Headlines

2 years ago

HTC collecting data in U.S. phones with HTC Sense, storing it in a very sloppy way

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(And it doesn't mean the sky is falling)

Update (Oct. 4): HTC says a fix is on the way. Original follows.

Another week, another bit of scary news that nobody is taking the time to properly explain.  This time it's more HTC data logging, and the way HTC is handling the data it collects.  Exposed in technical detail by Android Police, you'll see this spread all over the Internet for the next few days, so let's try to break down what is happening in simple terms we all can understand.

What's going on

When you first log in and set up your HTC Sense phone (so far this is only showing up on newer U.S. phones with HTC Sense), you're asked if HTC can collect and send data back home about your usage.  If you say "yes," it collects data about apps you're using, where and how your using them, and for how long -- then sends it back to the HTC mothership.  HTC has some use for this -- we figure it's to help see how to improve the next versions of HTC Sense.  That's not a bad thing.  If you opt-out, none of the data is sent back to HTC -- but that doesn't mean it's not still collected. 

Here's where it gets sticky.  HTC is collecting and logging data that lots of other apps also can collect, and we like it when they collect it.  Apps like alogcat (useful when everyone is looking for that OTA update link) or Sensorly collect device and network data.  But when you install those apps, you're told up front they are collecting potentially sensitive data.  HTC doesn't need to declare permissions to do this, because it's your operating system that's doing it, and not "just an app."  This data is then stored on your phone in a manner that other apps can get to it instead of being properly sandboxed.  We're not going to say where it's stored, or how to collect it (we don't promote that type of thing here) but the information is out there, ready for anyone else to use, and it's easy enough to get at. You just need to know where to look.  Some disruptive individual could write an app that mines this data, and sends back information to another server.  And after todays news, someone probably will.

What's being collected, and why the sky isn't falling for everyone

The next question you'll ask is "What kind of data is HTC collecting?"  It's not collecting passwords.  It's not collecting the text of any SMS message or IM you're sending.  What it is collecting is data that is unique to your phone (IMEI and device ID), your account names, geo-location, and phone numbers from your call logs.  If you're technically inclined, run a logcat locally to get an idea of the type of data that's available -- this is the kind of information HTC is storing.  How sensitive you consider this type of data can to be is something for each of us to decide.  Nobody can steal your bank password here, but they can know where you were the last time you used your GPS, and identify the device that did it.

So how to fix it?  Well, you can't if you're not rooted.  This is all part of your phone's operating system, but it is part that can easily be removed if you have the right permissions to remove it.  Head into the forums and look for the threads that are already there about it, or start a new one if you don't see one.  The advisers and senior members will be happy to guide you along if you want to take matters into your own hands.  If you're not feeling the whole root thing, just be careful what apps you install until HTC fixes the issue.  We hope that's soon.

The short, short version

HTC is collecting usage and system logs locally, as in on your phone.  It's stored in a way so that other apps can possibly access it and no longer have to collect it from the system in the normal way, properly declaring that it's doing so in the process.

Is this the end of the world?  Probably not.  And we're willing to bet this isn't a malicious act on HTC's part. But it certainly does raise a few eyebrows.

And it's something HTC needs to fix, and soon.

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2 years ago

Samsung Stratosphere specs surface, check out how it compares to the competition

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We have seen the Samsung Stratosphere appear in a couple different places yet we have still not seen full specs to gain an understanding of where the device falls in Verizon's lineup. DroidLife has got their hands on some spec sheets which detail the specs of the device as well as compare it to other Android devices available on Verizon currently. In addition to comparing to Verizon devices the documents show comparisons to other slider devices across various other carriers, giving you a pretty good understanding of where the device falls. Verizon lists the "bottom line" as:

Appeals to anyone looking for a mid-tier option at an affordable price with fast web browsing and messaging capabilities.

Knowing it is a mid-tier device, we could anticipate the pricing to be in the $149 price range on contract, ultimately giving you a pretty good bang for the buck. Is the Samsung Stratosphere in your vision for a potential next device, or will you be passing in favor of something else? Be sure to let us know in the forums! One more comparison after the break.

Source: DroidLife

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2 years ago

Walmart prices the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II at $148.88

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You didn't really think that Walmart would come in with the same pricing as other places with the Samsung Galaxy S II for AT&T did you? As suspected, Walmart has priced the device a little over $50 cheaper than AT&T's price of $199, and they are offering it for $148.88 on two year agreement, and only $520 versus AT&T's $549 off contract pricing. So, if you are looking to get yourself one, and want to save a little bit of cash, head over to your local Walmart and pick one up, and hop in the forums to let us know your thoughts.

Thanks, Sporky!

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2 years ago

Android Theme Review: JAMT - Flat Black

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I'm a big fan of themes, especially ones that use the CM7 Theme Chooser. In my search for some nice, monochromatic themes, I've stumbled upon one called JAMT - Flat Black.

JAMT Black is more of a notification bar and volume slider theme than anything else. None of the icons get themed, but sliders are now rendered a nice, monochromed grey.

In addition, the notification bar gets a few new notification icons (the most prominent of which is the Gmail icon). The wifi icon is also transformed into this strange, curvy-looking set of bars as opposed to the straight, vertical lines we're probably accustomed to, but outside of that, the biggest change would be the icons on the notification widget.

There's also a bit of theming on the toast notifications, changing their background to pure black and with sharp corners instead of rounded edges. It's another nifty piece of eye candy, especially if you like the hard edges of the Droid line.

Best of all, this theme is completely free in the Market with a donate version for $1.00. If you like what you see, we've got more pictures download links after the break.

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2 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S II now available online for $199 on contract, $549 outright

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The wait is over if you're an AT&T subscriber who's been itching for the Samsung Galaxy S II.  Considering it's one of the best phones available for the death star nation's number two network, I'll wager that's more than a few of you.  If you need a refresher, your $199 (on a new contract, $549 outright) gets you a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED plus display, 1.2GHz Samsung Exynos processor (zoom zoom!), 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear HD camera and a 2MP front camera, running on AT&T's HSPA+ 4G network.  It's no wonder these things are selling like hotcakes around the rest of the globe.

Once you get your ATTSGSII (no comma), or while your waiting after you've ordered online, we're ready for ya in the forums, where the wait has been driving the rest of us Android fans half insane and giddy.  And if you're still on the fence, you gotta check out 25 reasons to consider the AT&T Galaxy S II to help make up your mind.  Hit the source link to order yours.

Source: AT&T

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2 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for Oct 1, 2011

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Come one, come all, app lovers. Let's check out some of our favorite applications from this week, in hopes that some of them may end up becoming some of your favorites as well!

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2 years ago

Check out whats happening at the Big Android BBQ via Android Central

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If you weren't able to make it to Austin for the Big Android BBQ this year, don't worry -- we have you covered.  We're on the scene and taking in all the sights, and sharing the highlights through the magic of social media.  In between the great food, great beverages, and great people there's even a chance to learn a thing or two.  We'll have a recap with all the details when things wind down, but in the meantime hit us up on Twitter to see what's cookin'!

Follow @androidcentral on Twitter

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2 years ago

HTC Amaze 4G gets a silent hardware and software tour

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Yesterday we saw a whole bunch of great new HTC Amaze 4G information come to surface, and today we are happy to have even more. This time we get a silent video tour of the hardware and software on the device, showing it off a bit and making the decision of your next device even harder. T-Mobile customers, will you be waiting for this, or picking up the Samsung Galaxy S II when it is available? Hop into the forums and let us know what device is next for you, and why!

Source: TMoNews

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S II to arrive in white on Bell starting Oct 7

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We all have been drooling over the white version of the Samsung Galaxy S II ever since we first saw it, and have anxiously been waiting for it to be released. MobileSyrup has received a nice image that shows that the device will go on sale at Bell starting Oct 7, which is only six days away. Pricing should follow that of the black version at $149 on a three year contract, and $599 off contract, so will you be picking one of them up? Be sure to hop in the forums and let us know!

Source: Mobile Syrup

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2 years ago

Android App Review: ChannelCaster

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Social media is all the rage these days. From Facebook rolling out their new layout, Google+ collecting members at a record rate, or Twitter doing whatever it does, seems like you can't click on a link or sign up for Spotify venture onto any part of the without someone's status, checkin, or tweet smacking you in the digital face.

ChannelCaster: Social News looks to further the concept of social in the news space by letting you follow sources you find interesting as well as browse and check out public channels other users have put together.

The whole interface of ChannelCaster feels reminiscient of some of the more eye-candy laden apps, like Pulse. All of your sources (or feeds or whatnot) are listed on your main screen and tapping one takes you to a Timeline-esque list of the most recent happenings from that source. It's a bit difficult to explain (and chaotic sounding), but it's actually quite cool.

You can even link up your Facebook and Twitter accounts to ChannelCaster and check on people's latest updates from within the app. From what I've gathered, it's read-only right now, so don't expect to update from within the app.

Honestly, ChannelCaster is something that just needs to be seen and experienced for you to truly get the effect of it. It's a very cool approach to news, and it's made by OneLouder Apps, the same developers who brought us FriendCaster and TweetCaster, so you know it's good.

Seriously, try it out. It's free, and I think you might just like it. For those who are about to rock, there's more pictures and download links after the break.

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