Category Archives: Smartphone

XDA University Has Officially Launched

If you’ve always been interested in creating apps or developing for smartphones but had trouble finding the resources to learn it, you might recall a couple of months back that XDA Developers announced that they would be launching XDA University to help people with that.

This is basically a website where all the tutorials and resources required to develop are consolidated into one location, making it easy and convenient for beginning developers to find what they need.

Good news is that the website has been officially launched and you can visit the website to start learning now.

There are tutorials separated into user-based and developer-based:

    • User-based tutorials will teach regular beginners how to flash their Android devices, recovery and etc.

    • Developer-based tutorials will dive into the more technical aspects of things, for those who have always wanted to flash custom ROMs and tweak ROMs.

This is a great service the XDA developers are providing here, and I hope a lot of you take advantage of it!

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According to Report: 41 Percent of Android Devices Sold in China Do Not Use Google Services

Although China is the world’s largest market for smartphones running Google’s Android platform, 41 percent of these devices to not fully comply with and use Google services, according to a new report from Informa Telecoms & Media.

The report found that 41 percent of Android devices in China “support alternative application frameworks from the likes of Baidu, Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, Wandoujia, Anzhi and other locally-based channels.” The fact that 41 percent of Android devices sold in China do not use Google services is striking, since Android is the vehicle through which Google can sell advertising and promote its services.

Google has had a contentious relationship with China. In 2010 it removed its servers from mainland China following what it said were cyberattacks against it that originated in China. And many Chinese use alternative Chinese mobile Internet search services like Baidu and Alibaba. 

The Informa report said that, globally, one out of every three Android phones is sold in China, and that almost two-thirds of the handsets sold in China this year will be powered by the Android OS. Informa said the United States is the second largest Android market in the world, and that 11 percent of all Android phones are sold in the United States.

Informa reiterated what other analyst firms have said recently: that China is the fastest-growing smartphone market, with a year-on-year growth of 85 percent in 2012. Android exceeded 50 percent market share in China in the first half of 2012, and Android’s share of the market has continued to grow since.

Earlier this month Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said Android has extended its lead over Apple’s rival iOS to a distance that is now comparable to Microsoft’s dominance over the desktop segment during the 1990s. Research firm IDC said Android captured 75 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter.

The report of Android’s dominance in China comes amid a push by Apple to gain more market share there. Apple announced Monday that it sold 2 million iPhone 5s during the gadget’s first weekend of sales in China. Yet according to IDC, Apple fell to the No. 6 spot among handset makers in China during the third quarter. Samsung Electronics, Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad and ZTE all led Apple in terms of market share in China in that order, IDC said.

See Release Here via Fierce Wireless

Mobile Malware to Rise in 2013

The Cybersecurity company Eset predicts Android infections will grow next year, as more people use their smartphones for banking.

“We see as the main trend for 2013 an exponential growth of mobile malware,” cyber security software maker Eset predicts this week in its 2013 trends report (PDF).

Driving the interest of cybercriminals in the mobile market, Eset says, is the rapid adoption of smartphones, particularly those running Android, and the increased use of the devices for monetary transactions.

The volume of malware designed for mobile devices is a direct response to the speed at which the technology is being adopted, according to Eset’s report. “If the market grows and technology is enhanced, then as long as users who use these devices to store an increasing amount of sensitive information do not adopt the necessary measures, it is logical to expect cybercriminals to create computer threats to profit from this situation.”

Eset researchers also observe, “There is a direct parallel here to what has happened with personal computers, but at a much slower pace over a much longer period.”

The report notes that Android now has more than 64 percent of the smartphone market, compared to 43 percent in 2011. “As Android’s market share rises and people use it more and more to store personal and corporate information, or for online banking or related services, cyber criminals will develop more malware to steal information, thus gaining illicit revenue.”

The researchers predict that next year, 530 million people will access banking services from their smartphones; it’s a 76 percent jump from 2011, when only 300 million people banked on their mobile phones.

Eset notes that Android malware typically contains one of three malicious payloads. A large number of malware programs (40 percent) clandestinely subscribed their victims to premium SMS services. About a third (32 percent) of bad apps turned the devices they infect into zombies, which can be controlled by an ether thief. More than a quarter (28 percent) of malicious apps steal information from a phone.

Spreading pernicious payloads through infected websites will also continue to grow in 2013, Eset forecasts.

A factor contributing to increased interest in poisoned websites to spread malware has been the decline of “thumb” flash drives as popular infection vehicles for cybercriminals.

The introduction of the first commercial version of Windows XP in 2001 and the massive uptake of removable storage devices marked the beginning of the era of worms that spread through those media by exploiting a Windows XP design vulnerability called Autorun, the report explained.

“Given that this problem was solved in 2009 and that users have migrated towards new versions of Microsoft Windows, the number of malicious programs still using this technique has diminished in the past few years,” Eset notes.

“Though there is no shortage of malware that includes it on the off chance of finding an unpatched system,” it adds.

Eset outlined in its report how Web miscreants proliferate their malicious wares through infected websites:

    • First, an existing vulnerability is exploited in a web server and malicious code is injected into the site.

    • Then, targets are steered to the infected site throughA hyperlinks sent to a list of users through email, social networks, or any other means.

    • When the target visits the site, the malware is downloaded to their computer or smartphone, where it performs its pernicious actions.

According to Eset’s report, “Malware targeting Android will not only keep on rising at a considerable rate, but also will continue to evolve until they are very similar in capability to their peers in the world of more traditional computers.”

Exynos 4-Based Devices including Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Vulnerable to Hack

Devices running Samsung’s Exynos 4-based processors (4210 and 4412) including the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II have been shown to be vulnerable to a hack with potentially serious ramifications. A developer on the XDA Developers forum @alephzain uncovered the vulnerability, which could give a malicious app the ability to wipe data, brick a device or access a user’s data without their knowledge.

Devices that are vulnerable to attack appear include any device that runs the Exynos 4-based designs, coupled with Samsung’s kernel sources. This means that devices including the Meizu MX are also vulnerable to the same exploit along with other Samsung devices. Although no known software uses the exploit maliciously, a senior moderator on the XDA Developers forum @Chainfire has written an APK exploiting the loophole gaining root priveleges “on any Exynos 4-based device.”

Another programmer @Supercurio has released a quick fix through Project Voodoo that closes the hack, however, it will depend on Samsung to ensure that the gaping security hole is properly. XDA Developers have contacted Samsung about the matter and report that the company is aware of the issue. However, Samsung had yet to publicly acknowledge the issue at the time of writing.

Via: Electronista

Update 1/03/2013:

Samsung Galaxy S III security fix reportedly rolling out to UK users

On 2nd January, Samsung pushed a software update (I9300XXELLA) to the Galaxy S III and we can confirm that the new software update fixes the infamous Exynos 4 vulnerability. The security flaw was in the kernel which made the device R/W by all users, apps and gave access to full Physical Memory. In short, this vulnerability gave root permissions to *any* app and there was no control over it but now with the new system update the security hole has been patched.

We believe that the new system update also fixes the sudden death issue as the new firmware ships with brand new bootloaders and this is the first time Samsung has updated the bootloaders of the device since it started shipping back in May 2012. But, we can’t confirm if sudden death issue has been resolved or not as Samsung is the only one who can confirm about the fix.

For now the new software update is only available for the United kingdom (BTU) but we expect other countries to follow soon. We would urge Galaxy S III users to  immediatly update their device to the latest firmware via Kies or OTA (Over-The-Air).

    Official Firmware Details:
    Android Version: 4.1.2 – Build JZO54K
    PDA: I9300XXELLA
    CSC: I9300OXAELLA
    MODEM: I9300XXELLA
    Build Date: 22-12-12
    Change list: 742798

Source: Sam Mobile

Georgia Tech Researchers Say That Mobile Browsers Need Better HTTPS Indicators

Patrick Traynor

Patrick Traynor

Researchers from Georgia Tech recently released a study that claims almost all mobile browsers in use in the U.S. fail to accurately notify users whether they are using HTTPS or not.

“The basic question we asked was, ‘Does this browser provide enough information for even an information-security expert to determine security standing?'” said assistant professor of computer science Patrick Traynor. “With all 10 of the leading browsers on the market today, the answer was no.”

According to the World Wide Web Consortium guidelines recommend that all browsers clearly identify the HTTPS status of their current connection. But when tested, the Georgia Tech researchers found that the browsers used by 90% of American mobile customers didn’t measure up.

The researchers stressed that the smartphone software generally had the same types of cryptographic and security capability found in traditional programs. But also that mobile browsers have serious limits on screen real estate compared to their desktop equivalents which is a major part of the problem.

However, the lack of an HTTPS indicator is still a problem, according to computer science Ph.D student Chaitrali Amrutkar, who authored the paper describing the study’s results.

“Research has shown that mobile browser users are three times more likely to access phishing sites than users of desktop browsers,” he said. “Is that all due to the lack of these SSL indicators? Probably not, but giving these tools a consistent and complete presence in mobile browsers would definitely help.”

Source: Network World

Security Hole Discovered in Instagram iOS App

If you use the Instagram application on your iPhone or other iOS devices, it is worth noting that a researcher has discovered a vulnerability within the Instagram application for iOS devices that will grant hackers access to your account, allowing them to take over it and even delete your photos.

This is due to the way the app authenticates itself with the Instagram servers, through the use of unencrypted cookies to confirm your account info with the Instagram servers. What this means is that if you were to use Instagram while hooked to an unsecure network, such as a public WiFi, whoever controls that WiFi access point can in theory grab that cookie, which in turn can be used to access your account by connecting with Instagram’s servers.

The researcher who found the security holes has reportedly reached out to Instagram to inform them of the vulnerability. It seems that it has been about a month now and there has not been any word from Instagram over the matter, let alone an update that will fix the security hole.

It is not yet clear whether or not the Android version on the Instagram application is similarly affected.

Survey on the Most Popular Cell Phone Activities in 2012

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project obtained readings on some of the most popular cell phone activities among adults in nationally representative phone surveys in the spring and summer.

It’s no secret that the use of cell phones has become so common place, that people, like myself, use them to do just about everything throughout the day. Because cell phones now have the capabilities to accomplish these tasks.

So naturally the number of people who own a cell phone has increased and so has the number of people that use their devices to do much more than make phone calls. Cell phones have become a portal for an ever-growing list of activities. Fully 85% of American adults own and use their cell phones in various ways.

These results come from two Pew Internet tracking surveys:

    • One was conducted between August 7-September 6. 2012 with 3,014 American adults (ages 18+). Among them were 2,581 the cell phone owners and the margin of error in the survey for findings among cell owners is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

    • The second survey was conducted between March 15-April 3, 2012 among 2,254 adults, including 1,954 cell owners, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Both surveys were conducted on landline and cell phones and in English and Spanish.

Read the full Report Here (PDF)

Breakdown of survey chart:

Taking Photos:
2010: 76% of users
Now: 82% of users

Texting:
2007: 58% of users
Now: 80% of users

Accessing the Internet:
2008: 25% of users
Now: 56% of users

Send and Receive Email:
2007: 19% of users
Now: 50% of users

Record Video:
2007: 18% of users
Now: 44% of users

Download Apps:
2009: 22% of users
Now: 43% of users

Look for Health Information:
2010: 17% of users
Now: 31% of users

Check Bank Account:
2011: 18% of users
Now: 29% of users

My Experience with T-Mobile SLOW SLOW Data Speeds!

These are some of my tests I have been running to see how my T-Mobile data speeds have been, mostly while my phone is running on EDGE (Enhanced Data-rates for GSM Evolution) or 2G. No one at T-Mobile seems to have any idea as to why my speeds are so slowing because even running on EDGE or 2G I should average just above 100 kbps. There are many factors as to why my speeds are at times relatively fast like when I am home, I have a security system that runs off of the T-Mobile Network and that boosts my signal and speeds while in my house and not connected to WiFi. As you can see there are different locations and only a few of them I really see a nice average data speed, the rest are almost laughable data speeds, definitely not the speeds I want to see for the money I pay.

So far I have talked to 5 T-Mobile techs on the phone and I went into a T-Mobile store as well and they told me in the store to buy a new phone? It’s not my phone, because I am not an idiot an they can’t tell me something like that just to make me spend more money. I am using an unlocked Torch 9800 so I am using EDGE basically all the time unless I am connected to a Wifi network, which is ok for me, the thing is that I popped my SIM card into my Wife’s Bold 9780 on T-Mobile with 3G coverage and I still had these horrible speeds. So if anyone from T-Mobile reads this and thinks they can help please let me know, or if anyone else out there might have a suggestion please let me know but I have tried about everything and to me it looks like they have my data speeds throttled for some reason even though I have unlimited data plan and this has continued through almost two billing cycles. Look at my speeds below and compare, let me know if you feel my pain with T-Mobile or any other carrier that might just be brushing you off their shoulders like I feel they have done to me.

Note:
Gist Speed Test (Global Internet Speed Test)
6/1/2011:
Work

    1) 10:00- 31 kbps
    2) 11:30- 43 kbps
    3) 2:00- 5 kbps (didn’t even finish test)

Home

    1) 6:05- 71 kbps
    2) 10:05- 141 kbps
    3) 10:20- 179 kbps

6/2/2011:
Work

    1) 9:04- 14 kbps
    2) 12:51- 32 kbps (Done after a battery pull cause phone got locked up data speed was too slow)
    3) 2:17- 23 kbps (Walking from outside to inside office)
    4) 4:30- 25 kbps (Done after a battery pull cause phone got locked up, data speed too slow)

Michaels

    5) 5:42- 24 kbps

Home

    6) 7:11- 209 kbps
    7) 7:31- 233 kbps (While on the phone with T-Mobile Inside)
    8) 7:45- 69 kbps (While on the phone with T-Mobile Outside)

6/3/2011:
Work

    1) 8:15- 27 kbps
    2) 10:47- 29 kbps
    3) 12:14- 20 kbps (Done after a battery pull cause phone got locked up, data speed too slow)
    4) 1:33- 19 kbps

985 South Friendship Rd.

    1) 7:36- 81 kbps

85 South

    2) 7:55- 108 kbps

Gwinnett

    3) 8:15- 36 kbps
    4) 9:13- 94 kbps

Decatuer

    5) 8:45- 20 kbps

6/5/2011:
McEver (Waffle House)

    1) 10:22- 190 kbps

Spout Springs (Target)

    2)10:57- 138 kbps

85 South (Exit 99)

    3) 12:01- 41 kbps

Johnson Ferry Rd.

    4) 12:55- 69 kbps

6/6/2011:
Work

    1) 11:40- 31 kbps
    12:22- Battery Pull
    2) 12:55- 41 kbps
    3:45- Battery Pull

Stevie B’s

    3) 8:05- 39 kbps

6/7/2011:
Hwy 20 (Dunkin’ Donuts)

    1) 7:26- 63/54 kbps

Work

    2) 2:23- 127 kbps
    3) 3:18- 36 kbps

6/8/2011:
Work

    1) 9:02- 20 kbps
    2) 2:06- 47 kbps
    3) 2:58- 37 kbps (Twitter for Blackberry working for first time)
    4) 4:52- 18 kbps (Everything is functional for First time since 5/23/2011)

6/9/2011:
Work

    1) 11:21- 16 kbps

6/13/2011:
Buford Dam Rd. (Shadburn Ferry Intersection)

    1) 7:17- 133 kbps

Work

    2) 9:33- 41 kbps

Michaels

    3) 5:22- 29 kbps

Hwy 20 (Exiting 985)

    4) 7:28- 86 kbps

6/14/2011:
Work

    1) 8:20- 55 kbps
    Aesthetic Dermatology (Sanders Rd. Cumming, Ga.)- 2) 5:38- 215 kbps
    3) 5:40- 226 kbps

6/18/2011:
Spout Springs Rd. (Ross)

    1) 11:24- 16 kbps

Buford (Bona Allen Mansion)

    2) 5:27- 218 kbps

6/24/2011:
Mundy Mill Rd. (Arby’s)

    1) 8:11- 247 kbps

6/28/2011:
Work

    1) 11:45- 28 kbps
    2) 2:32- 21 Kbps
    3) 4:25- 27 Kbps

6/29/2011:
Work

    1) 12:38- 35 Kbps
    2) 4:28- 21 Kbps

6/30/2011:
Work

    1) 8:24- 41 Kbps

7/1/2011:
Work

    1) 8:26- 32 Kbps
    2) 12:15- 56 Kbps
    3) 1:51- 95 Kbps (this test had to be a fluk)
    4) 1:53- 31 Kbps

7/3/2011:
Atlanta Hwy. (Just Past Hall Middle)

    1) 12:07- 46 Kbps

Mundy Mill (Walmart)

    2) 12:53- 190 Kbps

7/4/2011:
Venture Rd. Buford, Ga. Mall of Ga.
(Babies R Us’)

    1) 1:02- 78 Kbps

7/5/2011:
Work

    1) 8:25- 29 Kbps

7/6/2011:
Spout Springs (Chick-fil-A)

    1) 8:25- 125 Kbps

7/7/2011:
Work

    1) 8:24- 21 Kbps

Update:
I have still not had any of my issues resolved with T-Mobile as of today, I spoke with another Blackberry Specialist that works for T-Mobile, making this my sixth time calling them. I spoke with him on Friday July 2, and he took all my information and wrote up a slip to give to an engineer to have them check out my specific network connection which took about 45 minutes to complete. He stated that it could take up to 72 hours to determine what is the exact problem and stated that I should not call back and that he would call me either Friday evening or Tuesday at some point. Well Friday passed, Tuesday passed, and now Wednesday has passed and I have yet to hear anything from anyone with T-Mobile. I will probably have to call them for the seventh time now and this time I might have to tell them to drop my service line, what’s the point in paying money for data that’s slower than my Mother’s DSL line she’s had since DSL became available, at least that’s how it seems, I mean I can’t even run a simple Twitter application on my Blackberry that’s how slow my data speeds are. Hopefully I will hear something today and I will post any results I get from T-Mobile and maybe they will fix my problem, or really it’s their problem.

Second Update:
Well today is Tuesday July, 12th and I have not heard back from T-Mobile on any kind of resolution to my data problems. I called T-Mobile on Friday July, 8th and spoke with another representative in the technical support department. He stated that he did not know why the rep that I spoke with on the previous Friday would tell me it would take 72 hrs. and that they really had no idea how long it would take the engineers to discover the problem. He checked the status of my complaint and the engineers’ slip we had sent out last Friday. Ended up he said that the engineers had to send my case to the ‘higher-ups’ is the way it was described to me and that it would take a little longer to find the root of the problem.

Doesn’t this just seem like too much of a hassle, it has been almost 2 months now that I have had these problems with my T-Mobile data connection. You would think they could just reset my network connection completely and reconnect me as if I were a new customer and I had just started using their network. Anyways they are supposed to give me a call back today and give me a status of my complaint, I hope they actaully give me a call today, we will see.