Just days after a wallpaper app was called out for harvesting private data, security researchers have revealed another potential pitfall in Google’s popular mobile operating system. At Defcon hackers conference, Las Vegas, researchers from Spider Labs distributed a rootkit that exploits a bug present in the Android operating system.
“It wasn’t difficult to build,” said Nicholas Percoco, head of Spider Labs, who worked with his partner to develop the malware in just two weeks. The rootkit in question is able to silently gain full system access and can collect and transmit sensitive user information like e-mail and text messages. Spider Labs hopes that the public disclosure will prompt manufacturers to fix the bug present in current Android systems.
Percoco used HTC Legend and Desire handsets for the demonstration; however, he believes that other Android phones are also vulnerable. While Android’s openness is one of its biggest strengths, it can also turn out to be its biggest weakness. The open Market definitely makes it an easier target than the iPhone.
Xperia X10 users around the world are reporting that they have begun receiving the R2BA026 firmware. As always, this update can be downloaded through Sony Ericsson Update Service (SEUS). Regions which have been confirmed to have already received the firmware update include UK, India, Canada and Australia.
Since, Sony Ericsson doesn’t provide change logs, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has changed. However, several users are reporting significant performance improvements. In particular, Timescape and Mediascape apps appear to be a lot more responsive.
Ã‰clair for the X10 is still several weeks away. In the meantime, the barrage of minor firmware updates are likely to continue. According to PTCRB, R1EA029 firmware has already been certified.
Hat tip: @dreamcatchertdf
Samsung has launched the Champ C3300K, a budget touchscreen mobile phone in India. The Samsung Champ is priced at just around Rs. 4000 ($90). It comes with a 2.4 inch resistive touchscreen display with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and supports 256K colors.
It will come with Samsung’s proprietary firmware for feature phones and will have the TouchWiz Lite UI.
The specifications are average: It has 30 MB internal memory and supports up to 8 GB microSD cards. It will have the GPRS and EDGE connectivity options along with Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and microUSB 2.0.
It also has a 1.3 MP camera and a stereo FM radio with RDS. It will support J2ME apps and comes with a 1000 mAh Li-ion battery with a rated talktime of 12 hrs.
It is a very good option if you are looking for a budget touchscreen phone from an established brand rather than from newer brands like Micromax or Spice.
Good news Android gamers. Psx4droid, the PlayStation (PSX) emulator for Android by zodttd, has been released. Psx4Droid is the first PSX emulator for the Android Market, which already has several impressive NES, GBA and GBC emulators.
Like all other PSX emulators, Psx4droid also requires a BIOS image, which you will have to procure separately. The emulator works with BIN, ISO, IMG, PBP, Z, ZNX file formats. As you might expect, it uses onscreen overlay controls similar to the ones offered by the PS1 gamepads. However, you can also hook up your WiiMote (or other Bluetooth controllers) to get a slightly better gameplay experience.
I haven’t yet had the opportunity to play around with the Psx4droid. However, judging from various forum reviews, the Psx4droid appears to be a pretty decent emulator. Quite obviously, it requires significant processing power and is best suited for the dual core 1 GHz processors. Even then, some games like Tekken 3 might not work perfectly. Games which have been reported to work well include Final Fantasy VIII and Super Puzzle Fighter 2.
If you still have a soft spot for the classics from years gone by, go ahead and pick this up. At $5.99, it might not be cheap. However, if you have loads of backed up PSX games, this app will probably pay-off itself pretty quickly.
[ Psx4droid at AndroLib ]
What The Doodle!? is a new age adaption of the age-old game of Pictionary. The objective of the game is simple. The drawer has to do express a given word or a phrase through doodles (drawings), while the guesser has to guess the word given to the drawer. Correct guesses award 1 point to both the drawer and the guesser. If no one manages to guess the word, the drawer looses a point.
What The Doodle!? is a multiplayer game and requires internet connectivity. Thankfully, it works well even on EDGE connections. The game offers different lobbies with varying degrees of difficulty; however, most of the time, games are available only in the easiest lobby. Once you enter a lobby, you are automatically assigned random partners to compete with. You also have the option of creating private rooms, where you can play with your friends.
Techie Buzz Verdict
The charm of What The Doodle!? lies in its simplicity. It’s easy to jump into, but tough to master. The fact that you compete against real human beings obviously makes WTD more fun. However, this can also get annoying at times. Like in all multiplayer games, there are cheaters in WTD too. Fortunately, you can boot spoilsports who insist on ruining the fun by spelling out the words. If I had to nit-pick anything else in this game, it would be the drawing tools. While drawing is straight forward, changing colors and accessing other controls are a bit time consuming. Some users might also be put off by the lack of an eraser, but I feel that this only adds to the challenge of the game.
What The Doodle!? was an overall winner at the Google Android Developer Contest 2. Once you start playing, it becomes obvious why the judges loved it. It provides a unique opportunity to get creative and have fun in the process. This game is definitely a winner. You can download it for £2.99 from the Market.
Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)
[ What the Doodle!? at AndroLib ]
If you have been waiting for the white iPhone 4, I am afraid, I have bad news for you. The white model of the iPhone has been delayed, again. “White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year”, read a statement issued by Apple.
Apple also clarified that sales of the black iPhone, which has been widely criticized for antenna and proximity sensor issues, will not be affected. Engadget had earlier speculated that the the glass manufacturer might be responsible for the delays. However, conspiracy theorists are already suggesting that Apple is delaying the release of the white iPhone 4 to fix the death grip problems. Whatever be the case, you will probably have to wait until the holiday season to get your hands on a white model of the iPhone 4.
According to Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley, Foursquare is in talks with the major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to share and include their location oriented data into search results.
Foursquare harvests a lot of user data from its applications on platforms like iOS and Android. They plan to anonymise the data and use it to show venues which are currently trending in real time search results.
The deal will be similar to Twitter’s deal with Google and Bing which allowed them to index tweets and display them alongside their search results in real time.
Our data generates hugely interesting trends which would enrich search. We can anonymise data and use it to show venues which are trending at that moment. Twitter helped the world and the search engines know what people are talking about. Foursquare would allow people to search for the types of place people are going to and where is trending not what.
” Crowley said.
Foursquare is the most popular location based startup and is valued at close to $100 million. It just received a $20 million cash investment from Andreessen Horowitz, a VC firm.
Amidst all the hoopla surrounding the Apple iPhone 4 and the Droid X it’s quite easy to forget about this not-so-little gem from Samsung. But, don’t worry, that’s what we are here for. Samsung Captivate, the second Galaxy S series phone to be launched in the US, is now available for purchase.
The Captivate features a stunning 4â€³ Super AMOLED multi-touch capable screen, 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, HD video recording and Android 2.1. As you might expect, in many ways it is quite similar to the Galaxy S I9000, which we recently reviewed. For more information, check out our earlier articles on the Captivate.
AT&T is offering the Captivate for $199.99 with a 2 year contract, and for $499.99 without an contract. If you don’t wish to opt for AT&T, you might want to pick up T-Mobile’s Samsung Vibrant.
[ Order Samsung Captivate from AT&T ]
A lot has already been said about Apple’s misguided attempts at proving that the iPhone 4’s death grip problem is a non-issue. Their iPhone 4 press conference was a joke. Their attitude towards consumers was nothing but downright condescending. And finally, their ploy of diverting attention by bringing in products offered by competitors like RIM, Samsung and HTC was ludicrous.
Yesterday, both RIM and Nokia slammed Apple for not owning up to its mistakes. HTC, whose Droid Eris was also mentioned by Apple, is yet to issue an official statement. But, that doesn’t mean that they intend on keeping mum.
According to Apple’s tests, HTC Droid Eris lost as many as 4 bars, when held in a particular fashion. However, Eric Lin, HTC’s global PR and online community manager, has revealed to PocketLint that they have received very few reception related complaints. The approximate percentage of Eris owners who have formally complained regarding antenna problems is 0.016%. Apple has on the other hand admitted receiving complaints from 0.55% of users for this non-issue.
Yesterday, Apple tried to do what it does best – brainwash its customers. A defensive Steve Jobs pulled up statistics after statistics in an attempt to prove that the iPhone 4 antenna problems were a non-issue. He even went on to compare the high and mighty iPhone with mortal competitors from RIM and HTC. Obviously, other manufacturers aren’t pleased that Apple is dragging them into the controversy.
RIM and Nokia have formally issued statements slamming Apple for poor design choices. The essence of both the statements is same – while signal attenuation is a fact of life, most phones are carefully designed to ensure that normal usage won’t lead to dropped calls. Apple messed up by choosing aesthetics over usability.
Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.
Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models. Nokia was the pioneer in internal antennas; the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was the first commercial phone with this feature.
Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on. As you would expect from a company focused on connecting people, we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.
In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.