ZOMG THERE'S MALWARE THAT CAN RECORD MY PHONE CALLS AND LOOSEN MY TEETH WHILE I SLEEP AT NIGHT!
Here we go again, folks. Look -- malware, by definition, is bad and absolutely should be taken seriously. So when Total Defense (née CA Community -- it's a rebranding thing) points out that it's possible for some rogue code to record your phone calls and even send them off to some far-away land (China, of course), well, it's something that we all need to pay attention to.
But things also need a little perspective. Total Defense tells us that it's received just four cases of this malware, from 13 unique sources, for 14 total incidents, and TD can't tell us with any specificity just how prevalent this piece of malware is. There are more than 550,000 Android devices being activated every day. Perspective, ya know.
Now, as far as your likelihood of being affected by this piece of malware, Total Defense tells us: "there are very high chances as anybody can customize this to lure their victims to fall into the trap." Scary, ain't it? Only, here's the thing, and it's an important one for most of you: Not a single instance of this malware was reported from coming from an app in the Android Market. That's not to say malicious apps haven't made it into the Market before -- it's happened, and it'll happen again, and we suspect Google will act as swiftly as it has in the past.
But unless you're wandering around app "stores" you probably shouldn't be wondering around in the first place, we wouldn't worry too much.
Samsung recently confirmed that its Touchwiz UX update would start rolling out to early adopters after a special launch event on Aug. 3 in New York City. For those of us who already purchased a tablet, this is the "optional" update that Samsung told us about when they launched the Tab 10.1 back in June. If you don't have a Tab yet but plan on purchasing one in the coming months, expect this to be the software your device ships with.
While the normal update isn't available yet, Calkulin over at XDA developers was able to compile a stable ROM using the Touchwiz leak that appeared long enough to be nabbed by t3rabyte before Samsung pulled it again. The ROM appears to be completely stock (all files, including "bundled software" appear to be present) so I thought it would be a good time to preview the changes you should expect, and why you just might want to accept the update when it comes. Join me after the break as I go over what you can expect.
Now, I didn't watch this entire "Naughty Cities" video, but after answering the initial questions for myself, I don't have to.
Looking for something to do tonight? Sure, but not too late.
Am I new to town? Yep.
Do I find myself going to the same clubs all the time? Yeah, but it's just so hard to find a good malted these days.
Is it time I find something really exciting to do tonight? Absolutely. Like staying up knitting.
I'm sold. Not even going to watch the rest of the video. Sure I'm not missing anything. Of course, I'm not sure what they mean by naughty -- probably just a place that's open past 8 p.m., or maybe one that has dancing.
Wanna run your own tattoo shop by have a fear of needles, navels and an aversion to tramp stamps? Maybe give Tattoo Tycoon a try. It looks to be a mix of The Sims and L.A. Ink, without the hassle having to deal with actual people. Build your shop, hire employees, then snag some ink and do some sweet tribal tattoos. Cause you can never see enough of them.
This free version of Tattoo Tycoon is free, supported by ads. Download links are after the break.
Gameloft has announced that through the first half of 2011, they have hit €76.8 Million (about 110 million USD) in sales, which is up 15 percent from last year. Smartphone and tablet sales are up 55 percent, and account for 30 percent of the total. The second quarter alone saw €37.4 million (about 53 million USD), which is up 11 percent, even with the weak US dollar -- using a constant rate of exchange those sales grew by 16 percent. These second quarter sales break down to 33 percent from Europe, 28 percent from North America, and 39 percent for the rest of the world.
Gameloft expects to launch 20 new smartphone and tablet games during the second half of this year, so their outlook for sustained growth of this nature is good. While they may not have the best distribution model for the Android platform, you have to admit their games are very well done. We're looking forward to what's coming from Gameloft, and I'm sure more than a few of you guys are, too. Hit the break for the full announcement.
Here's a neat little live wallpaper we got turned onto by Mozilla's Matt Brubeck. Bubbleator is a live wallpaper that "brings the things you care about to your home screen." And, sure enough, it does just that, scrolling info from your calendar, missed calls, text messages, Facebook and Twitter.
You've got a fair amount of customizations available, from the background image to the speed at which items speed by, to the position of the stream (top, middle or bottom). You can choose which category you want to call into the stream, and how often you want them to update.
Visually, Bubbleator's nicely done. You'll need to design your home screens around the Bubbleator streams, of course, but the top-middle-bottom options help with that. Bubbleator also works on the lock screen, and best of all, it's free.
Here's one for all you Lego geeks out there (which includes us, of course). The popular Creationary game has come to Android. Like the traditional board game, the premise is simple: Roll a die and get a category. Then start building, and your opponents have to guess what you're building.
This actually is a little harder than it sounds. The game gives you four objects from which to guess. But as the Lego form takes shape, you'll find that it's really a rough design compared to the example picture. The quicker you identify what's being built, the more points you get. Choosing poorly ends the game.
The game's surprisingly fun, and, best of all, it's free. We've got download links after the break.
Whoopsie. As great as Google Maps Version 5.8 may be with its fancy photo uploads, better search results and new Places features, a pretty big bug managed to sneak its way through. Open up Navigation and try to navigate to one of your contacts, and suddenly you're not nearly as cool as you once were -- it doesn't recognize that you actually have any contacts.
Uninstalling the Google Maps update seems to fix things, but let's hope Google rolls out a fix of its own soonest.
Thanks, David, and everyone else who sent this in!
So you want some more apps installed on your favorite Android device, but don't know exactly what to download? Fear not, we bring you another edition of our favorite applications, in hopes that they will soon become some of your favorites as well. Take a jump past the break, and check out our favorites for this past week!
Android tablets are great educational (and babysitting) tools. And it's with that in mind that we take a look at Kids Maps, as reviewed by a soon-to-be 5-year-old.
Kids Maps is really nicely done, blurring the line between puzzle and teaching tool. You've got 50 states, and you have to put them in the right place. When a new state appears, you get a quick fact about it. For instance: Polar bears live in Alaska. Betcha didn't know that.
Gameplay's really simple -- you just drag the state to the empty map. Dragging is smooth, but it's pretty easy to just drag the state around until it finds the right spot, as you'll see my little cheater do in the video. If you do manage to drop the state in the wrong place more than a couple times, it'll outline the correct spot.
There aren't many options to this one -- you can choose either to place states randomly, or receive them alphabetically, which can be helpful if someone's having to learn the states in alphabetical order.
The game itself is really nice done, with nice music and clear speech and instructions. Our only real complaints are that 50 states are a lot to do in one sitting -- perhaps breaking it down by regions might make things a little more fun. Also, more facts will make playing it a second and third time a little more fun. But if you've got a budding geography expert who also loves puzzles, you could spend $2.99 worse ways.
We've got download links after the breaks if you want to give Kids Maps a go.
Because I like you guys and because I know some of you are pining away for a beta key, I thought I'd show everyone the first level of Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles.
Yes, the first level is short, but it's nothing short of superb. The makers of Pocket Legends really know how to craft a quality, seems-pretty-epic mobile MMO. Hopefully we'll have some more beta keys to giveaway soon, but until then, this will have to tie you over.
The Photon wasn't -- and as of this writing still isn't -- on the list of supported devices. But Netflix is visible in the Android Market on the Photon, downloads and installs just fine, and we were watching Toy Story 3 in no time at all.
Not sure if this is an oversight, or if we're just lucky, but either way, it's a good thing.
O'Reilly's Android Open conference, being held Oct. 9-11 in San Francisco, is looking for modders, hackers, and DIY-ers to participate in the Mini Maker Faire on the final day of the event. They are looking for any project that involves Android hardware or an embedded board running Android, but are specifically looking for projects that feature:
A new Amazon App Store update is now rolling out to users. Once updated you'll be sitting pretty at v1.15 that brings with it some nice improvements and things that should satisfy both users and developers who place their apps in there. The change log:
Feature: Improved the initiation of search
Feature: Improved app compatibility check
Feature: Improved customer feedback
Fixed: Customer reviews bug
Fixed: Periodic install failure on Android 1.6
Fixed: Rotation issues on purchase
Fixed: Force-close on repeat taps on refine button
Fixed: Search box bug
Amazon took some heat over their feedback process and app compatibility checking recently, so the changes in the list are welcome. If you're not seeing the update as of yet, open the app up and check for updates manually -- it should show up for you after that.
Better syncing, better notification options lead the way
Gmail's just gotten itself a beautiful little update, and the changes are some we've been wanting for some time. In handy bullet form, the changes are:
You can choose which mail to sync to help save on battery life. Have a bunch of labels? You can choose which ones to keep synced, and which ones you want to update automatically.
For the labels you're keeping synced, you can set custom notifications. That includes whether to receive notifications, which ringtone you want to use for which label, whether to vibrate when a label gets an e-mail, and if you want it to only notify you on the first new e-mail.
Know how if there's an image embedded in an e-mail, you must tell it to display the image -- on each and every single e-mail? That "feature" has blessedly been changed so that you can tell it to always display images from a particular sender -- just like in desktop gmail.
There's "new options for message options." When you go to the settings area of gmail -- and notice it's been split into "general preferences" along with individual account preferences -- you'll see "Message actions." You can choose to always show them, or show only in portrait, or only in landscape. Nice.
Plus, "performance enhancements."
There you have it. Pretty big improvements, if you ask us. Update your app now and give it a whirl, or check out a few more screen shots after the break.
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