Android Questions Answered

The More You Know Meme

Two of ’em, anyway… but hey, they’re pretty good questions.

At some point in the next twelve months a new Nexus will make an orphan of my TYLT wireless charger—in other words, a technology that Google has been championing since the Nexus 4 has been summarily dumped from their 2015 lineup. It’s hard to explain the convenience of wireless charging to those who’ve never experienced it; suffice to say, those who have the feature tend to like it. A lot.

There’s also the question of Android Pay and root. Why has Google’s new tap-and-pay solution ceased to function on rooted devices when it’s predecessor, Google Wallet, worked just fine?

For this Android user these are the important questions of the day. You may not like the answers, but at least there are answers.

1. Why did Nexus dump wireless charging?

Our best available comment on the matter comes from Hiroshi Lockheimer, the new head of Android at Google, via a reddit AMA:

We added Qi wireless charging starting with N4 because plugging in USB micro B was such a hassle! (Which way is up!?) With this year’s Nexii, we support USB Type-C which has a reversible connector so there’s no more guessing. AND it charges incredibly swiftly: 1% to 100% in 97 mins on the 6P for example (the first ~45 mins of charging is especially fast). Meanwhile, wireless charging adds z (thickness). So, ease of plugging in + fast charging + optimizing for thinness made us double down on Type-C instead of wireless!

So it seems that going forward, Samsung will have to be the torch-bearer for wireless charging. And last time I checked, their Qi-compatible flagships were pretty thin… [grumble]

2. Why doesn’t Android Pay work with root?

Meanwhile, over on the XDA forums, a wild Googler appears to explain the technicalities of this issue:

The earlier Google Wallet tap-and-pay service was structured differently and gave Wallet the ability to independently evaluate the risk of every transaction before payment authorization. In contrast, in Android Pay, we work with payment networks and banks to tokenize your actual card information and only pass this token info to the merchant. The merchant then clears these transactions like traditional card purchases.

Two security measures make this possible: Google’s Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) and SafetyNet API. Ultimately, the reason Android Pay won’t work with root is because a rooted device will not pass CTS when Android Pay is launched.

When pressed as to why some technical exception couldn’t be made we get an expected, if unfortunate, answer:

I think what you are asking for is a “power user” bit that we would pass along when you set up Android Pay with a card. Something like, “I’m an Android Pay user who understands the risks but I want to root anyway.” I think that this would be too hard to build a risk model for: every financial institution in the world would need to build a risk model that incorporates this signal and weigh it against all of the other signals that go in to approving or declining a transaction.

This might also explain why Android modders in Canada can’t use the tap-and-pay feature on the official RBC app.

Sources: Android Police, XDA

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