Headlines

2 years ago

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet gets version with Gobi 3000 for worldwide 3G connectivity

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Lenovo this morning announced a pretty cool option for its Android-based ThinkPad Tablet, adding the Qualcomm Gobi 3000 chipset so you can get online on any network in the world, be it GSM or CDMA. The data will still have to be provisioned by the carrier, of course, but the ThinkPad Tablet will have the radios built in to do so. This is geared toward the corporate environment, but it still stands to make life a lot easier for those worldwide road warriors.

Source: Press release; More: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet hands-on; Qualcomm Gobi

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2 years ago

Security advocate, EFF go toe to toe with data collection company CarrierIQ

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The push and pull between security (and privacy) advocates and a company that supplies several Android manufacturers with application metrics has reached a new level -- and lawyers are now involved. This stems from the CarrierIQ "app" that resides in a number of HTC Android smartphones that gained notoriety in early October when a flaw was discovered in the way it was collecting data. Depending on who you ask, CarrierIQ (recently named a "Company under $100 million to watch") either is a tool that provides OEMs a look at what you're using your device for under the auspices of giving you a better user experience in the long term, or it's an evil agent spying on your every move.

On Nov. 14, Trevor Eckhart -- aka TrevE -- sent us (and presumably other sites) a link to a post he'd written explaining in great technical detail what CarrierIQ does, how it does it, and why he believes it's a bad thing. (We declined to report on Eckhart's post.) Included in the post and mirrored off site are training documents Eckhart copied from the CarrierIQ website, and Eckhart explained how he believed he evaded no security in copying the documents.

CarrierIQ, however, believes Eckhart violated copyright laws by doing so, and has sent a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter demanding cease any infringement or face thousands of dollars in fines, as well as retracting "allegations on your website ... that are without substance, untrue, and that we regard as damaging to our reputation and the reputation of our customers." CarrierIQ also demands that Eckhart contact anyone directly or indirectly sent copies of the training material, send written retractions, issue a press release on the AP (Associated Press) wire admitting "inaccuracies" and to "apologize to Carrier IQ, Inc. for misrepresenting the capabilities of their products and for distributing copyrighted content without permission."

Eckhart has retained the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which responded to CarrierIQ's general counsel that Eckhart's copying and republishing of the training materials falls under fair use, and that CarrierIQ must specify the statements it believes are false. (CarrierIQ was most certainly purposely vague in its initial C&D letter. That's how it works.)

This isn't about fears over data collection anymore, folks. Now that lawyers are involved, it's about whether laws were broken. The short version is CarrierIQ thinks Eckhart copied and used the training materials illegally (remember that just because something's not behind a locked door doesn't necessarily give you permission to distribute it), and the EFF is arguing that CarrierIQ is using strong-arm tactics and threats of thousands of dollars in fines to silence Eckhart and force retractions. (If you're really into the legal stuff, it's also interesting that the EFF claims CarrierIQ is a public figure and that New York Times Co. v. Sullivan and Hustler Magainze v. Falwell apply here.)

It also should be noted that on Nov. 16, CarrierIQ posted a "media alert" titled "Measuring Mobile User Experience Does Matter!" that seeks "to clarify some recent press on how our product is used and the information that is gathered from smartphones and mobile devices." Eckhart's piece isn't explictly mentioned, but it's pretty clear what it's in response to.

The debate over CarrierIQ will continue as well (and as it well should). But it is worth mentioning that there we all gloss over a bunch of legalese every time we boot a smartphone for the first time that should (in small type) tell you your phone is collecting data about what it's doing. And it also needs reminding that when a potential security hole was found in the way CarrierIQ was collecting data, a fix was pushed out pretty quickly (for some phones, at least). And it's also worth mentioning that CarrierIQ's not acting unilaterally here. The manufacturer -- not you -- is CarrierIQ's customer. We'll all have to watch how this one plays out.

Additional links: "What is CarrierIQ?" | "Measuring Mobile User Experience Does Matter!" (pdf) | EFF post | EFF response (pdf) cease and desist letter (pdf)

Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

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2 years ago

FCC chairman asks for judicial review of AT&T T-Mobile merger, AT&T responds

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image courtesy ctrlZstudio

The FCC chariman today recommended the $39 billion merger of AT&T and T-Mobile be sent for an official review by an administrative law judge.  Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski suggested this course of action to fellow commissioners, citing that the FCC found the deal "would significantly diminish competition and lead to massive job losses."  Genachowski's order still requires the approval of a majority of the commissioners, and if approved would extend the review of the merger beyond AT&T's hopes to have things all wrapped-up at the FCC early in 2012.  Of course, AT&T is none too happy, stating:

"The FCC’s action today is disappointing. It is yet another example of a government agency acting to prevent billions in new investment and the creation of many thousands of new jobs at a time when the US economy desperately needs both."

If you'll allow a bit of editorial comment, I'm a happy T-Mobile customer.  I don't want to change anything about my service from T-Mobile, and am concerned that I will lose the legendary customer support T-Mobile offers, as well as gaining an additional $100 or so attached to my monthly bill.  I'm also concerned that Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company no longer wants to retain control of the small U.S. carrier because of the huge financial drain that comes with.  I worry what will happen either way -- having AT&T as my carrier is my rock, and having DT let T-Mobile die is my hard place, and I'm smack dab in the middle.  Either case has me getting cell service from AT&T, unless the government has a contingency plan for T-Mobile should the merger fail to pass.  Hopefully, the fellows in Washington have a plan to serve the consumer's best interests, but I'm skeptical.  Unless another company like Google or Apple steps in and buys T-Mobile, our future looks shaky either way.  For now, I, and 33 million others, just have to wait and see.

More: Reuters; BusinessWire

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2 years ago

And the winner of the Amazon Kindle Fire giveaway is ...

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You might recall that last week we gave away an Amazon Kindle Fire, and it's time to announce the winner.  Out of about 3,000 entries, AC member psheppard001 was the lucky winner.  We've contacted him, and sent out his Kindle Fire, so now all that's left is for us to congratulate him.  On behalf of everyone here at Android Central, congrats!  Use the daylights out of that sucker, and be sure to tell us all how it works out for you in the Kindle Fire forums.

If you entered and didn't win, don't worry -- we'll have another killer contest or giveaway soon. 

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2 years ago

All will be revealed, LG says, on Dec. 1 (Hint: Possibly the LG Nitro)

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LG's got an event laid on for early next month in New York City. And while the invitation reads "All will be revealed on December 1," we're getting a little more than perhaps we were supposed to, as some versions of the invite image (ours was renamed) pointed toward the Nitro HD, otherwise known as AT&T's unannounced version of the Optimus LTE. And that's exciting not just for the high-speed data, but for the 1280x720 resolution as well.

Of course, we'll be there with bells on to bring you the whole thing as it happens. It's how we roll.

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2 years ago

Email truncation, Calendar notifications [From the Forums]

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With this being a short week, we're jamming as much news as we can into it for you all, so if you missed anything make sure you jump a page or two back in order to get caught up. Also, don't forget to check out the Android Central forums for discussion, help and tips:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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2 years ago

Samsung Skyrocket OTA update pushing out now, updates to Android 2.3.6

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If you're rocking the new LTE Samsung Skyrocket on AT&T, you might want to check for an OTA update.  An OTA to Android 2.3.6 is pushing out now, and we manually checked on our review unit (Menu>Settings>Software update>Check for updates) and sure enough, one was waiting.  We're not quite sure what was changed here -- we know that 2.3.6 addressed a bug in Google voice search, but we imagine Samsung and AT&T packaged a bit more into this one.  We're not seeing anything listed at the usual locations, so we've reached out to AT&T and Samsung for an answer.  In the meantime, updates are always fun and make our inner Android geek feel good, so grab yours and we'll sort it out in the forums.

Thanks, Vlad!

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2 years ago

Sprint sets the date for a CES 'exclusive event'

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Time to start the annual CES speculation, and Sprint's first out of the gate with the special events. As the invite notes, this one's immediately after the Tuesday keynote, which happens to be from Intel's Paul Otellini. We really have no idea what Sprint's got up its sleeve here -- could well be an Intel-based Windows 8 tablet (which in and of itself would be pretty cool), but remember that Intel's also getting into the Android game in 2012, so perhaps we'll get our first look at that fare? Or it could just be that the event's after the keynote and has absolutely nothing to do with Intel. We'll find out in about a month and a half.

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2 years ago

U.S. Cellular Black Friday sales start early!

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With Black Friday coming there is going to be plenty of sales happening but -- why wait? U.S. Cellular is hosting their black Friday sales right now, where you can pick up a smartphone for $100 or less. So what devices can you get?

Aside from the sale prices, U.S. Cellular has also introduced a new $39.99 plan that includes 450 minutes; free incoming calls, texts and pics, mobile-to-mobile calls, and nights and weekends beginning at 7:00 p.m. The full press release can be found after the break.

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2 years ago

Gingerbread update for LG Optimus 3D now rolling out

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Rejoice, LG Optimus 3D owners, for your handset's long journey to Gingerbread is finally over. The European version of phone, which launched in August with Froyo, today received an update to version 21a, based on Android 2.3.5. As well as the usual goodies you'd expect from Gingerbread, you'll also get 21Mbps HSPA+ support, a 2D and 3D video editor, improved video quality and faster Gallery app performance, just as we reported earlier this month.

The V21a update is currently available in the UK and most of mainland Europe via the LG updater utility, and should be rolling out over the air shortly. We haven't heard any reports of the update arriving on the LG Thrill 4G, the Optimus 3D's American cousin, but hopefully Thrill owners should be on a fast track to receive the new software, now that it's out internationally.

Now, about that ICS update...

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