Headlines

2 years ago

HTC releases new APIs for Beats, Sense lockscreen, device management and MediaLink

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HTC has announced that they are opening up a bit more of the OpenSense SDK, and including APIs for Beats Audio, the Sense 4.0 lockscreen, Mobile device management, and the MediaLink HD system. This opens many new features to application developers, and apps can include these calls so that they are differentiated on HTC Sense phones, yet function on all phones with the same software build. 

In layman's terms, this means the people who build apps can now include things like Beats Audio support, lockscreen widgets and shortcuts, remote control through websites like htcsense.com, and leverage the media streaming ability of the MediaLink HD docks. If you have a Sense 4.0 phone, you'll get all these perks, and the apps can be written so users without a Sense 4.0 phone get the same exact app, without the Sense features and functions. That's less work for developers and it means faster and better updates -- something all Android junkies love.

The new OpenSense SDK will be available in the coming weeks, in the meantime we can prepare for things like a video player that uses Beats Audio, with a lockscreen widget or Web app to control it, streamed to your television via MediaLink. I think we're ready.

Source: HTC

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2 years ago

NSA builds Android phone for 'Top Secret' communication

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The NSA (National Security Agency) has developed an Android phone that meets "Top Secret" criteria using off-the-shelf components. Dubbed the fishbowl phone, 100 units were built and deployed by IAD (Information Assurance Directorate) and division head Margaret Salter says that anyone can recreate the phones using the specs published at the NSA website.

The plan was to buy commercial components, layer them together and get a secure solution. It uses solely commercial infrastructure to protect classified data.

 -- IAD Department head Margaret Salter

The new phones, which even have their own secure enterprise application store, mean that users no longer have to speak in code when talking about government secrets. Using IPSEC VPNs, and having voice sessions use Datagram Transport Layer Security and the Secure Real-time Transport Protocol means that calls are safe from prying eyes, and this was published because Salter thinks the voice application security specification would be useful to everyone. Voice calls are encrypted twice, and all go through the NSA enterprise servers to maintain control and keep communications safe between only the parties involved. 

It appears that choosing the components was a bit difficult, and Salter urges her colleagues to "demand vendors improve unified communications interoperability". The parts weren't chosen by brand, and instead were chosen for the way they supported the required functionality. This means that a part from one vendor had to work well with a part from another vendor, which proved difficult. None of the compromises that had to be made reduced the security of the phone. In addition, a "police app" was designed to monitor all operations of the device in case any portion was compromised. 

'Droid does top secret.

Source: SC Magazine; via Android Central forums

Thanks, DenverRalphy!

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2 years ago

German court says enough is enough, throws out two patent cases between Samsung and Apple

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A Manheim regional court in Germany today threw out two patent disputes between Samsung and Apple: the first regarding Apple's infrigement on Samsung's 3G/UMTS technology, the second regarding Samsung's use of slide-to-unlock gesutres on its devices. The ruling against Samsung is the third in a row in Germany, while the ruling against Apple is the first of two, the second scheduled for a March 16 hearing.

The court decision comes just a few weeks after a Munich court ruled that Motorola had indeed infringed upon Apple's slide-to-unlock patents, resulting in alterations being made to Motorola's unlock feature. 

Today's ruling is just a drop in the bucket, as there is upwards of at least 14 disputes between Samsung and Apple pending in Germany, with more waging around the world. Samsung has already promised to appeal today's decision, while Apple will likely do the same. 

The back-and-forth between Apple and other manufacturers is far from over, though it is refreshing to see a judge as fed up with it as everyone else is. With Apple, Samsung, Motorola and HTC all slated to release some heavy-hitting devices in the coming months, we'll be sure to keep you posted as the war rages on.

Source: FOSS Patents

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2 years ago

Huawei launching Ascend D LTE and P1 LTE in Europe and Asia by July

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Huawei has announced that it'll launch the 4G LTE versions of its Ascend D series and Ascend P1 smartphones in Europe and Asia by the middle of the year. The two smartphones will be joined by a range of new LTE network cards and Mifis, as LTE networks continue to expand across both continents.

The Chinese manufacturer showed off its latest super high-end smartphone at Mobile World Congress this week -- the Ascend D Quad. However, Ascend D LTE will be powered by a Snapdragon S4 chip, compared to the Huawei-designed quad-core chip in the D Quad. For more on Huawei's upcoming flagship device, check out our hands-on preview from MWC.

We've got Huawei's press release after the break.

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S III to be released next month after it's announced this month, says ZDNet Korea

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The Samsung Galaxy S III (or now, apparently, the Galaxy S3) will be released in April, after it's announced in March, says ZDNet Korea, citing marketing sources. Could well happen. Or not. Of course, Samsung has to announce the phone, and then release dates will roll out worldwide as they always do -- slowly and gradually. And those of us here in the United States will have to wait for the carriers to make their own announcements. ZDNet's sources say it'll all revolve around some heavy Summer Olympics marketing, which would make sense.

We'll let you know when we actually see announcement invites or something ... what's that word ... official.

Source: ZDNet Korea

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2 years ago

Samsung reportedly sells 2 million Galaxy Notes, hopes for 10 million by year's end

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Samsung has sold two million Galaxy Note smartphones since the device's debut last November, according to the latest numbers reported by Forbes. The figure sees Samsung doubling the initial million sold between late October and late December 2011, and is likely boosted by the Note's recent launch in the U.S. and Canada. Forbes also says the manufacturer is aiming for a total of 10 million by the end of the year.

We imagine this is a predicted number for all Note series devices, including the recently unveiled Galaxy Note 10.1, a product which sits firmly on the "tablet" side of the phone/tablet divide. Rumors of a 7-inch Galaxy Note also persist, despite the lack of such a device at Mobile World Congress. However, given the speed at which Samsung is rolling out new phones and tablets, we'd be surprised if we didn't see more Galaxy Notes before the end of 2012.

Samsung also announced strong sales of its Galaxy S II series recently, including global sales of 20 million units and 5 million sold in Samsung's native South Korea.

Source: Forbes

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2 years ago

Sprint Data Storm Sweepstakes - Win one of 30 Galaxy Nexus smartphones from Sprint

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On Sprint and want the chance to win yourself a Samsung Galaxy Nexus? Now you can get the chance to do so. Seems Sprint is throwing a little bit of a celebration and giving away 30 of them. You can head on over to their Sprint Data Storm Sweepstakes site and get enetered today. Before anyone else points it out, yes -- the contest does close on April 5, 2012 so take from that what you will. In other words, it may be the release date or it may not -- we don't know.

Source: Sprint

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2 years ago

Android allows apps to see your photos, like every computer does [FUD]

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Let's file this under "anything for a story about Android". The New York Times has decided that Android is also "vulnerable" to apps being able to see your pictures, just like it was designed to do. It all stems from some press recently where iOS had a loophole that allowed apps without permissions to access photos stored on a user's mobile device. There is a big difference here though, and it's in the design. 

iOS was designed so that nothing but the gallery on your device, or iTunes had access to your pictures. Developers that had to access GPS data could get in the Camera Roll, because a lot of pictures have and use GPS data. Rene does a really good job at explaining this over at iMore, and you should read it. Personally, I didn't think it was a severe security hole on iOS, but it was a loophole that Apple decided to fix. That's good -- if you're going to have a permissions policy on a certain part of the file system, you should enforce it. Even a silly permissions policy.

Android, on the other hand, was not designed this way. It's like a Windows computer. Or a Mac computer. Or a Linux computer. Or a digital camera. Even the computer used to write the story at the NYT allows complete access to photos -- they all do. It's standard file input/output, and just because Apple decided not to use it makes no difference. It doesn't stop there, either. Documents, videos, music, all media is able to be shared in a modern operating system. I can use Microsoft Office and see the pictures folder on every computer here at my house, because it was designed that way. It makes things easy to use and share, because we like to use and share digital media.

Unfortunately, all the fuss over "private" data lately has even Google second guessing themselves:

We originally designed the Android photos file system similar to those of other computing platforms like Windows and Mac OS. At the time, images were stored on a SD card, making it easy for someone to remove the SD card from a phone and put it in a computer to view or transfer those images.

 

As phones and tablets have evolved to rely more on built-in, non-removable memory, we're taking another look at this and considering adding a permission for apps to access images. We've always had policies in place to remove any apps on Android Market that improperly access your data.

This could just be PR spin, or Google really may have to make things harder for us all because of silliness. I don't want this, I'm assuming that most of you guys don't want this either. Do yourself a favor, and don't fall into this trap.

Source: New York Times

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2 years ago

3 is the new unlimited says AT&T, as they officially change unlimited data plans

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If you've got a grandfathered unlimited data plan through AT&T, you're about to be throttled once you hit a 3GB ceiling per AT&T's new official policy. Users who consume 3GB of data with a 3G device, or 5GB of data with a LTE device will be throttled back to Edge speeds until the new billing cycle begins. Because of recent consumer complaints AT&T was forced to draft an official policy here, and now we know exactly what will happen if we're part of the 5-percent of users who use more than AT&T feels is a fair share.

It's good to have a policy across the board. We have the right to know what can, and will, happen if we use "too much" data. 3GB seems like a fair place to start, this way unlimited users aren't stuck being able to use less data than tiered plan subscribers. And Edge speeds are often faster than 3G speeds on that "true unlimited" network. And throttling is certainly better than thousands of dollars in overages. On it's face, this seems like a fair compromise.

But 3 does not equal unlimited. 

AT&T never promised anyone unlimited "high speed" data, so we're pretty much at their mercy. But just like it did when T-Mobile introduced it, throttling seems wrong. Sell me a phone that eats data like candy, then don't give me the data plan to use it all? See AT&T's full press release after the break.

Source: AT&T; via: iMore

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2 years ago

Google says they are expanding Wallet to 10 new Sprint devices in 2012

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Besides the LG Viper 4G, Sprint will be getting at least nine other devices that run Google Wallet by years end, says Google's VP of Wallet and Payments Osama Bedier. During the Mobile Money: Delivering Innovative Mobile Payment Services panel in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress 2012, Bedier said Sprint will introduce "at least 10 additional phones" with support for Google Wallet this year. He also added that Google is still negotiating with other operators, manufacturers, and potential financial partners to broaden the reach of Wallet in the US.

With 22 of the largest retail chains in the US supporting Wallet purchases at over 300,000 MasterCard PayPass terminals, Google has a big head start. But that's no guarantee that the service will become the standard, as competitor Isis sets up to begin trials later this year. Isis already has the partners -- HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, Research In Motion, Samsung and Sony have committed to building devices that support Isis, and Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express, Chase, CapitolOne and Barclaycard have partnered with them as well. That is going to be tough to compete against. With recent security issues plaguing Google Wallet, a partnership with Sprint alone may not be enough to keep the project afloat. We'll have to wait and see who can deliver a product that consumers want, and more importantly, a new technology that consumers will adopt.

Source: Fierce Wireless

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