AT&T Galaxy S4 Pre-Orders Begins From April 16th

Today, AT&T announced that it will start taking pre-orders for the latest and greatest Samsung flagship – the Galaxy S4 – beginning from April 16th. The handset will cost users back by $249.99 with a two-year contract. This makes AT&T the first U.S carrier to announce the pre-order of the handset.

sgs4

The Galaxy S4 is the successor to the massively popular Galaxy S3, and sports a 5-inch Full HD (1080p) Super AMOLED screen inside a body that is actually thinner and smaller than the Galaxy S3. While Samsung and AT&T have not confirmed yet, the AT&T version of the Galaxy S4 will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC clocked at 1.9GHz, along with 2GB of RAM and 16/32GB of internal memory.

Other specs of the Galaxy S4 include a 13MP camera in the back, a 2MP snapper in the front, an IR blaster, NFC, GPS with A-GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE and the usual bunch of sensors. The Galaxy S4 is the first handset to pack in some new sensors including a thermometer, hygroscope and a barometer. It also runs on Android 4.2.2 with Samsung’s TouchWIZ UX 2.0 on top of it that contains a truck load of software gimmicks including Air View, Multi Window, Group Play, Smart Scrolling and much more.

Samsung Galaxy S III U.S. Launch Goes Official; Coming To Five Major Carriers In June

Back in early May, Samsung announced the hotly anticipated Galaxy S III. With its hefty price tag, big screen, a beast of an SoC, and one of the best camera found in an Android phone, the Galaxy S III is definitely looking to repeat the success its predecessor — the Galaxy S II — managed to meet with. The handset is already on sale in more than 28 different countries of the world, with the number expanding to a whopping 145+ by July.

“The U.S. launch of the Galaxy S III is the most anticipated launch of the year. As promised, we are delivering the ‘next big thing’ for U.S. customers and across all major carriers,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Telecommunications America. “Galaxy S III introduces new technological innovation and takes sharing to the next level.”

However, Samsung is all set to take the launch of the Galaxy S III to the next level with the launch of the S III in the United States. The Korean company has just announced in a press release that the Galaxy S III will be hitting five different operators of the United States – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular Services – within the next couple of weeks. The on-contract price of the handset will also be a reasonable $199, which is definitely going to please a lot of people.

The U.S variant of the Galaxy S III will sport the same 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD display, the blazingly fast 8MP snapper, its slim waistline of 8.6mm, a microSD card slot, a removable 2100mAh battery, and all the other software features like Smart Stay etc. However, the Exynos SoC will be swapped with Qualcomm’s S4 Krait SoC coupled with an Adreno 225 GPU, and 2GB of RAM.

Thanks to the Krait SoC and Qualcomm’s baseband, the S3 will support LTE networks of all these carriers, if available. The handset will be available in marble white or pebble blue color, when launched.

Do You Want Big Brother Spying on You?

Back in 2006, the   U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, under the Bush Administration, called for new rules that would require ISPs and cell phone companies to collect more data (spy) on all of their users. It’s called Mandatory Data Retention. At the time, there was enough opposition to this idea that it never got far.

Recently, the  House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing to promote this controversial idea once more. Several members of congress have already proposed legislation on data retention, and support for it is coming from both Democrats and Republicans. The Obama administration’s Department of Justice is also expected to support forced data retention.

Currently, ISPs and phone services already keep transaction records for 90 days, in accordance with the 1996 Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act. After 90 days, the records are deleted, and some law enforcement agencies would like to see these records kept much longer.

Big-Brother-is-Watching-YouSince it’s obvious to many that this is another case of Big Brother is watching, how can these politicians justify their call for more intrusion into business’s and customer’s internet and phone traffic?

Most of this call to action is the result of law enforcement and defense agencies wanting longer retention periods, and politicians that want to look like they are tough on internet crime, such as child pornography. However, privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), see it as having bad unintended consequences for user privacy, First Amendment anonymous speech, and ballooning costs for retaining the information.

In my opinion, new laws requiring data retention are going to cause more problems than they solve.

Law enforcement agencies can already ask internet and telecom providers to collect extensive information on suspects. Collecting more data will help law enforcement and Homeland Security catch criminals and terrorists, but these new laws will treat all of us like suspects.

The collected information will seriously clamp down on anonymous speech and whistle blowing. Do you trust the government to stop itself from trying to track down sources of leaked information or people who voice strong anti-government or opposition party speech?

Government and law enforcement won’t be the only ones able to access this data. How many websites are hacked every day? How many government agencies have data stolen from them? We’ve already seen what’s happened with WikiLeaks and government employees who get fooled into giving out information.

It will also make simple visits to legal sites more ominous. Would you want everyone to know you’d visited a site about STDs, mental health, bankruptcy, adult entertainment, or any other normally private topic.

Civil courts will be able to get access to this information. It could be used in divorce cases, to prove infidelity. It could be used in law suits to prove prior knowledge or associations.

The internet and telecom providers can handle the additional open-ended costs of mandatory data retention, since those costs will be transferred to the consumers. It will be the same as a new hidden tax. Smaller businesses, and start-ups may not be able to bear the added costs, thus reducing innovation, and killing competition with the big internet companies.

In summary, new data retention laws would be good for big government, law enforcement and big business. They would be bad for the average joe consumer, free speech and free association. If you don’t agree (or you hate freedom), you have the freedom to comment below.

Government Employees Fooled by Greeting Card Trojan

email from uncle samThe U.S. Government seems to be leaking a lot these days. After the WikiLeaks scandal, and the leak of the plan to stop leaks, we’ve heard about another leak. Two days before Christmas, an unknown number of government employees opened a greeting email that looked like it was from the White House. Normally, that’s no big deal, but this email contained a surprise gift.

Here’s what it said:

As you and your families gather to celebrate the holidays, we wanted to take a moment to send you our greetings. Be sure that we’re profoundly grateful for your dedication to duty and wish you inspiration and success in fulfillment of our core mission.

Greeting card:

hxxp://xtremedefenceforce.com/[omitted]
hxxp://elvis.com.au/[omitted]

Merry Christmas!
___________________________________________
Executive Office of the President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

People clicking on the links in this phishing email, downloaded a trojan called ZeuS. If they installed it, their computers proceeded to send out all of the Word and Excel documents to a hacker’s website. It appears that this hacker only wanted information that he could later sell.

Here’s what the greeting card website looked like.

trojan-ecard from krebsonsecurity.com

(image from KrebsOnSecurity)

I don’t think I should have to tell everyone this, but you should never have to download a greeting card. If you are asked to do this, exit the web page immediately.

Someone should have told the government employees about stuff like this. Very sensitive documents were stolen because the employees didn’t know about the high-risk practice of downloading from unknown websites.

Some of the documents were identified as coming from such places as the National Science Foundation, the Massachusetts State Police, the Financial Action Task Force, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and many other .gov sites.

The US Government is now proposing that people use an Internet ID card to protect their privacy. Would you trust them to know how to guard   your private information?

[via krebsonsecurity]

FCC Regulators Impose Net Neutrality – What is it?

[United States]

fcc-sealOn Tuesday this week, a panel of 5 regulators in the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to impose Net Neutrality rules on internet service providers. As you may know, the FCC is a U.S. agency that regulates communications of many types, such as telephone, cellular phone, radio, cable tv, wireless internet and others. The members of the commission are political appointees, and are not elected by a vote of any kind. The commission also enjoys a great deal of independence from Congressional authority.

The main idea around Net Neutrality is that internet service providers should provide open and unrestricted access to all of their customers. In the past, providers such as Comcast have slowed down access to certain types of information such as Bittorrent streams. Net Neutrality is also proposed to stop the service providers from charging extra money based on band-width use. Others are saying that Net Neutrality isn’t enough, and all internet access should be free to the public.

While the ideas behind Net Neutrality sound beneficial to the average consumer, many people have raised concerns that any government involvement is going to clamp down on the inherent freedom of the internet. As we’ve seen already, governments are the worst abusers of internet freedom. Countries such as Iran, North Korea and China are famous for imposing severe restrictions on data entering their countries. The U.S. government has already shown a heavy hand when they shut down over 80 websites for copyright infringement, and tried to shut down the WikiLeaks web site.

Internet freedom and privacy organizations are typically afraid to support any regulation of the internet, even inside the U.S. borders. For example, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) has serious questions:

What is the basis for the FCC’s authority, and is there a reasonable limiting principle to it? Is the basis on which the FCC is claiming it can regulate, one that has real limits for future decisions … ?

Personally, I have to oppose the idea of Net Neutrality. Allowing the FCC or any government body to regulate access to the internet is risky. Once they get in, it’s nearly impossible to keep them out. Technology changes, companies come and go, but government commissions and regulations seem to last forever.

The internet is not broken, and it doesn’t need fixed.

We’ve seen the internet service providers respond to criticism. They will typically do what their customers want them to do. We vote with our money. If we don’t like a provider, in most cases, we can switch to another. I fear the real possibilities of biased political involvement and corruption.

Unfortunately, we may not have any further choice on this issue. The FCC, which isn’t responsible to any American voter, may succeed in it’s bid to regulate the internet inside the United States.

Here is a video from Reason.TV that explains my feelings on this issue a little better than my words.

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If you don’t agree with my position on Net Neutrality … feel free to comment below.


HTC Aria Announced By AT&T

Looks like AT&T is not relying on iPhone 4 this summer. They have teamed up with HTC to launch a mid-level Android handset the Aria. The HTC Aria is the Android sibling of the HTC HD Mini. The handset has a 3.2-inchclip_image001 screen with (320*480) HVGA resolution.

The phone runs on a 600 MHz Qualcomm processor, and packs in 384MB of RAM. The phone also has a 5MP camera with a LED flash.

HTC Aria is the first of several smartphones in our Android portfolio to run the 2.1 platform,said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. When you combine the nation’s fastest 3G network, and access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network, HTC Aria will be one of the best Android smartphones available.

The Aria also has the connectivity field duly covered with support for 3G, HSPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS. The phone also has an optical joystick, and a 2 GB microSD card comes pre-bundled with the device. The phone runs on Android 2.1, and will feature the popular HTC Sense UI.

The device has a 1300 mAh capacity battery, with a quoted standby battery life of up to 15.5 days. The HTC Aria will be available from June 20th onwards across all retail stores for $229.99. Users also get a $100 mail-in rebate from AT&T in the form of AT&T Promotion Card.

Apple iPhone 4 Official Network Providers Confirmed In 7 Countries!

All set to buy the iPhone 4? Well its better you know which carrier will be selling the iPhone 4 in your country before you start saving money for the new iPhone 4.   iPhone 4

In the U.S, AT&T is the official iPhone 4 carrier. Yes, users still won’t be able to use the iPhone 4 legally on the Verizon network. Users need to pay $199 for the iPhone 4 16GB version in the U.S. Along with the $199; they also need to sign a two-year contract with AT&T. In Germany, T-Mobile remains the exclusive iPhone network carrier.   T-Mobile will also be offering the iPhone 4 in Netherlands. In Japan, Softbank will be the official iPhone 4 network carrier.

In France, U.K and Canada users are spoilt for choices. In France, users have the option of Orange, Bouygues Telecom and SFR. However, until now, only Orange has confirmed that they will be selling the iPhone 4. In the U.K – O2, Vodafone and Orange will be offering the iPhone 4. In Canada, MobileSyrup has confirmed that Rogers, TELUS, and Bell will be offering the iPhone 4 to their users.

Except for Canada, the iPhone 4 will be launched on 24 June in the countries mentioned above. The pre-orders will begin from 15 June onwards. Apart from AT&T, no other operator has revealed their price tag for the new iPhone 4.

Nokia Launches The E73 Mode In The U.S; Available Exclusively On T-Mobile Network

Nokia has launched the Nokia E73 Mode in the United States today. According to Nokia,E73 Mode the Nokia E73 is a sober-suitedsuccessor to the Nokia E72. The Nokia E73 Mode is available exclusively across the T-Mobile network in the U.S. The specification of the Nokia E73 Mode is similar to that of the Nokia E72.

The E73 Mode has all the connectivity-fields duly covered, including quad-band GSM support and 3G along with HSPA. The phone packs in an 5MP camera with LED flash, aiding low light photography. Like all the recent Nokia phones, the Nokia E73 Mode also comes pre-loaded with Ovi Maps including free turn-by-turn navigation.

The Nokia E73 Mode supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync client and IBM Lotus Traveler for all the email-whores out there. The phone is also pre-loaded with Ovi Files, QuickOffice, Adobe PDF Reader and Zip Manager. The retail package of the phone packs in a 4GB microSD card. Sadly, like the E72, no car stand has been bundled with the retail package. The E73 Mode uses the same BP-4L battery as the E72. Nokia quotes the standby battery-life of the phone at an impressive 16 days.

The E73 Mode will be available from June 16th onwards. Sadly, T-Mobile did not mention the pricing of the device.

Apple iPad International Launch Date Postponed By A Month

The Apple iPad has met with astounding success in the U.S. market. Apple claimed that it managed to sold 300,000 iPads on its launch day. When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone OS 4.0, he said that in the first week more than 450,000 iPads were sold. Thanks to the heavy demand in the U.S. market, Apple has decided to push back the international release date of the iPad by a month.apple-logo1

"Faced with this surprisingly strong U.S. demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, May 10," said Apple in a press release.

 

Typical of Apple, the company also boasted about the strong sales of its product in the press release. "We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason—the iPad is a runaway success in the U.S. thus far." As of now, there is virtually no competition for the iPad. Things will however change soon, with the launch of Meizu’s Mbook and few other Android based tablet devices. HP will also be soon launching its tablet device a.k.a Slate, which will run Windows 7.

Apple did not comment on the iPads overheating and Wi-Fi connectivity issue, which we had reported earlier.