Sony’s Nexus Handset Pictures Leak?

Today, a couple of pictures of what is apparently the Nexus handset from Sony have made its way on Picasa. As of now, there is no way of confirming whether these pictures are real or are fake.

While there is no Nexus or Xperia branding on the handset, the picture of the handset showing off the stock Android 4.x home screen is enough to fuel the rumors that this might be the Nexus handset from Sony.

Earlier this year, Wall Street Journal had reported that Google will apparently be launching multiple Nexus handsets at the end of the year. Since then, rumors about the Nexus handsets were too far and few until October started. Since the beginning of October, the pictures and other details of the next Nexus handset from LG have made their way to the Internet, almost daily.

The lack of leaks and rumors as to the Nexus handsets from other OEMs suggested that there will only be one Nexus handset from LG this year, but the above pictures, if true, suggest that Google might just unveil multiple Nexus handsets this year.

As a religious Android follower, I doubt the authenticity of the above pictures. If there were indeed multiple Nexus handsets this year, some information would have leaked about them by now.

Via – Xperia Blog

HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE Gets Its First OTA Update

Verizon and HTC will soon start rolling out the first software update for the DROID Incredible 4G LTE. The 154MB update mainly includes bug-fixes but adds some couple of new features as well.

Post the update, Incredible 4G LTE owners will be able to enjoy global roaming support on their handset. The update also adds support for Isis Mobile Wallet service, instead of Google Wallet, which is a shame. Verizon is a member of Isis Mobile Wallet team and this should come as a no surprise that the carrier will be forcing all OEMs to include its mobile payment service in future handsets.

Other changes in the update include an improved 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, addition of visual voicemail and enhanced customer care supported with Verizon Remote Diagnostics. Sadly, the update does bring Sense 4.1 to the handset, which all other HTC One series handsets recently got.

The support document for the update went live on Verizon’s website last night, so the OTA update should arrive within a matter of days.

Via – Droid-Life

Play Store Update Brings Expandable Notifications And More; Download Link Inside!

Beginning from today, Google has started rolling out a new version of the Play Store that brings with it quite a lot of new changes. First of all, the updated Play Store (v3.9.16) brings with it expanded notifications for Jelly Bean users. Now, the Play Store will notify users of the name of the apps for which updates are available, instead of just saying “x Updates Available”. The notification bar logo has also been changed to the Play Store logo, which looks neat.

However, the most important change in the update is that the Play Store *finally* keeps your position in a list, and does not scroll back to the top, after you check an app description and come back to the list. After the low resolution Google Contacts syncing issue, the Play Store not retaining a user’s position in a list was among the most frustrating bugs plaguing Android users.

Finally, users can now remove apps from the ‘My Apps’ section in the Play Store. You can select multiple apps by long-pressing on them, and removing them by pressing the Trash icon at the top.

The Play Store in your Android phone will automatically be updated over the next few weeks, but if you cannot wait, head over to Android Police to manually download and install the APK.

Google is the ‘Most InDemand Employer’ in the World

Google might no longer be the cool new kid in the block, but it still hasn’t lost all of its street cred. It tops LinkedIn’s ‘Most InDemand Employers 2012’ list not just in the US, but also around the world. The results for Europe are yet to be announced, and that might have an impact on Google’s final global ranking, but, being the most in demand employer in the US alone is a big victory for Google.

The biggest challenge that companies trying to change the world face is lack of enough skilled and talented people that share their vision. A company’s ability to attract talent is crucial in today’s fiercely competitive market, and when it comes to attracting talent, perception matters. Yahoo has been bleeding talent over the past few years, while new kings of the Silicon Valley like Facebook have been drawing in rockstar employees.

Most In Demand Employers in US and Around the World

LinkedIn analyzed billions of data points between members and companies and compared the data with surveys of thousands of members to determine a company’s familiarity and engagement score. Apple, which asks its employees to take pride in the fact that they can change the world through their work, ranks at #4 in the US list, behind Walt Disney and Facebook. Google is #2 in Canada, where Suncor Energy is the most in demand employer. It is #2 in Australia and #10 in India. Accenture, HP, and Oracle form the top 3 employers in India. Microsoft, Dell, Pepsico, and IBM are other top rated employers that make an appearance in several regional lists.

eBay Goes Up Against Groupon with Lifestyle Deals

Groupon’s troubles just keep on piling up. As if it weren’t troubled enough already by a sagging stock price and its failure to turn a profit, today, eBay, the original internet e-commerce giant, started testing an online deals offering, which would compete directly with Groupon’s core offering – daily deals.

The new feature is called eBay Lifestyle Deals, and is being tested out in some urban areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Groupon already has tremendous competition in the space thanks to Google Offers and LivingSocial which is bankrolled by Amazon. While the daily deals space has yet to mature as a market, it is the next natural step for many e-commerce providers, since it is a nice way to improve sales and increase inventory turnover.

eBay already provided product deals, but is now also looking into deals on services, which could be even more lucrative, partnering with deal providers who arrange them with local businesses and merchants.

eBay is also looking to completely revamp its complete website to boost sales and modernize its brand image. It’ll be interesting to see how the daily deals wars play out after the entry of eBay.

via Reuters

Teenager Wins $60,000 at Pwnium 2 by Hacking Google Chrome

The second installment of Google’s hacking fest Pwnium has just wrapped up, and once again Google Chrome’s security features were successfully bypassed. Earlier this year, Chrome fell for the first time when VUPEN managed to exploit Chrome within five minutes at the first installment of Pwnium. During the same event, two more hackers – Pinkie Pie and Sergey Glazunov, managed to humble Chrome and bag the top award of $60,000.

Google-Chrome-PwniumThe second edition of Pwnium was organized as a part of the ‘Hack in the Box 2012′ security conference held in Kuala Lumpur. This time around, Chrome’s sandboxing mechanism was defeated by exploiting two flaws – an “SVG use-after-free” and an “IPC arbitrary write”. The exploiter was once again Pinkie Pie. Since his exploit depended entirely on bugs within Chrome to achieve arbitrary code execution, it qualified for Google’s highest award level as a “full Chrome exploit”, and won him $60,000 and a free Chromebook.

Detailed explanation of the bugs leveraged by Pinkie Pie is still not available. However, the good news is that Google has already patched the vulnerability, so even if you use Chrome, you are safe. Google deserves a round of applause for not only encouraging the security community to discover bugs in Chrome, but also for patching the vulnerability in less than twelve hours after its disclosure.

Google Contacts Low Resolution Image Sync Issue Finally Fixed; Android Users Rejoice!

Way back in October last year, when Google introduced Ice Cream Sandwich, it showed off the beautiful new Contacts app which made use of high resolution contact images for one stunning incoming and outgoing call screen.

Sadly, Android users later realized that this new feature was only partially implemented by Google. The problem was that when a user synced his contacts with Google Contacts, the high resolution contact images would be downsized to 96×96 resolution. This was a limitation of Google Contacts, which many people hoped will be solved quickly by Google. Or not.

In Jelly Bean, Google increased the contact photo resolution size, but did not fix the low resolution contact images problem in Google Contacts. The Android community complained to many Google Android engineers numerous time about this issue to no avail.

Now, after truck loads of complaints from Android users, and a year after Ice Cream Sandwich was released, Google has finally fixed the low resolution contact images in Google Contacts. Yes! Finally!

Now, when you add a beautiful high resolution image to any contact, the image resolution will be kept intact, when they are synced back to Google Contacts.

As an Android user, this issue has been bugging me for the last one year or so. I am happy that Google has finally fixed the issue, and sad that it took Google so much time to fix such a small issue.

Since the change is related to Google Contacts, it might not be available to everyone right now, but will be gradually.

Via – Reddit

Google Introduces Free SMS in Gmail

Gmail almost singlehandedly redefined the entire webmail segment after its launch in 2004. Since then, Google has steadily expanded the scope of its webmail service. It started off by integrating Google Chat with Gmail, and later added support for video chat, and recently integrated video conferencing through Google Plus Hangouts. Today, Google added another dimension to its mail service. You can now send free SMS to users around the world right from Gmail.

To be honest, this isn’t strictly a new feature. SMS in Gmail Chat has been available as a Labs feature for several years. Google is simply graduating this feature from Labs. To send an SMS to a contact who is offline, simply type his name in the chat window, and you will get the option to send an SMS from the “More options” section in the floating box that appears to the right of your contact. Of course, this will only work if you have your contact’s phone number.

Free-SMS-in-Gmail

SMS in Gmail Chat supports all operators in the United States, and most prominent operators in more than 50 countries. In India, it supports Aircel, IDEA, Loop Mobile, MTS, Reliance, Tata DoCoMo, Tata Indicom, Vodafone (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Gujarat, A.P, Bihar, W.B. & A & N, Assam, N.E. circles only). The two big names that are missing from the list are Airtel and BSNL.

SMS in Gmail Chat is free; however, it does have some restrictions to prevent abuse. Initially, you will have a credit of 50 messages. Every time you send an SMS through chat, your credit will decrease by one, and every time you receive an SMS in Chat, your credit will increase by five. If your credit hits zero, you won’t be able to send a message. In such cases you have two options. You can either wait as the credit will increase back up to one 24 hours later. Or you can send an SMS to your own phone, and then reply to that message multiple times. Every time you send a reply message, your SMS credit is increased by five. Effectively, you will be buying more messages by paying your phone company for these outgoing messages.

Android 4.1.2 Brings A Single Finger Gesture To Expand Notifications Easily

Last night, Google rolled out the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the Nexus 7. The first visible change brought about by the update was a landscape orientation for the stock launcher on the table. There was no other in-depth change-log provided except for the usual performance improvements and bug-fixes.

However, Google has also introduced one new change in Android 4.1.2 as to how the notifications are expanded in the notification bar. In Android 4.1.1, users would need to swipe with their two fingers to expand any notification. In day to day usage, using the two finger gesture to expand a notification was cumbersome to use.

Thankfully, in Android 4.1.2, Google has introduced a new one finger gesture that allows users to expand or collapse a notification easily.

Artem from Android Police has recorded an excellent video showing how the one finger notification works.

The gesture will work just fine on the Galaxy Nexus, and other devices whenever they get the Android 4.1.2 update.

Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Rolling Out To Nexus 7; Brings Landscape Orientation To Stock Launcher

Google’s lead Android engineer, Jean Baptiste Queru, has announced that Google has pushed Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean to AOSP (Android Open Source Project) today. In addition to Android 4.1.2 being pushed to AOSP, Google is also rolling out the update to the Nexus 7.

The Android 4.1.2 update will bring with it a much-needed landscape mode to the launcher, along with some performance improvements and bug-fixes. One major reason why Google might have rolled out Android 4.1.2 is because of a change in the power chips of one of the Nexus 7 variants that is not supported in Android 4.1.1.

Below is the full announcement from Jean -:

We’re releasing Android 4.1.2 to AOSP today, which is a minor update
on top of 4.1.1.

As a note to maintainers of community builds running on Nexus 7: please update to 4.1.2 at the first opportunity. Future variants of  the grouper hardware will have a minor change in one of the components  (the power management chip) that will not be compatible with 4.1.1.

The build number is JZO54K, and the tag is android-4.1.2_r1.

Enjoy,
Conley and JBQ

JBQ did not mention anything as to when the Android 4.1.2 update will be rolled out to the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus S. Even then, once Android 4.1.2 is synced to AOSP, it will be just a matter of hours before Android 4.1.2 based custom ROMs for all the AOSP supported devices will be available.

Images via EETimes