Study: Apps ‘Hijacking’ 12 Million Smartphones

Some 12 million smartphones have mobile apps that secretly run a barrage of hidden advertisements in the background — roughly 700 per hour — that gobble up to 2GB of data per day and shorten battery life in its host device. Advertisers lose even more: an estimated $1 billion this year in bogus commissions paid to fraudsters for simulated clicks of those ads in “what they believe to be real consumers viewing their ads,” says David Sendroff of Forensiq, an …

The Thing About the Internet of Things

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Often, the discussion revolves around issues associated with data privacy and cybersecurity. So what is the IoT and what’s all the fuss about? IoT refers to the ever-expanding array of devices that can communicate to external networks. While we all realize our computers and smartphones are connecting to the outside world, more and more devices such as fitness trackers, cameras, cars and thermostats are doing so as well. …

AARP Debuts RealPad Tablet

AARP debuted its first-ever consumer product at the Ideas@50+ conference in San Diego last month. Called RealPad, it’s bigger than a smartphone yet smaller than a laptop computer. The tablet was designed with tech-shy people in mind, AARP says, making it easy for them to keep in touch with family and friends — including their grandkids, for whom the art of letter writing is often a lost cause. Helping people navigate the digital age is important to AARP, says CEO Jo Ann Jenkins: …

Helping 50+ Americans Master Personal Technology

At the bustling convention center in downtown Boston, a lot of people seem eager to learn as much as they can about personal technology. In one area of the cavernous hall, a speaker tells a rapt audience about the various apps that can be used for entertainment, from listening to music and watching TV shows to buying movie tickets and making dinner reservations. In another part of the pavilion, a teacher instructs the crowd seated at long tables about the basics …

Your Cellphone Has More Germs Than Your Toilet

It’s certainly extreme, but a recent news story points up how germy a cellphone can be. Reports say a man who stole a cellphone from an Ebola virus quarantine ward in a Ugandan hospital ended up apparently catching the virus from germs on the phone. Obviously, most of us aren’t in close proximity to an Ebola outbreak – or likely to be pinching a phone from a dangerously ill person – but germ expert Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist at …

5 Highlights of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

Two million square feet of display space. Two giant halls (and some satellite venues) with 3,200 exhibitors hawking their high-tech wares. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is overwhelming, even for regulars. (CES runs Jan. 7-10) But a group of 50 explorers organized by the AARP Nevada office set out Jan. 7 with a very focused approach to the show. They were looking for gadgets, apps and products of particular interest to people over 50. Three of the …