The Week in Mobile: March 4-10, 2018

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First Android P preview is now available, Apple to scrap notches in 2019, Amazon’s Alexa might be possessed and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Android P Developer Preview Now Available

It was not too long ago that Google officially released Android Oreo, but the company is already pushing out the first developer preview its next mobile OS. App makers can now download this new version dubbed Android P (for now, at least) and start digging into all the under-the-hood updates. The most talked about of those upgrades includes built-in support for notches, or those cutouts on the display that Apple uses to house its FaceID Tech, which have started to catch fire with other smartphone makers. With Android P, a new API will identify devices with a notch and then adjust the screen accordingly. Other updates include more changes to notifications, additions to autofill framework, a new multi-camera API and security and performance upgrades. The Android P developer preview is now available for download, but only on Google’s Pixel lineup of smartphones.

Apple to Scrap Notches as Huawei Embraces Them and New Three-Lens AI Camera

While Google is crafting a software solution for devices built with notches, Apple is rumored to be scrapping the design altogether come 2019. According to a new report, the company is working on a display that will “completely fill the front of new iPhones” come next year. There were no details available on how Apple plans to relocate hardware such as the front camera and FaceID from the notch to elsewhere on the phone.

At the same time, leaked photos show Huawei now planning to integrate notches into the design of its flagship smartphone—as well as add a new three-lens rear camera system with artificial intelligence built in. The AI features are currently unknown, but are likely to include a low-light mode, smart face detection and scene recognition. Huawei is expected to reveal the P20 smartphone on March 27 at an event in Paris, France.

Another Company Says It Can Unlock an iPhone X as Stakes for Mobile Security Increase

Two companies now say they know how to break into an iPhone X. Following news last week of an Israeli firm unlocking iPhones using iOS 11.2.6, a small company called Grayshift claims it can now break into Apple’s flagship devices (and the iPhone 8, too). The claims come on the heels of a report that explains smartphones are now a more valuable target for hackers than computers. With so much information about where you go, what you do, who you talk to and what you said—not to mention photos, fingerprints and passwords—security researchers say that malicious attacks are on the rise. According to the report, mobile hacks will soon surpass that of computers.

Dinosaurs Come Roaring Back to LIfe With New Jurassic World Alive Augmented Reality Game

You may soon see gigantic dinosaurs roaming down your street. Canadian gaming company Ludia and Universal Studios have joined forces to develop a new augmented reality game based on the Jurassic World series. With a premise similar to Pokémon GO, the smash hit from Niantic, Jurassic World Alive will see players exploring their environments to discover massive dinosaurs and collect their eggs. Ludia even says you can battle other players using the beasts you capture. But Jurassic World Alive isn’t the only major AR mobile game in development this year. Niantic is working on the highly anticipated Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game, and another AR experience called Ghostbusters World is coming this year as well. Jurassic World Alive is set for launch on iOS and Android this spring.

Unprompted Laughter Leads Users to Believe Alexa Might be Evil

It seems Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa might have a fiendish side. Users have reported that Alexa has recently started eerily laughing at them, completely unprompted. Clips circulating on social media show the (now potentially evil) virtual assistant cackling devilishly to herself. Amazon has responded to the claims by admitting they’re aware of the issue, which they say is caused when Alexa mistakenly hears the command: “Alexa, laugh.” The company says they’re pushing out a fix in the near future that should correct the problem (or maybe that’s what Alexa wants us to think). There is no word on when users can expect Alexa to stop chuckling behind them.

Facebook Messenger Lite Adds Video Calling for Android

Facebook is continuing to make moves to bring more modern features to older devices with slow internet connections. The company has announced that its ‘Messenger Lite’ app will now support video chat on Android devices. Coming in under 10MB (a fifth the size of full Messenger), it’s a great option for anyone looking to save some storage space. However, it’s also an important play for Facebook to deliver desirable features to emerging mobile markets with more rudimentary devices and less powerful internet connections. The feature is now live in more than 100 countries. There is no information on whether the feature will come to iOS.

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