Android

950 Million Android Phones Can Be Hijacked By Malicious Text Messages 81 81

techtech writes: According to security firm Zimperium a flaw called "Stagefright" in Google's Android operating system can allow hackers take over a phone with a message even if the user doesn't open it. The vulnerability affects about 950 million Android devices. In a blog post Zimperium researchers wrote: "A fully weaponized successful attack could even delete the message before you see it. You will only see the notification. These vulnerabilities are extremely dangerous because they do not require that the victim take any action to be exploited. Unlike spear-phishing, where the victim needs to open a PDF file or a link sent by the attacker, this vulnerability can be triggered while you sleep. Before you wake up, the attacker will remove any signs of the device being compromised and you will continue your day as usual—with a trojaned phone."
Android

Razer Acquires Ouya's Storefront and Technical Team 75 75

An anonymous reader writes: The Ouya Android-based gaming console was one of Kickstarter's biggest successes — and one of the biggest letdowns for all the backers. The console never really took off, and the company behind it has limped along over the past couple years. Until today. Razer has now acquired the Ouya technical team, as well as their online storefront — but not the console hardware itself. Razer intends to dump of all these new resources into its Forge TV product, also an Android game console. "Razer went so far as to kick a little sand in the face of the little-console-that-couldn't—by advertising its own Forge microconsole as a 'more advanced' system and telling Ouya owners that they will receive 'a clear path of migration' to buy the company's current $100, AndroidTV-compatible box." The fate of Ouya's hardware is not explicitly mentioned, but the news article suggests it is simply "discontinued."
Android

'Stagefright' Flaw: Compromise Android With Just a Text 164 164

An anonymous reader writes: Up to 950 million Android phones may be vulnerable to a new exploit involving the Stagefright component of Android, which lets attackers compromise a device through a simple multimedia text — even before the recipient sees it. Researchers from Zimperium zLabs reported the related bugs to Google in April. Google quickly accepted a patch and distributed it to manufacturers, but the researchers say they don't think the manufacturers have yet passed it on to most consumers.

"The weaknesses reside in Stagefright, a media playback tool in Android. They are all "remote code execution" bugs, allowing malicious hackers to infiltrate devices and exfiltrate private data. All attackers would need to send out exploits would be mobile phone numbers, Drake noted. From there, they could send an exploit packaged in a Stagefright multimedia message (MMS), which would let them write code to the device and steal data from sections of the phone that can be reached with Stagefright's permissions. That would allow for recording of audio and video, and snooping on photos stored in SD cards. Bluetooth would also be hackable via Stagefright."
KDE

KDE Community Announces Fully Open Source Plasma Mobile 44 44

sfcrazy writes: Today, during the Akademy event, the KDE Community announced Plasma Mobile project. It's a Free (as in Freedom and beer), user-friendly, privacy-enabling and customizable platform for mobile devices. Plasma Mobile claims to be developed in an open process, and considering the community behind it, I don't doubt it. A great line: "Plasma Mobile is designed as an ‘inclusive’ platform and will support all kinds of apps. In addition to native apps written in Qt, it also supports GTK apps, Android apps, Ubuntu apps, and many others." And if you have a Nexus 5, you can download and play with a prototype now.
Android

The Android L Update For Nvidia Shield Portable Removes Features 115 115

An anonymous reader writes: For those of us who still remember the Hobson's choice with the 3.21 update of the PS3 firmware, the most recent update to the Nvidia Shield Portable is eerily similar. The update, which is necessary to run recent games and apps that require Android 5.0 APIs, removes some features from the device, and removes the games that were bundled with the device, Sonic 4 Episode II and The Expendables: ReArmed. Nvidia has stressed that it is an optional update, but how many users have been told for months that the update was coming, some of whom may have bought the device after the update was announced, only to find out now they won't receive all the functionality they paid for? How is it still legal for these companies to advertise and sell a whole product but only deliver part of it?
Youtube

YouTube Is Adding VR Video Support To Streaming Videos 22 22

An anonymous reader writes: While YouTube's streaming platform currently supports 3D videos OR 360 degree videos, the combination of the two is essential for properly immersive virtual reality video. Fortunately, the company has announced that they'll soon enable support for 3D + 360 degree videos, bringing more immersive VR video capability to the platform. Currently, 360 degree YouTube videos can be viewed through desktop web browsers and on the YouTube Android and iOS apps, with the Android app being the only one of the bunch currently providing a side-by-side view for VR viewers like Google's Cardboard.
Advertising

Smartphone Apps Fraudulently Collecting Revenue From Invisible Ads 129 129

JoeyRox writes: Thousands of mobile applications are downloading ads that are never presented to users but which collected an estimated $850 million in fraudulent revenue from advertisers per year. The downloading of these invisible ads can slow down users' phones and consume up to 2GB of bandwidth per day. Forensiq, an online technology firm fighting fraud for advertisers, found over 5,000 apps displayed unseen ads on both Apple and Android devices. "The sheer amount of activity generated by apps with fake ads was what initially exposed the scam. Forensiq noticed that some apps were calling up ads at such a high frequency that the intended audience couldn't possibly be actual humans."
Chrome

Chrome 44 Launches With Tweaks To Push Messaging and Notifications 67 67

An anonymous reader writes: Google has launched Chrome 44 for Windows, Mac, and Linux with new developer tools. Aside from a host of security fixes, this release focuses mainly on developer features. The API for push notifications was updated to match the specification, a new implementation of multi-column layout was added, and they've extended support for Unicode escapes in strings. The full changelog notes a number of performance improvements as well.
Android

Hacking Team's RCS Android May Be the Most Sophisticated Android Malware Ever Exposed 91 91

An anonymous reader writes: As each day passes and researchers find more and more source code in the huge Hacking Team data dump, it becomes more clear what the company's customers could do with the spyware. After having revealed one of the ways that the company used to deliver its spyware on Android devices, Trend Micro researchers have analyzed the code of the actual spyware: RCS Android (Remote Control System Android). Unsurprisingly, it can do so many things and spy on so many levels that they consider it the most sophisticated Android malware ever exposed. The software can, among other things, gather device information, capture screenshots and photos, record speech by using the devices' microphone, capture voice calls, record location, capture Wi-Fi and online account passwords, collect contacts and decode messages from IM accounts, as well as collect SMS, MMS, and Gmail messages. Hacking Team says it sold its surveillance and intrusion software strictly within the law.
Cellphones

A Month With a Ubuntu Phone 118 118

When the first Ubuntu phone came out, reviews were quick to criticize it for its lackluster hardware and unusual take on common mobile software interactions. It's been out for a while, now, and Alastair Stevenson has written about his experiences using it for an entire month. While he doesn't recommend it for phone users who aren't tech savvy, he does say that he began to like it better than Android after adjusting to how Ubuntu does things. From the article: [T]he Ubuntu OS has a completely reworked user interface that replaces the traditional home screen with a new system of "scopes." The scope system does away with the traditional mobile interface where applications are stored and accessed from a central series of homescreens. ... Adding to Ubuntu’s otherworldly, unique feel, the OS is also significantly more touch- and gesture-focused than iOS and Android. We found nearly all the key features and menus on the Meizu MX4 are accessed using gesture controls, not with screen shortcuts. ... Finally, there's my biggest criticism – Ubuntu phone is not smart enough yet. While the app selection is impressive for a prototype, in its infancy Ubuntu phone doesn't have enough data feeding into it, as key services are missing."
Google

Google+ Photos To Shut Down August 1 152 152

An anonymous reader writes: Now that Google Photos exists separately from Google+, the company is shutting down the Google+ version of Photos starting on August 1. The Android version will be the first to go, followed shortly thereafter by the iOS and web versions. Fortune calls the old Photos app "a relic of the times when the search giant thought its social network Google Plus could become a huge hit."
The Courts

Class Action Filed Against Sling Media 111 111

New submitter DewDude writes: In case you missed it; Sling Media has been forcing advertisements into video streams from Slingbox devices unless you pay for a client application, which is only an option for Apple, Android, and Windows 8 devices. The issue will now head to the courts, as two plaintiffs have filed a class action suit against Sling Media, claiming the company participated in 'bait-and-switch' tactics by charging users for the hardware, then monetizing the streaming of content. The suit notes that Sling does not own the rights to the programming into which they are inserting advertisements.
Android

Meet "London," Marshall's First Android Smartphone 67 67

MojoKid writes: Marshall may be better known for its music equipment, but that isn't stopping the company from bringing a better audio experience to the smartphone market with its London handset. Given its highly customizable nature, it should come as no surprise that London runs Google's Android operating system (Lollipop 5.0.2). The London features dual front-facing speakers, a Wolfson WM8281 sound processor, Bluetooth atpX support, and a gold-tinged scroll wheel on the right side of the device that handle volume control, which Marshall says offers "tactile precision [that] allows you to find that sweet spot of sonic goodness." Once you get past the audio-centric functionality, there's a lot of lower-end hardware under the hood of the London. You'll find a 4.7-inch 720p display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, LTE connectivity, 8MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and a removable 2500 mAh battery. In other words, those specs make the London more in line with the Moto G.
AI

A Quick Leak, As Microsoft Tests the Waters For Cortana On Android 44 44

An anonymous reader writes with the news from Venture Beat that a beta of Cortana for Android (long promised) has leaked into the wild via Finnish upload site SuomiMobiili, and from there to others, like APKMirror. From the article: We asked Microsoft where this leak may have come from. "In the spirit of the Windows Insider Program, we're testing the Cortana for Android beta with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing the beta publicly in the next few weeks," a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat.
Robotics

Robot-Staffed Japanese Hotel Opens 56 56

jfruh writes: The front desk is staffed by a female android in a white tunic. The bellhop is a mechanical velociraptor. A giant robot arm put luggage into cubbyholes. It's the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki and it's opening this Friday, and it's a place where 'basically guests will see only robots, not humans,' according to general manager Masahiko Hayasaka.
Android

Commodore PET Smartphone Comes Loaded With C64 and Amiga Emulators 62 62

Mickeycaskill writes: Commodore is launching an Android-powered smartphone that lets 1980s gaming fans play their favourite retro titles. It runs a custom version of Android 5.0 Lollipop and lets you play both old Commodore 64 and Amiga games with its preinstalled VICE C64 and Uae4All2-SDL Amiga emulators. Configurations vary between 2GB and 3GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of storage, with a 5.5 inch display and 1.7GHz processor included in all versions. The Catch? It's only available in France, Germany, Italy and Poland to begin with, but other markets are set to follow.
Cellphones

Nokia Wants To Make Phones Again 111 111

An anonymous reader writes: Nokia has indicated that it's interested in returning to the phone-making business. In a post on the company's website, spokesman Robert Morlino explains that although they sold their devices business to Microsoft last year, they're still interested in the phone industry. They're not capable of building their own devices, and it looks unlikely that they'll be able to build a new hardware section in a reasonable time frame. Instead, they're looking for a partner to build the actual phones (and support them). Nokia would contribute design and branding. All that said, their deal with Microsoft prevents them from getting back into the phone business until Q4 2016, so we won't be seeing Nokia phones soon either way.
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: Measuring (and Constraining) Mobile Data Use? 129 129

An anonymous reader writes: I've carried a smart phone for several years, but for much of that time it's been (and I suspect this is true for anyone for whom money is an object) kept pretty dumb — at least for anything more data-intensive than Twitter and the occasional map checking. I've been using more of the smart features lately (Google Drive and Keep are seductive.) Since the data package can be expensive, though, and even though data is cheaper than it used to be, that means I don't check Facebook often, or upload pictures to friends by email, unless I'm in Wi-Fi zone (like home, or a coffee shop, etc). Even so, it seems I'm using more data than I realized, and I'd like to keep it under the 2GB allotment I'm paying for. I used to think half a gig was generous, but now I'm getting close to that 2GB I've paid for, most months.

This makes me a little paranoid, which leads to my first question: How accurate are carriers' own internal tools for measuring use, and do you recommend any third-party apps for keeping track of data use? Ideally, I'd like a detailed breakdown by app, over time: I don't think I'm at risk for data-stealing malware on my phone (the apps I use are either built-in, or plain-vanilla ones from Google's store, like Instagram, Twitter's official client, etc.), but of course really well-crafted malware would be tough to guard against or to spot. And even if they can be defeated, more and more sites (Facebook, for one) now play video just because I've rolled over a thumbnail.
Read on for second part of the question.
Cellphones

Turing Near Ready To Ship World's First Liquid Metal Android Smartphone 93 93

MojoKid writes: Liquid Metal is an alloy metal (technically, bulk metallic glass) that manages to combine the best features of a wide variety of materials into one product. Liquid Metal also has high corrosion resistance, high tensile strength, remarkable anti-wear characteristics and can also be heat-formed. Given its unique properties, Liquid Metal has been used in a number of industries, including in smartphones. Historically, it has been limited to small-scale applications and pieces parts, not entire products. However, Turing Robotic Industries (TRI) just announced pre-orders for the world's first liquid metal-frame smartphone. The Turing Phone uses its own brand of Liquid Metal called Liquidmorphium, which provides excellent shock absorption characteristics. So instead of making a dent in the smartphone casing or cracking/chipping like plastic when dropped, a Turing Phone should in theory "shake it off" while at the same time protecting the fragile display from breaking. The Turing Phone does not come cheap, however, with pricing starting at $610 for a 16GB model and escalating quickly to $740 and $870 respectively for the 64GB and 128GB models, unlocked. Pre-orders open up on July 31.