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2 years ago

What is sideloading? [Android A to Z]

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What is sideloading?  It's a term you see a lot thrown around while talking about Android applications, and it's simple to explain.  It means installing applications without using the official Android Market.  What's less simple is how it's done and why you would do it.  That's where this post comes in.  Let's explain it, shall we?

How to do it is easy enough, so let's start there.  In the Application settings on your Android phone, you'll find a check box to "Allow installation of non-Market applications."  When it's checked, you can sideload.  You'll also see a pop-up warning when you check this box letting you know that your phone is now more vulnerable to attacks from applications, and that you accept all the responsibility that comes with doing this.  It makes sense -- you can't hold Google responsible for applications you didn't download through their service using their security methods.  

Sideloading apps is easy to do as well.  You download them to your phone, then use a file manager application to find them and "click" their entry.  You'll invoke the app installer program, and it will install your app just as if it had came from the trusted Android Market.  It won't be associated with your Android Market account, but it shows in your app drawer just like all the rest.  It didn't used to be this easy for everyone.  Under the guise of security, AT&T used to block users from sideloading by removing the Unknown sources field in the device settings.  Whenever you tried to manually install an app, it would be blocked because it wasn't allowed.  This could be circumvented by using adb from the SDK or by using a program like the Sideload Wonder Machine.  Luckily, those days are past us and AT&T has re-evaluated their position, and now allows the installation of non-Market apps.

Why would you want to sideload.  There are several reasons, one being that Google has allowed carriers to block certain applications based on the model and network your device is running on.  We've seen carriers block apps that permit tethering without paying the extra associated fees, and some carriers have exclusives for certain apps and they aren't available for the others.  That's a whole other mess that we'll tackle in another post -- just know that it happens.  There are other reasons to need to sideload apps, too.  Want to use a different appstore like the one from Amazon?  You'll need to enable sideloading.  The same goes for beta testing apps for developers, or even coding your own apps and testing them on your phone.  There are a lot of legitimate reasons for sideloading.  Of course, there's always the piracy aspect.  If you want to steal from hard working developers you'll need to enable sideloading.  You also suck.  Sideload, but don't steal from developers.

Previously on Android A to Z: What is recovery?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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2 years ago

Google Wallet now available on Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus on AT&T

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Previously only available to Sprint Nexus S 4G owners, Google's NFC-based payment app, Google Wallet, has just been updated to add support for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S on AT&T. So if you're a Nexus owner on AT&T, you can hit the Android Market and find out what all the fuss is about. We've confirmed that the app can now be loaded onto the unlocked Galaxy Nexus or any Nexus S, provided you have an AT&T SIM loaded. But right now it appears that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is still unable to get Google Wallet officially, though there workarounds, of course. Same goes for the Nexus S on T-Mobile.

This is also good news for anyone considering picking up AT&T's version of the Samsung Galaxy Note in the weeks ahead. The AT&T Note supports NFC, and so barring any silly device-level limitations, Google Wallet should work just fine on that phone, too.

We've got Android Market links for all you AT&T people after the break, as well as some instruction for if it doesn't work right away for you.

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2 years ago

Yet another Galaxy S II Ice Cream Sandwich build leaks

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We've seen at least a couple of early Ice Cream Sandwich leaks for the international Samsung Galaxy S II (GT-i9100) appear, and today yet another version has leaked out online, showing signs of progress as the update inches towards release.

The latest leak comes from Sammobile, a longtime leaker of pre-release Samsung goodies. Early indications suggest that the new version, which carries the build ID XXLPB, includes new 3D scrolling effects in the launcher, along with improved battery life compared to previous Android 4.0 leaks. For what it's worth, XXLPB is still based on Android 4.0.3, the latest version of ICS we've seen officially released.

If you're have an international Galaxy S II to hand and are feeling adventurous, head on over to the source link to grab the file for yourself. Alternatively, you can check out the quick hands-on video after the jump.

Source: Sammobile

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2 years ago

Verizon details the impending Droid RAZR Android 2.3.6 update

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Although it's not Ice Cream Sandwich update we're all waiting for, we've known for a while now the Droid RAZR was due for an update of some sorts -- and Verizon now has the details posted for all.

Applications:

  • Mobile Hotspot will now successfully allow other devices to connect to all Internet websites.
  • Improvements in the Mobile Hotspot security. + VZ Navigator® has been updated with the latest 3D map improvements.

Visual Voice Mail Updates:

  • Visual Voice Mail messages can be marked as read.
  • Visual Voice Mail message playback resumes when audio is switched to speaker.
  • Visual Voice Mail will successfully subscribe or unsubscribe while connected with Wi-Fi.
  • Successfully press back key after playback in Visual Voice Mail without error.

Data Connectivity:

  • Improved stability of data connectivity after Airplane Mode is disabled. + Improved data throughput performance in low-signal 4G environments.

Device Operation:

  • Improved Battery life when using Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) Bluetooth® headsets.
  • Successfully save multimedia ringtones.
  • Favorite Contacts widget has been updated.
  • Improved device stability when moving between home screen panels.
  • Email icon has been updated for improved visibility.
  • When performing an Over the Air (OTA) update, the display will correctly show the remaining download time.
  • CMAS (Commercial Mobile Alert Service) feature has been added.

Aside from getting Android 2.3.6, you'll also get some VCast apps now pre-installed plus, MotoCast installation steps have been improved for ease of use.

Source: Verizon; Thanks, Kris!

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2 years ago

Android Market security addressed by Google's new Bouncer

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Today Google unveiled a new tool to fight malware in the Android Market, appropriately named Bouncer.  Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP of Engineering for Android made the announcement on the Google Mobile blog, and it seems to address most concerns users have with the "free and open" style of app market, all done server-side.

Bouncer is a service that runs on the Market's computers, that scans each and every app for known malware, spyware, and trojans.  It also looks in the code to see if the app has the potential to "misbehave", and compares it against other previously analyzed apps to spot any red flags.  New developer accounts are also analyzed to make sure they're not a previous offender with a new name.  Google says they actually run every application in the cloud to simulate how it acts on our Android devices.  

This service has been running for some time already.  Despite the claims across the Internet that malicious applications are on the rise, Google says the amount of bad apps in the Market has decreased 40 percent between the first half of 2011 and the second half.  According to Google, the most important measurement is whether or not malicious apps are being installed, and they know that "rate is declining significantly".  This is in sharp contrast to recent claims by Symantec and others that malicious Android applications are on the rise.

They also take a bit of time to explain how Android was designed from the beginning to make malware less disruptive.  Learning from the way malware can cause havoc in the PC model, Google has incorporated sandboxing, a permission system that's readily available for the end-user to see, and the ability to remotely remove malicious applications.  

No system is perfect.  Even very closed application market models have malware slip in once in a while.  it's nice to see Google is doing what they can to keep us all safer.

Source: Google Mobile blog

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2 years ago

White HTC Sensation with coming to Europe from Mar. 1 [Updated]

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Android 4.0 OTA update for Sensation coming "early this year"

Update: HTC has sent out a clarificaiton that this verison of the Sensation will ship with Gingerbread by will get an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich "early this year."

Original: According to a press release from HTC's Dutch wing, the manufacturer is preparing to launch an "ice white" version of its Sensation smartphone from Mar. 1, with the latest version of Android in tow. The Dutch presser indicates that the new Sensation revision will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and that the ICS update will be rolling out over-the-air to other Sensation models "soon".

Besides that, it's an HTC Sensation in a slightly different color -- same specs, and most likely a similar price point. We're not complaining though, as the Sensation was one of our favorite phones of 2011, and it's looking better than ever with its new lick of paint.

What's a little baffling, however, is the timing of the release -- we're expecting to see a bunch of new HTC phones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, just a few days before this thing's due to launch. In any case, we're sure Sensation owners will welcome the news that their long-awaited ICS update is just around the corner.

Source: WhizPR (Dutch); via: Eurodroid

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2 years ago

Purported leaked Samsung render shows mix of new, old and nonexistent

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We might not get the Samsung Galaxy S III at Mobile World Congress, but that doesn't mean there might not be something new to play with Mobile rumormonger Eldar Murtazin today teased the Twitters with the image you see above and the following five words: "Barcelona. Samsung. Press Photo Leaked." We can't speak at all about the validity of the image, so we'll just talk about what we see. 

So, yeah. That looks to be some sort of Ice Cream Sandwich with some sort of TouchWiz-esque mash-up. It's different than what we saw in that leaked video from the Galaxy S II in December. It wouldn't greatly surprise us to learn a new phone would have a new version of TouchWiz, nor would it surprise us to learn that the earlier leak was just that -- an early leak and is off the table.

The icons in the dock look like they've been refined a little bit, which you'd expect, right? They've got the ICS app drawer icon on the middle. Glad to see it.

Now the capacitive buttons at the bottom. ... They're done in the style of the on-screen ICS buttons, only they're obviously not on the screen here. The icons are different than what you find on Samsung phones today -- They're the ICS buttons.

Unlike the three-buttoned LG Spectrum, which has menu-home-back, this render goes back-home-multitasking.

And that's that. If you want to get really nit-picky, that calendar entry is for a date that doesn't exist. And that's the old icon for the Android Market, not what you'll see on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Could just be poor rendering, or it could be a sign. And note that this render looks like it borrows heavily from the T-Mobile UK Galaxy S II.

Anyhoo. Maybe it's legit. Maybe it's not. One way to find out: Let's go to Barcelona.

Source: @EldarMurtazin

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2 years ago

The best UK/European Android Phones - As of Feb. 2, 2012

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Welcome to the best UK and European Android Phones as of Feb. 2, 2012. Or you can call them our favorite Android phones. Or the top Android phones. Really, call them whatever you want. Here's what you're getting: Our unabashed, unapologetic and unequivocal list of what we consider to be the best Android smartphones available on the five major UK networks today. For those of you outside the UK, we've also thrown in a rundown of our top five unlocked, international GSM phones.

There are a lot of great Android phones available to tempt European buyers, and unlike the U.S., many phones are available on multiple carriers, giving Euros a bit more freedom when it comes to their choice of device. In any case, join us after  the jump for the complete rundown, or check out the best U.S. and Canadian devices at the link below.

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2 years ago

Galaxy Nexus launches on Canada's Mobilicity four days ahead of schedule

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Canadian contract-free carrier Mobilicity has announced that the Galaxy Nexus is now on sale, four days ahead of the expected February 6 launch. The Nexus is available in stores for $599, and comes with a free Samsung HM1100 Bluetooth headset for a limited time. The device's availability coincides with the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Mobilicity brand-- it also comes one day before competing pay-as-you-go carrier WIND Mobile will begin selling the flagship device.

Mobilicity also announced a Valentine's Day-themed promotion to run from February 6 through the 17th. In-lust couples are invited to submit a video of their best kiss to the carrier's "Mobile Kiss Cam Contest" via Facebook-- winners will receive a free Galaxy Nexus or Galaxy Mini, with six months of free unlimited service.

Mobilicity's full presser can be found after the jump. Canadians itching to take a bite out of Ice Cream Sandwich will find Mobilicity's product page at the source link.

Source: Mobilicity

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2 years ago

Samsung Infuse 4G Gingerbread update now available over Kies Mini

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Good news, everyone! After a bit of a false start yesterday, the Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread update for the Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T is now available via the Kies Mini. Now the bad news: the Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread update (software version KL2) for the Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T is now available via the Kies Mini. (See what we did there?)

Kies is notoriously one of the most tempermental update system there is, and that stigma hasn't been lessened with this latest update. A good number of you are seeing the same thing we are in the image above -- an unregistered device. That's no fun.

But at least the update is finally out there, and these things have a habit of sorting themselves out. Shame it's such a mess in the meantime.

More: Infuse 4G forums; Samsung

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2 years ago

Sprint HTC EVO Shift 4G gets a software update

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Sprint today announced that the HTC EVO Shift 4G is getting a software update. Here's what's new in software version 2.77.651.3:

  • Security Update
  • Updated Peep client ( to align with Twitter)
  • Battery life improvements

The "Security update" presumably removes the Carrier IQ analytics software from the device (remember that Sprint had quit using it anyway). Head into your settings menu to snag the update now, or you can wait for it to push out automatically starting Feb. 7.

Source: Sprint
More: EVO Shift 4G review; EVO Shift 4G forums

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2 years ago

The best Canadian Android Phones - As of Feb. 2, 2012

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Welcome to the best Canadian Android Phones as of Feb. 2, 2012. Or you can call them our favorite Android phones. Or the top Android phones. Really, call them whatever you want. Here's what you're getting: Our unabashed, unapologetic and unequivocal list of what we consider to be the best Android smartphones available on the three major Canadian carriers today.

Just like with our American list, you can't have this sort of thing without controversy. But considering that we're talking Canadian phones and Canadian readers, we also expect the discussion to be much more civil. 

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2 years ago

HTC addressing Wifi security loophole in some Android handsets

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HTC is updating some of its Android phones to address a security vulnerability which could allow malicious apps to steal Wifi security information. In a post on its official support site, the manufacturer says that many of the affected handsets have already been updated over-the-air, however some may require a manual update.

On an affected device, the bug in question could allow an Android application with the innocuous-sounding "ACCESS_WIFI_STATE" permission to access Wifi passwords for any network the phone's connected to. According to security researchers Chris Hessing and Bret Jordan, who originally discovered the vulnerability, phones affected by the bug include --

TheNextWeb reports that Hessing and Jordan discovered the issue in September 2011, but worked with Google and HTC to track down the root cause and develop a fix before going public. That's why we're just hearing about this for the first time today.

As HTC says, if your device is affected, it's likely already been updated with the fix over-the-air. The manufacturer says to check back next week for more information on a manual patch for certain handsets. In any case, we're not too worried about this latest security scare, and we don't think you should be either. If you were affected, chances are you already have the fix. And after all, stealing a Wifi password is among the less menacing things a malicious app could do.

Source: HTC Support; via: TheNextWeb

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2 years ago

A.I.type releases FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard

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Early last month we told you about A.I.type and their need for beta testers for a new "floating" spilt keyboard.  Fast-forward to today, and the beta product is now finished, and FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard is now available in the Android Market.  Based on the original A.I.type keyboard and it's amazing prediction engine, FloatNSplit brings a new and unique user interface for tablet users, with a split keyboard that's not only resizable, but with a movable "window" that A.I.type says will change your tablet typing experience.

It's also completely customizable, to adapt to your typing style and needs.  Options include dedicated numeric keys that appear and hide with a finger swipe, a resizing button, and cut/copy/paste/undo/redo functions built into the app itself.  But of course the killer feature is the floating split style.

You can split the tablet version into two semi-transparent halves for easy thumb typing, and they can be dragged separately and positioned anywhere you like on your screen.  A virtual button switches through the three modes (full, split, and floating) to keep the keyboard small and in perfect position for thumb typing with one or both hands.  FloatNSplit currently supports over 30 languages and character layouts, with context-sensitive text prediction and auto-correct available for English, Hebrew, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Russian, French and Dutch. Support for Greek, Turkish, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Tagalog is said to be coming soon.  

AI FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard requires Android 2.2 or higher, and sells in the Android Market for $5.99.  Six bucks is a lot to spend on an Android application, but A.I.type is so confident that it's offering its own two-day refund guarantee, so I'm definitely checking it out.  We've got a video, some screenshots, and a download link after the break.

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2 years ago

Late night poll: Have you read Google's new privacy policy?

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You might have heard that Google has a new consolidated privacy policy coming in March.  All the cool kids are talking about it, and even Microsoft has had a little to say to help you decide how you feel about it.  On one side, you have folks who aren't concerned or say it's a good thing, and on the other you have those who say Google's new policy is horrible for us, the users.  (We're ignoring the folks who claim it will hasten the zombie apocalypse or cause biblical repercussions of any form).  Tonight, we just want to know how many of you guys have even bothered to read it?

Let us know in the poll, and when you're done, have a read if you haven't already. 

Have you read the new Google consolidated privacy policy?

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