Features of Android Nougat

Test driving the latest from the Android stable – Android Nougat

To say that Android has been a smashing success is an understatement. Emerging as the winner among stiff competition, from the likes of Symbian Anna, Windows OS, and Blackberry, Android has been giving iOS a run for its money since it first launched in Sep 2008. So much so that, as of Nov 2016, Android has hit a market share record, with 9 in every 10 smartphones using it. Android’s dream run is supported by cheap smartphones and wide developers’ base that populate Google’s Play Store with multiple apps.  And 2017 is expected to further raise the market share, with Android Nougat being rolled out to select devices.

Android Nougat Highlights

Android Nougat comes packed with exciting new features. And we at AgilizTech, decided to take it for a little test-drive after its April debut on Samsung S7 device.

Split-screen mode

The split-screen mode is a great option for the multi-taskers, as it allows you to open two apps side-by-side. How far it helps to boost productivity is yet to be discovered, but it sure is better than continuously toggling two app windows.

Android Nougat - Split screen

App quick switch

This is another cool feature from Nougat, where you can quickly switch between more than two apps by double tapping the Recents key. This is even more helpful as certain apps do not support the Split-screen feature.

Android Nougat - Quick App Switch

Notification redesign

Now alerts and notifications from apps can be responded to straight from the home-screen. For example, you can now respond to WhatsApp messages without being redirected to the WhatsApp screen.

Android Nougat - Notification redesign


Multi-language support

By enabling multiple languages, you can toggle between languages while using keyboards. This means, you can type in English UK and Español while sending a message.

Android Nougat - Multi language support

Doze on the go

Doze was introduced with Marshmallow and has now evolved into an even better feature in Nougat, allowing users to squeeze till the last drop of battery power. Using the Battery Optimization feature in Settings, Doze can control the battery usage of each app and modify them to suit your battery saving strategy.

Android Nougat - Doze on the go

Data saver

Some apps consume tons of data by running in the background, thus burning a hole in your pocket. With Data Saver’s granular controls, you can permit/restrict individual apps from accessing data while running in the background.

Android Nougat - Data saver

Improved security

Aren’t we all suspicious of those pesky apps that require permissions to umpteen folders in which they have no business? Nougat has been armoured for such apps, with the scoped folder access feature, that permits apps to use only select folders. Facial recognition too has arrived in Android, with the Trusted Face screen unlock feature made available in select devices.

Android Nougat - App Permissions

Improved graphics

This one is for the gamers, as your in-game graphics get a solid boost, with Nougat supporting the Vulkan API. Be ready for high-performance 3D graphics right on your phone.

Android Nougat - Graphics

Nougat Reception

Nougat has been receiving increasingly positive reviews from industry observers. Engadget and PCAdvisor have lauded Nougat, calling it an efficient OS that’s pro-multi-tasking. Market adoption too seems to be decent – Nougat’s adoption is on a hike with 7.6% of devices that access Google Play running Nougat as of May 2017.

Android Nougat - Market Share

Source: App Brain

In the last 30 days, a 37% surge has been seen in Nougat adoption, but we might have to wait for a few more months for the roll-out to complete, before seeing massive traction in adoption rates.

What’s on the cards, Google?

With the Nougat roll-out initiated in April-May, Google has moved on to Android O (suspected to be Oreo) and is working towards its announcement in the impending Google I/O 2017 summit in the US. Also, rumours have surfaced on the Magenta-microkernel based real-time operating system,

Despite these developments, it is safe to say that Nougat is going to stick around for a while given its rich features. As more new phone models come out in 2017, enabling the VR and Daydream features of Nougat, it is poised to be the most-preferred Android OS version ever.


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Security in IoT - The flip side of the next big thing in technology

Security in IoT – The flip side of the next big thing in technology

Touted as the revolution that would change the world as we know it, the Internet of Things is a phenomenon that’s been gaining steady mileage over the years. In fact, GE predicts investment in Industrial Internet of Things to top $60 trillion during the next 15 years.

Every business wants to leverage IoT – from manufacturing to utilities, from healthcare to customer electronics. Think predictive maintenance of plant-floor machinery, automatic information transfer from electricity meters to service providers, auto-purchase of supplies such as shampoo by a carwash machine, and many such use cases that would enable businesses to improve user experience.

So much so, that even banks are exploiting IoT. Case in point is Capital One exploring Amazon Alexa, and adding another avenue in its omni-channel strategy. Capital One customers can now just talk to a device connected with Amazon Alexa, and easily learn their account and transaction status. Check out the video:

Source: YouTube

It is easy to predict the question running in your minds now. “My bank account details are with a device, out in the open for hacking and misuse?” Well, sometimes convenience doesn’t come without risks. And while IoT makes our lives easier, it can easily turn them into nightmares.

Weaponization of IoT?

Security in IoT

How secure is the data that these ‘things’ or devices pass among each other?

The truth is, not so safe.

As per a 2014 report by HP, 7 out of 10 IoT devices have security flaws – with an average of 25 vulnerabilities per device.

Today, any attacker worth their salt can hack into an IoT device and manipulate it to act on their orders. Bank account numbers and credentials can be accessed and used to cause fund diversion. Smart electricity meters can be rigged to cause power outages.

And though it may seem far-fetched, pacemaker transmitters can be ‘doctored’ to deliver deadly shocks to patients connected with pacemakers.

While your device control may be taken over and data be stolen, you may also be subjected to denial of service attacks. On October 2016, widespread Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were reported in the US, that affected 80 major websites like Amazon, BBC, Twitter, Slack, etc. Thought to be the largest-ever, the attack was caused by a botnet that had injected the Mirai malware, into a number of IoT devices such as printers, IP cameras and even baby monitors. Mirai scanned for IoT devices that had weak factory default setting (hard-coded usernames and passwords), converted them into bots, and then used them to launch DDoS attack.

In another DDoS attack, connected heating devices were hacked, leaving Finnish residents in hazardous sub-zero conditions.

Such events can cause widespread chaos and mayhem among the general public.

Making IoT more secure Security in IoT

Security in IoT  is a key concern that’s hounding the aficionados. The benefits are aplenty, and usher our world into a new era in technology, but at what cost? It is important for businesses and consumers to reflect at the following security aspects of IoT:

  • Device password – The Chinese firm, TP Link had been shipping routers that by default had the last 8 characters of their MAC addresses as the device password, making it easy for attackers to identify MAC address and hack into these devices. A terrible flaw in info security indeed. This vulnerability can be overcome by eliminating such default settings, and regularly updating passwords.
  • Data safety – Businesses are urged to retain data for as short a while as possible and then purge them, akin to shredding information when no longer required.
  • Provide security patches – In a rush to take the product to market, manufacturers often disregard the need for security in devices. Manufacturers should release security upgrades and inform their customers to install these to tighten security.
  • Implement security standards – The international community is coming together to create IoT security standards to adhere to, and to prevent cyber attacks. There are many associations that are working towards this. Manufacturers should consciously adopt a security first approach and uphold these standards.

While making IoT completely infallible is a difficult goal, it is definitely important to aspire for and ensure security in IoT. Vulnerabilities will exist, but at the end of the day, stakeholders need to work together to make IoT more secure in the coming future, where the world will be populated with around 50 million connected devices. And that’s a battle of a totally different magnitude, for which we aren’t currently equipped.

Reimagining customer experience in retail

Re-imagining Customer Experience in Retail

The recently concluded World Retail Congress saw the who’s who of the tech and retail worlds gathering at Dubai, to discuss the changing retail landscape. This year’s theme was reflective of the current mood of the market – Re-imagining the customer experience in retail.

The modern customer has multiple options to choose from and if they don’t like the experience, they don’t mind shifting elsewhere, even if it means paying more. The days of deep discounting are done, and the era of experience has taken over.  In fact, it is predicted that customer experience will overtake price and product as a differentiator by 2020.

Now who really is this modern-day customer?

This segment consists of the Gen Y and Gen Z (those born after 1995) who do an online analysis and peer-group discussion even before entering the retail outlet. These mobile-savvy, social media enthusiasts expect stores to present ‘one voice’ across communication channels – outlets, web stores, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

By 2020, Gen Z will be the largest group of customers worldwide, making up 40% of the US, Europe and BRIC countries, as per Fitch. Gen Z will be big on using technology to achieve their shopping goals, goals that are both tangible (product) and intangible (experience).

We can safely conclude that the modern customer poses an interesting challenge to retailers. And the battle cry to tackle this is – #GoPhygital.

Imagine a world of:

  • Ordering groceries online during lunch from work and picking up the order from a convenient location, while driving home?
  • Or entering a mall, and having all the promo offers information come right into your phone via proximity engagement technology?
  • Or in-store shopping assistance via endless aisle? Order today, get it delivered at home/place of convenience when product is back in stock.

The possibilities are endless. And retailers are transcending channels, riding on the technological capabilities.

Who are the customer experience trendsetters in retail?

Amazon has conceived the futuristic Amazon Go store, where checkout has been eliminated. It’s just walk in, grab stuff and walk out! Watch this.

Source: Amazon

Now’s that some amazing customer experience made possible by digital technology!

Another biggie that is literally turning heads is Alibaba’s ‘pay with a nod‘. Alibaba is building the VR Pay technology for people who use virtual reality devices to shop on virtual reality shopping malls.

Going by these developments, it seems for sure that retail will be encountering marked transformations in days to come.

Reimagine and actualize exceptional customer experience in retail, with AgilizTech’s innovative digital solutions.