Partnering with the mobile industry to connect people and businesses with RCS


In the coming months alongside our partners, we’ll bring RCS messaging to businesses in more regions. And next week at Mobile World Congress, our partners will demonstrate how businesses can change the way they engage mobile customers using RCS.

RCS messaging growth in 2017 across Europe and Latin America

To help make RCS truly universal and give Android users a consistent and familiar experience with access to all that RCS messaging offers, we’ve been working closely with carriers and device makers around the world.

Over the past year, carriers across Europe, North America and Latin America including America Movil, AT&T in Mexico, Celcom Axiata Berhad, Freedom Mobile, Oi, Telia Company and Telefonica joined Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, Orange, Rogers Communications, Sprint and Telenor Group in their commitment to launch RCS messaging, powered by the Jibe RCS cloud from Google.They will also preload Android Messages as the default messaging app for their subscribers. Vodafone Group RCS service also supports Android Messages and has already launched across 10 of its 14 RCS markets globally. All carriers are committed to interconnecting through the Jibe RCS Hub to bring RCS messaging to users across networks. Collectively, they represent more than 1.8 billion mobile subscribers worldwide.

To bring better default messaging to hundreds of millions of users, device manufacturers including TCL/Alcatel/Blackberry, Transsion, BLU, Positivo, Multilaser, Mobiwire, Azumi, and Essential are joining Huawei, LG, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, HMD Global – Home of Nokia Phones, HTC, Kyocera, Lanix, Lava, Micromax, Motorola, MyPhone, QMobile, Sony Mobile, Symphony, Vodafone, Wiko, ZTE, along with Pixel and Android One devices in preloading Android Messages as the the default messaging app on their new devices.

We’re excited to see Android Messages and RCS connect more people and businesses, and look forward to expanding our collaboration with the industry to bring better messaging to every Android user.



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The best of Android and Google with Android Oreo (Go edition) and Android One


Monday kicks off Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—the mobile industry’s largest trade show. Our partners will be announcing amazing new Android devices, you’ll be able to see the growing industry momentum around RCS, and we’ll be showcasing the latest from Google including Google Assistant and Lens. Before the show gets underway, I want to take a moment to reflect on where Android is today and where it’s going.

Android

This fall marks 10 years since the release of the first Android device. Back in 2008, building software for mobile devices was pretty hard. Development was highly fragmented and resource intensive, and there was very limited compatibility across phones. Android began with a bold idea: to solve this problem with a new, open platform that would give mobile developers access to uniform tools and give customers a customized experience with the best mobile technology available.

Today, Android powers more than 2 billion active devices from 1,300 brands across 24,000 unique products. The platform has thrived because of our commitment to openness and the vibrant ecosystem of manufacturers, developers, mobile operators and component suppliers. And together with our partners, many of which you’ll see next week at MWC, we want to continue to push the boundaries of hardware and software to bring you new amazing experiences and capabilities.

Android has achieved unprecedented scale in just 10 years, but there are new markets emerging where consistency in experience is becoming even more important. With that in mind, we want to share an update on Android Oreo (Go edition) and Android One, two programs that help people know exactly what they can expect when they pick up an Android device.

Android Oreo (Go edition): Delivering on our core values of access and experience

We’re inspired by the success of Android across a wide range of devices, including entry-level phones which in many cases are the first and only way people get access to the internet. These devices need to be affordable, and the experience needs to be great. We don’t just want to provide people with access—we also want to provide a useful, high-quality experience.

Last year we introduced Android Oreo (Go edition), an optimized version of Android Oreo tailored for smartphones with 1GB of RAM or less. With a smaller amount of storage and processing power, these phones are less expensive for manufacturers to produce and can be sold at affordable prices, in some cases less than $50. With Android Oreo (Go edition), these phones are able to provide a high-quality experience, with the latest version of Android, Google Play Protect, and dedicated areas in Google Play highlighting apps optimized for Go edition. Android Oreo (Go edition) phones also include a set of apps from Google that are designed to use less memory and storage space, but still offer excellent experiences. For example, Google Go is built specifically to help new smartphone users find the information they want, YouTube Go is optimized for limited connectivity, and the Google Assistant for Android (Go edition) lets people quickly send messages, make calls, set alarms, and more with their voice and a single touch of the screen.

Starting next week, you’ll see the first set of Android Oreo (Go edition) phones, and soon after they’ll be available for you to purchase.



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Say hello to a better way to pay, by Google


Fast, simple checkout. Easy access to rewards and offers. One spot for purchases, passes, and payment methods. All of these are ways we’ve been working to make paying safer and easier for everyone, everywhere. And you can make the most of these features with the new Google Pay app for Android.

The app, which begins rolling out today, is just one part of everything we’ve got planned. We’re currently working on bringing Google Pay to all Google products, so whether you’re shopping on Chrome or with your Assistant, you’ll have a consistent checkout experience using the cards saved to your Google Account. We’re also working with partners online and in stores, so you’ll see Google Pay on sites, in apps, and at your favorite places around the world.

As we continue to expand to even more devices and services, the new app offers an exciting glimpse of what’s to come. Here’s a closer look.

Helpful info while you shop

Google Pay’s new Home tab gives you the info you need, right when you need it. See your recent purchases, find nearby stores, enjoy easy access to rewards, and get helpful tips.



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Android Wear now works with iPhones


Editor’s note: As of September 2, you can check out new watches from Huawei, ASUS, and Motorola that all work with iPhones.

When you wear something every day, you want to be sure it really works for you. That’s why Android Wear offers countless design choices, so you can find the watch that fits your style. Want a round watch with a more classic look? Feel like a new watch band? How about changing things up every day with watch faces from artists and designers? With Android Wear you can do all of that. And now, Android Wear watches work with iPhones.

Android Wear for iOS is rolling out today. Just pair your iPhone (iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2+) with an Android Wear watch to bring simple and helpful information right to your wrist:

  • Get your info at a glance: Check important info like phone calls, messages, and notifications from your favorite apps. Android Wear features always-on displays, so you’ll never have to move your wrist to wake up your watch.
  • Follow your fitness: Set fitness goals, and get daily and weekly views of your progress. Your watch automatically tracks walking and running, and even measures your heart rate.
  • Save time with smart help: Receive timely tips like when to leave for appointments, current traffic info, and flight status. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions like “Is it going to rain in London tomorrow?” or create to-dos with “Remind me to pack an umbrella.”



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Fast and smooth video on Android


With Chrome 52, video playback on Android now feels smoother, loads faster, and consumes less battery.

Web video is huge, with over a billion hours played in Chrome every week on sites like Amazon, Facebook, The New York Times, Netflix and YouTube. Much of that is on mobile devices, and we want to make your viewing experience great.

With the release of Chrome 52 on Android, video playback has been improved for speed and power efficiency. This means you will see smoother playback and faster load times. Videos will now start playing sooner, instead of pausing briefly before loading, and your battery will last longer.



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How we stop fraudulent apps from holding you ransom


Ransomware protections in Android Nougat

With the release of Android 7.0 Nougat, we added to existing defenses against ransomware, and also made some changes to address some of the newer tactics of ransomware scams. Here are a few examples:

  • Safety blinders: Apps can no longer see which other apps are active. That means scammy ones can’t see what other apps are doing—and can’t inform their attacks based on activity.
  • Even stronger locks: If you set a lockscreen PIN prior to installing ransomware, ransomware can’t misuse your device’s permissions to change your PIN and lock you out.
  • Whacking clickjacking: “Clickjacking” tricks people into clicking something, often by obscuring permission dialogs behind other windows. You’re now protected from ransomware attacks that use this tactic to sneakily gain control of a device.

Protecting your data and device from ransomware

Even with all the safeguards we’ve built into Android and Google Play to protect you from ransomware, there are still a few things that you can do to keep your device safe.

  1. Only download apps from a trustworthy source, such as Google Play.
  2. Ensure Verify Apps is enabled.
  3. Install security updates and always ensure your device is updated to the latest version to get the best security protection.
  4. Back up your device.
  5. Be cautious. Take a moment to read reviews and other information about apps before installing, to make sure you download the app you’re looking for.

If you accidentally install ransomware on your phone, you have a few options. First, you can try to boot into safe mode. Starting your device in safe mode means your device only has the original software and apps that came with it. If an app is misbehaving but the issues go away in safe mode, the problem is probably caused by a third-party app downloaded on your device. If you can boot into safe mode, try to uninstall the app and then reboot the device. On a Pixel, you can get into safe mode with a keyboard combination that PHAs can’t touch.

If safe mode doesn’t work, then you might have to reset your phone to factory settings. Many devices running Android allow you to remove dangerous apps by resetting it to factory settings (also referred to as formatting the device, or doing a “hard reset”). This should be your last resort, but if you’ve backed up your files, resetting your device should be easy. Check with your carrier or device manufacturer for instructions on how to reset your phone.

Ransomware on Android is exceedingly rare. Still, we’ve implemented lots of new protections in Nougat, and we continue to improve on the defenses that have long been in place. Those protections, along with extra vigilance about how you download your apps, will help keep you and your device secure.



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Huawei to integrate Android Messages across their Android smartphone portfolio


Over the coming months, Huawei will make it even easier for hundreds of millions of people to express themselves via mobile messaging by integrating Android Messages, powered by RCS, across their Android smartphone portfolio.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, Huawei devices will now offer a richer native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over Wi-Fi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on Huawei’s devices through RCS business messaging. And Huawei users will be able to make video calls directly from Android Messages through carrier ViLTE and Google Duo.

In addition, to help carriers accelerate deployment of RCS messaging across their networks, we’re collaborating with Huawei to offer the Jibe RCS cloud and hub solution to current and prospective carrier partners, as part of an integrated solution with Huawei’s current infrastructure. This will enable a faster process for RCS services so more subscribers can get access to RCS messaging.

Huawei will begin integrating Android Messages across their portfolio in the coming months. For more information, see the following release.



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New devices and more: what's in store for the Google Assistant this year


Last year we brought the Assistant to Android TV devices including NVIDIA’s SHIELD TV and Sony’s Android TVs, so you can find the latest blockbuster, stock up on snacks with Google Express and set the perfect movie watching mood lighting. We will continue to roll out the Assistant to existing Android TVs such as AirTV Player, Bouygues Telecom, Free, LG U+, TCL, Skyworth and Xiaomi. And, this week, Changhong, Element, Funai, Haier, Hisense and Westinghouse are announcing new Android TVs with the Google Assistant. Plus, we’ve worked closely with LG to integrate the Assistant into the new line of LG TVs in the coming months.

And, across all your devices, the Google Assistant is making your home even smarter. The Assistant now works with over 225 home control brands and more than 1,500 devices, including a bunch of new ones from Abode, Crestron, Gourmia, Insteon, Kohler and Yonomi. With these integrations, millions of new smart home devices are being connected to the Assistant every month, so you can stay in control, whether you want to heat up the house, check on the laundry or make sure you locked the back door.

On your phone and headphones

The Google Assistant is available on your Android phone, iPhone, and headphones, helping you when you’re on the go. And this week we’re announcing that over the coming year, more headphones are on the way from Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony. These headphones are optimized for the Google Assistant; once you pair them to your phone, you can talk to the Assistant instantly with just the touch of an earbud, whether you want to skip a track to hear the next song, get notifications, or hear and respond to your messages.

In your car

The Assistant can also help you in the car, so that you can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Starting this week in the U.S., the Assistant is coming to Android Auto.

Android Auto is available in tens of millions of cars on more than 400 models from 40+ brands, including Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo. With the Assistant in Android Auto, you can listen to your playlists from apps like Spotify or Google Play Music, get quick directions from Google Maps or Waze, and send or receive messages from services like WhatsApp. And soon, you’ll be able to reserve a parking space with SpotHero or order your favorite handcrafted drink or food from Starbucks—all from the road.



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Introducing Android Oreo (Go edition) with the release of Android 8.1


Go with Google

We’ve redesigned many of our popular Google apps to address local needs. Preinstalled on Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, this set of optimized apps includes Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Google Play, Chrome, and the new Files Go app by Google.

With our new and reimagined Google apps, we’ve focused on making them not only smaller, but smooth and fast too. For example, Google Go—a new app to find the information you want—optimizes data by up to 40 percent, weighs less than 5MB in size, and makes it faster to find popular and trending information with a simple, tappable interface. And with the Google Assistant for Android (Go edition), you can quickly send messages, make calls, set alarms, and more with your voice and a single touch of the screen.

Our storage-saving features extend beyond the OS to a new file-management app by Google—Files Go—which helps you clean up space and stay organized. Whether it’s recommendations for removing spam, duplicate images or unused apps from your phone, Files Go is the perfect complement to the storage-maximizing features of Android Oreo (Go edition).



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Android Pay goes local in Ukraine, Czech Republic, Brazil and Slovakia


Whenever we launch Android Pay in a new market, we think about how to enable faster, easier checkout while taking into account the distinct payment habits of each place. Working with partners is a key part of creating a local experience.

A few weeks ago, we launched Android Pay in Ukraine. Today, it’s available in Czech Republic and Brazil, and soon it’ll be live in Slovakia, too. Here’s a look at how two different approaches simplify checkout in two unique parts of the world.

Leave your wallet at home in Central and Eastern Europe

Paying contactless isn’t new in Central and Eastern Europe–in fact, in many places it’s the norm. With Android Pay, we wanted to make it easier for locals to leave their wallets at home at places they know and love. Starting today in Czech Republic, you can pick up a loaf of traditional Šumava bread at your favorite bakery or an ice-cold Kofola at Albert using nothing but your phone.



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