Tag Archives: android

What Google’s Acquisition of Motorola Means for Android

In many, many ways, the best thing to ever happen to Android will be Google’s acquisition of Motorola. Google can now defend its mobile operating system with Motorola’s patents and create dynamic devices with Motorola’s hardware. At the same time, the E.U. and U.S. have put in measures concerning litigation around essential patents and China has ensured that Android will remain open and free. There will be losers in the Android ecosystem, among them several mobile manufacturers and maybe mobile carriers, depending on how much control Google can exercise over the sale of the devices. 

When the Motorola deal was announced last August and Page said that Google wanted to “supercharge” Android, he was not being facetious. Google has a tremendous opportunity in front of it. The path is paved with daggers but the benefit to the entire ecosystem at this point outweighs the risks. 

via readwriteweb.com

Scheming Intentions | TechCrunch

If we actually had a reliable source of app intent/scheme bindings, then a whole lot of interesting possibilities would arise. Instead of silently failing when an app tries to call up a recipient app that isn’t installed, the OS could request to download and install it. You could have apps rely on each other, so that downloading and installing one implies automatically downloading and installing its prerequisite building-block sub-apps.

Most of all, you’d be able to reliably link to and from other apps, almost as if they were web sites. It would be so easy to do — yet Apple and Google have both let this possibility languish untouched for years. I’m on record as predicting that HTML5 apps will take over from native apps in a couple years’ time. The ability to link to and from them — in other words, to partially restore the hypertext dream — isn’t the main reason why, but it’s definitely a contributing factor.

Interoperability can only benefit the (well-informed) user. As someone recently looking into the iOS development game, I’m surprised at the moves Apple has made to limit and not-list the various types of open URL chemes already available.

Google, needing patents, buys Motorola wireless for $12.5 billion

Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility this morning for $12.5 billion in cash. One of Google’s biggest motivations for the purchase is to bolster its patent profile, which has been under relentless attack by companies including Microsoft and Apple. With the purchase, Google will gain control of more than 17,000 mobile-related patents worldwide, with 7,000 more Motorola patent applications in the pipeline.

With reQall Rover, Your Phone is a Personal Secretary by @om

ReQall Rover, currently in private beta, is the newest software from the folks behind reQall, a natural language memo service spun off from MIT’s Media Lab, that helps manage personal information. And in under 90 seconds, it just told me some key data about my upcoming day. The weather helps me choose my clothes. I know what my first appointment is, understand what my email queue is like, and I learned that a Facebook friend takes photos of popcorn showers. OK, so maybe that last bit isn’t important, but you get the idea. This Voice Summary feature is available on demand with a button tap or can be scheduled up to three times per day in the software.

I’ve been using the software for nearly a week, and I can already see huge potential because it aggregates important data from the various web services I already use. That may be the best description of how reQall Rover works: combining natural language processing with APIs from third-party services, it delivers personalized information to keep me on track, ranging from upcoming appointments, action items, local trending terms on Twitter, traffic nearby, and more. Upcoming appointments generate information on meeting attendees through LinkedIn and other sources. You can also speak to the software to ask questions as it builds up a database of web links and user-generated answers.

In terms of data services, reQall is leveraging some of the top-tier data stores through available APIs, but Rover can be an information platform for others as well. Other companies that capture user data can provide an API to reQall for inclusion in the software, then users can choose to personalize their experience with that data. There’s little point to re-creating the wheel when it comes to data, Sunil Vemuri, chief product officer at reQall, told me via a Skype video chat:

We’re good at natural language processing and using it to keep information manageable, but we’re not experts on real estate, for example. Zillow is a leader here, so if we could use an API from their service, reQall Rover could alert me of nearby homes for sale as I drive through a new neighborhood.

The approach makes sense, because no one company is likely to be an expert on all forms of data, although we’re sure to discuss that at our Big Data event later this month. Google may have the most information when it comes to general search, for example, but if I were home shopping, I’d hit Zillow over Google any day. And third-party services that offer an API bring a win-win for everyone: Rover users gain more pertinent information, and companies that provide such data are likely to see more people use the service to make it better in the first place

US Army picks Android

The US military is preparing to arm troops with the latest in mobile technology, developing a mobile device based on the Android OS.

While iPhones are unquestionably the popular choice for preening media types hanging out in Soho, it seems that the Google system is the weapon of choice for military folk for hunting down insurgents in Fallujah.

A prototype device called the Joint Battle Command-Platform being developed by MITRE is already undergoing tests with Android used to run the software as part of a bid to reduce the amount of weighty equipment being lugged around by troops.

There are also already a variety of uses for the smartphone such as apps for keeping track of friendly forces, no doubt also handy for the US’s cannon fodder allies, and ‘critical messaging’ which can exchange important data such as medevac requests.

Why would the army choose to give our soldiers the most unsecured mobile platform in the world? Especially on the heels of the BotNet disaster a month or so ago, I’m very concerned about the potential for critical military information to be compromised by rogue applications installed by unwary users at a whim.

Maybe there will be some kind of private/enterprise security suite developed for Andorid, but there’s no fixing the fact that the platform is fundamentally far more vulnerable than something like BlackBerry’s enterprise-level security features.

Please, let’s just not cross the bridge into allowing our military to pilot drones via handheld mobile devices. It’s a logical extension of bringing as much safety to our personnel as possible, but I find the gamification of war a very troubling possibility. Adding unsecured, powerful communications devices into the mix just seems like a truly terrible idea.

What happens when the network gets hacked, and clever enemies figure out how to ‘spoof’ enemy contact signals? It seems like a very small step to make these phones our own Achilles heel.

Final Version of Firefox for Mobile Now Available

If you own an Android or Maemo device, you can now grab the official Firefox 4 for Mobile browser. The official and final version was released Tuesday.

One of the most exciting features, and one that makes total sense for desktop Firefox users, is Sync. It allows the user to carry all of his or her bookmarks, browsing history, log-in credentials and even open tabs from the desktop to the mobile device. This kind of portability, where the devices become less important and the data lives outside them, is almost futuristic and a boon to anyone who needs or desires greater mobility in life and work.

All-platform device syncing is the wave of the future. It shouldn’t matter who my carrier is, what kind of operating system I like, which apps I’ve shared, or what wallpaper I’m using; it’s a major financial and logistical hassle, but big companies simply have to move towards this kind of open standards implementation.

I already use Firefox sync to keep my laptop, work computer, iPhone, and iPad all sync’d. I find it absurd Apple won’t let Firefox import my bookmarks into mobile Safari on the iPhone! I have sync, and you can use it as a portal to open bookmarks you have saved off-device, but there’s no way to save TO your firefox bookmark cloud, and even worse there’s no way to access them from within Safari.

With the release of Amazon’s Android-only music service, and now Firefox sync-enabled browsing, I’m beyond jealous of Android at the moment!

More DroidDream Details Emerge: It was Building a Mobile Botnet

New details have emerged regarding the purpose behind the DroidDream malware that was found in over 50 applications in the Android Market last week. After a brief investigation, Google opted to use its “remote kill switch” this weekend to wipe the vicious apps off end users’ mobile phones. Google also promised that going forward, it was “adding a number of measures to help prevent malicious applications using similar exploits from being distributed through the Android Market” in the future.

But at the end of the day, DroidDream’s goal was not identity theft – although that could have come later – it was to set up a system for downloading and installing additional applications on the end users’ phone without their knowledge. DroidDream was laying the groundwork for a comprehensive system of remotely-controlled Android phones. A mobile botnet.

I’m surprised they’re not even doing a simple security screening (ok, will it might not be that simple) given the damage these kinds of stories can do to its brand. Apple is clearly still the master of the smartphone marketplace strategy.

Android Becomes Number One in U.S. Smartphone Market Share

Today Nielsen is reporting that Google’s Android mobile operating system has beat out RIM BlackBerry and Apple iOS to become the number one mobile OS in terms of consumer market share. Android has now reached 29% market share, compared with RIM’s 27% and Apple’s 27%. However, that’s only one way to slice the pie.

Interesting news to note on the day after they have to pull Malware apps from their open app store.

First Trojan Hits Android Phones

The malware works by posing as a media player app. Once the app is installed on the mobile device, the trojan begins to send SMS messages to premium rate numbers without the device owner’s knowledge. Since the trojan’s creators are usually the ones on the other end of those premium numbers, they end up profiting from the scam.

Pretty clever. Fortunately, the app isn’t available in the publuic app store (you have to manually click it off a supporting malicious website) and sports the flag-raising name “Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a”

Interesting to see viruses migrate quite easily to our mobile devices, and makes me think viruses are a natural byproduct of social computing. Let’s hope things don’t get too haywire once we integrate machine parts more pervasively into our bodies.