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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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2 years ago

Preorder the Panasonic Eluga Power now at Clove Technology

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Fresh off of its world premier this week in Barcelona, Panasonic's Eluga Power is already available for preorder through online retailer Clove Technology. With an expected arrival of "late April", the Eluga Power will set you back a cool £399 ( that's £478.80 after VAT), a pretty reasonable price for a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 5-inch HD display, and Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. We got our grubby hands on one earlier this week and despite a few software quirks (it was a prototype unit!), we were impressed by what Panasonic is doing. 

If you're a fan of the pre-order, you can do so now at the source link. We'll keep our ears to the ground for an official release date, and we'll be sure to get you a full review once the Eluga Power hits stores stateside. 

Source: Clove Technology

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2 years ago

Mobile World Congress day three wrap-up

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Things are winding down in Barcelona, the fellows are enjoying some of the local delicacies and getting ready for the trip home. But just because Mobile World Congress is finishing up doesn't mean they didn't work their collective tails off today, making the final sweep of the show to make sure no stone was left unturned, no device left un-handled,  and no hors d'oeuvre was left uneaten.  We're thorough like that.  While Phil and the gang pack up their belongings, hit the break with me and see what they found today.

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2 years ago

Google Wallet updated with core fixes, prepaid cards still borked

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Google Wallet has been updated with a pretty extensive (and detailed) change log. You can now use a PO box in the address and be able to top up your prepaid card, and that address can be longer (good news for those living in Winchester-on-the-Severn, Maryland), reward card syncing has been fixed, "improvements" have been made to support more handsets, and fixes to the core wallet system have been applied.

One thing that hasn't been fixed is the prepaid cards. You can't add a new one, you can't retrieve your data for an existing one, and you'll get an error about system upgrades if you try. I know, because i tried both. I'm getting the feeling my $11.40 is gone forever.

All kidding aside, I'm sure some of you guys did drop a decent amount of cash in the prepaid card, have wiped your phone since, and can't get it back. I understand the need to change and fix a few things on the security side (Google Wallet is still very beta after all), but it would be nice to be able to access my fortune next time I wanna buy a cup of coffee. We can only hope Google gets it all figured out shortly.

There's a link after the break to the Market, but be warned -- it only will work if you've got a Sprint Nexus S 4G or an unlocked Galaxy Nexus with an AT&T SIM card in it. The rest of us will have to resort to hackery to get it installed. I'm sure the apk will be posted somewhere soon enough.

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2 years ago

Skitch for Android - Now includes highlighting of maps, saving to your SD Card

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You ever come across one of those applications where it seems like an obvious feature is missing and you wonder why the heck it isn't there? I felt that way about Skitch until tonight. Previously when using Skitch, you couldn't save files to the SD Card fo your device but now with the latest update you can do that and more:

  • Maps in Skitch  - Skitch is great for eliminating ambiguity: draw attention to a person in a photo or point out where that new sofa should go. And now, you can even take the ambiguity out of giving directions. With the new map feature, drop a pin with an address, then use arrows, shapes and lines to show exactly where you mean.
  • Save to the SD card - This is one of our most requested features. Now, anything you have in Skitch can be saved to your SD card. Do this by tapping on the Save icon. You can also find your saved images by tapping on that same icon.
  • Move your text - We also made it easier to add and move text. When you start typing, your text appears in place over the image. Tap and drag the text to move it to a different location, pinch the text to change its size. You can do all of this without changing to the finger tool. Easy.

Skitch has also included some bug fixes and general improvements with this release. You'll find in the Android Market right now available for download. If you've not used Skitch as of yet, go ahead and jump past the break -- you'll find a download link there waiting for you.

Source: Evernote Blog

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2 years ago

Seidio offering 3800mAh 'Super Extended Battery' for Verizon Nexus, with NFC

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If you were holding off on buying one of Seidio's 3800mAh batteries for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus because they weren't compatible with NFC, here's something you'll be interested in. The company has begun offering the big battery with built in NFC circuitry. It's $75, but Seidio says:

When you can’t get to an outlet, our Innocell Super Extended Life Batteries will keep you moving forward. Our Extended Life Batteries utilize premium Japanese cells to ensure the highest levels of safety and performance. Super Extended Life Batteries can offer up to 100% more battery life than your stock battery.

With Verizon's power hungry LTE network, for many a spare battery is a must. Now that they have the NFC issues sorted, you can have that spare, in the XXL size, and still play with your hacked-on Google Wallet. Hit the link for details.

Source: Seidio. Thanks, Mike!

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2 years ago

Verizon's response to FCC about bootloaders surprises nobody

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There's an old letter being passed around today that provides Verizon's response to the FCC about locked bootloaders.  Starting early this month, these letters began going out to anyone who had formally filed a complaint with the FCC about Verizon locking the bootloaders on phones that utilized the spectrum covered under the block C license, and they don't say anything everybody didn't already know. Verizon wants bootloaders locked, and they say you'll get better customer service if they stay that way.

And they are right.

Put away your pitchforks and hear me out. If you're reading this, and got a little hot under the collar when I said Verizon could better serve customers if the bootloader was locked down, you're not the problem. You root and ROM your phone, and when things get squirrelly you don't call customer service and gripe about it. You flash another ROM, like any smart Android geek would. Verizon isn't worried about providing customer care to you, and you don't need them to. But there are people out there who see these tricks online, get someone on Craigslist to root/unlock/flash something to their phones, and a week later when they realize the camera doesn't work as well, or the Wifi is wonky, or they can't rent movies from the Market, they get on the horn with Big Red. Those people cost Verizon money, and end up not very happy with their hacked Android phone. Plain and simple -- Verizon tech's can't help you if you don't have their software installed.

Yes, it gets old. It sucks when we get punished for problems other folks cause, but welcome to society. It's not likely to change, and VzW probably isn't violating the C block agreement by not allowing unauthorized software to run rampant on their network. You've got three choices -- only buy phones that can be unlocked, switch providers, or enjoy the hell out of your phone the way it came out of the box. Verizon has their best interests, and their shareholders best interests, in mind and we shouldn't expect anything different.

Source: Droid-Life

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2 years ago

Google+ updated with several stability improvements and bug fixes

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If you haven't hit the Android Market yet today, then you may not be aware the Google+ team has pushed out the latest release. While no new features have been added, it is noted to contain several stability improvements and bug fixes and that sounds like something everyone should be interested in. Looking for the download? You'll find it past the break.

Source: Virgil Dobjanschi

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