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OnePlus has been silently collecting all sorts of data from users



The #NeverSettle smartphone maker has found a new way to irk users and alienate potential customers. OnePlus, the Chinese company that made a name for itself with its budget “flagship killers,” had to deal with various controversies this year, most of them related to the OnePlus 5 launch. Sadly, it’s not over.

A new report shows that OnePlus has been collecting a treasure trove of information about its customers, and it looks awful. There’s no good reason for the company to obtain this much data, no matter what OnePlus will tell us.

It was developer Christopher Moore who first noticed the unusual network activity of its OnePlus handset. Apparently, the phone was sending a lot of data to a OnePlus-owned domain,

He was able to decrypt the data and discovered that the phone (a OnePlus 2) would send time-stamped data to the server. This included information about phone locks and unlocks, and reboots. He also found that OnePlus collected “the phone’s IMEI(s), phone numbers, MAC addresses, mobile network(s) names and IMSI prefixes, as well as my wireless network ESSID and BSSID and, of course, the phone’s serial number.”

Wow, that’s quite a bit of information about my device, even more of which can be tied directly back to me by OnePlus and other entities.

What’s even worse is that the server collects exact app data, recording when an app is opened and for what purpose.

Yes, sharing data with device makers should help them fix problems. And Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and others collect data about users. But what OnePlus seems to be doing is above and beyond what’s acceptable, especially as the end-user isn’t properly notified about what goes on in the background.

You won’t like OnePlus’s statement on the matter, given to Android Police:

We securely transmit analytics in two different streams over HTTPS to an Amazon server. The first stream is usage analytics, which we collect in order for us to more precisely fine tune our software according to user behavior. This transmission of usage activity can be turned off by navigating to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Advanced’ -> ‘Join user experience program’. The second stream is device information, which we collect to provide better after-sales support.

But initially, OnePlus’s Twitter support account was not willing to provide any real help to the developer. Mind you, these tweets are from January:

Furthermore, it looks like OnePlus’s data collection goes back a long way, with a July 2016 Reddit thread detailing the same issues.

To make sure you block any data transmission, you should uninstall OnePlus Device Manager:

Alternatively, you can also prevent OnePlus from collecting your data by not buying a OnePlus device in the near future, or ditching the one you already own.

Fashion and music obsessed wanderlust. Resale clothing appreciator who fancies herself a well-crafted cocktail. Occasional photographer. Amateur sneaker head.

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The Walking Dead mobile game developer using iPhone X TrueDepth camera as motion capture tool



The developers behind the upcoming mobile game for The Walking Dead, Our World, are using the iPhone X’s TrueDepth’s camera system as a motion capture tool for facial expressions for characters in the game. The developers record actors in front of the iPhone X, using a specially-built app to export the facial motion into their 3D character modelling apps.

Going beyond simple cartoon figures like Animoji, the developers feel the iPhone X sensors are good enough that they can use them to animate realistic face rigs of human characters.

The workflow starts on a desktop Mac, where the artists create a 3D model of a character. They hook up the skeleton to outlets for the 50 blend shapes that the iPhone X TrueDepth camera can track.

A special app that runs on an iPhone X loads up the face model, and the game makes have an actor record the desired human expressions. The iPhone X can detect these movements at 60 frames per seconds, and the data is saved by the custom app.

The animator can shoot multiple takes and review in realtime how the tracking will be applied to the 3D model. The data can then be exported back to the Mac for final tweaking in the 3D rendering software. You can see a video demo of how this all works in The Verge’s coverage.

By using this iPhone X centric workflow, the creation of assets can be achieved much more quickly and much more cheaply compared to setting up a full motion capture recording suite.

The Walking Dead: Our World combines cinematic cut scenes with augmented reality battles, powered by ARKit.

When the game launches, the company plans to package up this feature as a way for players to animate their own characters. It’s pretty novel for them to also use the same domestic technology for the animations of the scripted sequences.

The final game should be available to play in the next few months.

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HQ Trivia app update adds native full-screen iPad layout



HQ Trivia continues to go from strength to strength bringing in hundreds of thousands of players every single day. They have started doing winner-takes-all special games on Sundays with even bigger jackpots too. Today, they pushed an update to their game in the App Store to bring a native layout for iPad players. Previously, iPad HQ players were resigned to using the iPhone app in 2x blown up mode.

The iPad UI isn’t that different from the iPhone presentation, it really is just a blown up interface, but it’s very much welcomed. Anything is better than the 2x iPhone compatibility mode. Text is sharper and more readable, buttons are well proportioned and easier to press, and there are no black borders in sight.

The app continues to support portrait mode only. It’s consistent with the iPhone, but as iPad usage is more ambivalent to orientation (and arguably the larger Pros skew more towards landscape use cases) it would be nice if they had added a landscape layout in future. The app does not support Split View multitasking either. This could be seen as an anti-cheating measure I guess, although you can still show a Slideover floating app window anyway.

Nevertheless, it’s nice to at least see some iPad love from the HQ developers.

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Samsung Pay Launched In Italy



Samsung is continuing its roll out of its Samsung Pay mobile payments system to more countries. The latest country to get Samsung Pay is Italy.

That now makes a total of 21 countries around the world where Samsung’s mobile payment system is now available.

“We strive to deliver the best experiences to our customers. The rapid growth of Samsung Pay has been made possible by Samsung’s commitment to an open model of collaboration around the world, resulting in over 1,700 partnerships, including payment providers Visa and Mastercard®,” said Yongje Kim, Executive Vice President of Service Business Office, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “Its continued support for both MST and NFC payments has also enhanced adoption, enabling market access in countries that support either payment option.”

You can find out more details about the launch of Samsung’s mobile payment system in Italy over at Samsung’s website at the link below.

Source Samsung

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