Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Pixel 3 security: Google details Titan M chip

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Mandy Jefferson | 19 October, 2018, 11:41

We've rounded up the best cases out there.

The latest Titan to be welcomed by a waiting world is Titan M; a custom chip that adds extra security features to Mountain View's Pixel 3 smartphones.

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Now that the Google Pixel 3 is official, Google has continued to provide additional details about the custom silicon that it is implementing to help differentiate itself from the competition. The new Titan M is built using the same type of technology that Google uses to secure its data servers, which makes it particularly robust. This is unlike the past year Pixel family that had the larger, Pixel 2 XL with a panel from LG and the smaller, Pixel 2 with a Samsung display. In an interesting turn of events, this is exactly the opposite of last year's situation. This is a new policy from the nation's largest carrier, and is not limited to the Pixel 3 series. You can probably guess where this is going; several non-Verizon customers purchased VZW Pixel 3s at Best Buys intending to use them on other carriers, only to be greeted with "SIM card isn't supported" messages on their shiny new phones. "The Google Pay team", according to the post, "is actively testing out these new APIs to secure transactions". Or, you can buy the device unlocked from Google, but wait a few days for it to ship.

On top of all that, Titan M's firmware can't be updated or changed until the user's passcode is successfully entered. Putting a Verizon SIM in it, the phone worked fine - but it complained again as soon as it had another U.S. SIM inserted, so this isn't just a "first-time setup" requirement. "With the Pixel 3", Xin's post today concludes about the phone that goes on sale in the U.S. tomorrow, "we've increased our investment in security and put industry-leading hardware features into the device, so you can rest assured that your security and privacy are well protected".

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