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Chromebook Takes Top Place In Laptop Sales On Amazon 372

rtfa-troll writes "Amazon's latest table of the top selling laptops will be a surprise for many on Slashdot whose first reaction when we discussed this before was 'so what,' with pundits describing it as 'an enterprise contender.' Given the recent launch and huge advertising campaign, you might expect that the top selling consumer laptop would be based on Win8. If you read recent discussions about Microsoft's troubled new system you might expect a Mac to be leading, but Google's Chromebook topping the sales chart on a consumer site without any major advertising campaign is a major surprise. We've discussed before that apart from its web based ChromeOS, Chromebooks are also very fast running Ubuntu Linux and have several other distributions already ported."

One Tablet Per Child Program Begins In Thailand 90

societyofrobots writes "Thailand has now put the first 50,000 of a planned 800,000 tablets into the hands of elementary students. Each tablet costs only $80/unit, runs Android ICS, and was manufactured in China. Opponents claim it to be a very expensive populist policy to 'buy votes', while proponents argue it could bypass the root causes of poor education in the country: outdated books and unskilled teachers."

Boeing Preparing an Ultra-Secure Smartphone 101

bobwrit writes in with a story about Boeing's new secure government phones project. "Earlier this week, it was revealed that aerospace firm Boeing was working on a high security mobile device for the various intelligence departments. This device will most likely be released later this year, and at a lower price point than other mobile phones targeted at the same communities. Typically, phones in this range cost about 15,000-20,000 per phone, and use custom hardware and software to get the job done. This phone will most likely use Android as it's main operating system of choice, which lowers the cost per phone, since Boeing's developers don't have to write their own operating system from scratch."

Mobile Ads May Serve As a Malware Conduit 79

alphadogg writes with this excerpt from Network World: "Many mobile apps include ads that can threaten users' privacy and network security, according to North Carolina State University researchers. The National Science Foundation-funded researchers studied 100,000 apps in Google Play (formerly Android Market) and found that more than half contained ad libraries, nearly 300 of which were enabled to grab code from remote servers that could give malware and hackers a way into your smartphone or tablet. 'Running code downloaded from the Internet is problematic because the code could be anything,' says Xuxian Jiang, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State."

NSA Publishes Blueprint For Top Secret Android Phone 172

mask.of.sanity writes "The National Security Agency has designed a super-secure Android phone from commercial parts, and released the blueprints(Pdf) to the public. The doubly-encrypted phone, dubbed Fishbowl, was designed to be secure enough to handle top secret phone calls yet be as easy to use and cheap to build as commercial handsets. One hundred US government staff are using the phones under a pilot which is part of a wider project to redesign communication platforms used in classified conversations."

Vodafone Backs Down In Row With Android Users 106

jhernik writes with this excerpt from eWEEK Europe: "Vodafone has backed down in the face of angry opposition from Google Android customers, who last week received a software update thinking it contained Android 2.2, but instead found it contained Vodafone's branded 360 service. The Vodafone 360 service was launched in October last year. Essentially, Vodafone 360 is a user interface that puts social networking on the front screen of the phone, and arranges the users' contacts so you can reach any person with a phone call, IM, text or other call — or send a location message to meet up. However it also installs irremovable Vodafone-branded apps and bookmarks, including links to dating sites."

Recycling an Android Phone As a Handheld GPS? 328

imblum writes "So my dad's antique handheld GPS unit just went toes up and I was considering replacing it for him with an old Android Smartphone. All he really needs it for is hunting and camping (no navigation), so I don't want to pay for cell or data service. I found the program Mobile Atlas Creator to download map files onto the SD card, and an app called Maverick Lite to view them. Now all I need is to decide on an Android phone. I was considering a Samsung Behold II ($100-200 on Craigslist), but thought it would be nice to get some input from the Slashdot community. It seems like I can get a lot more functionality for the money out of an old Android than I could from a big name handheld GPS. Does this plan sound reasonable? Is there anything I'm overlooking?"

Hack AT&T Voicemail With Android 242

An anonymous reader writes "It is shockingly easy to gain access to an AT&T customer's voicemail using caller ID spoofing techniques. What's worse is that AT&T knows about it. On your Android phone, download one of the two caller ID spoofing programs. Input the number of your target as the destination number and then enter the same number as the spoofed caller ID. Then connect your call. If the target has not added a voicemail password (the default is no password), you will be dropped into a random menu of their voicemail and eventually can drill up or down to get what you want. You can change greetings, erase messages, send voicemails out of the target account, and much more. How many politicians up in arms about Google Wi-Fi sniffing will want to know more about this?"

Fifth of Android Apps Expose Private Data 286

WrongSizeGlass writes "CNET is reporting that a fifth of Android apps expose private data. The Android market threat report details the security issues uncovered. Dozens of apps were found to have the same type of access to sensitive information as known spyware does, including access to the content of e-mail and text messages, phone call information, and device location. 5% of the apps were found to have the ability to make calls, and 2% can send text messages, without the mobile user doing anything."

Tetris Clones Pulled From Android Market 396

sbrubblesman writes "The Tetris Company, LLC has notified Google to remove all Tetris clones from Android Market. I am one of the developers of FallingBlocks, a game with the same gameplay concepts as Tetris. I have received an email warning that my game was suspended from Android Market due to a violation of the Developer Content Policy. When I received the email, I already imagined that it had something to do with it being a Tetris clone, but besides having the same gameplay as Tetris, which I believe cannot be copyrighted, the game uses its own name, graphics and sounds. There's no reference to 'Tetris' in our game. I have emailed Google asking what is the reason for the application removal. Google promptly answered that The Tetris Company, LLC notified them under the DMCA (PDF) to remove various Tetris clones from Android Market. My app was removed together with 35 other Tetris clones. I checked online at various sources, and all of them say that there's no copyright on gameplay. There could be some sort of patent. But even if they had one, it would last 20 years, so it would have been over in 2005. It's a shame that The Tetris Company, LLC uses its power to stop developers from creating good and free games for Android users. Without resources for a legal fight, our application and many others will cease to exist, even knowing that they are legit. Users will be forced to buy the paid, official version, which is worse than many of the ones available for free on the market. Users from other countries, such as Brazil in my case, won't even be able to play the official Tetris, since Google Checkout doesn't exist in Brazil; you can't buy paid applications from Android Market in these countries."

Google Outlines Feature Set For Android 2.2 305

evdotorrey writes "Google announced new features and improvements for Android 2.2. New features include Flash and HTML 5 support, faster browser performance using the V8 engine, Microsoft Exchange support, a Portable Hotspot feature that makes your phone a Wi-Fi hotspot, and many more exciting features." An anonymous reader adds some more on the new release, codenamed Froyo: "Google claims the operating system will be from two to five times faster thanks to advances made in the compilers and the Dalvik virtual machine it uses, and how it is ported to new processors and platforms. On the enterprise front the new operating system comes with full support for Microsoft Exchange, including access to the global address book and the ability to translate native security features to mobile handsets. APIs have also been added to allow controls such as the automatic wiping of missing handsets and other remote management features. Google is also making its voice translation and search APIs open to developers, and showed off an application developed for the handset that allowed real time translation from English to French."

Google Android Interface For the Chevy Volt 132

jerryjamesstone writes "Earlier this month, General Motors hinted at a partnership with a major tech company to fully overhaul its telematics system, OnStar. While OnStar CEO Chris Preuss was tight-lipped about who that partner was, Motor Trend recently reported that it's Google. If the rumor's true, GM will make the Chevy Volt the first Android-based vehicle to hit the road. The Motor Trend article suggests 'Google would sell its Android operating system for in-car use,' while the Wall Street Journal has a slightly different take: 'The pairing would likely involve a way for users of Android-based smartphones to use OnStar features from their phone while not in their car. ... For instance, a person could find out information about their vehicle's maintenance needs through the Android phone. In the case of the Volt, GM's coming electric car, an owner may be able to keep track of the car's battery charge without being in the car.'"

Google Stops Selling Its Own Phone 196

Dave Knott notes that Google has announced it will close its online cell phone store and no longer sell the Nexus One smartphone directly to consumers. "While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not," wrote Andy Rubin, a Google vice president of engineering, on the official company blog. "It's remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it's clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from." From the Globe and Mail article: "At least one aspect of Google's attempt to disrupt the world of mobile communications — selling phones directly to customers — has failed. ... [T]he decision to design and sell the Nexus One was perhaps more potentially disruptive for carriers. ... Google plans to continue marketing the Nexus One through 'existing retail channels, essentially partnering with carriers around the world. The Nexus One web store, meanwhile, will essentially become a marketing portal 'to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally.'"

Canadian Android Carrier Forcing Firmware Update 238

Wolfier writes "For wireless carrier Rogers in Canada, it seems that 'Customer Safety' only becomes a concern after months of neglect. Rogers is the only GSM carrier in Canada and so the only choice for Android users. Months ago, a customer called Rogers to report a firmware bug that was preventing users from making 911 calls under certain circumstances, and informed the carrier that Google had fixed the bug (recording of that call). But Rogers is only doing something about it now — namely, cutting data access of paying customers until they accept a mandatory firmware upgrade that not only fixes the 911 problem, but also contains 'extra' features that prevent users from ever gaining root access to their phones — even non-subsidized ones. And some phones are also getting bricked by this 'official' update. The moral: we really need to open up the competition here up North."

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