It’s been a while since we last updated our Android client so it was time to put our elves — I mean, our team — back into Android action. We recently pushed a big juicy update that includes a complete revamp of the UI, some security enhancements, and yes, Camouflage Mode.
Right now you have two options: you take the blue pill, and head on to Google Play and install or update Prey on your phone or tablet. You take the red pill, you stay on our blog and keep reading, and we show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Wise choice indeed.
The ninja stuff
Even though thieves are not likely to know about Prey, it’s always better not to let them know they’re being watched. Concealing the app is crucial for you to recover your smartphone or tablet, so we added Camouflage Mode on Android, just as we did with the iOS version.
This means that, when Camo is enabled and the Prey icon is tapped on the phone or tablet, a fake game screen will be shown instead of the regular “Prey is Ready” screen.
This way, the thief will be tricked into thinking that Prey is not an anti-theft application but an innocent game just waiting to be played. Obviously, there’s no game to be played and the screen will only show a password box in case you want to access Prey’s settings on your phone. Without knowing the password, the thief will have no option but to hit the back/menu button right away.
(This is Joaco’s talented hand at work).
The nice stuff
We released the first Android version during the Android 1.x days, meaning at that point there were no tablets running Google’s OS (in other words, our app was only designed with phones in mind). So, mission number one was to completely redesign the user interface, so that it renders correctly on any Android screen (from QVGA to WXGA). We’ve also translated the client to Brazilian-Portuguese, so Brazilian thieves beware! 🙂
Also, there’s a brand-new SMS contact picker that lets you choose a contact you wish to notify whenever your SIM card is replaced. We’re now calling this person the “Hero”, and, though previous versions already included it, we decided to make it part of the setup process, since most people were missing it on the app’s settings menu, and it has proven to be insanely useful.
The geeky stuff
Prey for Android features full SSL support, and now checks if at least one location provider is enabled when the app’s icon is tapped. This way you can make sure that everything is A-OK after installing it, because if no location providers are available (GPS or Network), then Prey will be unable to geolocate the device when you flag your phone or tablet as missing.
We also fixed a bug that showed invalid characters on the alert module’s screen, but that’s a small one.
As always, if you spot anything weird, please let us know using the Android client’s issue tracker on Github. Happy hunting!