Tim Bradshaw

Thousands of developers are gathering in San Francisco for Google I/O, one of the internet company’s biggest events of the year. Google is expected to reveal the latest updates to its Android smartphone operating system and Chrome web browser platform, as well as its extensions into wearable technology, TV sets, the “internet of things” and perhaps even virtual reality. Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw are at the Moscone Center to bring live news and commentary from the keynote, which starts at 9.30am local time (5.30pm BST, 12.30pm EDT). 


Smart watches, TVs and cars featured prominently on Wednesday as Google laid out its plans for pushing its Android smartphone software into new fields. At its annual I/O developer event in San Francisco, “wearables” had pride of place, with news that the first smartwatches based on Android Wear are now on sale – before Apple unveils its much-anticipated iWatch. With Android TV and Android Auto, on the other hand, Google was playing catch up with Apple. The event pointed to how the battle for the next big tech markets beyond the smartphone will be fought. Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw were at the Moscone Center for this round. 

Robert Cookson

As apps go, Ant Smasher sounds simple enough. The free game, which has been downloaded more than 50m times from the Google Play app store, allows mobile phone users to entertain themselves by squishing digital ants as they scurry down the screen. Splat, splat, splat.

But Ant Smasher has a dark side. It is one of a growing wave of apps that contains “adware” – aggressive advertising technology that displays ads in a phone’s notification bar and other places outside of the app itself, without consent. Read more

Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.

The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.

“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook is an incredible innovator, but one of its greatest strengths is its ability to absorb – the less charitable might say copy – its competitors’ best features. We saw it with Twitter and status updates; with Foursquare and Places; with Pinterest and last autumn’s Collections tool; and most recently Snapchat and the Poke app.

That’s fine when startups are nipping at your heels, but does that work when you’re competing against the tech industry’s biggest platforms?

 Read more

If I didn’t already obsessively look at my phone in search of distraction, while waiting for the train or a friend who’s running late, Facebook has just made it ten times easier to get a quick fix.

With the new Facebook “Home” for Android, photos and status updates from my Facebook newsfeed will be the first thing I see when I pick up my phone. (I’ll have to explain the demotion to my cat, Lucas, whose yellow eyes will no longer stare up at me from the screen on first swipe).

Instead, a rolling stream of photos passes over the screen as they are being uploaded and posted by friends. If I want a closer look, I just tap once. One more tap and I can see who Liked or commented on the photo, or type a comment myself. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The launch of Google+ Sign-In five weeks ago seems likely to lead to a big conversion to mobile apps and favour the Android ecosystem, with Google announcing today that hundreds of websites are now adopting the common authentication method.

Google+ Sign-In saves users having to remember their logins for different services, similar to Facebook Connect, but the VentureBeat Mobile Summit was told it also is serving as a powerful tool to introduce them to app versions of the websites they visit. Read more

Back of Google Nexus 10

Google’s latest addition to its hardware range, the Nexus 10, has landed. This time Google partnered with Samsung to produce an iPad-beating spec sheet and what they tout as the ‘highest resolution display in the world’. Priced at £319 in the UK and $399 in the US, could the Nexus 10 tempt Android holdouts? Read more

Chris Nuttall

At a time when the future of game consoles has never looked less rosy, along comes Ouya, another box for under the TV set with the backing of none of the major publishers.

Unpromising? Certainly. But the price ($99), the design (Yves Behar coolness) and the concept (an open platform for every type of free-to-play game out there) could give the startup a fighting chance of success with consumers. Read more

Chris Nuttall

With the $199 Nexus 7, reviewed in this week’s Personal Technology column, Google risks undercutting and antagonising tablet manufacturers that have backed its Android operating system.

Alongside the Nexus, I have been testing two such tablets just launched by Toshiba that come in at more than double its price. An assessment of whether their extra features are worth the premium is after the jump. Read more

by Dan Thomas, Telecoms Correspondent

Google is taking Chrome mobile for the first time with the introduction of its web browser across the Android phone platform.

The company promises to make surfing the web a seamless experience from desktop to phone by allowing users to sync opened web pages, bookmarks and preferences across devices. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

In a number of security issues exposed in the last 24 hours, Chinese hackers claim to have infiltrated the secure smart card system used by US Government employees, according to a report by AlienVaultRead more

Tech news from around the web:

Facebook’s Android mobile app has overtaken the daily active user count of its iPhone app, TechCrunch reports. The Android app is now registering  58.3m daily active users compared to the iPhone app’s 57.4m. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Microsoft has revealed details of its Windows Store for Windows 8, The Verge reports. The store is to be released in late February and developers can submit apps starting at $1.49. The company also revealed a revenue share that differs from rival marketplaces. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Malware targeted towards phones running on the Android operating system continues to be on the rise, TechCrunch reports. According to McAfee’s security report for the third quarter, the amount of malware targeted at Android devices jumped nearly 37 per cent since last quarter. This follows a 76 percent rise in Android malware in the second quarter. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Staggering fact of the week for me was the news at the Google music launch that the number of Android devices has doubled in the past six months – from 100m activated to 200m.

Add another one to that total. I have just registered the latest and greatest Android smartphone – the Samsung Galaxy Nexus – the first to feature the new Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 version of Android. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

France Telecom and Publicis are to set up a joint venture-capital fund focused on European technology start-ups, according to Bloomberg. The size of the fund may be greater than €100m ($139m), people close to the plan told Bloomberg.

Apple has had its patent for the “slide to unlock” control used on its devices confirmed, ZDNet reports. This puts every Android phone and tablet that uses the same process to unlock their screens in the line of fire from Apple’s patent lawyers, ZDNet warns. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Downloads of Android’s apps overtook those of Apple’s iOS apps in the second quarter of 2001, Business Insider reports. According to figures from ABI Research, the market shares of Android and iOS were 44% and 31% respectively. However, Apple still gets more downloads per user than Android. Read more

As I stood 71st in the queue at 7am at the local Apple Store last Friday, there was a collective feeling of “It’s time” among the gathering crowd as we waited in line to receive the sacrament of an iPhone 4S. Everyone had a story. There were lots of first-timers like me no longer able to resist the allure, but hardly any iPhone 4 owners – the new device looked just the same as its predecessor. Instead, there were many who had bought the original 2007 iPhone or its 3G successor. They were still cosseting them in ancient protective sleeves. It was definitely time for these Apple devotees.

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Samsung and Google have unveiled their response to Apple’s iPhone 4S and its latest operating system in the shape of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, using the new 4.0 version of Google’s Android software.

The handset, unveiled on Wednesday in Hong Kong, features 4G speeds, an improved camera and the biggest screen to be offered by Samsung on a phone, at 4.65 inches. It will be on sale in November.

 Read more