Posts Tagged former

Google agrees to change business practices as FTC closes investigation

Android Central

Google has agreed to change a couple of its business practices following an anti-competitive investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over the past several months. There are two main parts to this agreement — online search and standards-essential patent licensing. For the former, Google has agreed to change its policies to both let advertisers more freely manage advertising campaigns on both Google and other search engines simultaneously, as well as not give its own sites any preferential treatment in results in specific categories such as Travel and Shopping. Beth Wilkinson, outside counsel to the FTC, had this comment on the search findings:

“The evidence the FTC uncovered through this intensive investigation prompted us to require significant changes in Google’s business practices. However, regarding the specific allegations that the company biased its search results to hurt competition, the evidence collected to date did not justify legal action by the Commission. Undoubtedly, Google took aggressive actions to gain advantage over rival search providers. However, the FTC’s mission is to protect competition, and not individual competitors. The evidence did not demonstrate that Google’s actions in this area stifled competition in violation of U.S. law.”

As for the patent side, Google has agreed to license its portfolio of standards-essential patents (technologies necessary to make phones work, like a 3G radio for example) in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner — that's the FRAND acronym we see thrown around. This means that if any company that wishes to use these patented technologies in their devices Google should be forthcoming on letting them do so for a reasonable price and set of associated terms. The FTC argued in its investigation that when Google acquired Motorola Mobility — and its portfolio of over 24,000 patents and patent applications — it reneged on its FRAND commitments and instead attempted to pursue injunctions against other companies with the patents. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz had this to say:

“We are especially glad to see that Google will live up to its commitments to license its standard-essential patents, which will ensure that companies willing to license these patents can compete in the market for wireless devices. This decision strengthens the standard-setting process that is at the heart of innovation in today’s technology markets.”

Now folks are spinning this one every which way. As consumers, this doesn't really have much tangible effect on us. But on the surface this seems like a pretty non-threatening result to Google. The FTC seems pleased with Google's initial commitments and compliance terms, and we'll just have to wait and see in the future how well Google actually follows up on these commitments. These compliance terms are enforceable, which means it's in Google's best interest to follow them closely. If you happen to be a lawyerly type, you can take a look at the full statement from the FTC at the source link below.

Source: FTC

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Former Apple Evangelist Guy Kawasaki talks more Android in latest interview

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A few weeks back, ReadWrite interviewed Guy Kawasaki — author, publisher, entrepreneur, and most importantly: former Apple evangelist. After years of promoting Apple’s products (you may have seen him in the documentary “Cult of Mac”) turns out Mr. Kawasaki switched over to “team Android,” currently rocking a shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (before that an S3, and that, a Razr Maxx). Kawasaki’s new motto? “Real men use Android.” In the RW interview Guy went on to say:

“People are kind of amazed, but I don’t use any iOS products, none at all. I fell in love with Android on the smartphone, and then I got a Nexus 7 and started using Android on the tablet as well. To me the great irony is that Apple’s slogan was `Think Different,’ but today if you think different you’re looking at Android.”

Today, in a piece called “This Is How I Work,” Lifehacker was able to get a quick interview with Guy, further pressing him mostly about his work life and products and services he can’t live without. While he still currently uses a MacBook Air to get work done (I, too, am guilty of this), the gadget he says he can’t possibly live without is his Nexus 7. As it turns out, when Apple released the iPad Mini a few months ago, Guy felt Apple’s “me too” tab didn’t offer anything compelling in light of the N7, asking aloud why anyone would want to switch. Great question.

When asked why he made the switch from iOS to Android, he admits that it was originally due to more interesting hardware. The iPhone’s lack of LTE, NFC and multitasking made Android an easy switch for him (despite sticking with Apple’s desktop OS for his computing needs). Now that Apple has finally caught up to Android in some regard with hardware, Guy says it’s simply Android’s superior software that keeps him from moving astray. His favorite Android features?

  • Multiple apps running in multiple windows
  • Widgets
  • Ability to launch files and choose default apps
  • Ability to see all your apps in an alphabetical listing no matter what folder they are in
  • Ability to pick your keyboard (I use SmartKey)

Talking about his work habits and general life lessons, Guy also says he avoids making to-do lists (he believes it helps prevent the decay of his brain) and deletes any and all email older than 21 days out for pure peace of mind. Funny, clearing out my 999+ Gmail inbox is my New Year’s resolution. But now let me shift the question to you: Despite “fragmentation” and firmware politics, why do you guys stick with Android?

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MetroPCS intros 4-inch ZTE Avid 4G, brings LTE and ICS for a mere $149

MetroPCS intros 4inch ZTE Avid 4G, brings LTE and ICS for a mere $149

Despite announcing a couple of budget-friendly handset options in recent months, it’s clear MetroPCS doesn’t plan to stay put, as the company today let it be known that it’s making yet another addition to its affordable Android lineup. And while the newfangled Avid 4G will come on the cheap, it could still be seen as a much better choice than that other pricier ZTE offering on MetroPCS — albeit the former is carrying a slightly smaller 4-inch, 800 x 480 display, though it does come with a similar (unspecified) 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and a much fresher version of Google’s OS (Ice Cream Sandwich). In addition, ZTE’s Avid 4G also features a 5-megapixel camera on the back (VGA on the front), the ability to turn into a mobile hotspot with a few extra bucks per month and, naturally, LTE connectivity. For the relatively small amount of $149, and without any contracts attached, it wouldn’t surprise us if the new Wireless for All smartphone on the block ends up gift wrapped in some places come next week’s festivities. Speaking of which, folks interested can snag the Avid 4G now from the carrier’s site, otherwise a quick trip to the nearest MetroPCS retail store should suffice.

Continue reading MetroPCS intros 4-inch ZTE Avid 4G, brings LTE and ICS for a mere $149

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Source: MetroPCS

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Twitter for Blackberry 4.0 adds Connect tab, more modern UI

Twitter for Blackberry 40 adds Connect tab, more modern UI

RIM may be finally ready to move on to its platform-in-waiting, BB 10, but that’s doesn’t mean its current user base has been forgotten. In fact, Twitter’s just announced a 4.0 update to its native BlackBerry app, bringing it mostly up to par in looks and functionality with existing Android and iOS offerings. The most notable addition to this version bump is the inclusion of Connect: the “@” tab which lets rampant tweeters keep abreast of who’s favoriting, following and retweeting them, as well as filter information on that feed. The Discover and Me tabs have also been expanded, with the former now featuring information on trends and suggestions for “Who to follow,” while the latter neatly consolidates all of your DM, lists and favorited tweets. The update’s currently available on the BlackBerry App World store, so hit up the link below to start your download.

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Source: Twitter, BlackBerry App World

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Android Overload: Former Apple evangelist converts to Android, loads of app updates and releases, and more

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  • Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki converts completely to Android. Wow. [CNET]
  • Stock Windows Phone 8 keyboard vs SwiftKey. Which comes out on top? [WinSource]
  • Demand for entry-level devices said to account for the majority of sales by 2017. [CNET]
  • Google could settle with the FTC this week over FRAND patents. [Electronista]
  • Interview with Kouji Kodera, HTC’s Chief Product Officer. [TheVerge]
  • Dropbox buys Audiogalaxy. Music streaming service on the way? [GigaOM]
  • Samsung’s at it again with the naughty S Beam commercial, this time featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus. [YouTube]
  • Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour now supports MOGA universal Android controller. [MOGA]
  • Verizon extends return policy to January 15th for the holiday season. [VerizonWireless]
  • Viddy — “Instagram for videos” — is now available for Android. [Google Play]
  • Google Currents updated in the Play Store. Adds a handful of new features. [Google Play]
  • Gyft now available for Android. Lets you give gift cards as gifts or regift. Free $10 for signing up. [Google Play]
  • ShakyTower Christmas now available for Android. [Google Play]
  • Foursquare updated in the Play Store. [Google Play]
  • MightyText updated in the Play Store with better notification management. [Google Play]
  • Google Drive, Google Play Magazines, updated in the Play Store. [Google Play]
  • Zenonia 5 updated in the Play Store. Raises level cap to 109, adds additional boss monsters. [Google Play]

 

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Microsoft confirms ‘a delay in approval’ of updated SkyDrive app for iOS

Microsoft confirms 'a delay in approval' of updated SkyDrive app for iOS

Feisty, no? Following a report from The Next Web, Microsoft has confirmed to us that there is indeed a hangup in moving the updated SkyDrive app into the App Store. For those unaware, it was reported that Microsoft and Apple were deadlocked in discussions due to the former’s decision to allow users to buy more storage from within the app. In other words, Apple’s trying to maintain its controversial 30 percent in-app revenue split, while Microsoft is arguing that some users may end up buying more storage through the iOS app, but then make a switch to Android or Windows Phone. Apple’s stance is that users who did such a thing would forever entitle it to 30 percent of the revenue, while Microsoft clearly sees things differently. Today, a Microsoft spokesperson gave us the following quote on the matter:

“Similar to the experiences of some other companies, we are experiencing a delay in approval of our updated SkyDrive for iOS. We are in contact with Apple regarding the matter and hope to come to a resolution. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

While it doesn’t say much, it doesn’t outright deny the allegations — something you’d think a company of Microsoft’s size would be quick to dismiss if there wasn’t a shred of truth to it. Hopefully the two parties can sort things out, but honestly, we’d suggest the Windows Phone team put the whole “add proper Gmail and Google Suite integration to WP8” thing above this little squabble.

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Source: The Next Web, iTunes (App Store)

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YouTube for 10 inch Android tablets gets refreshed UI with “Guide” feature

YouTube for 10 inch Android tablets has enjoyed a visually appealing carousel-driven UI ever since the Motorola XOOM launched, but it seems to have run its course in Google’s eyes. The company has upgraded the Android application today to introduce a brand new user interface for 10 inch devices.

At first glance this new design takes after those which can be found on phones and 7 inch tablets so there’s nothing too “new” here for those of us who have seen the latest from that crop of devices. The new YouTube Guide feature will feed you video recommendations, hot items from your subscriptions such as video uploads and comments, and more.

Google’s all about content discovery now so it was expected to happen in one way or another. The 10 inch interface is a tad different from the 7 inch interface as the former has a two-pane UI while in landscape mode. Other than that they appear to be the same so those coming from 7 inch tablets or even phones should be right at home here.

Google has also updated its mobile YouTube site to incorporate similar changes, mainly to drive users to the new YouTube Guide feature (though there are also easier controls for sending YouTube videos from your tablet to your internet-connected television). All these new goods can be had by upgrading the app in the Google Play Store or by hitting m.youtube.com.

[via Google+]

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Toshiba Intros New Tegra 3-Powered Excite SE 10" Tablet With Jelly Bean 4.1, We Wonder Why They Even Bother

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When it comes to Android tablets, Toshiba hasn’t really been the “brand to buy,” so to speak. It’s not that they put out bad hardware, because that’s simply not the case – the Excite 7.7 is one of the best Android tablets I’ve ever used. It’s that they don’t promote – or more importantly, support – devices after release.

Case in point: today, the company has announced a new member to its Excite line, the 10″ Excite SE. This makes the third 10″ tablet in its Excite line, with the Excite 10 and Excite 10 LE coming before. While the latter of those is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm chip, the former is using the quad-core Tegra 3.

Done With This Post? You Might Also Like These:

Toshiba Intros New Tegra 3-Powered Excite SE 10" Tablet With Jelly Bean 4.1, We Wonder Why They Even Bother was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Apple iPad Mini’s entire display assembly did not come from Samsung

Despite the tension between the Silicon Valley giant Apple and South Korean manufacturer Samsung over their on-going legal battles, the latter remains one of the suppliers to the former. In fact, the latest iPad mini which was released earlier this month uses display technology from Samsung. But just so it’s clear, not the entire display panel of iPad Mini came from the South Korean, only small but relevant portion of it.

One electronic repair company said that the iPad’s little brother powered by Apple’s own powerful A5 processor and packed with features like FaceTime HD camera, SK Hynix flash memory, a series of Fairchild Semiconductor International chips, and a Broadcom touch controller, has a little Samsung-ish in its display.

According to iFixit, Apple once more worked with Samsung for its display panel. While LCD markings did not disclose enough information, iFixit had discovered it through the Samsung display driver chip.

“Though the markings on the back of the LCD (display) don’t turn up much information, the Samsung display driver (chip) reveals that Apple once again went with Samsung in its display manufacturing,” iFixit said.

Does it mean Samsung can sue Apple over the display of iPad Mini? No, because apparently, Apple did not copy Samsung’s technology or infringed its patents over such technology. The Apple-Samsung legal war may leave an impression that these tech giants are on a nasty business relationship. But the fact is they are not. Both should have benefited from iPad Mini’s good sales performance.

Samsung sells display driver ICs, which means any company (even if they are competitors) can buy them to be used for their devices. Unless the company’s rights and patents are infringed, other OEMs couldn’t be sued over it. That’s business.

Both companies, Apple and Samsung, are competing in the rapid economic growth of mobile industry. There have been speculations and reports that Apple aims to be less dependent on Samsung. The fact that only a display driver chip was used in the Mini is evident the Silicon Valley tech giant is now slowly trying to cut its association with its fierce competitor.

Samsung has stopped supplying display panels for iPhone and have lessened its participation in the manufacturing of iPad. This forced Apple to turn to SK Hynix and Elpida Memory for the memory chips for its iPhone 5.

It has been foreseen by many analyst that Apple will be slowly terminating Samsung as its major supplier of microprocessors and switch to TSMC supplier, another Samsung competitor.

It appeared that the iPad Mini was sold to the market with a more expensive price than what was expected by many analysts. The Wi-Fi model can be purchased at the price of $329. It was believed to be in direct competition with Google Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire but the price says Apple needs to be what it’s known for.

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Report: Apple set to leave Samsung dry with termination of chipset manufacturing relationship

A lot of things have happened inside the courtrooms in the ongoing epic battles between Samsung and Apple, but there is just as much action outside the ominous halls of justice. Apple has long been rumored to be dwindling its dependency on Samsung for several components, including displays and batteries, and the biggest move of them all could be looming.

DigiTimes reports that Apple is ready to leave Samsung’s semiconductor manufacturing business hanging at the altar as the former is supposedly going to bypass the latter for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the biggest worldwide player in this space. Samsung is said to be getting as much as $13 billion next year out of its deals with Apple, and this move could put a huge dent in those figures.

 

It’s possible that Apple would deny this move has anything to do with their newly-developed rivalry with Samsung, but considering nothing has been confirmed then their reasoning is anyone’s guess. But being the drama lovers that we are not ashamed of being we have to immediately go with our first suspicion — Apple is simply trying to cripple Samsung wherever it can.

Whether or not this would actually hurt Samsung’s bottom line is an entirely different numbers game altogether, but keep in mind that Samsung is still the world’s leader in mobile phone shipments, and the company still has a billion other business bringing in loads of dough.

One has to question whether Apple actually has the gall to go through with such a move, though. Samsung’s losses would only be monetary, and if we can assume that many of its other partnerships and businesses don’t fall through then the beat will move on. But what if Apple is the one who could come out on the sour end of this move?

TSMC was said to be responsible for a slight delay in the mass production of the Snapdragon S4 chipset that almost affected the launch of several HTC devices earlier this year. While that anomaly isn’t commonplace you have to wonder whether or not a transition from Samsung to TSMC could potentially hurt Apple for future device launches. TSMC would have to scale its capacity to meet the huge demands of Samsung while maintaining a balancing act for the likes of Qualcomm and NVIDIA.

It would be one of the biggest transitions we’ve ever seen in the embedded semiconductor space, and a lot of moving parts involved could make this a risky and tricky move for Apple to take. We have a feeling that the Cupertino company would be willing to take that risk, though, if their hate for Samsung is as strong as we think it is.

Either way, it will be an interesting day if Apple ever decides to go through with it and we’ll be front row and center to see it all taking place. Who do you think would be hurt the most by such an action?

[via DigiTimes]


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Former Nokia exec Damian Dinning announces he’s headed to Jaguar Land Rover

Former Nokia exec Damian Dinning announces he's headed to Jaguar

The sudden departure of Nokia imaging head Damian Dinning caught many by surprise earlier today, but now he’s announced where his next post will be: Jaguar Land Rover. In an explanation posted at PureView Club, he explained that other than photography, cars are another lifelong passion and at Jaguar he’ll be “driving future innovations in the exciting new field of Connected Car.” His family also seems to have played a significant role, since while Nokia is concentrating much of its leadership in Finland, he desired to remain in the UK.

Developing…

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Source: PureView Club, Damian Dinning (Twitter)

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Microsoft is working on an augmented reality glasses to compete with Google’s Project Glass

In light to making things portable and mobile, Microsoft may resort to making its own electronic glasses that would stand in competition with Google’s Project Glass. A recent report suggests that the software giant is currently working on an augmented reality glasses and has already filed a patent application for it.

It may be easier to say that Microsoft will be competing with Google using this technology but it seems like it is not really the case. Microsoft’s glasses are reportedly designed to be worn and used during live events like sports games and concerts; whereas, Google’s Project Glass is intended to provide information to the wearers, thus, they should be worn more often than the former.

In the patent application published today, it is apparent that Microsoft’s augmented reality glasses would provide information about an event including the duration and place where it is held. “A computer implemented method providing supplemental information to a user with a head mounted display viewing a live event, comprising: receiving an indication that a user is attending a live event, the live event having an event duration.”

It would also be built to provide information about the objects, or perhaps persons, on the field. If you’ve been watching sci-fi movies, like the popular Terminator series, you already have a notion what these glasses can do. Basically, information are fed to the wearers of these glasses but as far as accuracy of information is concerned, we will still have to wait and learn when it’s released in the following months, perhaps.

“… retrieving supplemental information describing at least the objects in the field of view of the user during a portion of the live event; determining elements of said supplemental information to present to the user in the head mounted display; and displaying the supplemental information in one or more display elements in the head mounted display.”

[source: USPTO | via: Phone Arena]

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Galaxy vs Optimus: Samsung fires back at LG over OLED patent infringement

The maker of the Galaxy line of phones, Samsung, has backfired against the maker of the Optimus, LG Display. The latter was the first to file infringement lawsuits over organic light-emitting diode (OLED) patents in September specifying Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Tab 7.7 are among the infringing devices. The former did not respond initially until Monday. The company’s legal counsel said that this latest salvo is necessary to defend its own intellectual properties and patents.

Samsung Display, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, made a request to Seoul patents court last week to deem LG’s seven patents relating to OLED technologies invalid due to the lack of innovation and originality. This legal tactic is not new to the Galaxy-maker as it is the same tactic Apple used to win the $1 billion case. But Samsung spokesperson said they are doing this to defend their technologies.

“These are typical legal steps to defend a company’s stance in a patent infringement suit,” the Samsung spokesman told AFP.

Both are South Korean companies that have been in competition since time immemorial. While they have engaged into several legal battles in the past, the most recent one seems to become nastier as they both try to eliminate one another.

An OLED display does not need backlighting so manufacturers can build devices as thin as other components would allow. In fact, it is this very same technology that has been used in majority of Samsung’s mid- to high-end devices especially the Galaxy S III. LG used this technology on its television units while Samsung in its smartphones. If the former wins this case, Samsung will have a lot of problems in its mobile division.

However, it seems like Samsung has an edge over this case than LG because it has never been hidden from the eyes of the public that it has developed several OLED patents including the more advanced Super AMOLED technology. And if its accusations that LG tried to lure away its senior Samsung OLED researchers are proven true, it can win this case with eyes closed.

[source: Phys]

[image credit: Android Authority]

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Square is now processing $10 billion in transactions annually

Square Wallet

Square is probably the most formidable opponent to Google's push for the use of Google Wallet in retail stores. Not unlike Google Wallet, Square requires both the user and the retailer to have a special equipment — an app for the former, and hardware for the latter — to make everything work. And while Google has been struggling to get its infrastructure in place, even with MasterCard's help, Square seems to be taking off as the niche payment system right now. Square has just announced that it is processing over $10 billion in payments annually, and has increased its rate of transactions by $2 billion just this month.

TechCrunch notes that the $10 billion number doesn't even include payments processed via Starbucks, which just penned a deal with Square to set up its processing system in 7,000 stores. Maybe some of this pressure can get Google thinking about its Wallet strategy going into the future.

Source: @Square; Via: TechCrunch

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Google Rolling Out YouTube Update That Lets You Use Your Phone As A Remote Control For GoogleTV

youtubetinyAs our lives fill up with screens, it becomes all the more important for them to work together. Today’s YouTube update brings that dream a little closer to reality. Now, if you own a Google TV set top box and an Android device, you can use the latter to play, pause, or add videos to a playlist on the former. This is already possible for PS3 owners, so the expanded capability is a welcome addition.

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The functionality works by automatically pairing your phone and set top box as long as they’re connected to the same WiFi network. After that, simply tap the TV-shaped icon on any video and it will start playing on your big screen, with remote control options appearing on your handset.

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Google Rolling Out YouTube Update That Lets You Use Your Phone As A Remote Control For GoogleTV was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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From the Editor’s Desk: HTC and Apple did what?!?!?

Phil Nickinson

Do these guys know how to party on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, or what?

As California was just getting ready to go out for the night, and Taiwan was just starting its morning, a joint press release came from Apple and HTC, announcing a cease-fire from the former after the latter licensed all current and future patents for the next 10 years. Don't discount the scope of that agreement. That's a whole lot of patents, for a whole lot of time.

I'd like to think that perhaps the agreement signals a change in the "Kill 'em all" strategy Apple had in Steve Jobs' final years. Or maybe it is just the realpolitik of the tech world — somebody's gotta do something to slow down Samsung.

Whatever the reasoning behind it (and I'd be willing to keep an iPhone in my pocket for the next 10 years to know all the ins and outs of this one), it's a good thing. As I've written before, we should be focusing on the tech — the phones — and not playing amateur lawyer. (Few in this space are equipped to do so anyway.)

One thing it doesn't change is that HTC's still in a pretty big hole, financially speaking. But at least it takes the shovels out of the hands of Apple's seemingly endless supply of lawyers.

We've got a big week ahead of us, folks. Some thoughts on that, after the break.

read more

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Android 4.2 brings new security features to scan sideloaded apps

Verify 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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[Deal Alert] Wirefly Now Selling Sprint Optimus G Pre-Orders for $149, $50 Off Regular Price

2012-11-01_16h32_19For CDMA users, the GSM-exclusive Nexus 4 can be a bit of a bummer. However, if you’re looking for the same high-powered specs without leaving the Now Network, you can get the Optimus G which David was actually pretty impressed by. Right now, Wirefly and Sprint are both accepting pre-orders for this device, though the former is offering it for about $50 cheaper than you would pay getting it straight from the carrier.

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Of course, that’s with a new two year contract or an upgrade on your existing line. Still, it’s a nice little chunk of change to have knocked off.

Done With This Post? You Might Also Like These:

[Deal Alert] Wirefly Now Selling Sprint Optimus G Pre-Orders for $149, $50 Off Regular Price was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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In Wake of Sandy AT&T and T-Mobile Sign a Roaming Deal

In the worst of times, we all come together…sometimes, even competitors. Former merger-wannabe-turned-sour-current-competitors AT&T and T-Mobile have struck a roaming deal in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Both carriers, which run on the same GSM and HSPA+ bands, have agreed to let customers roam on either network in New York and New Jersey freely to achieve the best voice and data service. Each carrier will handle this automatically and customers in the affected areas will not need to change anything with their current plans.

The FCC has indicated that 25% of cell service has been knocked out in 10 states due to the storm. It makes perfect sense that these two carriers did this, but it also demonstrates the shortcomings of network incompatibility. No other major U.S. carriers could do this so seamlessly as each have their own unique spectrum. It is unknown how long this deal will be in place, it will continue until services are mostly normalized.

Sources: HuffPo and GigaOM

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Former Nokia Money crew kicks off iKaaz mobile payments, lets shops go with or without NFC

ExNokia Money team kicks off iKaaz mobile payments, lets shops go with or without NFC

It’s a big day for mobile payments. Multiple former Nokia Money veterans have formally launched iKaaz, a two-pronged strategy to phone commece where choice is the order of the day. The first components, M-POS and its accompanying Tap & Pay, are rough equivalents to familiar NFC-based services like Google Wallet that rely on an NFC tag and matching app for in-store sales. A Consumer Wallet for Enterprises occupies more familiar territory for the ex-Nokia crew: it provides a mobile account that doesn’t require NFC or even an app, letting those in developing countries exchange funds through SMS or USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) if they’re sporting basic handsets. Us end users will need to wait for actual implementations before we see iKaaz for ourselves, but the sheer flexibility could have us paying through our phones in some unexpected places.

Continue reading Former Nokia Money crew kicks off iKaaz mobile payments, lets shops go with or without NFC

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Former Nokia Money crew kicks off iKaaz mobile payments, lets shops go with or without NFC originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 17 Oct 2012 22:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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DROID RAZR HD And RAZR MAXX HD Will Arrive On Verizon October 18th, For $199 And $299 On Contract Respectively

razrhdWe’ve already seen the RAZR M land on the nation’s largest carrier. Now, Verizon is adding the other two RAZRs we knew were coming. The DROID RAZR HD and the DROID RAZR MAXX HD, apart from single-handedly breathing new life into my caps lock key, will be arriving on October 18th. The former will run you $199 on a new two-year contract. If you’re looking for some extra battery life from your kevlar-coated phone, the MAXX version will sport a hefty $299 price tag.

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For those who missed it, here are the specs of the two devices:

DROID RAZR HD / MAXX Specs

  • 4.7″ SAMOLED HD 720p display with Gorilla Glass
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor (most likely MSM8960 Snapdragon)
  • Android 4.0.4
  • Verizon 4G LTE
  • 1GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 16GB (12GB usable) internal storage for HD, 32GB (26GB usable) for MAXX HD
  • 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera
  • microSD slot
  • 2500mAh battery for RAZR HD, 3300mAh for MAXX HD (21 hours talk time, 10 hours video streaming, 27 hours music steaming)
  • NFC-enabled (no mention of Wallet)

The little brother, RAZR HD, will come in both black and white options and have only 16GB of internal storage.

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DROID RAZR HD And RAZR MAXX HD Will Arrive On Verizon October 18th, For $199 And $299 On Contract Respectively was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Motorola Mobility, not Google, acquires Viewdle

If you don’t recall, rumors began spreading not too long ago about a possible agreement between Viewdle and Google for the former to be acquired by the latter. Well, those rumors were wrong… sort of. Motorola Mobility is actually the one that acquired the face recognition company, though as we all know Motorola now exists under the Google umbrella.

Viewdle specializes in facial recognition technology, and we all know that’s something that has become an important element of the current mobile market. The deal reportedly cost Motorola somewhere between $30 million and $45 million, and while that’s no pocket change to us common folk we’re sure Motorola finds this to be a value considering what it’s getting.

The only question that remains is how Motorola and/or Google will use the company. Is this a patent move, is this for Google+ and Android, or is there some other obscure plan? We won’t know for quite some time, but we’re sure there was a very good reason for it. [via TechCrunch]


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Report: Sprint ready to engage with T-Mobile in bidding war for MetroPCS

Just over a day after MetroPCS and T-Mobile announced an agreement for the former to be acquired by the latter, it looks like Sprint might attempt to intervene before the ink settles. According to a report by Business Week, Sprint is prepared to offer MetroPCS a better offer than Magenta’s following the conclusion of their revaluation.

T-Mobile would be buying MetroPCS for $1.5 billion as it stands, and there are penalty clauses for either party backing out. We imagine Sprint will keep those penalties in mind when revaluing the company, though there’s no way to know what number they’re thinking about at this time.

On the flip side of things, T-Mobile is also reportedly not backing down — they’re also said to be prepared to best any offer Sprint brings to the table should the Now Network decide to go through with the war.

The last time Sprint proposed to take over MetroPCS — about the beginning of this year — the decision was blocked by the board, but at that point their offer reportedly transcended $8 billion. If the board thought those figure were too high then they may be more open to the acquisition at the much lower figure MetroPCS is currently willing to accept from T-Mobile.

We’ve been looking for some juicy industry happenings (well, that didn’t involve Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Motorola, et al suing the pants off each other) since the T-Mobile and AT&T merger failed, and this could very well end up being a very exciting development. [via Business Week]


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Motorists Using Mobile Devices On The Road To Be Fined In Taiwan

The rising popularity of mobile devices like phones and tablet computers is posing a greater threat to road safety. To address this, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) in Taiwan recently revised the Statute for Road Traffic Management and Punishment. The MOTC now penalizes motorists using tablets, phones, and other similar devices while they are on the road. Among the prohibited activities are sending and receiving messages and e-mails, capturing photos or video, as well as engaging in other online activities.

The law, which takes effect on January 1, 2013, applies not only when the motorists are driving, but even when they are waiting for the traffic light to change. However, if the motorists have parked their vehicles on the sides of roads, they will be exempt from following the regulation.

Car drivers and motorbike riders get different penalties: the former, if caught by the police, will have to pay a fine of NT$3,000 whereas the latter will be charged with NT$1,000.

Lin Fu-shan, who is the division chief of the MOTC’s Department of Railways and Highways, also announced that they will be releasing videos to encourage the public to join their campaign for safety.

There will be other revisions on traffic rules that will be implemented on October 15, including an increased fine for those who try to pass through a railway crossing. This activity previously corresponded to a fine between NT$6,000 and NT$12,000, but it has now been raised to an amount between NT$15,000 and NT$60,000.

Furthermore, motorists driving while they are drunk with children below 12 years of age will be fined with an amount between NT$15,000 and NT$60,000 and have their driver’s license revoked for two years.

Lastly, motorists who do not pay freeway toll fees will be made to pay a fine between NT$3,000 to NT$6,000, on top of the toll fees.

via chinapost

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Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 land stateside on AT&T’s 4G LTE network this November

Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 land stateside as AT&T exclusives

Surprise, surprise — well, not really. Nokia’s Lumia 920 and 820 will be making a splash stateside on AT&T’s lineup with the former as an exclusive. Like most of the carrier’s other announcements as of late, there’s no concrete ship date set for the devices outside of a November bow. As a refresher, the Lumia 920 is the undoubted Windows Phone 8 flagship here, bearing a 4.5-inch Pure Motion HD+ 1,280 x 768 display, 1.5GHz dual-core S4 CPU, 8-megapixel PureView camera with OIS and a 2,000mAH battery. While the line’s mid-ranger, the 820, reps the same chipset as it elder sibling, a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 ClearBlack OLED display and 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss camera. Both are set to launch with LTE radios in tow, with the 920 available in red, white, black, yellow and cyan and the 820 in a lone black hue. Stay tuned for official word on pricing and release. In the meantime, check out the PR below.

Continue reading Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 land stateside on AT&T’s 4G LTE network this November

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Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 land stateside on AT&T’s 4G LTE network this November originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 04 Oct 2012 09:55:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Huawei Fusion 2 Sells For $99.99

AT&T recently unveiled the Huawei Fusion 2 alongside the Sony Xperia TL. These two phones target different sets of consumers. The former is aimed at prepaid customers, while the latter will be featured in the next James Bond film, Skyfall, as the phone of the famous fictional spy, and therefore caters to those who want more high-end specifications.

While the Huawei Fusion 2 is not as flamboyant as the James Bond phone, it will likely be an attractive option for those looking for a pocket-friendly device.

The successor of last year’s Huawei Fusion sports a humble 3.5-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen that has a resolution of a 320 x 480 pixels. Last year’s Fusion appears to have the same display.

The Fusion 2 also runs on a single-core 800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 MSM7225A, an upgrade over the single-core 600 MHz processor of the first Huawei Fusion. Moreover, there is 512MB of RAM, an enhancement over last year’s 256 MB, plus the Adreno 200 GPU. It has 2GB of storage capacity, which is expandable by a microSD slot that supports up to 32GB of additional storage. Android 2.3 is the operating system of choice as with its predecessor.

The basic smartphone also has a single camera which has 3.2 megapixels on its rear. This camera does not come with a flash feature or autofocus.

As for connectivity, the smartphone offers Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS. AT&T has also preloaded the device with apps like AT&T Social Net, AT&T Mobile Care, and AT&T Navigator.

The smartphone is powered by a 1,400 mAh battery, which will supposedly have around five hours of talk time, according to AT&T.

For these features, AT&T is selling the device for $99.99. There are several prepaid plans for the device. The lowest one is priced at $25 per month and offers 250 minutes of calls nationwide, an unlimited number of nationwide texts, and optional data packages. Another plan, which costs $50 comes with unlimited calls and text. The newest one, is valued at $65 monthly, gives users unlimited calls and texts nationwide, as well as to Canada, Mexico, and a hundred other countries. This plan also includes 1GB of data.

via androidauthority

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Jelly Bean Now Rolling Out To The ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700T) In The US

asus-transformer-pad-infinity

Last week, ASUS promised Jelly Bean to TF201 and TF700 owners, and while the former got its update right on time, there was an issue that prevented the update from being pushed to the latter. As a result, ASUS said the update would be available “early next week.” Here we are, about as early as it can possibly get in the new week, and the OTA has already begun rolling out.

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As expected, it brings Android 4.1.1 and all the enhancements that come along with it, including Project Butter and Google Now.

You can pull the update by heading into Settings > About tablet > System Firmware Update > Check now.

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Hey Shareholders! Here’s Google’s Eric Schmidt Doing It Gangnam Style In South Korea

schmidtgangnamIf seeing a company’s executive chairman performing a vaguely-sexual, somewhat-equestrian dance for a room full of South Korean employees doesn’t make stock prices soar, I honestly can’t fathom what would. Eric Schmidt, seen below getting his white-boy groove on Gangnam style, was in Korea to discuss Google’s new product Google Pelvic Thrusts. Unbeknownst to the former-CEO, while inside Korean borders, if a person discusses any form of lower abdominal movements, the entire room is legally required to break out in the trendy song and dance.

Once the chairman was finished riding invisible bareback, he informed the team that they would be hiring Korean Demitri Martin to bring the fledgling Google Pelvic Thrusts product to fruition.

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Eric Schmidt says Apple should have stayed with Google Maps

The commentary from the media and fans regarding the hilarious face plant that is Apple Maps in iOS6 is funny enough, but what we’ve really been jonesing for is word from someone out of Google camp regarding the situation.

Eric Schmidt, one of the highest figures associated with Google, has come out and flat-out stated it: Apple should have stayed with Google Maps. Here’s the quote from former-CEO and now-executive chairman of the board and advisor to co-founders

Sergey Brin and Larry Page:

We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know? What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.

That one is short and sweet, no doubt. But is he right? Well, Apple does have the right to make their own decisions, and Google can’t really do much but convince Apple to sign a new license for Google Maps.

As a fan of technology, though, I’d say Apple absolutely is in the wrong. Apple’s willingness to deprive its users of a rock solid Maps experience in place of an unproven, buggy mess because of their spats with Google simply wasn’t wise.

They’ll say it was simply a move for “innovation” or a business decision from here until whenever, but we all know these decisions to phase Google out of the iOS picture has more to do with the company’s emotions and feelings toward Google and Android than just cold, hard numbers.

Schmidt wouldn’t comment on whether or not Google would attempt to make a Maps application for the App Store, but should it come down to that Apple will obviously have final say in the interpretation of its duplication policy. One thing’s for sure, though — us Android folk don’t have anything to worry about for a long time coming. [via Bloomberg]


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iPhone 5 camera gets tested in Iceland, panorama and low-light comparison with iPhone 4S included

iPhone 5 camera gets tested in Iceland, panorama and lowlight comparison with iPhone 4S included

Sure, we tested the iPhone 5‘s camera in the well-lit streets of New York City, but if you’re wondering how Apple’s latest functions when used primarily as a shooter, TREK has a pretty remarkable look. Photog Austin Mann and a few of his closest pals took a pair of iPhone 5s to Iceland following launch weekend in a bid to test the unit’s durability, capability and image quality next to the 4S. After two days of geyser spray and admitted “drops in mud,” the uncovered 5 seemed to be a-okay, and when it comes to output from the sensor, that’s worthy of praise as well.

The low-light capabilities of the 5 are perhaps the most impressive upgrade compared to the 4S, with much less noise seen in shots from the former. He also gushed over the panorama mode, which admittedly churned out some pretty seamless results of the Icelandic countryside. As for shutter speed? That too has been “significantly” improved over the 4S. He interestingly noted that Snapseed was acting a bit wonky with iOS 6, but one has to wonder how much smoothing will be done by the Nik team now that Google’s calling the shots. Hit the source link below for the full rundown, comparisons included, and a video that shows how the iPhone 5 reacts after sunset.

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iPhone 5 camera gets tested in Iceland, panorama and low-light comparison with iPhone 4S included originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 24 Sep 2012 13:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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