From The Blog

Displaying items by tag: Mobile Phones

HTC-VilleThe Mobile World Congress kicked off today in Barcelona Spain. This is one of the yearly events that help to shape the mobile technology world. We have already seen some information slip even before the conference kicked off as companies like HTC tried to get the jump on the competition and rumors popped up about Asus’ next generation Transformer.

Published in News
Monday, 05 December 2011 22:01

CarrierIQ, Not a Keylogger after all

broken-lockIt looks like the CarrierIQ debacle was quite possibly be a case of Chicken Little meets the digital era with a sinister plot twist. A few weeks ago the news broke that a software researcher (Trevor Eckhart) had found that software that was preinstalled on certain phones appeared to be acting like a keylogger. The hypothesis was based on finding two apps that he could not uninstall or stop. Then he discovered what looked like a link between these two apps and one of the debugging logs (that does record everything that you do). Eckhart announced his findings and a whirlwind of articles ran around the internet a few times.

Published in News
Monday, 07 November 2011 19:04

Microsoft Hires Gavin Kim away from Samsung

WindowsPhoneWell color me impressed! After talking about all of the things that Microsoft has done wrong with Windows Phone I am finally seeing them do something right. It seems they have convinced Samsung’s Vice President of consumer and enterprise services, Gavin Kim, to leave the mobile device giant and come over to the Microsoft fold.  

According to Kim he feels that Microsoft has the talent and the tools (meaning the right OS) to push forward and become a favored choice for consumers saying ““Each time a consumer goes to buy a smartphone from a carrier or retail store, Windows Phone has to be on their short list”. Kim also said that he feels that the team he will be joining has a considerable amount of talent and is looking forward to not lonely leading them but learning from them. In fact he likened joining any team to dating, indicating that if the compatibility is not there then things are not going to work.

We hope that this new couple does have a bright future ahead, but we think that their relationship will be a tad stormy. Gavin Kim is a smart choice for Microsoft as Kim has had his hand in more than a few successes from Samsung. The problem is that Windows Phone does not have the right infrastructure or a large customer base. This will make gaining consumer acceptance difficult to say the least. Unless Kim comes in and manages to shake things up (which we really are hoping) Window Phone will still fail to impress the average consumer in the face of the iPhone or the Flagship Android products.

The next 6-10 months will be interesting to watch for the mobile market. Android 4.0 will launch, iOS 5.0.x will hit (hopefully with some fixes) and Microsoft might actually have someone leading their mobile market that actually “gets” the market.

Source BGR.Com
Discuss in our Forum

Published in News

qualcommWith all the news about the major ARM players like Samsung, nVidia, Texas Instruments etc. It is nice to finally hear the news about one of the largest, yet least talked about. At one time if you bought a cell phone (this was before the Smart Phone age) you had Qualcomm under the hood (and in many cases AMD as well). However, lately all we hear about is Hummingbird and Tegra (with an occasional mention of Snapdragon). That is until yesterday.

Qualcomm has announced that they are prepping to launch a new series of 28nm processors which they claim are 50% faster than “other ARM based offerings in the mobile CPU market”. This is very healthy boast to say the least. Right now all of this is in the pre-production stages so we do not have any phones or designs to tell you about, but we do have a little bit of information about the processor itself.

The new proc will be dubbed the S4 MSM 8960 and will hit the market as a dual core offering with a quad core to follow. Instead of an on/off switch for power the CPU is going to be built with something like a dial. This will allow for dynamic power steps to be sent to the processor. I have not heard of this being done quite this way so it should be interesting to see how it works out.

Inside the 8960 you will have a new GPU, this is the Adreno 225 which is a unified shader design (think AMD/ATi) and will support DX9.x and possibly shader model 3. Now we wonder what kind of radio they are going to build into this as that has been one of Qualcomm’s strengths (the Cellular and Wireless Radio built into the SoC) and something that Samsung and nVidia have been trying to get done as well.  We know that nVidia has been buying up wireless technology patents with the hopes integrating their own radios into their Tegra SoC, but have not announced anything on that just yet.

For now it would seem that Qualcomm has taken a step out front in the performance arena. We do think that their GPU offering is probably not up to the same standard as nVidia’s Tegra, but then again many people looking to buy a phone do not need it to play graphics heavy games… I mean really, how much GPU does Angry Birds or words with friends use?

Discuss in our Forums

Published in News
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 22:33

October 4th Apple Launch Should Include Sprint

LevoniThinSkinJPG_38We have known that this was coming for months now and yet the world seems even more eager than before the announcement that Apple will have a Launch Event on October the 4th. What are they announcing? Well most are pretty well convinced that it will be long awaited iPhone 5. Along with this will be another announcement; one that will potentially change the balance of power in the mobile market (at least in the US). This is the announcement that Sprint will have the iPhone 5 for its customers.

We have actually been told on more than one occasion that Sprint will have it without ever hearing those words. As an example we told you that Sprint is cutting back the Silver and Gold VIP rewards. They end on October 1st. Sprint is expected to offer the iPhone 5 on the 15th of October. Several people that we know have been told they cannot take vacation during this time period. Now to top this off Sprint issued a statement saying that they will not be changing their unlimited data plan for their “new phones”. When you add everything up it all comes home to one thing. The iPhone 5 will be coming to the very last Unlimited Data plan carrier in the US.

We fully expect Sprint to draw in a very large number of new customers shortly after October the 15th. The question is; what is Sprint going to do about the customers that have been with them? That is the one thing that really could make or break their new power. If they do not take care of the people already with them, they could still potentially lose them to another company that offers the iPhone. I have read and talked to more than a few existing Sprint customers that are rather annoyed that they might have to pay full price for the iPhone (full price meaning $600+). They would rather cut their losses take the $200 hit for early cancelation and start up a new plan with a $199.99 phone and end up paying less than sticking with Sprint.

I tell you this, Sprint had better have a Loyalty Pricing plan up their sleeves or they could find themselves hemorrhaging customers rather quickly and to be perfectly honest; I am not sure that they can make up for them all with new buyers…

Discuss in our Forum

Published in News

starbucks-logoJonathan Stark was curious about something. As a gadget-laden mobile app developer with a thirst for Starbucks, he wondered how he could associate a single Starbucks mobile card with more than one mobile device. He tried this workaround for Starbucks limit: he took a screenshot on one device and emailed it to another. Turns out Starbucks doesn’t mind, displayed barcodes all scan the same. 

He uploaded the photo to his blog and his lucky followers were treated to this bit of information, as well as a cup of coffee on him. Before the end of the day, his initial $30 was down to $1.26. He reloaded $50 “for his friends on the west coast” and it was depleted again in hours.

Here’s where it gets interesting: a friend of Jonathan’s did him a solid and reloaded the card. It also turns out Starbucks will not only let anyone with an image of the card use it for coffee, they also don’t care who reloads it as long as they’ve got the barcode.

Being the developer he is, he quickly wrote a bot that scrapes the Starbucks site and updates a Twitter account he created for the card. Jonathan figured if you’re getting on board, you can follow the card tweets and decide whether to get a latte, or maybe help the next guy out.

Once the idea took off, more than his blog followers were playing along and his idea got the notice of more than just the tech sites for its uniqueness. The card’s Twitter account currently has over 9000 followers and in just the past hour includes seven tweets about reaching a zero balance, and 21 for positive amounts. Jonathan admits the transactions and reloads are not aggregating correctly, so it’s impossible right now to tell how often and for how much the card is being used. We’re confident he’ll figure it out though and update his followers, who have surely grown by the hundreds – full of developers, retailers, and philanthropists alike.


Discuss this in our Forum

Editor's Note: This article, while fun does show how dangerous these mobile purchasing and mobile wallet applications can be. If someone can skim information off of your phone Via Bluetooth, Free Wilress etc you can be subjected to serious theft.

Published in News

Google-LogoThere are things that I find ironic but that seem to go unnoticed by many (mostly the press). Today I read an article that the FTC is looking into claims that Google might have put restrictions in place for manufacturers that make Android based smart phones. Now, I have no lover for Google. I think they do not care about people’s privacy, ignore laws and worse. However, to see the FTC starting to investigate them for antitrust issues is laughable when this same commission said there was no credible evidence that Apple was doing this. It is funny that the investigation appears to be looking into if Google is preventing the use of services such as mapping, navigation etc. other than their own on Android based phones. After all wasn’t it Apple that put a stipulation to app developers that they could not develop an app that reproduced core functions of the phone? 

Then there was Steve Job’s rather public rant about never allowing flash on the iPhone, their arbitrary app approval process and many other items are even more conclusive.  To me this illustrates that our federal regulators have no clue what is going on and only do what they are told by the person throwing the most cash around The Hill. Interestingly enough that used to be Michael Schmidt and Google, but now we see Google’s charm wearing off.

Still I am glad to see that the FTC is looking into some of the advertising and search practices that Google is participating in. For years it has pretty much been common knowledge that Google stacks some of the search results and their ad placement is something of a joke.  Maybe some good will come of this, but they really need to stop turning a blind eye to companies like Apple and begin to actually do their jobs and protect the public from ALL companies that participate in this type of activity.

Source Cnet

Discuss in our Forum

Published in News

Clearwire_Logo_corporateNot all that long ago (about a year to be exact) I engaged in a little online debate with someone about LTE Vs WiMax. At the time I was told that LTE was better and that WiMax would be a losing battle. I agreed with the comment about speed, but hastily added that MiMax is not a losing battle. You see the problem is that people often misunderstand that WiMax and LTE are not different hardware technologies (at least not on the backbone) but differ in the protocols used to push the data across that hardware. Clearwire was aware of this when they built their network; they knew that they could get WiMax out now and still shift over faster and for less money than the much of the competition can get LTE off the ground.

The down side is that Clearwire waited too long to start the conversion and have lost quite a bit of money on this deal. Of course they also could have had contractual restrictions that required them to reach a certain level of loss before they could make the shift in existing markets (read Sprint/Nextel)… that is pure guess work on my part but I have heard of worse in business. No matter what the reason the thing is that Clearwire is going to make the switch and will start in their existing markets to make the shift less costly and also to start off building revenue on the investment.

Now we have to figure out if the existing Radios inside the current handsets can be “flashed” to support the LTE protocol.

Source CNET

Discuss in our forum

Published in News
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 22:37

Mobile phones, the new Windows XP

permissionsNot that long after Windows XP hit the market a very handy little flaw was found (one of many) that would be the start of a great love/hate relationship with this OS. Even today with Windows XP holding a only a little more than 50% of the PC market the venerable OS accounts for more than 60% of rootkits and something like 80% of the known malware and viruses. What does this have to do with mobile phones? Well is goes something like this; when you buy a mobile phone it comes preinstalled with the OS (usually some derivative of Linux). This OS allows you to setup some rather weak security (a reversible password for screen access). However underneath there are usually two accounts that everything runs on. There is the root account which is the master admin account and has rights to do just about anything. Then there is a mobile user account. This is the account that the UI and all applications run under. The problem? Well every phone out there from each manufacturer uses the same passwords for each (this may actually differ a little between handsets depending on the manufacturer). Yup that is right, if I can guess or hack the root password on one phone; I know them all for that line.

This handy little flaw has been shown on Apple, HTC, Google, Samsung (and just about all Android Phones). Where this becomes important is during application installation. It is during that time that some installers will (or can) access the root account of the phone. If a piece of malware written for your phone OS does this then you can be in a world of trouble.

CA Technologies has been tracking a new brand of malware for the Android platform. It started off by just logging the details of incoming and outgoing calls, but now has moved into actually being able to record these calls and transmit them back to a central server. The days of just installing any app that catches your eye is gone (it never really should have existed anyway). Now more than every Smart Phone users need to be careful what they allow their apps to do. As an extra precaution grabbing a mobile security app like Lookout or Similar for that extra level of protection is a good idea. Just like XP what we think of as secure, turns out to be full of holes after all.

Source and picture CA Technologies

Discuss this in our Forum

Published in News
Page 3 of 3