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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Your opinion of Ice Cream Sandwich

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Since a few phones and tablets have been upgraded to (or shipped with) Ice Cream Sandwich, now is a good time to ask those who are using it what they think. We know, most devices don't have it yet (don't worry, you'll get to express your displeasure as well) but it's pinging the website enough to get a fair idea from enough folks to see how El Goog did with the latest version.

I bounce back and forth between devices with ICS and one or two without it. I'm probably in a unique position where I can really tell what's better (to me, anyway) and what's not after close inspection, but first impressions matter as well. Even if your first trip into Androidland has you running ICS, don't be afraid to vote! My vote? I really like it. Other than no persistent menu button (which I'm going to have to deal with on my own terms -- it ain't coming back) I think everything else is either a great improvement, or the beginnings of one. Some of it took some time to get used to, mainly the people app and the phone app, but it's starting to feel like old hat and I'm digging it.

But I know what I think. It's time to find out what you think -- tell us in tonight's poll!

 

What are your impressions of Ice Cream Sandwich?

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2 years ago

We're answering your HTC One S questions in the Android Central forums!

You've read our initial preview and our full review, but maybe you still have some burning questions about the One S, HTC's latest 4.3-incher that's out now in Europe and coming to T-Mobile USA later this month. Fear not -- we're standing by to answer your questions about the device over in the Android Central forums, so whatever you want to know is just a post away.

If you're not already signed up, registration is free, and there's plenty of discussion to be had elsewhere in the forums too.

To get started with your HTC One S questions, hit the forum thread below, and we'll do our best to deliver you the info you crave.

More: HTC One S questions on the Android Central forums

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2 years ago

Security scare of the week: What can an app with no permissions do?

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The latest in the never-ending story of Android security is out, and this time it's talking about what an app can access if it declares no permissions. (To put it another way, what all an application can see if it doesn't request any of the normal functionality apps request.) Some folks make it out to be nothing to worry about, others use it in their quest to damnify the world's most popular mobile phone OS, but we figure the best thing to do with it is explain what's happening. 

A group of security researchers set out to create an app that declares no permissions to find out exactly what sort of information they could get out of from the Android system it was running on. This sort of thing is done every day, and the more popular the target is, the more people are looking at it. We actually want them to do this sort of thing, and from time to time folks find things that are critical and need fixed. Everybody benefits.

This time around, they found that an app with no (as in none, nada, zilch) permissions could do three very interesting things. None are serious, but all are worth looking at a bit. We'll start with the SD card.

Any app can read data on your SD card. It's always been this way, and it will always be this way. (Writing to the SD card is what needs a permission.) Utilities are available to create secure, hidden folders and protect them from other apps, but by default any data written to the SD card is there for any app to see. This is by design, as we want to allow our computer to access all the data on shareable partitions (like SD cards) when we plug them in. Newer versions of Android use a different partitioning method and a different way to share data that moves away from this, but then we all get to bitch about using MTP. (Unless you're Phil, but he's a little nuts at likes MTP.) This is an easy fix -- don't put sensitive data on your SD card. Don't use apps that put sensitive data on your SD card. Then quit worrying about programs being able to see data they are supposed to be able to see.

The next thing they found is really interesting if you're a geek -- an can read the /data/system/packages.list file with no explicit permission. This poses no threat on its own, but knowing what applications a user has installed is a great way to know what exploits may be useful to compromise their phone or tablet. Think of vulnerabilities in other apps -- the example the researchers used was Skype. Knowing that an exploit exists it's there means an attacker could try to target it. It's worth mentioning that targeting a known insecure app would probably require some permissions to do so, though. (And it's also worth reminding folks that Skype quickly acknowledged and fixed its permissions issue.)

Finally, they discovered that the /proc directory gives a bit of data when queried. Their example shows that they can read things like the Android ID, kernel version, and ROM version. There's a lot more that can be found in the /proc directory, but we need to remember that /proc isn't a real file system. Look at yours with root explorer -- it's full of 0-byte files that are created at runtime, and is designed for apps and software to communicate with the running kernel. There is no real sensitive data stored there, and it's all erased and rewritten when the phone is power cycled. If you are worried that someone might be able to find your kernel version or 16 digit Android ID, you still have the hurdle of getting that information sent anywhere without explicit Internet permissions. 

We're glad that people are digging in deep to find these sort of issues, and while these aren't critical by any serious definition, it's good to make Google aware of them. Researchers doing this sort of work can only make things safer and better for all of us. And we need to stress the point that the fellows at Leviathan aren't talking doom and gloom, they are just presenting facts in a useful way -- the doom and gloom is coming from outside sources.

Source: Leviathan Security Group

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2 years ago

HTC looking into reports of chipped ceramic coating on some One S phones

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As you'll know if you've been following our coverage of the device, the HTC One S comes in two flavors -- anodized aluminum (grey) and ceramic (black). The black version is treated using a process called micro-arc oxidation, which involves taking the aluminum unibody and pumping it full of electricity until, through the power of science, the surface takes on a ceramic-like texture.

However, some One S owners have reported that after just a few days, the fancy matte coating is already starting to erode. There's even the customary XDA thread with photos of unsightly scratches along the top edge of some devices, apparently through normal use rather than being dropped or knocked around. We haven't noticed anything that drastic with our MAO-coated review unit, but it has picked up a few smudges here and there. Then again, a phone picking up scuffs over time is hardly news in itself.

In a statement sent to The Verge, HTC says it's aware of the repots and is investigating the issue. That's the way these things work, and we're hopeful HTC will make things right for those with genuine defects.

But it's also worth mentioning that just because a phone's been fried in plasma, doesn't make it immune to the laws of physics. Scratches will still happen, even on a surface that's purportedly four times harder than the standard anodized aluminum. A good analogy here is Corning's Gorilla Glass. This is stronger than regular glass, but although it's bendable and shatter resistant, it remains susceptible to hairline scratches. The point of a reinforced surface is to avoid structural, not cosmetic damage. It's also true that manufacturing defects happen, particularly in the early days, and these aren't necessarily indicative of a flawed design.

However this pans out, we'll be watching with interest, and we'll keep you posted of further developments. Be sure to share your own experiences with the One S down in the comments.

Source: The Verge

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2 years ago

From the Android Forums: Can my Rezound get official ICS if I don't have Verizon service?

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af250xxl asks in the Android Central forums,

Can my Rezound get the official ICS update if I don't have Verizon service? I removed the Rezound from my account the day after I activated it because I don't want to pay the $30 data fee. Will HTC or Verizon have a website for people to download the ICS update to a PC or directly to the Rezound?

Great question. The short version is no, but that doesn't paint the whole picture. Some Android phones don't require the user to have an active service plan to get an OTA update, but some do -- the HTC Rezound, like most phones on Verizon, is one that does require it. We're not sure of the full reasoning behind this practice, only that it helps control the OS versions from a customer service and tech support standpoint. My tinfoil hat side says it's done to convince users to keep their service active, but that's just paranoia talking.

But all is not lost. There will be a file released by HTC and sent to Verizon service technicians called an RUU (ROM Update Utility), and it is a manual way to update the phone via the USB connection. Carriers have Android geeks working for them, and these sort of things tend to get leaked out to the community rather quickly. Using the RUU and a Windows computer, you would be able to wipe and re-flash your Rezound to the latest version. Talking to the folks in the HTC Rezound forum is a good place to start, and they will know the minute any new RUU leaks out. Keep an eye out for it and you'll likely be able to do exactly what you're hoping to do.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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2 years ago

Verizon HTC Incredible 4G smiles for the blurrycam

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Up until now we have only seen the HTC Incredible 4G surface in some documents, but it appears as though the folks at Android Police have landed themselves some blurrycam shots. Looking quite similar to the HTC Rezound, the HTC Incredible 4G appears to be sporting a 4-inch display, except this time they have added the capacitive button style of the newer devices like the HTC One X (and its cousins). The device should launch with Ice Cream Sandwich with Sense 4.0 on top of it.

Packing 1GB of RAM internally and a mere 8GB of internal storage, and it will be powered by a 1.2GHz processor as well. The device should feature an 8MP shooter on the back, and have Beats Audio support, though no headphones included. Unlike the HTC One X, the Incredible 4G will have a user removable battery and battery door. While nothing is firm, their tipster suggests we could see this device in the $99 - $149 price range on contract. Here's to hoping we see this device hit officially sooner than later.

Source: Android Police

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2 years ago

Slacker Radio celebrates Lollapalooza 2012 with dedicated station and contest

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The stages will soon be set for Lollapalooza 2012, and to help kick things off the folks from Slacker have now launched their Lollapalooza 2012 radio station. Featuring headlining artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Black Sabbath, Jack White, Florence + The Machine, At The Drive In and exclusive content just for Slacker, it's the perfect way to get yourself amped up for the event if you're attending or if you're not, you can still enjoy all the great content.

If you're already a Slacker Radio user you'll find the station under "Festivals/Events". If you're not a Slacker user, you can hit the break to get it loaded up. Plus, to celebrate the launch, Slacker is giving music fans the chance to win a VIP trip for two to Lollapalooza, airfare and hotel included - you can visit Slacker's Facebook page to enter to win.

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2 years ago

LG Viper may be available in Sprint locations starting April 22

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Sprint has already announced that the LG Viper pre-orders will begin tomorrow, but what they managed to leave out was the actual date it would arrive in stores. The only information given was that it would be later this month, but the folks at Engadget received a tip today that puts it in store on April 22. This date could make sense being as it would be 10 days after the start of the pre-order, and it falls on a Sunday which is a common day for new phones to enter the market. While this is still unofficial at this point, we can cross our fingers that it is the day, and Sprint will make it official soon as well.

Source: Engadget

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2 years ago

IM+ for Android v6.2 now available in public beta

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If you don't mind being a beta tester for a while you can now get in on the latest IM+. A whole laundry list of features has been added along with a rather nice looking dark theme available for use. SHAPE Services has pegged this as v6.2 and has taken the time to address a lot of user feedback with it as well as including a whole slew of bug fixes for notifications, contact lists, favorite lists and much more. If you're looking to give it a shot for all your instant messaging needs, you hit the source link to grab the install file just keep in mind, it is a beta.

Source: SHAPE Services

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2 years ago

T-Mobile holding HTC One S press event next Wednesday

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It looks like T-Mobile customers might not have too long to wait before they can get their hands on the HTC One S. Tmo is inviting members of the press to attend a launch party for the phone on the evening of next Wednesday, April 18. Recent rumors have pointed to a possible launch a week later, on April 25, so the timing of this event may give some weight to those claims. There'll also be a live performance by indie-pop band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

The One S is the middle sibling in the HTC One range, with a 4.3-inch screen, a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with HTC Sense 4.0. For a sneak peek of what to expect, go ahead and check out our full review of the European HTC One S. And you can be sure we'll be at the Tmo event next Wednesday to bring you full coverage of the US version of the phone.

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