The month of June was quite busy in the mobile technology world. Apple hosted its annual WWDC conference and made a few interesting announcements. One of the players in the computer and mobile world has made its first step into mobile gaming. Meanwhile, Google is trying to provide Android phone users with verified app installer files by introducing a new verification layer for APK submitting.
Not to be put in the shade by its top contender, Samsung came up with plans of its own, which, should they come to fruition, may change the look of mobile phones forever. As you can see, there were plenty of interesting and potentially industry changing events in June. Let’s look at them one by one.
Apple’s WWDC 2018 Event Unveils New Operating Systems for the Company’s Devices
The 4th of June was the start of Apple’s annual WWDC conference, hosted in San Jose, California. The company used this opportunity to unveil its upcoming operating system updates for its entire range of devices: mobile phones, wearables, and computers.
The most significant changes and improvements will be made for iOS 12—the operating system used by iPhones. A welcome and critical change brought forth by the new OS version is improved localization services during 911 calls. Once this update is rolled out, when someone calls 911 from an iPhone, the emergency services will automatically receive location data.
This will be possible thanks to an IP-based data pipeline, created by one of Apple’s partners, RapidSOS. Both Apple and RapidSOS recognized the need for an improved communication system for fast emergency response than the existing one. The CEO of RapidSOS, Michael Martin, explained for TechNewsWorld magazine: "Since the system was built for voice-only, what you have today is 240 million 911 calls a year with no data, often without the caller's name and a broad estimate of location... We and Apple felt like we didn't need to wait. This was something we could solve today and immediately start saving lives."
Another update for iOS 12 will be the ability to use FaceTime messaging with up to 32 contacts at the same time, creating an AR emoji of yourself and getting insights of mobile phone usage with the new Screen Time feature.
Samsung Files Patent for New Smartphone Design with No Bezels and Notches
In the middle of June, Samsung filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which consists of drawings for a new smartphone concept. The design shows a full screen mobile phone, without bezels or notches, and without the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The new Galaxy phone design might also incorporate a fingerprint scanner under the screen. This feature could be present in the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 9 model, which is expected to be officially launched in August.
So far, Samsung has made no comments and given no details concerning its latest patent filing. However, it seems like this design is in line with the general trend in mobile phone design, which attempts to simplify the look and maximize the usable surface of the screen to its very edges.
Asus Launches ROG Phone, its First Gaming Smartphone
Asus may not be among the very top players in the mobile technology world, but it is certainly in the top echelon. So far, the company has launched a series of capable mid-range phones. But now it wants to stand out with a special device: a powerful gaming smartphone.
ROG Phone has a 6-inch AMOLED screen with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and 2160 x 1080 pixels resolution. It has a 90 Hz refresh rate with the promised response time of 1 ms pixel and supports 108.6% of the cinema-grade DCI-P3 color space.
The gaming phone is powered by a special version 2.96 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chips, which is equipped with an Adreno 630 GPU and 8 GB of RAM. The more than generous storage space is 512 GB UFS.2.1 type. The heat generated by the modified chip is dispersed by a proprietary device developed by Asus, the GameCool system, which includes a copper heat spreader, 3D vapor chamber and an Aero Active cooler (an optional feature) which blows air over the back of the phone.
ROG Phone will be available for purchase in Q3 of 2018; however the price of the device has not been disclosed yet.
Google Adds DRM Metadata to App Installer Files in an Attempt to Reduce Malware
Google is rolling out a new security layer for Android app installer files (APKs). This consists in metadata added to each APK which verifies that the app was downloaded from an approved source.
After the app is verified, it is added to the user’s app library and will be able to receive updates in the future from Google Play store. Also, the validated app will be added to the Family Library, allowing the user’s family to access and install it on their Android phones.
According to Google, the new DRM layer will make it almost impossible for cyber criminals to tamper with an APK and release it with malicious code embedded in it. However, this move raises a question concerning the users’ freedom to install apps on their mobile phone. If an upcoming Android update allows phones to run only apps with the DRM security layer, users will be limited in their freedom to get APK files from other sources than Google Play store and use them, albeit with the risk of infecting their device with malware. So far, Google has not made any comment on this potential ethical problem.