Matt Hamblen

About the Author Matt Hamblen


Most Android devices lack latest security patches

Nearly three-quarters of Android devices on the five biggest U.S. carriers are running on security patches that are at least two months old, putting them at greater risk of being hacked.

That finding was made in an analysis released Thursday by Skycure, a mobile threat defense vendor. 

The report also found that the city of Boston has had the biggest recent increase in smartphone and other wireless device threats — including malicious attacks — among 11 major U.S. cities. Incidents in Boston climbed by 960% in the fourth quarter of 2016. The analysis is based on millions of readings from network sensors that Skycure monitors globally.

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Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8

Samsung revealed Monday that Bixby, an intelligent voice assistant, will run on the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone slated to be announced March 29 in New York.

Bixby will be activated using a special physical button on the side of the phone, differentiating it from some other assistants that rely on a trigger word, like “Alexa” or “Siri.” Samsung also said Bixby will eventually work on millions of Samsung-made devices, potentially including TVs and washing machines.

The S8 will come with a subset of preinstalled apps that are Bixby-enabled, according to Injong Rhee, executive vice president of software and services for Samsung Electronics. Over time, this set of apps will expand; Samsung will release a software toolkit to allow third-party developers to Bixby enable their apps and services.

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Classic smartphone brands get a spring in their step at MWC (+video)

BARCELONA — Venerable smartphone brands Motorola, Nokia and BlackBerry got new life at Mobile World Congress 2017, but that was primarily due to the influence of Chinese and Finnish manufacturers that have licensed the names.

One new Android smartphone, the BlackBerry KEYone, was launched by TCL Communication, based in Huizhou, China. The phone has both a touchscreen and a physical keyboard, with 52 keys that can be used as shortcuts to find apps and functions. It goes on sale in April for $549.

HMD Global of Espoo, Finland, launched three budget Android phones under the Nokia brand — the Nokia 3, 5 and 6, starting at $147 with screens ranging from 5 inches to 5.5 inches in size. A 2000 classic handset was revised — the Nokia 3310 — but with a slimmer size and a color screen.

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Mobile World Congress 2017 offered a touch of tech optimism

This year’s Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona offered all the delights I’ve come to expect — the gracious hosts, waiters, cops, beautiful venues and a great subway system.

But something about the MWC exhibits and the international workers manning those booths this year was a little different, almost odd, when compared with my previous six visits. That oddness probably had a good bit to do with international politics and the young presidency of Donald Trump, which will inevitably affect the tech and wireless industries, if not every other business sector and worker.

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