Category: Droid


Android 4.4.3 KitKat update reportedly coming soon

After a never-before-seen version of KitKat has been spotted a few days ago – version KTU65 – suggesting that Google may release at least one more KitKat update before moving to a new Android OS version, a new tweet from known developer LlabTooFeR says that Android 4.4.3 may be just around the corner, with version KTU72B identified as the upcoming software update.

“Android 4.4.3 is under testing. Build number is KTU72B,” the developer wrote. “Probably it will fix known camera bug.” This KitKat version’s code name suggests this build (dated March 13) is newer than the previous one (dated March 6,) although the developer did not share any details as to when Google will actually release it.

Similarly, it’s not clear whether the update will bring any new features, on top of the expected camera fix for the Nexus 5, and whether it will be available to other devices as well. Still, this appears to be first time these newly discovered KitKat builds are associated with “Android 4.4.3.”

The latest KitKat software version available to Android users is KOT49H (Android 4.4.2), although only some devices have been updated so far, including Nexus tablets and smartphones. A recent report said that Google will unveil Android 4.5 this summer, likely together with new Nexus devices – the company is rumored to ship at least one new tablet this year, with rumors indicating that a Nexus device with an 8.9-inch may be in the works.

Source: BGR

Android for all and the new Nexus 5

android repair abbotsford - android screen repairs abbotsford Just in time for Halloween, we have two new treats for Android fans. First, we’re excited to unwrap our latest platform release, KitKat, which delivers a smarter, more immersive Android experience to even more people. And second, we’re introducing Nexus 5—a new Nexus phone developed with LG.

The first thing you’ll notice about KitKat is we’ve made the experience much more engaging: the book you’re reading, the game you’re playing, or the movie you’re watching—now all of these take center stage with the new immersive mode, which automatically hides everything except what you really want to see.

 

Bringing more Google smarts to Android
Behind the polish on the screen is the power under the hood. Take the Phone app, which for most people hasn’t really changed since the days of flip phones. Now, we’re making calling easier than ever, by helping you search across your contacts, nearby places, or even Google Apps accounts (like your company’s directory), directly from within the app. And with the new Hangouts app, all of your SMS and MMS messages are together in the same place, alongside your other conversations and video calls, so you’ll never miss a message no matter how your friends send it. This is just a small taste of KitKat—learn more on our site.

Google has always focused on helping users get immediate access to the information they need, and we want to bring this same convenience and power to users on Android. With the new Nexus 5 launcher, Google smarts are deeply integrated into the phone you carry around with you, so getting to the information you need is simple, easy and fast. Swipe once from the home screen to get Google Now literally at your fingertips. Put Google to work for you by saying “OK, Google” to launch voice search, send a text, get directions or even play a song you want to hear. And in the coming weeks, we’re enhancing Now with important new card types that bring you information about contextual topics that interest you such as updates from a favorite website or blog.

Reaching the next 1 billion users
Building a platform that makes mobile phones accessible for everyone has always been at the heart of Android. Until now, some lower-end Android phones couldn’t benefit from more recent Android releases due to memory constraints. With KitKat, we’ve slimmed down Android’s memory footprint by doing things like removing unnecessary background services and reducing the memory consumption of features that you use all the time. We did this not only within Android but across Google services like Chrome and YouTube. RAM (or memory) is one of the most expensive parts of a phone, and now Android can run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of the world, bringing the latest goodies in Android 4.4 within reach for the next billion smartphone users.

Introducing Nexus 5
Along with our sweet naming tradition, we also introduce a new device with each platform release to showcase the latest Android innovations. For KitKat, we partnered with LG to develop Nexus 5 — the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made. Its design is simple and refined to showcase the 5” Full HD display. Nexus 5 also keeps you connected at blazing speeds with 4G/LTE and ultra fast wifi. The advanced new lens on Nexus 5 captures more light for brighter night and sharper action shots. And with optical image stabilization, you no longer have to worry about shaky hands and blurry pictures. A new HDR+ mode automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot. Learn more on our site.

 

 

Nexus 5 is available today, unlocked and without a contract, on Google Play in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and coming soon to India), starting at $349. Just in the time for the holidays, Nexus 5 will be available soon at the following retailers: Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.

Android 4.4, KitKat, which comes on Nexus 5, will also soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.

Source: Google’s Official Blog

Russian BadNews bug found in Android app store

Security researchers have identified 32 separate apps on Google Play that harboured a bug called BadNews.

On infected phones, BadNews stole cash by racking up charges from sending premium rate text messages.

The malicious program lay dormant on many handsets for weeks to escape detection, said security firm Lookout which uncovered BadNews.

The malware targeted Android owners in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries in eastern Europe.

The exact numbers of victims was hard to calculate, said Lookout, adding that figures from Google Play suggest that between two and nine million copies of apps booby trapped with BadNews were downloaded from the store.

In a blogpost, Lookout said that a wide variety of apps were harbouring the BadNews malware. It found the programme lurking inside recipe generators, wallpaper apps, games and pornographic programmes.

The 32 apps were available through four separate developer accounts on Play. Google has now suspended those accounts and removed all the affected apps from its online store. No official comment from Google has yet been released.

Lookout said BadNews concealed its true identity by initially acting as an “innocent, if somewhat aggressive, advertising network”. In this guise it sent users news and information about other infected apps, and prompted people to install other programmes.

BadNews adopted this approach to avoid detection systems that look for suspicious behaviour and stop dodgy apps being installed, said Lookout.

This masquerade ended when apps seeded with BadNews got a prompt from one of three command and control servers, then it started pushing out and installing a more malicious programme called AlphaSMS. This steals credit by sending text messages to premium rate numbers.

Users were tricked into installing AlphaSMS as it was labelled as an essential update for either Skype or Russian social network Vkontakte.

Security firm Lookout said BadNews was included in many popular apps by innocent developers as it outwardly looked like a useful way to monetise their creations. It urged app makers to be more wary of such “third party tools” which they may include in their code.

Half of the 32 apps seeded with BadNews are Russian and the version of AlphaSMS it installed is tuned to use premium rate numbers in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan.

Source: BBC News

Is Aliyun OS really Linux? Android? A rip-off of both?

When Acer was ready to announce a new smartphone running Alibaba’s Aliyun operating system, Google responded with force. If it were to be released, Google would end its parternship with Acer, which uses Android for 90 percent of its smartphones.

Acer swiftly cancelled the release, but clearly Acer wasn’t happy about the state of affairs. Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, was even less happy.

Alibaba says it wants Aliyun OS to be the “Android of China,” claimign that they’ve spent years working on their Linux-based mobile operating system.

Google didn’t see it that way. Google thinks Alibaba is an Android rip-off.

In Google’s Android Official Blog, Andy Rubin, Google’s senior vice president of mobile and digital content said:

“We built Android to be an open source mobile platform freely available to anyone wishing to use it. In 2008, Android was released under the Apache open source license and we continue to develop and innovate the platform under the same open source license — it is available to everyone at: http://source.android.com. This openness allows device manufacturers to customize Android and enable new user experiences, driving innovation and consumer choice.”

But: “While Android remains free for anyone to use as they would like, only Android compatible devices benefit from the full Android ecosystem. By joining the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), each member contributes to and builds one Android platform — not a bunch of incompatible versions.”

Android is a mobile operating system branch of Linux. While there have been disagreements between developers, Android and mainstream Linux buried the hatchet in March 2012.

So, from where Google sits, Aliyun OS is an incompatible Android fork.  John Spelich, Alibaba vice president of international corporate affairs replied oddly: “[Google] have no idea and are just speculating. Aliyun is different.”

How can Google have no idea about what Aliyun is if it is indeed, as Alibaba claims, a Linux fork? Linux is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2). Part of that license insists that if a GPLv2 program is released to general users, the source code must be made publicly available. Thus, perhaps Google doesn’t have any idea because, as Spelich indidicted and far as I’ve been able to find, Aliyun’s source code is not available anywhere. If indeed the source code isn’t open and freely available, even if Aliyun has no Android connection, this would still make it an illegal Linux fork.

Spelich went on to claim that Aliyun is “not a fork,” adding: “Ours is built on open-source Linux.” In addition, Aliyon runs “our own applications. It’s designed to run cloud apps designed in our own ecosystem. It can run some but not all Android apps.”

Rubin, in a Google+ post, replied, “We agree that the Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem and you’re under no requirement to be compatible.”

“However, ” he continued, “[t]he fact is, Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools. And your app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps). So there’s really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”

Hands on research by Android Police, a publication dedicated to Android reporting and analysis, shows that Aliyun app store includes pirated Google apps.

Android Police found that, “Aliyun’s app store appeared to be distributing Android apps scraped from the Play Store and other websites, not only downloadable to Aliyun devices as .apk files, but also provided by third parties not involved with the apps’ or games’ development. What’s more, we’ve received independent confirmation from the original developers of some of these apps that they did not in fact give consent for their products to be distributed in Aliyun’s app store.”

Not the least of the evidence is that the Aliyun includes Google’s own Android applications such as Google Translate, Google Sky Map, Google Drive, and Google Play Books. The odds of Google giving Aliyun permission to use its own applications are somewhere zero and none.

What we seem to have in Aliyun is an illegal Android and Linux fork, which supports a pirated software ecosystem. I only wonder that Google didn’t come down even harder on Acer and I really wonder how much due diligence, if any, Acer did before signing a deal with Alibaba.

Source: ZDNet

Samsung, You’re Doing It Wrong With Android 4.0

The No. 2 bestselling Samsung smartphone in history won’t officially see an upgrade to Android 4.0, leaving owners to decide among buying a newer phone, sticking with Android 2.3, or hacking on a custom build of Google’s latest mobile operating system. The reason Samsung won’t be offering such an upgrade? According to Samsung Tomorrow by way of the Verge, Samsung’s own customized TouchWiz user interface is the answer, which sounds more like a lame excuse than a valid explanation.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab—a 7-in. slate I’ve been using daily for more than a year now—is also on the “won’t see Android 4.0″ list, says the Samsung Tomorrow blog. I can understand we’re looking at a smartphone and a tablet that made their debut in 2010, and there’s a limited shelf life for future updates on mobile devices. What I don’t understand, nor accept, is that the issue is Samsung’s user interface software. Even worse, I think Samsung is shooting itself in the foot. Here’s why.

You have to treat current customers well. On the one hand, I can see Samsung’s stance if it chooses not to bring Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) to these older devices. From a financial standpoint, those handsets and tablets are already sold, and Samsung has earned all the income it’s going to from the sale of such devices. To bring Android 4.0 to the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab, the company would have to invest time, effort, and money to deliver the software. It has no financial incentive to do so. But customers don’t care about that and could decide to buy a competing product if they feel slighted.

Software add-ons should never stop product advances. Some people like TouchWiz, and some don’t. The same could be said for HTC’s Sense. Both are user interface add-ons atop Google Android, and neither should be the primary cause of stopping an Android update. HTC once fell into this same trap with Gingerbread on its Desire handset and eventually compromised by removing some custom apps to make room for the update.

This isn’t a technical issue, it’s a bad decision. My first thought about this situation was that perhaps the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab didn’t have the horsepower to run Android 4.0. Yet the Nexus S, made by Samsung, will get the ICS software, and it has very similar specifications to the Galaxy S in terms of memory, storage capacity, and processor. And I’m willing to bet the Android enthusiast community will have a custom build of Android 4.0 for both devices, if it doesn’t already. How sad is it that external developers can make this happen, when Samsung can’t?

Will most people who own a Samsung Galaxy S or Galaxy Tab be in an uproar over this? Probably not, as they’ll likely never know about Samsung’s decision, nor will they be thinking about Android 4.0 for devices that are 18 months old. But the decision sets a bad precedent and suggests that Samsung is more concerned with selling newer hardware than supporting existing customers and their current devices.

My suggestion would be a compromise of sorts: Offer a stock version of Android 4.0 for these devices with the customer understanding and accepting the fact that the TouchWiz interface will no longer be available after the upgrade. Unless there’s a real technical reason for the lack of an Android 4.0 upgrade—something Samsung should make clear—this might be the best answer. It wouldn’t cost nearly as much for Samsung to develop and test, while consumers thinking Samsung has let them down might be more accepting of the situation.

Ryan:  Samsung needs to seriously get their &%#* together.  I would like to update my Samsung Galaxy Tab, I find it buggy and it force closes way too much, too bad I will be forced to workaround this to put 4.0 on myself manually.

 

Source: BusinessWeek

AirDroid flies between your Android device and your computer

The tagline reads “enjoy your Android over the air,” but perhaps more accurate would be “enjoy your Android over your computer.” AirDroid connects your Android device to your desktop, laptop or tablet — really anything that can browse the web — and lets you send messages, browse photos or files, set ringtones, uninstall apps, and many other things that can be done more easily through a larger screen and perhaps a mouse and full-sized keyboard. If you want this type of functionality, don’t hesitate to download this free app.

I’ve used other apps that claim to provide the same or similar features, but this is the best that I’ve personally tried. It’s easy — just launch AirDroid and it shows a specific URL (IP address) to type in your browser and a password to keep it secure. It’s fast, too. Once your browser connects, just click through the big icons on the web page to navigate into picture and files, view the call log, read text messages, and a lot more in a second. It’s also secure. AirDroid doesn’t store any of your info on its systems, and the password changes with each use (or you can set your own password if you prefer). All this, and it’s 100 percent free.

Once you control your phone over a computer screen, you’ll want to do so every time you’re near a computer. It’s very convenient. The app works its magic over a Wi-Fi connection.

Source: Appolicious

BlackBerry maker RIM offers its software for Android, iOS users

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has allowed apps Google’s Android operating system to run on its BlackBerry Playbook tablet thanks to an emulator. Now it seems to want to return the favor by offering its software to Android and Apple’s iOS users.

According to a story from Ars Technica, RIM is offering its device management software to both its major competitors. The company made the announcement today that it would make the software available to Android and iPhone owners, which would allow users to manage those devices alongside BlackBerry devices using the software.

The new software is called BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and gives a lot of the same device management controls that BlackBerry customers enjoy (like remote phone locking and wiping and security features) to non-BlackBerry phones. It’s an acknowledgment on RIM’s part that it’s slowly losing its dominance in the field of business. While BlackBerry devices are still used heavily in enterprise, companies are also allowing employees to bring their own phones and use them.

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion allows RIM to continue to support its devices among businesses, even if its users also have other devices. RIM is aiming to become the “de facto platform” for device management among enterprise users, according to Alan Panezic, VP of enterprise product management at RIM. So while BlackBerry devices might be losing their market share, RIM doesn’t intend to be forgotten: it may just have to change the way it does things.

RIM has its work cut out for it, though. Its BlackBerry devices still curry a lot of favor among the government and businesses, but it’s losing traction to the widespread popularity of Android, and Apple’s iPad is popping up more and more in business settings. It probably didn’t help that BlackBerry devices suffered a worldwide outage in October. But the popularity BlackBerry does enjoy, as Ars Technica points out, largely comes from its management capabilities. Now Android users are going to have access to those same capabilities, which could help RIM maintain some popularity, especially if those capabilities become as popular on other devices as they have been on BlackBerrys.

On the other hand, if RIM gives up the things that make its handsets unique – by allowing millions upon millions of Android users to have those same capabilities without buying a BlackBerry – it could very well have a huge negative impact on the BlackBerry. We’ll have to wait and see if RIM’s gamble pays off, but in the meantime, Android users are going to have access to some potentially cool new software.

RIM says it’ll be releasing BlackBerry Mobile Fusion in the first quarter of 2012.

Source: Appolicious

Smartphone scams: Owners warned over malware apps

Get Safe Online says that there has been an increase in smartphone malware as the market has grown.

Criminals are typically creating Trojan copies of reputable apps and tricking users into installing them.

Once on the phone, the app can secretly generate cash for criminals through premium rate text messages.

Get Safe Online, a joint initiative between the government, police and industry, said it was concerned that users of smartphones, such as Android devices, were not taking steps to protect their devices.

Get Safe Online said fraudsters are designing apps which generate cash secretly in the background without the owner realising until their monthly bill.

A typical scam involves an app designed to send texts to premium rate services without the user knowing.

Apps can appear to be bona fide software or sometimes masquerade as stripped down free versions of well-known games.

Rik Ferguson, a hacking researcher with internet security firm Trend Micro, said: “This type of malware is capable of sending a steady stream of text messages to premium rate numbers – in some instances we’ve seen one being sent every minute.

“With costs of up to £6 per message, this can be extremely lucrative. The user won’t know this is taking place, even if they happen to be using the device at the same time, as the activity takes place within the device’s back-end infrastructure.”

Online banking

Another major security firm, Symantec, recently warned in its annual threat assessment that Android phones were at risk and that it had found at least six varieties of malicious software.

Minister for Cyber Security Francis Maude said: “More and more people are using their smartphone to transmit personal and financial information over the internet, whether it’s for online banking, shopping or social networking.

“Research from Get Safe Online shows that 17% of smartphone users now use their phone for money matters and this doesn’t escape the notice of criminals.”

Tony Neate, head of Get Safe Online, urged people to check their phone’s security.

“Mobile phones are very personal. I have talked to people who are never more than a yard away from their mobile phone. Because of that attachment, they start to think that they are in a way invincible.

“It’s the end user that picks up the tab – it’s your phone that incurs the costs. Whether you have pay-as-you-go or a monthly account, that money is going to come from the account and go to the criminal.”

Source: BBC News

Android climbs to 43% in US, iPhone still at 28%

Android is still growing in the US, but is taking all its share from non-iPhone rivals, Nielsen found on Monday. Google was up from 40 percent in July to 43 percent in August, but Apple was still at the 28 percent it has held since June. Most of that decline came from Microsoft, which took the “other” category down from 13 percent to 11 percent.

RIM’s BlackBerry also lost a point to 18 percent. It may have been helped by a slew of BlackBerry 7 phones shipping the same month, such as the Bold 9900 and 9930.

Google still had added momentum in the Nielsen research. Among those who had bought a smartphone in the past three months, 56 percent were buying Android. Apple still wasn’t under threat with a static 28 percent, but there had been extra pressure on Microsoft and RIM, which collapsed to about six and nine points. Both audiences may have been in holding patterns for most of the summer as they either waited for later BlackBerry 7 launches or for Windows Phone 7​.5 (Mango) in October.

Android may see a rare share reversal in October. The year so far has been unusual as Apple’s first where a new iPhone didn’t ship in the summer. Possibilities exist that iphone sharecould start growing again as Apple fills pent-up demand, most of all if a Sprint iPhone 5 ships and eliminates another shelter for Android.

Smartphones should also still be on track to become the dominant cellphones in the US, researchers said. They were now up to 43 percent of total ownership and at 58 percent among those who had bought in the past three months. Ownership is expected to cross the 50 percent mark before the end of the year as the iPhone 5, and more Android devices like the Galaxy S II tip the balance.

Source: Electronista

Google buying Motorola: Nokia, Samsung, and other industry players react

Google said this morning that it dropped its “top five” Android partners a line yesterday to let them know that this Motorola acquisitionwas taking place — so naturally, many of them had prepared statements ready to go. The move will have ripple effects across several entire industries, though — not just the Android ecosystem alone — so we wanted to reach out and get reactions from a few companies that have a vested interest in Google’s successes and failures.

Overall, the theme across Android licensees’ initial statements is unwaveringly supportive at this point. Considering that Google’s primary goal is to shore up Android’s shaky patent situation, that comes as little surprise — though the striking similarity in some of the messaging suggests that Mountain View may have applied some pressure to show a unified front today. Regardless, the ball will be in Google’s court going forward to make sure that these guys aren’t put at a competitive disadvantage against Motorola — a move that could drive them away from Android altogether and into alternatives like Windows Phone, as Nokia’s statement seems to imply.

Follow the break for the full rundown from Nokia, HP, Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson, and LG.

 

Nokia

From Nokia, which had bypassed Android for its “commoditization risk” and is preparing to introduce a lineup dominated by Windows Phone devices in the coming years:

“This further reinforces our belief that opportunities for the growth of Nokia’s smartphone business will be greatest with Windows Phone. This could prove to be a massive catalyst for the Windows Phone ecosystem. Additionally, with our respective intellectual property portfolios, Nokia and Microsoft are working together to build and nurture an innovative ecosystem that benefits consumers, operators, developers and other device manufacturers.”

HP

HP hopes to go big with webOS through its own devices (and perhaps licensing deals at some point), which means it’s not directly affected by the Google-Motorola deal — but the seismic shift in the wireless ecosystem has the potential to affect the company’s fortunes nonetheless. Alas, they’ve issued a standard “no comment” today.

Samsung

Though Samsung Mobile US hasn’t specifically weighed in on the deal, JK Shin, President of Samsung Mobile’s global operations, had this to say:

“We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.”

HTC

HTC — which splits its time between Android and Windows Phone — called on CEO Peter Chou for this quote:

“We welcome the news of today’s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.”

Additionally, the company insists that the deal won’t have an effect on its working relationship with Google:

“We are supportive of Google’s acquisition of  Motorola Mobility as this is a positive development to the Android ecosystem, which we believe is beneficial to HTC’s promotion of Android phones. The partnership between HTC and Google remains strong and will not be affected by this acquisition.”

Sony Ericsson

Bert Nordberg, CEO of the embattled company, released one of the briefest comments of the day — though it echoes the same sentiment that’s being conveyed by other Android manufacturers:

“I welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”

LG

LG Mobile boss Jong-Seok Park seems to have cribbed off Nordberg’s notes (or vice versa):

“We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”

Source: Thisismynext

Researcher Says That 8% of Android Apps Are Leaking Private Information

Android has had its fair share of malware problems. Whenever malware are detected, Google reacts swiftly and remove them. However, according to security researcher Neil Daswani, around 8% of the apps on the Android market are leaking private user data.

Neil Daswani, who is also the CTO of security firm Dasient, says that they have studied around 10,000 Android apps and have found that 800 of them are leaking private information of the user to an unauthorized server. Neil Daswani is scheduled to present the full findings at the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas which starts on July 30th.

The Dasient researchers also found out that 11 of the apps they have examined are sending unwanted SMS messages.

Google needs to take charge

This malware problem on Android has become too much. One of the main reason that we see malicious apps in the market is because of the lack of regulation in the apps that get into the Android Market.

Sure, the lack of regulation can be good. It means that developers can make their apps without worrying if Google will accept their apps or not. It fits into the pre-existing application distribution model where anyone can develop and publish their own apps.

However, this comes at a price – the malware problem. Yes, most of the problems with these malicious apps can be avoided if only users read the permission requirements of the apps. But, what percentage of the users actually read the permission requirements of all the apps they download?

I think that it is time that Google make approval of the apps a requirement before it gets into the Market. They do not need to do it like Apple, but a basic security check before an app gets on the market will be nice.

If nothing is done about and this problem is allowed to grow, it will end up killing the platform.

Ryan:  I’ve been using Lookout Mobile Security on Android OS for awhile now and it appears to be working great. You can find it here.

Source: Digitizor