SMARTPHONE SECURITY MEASURES have grown increasingly sophisticated in recent years, evolving from passcodes to thumbprints to face recognition and advanced encryption. A new report from the Washington, DC-based research nonprofit Upturn uncovers how police have maintained access to suspects’ phones even as these defenses grow more complex: by contracting with digital forensic firms that specialize in bypassing locks and accessing and copying encrypted data.
Fingerprint readers, like the TouchID on an iPhone, exist to make your device extra secure while keeping the process of unlocking it easy. Computer scientists at New York University and Michigan State are poised to turn that security benefit on its head. Like a master key that can open any lock, these researchers developed digital “master prints” that could emulate a variety of partial fingerprints enough to hypothetically hack into a device.
For babies, the sound of their mother’s voice isn’t just comforting — it can be the key to healthy brain development. That’s not easy to manage forpremature babies stuck in incubators, though, and Samsung thinks smartphones might help out. Its Voice of Life app lets a mom record her heartbeat and voice on her phone, and “wombifies” that audio (that is, remove the high frequencies) for playback on a speaker at the baby’s side. It not only provides a reassuring sound in the middle of a neonatal care unit, but helps parents connect to a child that they may rarely see in those crucial first weeks or months after birth.
For many criminals, prepaid “burner” phones are a dream tool: they’re cheap, commitment-free… and most importantly, don’t require ID that could reveal the buyer. House Representative Jackie Speier wants to put an end to that anonymity. She just introduced a bill, HR4886, that would require prepaid phone sellers to verify ID through common sources like credit cards, drivers’ licenses or Social Security numbers. In theory, this prevents drug dealers, terrorists and other crooks from evading law enforcement by using untraceable phones that they can toss at a moment’s notice.
As you’re likely all too aware, smartphone screens chew up a lot of power — that’s why turning down your brightness frequently does more to save energy than closing an app. IfBodle Technologies has its way, though, your display will be a virtual non-issue. It’s developing a phase change material that uses virtually no power, but is still sharp, vivid and visible in bright sunlight. While lot about the technology remains a secret, it revolves around sending electrical pulses to flexible, transparent layers.
Still wondering what Samsung is going to unveil at its August 13th event? Well-known tipster Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) might have just removed what few doubts are left. He not onlyposted official-looking snapshots of both the Galaxy Note 5 and its curvier S6 Edge+sibling, but revealed purported specs for the Note 5.
Think that iOS’ music player is overdue for a remake? You’re going to get your wish. Apple has released the first iOS 8.4 beta to developers, and its centerpiece is a shiny, new Music app.