Tag Archives: Android
Google appears to dominate every market in which they step foot. For this reason, many believe that Android is the company’s first step towards monopolizing the mobile market. And it might be. To really understand the importance of Android to Google, however, you need to determine what mobile market they wish to monopolize. Also, a quick look at the history of Google’s moves into various open source projects will shed some light on whether Android is truly its first step towards monopolizing the mobile market.
Opera Mini has been around for a long time — since 2006 in fact — but in its seventh iteration the browser has shed some of its “minor league” appeal and has moved up to the same hardware-accelerated club as its bigger brother, Opera Mobile.
Google Maps is a great tool on-the-go, although it isn’t very useful inside buildings … well, at least it wasn’t until now. Google has launched Google Maps 6.0 for Android devices which includes indoor plans of venues such as malls, retails stores, or airports. The user’s current position inside a building is indicated in the same way as on the outside and it’s also possible to switch between floors.
Did you know that your Google AdSense ads won’t show up for Kindle Fire users? Don’t you find that interesting? The Kindle Fire runs Google’s Android OS but when you try to view AdSense ads with them, you won’t get them.
A Google AdSense Help thread has reports from AdSense publishers and those advertising using AdSense that the ads do not render on the Kindle Fire.
I snapped a picture using my iPhone of the iPad next to the Kindle Fire and showed how the iPad loads the ads but not the Kindle Fire:
ndroid is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. The Android SDK provides the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications on the Android platform using the Java programming language.
Application framework enabling reuse and replacement of components
Dalvik virtual machine optimized for mobile devices
Integrated browser based on the open source WebKit engine
Optimized graphics powered by a custom 2D graphics library; 3D graphics based on the OpenGL ES 1.0 specification (hardware acceleration optional)
SQLite for structured data storage
Media support for common audio, video, and still image formats (MPEG4, H.264, MP3, AAC, AMR, JPG, PNG, GIF)
GSM Telephony (hardware dependent)
Bluetooth, EDGE, 3G, and WiFi (hardware dependent)
Camera, GPS, compass, and accelerometer (hardware dependent)
Rich development environment including a device emulator, tools for debugging, memory and performance profiling, and a plugin for the Eclipse IDE
The degree of freedom afforded to the user by nearly any Android device is almost unparalleled in the brief history of mobile devices. You are free to customize the user interface, run services in the background, and even replace system apps. Some of the most savvy users of Android have also taken to gaining root access on their devices for additional control. In fact, many users consider this an essential feature. However, most root methods we have are essentially a dangerous system exploit — a flaw in the software — and this has taken a toll on the community.
By building simple root tools, the Android developer community is doing its best to help you take control of your own device. Those tools are also available to the dark forces of the internet, though. There may be a way forward that reduces user frustration and increases security, but Google seems unlikely to go for it. What we need is an official and safe method for root access on Android.
When Google deploys a new version of Android, several powerful communities of dedicated Android modders begin pouring over the software looking for goodies. One thing everyone is on the lookout for is an exploit that can be used to gain root access. The same is true when an Android OEM puts out a prominent new device. The goal is to give the owners of Android phones and tablets complete control of their devices.
In most ways that matter, this is a good thing. You bought the phone, you should be able to access the hardware and software at the most basic level if that’s what you want. The difficulty comes when the tools developed to empower users are co-opted by malware authors. We sincerely wish this was a rare occurrence, but it seems to be an ongoing trend.
In 2011 there was the spectacularly embarrassing DroidDream outbreak in the Android Market. Dozens of apps were loaded with a community-developed root exploit called RageAgainstTheCage that was used to root unsuspecting devices, then steal sensitive information. DroidDream was eventually brought under control, but it does still float around the murkier parts of the net. Luckily, this exploit was patched in Android 2.2.2.
Just a few weeks ago another Android trojan, called RootSmart, has started popping up online (though happily not in the Play Store) using a newer Android root tool developed with good intentions. RootSmart uses the GingerBreak exploit to root phones silently and sign you up for expensive SMS services. GingerBreak works on Android 2.3.3 or earlier, as well as several versions of Honeycomb 3.x. This trojan is currently only circulating in Asia, but it shows the problem isn’t going away.
The current way of doing things is also resulting in some real annoyances for users that just want to truly own their devices. These root methods are technically a security hole, and it would be irresponsible for Google or the OEMs to leave them open to attack. New software is rolled out to patch the bug, but that just means the arms race will continue to escalate. You update, lose root, and then have to search for yet another method.
The update situation with Android is, as everyone knows, awful. So even when the Android platform is updated to patch known exploits, some of the most vulnerable users that just wanted a cheap smartphone could get left behind with insecure devices.
Hot on the heels of the handset’s leaked details, Verizon just made the LG Lucid official. The modestly specked device will cost $79.99 (with a 2-year contract), run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and be powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM.
The LG Lucid’s screen is a roomy 4-inch display coated by tough Gorilla Glass treatment. For one-handed text entry there’s Swype’s virtual keyboard software along with Android’s stock virtual keys. Shutterbugs probably won’t find the Lucid’s 5-megapixel camera very impressive but LG does claim it will shoot video at a full 1080p HD.
The real draw for consumers will likely be the LG Lucid’s 4G LTE data connection. While much faster than ordinary 3G wireless access, it doesn’t come cheap. Plans start at $30 per month (2GB) on top of traditional voice service. Verizon says the Lucid will arrive in stores shortly, on March 29.