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Exclusive: Android 4.5 to include built-in Bitcoin miner

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 Android 4.5 running Bitcoin miner 1st April 2014

Information about the next release of the Android operating system (version 4.5 - possibly codenamed "Lollipop") has been quite slow to trickle out, but recently leaked documents along with some recently filed patents show that one feature is likely to be a built-in Bitcoin miner.

In case you're one of the tiny minority of people who haven't heard of Bitcoin, this digital currency has grown hugely in popularity and value over the past year or so. Bitcoins themselves are "mined" using powerful computer hardware to crunch complex algorithms, but this is the first time that Bitcoin mining has been attempted in this way.

Anxious to find out more, we tracked down a contact who works for Google and over the course of a liquid lunch we managed to find out more details that we can exclusively reveal here for the first time.

Up until now, Google's business model has been mostly about advertising. People want to sell things, other people want to buy things, and carefully targeted ads can be useful for both parties. But Google goes further than that, allowing web sites and even individuals on Blogger or YouTube to earn a certain amount of that revenue.

But can ad income continue to provide the growth Google needs? Probably not, and that's where Bitcoin mining comes in. Instead of just relying on people clicking advertisements, Google can now use the millions and millions of Android devices out there to significantly boost their income.. and they are prepared to share that revenue with the owners of the phones themselves.

We don't know exactly what the split will be, although we suspect it will be close to 50/50. But if you have a powerful smartphone (presumably with quite a big battery) then you might be able to earn yourself a small amount of money for doing essentially nothing.

Our source says that you can disable the Bitcoin miner if you want to, but in our opinion you'd be foolish to do that.

(If you haven't already guessed, this is an April Fool's joke. You can see past ones here)

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