Headlines

2 years ago

Older phones running custom Android firmware from Moto, HTC, and Samsung have major security issues, say N.C. State researchers

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Researchers at N.C. State University have performed a study of eight Android phones (HTC's Legend, EVO 4G, and Wildfire S; Motorola's Droid and Droid X; Samsung's Epic 4G; and the Nexus One and Nexus S from Google) and found more potentially disturbing information.  While the Nexus phones and OG Droid (phones that run stock Android) had one minor security issue, namely a code bug in the pico app that would allow another app to delete the pico installer app, the rest of the bunch didn't fare so well.  All the phones with customized versions of Android had serious security issues

In particular, by exploiting these leaked capabilities, an untrusted app on these affected phones can manage to wipe out the user data on the phones, send out SMS messages (e.g., to premium numbers), record user conversation, or obtain user geo-locations – all without asking for any permission.

Apparently because the system applications built by vendors such as HTC, Moto, and Samsung are all signed with the same digital signing key, they are able to inter-communicate and access each other's data.  While this is a serious security flaw, it's also possible that it was done by design so that applications like Friendstream or Social Hub can easily parse social networking app data and aggregate it, and these researchers just found a new method to exploit that system.

While the implications for Android are new, the idea of exploit attacks on popular computing platforms is not.  As Android grows in popularity, more people will be focused on finding (and reporting) exploits against the OS.  Researchers have dutifully reported the issue to Google and all the OEM's, although they express difficulty dealing with HTC and Samsung who (as of this writing) the researchers say have been "very slow in responding, if not ignoring our reports/inquires". 

Should you be worried?  Not any more than you were yesterday.  Malware exists because a whole hell of a lot of people use Android, and users are not restricted to installing only approved applications.  If these types of reports bother you -- and that's a pretty valid response -- you still have the option of installing only trusted applications by well-known developers, or other options to not run the affected firmware on your phone.  And while nobody wants to hear me say it again (but I'm about to anyway), Nexus devices running Android as it was written are once again immune from these serious issues, so are always the better choice if you value your security. 

Source: NC State University CSC (.pdf)

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2 years ago

AT&T teasing New York City with taste of LTE

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It looks like the LG Nitro HD wasn't the only thing to hit New York City last night: the shiny new flagship is currently surfing on AT&T's 4G LTE network, which hasn't been "officially" switched on yet here in the Big Apple. We'll go ahead and assume that AT&T is still in the testing phases here in the five boroughs, with an official statement on its way. Whether it's here to stay or just a dry run, one thing is clear: AT&T is pulling some major speeds. Last night saw Ookla's Speedtest clocking in at 56.59 Mbps down and 12.81 Mbps up, which is almost too good to be true. Sure enough, this afternoon has already "slowed down" to  13.48 Mbps down and 1.14 Mbps up. Either way, New Yorkers looking to snag the Nitro HD on Sunday will surely be impressed by their data speeds. 

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Nexus car dock, desktop docks finally appear

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While most of us here in the states are still anxiously awaiting to get our hands on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the folks at MobileFun have got their hands on some pretty awesome accessories for it. They took some time to show off the accessories, such as the car dock, HDMI dock, spare battery charger, and the pin dock. Some pretty awesome accessories here that we hope will follow along to the US with the device in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for more informaion. Hit the break for some more images and videos!

Source: MobileFun; via Smartdroid

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2 years ago

Another Galaxy Nexus at the FCC points toward possible proper AT&T love

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We've said before that we fully expect U.S. carriers other than Verizon to make available subsidized versions of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and this looks like a pretty good step in that direction. The FCC has approved the GT-i9250T, which is a Galaxy Nexus sporting radio frequencies for 3G on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz, which AT&T (among others outside the states) uses. This is different than the GSM version many of us have already imported in that it's lacking the 1700 MHz band for T-Mobile 3G (also called AWS). So it's a pretty good bet that we may well see a proper AT&T release at some point.

Why an entirely different version for AT&T if the current GSM model works just fine? Wouldn't want you to even have the possibility of skipping over to T-Mobile, we reckon. Not a huge deal, but also a little odd.

Source: FCC; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Vector Unit announces new game Shine Runner, available now

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Vector Unit, the folks behind Riptide GP (one of the best games for Android ever), has let us know that a new title -- Shine Runner -- will be available tomorrow in the Android Market.  Imagine the same type of amazing physics and graphics used for futuristic Jet-Skis in Riptide GP, but imported into a moonshine runners airboat deep in the southern swamps, complete with gators, shacks, stumps, and revenuers.  The game's goal is to maximize your score over a ten day period of smuggling through rivers and bayous, while keeping a step ahead of Johnny Law.  But I think I'm going to end up with the same mindset as Ralf Knoesel, Vector Unit’s Technical Director, who says:

Our theme for this game is simple.  Two words: ’Redneck Chaos.’ Yes, there’s strategy to the trading meta-game, but personally I just love smashing alligators into chicken coops, punting cops off the tops of levies… I’ve been working on Shine Runner for months now and I still laugh when I’m playing.

You had me at redneck chaos, Ralf.  Hit the jump to see a few more screenshots and a gameplay trailer, then join me as we all wait patiently for tomorrow.

More: Vector Unit

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2 years ago

Carrier IQ, in a new press release, reminds us it works for the carriers

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Carrier IQ has issued a new press release defending its business and reminding us all that it works not unilaterally, but for the operator -- the carrier. The nut:

Carrier IQ acts as an agent for the Operators. Each implementation is different and the diagnostic information actually gathered is determined by our customers – the mobile Operators. Carrier IQ does not gather any other data from devices.

We've got a massive discussion coming up on the podcast, folks.

Check out the whole press relase for yourself after the break.

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2 years ago

Android version numbers as of Dec. 1 are out, Gingerbread sees a big boost

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It's the beginning of the month, so that means that the new numbers for just how many phones are running each version of Android have come out.  Following the past trends, Gingerbread has seen even more growth, running over 50 percent of all Android devices that visit the Android Market.  The legacy versions keep dropping as well, with Cupcake and Donut (Android 1.5 and 1.6 respectively) dropping to 2.1 percent of the total.  We still don't see a very big uptick in Honeycomb, which has historically been a slower grower.  With Ice Cream Sandwich now among us, this chart will be interesting to watch as we see which carriers and OEM's send out those timely updates.

Source: Android Developers

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2 years ago

LG Nitro HD hands on (updated with video)

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We're here in New York City tonight where LG just took the wraps off of its next major device, the Nitro HD. This one's heading to AT&T, where it'll surf the carrier's latest and greatest 4G LTE network. Hit the break for my first impressions.

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2 years ago

LG and AT&T showing off the Nitro HD tonight, we're here live!

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Guess that cat's out of the bag. We're at LG's event in New York City where "all will be revealed." And we're either about to get a hands-on with some sexy stilettos, or the AT&T Nitro HD. Either way, we win. Stay tuned tonight for more.

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2 years ago

UK networks insist they don't use Carrier IQ software

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There's been plenty of coverage surrounding Carrier IQ in recent days, so it was only a matter of time before we'd be hearing whisperings over on this side of the Atlantic. However, some of the UK networks have come out and insisted that they absolutely do not employ the Carrier IQ software. 

Speaking to The Guardian, Vodafone, Orange and O2 all say they do not install the software on any of their devices in the UK, and to their knowledge it isn't shipped on any of the phones that they sell. 

Vodafone Portugal however are allegedly going to start using the software, according to Carrier IQ themselves. But in the UK at least, there's no apparent reason to be concerned. 

Source: The Guardian

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2 years ago

GSM Galaxy Nexus factory images now available

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Googler and AOSP gatekeeper Jean-Baptiste Queru announced that the factory restore images for the GSM flavored Samsung Galaxy Nexus are now available for download on the Android Building Google group this afternoon.  This means that no matter how bad you screw up the system software on your new Nexus phone, you now have a path to go back to where you started, namely Android 4.0.1 (ITL41D) as well as the original baseband and bootloader.  To use these images, you'll need to have fastboot up and running and have a bit of know-how about how exactly to use it, so be sure to spend a bit of time reading if you're not familiar with the process.  You can find the image, with a handy flash-all script to simplify the process included, at the link below. 

Source: Android Building Google group

Download the factory image

 

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2 years ago

The complete Apple user's guide to Android [from the forums]

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Around here we don't judge people for their choice of smartphone OS.  We might point and snicker, but it's all in fun.  Having said that, there are more than a few people making the leap from an iPhone to an Android phone.  There's a world of difference, and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out the "Android way" of doing things -- especially if you're used to iOS and their different, "Apple way" of doing things.  AC forums adviser, and all around guru of guides milominderbinder has you covered once again.  He's taken the time and broken everything down to the basics, with an eye for folks switching to Android from iOS.  It's a beautiful read, even if you're not an ex-iUser -- you'll probably learn something.  Be sure to hit the forums and check it out, and give milo a big thanks for his hard work!

Apple user's guide to Android

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2 years ago

Verizon's Samsung Fascinate getting Gingerbread, for what it's worth

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Anybody remember the Samsung Fascinate on Verizon? A few of you in the back? Good. Cause the phone that time forgot has finally (finally!) gotten its long-overdue update to Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread. Now you can bask in the knowledge that your phone's only one major update behind (more or less, since we're not counting Honeycomb).

That's the good news. The bad news is we wouldn't hold our breath waiting on an update to Ice Cream Sandwich, at least officially. Get yourself to your favorite Fascinate forum (oh, look, there's a handy link below) and keep your eye's peeled for some developer action.

More: Fascinate forums;
Thanks to Jody for the pic, and everyone else who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Nexus now available from Vodafone UK

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Vodafone UK arrives fashionably late to the Galaxy Nexus party, with today's announcement that the British network is now offering Google's latest flagship device on-contract. Be sure to check out our exhaustive review for more on the device itself.

Voda's currently offering the new Nexus for free on 24-month contracts of £41 or more per month, which also nets you 1200 minutes, unlimited texts and 750MB of data. If that's a little steep for you, you can downsize to between £26 and £36 per month for a smaller usage allowance, along with an up-front charge for the phone. Head over to the source link for the full list of plans.

Source: Vodafone UK

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2 years ago

AT&T gives another peek at the LG Nitro HD

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

We're still fully expecting to get our hot little hands on the LG Nitro HD tonight in New York City. To pass the hours, though, AT&T's offered up its own video hands-on with the phone, with its 720p display and LTE data. It'll be available Dec. 4 for $249 on contract.

Check it out, and check back in tonight for all the live coverage!

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