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Android

Nokia's Back In the Tablet Business, With the Android Lollipop-Based N1 36

Posted by timothy
from the serious-side-talkin' dept.
Esra Erimez writes It's been a little over a year since the announcement of Microsoft Corp.'s acquisition of Finnish tech veteran Nokia Oyj.'s Devices unit. A year later Chinese leaks site SINA Tech says Nokia is back and ready to compete against its former unit, suggesting it will launch in China on Jan. 7. As one commenter on the Daily Tech story points out (as does this ExtremeTech article from last month), the not-yet-launched N1, with its "one piece aluminum body, 7.9", 2048*1536, [and] 3:4 aspect ratio" looks an awful lot like the iPad mini, but costs quite a bit less.
Android

De-escalating the Android Patent War 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-bilk-the-USPTO-together dept.
In 2011, a consortium formed from Microsoft, Apple, Sony, BlackBerry, and others spent $4.5 billion acquiring Nortel's patent portfolio, which contained a great deal of ammunition that could be used against Android. That threat has now been reduced. Today, 4,000 of the patents were purchased by a corporation called RPX, which has licensing agreements from Google, Cisco, and dozens more companies. [RPX is] a company that collects a bunch of patents with the goal of using those patents for member companies for defensive purposes. Even though RPX has generally been "good," the business model basically lives because of patent trolling. Its very existence is because of all the patent trolling and abuse out there. In this case, though, it's making sure that basically anyone can license these patents under FRAND (fair and reasonable, non-discriminatory) rates. The price being paid is approximately $900 million. While that article points out that this is considerably less than the $4.5 billion Microsoft and Apple paid originally, again, this is only 4,000 of the 6,000 patents, and you have to assume the 2,000 the other companies kept were the really valuable patents. In short, this is basically Google and Cisco (with some help from a few others) licensing these patents to stop the majority of the lawsuits -- while also making sure that others can pay in as well should they feel threatened. Of course, Microsoft, Apple and the others still have control over the really good patents they kept for themselves, rather than give to Rockstar. And the whole thing does nothing for innovation other than shift around some money.
Intel

Chromebook Gets "OK Google" and Intel's Easy Migration App 35

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-it-out dept.
An anonymous reader points out that Chromebook users just got a couple of early gifts. "Chromebooks have had a good run thus far in their history, and most recently they've had a stellar year of sales – famously beating out Apple's iPad. However, Google is not stopping there, as the company has decided to include and integrate 'OK Google' into their Chromebook tablets. As it turns out, the feature was possible all along with the code that had been included in the operating system, but was hidden well from users' direct line of sight. Intel has also shown a lot of support for Chromebooks, and the company has now released the Easy Migration app that will fittingly migrate data between Windows devices, iOS devices, and Android devices. The only catch is that users will have to be running a Chromebook that hosts an Intel processor. Intel has provided a website to check if your device is compatible, but it will surely be a significant hit for the Chromebook."
Blackberry

Boeing and BlackBerry Making a Self-Destructing Phone 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-wait-for-that-protocol-to-be-hacked dept.
Rambo Tribble writes: It sounds like a Mission: Impossible scenario, but aerospace company Boeing is teaming with Canadian phone maker BlackBerry to produce an ultra-secure mobile phone that "self-destructs." The phone uses encryption on calls and is intended to serve the high-security needs of government and industry. As Blackberry CEO John Chen said, "We're pleased to announce that Boeing is collaborating with BlackBerry to provide a secure mobile solution for Android devices utilizing our BES 12 platform. That, by the way, is all they allow me to say."

No word yet if you'll need the services of the bomb squad when you go over your minutes.
Toys

Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch? 229

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-measure-the-battery-drain dept.
kwelch007 writes I commonly work in a clean-room (CR.) As such, I commonly need access to my smart-phone for various reasons while inside the CR...but, I commonly keep it in my front pocket INSIDE my clean-suit. Therefore, to get my phone out of my pocket, I have to leave the room, get my phone out of my pocket, and because I have a one track mind, commonly leave it sitting on a table or something in the CR, so I then have to either have someone bring it to me, or suit back up and go get it myself...a real pain. I have been looking in to getting a 'Smart Watch' (I'm preferential to Android, but I know Apple has similar smart-watches.) I would use a smart-watch as a convenient, easy to transport and access method to access basic communications (email alerts, text, weather maps, etc.) The problem I'm finding while researching these devices is, I'm not finding many apps. Sure, they can look like a nice digital watch, but I can spend $10 for that...not the several hundred or whatever to buy a smart-watch. What are some apps I can get? (don't care about platform, don't care if they're free) I just want to know what's the best out there, and what it can do? I couldn't care less about it being a watch...we have these things called clocks all over the place. I need various sorts of data access. I don't care if it has to pair with my smart-phone using Bluetooth or whatever, and it won't have to be a 100% solution...it would be more of a convenience that is worth the several hundred dollars to me. My phone will never be more than 5 feet away, it's just inconvenient to physically access it. Further, I am also a developer...what is the best platform to develop for these wearable devices on, and why? Maybe I could make my own apps? Is it worth waiting for the next generation of smart-watches?
Bitcoin

Will Ripple Eclipse Bitcoin? 144

Posted by timothy
from the ask-the-magic-8-ball dept.
First time accepted submitter groggy.android writes This year's biggest news about Bitcoin may well turn out not to be the repeat of its surge in value last year against the dollar and other state currencies but its impending eclipse by another independent but corporate-backed digital currency. Popularly known as Ripple, XRP shot up in value last year along with other cryptocurrencies that took advantage of the hype around Bitcoin. However, among the top cryptocurrencies listed in Coinmarketcap.com, a site that monitors trading across different cryptocurrency exchanges, Ripple is the only one that not only regained its value after the collapse in the price of Bitcoin but has more than doubled from its peak last year. In September it displaced Litecoin to become the second most valuable cryptocurrency. Even more surpising, a Ripple fork, Stellar, is one of the two other cryptocurrencies in the Coinmarketcap top ten that have risen sharply in value during the last few weeks.

What makes Ripple different from Bitcoin? Strictly speaking, Ripple isn't the name of the digital currency but of the decentralized payment network and protocol created and maintained by the eponymous Ripple Labs. Users of the Ripple system are able to transact in both cryptocurrency and regular fiat currency like the dollar without passing through a central exchange. XRP is the name of the native unit of exchange used in the Ripple network to facilitate conversion between different currency types.
Android

Manufacturer's Backdoor Found On Popular Chinese Android Smartphone 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the sneaking-in dept.
Trailrunner7 writes that researchers at Palo Alto Networks have found a backdoor in Android devices sold by Coolpad. "A popular Android smartphone sold primarily in China and Taiwan but also available worldwide, contains a backdoor from the manufacturer that is being used to push pop-up advertisements and install apps without users' consent. The Coolpad devices, however, are ripe for much more malicious abuse, researchers at Palo Alto Networks said today, especially after the discovery of a vulnerability in the backend management interface that exposed the backdoor's control system. Ryan Olson, intelligence director at Palo Alto, said the CoolReaper backdoor not only connects to a number of command and control servers, but is also capable of downloading, installing and activating any Android application without the user's permission. It also sends phony over-the-air updates to devices that instead install applications without notifying the user. The backdoor can also be used to dial phone numbers, send SMS and MMS messages, and upload device and usage information to Coolpad."
Verizon

Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the part-and-parcel dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from TechDirt: As a string of whistle blowers like former AT&T employee Mark Klein have made clear abundantly clear, the line purportedly separating intelligence operations from the nation's incumbent phone companies was all-but obliterated long ago. As such, it's relatively amusing to see Verizon announce this week that the company is offering up a new encrypted wireless voice service named Voice Cypher. Voice Cypher, Verizon states, offers "end-to-end" encryption for voice calls on iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices equipped with a special app made by Cellcrypt.

Verizon says it's initially pitching the $45 per phone service to government agencies and corporations, but would ultimately love to offer it to consumers as a line item on your bill. Of course by "end-to-end encryption," Verizon means that the new $45 per phone service includes an embedded NSA backdoor free of charge. Apparently, in Verizon-land, "end-to-end encryption" means something entirely different than it does in the real world.
Transportation

Ford Ditches Microsoft Partnership On Sync, Goes With QNX 233

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-bsods-on-wheels dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Ford's in-car infotainment system known as Sync will soon evolve to add a capacitive touch screen, better integration with smartphone apps and, eventually, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in version 3, thanks to a switch of operating systems. After years of teaming with Microsoft, the automobile giant has switched to BlackBerry's QNX, a real time operating system renowned for stability.
Android

$35 Quad-core Hacker SBC Offers Raspberry Pi-like Size and I/O 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-competition-more-innovation dept.
DeviceGuru writes: Hardkernel has again set its sights on the Raspberry Pi with a new $35 Odroid-C1 hacker board that matches the RPI's board size and offers a mostly similar 40-pin expansion connector. Unlike the previous $30 Odroid-W that used the same Broadcom BCM2835 SoC as the Pi and was soon cancelled due to lack of BCM2835 SoC availability, the Odroid-C1 is based on a quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A5 based Amlogic S805 SoC, which integrates the Mali-400 GPU found on Allwinner's popular SoCs. Touted advantages over the similarly priced Raspberry Pi Model B+ include a substantially more powerful processor, double the RAM, an extra USB2.0 port that adds Device/OTG, and GbE rather than 10/100 Ethernet.
Google

Google Releases Android Studio 1.0, the First Stable Version of Its IDE 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes After two years of development, Google today released Android Studio 1.0, the first stable version of its Integrated Development Environment (IDE) aimed solely at Android developers. You can download the tool right now for Windows, Mac, and Linux from the Android Developer site. Google first announced Android Studio, built on the popular IntelliJ IDEA Java IDE, at its I/O Developer conference in May 2013. The company's pitch was very simple: this is the official Android IDE.
Encryption

Neglecting the Lessons of Cypherpunk History 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the moore's-law-makes-liars-of-us dept.
Nicola Hahn writes Over the course of the Snowden revelations there have been a number of high profile figures who've praised the merits of encryption as a remedy to the quandary of mass interception. Companies like Google and Apple have been quick to publicize their adoption of cryptographic countermeasures in an effort to maintain quarterly earnings. This marketing campaign has even convinced less credulous onlookers like Glenn Greenwald. For example, in a recent Intercept piece, Greenwald claimed:

"It is well-established that, prior to the Snowden reporting, Silicon Valley companies were secret, eager and vital participants in the growing Surveillance State. Once their role was revealed, and they perceived those disclosures threatening to their future profit-making, they instantly adopted a PR tactic of presenting themselves as Guardians of Privacy. Much of that is simply self-serving re-branding, but some of it, as I described last week, are genuine improvements in the technological means of protecting user privacy, such as the encryption products now being offered by Apple and Google, motivated by the belief that, post-Snowden, parading around as privacy protectors is necessary to stay competitive."

So, while he concedes the role of public relations in the ongoing cyber security push, Greenwald concurrently believes encryption is a "genuine" countermeasure. In other words, what we're seeing is mostly marketing hype... except for the part about strong encryption.

With regard to the promise of encryption as a privacy cure-all, history tells a markedly different story. Guarantees of security through encryption have often proven illusory, a magic act. Seeking refuge in a technical quick fix can be hazardous for a number of reasons.
Businesses

Starbucks Testing Mobile Order and Pay In Portland On iOS 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-drink-on dept.
qubezz writes For those who just can't wait in line, Starbucks announced today that the caffeinated city of Portland will be the first stop in the roll-out of an app for ordering drinks from your mobile device (iPhone only, Android anticipated in 2015). Not a delivery service — it appears your pre-paid drink will be waiting at the end of the bar for the asking. The cost? The app won't operate unless you allow it access to GPS location services, potentially turning every coffee consumer's device into a tracking beacon. For the rest, there's still the independent site mapping which Starbucks are currently open.
Businesses

Chinese CEO Says "Free" Is the Right Price For Mobile Software 133

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-like-a-plan dept.
hackingbear writes Sheng Fu, CEO of Cheetah Mobile, a public Chinese mobile software company you probably haven't heard of, but whose products are among the top downloaded products in Android markets around the world, said that the intense competition of the Chinese market leads to products that can compete globally. Many recent university graduates are working in tech, all with their startups looking to find their place in the market, he said. Chinese companies saw the impact that piracy played in the PC software era, and China's mobile companies grew up knowing they would need to make money without getting consumers to open their wallets. "Chinese companies are so good at making free but high-quality products," he said. Sounds like we have a good race to the bottom.
Android

Android Policy For Nexus and Google Play Devices Updated To Excuse Carrier Delay 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the under-construction-expect-delays dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Google has quietly updated its Android update policy for both Nexus and Google Play edition devices. In short, if you bought either type of smartphone or tablet from a carrier, you may experience delays that result in waiting longer than two weeks to get the latest version. Google has tweaked the "Android updates: Nexus & Google Play edition devices" support page to add, "Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update." It's worth emphasizing this won't stop you from downloading a given Android update directly from Google or your device's manufacturer, and installing it yourself on your device. This is mainly for over-the-air updates, which carriers can choose to delay on their own networks.
Firefox

Firefox 34 Arrives With Video Chat, Yahoo Search As Default 237

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 34 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Major additions to the browser include a built-in video chat feature, a revamped search bar, and tab mirroring from Android to Chromecast. This release also makes Yahoo Search the default in North America, in place of Google. Full changelogs: desktop and Android."
Android

A Rift In OnePlus, Cyanogen Relationship 69

Posted by timothy
from the when-companies-fight dept.
As reported at SlashGear and Engadget, One Plus (which has been selling phones running Android-derived Cyanogen Mod rather than Android proper) won't be selling its phones with Cyanogen Mod to Indian consumers. Instead, according to Slashgear, "When OnePlus launches their device for the Indian market, Cyanogen won't be on it. Cyanogen has instead chosen to go with Micromax, an OEM more familiar to the Indian market. Cyanogen and Micromax also have an exclusive deal." ZDNet reports that One Plus's One, loaded with Android 5.0 after this kerfuffle, will be available to Indian buyers for a 72-hour period (already in progress), rather than by invitation only, which had previously been the only option.
Privacy

Uber's Android App Caught Reporting Data Back Without Permission 234

Posted by timothy
from the distinguish-from-government dept.
Zothecula writes Security researcher GironSec has pulled Uber's Android app apart and discovered that it's sending a huge amount of personal data back to base – including your call logs, what apps you've got installed, whether your phone is vulnerable to certain malware, whether your phone is rooted, and your SMS and MMS logs, which it explicitly doesn't have permission to do. It's the latest in a series of big-time missteps for a company whose core business model is, frankly, illegal in most of its markets as well.
Firefox

Firefox Will Soon Offer One-Click Buttons For Your Search Engines 101

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-needs-keyword-search dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today unveiled some of the new search features coming to Firefox. The company says the new additions are "coming soon to a Firefox near you" but didn't give a more specific timeline. The news comes less than a week after Mozilla struck a deal with Yahoo to replace Google as the default search engine in its browser for U.S. users. At the time, the company said a new search experience was coming in December, so we're betting the search revamp will come with the release of Firefox 34, which is currently in beta. In the future release, when you type a search term into the Firefox search box, you will get a list of reorganized search suggestions from the default search provider. Better yet, a new array of buttons below these suggestions will let you pick which search engine you want to send the query to.
AT&T

Some Early Nexus 6 Units Returned Over Startup Bug 39

Posted by timothy
from the radiation-from-the-offworld-colonies dept.
The Register reports that Motorola has issued a recall for an early batch of its hotly anticipated new Nexus 6 smartphones that were sold through U.S. mobile carrier AT&T, owing to a software glitch that can reportedly causes the devices to boot to a black screen. ... AT&T retail stores have reportedly been told to return their existing inventory of the Nexus 6 and wait for new units to arrive from Motorola, which has already corrected the problem on its assembly line. Any customer who brings a defective unit into an AT&T store will receive a replacement. Motorola's memo to stores says that only initial shipments were affected, and that the problem has been identified. However, as the article mentions, there's thus far less luck for those like me who've found that at least some original Nexus 7 tablets do not play nicely with Lollipop. (The effects look nice, but it's never a good sign to see "System UI isn't responding. Do you want to close it?" on a tablet's screen.)

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