Android Malware Trend Continues, GingerMaster Targeting Gingerbread

The first piece of malware for Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ has been spotted. Working alongside  NetQin  –  a mobile security firm, security researcher  Xuxian Jiang  has located and detailed the inner workings of GingerMaster, the first piece of malware that attacks Android Gingerbread.

Using Gingerbreak, which is the  the latest exploit for gaining root access to Gingerbread, the malware gathers information about the infected device and sends it to a remote server. In addition to exfiltrating the IMEI, phone number and SIM serial, GingerMaster creates a backdoor root shell, stored in the system partition in an attempt to survive after software upgrades, to allow for an attacker to access the device at will.

The malware also acts as a trojan horse. Registering on a remote server, the application will sit and wait for instructions on a ‘command and control’ channel. This allows for an attacker to remotely trigger events, such as downloading and installing more malware without the user knowing or reading personal information saved on the phone.

With more and more malware for Android popping up, looking to mobile security software  as a means to protect your device is a good choice, but using more common sense with downloading applications from official stores and understanding the risks of giving permissions to apps, is a better way to protect yourself from these threats. While both Google and Apple are looking for ways to implement a “kill switch” for unauthorized devices or applications, this is a reactive measure to an inherent problem with all security implementations – they rely on the user.

Motorola Droid HD Pictures Leak; Trumps Droid Bionic In Every Aspect

The Motorola Droid Bionic is one of the most anticipated phones of this year. The phone was announced back at CES, but was later postponed to the 2nd half of 2011, for some unknown reason. The Droid Bionic will be the first dual-core processor powered phone to support Verizon’s blazing fast 4G LTE network.

Now, it looks like Motorola is already working on another phone, which trumps the Bionic in every aspect. The Droid HD will presumably come with HD (1280×720) resolution on 4.5-inch of touch-screen real estate. In all probability, the Droid HD will be powered by the dual-core OMAP4430 processor, which is also found in the Droid 3, and the upcoming Droid Bionic. Unlike the Droid 3 though, the HD will come with an ample 1GB of RAM.

However, where the Droid HD will trump the Droid Bionic is in terms of thinness. The handset is slim, insanely thin, and I am talking about the iPhone 4 and Galaxy S II level thinness here. Sadly, all this thinness comes from the fact that the HD will not be a 4G LTE capable phone. It will be a world phone, nonetheless.

The usual array of ports including a mini-HDMI port, along with the usual bunch of sensors and antennas are also present. There is also an 8MP camera at the back of the HD, which like its name, is capable of shooting videos in full HD resolution. The HD will also come with a beefy internal battery. You got to sacrifice something for all that kind of slimness!



Motorola ‘Life Proof Smartphone’ Defy+ Announced

Motorola has just announced the successor to its popular mid-range Android phone Defy, the Motorola Defy+. Like the original Defy, the Defy+ is also capable of surviving the harshest of weather conditions. The handset is dubbed as a ‘Life proof smartphone’ by Motorola, and is dust proof, water resistant and scratch resistant.

The Defy+ sports the same 3.7-inch screen with FWVGA (480×854) resolution as its  predecessor. The handset is powered by a 1GHz OMAP processor, and packs 512MB of RAM. There is also 2GB of on-board memory, along with a microSD card slot with a 2GB card pre-loaded.

Other key features of the Defy+ include Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS with A-GPS, FM Radio with RDS and a 3.5mm audio jack. The usual array of sensors are also on-board.

The back of the handset houses a 5MP camera with Auto focus and a LED flash, for  assisting  low-light photography. The Defy+ will run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with the dreaded MotoBLUR UI on top of it. A beefy 1700mAh battery powers the handset, which is capable of providing a stand-by time of up to 16 days on 3G.

The Motorola Defy+ will hit the retail stores of Asia, Europe and Latin America in early fall.

Motorola Photon 4G Bootloader Unlocked!

In the last year or so, all the Android phones shipped by Motorola came with an encrypted boot loader. Motorola has been heavily criticized for shipping their phones with locked down bootloader. The company promised that they will ship phones with unlockable boot loaders sometime later this year. Sadly, the company has not made any visible progress on this front.

For the Photon 4G owners though, the good news is that the boot loader on their handset can now be unlocked. The awesomely talented developers over at XDA forums have managed to unlock the encrypted boot loader of the Photon 4G.  Interested Photon 4G owners, can head over to this thread over at XDA forums for more information on how to unlock the boot loader.

Photon 4G owners should keep in mind that if they unlock the boot loader of their handset, they will void the warranty of the handset. They should also make a backup of their data on the phone, since the phone will be wiped clean of all data during the unlocking process.

Since the Photon 4G shares similar internals to Verizon’s Droid 3 and the upcoming Droid Bionic, it may help developers to unlock the boot loader of those handsets as well.


Samsung To Hold a ‘Major Product Announcement’ Event In NYC on 29 August

People in the United States, looks like your wait for the Samsung Galaxy S II is finally going to end. Samsung has just sent out a press release to all bloggers, for a ‘major product announcement’ in New York.    It is all but certain that this event from Sammy is going to be about the U.S. variants of the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The Samsung Galaxy S II is the hottest smartphone on the planet right now. Not only is the SGS2 insanely thin at 8.47mm, it also boasts of a powerful 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The handset has sold in excess of 5 million units in less than 3 months of its release. Considering that the handset still has not been released in the U.S, it is no small feat.

Earlier, it was  uncertain  whether the SGS2 would come to the U.S or not. However, Samsung confirmed last month that the handset will hit the states sometime in August or September.  Hopefully, Samsung will announce all the different variants of the Galaxy S II, with all the details about its availability, cost, and specifications.

The invite image from Sammy also gives a hint about the event being related to the SGS2. If you can find it in the image above, drop in a comment! ;)


HTC Sensation Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread Update Rolling Out!

HTC Sensation owners over at XDA forums are reporting that HTC have started rolling out a new software update for their sensational handset – the Sensation.

The new software update bumps up the Android OS version to 2.3.4, and brings some much needed performance improvements and bug-fixes. The update also includes Google Talk with video-chatting capabilities. Users who installed the OTA update, also reported less ‘Sense’ rosie launcher re-loading issue, and improvements in touch  screen  scrolling.

The software update also contains a new HBOOT. This means that post the update, Sensation owners would be able to unlock the boot loader on their handset, once the web-based unlock tool from HTC goes live sometime this month.

Sensation owners, who have already managed to get S-OFF and root using revolutionary, are recommended to stay away from this OTA update. The new version of HBOOT is incompatible with the revolutionary app at the moment. They should wait until developers update the app to support the new HBOOT version.

The OTA update carries the version number 1.45.401, and is currently being rolled out in Europe. Hopefully, HTC will manage to complete the roll-out by the end of August, and release the web-based unlocking tool in time as well.


Motorola Fire is a Low-End Android Messenger; Headed To Germany This September

Motorola has released a new mid-range budget oriented Android smartphone, the Fire. This fiery handset from Motorola sports a 2.8-inch screen with QVGA (240×320) resolution. The handset has a candy-bar form factor with a four-row QWERTY keyboard up front as well.

Other key features of the Fire include Wi-Fi b/g/n, A-GPS, microSD card slot, a LED for notifications, FM radio with RDS and a 3.5mm audio jack. The usual array of sensors like Accelermeter, Ambient light sensor and proximity sensor etc. are also on-board. At the back of the handset is a 3MP fixed-focus camera.

The Fire also comes with a new version of Moto’s Switch UI, which seamlessly allows switching between friends-centric and work-centric mode. Even though the Fire is a budget-oriented handset, it runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

The handset is powered by a 1420mAh battery, which is capable of providing a standby time of 30 days or eight hours of talk-time.

The Motorola Fire will hit the retail stores in Germany sometime in September. The handset will cost 189 euro, inclusive of taxes and excluding any contract.


Sprint Resumes The Kyocera Echo Gingerbread Update

Kyocera Echo is an unique smartphone with dual touchscreen display. This handset originally runs on the Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS and features a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera with HD (720p) video recording, 32 GB expandable memory and so on. As scheduled, Sprint rolled out the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) update for the Kyocera Echo smartphones from August 1. Unfortunately, the software update bricked the device instead of updating it.

kyocera echo

Sprint later announced that, the company will resume the rollout of the Android Gingerbread update from August 10. After waiting for nearly a week, Sprint has finally started rolling out the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update, without having any issues faced earlier by the Kyocera Echo owners. Here’s the official statement from Sprint:

Sprint will restart the Gingerbread update to Kyocera Echo users beginning today (August 10). In an effort to provide the best possible customer experience, Kyocera and Sprint have addressed a previous issue with the update raised last week. The Gingerbread update will provide Kyocera Echo users with performance enhancements including faster response, improved power management, enhancements for gaming, and more. Every Echo customer should have the update within the next few weeks.

This update will be available only via Over-The-Air (OTA). Check out the complete changelog below.


  • ECO mode
  • EAS enhancements
  • Swype 3.0
  • Miscellaneous security patches
  • Improved powered management
  • Improved text input
  • Minor performance improvements
  • Manage Applications Control
  • Download Manager

If you still face any issues while updating the device, please let us know in the comments below. To learn more, head over to this page.

Google Search App for Android To Get a Major Update

Google will soon release a new version of the Google Search app for Android, which will pack in a lot of improvements. The update will also come with a tweaked UI to make it more in line with the Gingerbread/Honeycomb look and feel.


The new Google search app groups the search result by type, with the suggestions from the Internet being at the top. The app now also shows country-specific suggestions and search results. The new version is also faster and smoother, compared to the previous version(s). All Android users, running Android 2.2+ can install the app on their handset, when the update goes live.

Google posted a blog post about this new version before pulling it back within a few minutes for some reason. I guess they found some issues with the latest version of the app, and so had to push back the launch.

Here is the full blog post :

We’ve released a new version of the Google Search app for Android with a number of improvements:

  • Suggestions grouped by type, with web suggestions at the top.
  • Country-specific suggestions and search results for all countries with Google domains.
  • Long press to remove history items.
  • Faster, smoother performance, with an updated and simplified user interface.

Search history, search suggestions and on-device results

Here are some additional tips we’d like to share:

  • Tap the arrow to the right of a search suggestion or history item to edit it before searching.
  • Get suggestions from other apps on your phone – check out searchable items in Search settings.
  • Long press on homescreen to add the Google Search widget if you don’t have it already.

Hopefully, the new version of the Google search app should go live sometime soon! (Possibly today!)

HTC Inspire 4G Android 2.3 Gingerbread Update Rolling Out Now

HTC has started rolling out the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for AT&T”s version of the Desire HD, the Inspire 4G. The software update brings a number of enhancements and features, including enhancements in Sense UI and the usual Gingerbread goodies.


Sadly, the update does not include the latest version of Sense (v3.0), which supports widgets and shortcuts on the lock screen. HTC however has tweaked the Sense UI to include toggles on the notification bar, along with an updated app drawer. The copy-&-paste method and battery life of the handset have also been tweaked.

Here is the full changelog from the folks over at Phandroid:

  • Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
  • New HTC Senseâ„¢ features
    • Updated Application Tray features
    • Updated FriendStreamâ„¢ features
    • Added Quick Settings in the Notifications window
  • Improved Power Management function
  • Improved media experience
  • Various minor bug fixes

Inspire 4G owners can either wait for the OTA update to hit their phone, or they can manually download and install the update from here. Alternatively, they can pull the update from AT&T’s server by going to Settings->About Phone and selecting the Check for updates’ option.