Google’s Android Has a Secret ‘Panic Mode’ Function

In a bid to tackle the growing threat from spyware and malware masquerading as apps, Google has apparently installed a panic mode function for its Android platform.

The aim is to kill the user’s device when activated.

The panic mode will detect when the user has an issue and return them to the home screen immediately.

It will do this when it detects the user is rapidly pressing the back button in an effort to exit a rogue app.

While it’s not public knowledge yet, one security expert says that Android’s operating system source code does contain the panic mode.

Users interested in the function will need to ensure their phone is updated to Android 7.1 Nougat.

App will help tackle university binge drinking

An app aimed at ending University binge drinking has been unveiled.

The app is now undergoing a $300,000 trial to help reduce the levels of student binge drinking in the US.

Users will be sent a survey at 6pm and depending on the answers, they will then receive regular text messages to remind them of their obligations the following day in a bid to act as a deterrent.

Researchers say the VicHealth app works almost like ‘a cyber parent’.

‘Uber for escorts’ app ruffles feathers

An app that has been described as the ‘Uber for escorts’ has ruffled feathers after launching in Scotland.

Rendevu has been popular after launching elsewhere in the UK and with more than 2,000 downloads after its launch in Scotland a month ago, critics are lining up saying the app exploits women.

The app enables clients to arrange hook-ups with the click of a button though the entrepreneurs behind the app say it’s creating a safe space for those in the sex industry.

The on-demand app allows masseurs and escorts to publish prices, availability and their location when requested.

Popularity of Personal Assistant apps declines

The take-up of mobile phone personal assistant apps has declined as growing numbers of people switch to devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Verto Analytics says that 71 million smartphone owners in the US used a personal assistant app in May but that’s a big fall from the 88 million users who did so in November last year.

Apple Siri’s is still the most popular assistant app but its annual usage has dropped by 15% and the number of daily users is also falling.

In contrast, Amazons Alexa has seen a 325% increase over the year in unique users and the number of daily users has doubled.

In other mobile phone app news …

A mobile phone app designed to help the prevention of pregnancy has been approved by the European Union. The app, Natural Cycles, was launched in Sweden in 2014 and while there are many other similar apps available, it’s the first in the world to be approved by a European health agency for use as a contraceptive.

Researchers in Australia have revealed that, on average, Australians will use 36 mobile phone apps every month. Aussies also have more apps on their phones than Europeans and Americans with most users prioritising utility apps followed by social networking apps.

Cardless ATMs have taken off in America after Wells Fargo installed 13,000 of them in various locations. The users have an app that receives a code from their bank which they then enter into the ATM to access funds. Cardless ATMs look like taking off since consumers can use digital wallets but will need to greater take greater care of their personal information, say the banks introducing them.

Durham county council is the latest authority to use ‘The Noise App’ which enables people to record and report any noise disturbance to the authority from their mobile phone.

Search and Mobile enthusiast, like to tinker in apps, machine learning, big data and currently Python.