All posts in “Software”

AppOnboard raises $15 million to let Android users try before they buy apps on Google Play

Pitching app developers with a new way to convert app browsers into actual customers, AppOnboard has raised $15 million in a new round of funding, the company said.

Based in Los Angeles, AppOnboard sees itself as one of a new breed of LA startup that’s steeping itself in the local ecosystem and trying to be one of the cornerstone’s for a new technology hub in the southern California region.

Company co-founder Jonathan Zweig has already had one hit as a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur. Zweig was one of the architects behind the success of AdColony, a startup that sold to Opera Software in 2014 for $350 million. It was an early success for the regional ecosystem and proved to be one of the most valuable exits (from a capital efficiency standpoint) for the year.

Now Zweig is back again… this time pitching app developers a tool that can help convert browsers into buyers for new applications in app stores around the world. As consumers sour on the free-to-use model (since that model depends on selling user information in order for “free” apps to make money), giving users a way to try before they buy makes sense.

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Zweig claims that conversion rates have increased significantly for the companies that pay a fee for his company’s service. Play Store shoppers who engage with an app store demo before installing have higher retention and are more likely to become paying customers than those who install directly without playing or using a demo version, the company said.

That certainly aligns with the thinking of Paul Heydon, an investor at Breakaway Growth, which led the new round for AppOnboard. “The entire app store paradigm is about to change dramatically, and AppOnboard is perfectly positioned for this disruption,” said Heydon in a statement. “With its patented app demo technology and tools, users will now be able to experience their apps and games on-demand and without an install across various platforms, starting with Google .”

Zweig says that the service is the first from a third party to be directly integrated into a platform like Google’s Play store.

“Google has been a great partner for us,” Zweig says. And the company is in talks with other platforms, he said.

Now, with the additional cash in hand, Zweig says AppOnboard is ready to make some international expansion moves. The company already has offices in London and in cities across the U.S., but Zweig thinks there’s more room to grow.

“Our vision continues to be that every app and game will be instant and available for users to experience without a download. We look forward to continuing to work with global developers, Google, and partners to make this a reality for all mobile app users,” said Bryan Buskas, the chief operating officer of AppOnboard. As part of its new pitch, the company is offering a 30-day free trial for any App Store Demo.

Solo.io raises $11M to help enterprises adopt cloud-native technologies

Solo.io, a Cambridge, Mass-based startup that helps enterprises adopt cloud-native technologies, is coming out of stealth mode today and announcing both its Series A funding round and the launch of its Gloo Enterprise API gateway.

Redpoint Ventures led the $11 million Series A round, with participation from seed investor True Ventures . Like most companies at the Series A state, Solo.io plans to use the money to invest in the product development of its enterprise and open-source tools, as well as to grow its sales and marketing teams.

Solo.io offers a number of open-source tools, like the Gloo function gateway, the Sqoop GraphQL server and the SuperGloo (see a theme here?) service mesh orchestration platform. In addition, the team has also, among others, open-sourced its Kubernetes debugger, a tool for building and running unikernels.

Its first commercial offering, though, is an enterprise version of the Gloo function gateway. Built on top of the Envoy proxy, Gloo can handle the routing necessary to connect incoming API requests to microservices, serverless applications (on the likes of AWS Lambda) and traditional monolithic applications behind the proxy. Gloo handles the load balancing and other functions necessary to aggregate the incoming API requests and route them to their destinations.

“Costumers who use Gloo to connect between microservices and serverless found that invocation of [AWS] Lambda is 350ms faster than the AWS API Gateway,” Idit Levine, the founder and CEO of Solo.io, told me. “Gloo also offers them direct money saving, since AWS bills per invocation. In general, Gloo offers money saving because it allows our clients to use the less expensive technologies — like their legacy apps, and sometimes containers — whenever they can, and limit the use of more expensive stuff to whenever it’s necessary.”

The enterprise version adds features like audit controls, single sign-on and more advanced security tools to the platform.

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In addition to broadening its customer base, the company plans to invest heavily into its customer success and support teams, as well as its evangelism and education efforts, Levine tells me.

“Helping enterprises easily adopt innovative technologies like microservices, serverless and service mesh is our goal at Solo.io,” Levine in today’s announcement. “Melding different technologies into one coherent environment, by supplying a suite of tools to route, debug, manage, monitor and secure applications, lets organizations focus on their software without worrying about the complexity of the underlying environment.”

Contentful raises $33.5M for its headless CMS platform

Contentful, a Berlin- and San Francisco-based startup that provides content management infrastructure for companies like Spotify, Nike, Lyft and others, today announced that it has raised a $33.5 million Series D funding round led by Sapphire Ventures, with participation from OMERS Ventures and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors General Catalyst, Benchmark, Balderton Capital and Hercules. In total, the company has now raised $78.3 million.

It’s only been less than a year since the company raised its Series C round and as Contentful co-founder and CEO Sascha Konietzke told me, the company didn’t really need to raise right now. “We had just raised our last round about a year ago. We still had plenty of cash in our bank account and we didn’t need to raise as of now,” said Konietzke. “But we saw a lot of economic uncertainty, so we thought it might be a good moment in time to recharge. And at the same time, we already had some interesting conversations ongoing with Sapphire [formeraly SAP Ventures] and Salesforce. So we saw the opportunity to add more funding and also start getting into a tight relationship with both of these players.”

The original plan for Contentful was to focus almost explicitly on mobile. As it turns out, though, the company’s customers also wanted to use the service to handle its web-based applications and these days, Contentful happily supports both. “What we’re seeing is that everything is becoming an application,” he told me. “We started with native mobile application, but even the websites nowadays are often an application.”

In its early days, Contentful also focuses only on developers. Now, however, that’s changing and having these connections to large enterprise players like SAP and Salesforce surely isn’t going to hurt the company as it looks to bring on larger enterprise accounts.

Currently, the company’s focus is very much on Europe and North America, which account for about 80% of its customers. For now, Contentful plans to continue to focus on these regions, though it obviously supports customers anywhere in the world.

Contentful only exists as a hosted platform. As of now, the company doesn’t have any plans for offering a self-hosted version, though Konietzke noted that he does occasionally get requests for this.

What the company is planning to do in the near future, though, is to enable more integrations with existing enterprise tools. “Customers are asking for deeper integrations into their enterprise stack,” Konietzke said. “And that’s what we’re beginning to focus on and where we’re building a lot of capabilities around that.” In addition, support for GraphQL and an expanded rich text editing experience is coming up. The company also recently launched a new editing experience.

Cheap UK web hosting services to help you claim a spot on the internet

The basic package on Bluehost will cost you £2.31 per month. For you to get that price though, you have to sign up for a 12-, 24-, or 36-month package. Once you sign up, you’ll get a free domain and access to the site builder. You’ll also be able to install WordPress, one of the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management systems, in just one click. In fact, WordPress even recommends using BlueHost to start your website, so that should give you some assurance.
BlueHost gives you three different package options: Basic, Plus, and Prime. 
The key differences are, the Basic only lets you host one website whereas the other two give you unlimited site hosting. You’re also capped at just 50 gigs of web space with the Basic plan, but with all three packages, the web space is unmetered.
The Basic plan on BlueHost also includes five different email accounts, where the other two both give you unlimited email addresses. The two premium options have the same cost at £4.28, so if you’re trying to decide between the two, we suggest you go with Pro, so you at least have access to spam experts and domain privacy if you ever need it.  

7 of the best antivirus services for Android smartphones and tablets

You’ve installed antivirus software on your desktop — but your smartphones and tablets need protection, too. These are the ones that deserve a look.

Disclosure

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

We hate to kick off this in such a negative fashion, but we feel obligated to alert all you Android users that your smart phones are vulnerable. While Android’s customization is great, the fact that they have an open platform makes them easier to hack and attack. And this can result in anything from lost photos and contacts to stolen credit card numbers and malware that bricks your phone, rendering it unusable and unrepairable. Fortunately, you can protect your Android by downloading an antivirus app. (Exhale deep sigh of relief now.)

Android antivirus apps work similarly to the antivirus software you would download for your PC. Once it’s been installed, the app will scan all the files on your phone and look for anything you might have downloaded inadvertently. As it completes the scan, it alerts you to any problems. However, unlike Mac or Windows-based software, not all Android apps automatically remove the harmful files. You may have to do that manually.

Many of these apps also have value beyond preventing viruses. Indeed, a number of them come with bonus features like anti-theft controls. These allow you to locate and track misplaced phones as well remotely lock and delete their contents. Some apps also provide phone and message filters, letting you add unknown (and unwanted) numbers to a blacklist. Additionally, you’ll discover many options that offer network and web monitoring. Hence the app will alert you whenever you’re on a suspect site or risky Wi-Fi network. It’s also possible to find programs that backup your data as well. And a handful of applications are even designed with alarms and flashlights. Finally, we should note that many companies offer both free and paid versions of their apps.   

We know that all of the above sounds great. But there are some drawbacks to downloading antivirus apps. These applications often take up a decent amount of space and consume battery life. They can also impede your processing speed and barrage you with irritating notifications. Moreover, some Android enthusiasts argue that if you simply stick to downloading apps from Google Play, your phone should be fine. 

However, we just love playing it safe (we enjoy a good seat belt, too). So we heartily recommend installing some antivirus software. In fact, we even did some research to make it easy for you. Here are our top picks for antivirus apps.


Simple scans • Strong malware protection
Free version basically only scans for malware and nothing else
Amazing protection with minimal effect on performance.

1. Bitdefender Mobile Security

Amazing protection with minimal effect on performance.

  • Size:
    20M
  • Free Version:
    Yes
  • Premium Version:
    Yes ($14.99/year)
  • In-app Products:
    Up to $44.99
If you want absolute protection against malware and viruses, consider downloading Bitdefender. A top-of-the-line app, Bitdefender has a malware scanner with an impressive 100 percent detection rate. You can also use it to lock any app you deem sensitive with a PIN code (replete with 30 second timeout after 5 false attempts). And should your phone go missing, Bitdefender allows you to track, lock and wipe your Android. 
Moreover, its web security function ensures a safe browsing experience as it quickly detects any malicious content. Oh, and the coolest feature? Snap Photo — Bitdefender snaps a pic of anyone tampering with your phone in your absence. That’s practically worth the price alone.  
Google Play reviewer Google user writes:

“Bitdefender is strong security and easy to use. On Android the autopilot lets you set it and forget it for the most part — really non-invasive. Seems fairly light weight, too. The anti-theft features are good for peace of mind. Glad to have my trusted PC protection as my Android security.”

Another Google user writes on Google Play reviews:

“So thankful for Bitdefender. I’ve tracked my stolen laptop, blocked access to my files, found/tracked my lost phone. Made my phone scream when I misplaced it. Put a lock code on my laptop and phone when they went missing. Put a lock code on apps that I don’t want a nosey bf to Snoop through and it took a picture of him when he was trying to guess my passcode. All of this I’ve done through the app, and quickly as the app is very user-friendly. Not to mention the years of protection for my PC’s, that seem to be infection free and definitely have operated like so. Thanks to all of you at Bitdefender for making this possible.”


Very straightforward to use
One of the pricier apps
A trusted brand that delivers.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your Android, you should definitely think about downloading Norton. A well-known and respected brand, Norton quickly scans your Wi-Fi connection and notifies you if it’s not secure. Of course, it also scans for malware, spyware and viruses that have the potential to harm your device. 
Similar to other applications, it allows you to block SPAM and junk calls. But the one way Norton distinguishes itself from the competition? It’s smartly integrated with Google Play to show you alerts about specific apps prior to downloading them. You’re able to see any potential risk they might pose — from draining the battery to requiring an excessive amount of data. And you can make a judgement call before hitting download.
Google Play reviewer Mary Hockaday writes:

“Norton continues to be my favorite security app for all my devices, new features are good. I’ve used other mobile security apps and never have been advised on my mobile of malicious emails or websites until I used Norton. I use it on my laptop and tablet as well. Norton will let you know in advance whether an app is safe or a downloaded app causes risk to your device. You then have a choice to trust the app or uninstall it.”

Another Google Play reviewer Gracie writes:

“One year update: Norton is still working hard protecting my phone. I love all the features Norton Mobile offers, but my favorite one is the website scan. It has caught numerous bogus websites that could have been potentially harmful to my phone. I definitely recommend purchasing this Norton product!”


Great at combating phishing attacks
Free version has ads
A popular app that provides unparalleled protection.

3. Avast Mobile Security

A popular app that provides unparalleled protection.

  • Size:
    28M
  • Free Version:
    Yes
  • Premium Version:
    Yes ($2.99/month or $11.99/year)
  • In-app Products:
    Up to $79.99
There’s a reason Avast has been installed over 100 million times. This app is filled with features that guarantees your Android will stay safe and your information secure. After all, Avast offers both real-time and on-demand scanning and easily checks the security of whatever Wi-Fi connection you’ve logged onto. 
You can also use the app to lock specific apps, ensuring that only you have the power to open them. Additionally, Avast provides a call blocker, anti-theft support, a photo vault, a junk cleaner, a Wi-Fi speed test, a RAM boost, a VPN and even a firewall (for rooted Androids only). We assume you stopped reading this halfway through this list so you could start downloading Avast. Good thinking.
Google Play reviewer M-K- G-W writes:

“I enjoy this app, it is user friendly and it Works great for me. Saved my ass…sets from being over run by hackers and malware. It has stopped malicious emails, text messages, and even tells you whether a phone number is safe (bare in mind that doesn’t mean the caller is safe).”

Another Google Play reviewer Ed Knight writes:

“I have been using Avast in my desktop for years and it works so well, I put the mobile version in my tablet. It works great, also. Avast was recommended to me by several of my computer savvy friends and they were right. I recommend Avast for computers as well as mobile devices.”


Solid real-time web protection
Lots of notifications
Places a premium on privacy, ensuring personal data stays personal.
There’s no doubt that Kaspersky is a leader in antivirus software. Making the leap from PCs, the company now ensures that phones are safe from malware, viruses and Trojans as well. Importantly, its anti-phishing feature works diligently to keep your financial information safe when you’re shopping or banking online. 
The app is also capable of blocking both unwanted calls and texts. And it allows you to place a lock on your other apps, requiring a secret code before anyone can access messages, photos, etc. Best of all, should you ever lose your phone, Kaspersky allows you to track it. So you can follow the adventures it’s having without you.
Google Play reviewer Mooshe Hoory writes:

“Premium protection! I’ve been using Kaspersky protection on PC for 10 years with full satisfaction. As from about 2 years ago, I’ve also installed protection for Android, which works smoothly and is very light, not idling the phone.”

Another Google Play reviewer Jose Luis Ruiz writes:

“Well, it’s been working good. I have 2 smartphones, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and a LG G6, 1 laptop and 1 Desktop protected by Kaspersky all are under my Premium Subscription. And it’s working well together. The app also shows me how many days I have left which is about 3 more years to go… Update, got a new product key to cover 5 devices for $50.00 that’s a very good deal, I am still covering my note 5, lg g6, but now covering my wife’s laptop, my desktop and my samsung galaxy Tab S tablet. I have zero complaints now.”


Great storage cleaner and memory booster
Expensive (in comparison to other apps)
Well rounded app that offers protection, privacy, and performance.
We know you might be scoffing at the price. However, the McAfee Mobile Security app is designed with a number of great elements. Certainly, it can scan for malicious code, risky websites and ARP spoofing attacks. But McAfee offers so much more. You can use the app to remove unwanted files, boost battery, and monitor data usage. 
The app also allows you to lock any sensitive content, control what your kids can see and filter out unwanted calls and SMS messages. As if that wasn’t enough, McAfee has a variety of anti-theft features. Once you download, you’ll be able to remotely lock your phone and wipe your data, prevent a thief from uninstalling your security app, track your phone and sound a remote alarm. Honestly, these features are so good you’ll almost want someone to steal your phone so you can use them. Almost. 
Google Play reviewer Michael Wilson writes:

“A lot of security apps are overly constraining and continuously alerting you of unimportant matters, McAfee doesn’t seem to slow anything down, and alerts only important matters. An overall good protection app.”

Another Google Play reviewer Lee J Jones writes: 

“Awesome puts my mind to rest, no viruses or malicious content and the kids mode is really the best thing since sliced bread, you choose what a person can and cant access in kids mode, I know now I can share my phone without somebody messing with my stuff it’s one of the best features on android altogether and should come available on any android device as standard privacy control!”


Great malware protection that receives continual intelligence reports
Can drain the battery
An easy and affordable way to ensure security.
Using regularly updated intelligence from SophosLabs, the Sophos Antivirus App is fantastic at identifying suspect and malicious content. And considering it’s free and doesn’t make you suffer through ads, you’d think that that would suffice. But the folks at Sophos aren’t content with resting on their laurels. This app also lets you remotely lock or wipe your data, on the off-chance your phone is stolen. 
Sophos can also block unwanted calls, provide password protection for your apps and offer advice on how to improve your device security. It even keeps a record of the apps you’ve downloaded that contain your personal data. However, Sophos will not order you dinner. But you have Seamless for that.
Google Play reviewer Thurein Tun writes:

“Good antivirus. I had been using Avast, but got sick of it’s ads and made a change in my free antivirus choice. Now, I’m satisfied with this one. Like others already said, lightweight, barely had effect on performance of the phone, and for the protecting quality AV and other testing groups proved it. Good one! Live it and satisfied with it. Only with they still maintaining the same.”

Another Google Play reviewer Dominik Sienko writes:

“In my experience, a great antivirus. The AppLock feature here has more options (eg a password option) and is more secure than even apps dedicated to this purpose… The built-in authenticator is useful too, so now I don’t have to use a separate app for that. I haven’t used any of the other features, but I can say that this app is 10/10 in my book. The only thing that’s odd is that web filtering isn’t detecting I have Chrome Beta installed.”


Easy installation and little impact on your phone
No quick scan option
An app with a simple design that’s intuitive to use!

7. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

  • Size:
    Varies with device
  • Free Version:
    Yes
  • Premium Version:
    Yes ($1.49/month or $11.99/year)
  • In-app Products:
    Up to $11.99
As the name implies, Malwarebytes first priority is protecting your phone from malware. And we’re happy to report that the app greatly succeeds in that. It even offers real-time protection, searching for unwanted programs on your phone. Malwarebytes also conducts privacy audits on your other apps, tracking which ones monitor your location and calls or have the potential to cost you in hidden fees. 
If you’re fancy enough to spring for the paid version, you will receive alerts about malicious texts and call protection from known or suspected scammers. And the app will also scan for phishing URLs as you browse Chrome. Best of all, Malwarebytes detects ransomware before it has the ability to lock your phone. Isn’t that peace of mind worth paying for?
Google Play reviewer Sam Jam writes:

“Amazing software. I had an adware and tried everything from deleting the app in safe mode, to going into developer mode, to downloading Avast. I was really hesitant with Malwarebytes might not detect the virus. Low and behold, it does which surprised me. You have been helping me with my PC and now I am surprised you are also working on mobile. Fantastic work!  I would not subscribe to any mobile service but this is definitely an exception!”

Another Google Play reviewer Chocobo writes:

“My phone was so pestered by malware and I had no idea where it came from or how to get rid of it. This app saved me a factory reset and I’ll add another star in the future when I see that it really did delete that malware. Update: Amazing app. It deleted my malware just as I had hoped 🙂 no more pop up ads and redirects. They were really annoying and inappropriate and I’m so glad that this app was created because it got rid of all of it :)”