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4 years ago

New malware could allow SMS phishing, sideloaders beware


Researchers at NC State University have discovered a new bug in current versions of Android that would allow malware to spoof the sender of an SMS message. The exploit works on Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean, Google has been made aware of the issue and will be releasing a security patch. 

In the meantime, the team at NC State says they won't be releasing all the specifics of how it's done, but chances are someone will find it now that they know what to look for and what version changes to inspect. This means it's important that you trust any applications you plan on sideloading onto your Android device. Of course, users who pick up a Nexus 4 with the built-in sideload scanner are covered.

The bigger issue, as always, is how long it will take OEMs and carriers to push any fix out to their existing phones. Unfortunately, the answer is either "a long time" or never, so it's up to you to be vigilant. If you get an SMS message from your bank, or school, or anyone who asks for personal or login details, tap the phone icon and call them just to be on the safe side.

Source: NC State University; via Engadget

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4 years ago

New render of Verizon Droid DNA in line with previous leaks


Well, well, what have we here? The always-reliable @evleaks has come up with what looks to be a marketing shot of the Verizon HTC Droid DNA -- and it looks right in line with the physical model of the Droid DNA (aka the HTC DLX) we first showed you a week or so ago. The pieces are starting to fall into place, and we're now seeing some official branding for the "Droid DNA" name as well. The Droid DNA tag also happens to be the same name we first brought you in the form of a Verizon MAP listing.

Still no word on when we'll see this 5-incher, but the fellows at evleaks are pointing toward early December.

Source: @evleaks

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Nexus 7 and iPad mini tablets


Nexus isn't the only news in town today. Apple's 7.9-inch iPad mini is on doorsteps, and we've picked one up to take a look at it next to the Google Nexus 7 tablet from ASUS. Some quick thoughts, in random order:

  • Yep. The iPad mini is thinner. Much thinner. But because of its aluminum back (and it's a very sexy back), it's much more slippery. The Nexus 7's extra thickness (not that it's all that portly) and rubberized texture make it more comfortable, at least in some very short-term testing.
  • Apple made a big deal about the iPad mini having a thinner bezel -- the space between the usable display and the edge of the device. And the iPad mini certainly looks cool with that thin bezel. I'm not sold on the usability just yet. Maybe it's because I'm just used to having to keep my thumb off the screen (Apple's got some software tweaks to compensate for that, apparently), or maybe it's in combination with the thinness, and toss in the iPad's extra width over the Nexus 7, but it seems more uncomfortable to hold. That may change over time.
  • Pixels. The Nexus 7 wins this battle hands-down, with its 1280x800 resolution at 7 inches, compared to 1024x768 at 7.9 inches for the iPad mini. That's 216 pixels per inch for the Nexus 7, versus 163 for the iPad. And that density makes a big difference, if you have discerning eyeballs like we do.

We've got some quickie video after the break, where you can see the difference in size, along with a quick walkthrough. Have at it.

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4 years ago

The Nexus Phone family: Four generations of Android


From the Nexus One to the Nexus Four — and a couple Galaxies in between

Back in the winter of 2009, the rumors were flying about Google getting into the phone business. Previously they offered what were called Android Developer Phones (we know them as the G1 and the Magic, both made by HTC for Google's reference devices), but this was supposedly something different. Many at Google denied these rumors, but as we all saw the following January, the Nexus One was unveiled.

The Nexus One was a huge leap forward when compared to the current crop of premium smartphones of the time. A fast 1 GHz processor and 512MB of RAM powered the AMOLED screen, and it quickly ushered in an era of what became known as the "superphone."

By today's standards, the Nexus One specs are pretty mediocre, but back then they were unheard of. To go along with these great specs, was a premium build with a unibody design, and a certainty of prompt and early updates to the Android OS. The hardware had it's share of issues, but none of us cared when Froyo came out, because it was fast -- and so was the OS update. The Nexus program was a hit, if not a very successful retail venture, and we knew things were going to get interesting.

The Nexus One set the stage for the Nexus line, and what it would become.

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4 years ago

Android 4.2 brings new security features to scan sideloaded apps


Talking about malware on a mobile platform is a tough thing to do right. Some of what you hear is real, and needs addressed responsibly, but so much of it is just FUD from folks trying to sell you something or get you to change your choice of device. We try to do the former, without downplaying the serious issues, but we also depend on users to be a little bit savvy and not do the things that lead to getting malware on the phone in the first place.

Thankfully, Google has stepped up and taken the reigns here. As ComputerWorld's JR Rapheal has pointed out, starting with Android 4.2 users now have the option to have every application that is being sideloaded scanned before installation. This uses the same technology as Google Play's Bouncer, and is designed to scan for and find malware -- both known cases and suspicious applications. If an app's fingerprint matches known malware, you'll be blocked from installing the application. If the app shows anything that the canner feels is suspicious, you're warned that it may be harmful and given the choice whether or not to install. The service is entirely opt-in, and your choice can be changed at any time through the device security settings. 

We're big proponents of responsible reactions to and prevention of mobile security issues. In a time where companies release blurbs in the press that exaggerate the amount of malware (Android VP of engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer notes that actual dangerous malware is extremely rare on the Android platform) and push users to use their products, we're glad to see Google taking this sort of action. There is no substitute for common sense, but Android 4.2's new security scanning feature sounds like the right way forward.

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4 years ago

How-To unlock the Nexus 4 bootloader


A lot of us who are planning to buy the LG Nexus 4 will be doing so because of the developer options, including the easily unlockable bootloader. Unlocking your bootloader is something to think about before you jump in and do it, because a locked bootloader is essential to keeping your device secure. Once you unlock it, a knowledgeable person can take every bit of data off your phone, even if you're unrooted and have adb debugging turned off, and even with a secure lock screen.

Now that's out of the way. (Seriously -- think before you take the plunge, OK?) If you're going to want to unlock your bootloader, you'll want to do it before you have the phone all set up, because unlocking it erases everything from your phone. That's a security feature. If a hacker gets your phone and it is not unlocked, he can't get into your data to steal it as easily. Security is good. So make your decision before you dive into the Google Play store and set things up just so.

With all things considered, if you're going to unlock it, hit the break and see how to do it.

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4 years ago

How to enable developer settings on Android 4.2


Google has hidden the developer settings in the latest version of Jelly Bean - here's how to get them back

A few months from now, this will seem funny. But for a little while, for a few scary hours, we had no developer settings on the Nexus 4. Ponder that for a moment. A Nexus device with no developer settings. Actually, it wasn't quite that bad. A little hackery, and we had a direct shortcut to the dev settings. 

But there's an easier way to enable the developer settings on Android 4.2. Oh, they're still on the phone, so nobody freak out. Google hasn't taken the "developer" out of its Nexus line, and it's not going to anytime soon. But the settings have been hidden from casual view in the settings menu. Here's how to get them back:

  1. Go to the settings menu, and scroll down to "About phone." Tap it.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom again, where you see "Build number." (Your build number may vary from ours here.)
  3. Tap it seven (7) times. After the third tap, you'll see a playful dialog that says you're four taps away from being a developer. (If only it were that simple, eh?) Keep on tapping, and *poof*, you've got the developer settings back.

So why would Google hide the developer settings on a Nexus? It likely has nothing at all to do with the device in this case. Think bigger. It's just a change in Android 4.2. If you're reading this blog, chances are you'll want to poke around in them -- or, in most cases, get to the USB debugging settings. There's not a whole lot of danger here. But ever since the dev settings were consolidated into a single menu in Android 4.0, it's seemed odd that they remained in plain sight on more consumer-friendly phones. Does your mom need dev settings? Nah. So, Google's hidden them in Android 4.2.

We're fine with that move -- and we expect it to be documented in the Android dev portal.

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4 years ago

Nexus 4 unboxing


Attention citizens of Earth: Here is your Nexus 4 unboxing. Yes. From me. The guy who hates unboxings. But for the Nexus 4? What the hell. We'll unbox it.

So here's the Nexus 4 box. And here's us pulling the Nexus 4 out of its box. It is no longer in the box. It is unboxed. It is a Nexus 4, without a box. What's in the box? Stuff. 

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4 years ago

Mophie Juice Pack now available for Samsung Galaxy S3, yours for $100


Mophie, one of the most respected external battery pack suppliers for the iPhone, has finally released their version for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Costing $100, the 2300mAh battery pack and protective case combination promises to double the battery life of your Galaxy S3. It's a good chunk of cash to drop on such an accessory, but having seen one of the prototypes in the flesh at IFA, the quality is undeniable. If you're interested, head on over to the source link below. 

Source: Mophie

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4 years ago

LG Optimus G, Sony Xperia TL available from AT&T today


Great news for all of you on AT&T today as the LG Optimus G (see our review) and the Sony Xperia TL (see our hands-on) are available now.  The Optimus G can be had for $199 with a 2-year contract while and Xperia TL costs $99. Both can be bought in-store as well as online.

If you're concerned with having the top of the line phone, the Optimus G will be your choice. LG has done a fantastic job and has made it one of the top phones on the market. In case you've forgotten, it packs a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 32GB of storage, a 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus display, 8MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facing.

The Xperia TL, known as the 'Bond phone' because James Bond will use it in the upcoming film Skyfall, is a great phone, especially at the $99 price point. It sports a 4.6-inch HD Reality display, 13MP camera, 1.5GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.04 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and NFC support.

Two great options for AT&T customers. Do you plan on picking one up? If so, which one? Tell us in the comments or our Xperia TL and Optimus G Forums.

Source: Sony Xperia TL on AT&TLG Optimus G on At&T

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4 years ago

Apple's 'apology' ad goes from snarky to snoozy


Remember how Apple got called out by a UK judge for basically being a dick when it "apologized" by saying the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 didn't "infringe" but still "willfully copied" the iPad? Yeah. Those were good times. Apple's revised advert is appearing in British papers today (please let it be on Page 6!), and it's a snoozer. It's a 87 words (or something like that -- we fell asleep) of pure legal drivel. But at least it's more in the spirit of what the judge intended, we suppose. Have a cup of coffee, and have a read. Then pour another cup.

(And in related news, it seems the earlier "non-compliant" statement has now been pulled from Apple's UK site -- go figure.)

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4 years ago

Clearwire cutting back LTE rollout expectations by 3,000 new sites


Clearwire has just released some interesting but understandable news today regarding its expected LTE rollout for 2013. Previously, the company's plans were to have 5,000 new LTE cell sites by mid 2013. Now that Sprint controls a majority of Clearwire again, the plans are changing a bit. Clearwire will be cutting its expected LTE rollout down to 2,000 new sites to fall better into line with what Sprint is doing in its own LTE rollout. Part of the change will come on the device side as well, as Sprint will start deploying data devices in Q2 and phones in Q3 next year that operate on the 2.5GHz frequency, which Clearwire and Sprint will both be deploying LTE on.

It's disappointing to see Clearwire cut its expectations for an LTE rollout, but if in the end it turns out that Sprint and Clearwire will keep their networks compatible and running smoothly, it'll likely be for the better of both companies.

Source: FierceWireless

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4 years ago

Rumored HTC Facebook phone gets codename, reportedly still in the cards


You could be forgiven for not remembering the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa. HTC's first-gen Facebook phones failed to make much of an impact when they were released in mid-2011. But apparently that hasn't deterred the manufacturer or the social giant, as fresh rumors are emerging today of another Facebook phone in the works, slated for a 2013 launch.

UK tech blog Pocket-Lint reports via sources in HTC's native Taiwan that the phone in question currently goes by the codename "HTC Opera UL." The device is reportedly an OEM phone, meaning one manufactured by HTC specifically for Facebook (in the same way the Nexus One was HTC-manufactured but Google-branded). Recently-posted Nenamark benchmarks for the device suggest it'll run a 1.4GHz dual-core processor of some description, with an Adreno 305 GPU, Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean and a 720p display. It's worth noting that earlier leaks have suggested this may be a forked version of Android, rather than a Google-approved build.

Today's reports echo a story from Bloomberg which appeared a few months back. That report suggested that a "modified" version of Android would be used in a HTC-built Facebook phone that'd be released in 2013, after delays prevented a late 2012 launch.

Pocket-Lint's report says that the "Opera UL" has indeed been delayed, though it's not clear whether this refers to the original delay to 2013, or whether additional setbacks have pushed it back even further.

Is a fully-integrated Facebook experience still a major selling point for a mobile device? Let us know what you think down in the comments.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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4 years ago

Google slips a walking and cycling tracking card into Google Now


Google Now continues to try and improve our daily lives one little step at a time, and the latest addition seems to be doing just that. Some users are reporting this card now appearing when they open up Google Now, which reports on the distances you walked and cycled in the last couple of months, with a comparison of the two. Pretty nifty, and while not quite at the same level as an actual pedometer, those of you who like to keep active will no doubt find it useful. 

How accurate it actually is -- especially for the cycling -- remains to be seen. Presumably this relies on having your location data, so turning this off should disable it if you're not too keen. Have you seen this card show up yet? Shout out in the comments below, let's see how active we all are. 

via Android Central Forums

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4 years ago

Acatel to launch Android devices with Three UK


French phone manufacturer Alcatel is reportedly set to launch an Android smartphone on the Three network in the UK. But don't get too excited yet, as not only does it not look great, but it's also running the two-year-old Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Alcatel One Touch UK and Ireland country director William Paterson said: “We are extremely pleased to have a handset launching with Three. We feel this will be a great partnership, as Three aims to offer value for money to their customers, just like we aim to do with all our handsets. We are looking forward to working together and launching more handsets in the future.”

The Alcatel One Touch Smart 903 which has a 2.8 inch display will apparently be followed by other devices later this year. As far as specs go this is all we currently know.  Let's hope software wise the future devices are a little more up to date. This one had better be as cheap as chips or I have a suspicion it may not do too well.

Source: mobilenewscwp

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