You may have noticed that since the Music app for Android updated to version 3.0, it has gained the power of Google Music (for those lucky few in the beta), but it doesn’t have an important feature: setting a song as a ringtone or notification sound. Luckily, Android has an easy way to do this manually.
Granted, there are third party music apps which have the option of setting a song as a ringtone, but setting it up manually will make it easier when upgrading to a new phone because it will follow you on your SD card, without having to install a specific app. It’s quite easy, here’s how:
Once that is done, when you go to the “Sound” option in the Settings menu of your Android device, the song or sound file will appear in the list of options for ringtones or notification sounds. And, best of all, as long as you keep the same SD card when you upgrade your phone your ringtone follows with you!
Rejoice, Android users! Google Maps has been updated to 5.5 and it brings a slew of updates Place pages by adding a button for check-ins and one for rating that place. It also improves home/work location tracking in Latitude, and public transit Place pages. These updates come on the heels of the news that Google Maps has passed 200 million mobile users across all platforms. Of course, not all platforms get the same features, and, being Google’s baby, Android gets all the best tricks first.
This Maps update is all about making existing features more prominent and easier to find. It adds easy access to a check-in button on the Place page, so you can check-in or check-out of your favorite places. It also adds easy access to the rate and review button. The tweaks to Latitude make it easier to edit your home and work addresses if you use Latitude’s cool location history feature. This feature was released last month, and gives users a dashboard to track how much time they spend at home, at work, or out. This location history is completely private unless you choose to share it.
The last change is to the public transit Place pages, which adds information about upcoming departures for lines at that station. Google Maps transit information is a wonderful resource available in 440 cities worldwide, and this update makes it easier to find information from a nearby station without having to search for directions.
You can grab the update in the Android Market.
source: Google Mobile Blog
Researchers at a German university recently confirmed a serious vulnerability within the Android OS, that was initially exposed by Dan Wallach. When connected to an open Wi-Fi network, other users can impersonate your device to Google Calendar and Google Contacts. And they found that the problem is theoretically feasible within all Google applications.
But Google has already announced a solution: “Today we’re starting to roll out a fix which addresses a potential security flaw that could, under certain circumstances, allow a third party access to data available in calendar and contacts…This fix requires no action from users and will roll out globally over the next few days.”
Android Honeycomb and Gingerbread both already include solutions to the vulnerability, but the majority of Android devices (99.7%) are still running the older builds.
While Apple and their devotees would surely love to blow this out of proportion, we have to keep in mind that open Wi-Fi has always been a security risk. If you ask any IT professional, they’ll tell you to stick with secured networks whenever possible. But that’s not the point. Between LocationGate and the recent PSN scandal, consumers are feeling particularly sensitive about their privacy.
source: Wall Street Journal
Google’s tablet-optimized platform is now in full force permeating into the memory of consumers around the world, while at the same time, it’s attempting to conquer the landscape by presenting users a totally immersive, yet functional to the point experience. We’ve spent some time getting situated with the platform, and knowing that it’s going to be continually improved, to bring new features and expand upon some existing ones, the foundations set forth by it will uniformly have a profound impact on how it’s going to be further modified down the road. At this point, there’s no denying that tablets are going to continue marching forward and become the true computing giant over the course of the next few years, however, we just need to reflect upon some of Honeycomb’s accomplishments and our desires for improvement.
First and foremost, we have to applaud Google for sitting down and meticulously bringing the platform from the ground up – while solely keeping in mind that it’s a tablet platform and nothing more. From its surreal and futuristic design theme to its ubiquitous paneled layout within its core apps, everything concretely wraps together to give the user an experience that’s functional, cohesive, and relevant. In addition, Google has upped the ante in the personalization department, much like what we’ve seen with Android as a whole, thanks to its useful array of widgets and dynamic looking wallpapers. Although it’s still in its infancy, the Mountain View based company has done an exceptional job in fully comprehending how the tablet experience is different from anything else out there – and tailoring it to fit that unique medium…
Read the whole article at PhoneArena.com!
Android might look like a safe system, but researchers from the German University of Ulm have discovered that using it on an open Wi-Fi network, leaves a hole open for impersonation attacks. Which devices are prone to the attack? 99.7% of Androids, or pretty much every device except for the few ones running on Android 2.3.4. The researchers summed up their finding about whether it’s possible to launch an attack against Google services:
“Yes, it is possible, and it is quite easy to do so. Further, the attack is not limited to Google Calendar and Contacts, but is theoretically feasible with all Google services using the ClientLogin authentication protocol for access to its data APIs.”
It’s the unencrypted http protocol used by the ClientLogin that allows for the user’s password and username to be easily sniffed. The scale of this is pretty big as the researchers further explain:
“For instance, the adversary can gain full access to the calendar, contacts information, or private web albums of the respective Google user. This means that the adversary can view, modify or delete any contacts, calendar events, or private pictures. This is not limited to items currently being synced but affects all items of that user.”
Luckily, it seems that the secure https protocol has been implemented for the calendar and contacts authentication in Android 2.3.4, but pictures synced through Picasa could still be a subject to the attack. To minimize the chance of having your data stolen, you could avoid using public open Wi-Fi networks or turn off automatic syncing from the Settings menu in your Android device. Hopefully, Google will release a fix for the issue now as the research has been published, but in the meantime let us know your opinion. Is that a serious issue for you?
Google is finally rolling out a long-awaited feature that will make developers grin with delight – the ability to access paid apps from Android Market in 99 additional countries now. We only had 14 countries with paid apps so far, so with 113 in total Google will have covered almost any place where debit or credit cards are issued, because, well, that’s how you pay for apps.
A number of people are reporting that paid apps are appearing in Android Market on their phones, priced in local currency, and they bought them using local debit or credit cards, despite that the feature is not supposed to be completely rolled until next week. Before that Android users in these countries were forced to download the goods as .apk files from dark and shady places, if they wanted to have this or that one on their phones.
Furthermore, Android Market is now addressing its app curation issues, by listing Top Paid, Top Free, Editor’s picks, Top Grossing apps and so on. With more than 250 000 applications, it had become an issue finding what’s relevant for you on Android Market, and we are glad to see that Google is charging hard to resolving these problems.
While these were great to kick the two-day event in high gear, they were not the only things announced for the relatively short 55 minutes keynote. Google also demonstrated the so-called Android Open Accessory project. In a nutshell, it allows accessories to connect via USB ports to Android-powered gear (Android 2.3.4 and above only), where they act as an USB host, providing at least 500mAh at 5V for charging.
The whole premise is based on the Arduino open source electronic prototyping platform, and was demonstrated in a funny way by one employee riding a stationary bike. The bike was connected via USB to a phone running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and the guy had to guide a little green robot through a cave’s perils by speeding up and down, in an app called CardioQuest.
Google has released a free Android Development Kit for techies to start working on the numerous possibilities that come to mind, and also demoed how a Motorola XOOM tablet commands a physical Labyrinth board via USB. The fun starts at 35:40 into in the video.
Another glimpse into the future of Android was shown with the so-called Android@Home automation service. Google’s mobile OS is seriously gearing up to control your home lighting, HVAC, and home appliances. Lights can be turned on and off according to your alarm schedule or events in your Calendar, washing machines can be given marching orders, and one cool music device concept named Tungsten was shown. It is an Android-powered device hub, demonstrated in different shapes and forms, and an ability to store and playback your CDs by just nearing their NFC tags to Tungsten was showcased. The Android@Home demonstration starts at 42:37 into the video
Pyramid Research senior analyst Stela Bokun expects Windows Phone 7 to take off this year with its popularity even exceeding that of Android since Google’s open source OS was introduced in 2008. The reason for this explosion? Microsoft’s deal with Nokia should help bring prices of Windows Phone 7 devices down. Besides Nokia, other manufacturers will also support Windows Phone 7 allowing for a wide range of styles and price points.
Writing on Pyramid’s blog, the analyst says, “With the change in the price of WP devices, and the multivendor strategic approach of Microsoft, the main advantage of Android – scale – may be removed.”
Sounds like an ambitious forecast by Bokun, especially when considering the momentum that Android still has in the marketplace, and the lack of it on Windows’ part. And remember, it was a particular piece of hardware-the Motorola DROID-mixed with Android 2.0 that set off Androidmania. For Windows Phone 7 to copy this, it will require a major upgrade to the OS, which is indeed coming in the form of the Mango upgrade, and a particular piece of hardware that captures the attention of cell phone fanatics the way the DROID did in late 2009 on the way to being named Time Magazine gadget of the year. The hardware is the missing piece to the Windows Phone 7 puzzle that remains a wild card for now.
Since Apple’s recent location tracking scandal, both Google and Apple have been trying to explain or refute their alleged infringements on users’ privacy. Today, they got the opportunity to present their cases to a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Apple, which was the first to be implicated in a potential breach of privacy, argued that they aren’t really tracking device locations. Instead, they say they are using crowdsourcing to locate cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots. And the “Consolidated.db” file, which prompted the privacy investigation, is allegedly not tracking individual user locations.
Google said that all of their location tracking is optional, and users can choose to turn their location services off. Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, was still adding information to “Consolidated.db” even when location services were off. But a recent iOS update has remedied this.
Google further demonstrated their commitment to users’ privacy by suggesting that privacy legislation be adapted to the present technological landscape. They point out that a user’s data on a remote server isn’t protected by the 4th Amendment (regarding search and seizure) in the same way that their physical property might be.
So is this just a dog-and-pony show for the consumer’s benefit? We figure that even if Google and Apple are just trying to pacify consumers, it will still lead to an improvement in consumer privacy laws. What do you think?
Google’s Android OS has quickly matched the seemingly unbeatable iOS. But their one shortcoming has been the lack of music and movie support in the Android Market, to match the established and polished iTunes storefront.
But Android users are one step closer, now that Google has announced a movie rental service through the Android Market. Rentals begin at US$1.99, but new releases appear to be $3.99 each.
In addition to streaming the films, you can also “pin” them, meaning that you can temporarily save them to your device for offline viewing. While it’s still no iTunes, the Android Movie Market appears to have a wealth of new releases and old favorites.
But the question remains: Are you really interested in renting movies for your mobile device? Obviously, tablet-owners will get greater enjoyment, but they make up a relatively small segment of the total Android population. So perhaps Google is just planning ahead for when their tablet market share grows.
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