you’ll get plenty from using the simplest version possible.

Although some business owners worry that these clocks will cause resentment, this concern just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. You deserve to know if your money is being spent well. Furthermore, the vast majority of employees appreciate this kind of management. It lets them know what’s expected from them and holds their coworkers accountable for their actions.

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At Allied Time, the bottom line is making more of your company’s most valuable asset. With an employee time clock, you can make sure that every dime you spend on your staff is well worth it.