‘Faster, Fresher’ Phone Apps With Flutter

Google has released a beta of the tool designed to make programmers’ lives easier when writing apps for iPhones, Android and the tech giant’s new Fuchsia OS.

The firm says its tool will help programmers to easily bridge the divide for iPhones and Android smartphones.

Flutter will now give apps a native look for either of the two platforms, the firm announced this week.

The beta will receive new updates every few weeks so those who contribute to the open source project can complete the final version which has no scheduled release date yet.

Google points out that Flutter could lead to a raft of fresh looking apps as most apps currently use native components including text boxes and buttons styled by the developer to match the core software offering from Google or Apple.

However, the interface widgets on Flutter will enable styling to go in different directions.

Apps continue to dominate ecommerce

A report has revealed that apps for North American retailers have dominated ecommerce transactions in the final quarter of 2017.

The findings from Criteo reveal that 44% of all ecommerce transaction were by retailers’ apps. The mobile web accounted for 23% and desktop users accounted for 33%.

Apps could now, say the firm’s researchers, lead the way for a boom in mobile sales as these have a better conversion rate than the mobile web and desktop.

Malware with potential for blackmail

Malware researchers say that RedDrop has the potential to blackmail smartphone users and also run up big bills on Android phones. The malware can also listen to user’s conversations.

The researchers at Wandera say that once the malware is installed it can collect huge amounts of personal data including files, contacts, photos and live recordings.

The malware also submits expensive text messages to premium services without the victim knowing.

The firm says that there are more than 53 innocent looking apps that are acting as a front-end for the malware and it is one of the most sophisticated yet aimed Android they have ever seen.

Malware thrives as hackers focus on mobile

The use of malicious apps by cyber-criminals has rocketed with growing use of banking apps and other mobile phone apps.

This is despite Google and Apple introducing security patches that have reduced firmware flaws.

Trend Micro say that after hackers successfully targeted enterprise IT systems and also personal desktop last year, they have now modified their malware for infecting modern smartphones.

In their report the firm states that the number of ransomware attacks on mobile phones rocketed from 120,000 in 2016 to nearly 469,000 last year.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Smartphone users at the Fat Boar pub in Wrexham could earn 25% off their bills by leaving their phone at the door and not using apps while dining so they engage in conversation. More than 92,000 viewers have watched a video that explains the challenge.

The Land Rover Explore is a new Android smartphone that will survive underwater, including salt water, endure vibration and deal with extreme temperatures. It has been developed by the carmaker and Bullitt.

Google Launches Duo ‘Game-Changing’ App

Google has launched its Duo app and some industry watchers are predicting it could be a WhatsApp killer.

The app will enable one-to-one video calls between smartphone users and the calls will be encrypted.

From later this year, users will also be able to use voice calling as well.

Duo has been developed for the Android and iOS platforms which means it can be used by those who use Facetime and Skype.

The app has a feature which enables the person being called to see live video of who is calling before they answer the call.

The app has been designed to be easy-to-use and is available now.

It was unveiled at a Google conference last year and can be used by those who download the app around the world.

It might be time to ditch smartphones, say experts

Security experts say there has been a huge increase for smartphone users suffering with mobile malware infections which are causing greater levels of damage.

A security report from Nokia reveals that there are more security threats than ever before with cyber criminals now targeting mobile devices rather than PCs.

In their latest study, the firm says the number of mobile malware attacks rose by 400% last year compared to previous years.

And, worryingly, 85% of all infections were aimed at mobile devices.

The criminals are mainly targeting Android, they account rate 81% of attacks, but the number of attacks on Apple’s IOS platform are also on the rise.

Indeed, iPhones are being targeted with surveillance software that will track their calls, social media apps, text messages and GPS locations.

The report also highlights that the number of attacks aimed at Windows PC systems has seen a fall in numbers.

Smartphones won’t be able to access Facebook app

The Facebook app is about to stop working for those with older smartphones.

From the end of March, support for the Facebook Messenger app will also come to an end on the devices.

The social media outfit says it’s ending support for those devices running older versions of its apps including v10 of Messenger and v55 of Facebook.

That’s for apps running on Android and Facebook has also announced that the Facebook app for most Windows phones (mainly those with Windows 8 and 8.1) is also coming to an end.

It is possible to migrate to a latest version should smartphone users find the Facebook apps no longer work.

However, should the apps still not work, Facebook says users should access their service through a mobile phone browser.

Health apps ‘might be lying’

New York’s Attorney General has revealed that three health apps for mobile devices have reached a deal over allegations that they deceive consumers.

Two of the apps concerned, Runtastic and Cardio, claimed to measure the user’s heart beat accurately while My Baby’s Beat claimed it could turn a smartphone into a baby heart monitor.

Altogether, the phone apps have been downloaded by users more than one million times.

However, all three apps have been found not to have carried out sufficient testing that would prove their claims.

Now the developers have agreed to undertake more testing, change their ads and pay $30,000 in fines.

The apps will also alter their privacy policies and deliver more protection to consumers and reveal whether they collect and share any information that could identify the user.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

A major update for the eBay app on iOS and Android platforms has now been rolled out. For avid users of the website there are lots of new features though some depend on the mobile device being used.

Smartphone users in the US can use Walmart’s on demand video streaming service to turn their DVD discs into digital titles by using a mobile app. The Vudu function is in place now and costs $2 for converting a DVD and $5 for Blu-ray.

Scammers are moving from the internet and using mobile apps for selling cars to fleece money out of unsuspecting car buyers, particularly in the US. Apparently, the crooks are increasingly moving from Craigslist to apps such as LetGo and Facebook’s Marketplace.

There’s a new NSPCC Childline app available to help children looking for support and counselling. Developed by four teens, ‘For Me’ will deliver support and advice in confidence.