Recent Articles | Android Central

Order Galaxy Note 7 | Shop Chromebooks: Asus Flip | Acer 14 | Dell 13

Headlines

4 years ago

DoubleTwist updated, includes integrated podcast catalogue, for a price

17

 

DoubleTwist has long been a favourite for those who like to sync their music and podcasts between iTunes and Android. Todays update among other things brings an integrated podcast catalogue. The catch, this particular part of the app is a 'premium feature' with a premium price.

In UK money, unlocking the podcast feature in doubleTwist costs £4.99 (about $7.85). It does, however, feature the worlds greatest Android podcast in its listings by default -- Google Listen we're still looking at you. 

Aside from podcasts, the update brings improved performance and reliability, fixes to AirPlay and AirTwist playback issues, an expandable and collapsable now playing screen with easier access to your queue, and design and interface updates many of which are designed for Ice Cream Sandwich.

It's a welcome update to an already very good application. Hit the break for the download links.

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Latest Android Malware scare might be premature

43

The folks at Symantec have tipped everyone off about a new piece of Android Malware, calling Android.Counterclank "a bot-like threat that can receive commands to carry out certain actions, as well as steal information from the device."  They note that starting one of the apps "infected" with the apperhand SDK package will show a second service running, and often places a search icon on the home screen.  They have verified this is in 13 applications on the Android Market and are calling it "the highest distribution of any malware identified so far this year."  Some reports on the internet claim it may have affected 5 million users.  That's 5,000,000 -- a huge and scary number. And it makes for a great headline.

But it looks like Symantec might have jumped the gun a bit.

Lookout, a competitor in the Android security field, says that the applications are not malware, and the apperhand package actually is a legitimate, but aggressive, advertisement component.  It's part of an advertising software development kit that's a modified version of the "ChoopCheec" platform” or “Plankton” SDK that was the focus of some privacy concerns in June 2011.  This newer version is cleaner, but it still has capabilities common to many ad networks. Writes Lookout:

  • It is capable of identifying the user uniquely by their IMEI number, for instance. But unlike some networks, this SDK forward-hashes the IMEI before sending to its server. They’re identifying your device, but they are obfuscating the raw data. (That's a good thing.)
  • The SDK has the capability to deliver “Push Notification” ads to the user. We’re not huge fans of push notifications, but we also don’t consider push notification advertising to be malware.
  • The SDK drops a search icon onto the desktop. Again, we consider bad form, though we don’t consider this a smoking gun for malware provided the content that is delivered is safe.  In this case, it is simply a link to a search engine.
  • The SDK also has the capability to push bookmarks to the browser.  In our opinion, this is crosses a line; although we do not believe this is cause to classify the SDK as malware.

We're not sure exactly how far is too far, but if the applications are using practices found in "many" other ad networks, we agree with Lookouts points listed here and have to call this one a non-issue when talking about malware.  On the issue of privacy and wanton sharing of user data, we're not loving it, but it's not malware.  

We're not security specialists, and we never claim to be.  We can tear applications apart and see what's hiding in there, but in-depth scanning and analysis is best left to the experts.  That being said, we are experts at catching bullshit, and this one reeks of it.  Nobody likes ads, but we can't just call them malware anytime we like.  They're a part of the ad-supported app model, and we should expect to see more than we like.  When they misbehave, call for someone's head, but not before.  

But that's not sensational.  Headlines like Computerworld's "Massive Android malware op may have infected 5 million users" cause controversy, and everyone loves a controversy.  Explaining that the 5 million mark is from adding the high end of the download counters, which allows for a 4 million-device margin of error, is conveniently forgotten.  And we'd like to think that if as many as 1 million devices on the low end had been infected, Google and the Android Market team would have said something.

The long and the short of it is, we're sleeping just fine tonight. Move along.

More: Symantec; Lookout

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Fly Delta Android app updated to ease international travel

2

Delta Air Lines' Fly Delta Android app has long been one of the first things I install on a phone. It's well-designed, and has added a couple killer features since its release nearly a year ago -- mainly the ability to view upgrade/standby lists and check and change seats from your phone, and more recently they added the ability to track your checked baggage. Good stuff.

And now Delta's added even more functionality in Version 1.7. Here's the full changelog.

  • Check in for flights arriving or departing international locations
  • Discover Delta’s valued partners within the "Traveling with Us" section
  • Support for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwhich) [sic]
  • Fixes for many of the bugs reported by our customers, along with several speed enhancements

It's nice that Delta's added check-ins for international flights. (Though you'll presumably still have to get your boarding pass when you arrive.) The "Traveling with Us" section is a little bit of advertising (we've got a screen cap after the break), where so far we have promotion of Delta's American Express credit card and something from TED. It's pretty unobtrusive, though, so no big deal. Then there's the ICS support and other bug fixes, which is always good (though the app had been working just fine for us), though there's still a menu button down at the bottom, and not as an Action Bar "overflow" as Google's pushing everyone toward. (On the other hand, the app's design is otherwise very nice, so we'll overlook that.)

But what really gets us excited is the prospect of "several speed enhancements." With previous versions of the app, you needed to fire it up a few minutes before you could get to your itinerary and find your confirmation number or seat assignment or mobile boarding pass. Things definitely feel a little quicker; hopefully that's not just a placebo -- it really was a big gripe with the Delta app.

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Late night poll: Do you hack your Android phone?

65

Hacking is half (or more) the fun for many an Android user.  With the right phone, you can change just about everything, making it have little resemblance to the way it came out of the box.  It's fun and addicting for the same reason computer tweaking and hacking is -- we do it because we can.  There's a good chance many of you guys reading this are the same way.  The simple fact that you found an Android site on the Internet makes you a more informed user, and you're exposed to all this hacking jazz.  

There's as good a chance that you're not into breaking hacking your phone.  We get that.  You like things well enough the way they are, and just use your phone.  We wanna hear from both sides this evening, so let us know in the poll.

 

Do you hack your Android phone?

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Drunk Green Robots [Android Quick App]

9

What's more fun than playing a game on your Android phone?  Drinking while playing a game on your Android phone, of course.  Enter Drunk Green Robots, a new app from fiveHellions development.  It's easy to get started, just grab a friend or two, a bottle of Kentucky's finest (or less than finest works, too), and your Android phone.  It's the high/low black/red game most of us know, but instead of using a deck of cards you use your Android.  

Dares are included, and the less risqué package is free to download, but the raunchier and more sexually explicit ones require an in-app purchase of "shots".  You get 100 shots for a buck, and ad-removal costs a 100 shots as does the "naughty" dare pack.  It's not going to break the bank.  And everybody knows being naughty is always better while drinking, right?  Anyways, you take a turn guessing if the next card will be higher or lower than the current, or what color it will be.  If you're correct, your turn ends and you pass your phone to the next player.  If you're not correct you win lose and have to either take a shot, or a random dare.  I'd recommend the shot, but to each their own.

It's silly, it's fun, and involves getting hammered.  If you're of age (stay safe kids), check out a few screenshots and grab it for free using the link after the break.  Try not to drop your phone.

Via: Android Central games forum

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

1Weather for Android from OneLouder [Android Quick App]

17

 

When it comes to weather applications on Android there is no shortage of options, and quite honestly that is a good thing. 1Weather by OneLouder is one of the latest weather applications to enter the Android market and it has done so with some serious style of its own. So what's it all about?

1Weather provides you with ready access to a full suite of accurate, up-to-the-minute weather information, including animated maps and radar, daily weather alarms and severe condition alerts so that you can proactively prepare for changing conditions.

When looking for new applications to download most of us tend to look for something that is unique, clean, and very functional, and OneLouder has nailed all of this and more with this application. Let's hit the break together to check out some more information about the application and additional screen shots.

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

XYBOARD buyers, Galaxy Nexus wallpapers [From the Forums]

0

We've rolled through this week like there was no tomorrow and we've finally reached the weekend. We packed a lot of coverage into this week so be sure to get yourself caught up by skipping a few pages back. Looking for more? Head on into the Android Central forums and dig in:

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

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Yahoo cleaning house, lays some of their mobile apps to rest

13

I'm not exactly sure how many folks out there use apps from Yahoo but if you're among those that do, you'll want to check the list below. Reason being - Yahoo is laying some of their mobile apps to rest to focus on a whole new set of apps that more so meet users needs. So what apps got the cut?

  • Yahoo! Meme (iPad and iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Mim (iPad)
  • Yahoo! Answers (Android)
  • Yahoo! AppSpot (Android and iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Deals (iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Finance (BlackBerry)
  • Yahoo! Movies (Android)
  • Yahoo! News (Android)
  • Yahoo! Shopping (iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search (iPad and iPhone)

That quite a few apps to kill off but from looking at the list, it's looks as though those apps are smaller on the chain and may have a minimal amount of users.

Source: Yahoo; via: Phonescoop

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

EFF working to keep jailbreaking legal, wants your help

23

Jailbreaking or rooting your smartphone is currently "legal" under Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but that exemption is set to expire in 2012.  The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) is looking for help and support to keep it that way, and they would like people to contact the US Copyright office and express their opinion.  They are offering up a handy set of questions and concerns readers can use in their appeal to the copyright office, and have done as much as they can to streamline the process and make it painless, with direct links and a petition.  

The idea behind it all is that once we pay our hard-earned money for our expensive electronic toys, they are ours to do with as we please.  As long as safety regulations are met, and we don't do anything to adversely affect our cellular carrier, we should be able to do anything we wish.  It's a great idea, and it's a shame that this even requires an exemption in the DMCA.

The DMCA has been used against people who hack game consoles, and used against people trafficking cell phones, but has anyone ever been prosecuted for rooting their smartphone?  I've searched the net for a few days, and every time I find something that sounds promising, it ends up being more than just someone jailbreaking their iPad or rooting their Bionic.  Yeah, carriers and manufacturers probably hate it, and we can't blame them, but I don't see a case like HTC vs. Jerry Hildenbrand for rooting his Wildfire S getting much traction in a court of law.  Unfortunately, we can't trust things will stay this way in a world full of companies like Microsoft and Apple.

It's absolutely ridiculous that we would require some sort of waiver to be allowed to mess up our own hardware.  It's even more ridiculous that carriers and device makers have acted in ways to put the fear of prosecution in us so we want an exemption in the first place.  It's mine.  If you want to tell me what to do with it, you need to pay me for it.  Until then, leave me the hell alone and let me enjoy my toys.

Hit the link below, and do your part to make sure the Copyright Office does the right thing.

EFF: Jailbreaking is not a crime

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

'Optimus 3D MAX' branding rumored for next LG 3D phone

10

Earlier this week we saw reports that LG is preparing a successor to its Optimus 3D smartphone, to be unveiled at next month's Mobile World Congress. The LG CX2, as it's apparently codenamed, was to ship with a 1.2GHz CPU, 4.3-inch 3D WVGA NOVA display and dual 5MP cameras. Leaked renders also appeared, showing a device much thinner than the veritable brick that was the original Optimus 3D.

Today GSM Israel says it's learned from a "very reliable source" that the CX2's official branding will be "Optimus 3D MAX" (spelled the old-fashioned way, with just one X). If true, the new name would fit a device which appears to be more a refinement of last year's Optimus 3D than anything revolutionary.

It's likely we'll see more of the Optimus 3D MAX, or whatever it's called, in just a few weeks time at Mobile World Congress, so stay tuned.

Source: GSM Israel (translated); via: UnwiredView

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Sony Ericsson buyout approved by the European Commission

1

The European Commission has given Sony the OK to take full control of Sony Ericsson, three months after Sony paid €1.05 billion for Ericsson's share of the partnership.  Along with the entire company, the hefty sum also earned Sony an IP cross-licensing agreement, as well as ownership of five patent families. If you'll recall, upon announcement of the buyout, Sony said that the acquisition was fueled by the need to integrate SE smartphones into its existing network-connected devices, including TVs and tablets. The European Commission's approval is a major stepping stone in the acquisition process, which will likely be finalized in the coming weeks. 

What does the buyout mean for consumers? As Sony said, it will likely begin focusing on how its smartphones can mingle with its current line of products. Back at CES, Sony showed off its idea of a "connected home", an environment in which its line of smartphones will almost certainly thrive. Who knows, is a smartphone that acts as a Playstation controller too much to ask for? 

Source: Reuters; via Xperia Blog

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

LG Spectrum review - Verizon gets another decent second-gen LTE phone

25

Our LG Spectrum review comes at an interesting time for both the smartphone manufacturer as well the carrier on which it resides, Verizon. On one hand you have LG, which has brought us some excellent high-end Android smartphones as well as a surprising low-ender in the Optimus line. And then you have Verizon, whose 4G LTE network is starting to mature at the ripe old age of 1 but at the same time can appear to have a glass jaw.

And now, we have the LG Spectrum. It's the U.S. version of the LG Optimus LTE -- the Korean manufacturer's second foray in to the latest in high-speed mobile data -- and cousin to the LG Nitro HD on AT&T. (The LG Revolution was one of Verizon's fledgling LTE smartphones.)

Join us after the break as we put the phone through its paces and see if it has what it takes to help carry Verizon deep into 2012.


Fast processor, fast data and a lot of customizations to make things easy for new(ish) users. Has a bright, high-resolution display.


The level of tweaks and customizations may turn some off. Battery life isn't stellar, slight UI lag in places.



The Spectrum is a solid phone for Verizon, but the highly skinned user interface is starting to look a bit cartoonish. The display is a strong positive, but yet again we're left waiting for the promised upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Inside this review

More info

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

What is open source?

2

What is open source? Open-source software is software that makes the source code freely available, for anyone to see and use. Companies, individuals, universities and a lot of other entities build entire projects and use an open-source license, then they give the code away to anyone who wants to use it. The license used determines how others who use this code share their modifications.

There are different open-source licenses that have different use conditions, from the GPL (GNU General Public License) — which allows "free distribution under the condition that further developments and applications are put under the same license" — to more liberal licenses like the Apache License, which doesn't require modifications to be open and have the source code available. Android uses both of these licenses, and we'll have a look at them in turn.

The Linux kernel that is used in Android is covered under the GPL.  This means that any changes made to the source code must be made available when a binary (geek-speak for a compiled, executable piece of software) is released to the public.  This means manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Motorola and the rest must release the kernel source-code for any devices they sell at the same time they begin selling them. Of course, this rarely happens and we end up waiting for a team to remove notes, source comments and other helpful things before it gets to us. These are the code releases you'll see mentioned on the internet, and consist of the kernel source and other open-source "bits" that are covered under the GPL.

The source code for Android itself is released mostly under the Apache License. Anybody is allowed to download the source code and change it however they like, but they are not required to make their changes available in source code form to the public. This is why we can't easily modify Samsung's Touchwiz (for example) — the changes they made to the base Android source code aren't available to us. While many folks (myself included) don't like this situation very much, it does make sense from a business standpoint. If manufacturers had to share all of their secrets, there wouldn't be as much monetary incentive to innovate, so the source was offered with a far more liberal license. It certainly worked, as we see devices from many major players in the electronics world.

Google's other major consumer product — Chrome OS — is written from the Chromium source. The Google-written parts of Chromium are open source, under the BSD license. Other contributors use various open-source licenses like the MIT license or the GPL. 

An important thing to remember here is that Android and Chromium are open source, but the operating systems used for Nexus devices and Chromebooks are not. They are built from the open-source projects, but may contain proprietary parts to improve the software for each particular device. For Nexus phones, these proprietary bits are released on the Android Developer site and are ready to drop into anything you may build from the AOSP to get the same experience. Chromebooks will run on a completely open build of Chromium, but won't have some closed Google APIs or the full suite video and audio codecs.

Google also releases applications that are not open-source licensed. Gmail, Maps and plenty of the other Google apps that come on our phones aren't part of the AOSP, and are developed independently for Android, Chrome, iOS and the web. When you hear the internet squabbles about Android not being "open", this is what they are talking about. Android, and everything required to install and run Android apps is completely open-source, but the popular applications that make it better are not. This isn't likely to change.

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Shadowgun: The Leftover update live in the Android Market

6

We brought you the news back on Tuesday, but today is the day. "The Leftover" update for the brilliant Shadowgun is now live in the Android Market. 

The expansion pack is a direct update to the original app, and brings with it 4 whole new levels among a bunch of other cool new features. We're not going to bore you with details, because we know you'd rather be playing this. Hit the break for download links, and a trailer for "The Leftover." 

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

ClockworkMod developer teases touch-based recovery

13

ClockworkMod developer Koushik Dutta has shown off some early progress in bringing touchscreen functionality to his popular custom recovery image for Android. In a video posted on his Google+ page, Koush demonstrates the ability to navigate through menus using touch, rather than the regular volume rocker/power button combo required by current ClockworkMod builds.

A custom recovery image is an important tool for anyone wanting to use custom firmware on their Android device, so it's great to see advanced functionality like touch headed to a popular recovery like CWM.

This isn't the first time we've seen early implementations of touch support in custom recoveries, though. Previous efforts have included an unofficial version of ClockworkMod for the Galaxy Nexus, which uses on-screen keys instead of old-fashioned clicky buttons. The important difference with Koush's implementation is that it allows you to touch and scroll anywhere on the screen to select the item you want, just like when you're browsing through menus in Android.

The developer points out that the version shown in the video is still a "rough cut", with plenty of work yet to be done. But based on what we've seen in the video, things are already looking very promising.

Source: +Kouishik Dutta

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages