Samsung Galaxy S Firmware Bug Resets Factory Settings without Asking

The Samsung Galaxy S has been selling like hot cakes ever since its release. Competitive pricing, coupled with fantastic screen, powerful hardware and Android OS (Operating System) has earned it a solid reputation. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its fair share of kinks.

Samsung-Galaxy-S

Besides the well-publicized GPS bug, some Galaxy handsets also suffer from another potentially devastating bug. According to the Inquirer, connecting the device to a PC through Samsung Kies might trigger a factory reset, if there is a file with extension longer than 16 characters. “This only occurs if the Galaxy S device contains a file name extension longer than 16 characters,” informed a Samsung spokesperson. “The issue will be remedied immediately when the file is removed”, he added.

Factory reset basically wipes away all your data and resets the phone to its original condition. This means that you will lose all your contacts, messages, settings and more. Until Samsung fixes this issue through a firmware update, ensure that your Galaxy S doesn’t have any file with extension longer than 16 characters.

View NSFW and Blocked Websites with Google Mobilizer

google-icon Last night, something strange happened. Somehow I ended up in a mobile version of my Gmail account while using a regular PC. I don’t recall how it happened exactly, but I noticed that whenever I clicked an outgoing link, the link began with a Google URL. Here’s what it looked like.

http://www.google.com/gwt/x?u= [website address]

When I viewed sites that began with this Google address, I noticed that most of the advertising was stripped away and even the images were being served by Google. In other words, I could be viewing images at any site, but my browser thought the images were coming from Google. That could be useful for people who are at a business or school which blocks certain web sites.

I did some research and found out that this service was called Google Mobilizer. Google Mobilizer was designed to make it easier to read websites on small screened mobile devices. Here’s the address and a glimpse of what the page looks like.

( http://www.google.com/gwt/n )

mobilizer-at-google

As you can see, it has a place for you to enter a web address and a place to do a Google search. Using either box will keep the resulting page in mobile mode. Even after you are on other sites, most of the links will still keep you in mobile mode.

I did notice that many websites simply will not work correctly in mobile view. Any site that requires Javascript or Adobe Flash may not work correctly. For instance, neither MSN Hotmail, nor Youtube worked for me in this mode. However, most blog sites worked just fine, and most Google services seemed to recognize it automatically and adapt. Here’s what Techie Buzz looks like when mobilized.

techie-buzz-mobile

Despite the fact that Mobilizer was designed for small screens, this service might be useful for getting past workplace and school firewalls. Just keep in mind that it’s not going to work at all websites. It’s also not going to hide the addresses you visit from any monitoring services that your work or school have running.

Website Google Mobilizerhttp://www.google.com/gwt/n

Be sure to check out some of our past tips on viewing blocked websites.

If you have your own tips on bypassing blocked sites or similar problems, be sure to comment below or email me.


Android 2.2 (Froyo) For Samsung Galaxy S Is Almost Here

Samsung had promised to release Froyo for the Galaxy S by the end of September. However, the good news is that with a little bit of trickery you might just be able to get Froyo on your Galaxy a lot sooner than that.

Samsung-Galaxy-S-Froy-Update

Multiple XDA forum members are reporting that it is possible to get Froyo running on the Galaxy S through Samsung Kies. The trick is to set Kies to test mode (CTRL+ALT+U+P) and modify the Windows registry. Please note that this might crash your handset and force you to do a factory reset.

Although Samsung appears to have fixed the extremely annoying GPS bug that plagued many of the earlier Galaxy S firmware builds, the jury is still out when it comes to performance improvements. However, it might be futile to rush to a judgment, as this is most probably not a final build of the firmware. Nevertheless, this does signal that the official Android 2.2 update for unbranded Galaxy S handsets will arrive soon.

Hat Tip: @kalpik

New Evo-like Mystery HTC Device Coming to Verizon [Pictures]

HTC has been releasing Android handsets at a prolific rate, and they clearly have no intention of slowing down. BoyGeniousReports has managed to procure pictures of a new mystery device from HTC, which is expected to land on Verizon.

HTC-Android-Verizon

The handset looks a lot like the Sprint HTC Evo. Although BGR didn’t mention if it’s an Android or a WP7 device, the button layout suggests that it is not running the latter. The phone sports a 4.3” screen, which seems to be a new standard for high end Android phones, and according to BGR’s source, “makes the Droid 2 look like a kids toy”. There is an 8 megapixel camera, as well as a front facing camera for video chat. Interestingly enough, it even has a kickstand.

HTC-Android-Verizon-2

The handset obviously has all the hallmarks of becoming a flagship device. Let’s hope that HTC is also planning on releasing it globally. It would be a pity to see such an impressive device being restricted only to the US.

Download Fennec Alpha for Android 2.0+ (and N900)

Finally, after quite a long time, Firefox’s mobile version Fennec is available for download for phones running the Android OS version 2.0 or higher and the Nokia N900 Maemo phone. Fennec is still in its Alpha stage and is far from rock-solid and stable. Development is slow, but it promises to deliver seamless web experience between your desktop and mobile. It includes the Firefox Sync addon and increased performance due to two major technologies that were implemented in the current iteration called Electrolysisand Layers.

fennec_logo

Electrolysis is a technology that allows the Fennec interface to run as a separate process from the web renderer, improving stability and increasing usability. Fennec can thus react faster to user input instead of being bogged down by a large page that is being downloaded. The Beta version of Fennec will start taking advantage of Layers to greatly improve performance in graphic intensive actions like scrolling, zooming, animations and video.

You can download Fennec from the Mozilla site. Don’t forget to read the release notes. Do remember that this is an Alpha build and might not be stable or fast. Fennec Alpha currently runs on Android 2.0 or higher, or the Nokia N900.

Opera: More and More Females are Participating in the Mobile Web

Opera-State-of-the-Mobile-Web Yesterday, Opera Software published the July edition of their monthly State of the Mobile Web report. This month’s report takes a closer look at gender equality (or inequality) and mobile web usage in Southeast Asia.

In just two years, the percentage of female mobile web users has increased by an impressive 575%. South Africa has the highest percentage of female mobile web users (43.5%), followed by United States (35.6%), Russia (32.4%) and the United Kingdom (31.5%). Sadly, India finds itself right at the bottom of the list with just 4% female users. Nigeria (5.4%), China (11.6%) and Vietnam (17.9%) are other countries with very few female users.

Opera also asked its users if they had friends they have never met away from the keyboard. An overwhelming majority answered yes. The highest proportion of affirmative answers came from users in Nigeria (87.3%) and Indonesia (83.7%). Respondents in United Kingdom (64.6%) and United States (65.6%) provided the fewest “yes” responses.

In July, Opera Mini was used by 62.3 million users, a 4.8% increase from June 2010. Opera Mini, which had been growing explosively until early 2010, is still the most popular mobile web browser in the world. However, it’s growth has virtually stagnated over the past few months.

Indians to Get 10 Digit Landline Numbers

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that landline numbers, like mobile numbers, have 10 digits by the end of 2011. It recommended that the country migrate to an integrated numbering scheme for both fixed landline and mobile numbers.

Mobile operators are currently facing a severe number crunch in the face of rapid user growth. After the “9” series of numbers was depleted, the “8” series was announced. Even that is likely to get depleted soon. TRAI dismissed a proposal to make mobile numbers 11 digits, saying that it would inconvenience the existing users.

The existing 10-digit numbering scheme for mobile phones should be continued to avoid inconvenience to customers that would accompany any move to shift to a 11-digit scheme.- TRAI.

Shifting both fixed and mobile numbers to an integrated 10-digit scheme would make enough numbers available for further expansion for about 30-40 years.

The integrated numbering system would also facilitate the extension of mobile number portability to fixed lines. MNP will be available in India by October 31, 2010.

Source: Hindu

Google Launches New Ad Formats for iPad Apps

The iPad has been the most successful gadget this year; it has created a whole new market and has filled the gap between laptops and mobile phones. Scores of other manufacturers are now rushing to launch their own tablets. Even developers are flocking to the iPad to create applications and games.

Google today announced three new ad formats specifically for iPad developers. Developers currently participating in the Adsense for Mobile Application beta program who reside in the United States or Canada can now monetize their iPad applications using Google Ads.

Advertisers whose campaigns run on the Google Display Network and include text or image ads in the above sizes can now show ads within iPad applications provided their campaigns are targeting mobile devices or specifically the iPad.

The ad formats which developers can display in their iPad apps are

Leaderboard (728 x 90)
Banner (468 x 60)
Medium Rectangle (300 x 250)

Adsense Mobile for iPad

Adsense for Mobile ads may not be as visually enticing as iAd ads, but they have a much larger inventory and much better fill rates. The best option for any developer is to use a mix of both. Apple’s iAd program will soon become available for the iPad platform also, so this is a very well timed move by Google. For more details, check out New Ad Format Options Available for iPad Applications

Lava B5 – First Handset To Incorporate Indian Rupee Symbol

Lava Mobiles have definitely done a great job by introducing a dedicated key for typing in the new Indian Rupee Symbol. Earlier Lava had also launched the first ever ABCDEF style keypad phone.

Here is what the Founder & Director of Lava Mobile, Mr. S.N Rai had to say during it’s launch:

We took this as challenge to ensure that Indians can type the new rupee symbol long before than the anticipated time. Around the occasion of Independence day announcing the incorporation of  the new rupee symbol in the mobile keypad will be a tribute from Lava family to the entire nation. The currency symbol on the keypad of their mobiles will make millions of Indian proud. We are happy to be the catalysts of spreading this spirit.

Trojan Uncovered In an Innocuous Snake Game for Android

One of the biggest attractions of Android is its open Market, which houses a wide range of apps that can be used for anything from listening to music to overclocking the processor. However, as mentioned earlier, Android’s biggest strength might also turn out to be its biggest weakness. The open Market means that it’s a lot simpler for malware developers to target Android handsets than the highly locked down iPhone.

Android-Snake-Tap

F-Secure is now reporting that Tap Snake – a popular Snake game for Android, is actually a client for a spying app. During installation, this game requests full network access as well as access to your GPS sensor. Once installed, it runs in the background and secretly reports your location every 15 minutes.

Fortunately for users, the game itself is simply acts as a client or s front-end. In order for the actual spying to occur, the handset must also have a paid application called GPS SPY. Moreover, GPS SPY must be registered to the same email address as TapSnake. This obviously makes it much harder to actually spy on any user, since physical access to the device or extreme gullibility on behalf of the user is be required.