Google has had its rottweiler chained until now, but the Android team was obviously fed up with the amount of malware in the Market and turned on the kill switch last week.
A “number” of apps which were known to report user data that could possibly be used for malicious purposes, have been taken off Android Market, and Google has used its remote kill switch to extinguish them from Android devices they have been already installed on. The Mountain view crowd has also notified the authorities about the evil software creations, in line with its ” Do no evil” moto.
While it’s a bit creepy that Google, Apple and Microsoft all have kill switches that can intrude in your personal smartphone space, in this case it’s for the better.
The apps have been reporting back to the mothership user-specific data: “For affected devices, we believe that the only information the attacker(s) were able to gather was device-specific (IMEI/IMSI, unique codes which are used to identify mobile devices, and the version of Android running on your device),” says Google.
Still, there might have been attempts to get into more personal details, and the Android team says they’ve patched the vulnerabilities that existed from the Android 2.2.2 version onwards. The type of exploits hackers use is now known, and Google claims it is hard at work to prevent such malicious codes in the future.
Android’s kill switch uses the same technology that allows Android Market on the web to push apps wirelessly to your device.
It will come as no surprise to most of you that the App Store dominated the mobile markets revenue charts in 2009, but with the huge growth of Android you might not expect to see it record a second straight year of domination. Is this trend going to continue in 2011? With Android on the rise and the Windows Phone Marketplace getting the support of world’s biggest phone maker Nokia, the App Store will finally meet some serious competition.
Actually, its market share slipped more than 10% from the whopping 92.8% in 2009 to 82.7% in 2010. Nevertheless, the App Store had a huge growth of 131.9% on the year. Impressive? Not as much as the growth of Google’s Android Market, which skyrocketed 8 and half times to register a total revenue of $102 million and a market share of nearly 5%. But despite the popularity of the Android platform, the Android Market fails to generate much revenue so far. BlackBerry’s App World and Nokia’s Ovi Store actually had a bigger revenue last year – $165 and $102 million respectively. Nokia’s Ovi Store will merge into Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace ecosystem. Add that the Marketplace already has more than 5,000 apps, it could be a legitimate contender this year.
Thanks to the aid of the recently leaked Dell 2011 Roadmap, it seems that we have yet another confirmation of what the next version of Android will be called.
Looking at devices like the Dell Hancock and Millennium, we find the roadmap mentioning that the words “Android Ice Cream.” Naturally, the Ice Cream moniker is fitting since it was previously rumored to be called Ice Cream Sandwich. Moreover, even Google’s very own Eric Schmidt gave the strong indication of Ice Cream while speaking about meshing the best things found with Honeycomb and Gingerbread.
Now the only thing left is to see is finding a giant sized ice cream statue landing at Google’s headquarters.
via Android Central
Depending on where you get your stats from, Android Market has anywhere between 150 000 – 200 000 apps. Google’s Eric Schmidt claimed the low end of that range yesterday at his keynote speech – 150 000, and it may be safer to stick with his story, the guy just seems so careful not to blow it out of proportion.
What’s more astonishing, though, is the astronomical pace at which apps are created. In April last year we wrote that the Android platform has hit 50 000, and it has obviously at least tripled that amount since. Given the pace of new Android activations (Google claimed 300 000 a day on Tuesday), and the advent of Android tablets, dual-core or not, that amount is poised to continue growing with the same breakneck pace.
Google has one huge challenge in front of it, though – monetization. Most developers prefer to make quality apps for iOS, which should now stand at about 350 000 apps strong, because they get greater adoption rates, and clearly make money.
Eric Schmidt said that this is the next thing Google is focusing on – finding ancillary ways for developers to monetize their efforts, so as they make quality apps, instead of flooding Android Market with quickly scribbled free apps to test the water.
Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke at MWC and virtually confirmed that Ice Cream (Sandwich) is to incorporate some Honeycomb features when it’s officially released.
The exact words:
“Today I’ll use the commonly used names. We have OS called Gingerbread for phones, we have an OS being previewed now for tablets called Honeycomb. The two of them… you can imagine the follow up will start with an I, be named after dessert, and will combine these two.”
This news is in accordance with previous rumours, but there is no official timeframe when Ice Cream will be released (even a Honeycomb-powered device is not launched yet) or what version of Android it will be, although Schimdt noted that “we will be seeing a 6-month OS refresh cycle.”
This is not something the Mountain View-based company is eager to discuss, but do you think this may be Google’s answer to all these critics that claim fragmentation is killing Android – by creating a universal version for both tablets and smartphones? Or Ice Cream will be a smartphone-only version of Android? Tell us with your comments.
For the many phone manufacturers out there in the world, they generally would try to make their business case to the largest wireless carriers out there in hopes of striking a deal of some sort to distribute their devices.
Unfortunately for Nokia, they might face some barriers with Verizon if they intend on reentering the US market now that they’ve decided to move forward with Windows Phone 7 as its primary OS of choice. It appears that Verizon’s CTO, Tony Melone, is skeptical of seeing the newly formed partnership between Nokia and Microsoft having any major impact in the market right now. Specifically, he doesn’t seem to think that “Verizon needs the Nokia and Microsoft relationship” since there are three primary contenders right now.
In fact, Melone doesn’t agree that there will be a “three-horse race” between iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7 that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop envisions. Rather, Melone believes that the heated competition is between iOS, Android, and BlackBerry – with no indication of Windows Phone 7 making a huge impact. Granted that his attitude about Microsoft’s platform isn’t as favorable as one would allege, it could easily change if Windows Phone 7 starts to pick up some serious steam.
In any event, it’ll be interesting to see what plan of action Nokia might pull out of their sleeves in order to win Verizon’s heart – not to mention their business.
In his keynote speech today Eric Schmidt talked in Google’s usual frank way about the Nokia Windows Phone. “We would have loved Nokia to choose Android and we certainly tried… The offer remains open for the future.”
Now this is some straight talk. It’s been just a few days since Nokia announced its deep partnership with Microsoft, and most comments were pointing out how the old fox Ballmer planted Stephen Elop at the helm to drive Nokia right into his arms, exerting pressure on Nokia’s board through its largest American shareholders.
Whatever was going on behind the curtain at the time, one thing is certain now – Android definitely was an option for Nokia, but at the last possible moment (last Thursday, if you believe Stephen Elop), it went with the underdog Windows Phone.
For what it’s worth, Eric Schmidt also mentioned that they still consider Microsoft their main competitor. Not Apple, nor Facebook, but Microsoft. After all, despite all the hype, Facebook still hasn’t monetized its popularity, whereas Microsoft has established revenue streams and is getting big in cloud services.
Tying these together and placing them on a Nokia Windows Phone might be as disruptive as Google throwing a wrench into Apple’s quest for mobile dominance with the purchase of Android. The move is typical Microsoft – wait for a market to mature, and then go all-in, guns blazing, to take advantage of the already established best practices. Anyway, those Nokia Windows Phone renders from yesterday look cute as a button, and not formidable at all.
As we were making our way through the endless techy mazes of 2011’s MWC expo, we suddenly came across a well-performing unit of the Honeycomb-equipped Motorola XOOM, which got introduced during CES a month ago. So we thought for a second: “What does a man usually do, when he gets to a next-gen tablet running the latest and greatest mobile platform by Google?” Well, give it the hands-on treatment, of course! Only this time we didn’t focus on the hardware, but instead wanted to delve just that bit deeper into the world of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, where droids are happily feasting on machine oil and scrap metal. Check the video below to see some of Honeycomb’s features demoed first-hand!
Speculation is flying again around Android build 2.4. Once thought to be a major new release code named Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest story making the rounds is that Android 2.4 will be nothing more than a minor upgrade to the Gingerbread release. And it appears that Android 2.4 will be launched much earlier than anticipated. Pocket-Lint, in an interview with a ViewSonic executive, was told that the upcoming ViewPad 4-set for an April launch-would have Android 2.4 on board.
It seems that to make sure that dual-core apps made for Honeycomb devices would work on single-core handsets, Android 2.4 had to be launched earlier than expected because Android 2.3 will not be able to handle that job. So Android 2.4 will remain a “Gingerbread” release with the only change being the latter’s ability to run dual-core apps on a single-core device. Keeping the same name for a minor update has been seen before with Android as something similar happened when Android 2.0 became 2.1, but kept the Eclair name.
So what will happen to Ice Cream Sandwich? Phandroid last week reported that Google is working on a code called GRI17 which is supposed to be a post-Honeycomb version of Ice Cream Sandwich and is supposed to bring to Android handsets some of the new features designed for Honeycomb flavored tablets. But the ViewSonic executive who was speaking to Pocket-Lint says that Ice Cream Sandwich will be Android 3.1 as Google splits Android into 2.x for handsets and 3.x for tablets.
Needless to say that Sprint’s biggest strength right now is their established 4G WiMAX network and surging Android powered devices. With those two in mind, it’s going to be their signature offering as they keep steady on their course of being competitive in the market.
From the sounds of it all, the pin dropping network is planning to have more than 20 devices that will be running off their high speed 4G WiMAX network – which obviously consists of handsets, tablets, Mi-Fi units, USB data sticks, and netbook. Come to think of it, that’s arguably the right decision to make now that all new customers signing contracts will have to pay that additional $10 premium data plan with a smartphone.
In any event, the carrier is also looking to have approximately 70 percent of their upcoming smartphones being powered by Google’s Android platform. Naturally, we’ve already seen the wonders that come out from a WiMAX enabled Android smartphone.
However, we’re sure that customers are waiting for the next big thing to hit Sprint because frankly speaking, we have yet to see another device that reaches the status close to what we saw with the HTC EVO 4G and Samsung Epic 4G. Although we’re still very early in the year, the competition will no doubt make it tough – hence why Sprint is aggressively making a move with Android and WiMAX.
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