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darthcamaro writes "Last week, Rain Forrest Puppy (aka Jeff Forristal) first disclosed the initial public report about an Android Master Key flaw. Code was released earlier this week for attackers to exploit the flaw — but what about users? Google has claimed that it has patched the issue but how do you know if your phone/carrier is safe? Forristal's company now has an app for that. But even if your phone is not patched, don't be too worried that risks are limited if you still to a 'safe' app store like Google Play. 'The only way an Android user can be attacked via this master key flaw is if they download a vulnerable application.

"It all comes down to where you get your applications from," Forristal said.'"

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Florence Ion


What if you could privately use an application and manage its permissions to keep ill-intending apps from accessing your data? That’s exactly what Steve Kondik at CyanogenMod—the aftermarket, community-based firmware for Android devices—hopes to bring to the operating system. It’s called Incognito Mode, and it’s designed to help keep your personal data under control.

Kondik, a lead developer with the CyanogenMod team, published a post on his Google Plus profile last week about Incognito Mode. He offered more details on the feature:

I've added a per-application flag which is exposed via a simple API. This flag can be used by content providers to decide if they should return a full or limited dataset. In the implementation I'm working on, I am using the flag to provide these privacy features in the base system:

  • Return empty lists for contacts, calendar, browser history, and messages.
  • GPS will appear to always be disabled to the running application.
  • When an app is running incognito, a quick panel item is displayed in order to turn it off easily.
  • No fine-grained permissions controls as you saw in CM7. It's a single option available under application details.

The API provides a simple isIncognito() call which will tell you if incognito is enabled for the process (or the calling process). Third party applications can honor the feature using this API, or they can choose to display pictures of cats instead of running normally.

Every time you install a new application on Android, the operating system asks you to review the permissions the app requests before it can install. This approach to user data is certainly precarious because users can't deny individual permissions to pick and choose what an application has access to, even if they still want to use that app. Incognito Mode could potentially fix this conundrum, enabling users to restrict their data to certain applications.

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Aaron Souppouris

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According to the noted psychologist Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, it takes three positive emotions to balance out a single negative. As Fast Company reports, Fredrickson's findings are at the heart of Google's Android design philosophy. When considering any user interface decision, designers working on Android have to work out how to inform users of an issue — such as reaching the final homescreen — without making them feel like they've done something wrong, meaning that means pop-ups and other invasive techniques are a no-go. For the homescreen problem, Google settled on the now-familiar glimmering animation, which subtly shows that a user has no more homescreens to swipe across to, while rewarding them with an artistic flourish.

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Florence Ion

We spent the week at I/O sitting in sessions, walking around the show floor, and congregating with developers. After the keynote, things got quieter on the news front but there was still plenty to learn about. This conference is about community, bringing together developers of all types, and connecting people with similar interests and backgrounds. It's also about adorable little Androids, which absolutely overwhelmed downtown San Francisco's convention center, the Moscone Center.


The Google Store

A Google Store employee models the Android Superhero costume, available for a mere $32.80. There was no word on compatibility with the YouTube Socks.

Sean Gallagher

14 more images in gallery

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Florence Ion

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Although Google's keynote at the I/O conference this week focused heavily on the APIs and behind-the-scenes development of the Android operating system, it looks like there's a lot more in store. This idea was especially apparent in a panel discussion today involving eleven members of the Android development team. The team sat for a forty-minute question and answer session, and while they dodged most inquiries about forthcoming features for Android, they did offer a bit of insight into what the future of Android might look like, what developers could do to help further the platform, and what they’ve learned from their journey thus far.

The conversation began with a question relating to whether or not the Android team would have done anything differently from the beginning. Senior Android Engineer Dianne Hackborn said the team "should have had more control over applications. A big example is the whole settings provider, where we just let applications go and write to it... it was a simple thing that we shouldn’t have done." Ficus Kirkpatrick, one of the founding members of the Android team and the current lead for the Google Play Store team, added that “you’re never going to get everything right the first time. I don’t really regret any of the mistakes we’ve made. I think getting things out there at the speed we did…was the most important thing.”

The team also briefly touched on fragmentation and how they’re working to combat the issue—it was even referred to as the “F” word. "This is something we think about a lot,” said Dave Burke, engineering director of the Android platform. He explained that many silicon vendors take the open source code, break it apart, and create their own Board Support Packages (BSPs) to make their hardware compatible with the software. To streamline the process, the Android team made the code for the platform more layered, so if a vendor needs to make changes, they have a clean abstraction layer to do so without affecting the entire operating system.

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GoogleDevelopers


Google Developers Live at I/O 2013 - Inside the Niantic Project

John Hanke, Louis Gray The Niantic Project has debuted two applications that center on location and discovery. The Ingress game has sparked incredible interest from Android users, choosing...
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Casey Johnston


Pichai seems open to Android meaning lots of different things to lots of people and companies.

It Came from China

An interview with Sundar Pichai over at Wired has settled some questions about suspected Google plans, rivalries, and alliances. Pichai was recently announced as Andy Rubin’s replacement as head of Android, and he expressed cool confidence ahead of Google I/O about the company’s relationships with both Facebook and Samsung. He even felt good about the future of the spotty Android OS update situation.

Tensions between Google and Samsung, the overwhelmingly dominant Android handset manufacturer, are reportedly rising. But Pichai expressed nothing but goodwill toward the company. “We work with them on pretty much almost all our important products,” Pichai said while brandishing his own Samsung Galaxy S 4. “Samsung plays a critical role in helping Android be successful.”

Pichai noted in particular the need for companies that make “innovation in displays [and] in batteries” a priority. His attitude toward Motorola, which Google bought almost two years ago, was more nonchalant: “For the purposes of the Android ecosystem, Motorola is [just another] partner.”

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Original author: 
Chris Welch

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When Facebook Home was first unveiled, many observers wondered how Google would react to the overhauled Android experience. As it turns out, company executives have had nothing but kind words for the effort. First there was Eric Schmidt, who described Home as "a tremendous endorsement" of the Google Play ecosystem. Now none other than Matias Duarte (who himself led Android's dramatic visual transformation) has chimed in. "The new Facebook Home shows an incredible amount of polish and attention to design detail, and that didn’t come from a hardware manufacturer," Duarte said in an interview with ABC News.

"With the Home experience, they did a nice job expressing the Facebook experience, but so much of the Google design experience with...

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Aaron Souppouris

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After Facebook was found to be updating its Android app without using the Google Play store's update mechanisms, Google has clarified its terms and conditions to ensure no other developers attempt to circumvent its store. While Google has always outlawed "applications that cause users to unknowingly download or install applications from sources outside of Google Play," it's added a new sentence to its "Dangerous Products" section:

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Original author: 
Sam Byford

Eric-schmidt_large

Eric Schmidt may have stepped down as Google CEO in 2011, but he hasn't been any less vocal in his current role as executive chairman. Schmidt is known for his outspoken views and often provocative statements on just about everything in the technology world — follow this StoryStream to keep track of them all.

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