Samsung’s getting serious about security updates for its Android phones

Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends
Android security has been an issue for several years, and Samsung wants to help its users understand if their phones are running the most recent software update, with the strongest security onboard. It has therefore added a new feature called the Android Security Patch Level to selected phones.

Samsung has added the new feature in the latest updates to the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. These phones now have some extra information in the About Phone section of Settings. The Android Security Patch Level heading, first spotted by Android Central, shows the most recent update applied on the device by month, date, and year.

What is even more significant is the fact that Google implemented this same strategy on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but these Samsung devices are still on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Samsung is actually implementing Marshmallow features in Lollipop for the sake of security, and that’s an awesome thing.

It follows this summer’s panic attack known as Stagefright, when Google vowed to make monthly security patches to thwart future vulnerabilities, That was a grand gesture, but unfortunately Google can’t control the billion plus Android devices that are out in the wild, only a handful of Nexus and Android One devices. It’s such a problem that we commented that Android will never be safe until something is done.

Manufacturers are starting to take notice, with many committing to pushing Google’s monthly security updates to their phones. These companies will probably be waiting to implement the Android Security Patch Level feature in the Marshmallow update, so until then it won’t be easy finding out what security updates, if any, your device has received.

You have to give kudos to Samsung on this one. The company has been beaten up badly over the years for its TouchWiz interface and even security concerns related to only its phones, but this is a step in the right direction, and positive news for the future.

Emerging Tech

Pairs of supermassive black holes spotted in colliding galaxies

Astronomers have discovered several pairs of supermassive black holes in galaxies that are colliding with each other. These black holes will spiral closer and closer together and eventually merge into one supermassive black hole.
Mobile

Samsung will reportedly announce its folding smartphone at MWC in February

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

Upcoming Galaxy S10 may support 8K video and have Neural Processing Unit

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and Huawei face off in an Android battle royale

The good news is that there are some great options in the Android smartphone market right now. The bad news is that too much choice makes it tough to decide. We compare the Pixel 3 XL, the Galaxy Note 9, the OnePlus 6T, and the Mate 20 Pro.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Cars

Lime’s first carsharing service motors into Seattle this week

Lime may be better known for its app-based bike and scooter rental services, but in Seattle, Washington this week it's launching its very first carsharing service, similar to Car2go and Zipcar.
Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Photography

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Mobile

Best Google Pixel 3 XL screen protectors

It's tough to find good screen protectors, but the 6.3-inch OLED screen in the Google Pixel 3 XL definitely demands to be protected from scratches and impact damage. We've picked out the best options and included insight into the downsides.
Mobile

Pocket Casts adds more cross-sync, curation, and Siri Shortcuts

Pocket Casts is a pocket staple for many podcast fanatics. But it's about to get even better with the introduction Pocket Casts 7.0 that adds intelligent curation, Siri Shortcuts support, and a streamlined UI.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…