Headlines

3 years ago

Google Wallet under attack again - this time by a feature, not a hack

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Ahhh, Google Wallet. It's a giant target, both because it involves the almighty dollar and because people love to go after Google. This being the case, we're seeing an old trick being rehashed that will give someone access to your prepaid Google Wallet card. It's not a hack, per se, nor is it new -- but it's a poor design choice that keeps the prepaid card tied to the phone hardware instead of with your Google Wallet account, which is more sandboxed. It goes like this:

  • Find a Nexus phone with NFC laying around somewhere
  • Wipe the app data on Google Wallet and enter a new PIN
  • Profit?

So what you're hearing about now is what happens when you clear the app data from Google Wallet. That means stored information -- the PIN you entered -- is no longer attached to the app on your phone. Next time time you open Google Wallet, you're told to enter a new PIN number.

And then it once again asks which Google Account you want to tie in to Google Wallet. Because you're still logged in to you Google Account, suddenly the phone says "Hey! I recognize that user name! And you must be that user on your phone! Here's the free $10 Google's already given you, or whatever else you've added, too."

Thing is, in the example you're hearing about now, you're not actually that user. Someone has stolen your phone. And they can get to the Google Prepaid Card. And that's actually a feature that's documented in Google Wallet's Switching Devices help pages. Emphasis ours.

Your Google Prepaid Card balance may be transferred if you have completed your account registration. Contact us for more assistance.

There are a lot of ways this could be fixed. Maybe the best, but likely the least popular among users, would be to implement an Exchange-like security policy across the entire device where an ID and a PIN must be entered to do things like unlock the phone, or change settings. It would seem easier to secure the entire phone that it would be to change the architecture of the payment system, and if nobody can unlock your phone or get into the Wallet app settings (to clear data), this problem is solved. The new problem is that nobody likes to have to enter a PIN, and Android hackers will find a way around this in short order and call it a "feature" of their ROM. Hopefully Google has people smarter than I tackling these types of issues.

In the meantime, set some sort of screen lock.  Just do it.  If someone finds your phone, and can't get in, they can't wipe the data on your Wallet and change the PIN.  Your Google Wallet, unlike your old wallet, can be locked down.  Hit the break to see a video of this one in action.

Source: Smartphone Champ

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3 years ago

Pre-ordering the Galaxy Note, Optimus S ICS ROM [From the Forums]

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Thus far, we've looked at some Google rumors today, a quick look at the Droid 4 and dealt with some Google Wallet concerns plus more. If you missed out on anything, get yourself caught up and then head on into the Android Central forums for some more discussion.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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3 years ago

Verizon Droid XYBOARD tablets getting updates to enhance browser performance, touch response and prepare for global roaming

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If you've got your hands on either a Droid XYBOARD 10.1 or 8.2 then you have some updates from Motorola and Verizon headed your way. The XYBOARD series will be getting getting enhancement to improve the browser and touch responsiveness and possibly more importantly for some -- Global roaming capabilities:

The update will enhance browser performance, touch response and prepare the XYBOARD for global roaming. The global roaming feature will be added in a two step process. This software update will add the global support to the hardware and a second over the air update will be pushed soon after to update the SIM card and make the tablet Global Ready. The second software update will be pushed within two weeks of receiving the first update. Once the second update is completed, customers will be able to take their XYBOARD tablets overseas and use data in over 205 countries, and more than 150 of those with 3G speeds.

Customers who have signed up for e-mail alerts will receive an email notification after the second update alerting them that the tablet is Global Ready. Before traveling outside the United States, customer will need to power on the tablet and establish a data connection on the Verizon Wireless network for 15 minutes to ensure the update takes effect and also enroll in a Global Data Plan that fits their travel needs at www.verizonwireless.com/global.

That should help some folks out if you're planning on doing any travelling or if you experienced and issues with the browser or touch responsiveness on your tablet. You can hit the source links to check out the software update pages for each device.

Source: Verizon (10.1), (8.2)

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3 years ago

Google said to be developing a home entertainment system

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Google is developing a wireless, streaming home entertainment system to be released under their own brand, according to insider tips given to the Wall Street Journal.  This would be a big change for Google, who so far has developed only software and allowed other companies to use as they please (mostly) on their own hardware.  Supposedly, the Android team has been developing this one, and it should be available this year.

We already have Google Music, Google Movies, and Google TV.  A mashup of the three featuring a set-top box and audio visual receiver (possibly made by Motorola) makes a lot of sense.  Seeing it sold under a Google brand makes less sense, but it's not impossible that the company is going forward an idea like this.  Their proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility, which includes the cable box division, would give them access to hardware design and manufacturing, as well as engineers to do it.

We'll have to wait and see how this develops.  Personally, I'm excited about a full home theater-like system powered by Android, and controlled by my smartphone.  I think more than a few of you guys would be as well.  

Source: WSJ

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3 years ago

Motorola Droid 4 has an unlockable ... battery cover?

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So here's the Motorola Droid 4. We're about to do our thing to it as only we can in our full Droid 4 review, but here it is in a nutshell: Fast device, blue display, good build, great keyboard, and the craziest damn battery cover contraption we've ever seen.

Check this out: The little plastic thing you see here -- sized up against a 2005 California quarter -- is the battery cover unlocking mechanism tool device thingy, or BCUMTDT for short. It's not unlike the iPhone's "SIM unlock tool," which is a fancy way of saying "thing you put in a hole to remove some other thing." It's craziness, we say.

What's hiding under that battery cover? Well, not a battery, for one. As you no doubt by now know from our hands-on with the Droid 4 at CES, you can't actually remove the battery from the phone.

So why bother with the battery cover unlocking mechanism tool device? There are other goodies tucked away under there -- mainly the micro SIM card for 4G LTE data, the microSD card -- and one last surprise, which we'll uncover in the video after the break.

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3 years ago

Netflix for Android updated with Facebook sharing and various fixes

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The Netflix app for Android has just hit version 1.7, bringing a handful of improvements for tablet and smartphone users. Today's update allows Netflix customers to share content on Facebook (in Canada, Latin America, the UK and Ireland), which should make it easier for your Netflix-subscribing friends to stay up to date on your latest Doctor Who marathon.

The update also includes a handful of bug fixes and additional features, including software volume controls for tablets, improved audio/video sync and a solution for video flickering problems on certain tablets.

If you've already got Netflix installed, you can grab the new version from the Market app. If not, we've got links and QR codes after the break.

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3 years ago

Chrome vs. Safari - Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S

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Check out our Chrome for Android Walkthrough!

The race for the best mobile browser is just about dead even. Android's browser has certainly competed with its Webkit cousin in mobile Safari for several versions now, partially from borrowing bits and pieces of Chrome code. (Anybody remember this demo from Google IO 2010?) But while the browsers might have been fairly level under the hood, Safari's definitely had the edge in what the end users see, with scrolling and zooming that's buttery smooth.

With the introduction of the Chrome browser on Android (currently available in beta form), the mobile browsing playing field has been leveled that much more. Behind the scenes, things are running as fast as ever. And out front, on the display, the Android's browsing experience has taking another evolutionary leap forward.

We've got a quick comparison video and some more benchmarks after the break. We're not looking for the most scientific of results here -- though the benchmarks speak for themselves. Really, it's the feel of the Chrome browser on Android (and, again, remember that it's still a "beta" product, for what that's worth) that we're most interested in.  

Click on through to the other side, and be sure to check out our pals from iMore.com for their thoughts on the Chrome-Safari showdown.

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3 years ago

New SwiftKey X Alpha now available with improved punctuation

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SwiftKey X has a new Alpha now available for download to VIP members. This release looks to address user concerns with punctuation in certain languages with French, Arabic, or Greek be some of the key focal points. As noted on their forums, users should be on the look out for the following changes:

Closing brackets: The space before } ] ) is removed and a space after the closing bracket is added. So if you write SwiftKey) by selecting SwiftKey as a prediction, the space between SwiftKey and ) is deleted and another space is inserted after the closing bracket.

Closing quotes: If you type "I like SwiftKey" by selecting SwiftKey as a prediction the space between SwiftKey and " is deleted and another space is inserted after the closing quote. This behaviour is adjusted for quotation marks used in other languages such as « », „ “, etc.

You can access the various quotation marks by long pressing the " key in the 123 panel of the keyboard.
French: There is now a space both before and after ! and ?

So if you write Bonjour ! by selecting Bonjour as a prediction, the space between Bonjour and ! remains and another space is inserted after the exclamation mark.

Notice that typing another ! gives you Bonjour !! (without a space between the two exclamation marks).

No space is added after : and ; to allow you to write smileys without having to delete this space.

Arabic: Arabic inverted comma, semicolon and question mark now behave like their English counterparts.

Greek: The Greek questionmark now behaves like its English counterpart.

Those changes aren't all that is involved with this release, there are a few others but those are the highlights. As always, if you're joined up for the Alpha testing make sure you offer feedback to the developers. Apps get better with feeback and that's what alpha testing is for.

Source: SwiftKey

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3 years ago

Vonage Mobile for Android available now in the Android Market

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That other VoIP company, Vonage, have launched their new mobile offering with Skype firmly in their crosshairs. The app listing in the Android Market even goes as far as name-dropping the Microsoft owned competitor, while advertising their own service including free worldwide texts and calls.

Vonage Mobile promises high definition audio calls over WiFi, 3G and 4G worldwide, and cheap-rate international calls to people not using the application. You don't have to be a current Vonage customer to take advantage of the service either. Credit can be applied to your account via your Android Market account and it uses your existing phone number and contacts list. Any of your existing contacts using Vonage Mobile will be indicated, leaving it straight forward to take advantage of free communication. 

As a launching offer, all calls to any phone in the US, Canada or Puerto Rico are free from anywhere in the world for a limited time. Terms and conditions naturally apply to this so be sure to check them out first. You'll find a handy promo video after the break, along with download links if this looks like something you want to try for yourselves.  

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3 years ago

HTC says first Ice Cream Sandwich updates coming in March, adds more phones to the list

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Manufacturer HTC today on its Facebook page gave word that its initial round of Ice Cream Sandwich updates will be available by the end of March. First up are the HTC Sensation, Sensation 4G and Sensation XE, with the Sensation XL to follow. (Note to HTC: Got enough versions there?)

That's just for starters, of course. Back in November, HTC told us that the Rezound, EVO 3D and EVO Design 4G also would receive updates as well. And today, HTC has added the Vivid, Incredible S, Desire S and Desire HD to the update list. There's no word on when they'll be updated (other than "later this year"), but it's certainly a good start.

Here's HTC's full statement:

HTC has been working hard to get its Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades ready, and we’re excited to announce that our first round of ICS upgrades will roll out by the end of March for the HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation 4G and HTC Sensation XE, followed soon there after by the HTC Sensation XL.

In addition, we can confirm Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades will be coming later this year to the HTC Rezound, HTC Vivid, HTC Amaze 4G, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G, HTC Incredible S, HTC Desire S and HTC Desire HD. Stay tuned for more updates on Ice Cream Sandwich releases in the coming weeks.

Not a bad roster, indeed. But notabily absent remains the likes of the HTC ThunderBolt, one of the more popular Verizon smartphones of early 2011. Anyone feeling left out?

Source: HTC Facebook; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Kindle for Android updated to v3.4.0 - Reduced app size, page numbers and bug fixes

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The latest Kindle for Android update is now rolling out to users, giving the app a bump up to version 3.4.0. The latest release has of course some bug fixes included in it but more importantly it addresses the size of the app as it is now a smaller download for all.

In addition to the size adjustment, Amazon has also included page numbers so that users may keep track of reading progress using numbers that match the real book. Why that took so long to implement we may never know but it's there now and that's pretty groovy. Hit the break for the download.

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3 years ago

Expensify updates with greater on-device reporting, sharing features

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Expensify is a must if you have to track and report your expenses, and it just got a pretty major update to Version 3.0. 

New in this version is the ability to view and edit all of your expenses, view scanned receipts and zoom in to see details, organizes expenses into reports, and the ability to create, rename and submit reports -- all from your phone.

If you haven't given Expensify a shot yet (fair warning: It's a free app, but some of the features will cost tad extra), it's absolutely worth a look. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

TELUS kicks off LTE network with Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and LG Optimus LTE

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The third of Canada's big three carriers is finally launching their LTE network. Starting tomorrow, TELUS will be offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and LG Optimus, both with LTE connectivity. Not far behind that is the Samsung Galaxy Note, which is due to drop on February 14 with a $199 pricetag on contract. We had caught a glimpse of the LG Optimus LTE bound for TELUS last week, but now everything is super-duper official.

The TELUS LTE network will cover all of the major centers, and a few of the smaller ones. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa are the biggies,  but Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton, Belleville, Quebec City, Halifax, and even Yellowknife will have coverage as well. By the end of the year, TELUS aims to douse 25 million Canadians with delicious LTE service. Target speeds will be in the average of 12 - 25 Mbps, and capping out at 75 Mbps.  

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3 years ago

Aquarium for Google TV [Google TV app review]

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Most people have at least one TV in their house, and while you're not watching it it's just an ugly, black window.  If you're the proud owner of a Google TV unit of one sort or another, it doesn't have to be this way.  I stumbled across this one in our forums, and I'm glad I did.  It's called Aquarium for Google TV, and it does exactly what you would think it should do -- displays an aquarium scene on your television screen.  It's serene, it's beautiful, and it sure beats an ugly black box hanging on the wall of your living room.

You have the choice of five different scenes, ranging from goldfish and a whimsically bubbly castle, to a computer generated bit of magic that has fish big and small, even sharks.  You can choose to play some soft new-age style background music while the app is running, or just leave it silent.  Unfortunately, and this is the only drawback I can think of, you can't play Google Music in the background while running the app.  I've a feeling that this is a Google TV limitation, because I've not run across any applications that will allow it.  So no pretty fish on the screen while Foghat roars through the speakers for Jerry.  I'll get over it, and I think the wife is sort of happy about that.  

To be clear -- this app is great.  We usually have it running here at château Jeri, and even the dog likes to watch it play.  But I want to take a minute and mention that the developers are just as awesome as the app.  This is the app I was trying to load when my Market account hung.  I fought with Google Wallet, I fought with Logitech, I fought with everyone involved except the developer.  I shot off a quick email with my order number and he sent me a copy to sideload and use until I got everything all straightened out.  Guys like the folks from Arrowhead Technologies make me wish I could give an app more than five stars.  

If you have a Google TV set top box or television, you'll want to give this one a look.  You can find it in the Android Market for just a buck.  We've got video action and a download link after the break.  

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3 years ago

Nokia N9 gets a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich in early screenshot

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The Nokia N9 is a great piece of hardware, some users have been pining for Android on the device instead of the built-in MeeGo OS. As it's a relatively developer-friendly phone, it wasn't long before some enterprising hackers got to work porting Android 2.x, and later 4.0, to the N9.

One such developer, Alexey Roslyakov of the NITDroid team, appears to have made significant progress bringing ICS over to the Nokia N9's stylish hardware. He tweeted several images, including the one above, which shows the familiar Android 4.0 launcher being beamed from the N9's AMOLED display. The developer also says he's working on the ability to dual-boot between MeeGo and Android, making it easy to go back to the stock software.

As with any port of Android to unsupported hardware, progress is likely to be steady but slow, and judging by the rendering anomalies in the screenshot, there's still a fair bit of work to be done. Proprietary hardware drivers remain a significant issue, as they are on the CyanogenMod 9 port for the HP TouchPad. Unlike the TouchPad, though, there's been no N9 fire-sale, and the device remains around £400-500 mark this side of the pond.

So for the moment, this is one for the enthusiasts. But we have to admit that if it ever turns into a fully-functional port, we may be just a little big jealous of all you N9 owners.

Source: @drunkdebugger; via: Slashgear

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