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3 years ago

Editorial: If you want to know where I've been, all you have to do is ask

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Much hay has been made of late over your phone caching (aka "storing") your location data. It started with the realization that the iPhone was storing location data ... and storing, and storing. (And also syncing the data to the computer via iTunes.) The problem is that the data wasn't overwritten over time, so you've got a general look at where someone's been over the life of the phone.

Headlines ensued.

Android does the same sort of thing, boys and girls. And it's supposed to. But it does it right. Instead of saving days and weeks and months of location data, it saves the 50 most recent cellular GPS locations, and 200 most recent Wifi fixes. And it's stored in a little file on your phone.

"But, Phil!" you cry. "That's a big security concern!" Well, yes. And, no.

First off: All those location-based services you like to use -- Google Maps, local search results, Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter, photo geotagging, etc. -- they all use caching to speed up the process of figuring out where you are. That's what caching is, after all. Saving data (in a "cache") so that it doesn't have to be loaded from scratch each time. The browser you're reading this on likely does it, and it makes things that much easier. Same thing for smartphones.

"But, Phil!" you cry. "All of that information is cached on my phone, where anyone can get to it!" Well, sure. But, first and foremost, you need root access ("you" being an app or someone trying to get at the data). There's a handy little app called Location Cache on the Android Market that will show you just where you've been. Or, more accurately, where your phone has pinged. (I haven't actually been in Washington, D.C., in about 8 years, but my phone's pinged some Wifi access point there, somehow.) The app also gives you the option to wipe the cached location data and block further data.

But in long list of things that are on my phone that I don't want to fall into evil hands, my 50 most recent cellular pings aren't all that high. Nor are the 200 most recent Wifi locations I've pinged one way or another. Contacts and e-mail, photos, well, that's another story.

But our level of concern really comes down to this: How would someone gain access to the information? The most likely route is directly. Your phone is lost or stolen and falls into nefarious hands. Sure, it's possible you could download an evil-doing application. You might have heard about a few in the news lately. But in spite the occasional headline, data-stealing apps aren't all that prevalent. We know. We download a lot of apps around here. And your phone needs to be rooted for anyone -- or any app -- to have access to the location cache in the first place.

So what can you do? What should you do?

First thing we'd recommend is installing a security app that can locate your phone should it be lost or stolen -- and wipe it (erase all the data) if you can't recover it. There are a bunch of good security apps out there. Google 'em and take a look. It's worth taking a look at, location caching or no location caching.

Alternatively, you can shut off Android's location services and stop further caching of location data. It's in Settings>Location & Security. (The name might be slightly different depending on your phone, but we're not surprised Google associated one with the other on stock Android.)

And you might not have noticed this unless you're the type who flashes devices from scratch on a daily or weekly basis, but one of the first things Android does is ask whether you want to use the location services. It is not caching your location information without your permission, even if you never noticed it on setup.

Let's recap: The sky's not falling. Android isn't storing your location information -- and remember this is general location information and not necessarily exactly where you've been -- without your permission. And it's pretty unlikely that your cached data will fall into evil hands. And even if it does, there are ways to protect yourself.

Tonight, we'll sleep just fine.

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3 years ago

HTC launches Sensation sign-up page

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The HTC Sensation is still getting ready for its T-Mobile U.S. launch this summer but that hasn't prevented HTC from allowing fans to sign up to receive email notifications. Our own Alex Dobie got some quality hands-on time with the phone at a HTC promo event in the UK, where Vodafone will be the first to offer the device starting next month. Head on over past the link to sign up with HTC, or, you know, just keep reading Android Central. [HTC] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

'Won't have to wait long' for Gingerbread, T-Mobile says of G2X

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Could be hours, could be days, could be weeks, but T-Mobile has told one of its Twitter followers that "Gingerbread is coming to the G2X soon. You won't have to wait long." Let's certainly hope so. That that the G2X is unusable with Froyo, but it's definitely a little noticeable going back (especially if you're a stock keyboard user). [Twitter] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Android Central ROM review: Carbonite Fusion for the Droid Incredible

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This week we have a great Dinc Sense ROM -- Carbonite Fusion by trock70.  Romaholic and Dinc lover (also quite the writer) PvilleComp gives us a look at this one, which delivers Sense with a very nice look and some excellent tweaks.  Little touches like porting over graphics from TouchWiz, and the notification toggles gives it a really unique look and feel.  I'll let you read it for yourself, but I have to give a shout out to trock70 -- this one looks like Sense done right.  Thanks for the review Mike!

Want to write a ROM review for Android Central? We'd love to hear from you! Look here for details. Now head past the break for the review.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: TweetComb - Proper Twitter for Honeycomb

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Believe it or not, we're several months into the life of Android 3.0, and we're just now seeing our first Honeycomb-optimized Twitter app. Brought to you by the developer of the Honeycomb-optimized Newsr RSS app (see our review here), TweetComb takes advantage of the "fragments" design feature in Honeycomb and actually makes use of the full tablet screen, unlike smartphone-based Twitter clients.

The gist: You've got three columns -- your timeline, mentions and direct messages. Scroll down to read through them. If you want to act on a tweet -- reply to the sender, retweet, mark as a favorite, etc. -- you tap and hold. You can refresh all the columns at once, or independently. Settings are tucked away in the Action Bar, just as they should be in Honeycomb. No extra menu button at the bottom for this app.

TweetComb is still very  Version 1.0. It doesn't yet have support for multiple accounts (a must for some of us), and the list of trending topics displayed neatly at the bottom doesn't actually do anything more than display the list of trending topics. But these are small niggles, and the developer's known for quickly pushing out updates.

Probably our biggest gripe right now is that TweetComb is $2.99 in the Android Market. There's no shortage of free Android Twitter apps, and you just know one of the major players -- TweetDeck, Seesmic, Twidroid, Plume, etc. -- will bring free versions of a Honeycomb-optimized Twitter app at some point. And if we were first out of the gate with a Honeycomb Twitter app, we'd give it away to bring in as many users as possible before the big boys show up. But for now, if you've gotta have some proper Twitter on a tablet, this is the way to go.

Download links are after the break, and there's more on TweetComb in the Android Central Forums.

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3 years ago

HTC Roadshow: Hands-on video with the HTC Sensation

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We took a trip down to the HTC Roadshow in Manchester yesterday, where we were lucky enough to be allowed some face-time with the HTC Sensation, HTC's beastly 4.3-inch dual-core device, which is due for release in May. And, of course, we were sure to grab plenty of video footage and photos of the artist formerly known as Pyramid for your perusal.

The Sensation is the first device to launch with HTC Sense 3.0, the new version of HTC's custom UI that gives it its biggest overhaul to date. Though the handset we saw was still running pre-release firmware, we were still impressed with the slickness of the user experience it offered.

Join us after the jump for the video itself, along with some bonus photos from the HTC Roadshow.

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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for April 23, 2011

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Gaming on an Android device is always a great way to pass some time and to have countless hours of fun while on the go. If you are into gaming, and love your Android device, be sure to check out some of our favorite Android games below.

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3 years ago

Samsung continues commercial onslaught, and there was much rejoicing

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It would seem Samsung is making no effort to slow down their marketing juggernaut, despite the myriad of current events surrounding them.

The video highlights the same voice features we saw in the second commercial, which is nice, but regardless, don't be like the driver before he gets his voice commands. It's dangerous and isn't worth the risk. Alright, off the soapbox.

At any rate, I think we can all agree he must not be using his Galaxy S2 on Sprint. Thanks, Kenny!

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3 years ago

Dog Wars Android app is ruffling some users' fur -- and rightfully so

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Judging from our inbox this morning, more than a few of you have discovered the Dog Wars app. We'd been hoping it would slink back into the depths from which it slithered, but such is not to be the case.

Dog Wars, which some sort of horrific canine RPG, is doing its best to stoke the fires, announcing itself as "A GAME THAT WILL NEVER BE IN THE IPHONE APP STORE!!!" And you know what? Apple's App Store is better off for it. The developer, Kage Games, also wants you to know that "if you have a bug up your butt about the game concept, remember:"

  1. It is just A VIDEO GAME
  2. Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or beta fish wars for people who can't understand fantasy role play games
  3. Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it (looking at you XDA Developer Forums... deleting our beta testing thread and banning our account?!)
  4. Just go slingshot some virtual birds to kill some virtual pigs.
  5. Go complain to someone who cares about Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Weed Farmer, Smoke a Bowl (these two are listed in the top 15 of casual games on Android Market) and maybe even Sierra's Leisure Suit Larry from 1987.
  6. This is listed as a HIGH MATURITY app, and does NOT violate the Terms of Use with the Google market in any way!!!

A few of the one-star comments left in the Market:

  • "This represents the truly revolting world of dog fighting, dogs are still stolen daily for fights. Remove it now!" - Alex
  • "Hope you people get prison time for making this app." - devon
  • "This is pretty awful... Downloaded this just to say how very wrong this is, both in real life and in fantasy." - nonfinite

And a couple of e-mails we've received:

  • "This is so sick I can't believe it! Have you people learned nothing from
    Michael Vick???? Way to encourage this disgusting violence against innocent animals.....studies indicate that most serial killers who hurt animals move on to people. This is SICK. WTF android????!!!!!" - Diane
  • "I cannot believe that you as a leader in this industry would promote dog
    fighting with an app!! Dog wars should be removed from the android market! This is very disappointing for me and many others to see that Android would do this!" - Dawn

We're not sure if the 50,000-250,000 download mark is because people downloaded the free beta just to leave 1-star comments (let's hope so), or if it's really that popular (let's hope not). But we do know this: If we were Google, we'd probably find some sort of term of use that Kage Games has broken -- or invent a new one -- and fast, and get this sort of thing out of the Market.

Download links are not after the break. Here, however, is the the developer's e-mail address: pitboss@kagegames.com. Let 'em know how you feel. And tell 'em we sent ya.

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