Posts Tagged ‘android’
Motorola and Samsung just caught a break from the law after a few hard knocks. A Mannheim, Germany court has ruled that neither company infringes on an Apple patent covering how an OS responds to and ignores touch events. While we don’t yet know the full details, patent lawsuit guru Florian Mueller suggests that the German judge took the same point of view that thwarted Apple’s claims in the Netherlands and the UK: the particular patent was just too broad to stick. It’s a potentially important win, as a ruling of violation could have led to serious problems with keeping Android-based Motorola and Samsung devices in stores; other patents are more easily circumvented. However, it’s still something of a Pyrrhic victory for a pair of companies that have lately been facing the threat of near-term bans and steep damages.
SOURCE via Wall Street Journal
Mobile security company Intrepidus Group presented evidence during the EUSecWest security conference potentially identifying a major flaw in at least two US transit systems. Creating an Android app named “UltraReset” and using it in tandem with an NFC-enabled Android phone (a Nexus S, in this case), security researchers Corey Benninger and Max Sobell were able to reset and reuse — free of charge — transit access cards in both San Francisco’s MUNI system and New Jersey’s PATH system.
Before you go getting any bad ideas, know that Benninger and Sobell haven’t released the app for public use, and warned both transit systems in late 2011 (though neither region has fixed the exploit, the duo claim). PATH and MUNI share a common chip access card — the Mifare Ultralight — which can apparently be reset for 10 extra rides (as demonstrated on video below) via Android phones with NFC, an OS newer than 2.3.3 (Gingerbread). Starting to sound familiar?
Intrepidus is, however, releasing a modified version of the app, named “UltraCardTester.” The modified app functions just like its nefarious progenitor, except it can’t add time to cards (see it in action below). The app can tell you how many rides you have left, and if a system is open to exploit, but it won’t assist you in the act of exploiting. We reached out to both New Jersey’s PATH and San Francisco MUNI on the issue, but have yet to hear back as of publishing.
If there is one thing you can’t say about Google’s mapping team, it’s that they are a lazy bunch. Update after update puts paid to any of that kinda talk, and again, here’s another example — navigation for Android is now available in nine more countries. It’s the Middle East and North Africa that get the attention this time, with Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and Saudia Arabia all getting the update. The service comes complete with Arabic voice search as well as “search along route” for routes to near-by POIs that won’t take you the long way round. You’ll need Android 4.0 or above if you want in on the action, but it’s available now for those that do.
SOURCE via Google
While Google Maps may have found itself on the outside looking in on the just-released iOS 6, it’s got a fresh update for Android devices that makes sure any locations you’ve searched are right at your fingertips. Rolling out now in Google Play, it includes results from your search and directions history (whether on your phone or on a PC that you were logged in to) whenever you start a new search, and in the search or directions tab under My Places. The other tweak noted in the changelog is the ability to zoom with just one finger — double tap the map then hold down your finger and slide. There’s no word specifically on what’s in store for Apple’s hardware but the final line of the blog post mentions improving the Google Maps experience across all devices — draw your own conclusions from that.
SOURCE via Google
On Thursday, we starting hearing claims that Google had strong-armed Acer out of launching its A800 CloudMobile in China with the Aliyun operating system. We reached out to the search giant for its response, but they declined to comment. Over the last 24 hours, though, Google has attempted to explain its stance, but at the same time has potentially created some confusion about how open Android really is. Below is the initial statement received by Marketing Land:
“Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers and consumers. Non-compatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem. All members of the Open Handset Alliance have committed to building one Android platform and to not ship non-compatible Android devices. This does not however, keep OHA members from participating in competing ecosystems.”
This is clearly outlining Google’s intention to prevent forked Android spin-offs from diluting the platform and the user experience. Fair enough. The trouble seems to be, however, defining when something is Android compatible, rather than its own separate (albeit Android-based) operating system. Amazon’s Kindle Fire will instantly spring to mind. The new tablets run on Ice Cream Sandwich, but are fenced-off from the official Play store and other Google offerings. As you can imagine, the debate has started to get a little heated, we go into it in more detail past the break.
According to Alibaba — the company behind the offending operating system — this is a similar situation with Aliyun, albeit a change from earlier reports, who responded to the compatibility charge as follows:
“Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem so of course Aliyun OS is not and does not have to be compatible with Android. It is ironic that a company that talks freely about openness is espousing a closed ecosystem.”
So, what about that Google? Well, it seems that the main complication is the Open Handset Alliance, a sort of club that agrees to help maintain the integrity of Android for the benefit of users, handset makers and developers alike. Membership to this club doesn’t prevent you from working with other operating systems (Windows Phone, for example,) but does ask that you commit to the “one Android platform” mentioned above. So, Alibaba says it’s not Android, Google claims it is. Which, some might argue, has justifiably led the Chinese software firm’s VP of international corporate affairs, John Spelich, to ask “Will someone please ask Google to define Android.” We’re also left to wonder why Haier (also a member of the OHA) isn’t receiving the same pressure, though it’s also worth remembering Amazon isn’t in the alliance. This leaves Acer, and potentially other members of the OHA, stuck in the middle, as well as raising further questions about Google’s plans for China (where Alibaba is very powerful), and Android as a whole. Unfortunately, back in the immediate, it looks like Acer will have to rethink its strategy for the CloudMobile A800, in one of the world’s largest markets. Though if we see a Jelly Bean version popping up soon, don’t color us surprised.
SOURCE via Official Android Blog
Today’s business jargon gem: TAM, Total Addressable Market. AMD feels that Windows 8 comes with plenty of the stuff, so it sees no commercial need to make its forthcoming tablet chip — codenamed Hondo — play nice with Android as well. Speaking to The Inquirer, corporate VP Steve Belt said it was a “conscious decision” not to go after compatibility with Google’s OS, because AMD doesn’t want to spread itself into “other markets.” What could this mean for us tablet-buyers? No dual-booting Windows / Android magic on AMD devices, for one thing, which is perhaps a shame now that ASUS has shown off the combo’s potential. On the other hand, Belt made it clear that Hondo will support Linux, which — for now, at least — is more than can be said of Intel’s rival low-power silicon, Clover Trail.
SOURCE via The Inquirer
Interested in what makes your new Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tick? The crew at iFixit certainly is. As is the repair shop’s custom, it just tore down Amazon’s new reader tablet to gauge its repairability as well as look for any surprises. In the case of the revamped Kindle Fire, the fixable design is the main surprise — despite being skinnier than its ancestor, the tablet is easy to open and its components (usually) easy to replace. We’re not as shocked by the choice of hardware makers, which include an LG Display LCD, the expected 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4460 processor and Samsung flash memory. Head on over to the source if you’d like to see the nitty gritty of Amazon’s Android slab and possibly save the trouble of a replacement unit down the road.
SOURCE via iFixit
Hope and pray all you want, but the patent wars are far from over. The latest chapter in the ongoing game of IP Risk hands Apple a victory over the Google-owned Motorola Mobility in Germany. If you thought the recent licensing deal would put the kibosh on further flare ups between the two, you were sadly mistaken. The Munich I Regional Court awarded Cupertino an injunction against Moto devices over the so-called “rubber-banding” patent, which relates to the bounce back animation when scrolling to the bottom or top of a list. The fate of infringing phones isn’t set in stone yet, as there’s still room for appeal, though, a €25 million bond would score Apple an enforceable preliminary injunction. One relatively simple solution would be for Moto to implement the stock Android “glowing” animation, which would bypass Apple’s claims. Though, an even better solution would be for all parties involved to quit their bickering over patent minutia and focus on making the best products possible.
SOURCE via Foss Patents
Google makes a lot of acquisitions, some of them more important than others. Its latest purchase might skew towards the grander side, as it just bought imaging app developer Nik Software. While the company is known for pro photography apps like Capture NX and its Efex Pro series, the real prize might be Snapseed, Nik’s simpler image tool for desktop and iOS users. Both Nik and Google’s Senior Engineering VP Vic Gundotra are silent on the exact plans, but it doesn’t take much to imagine a parallel between Facebook’s buyout of Instagram and what Google is doing here: there’s no direct, Google-run equivalent to Instagram’s social photo service in Android or for Google+ users, and Nik’s technology might bridge the gap. Whether or not Googlegram becomes a reality, the deal is likely to create waves among photographers of all kinds — including those who’ve never bought a dedicated camera.
SOURCE via Vic Gundotra (Google+)
Intel was fast to promise a port of Jelly Bean to Atom-based smartphones. We were left in the dark as to when that port would be ready, but mobile group general manager Mike Bell has put that to rest for PCWorld with news that the Medfield-native Android 4.1 build is both complete and running on Intel workers’ devices — including his. Before dreaming of Google Now searches on an Orange San Diego, though, we’d warn that the usual delays apply. Bell notes that phone makers and the carriers still need go through the lengthy process of signing off on any upgrades. Existing owners will no doubt find it frustrating to be so close and yet so far, although the limbo at least proves that Intel-based hardware isn’t being held back relative to its competition; ARM-running phone manufacturers are in the same boat.
SOURCE via PC World