China's monitoring and control of how its citizens access the internet is something that has been going on for some time. Now there is something new for Chinese smartphone owners to worry about. Security researchers at Palo Alto Networks have discovered a backdoor built into millions of handsets produced by Coolpad.
Known as CoolReaper, the backdoor potentially places more than 10 million smartphone owners at risk. The security firm conducted investigations after users complained on message boards about suspicious activity on their handsets. After downloading multiple copies of the stock ROM used on Chinese CoolPad phone, it was found that "the majority of the ROMs contained the CoolReaper backdoor".
BlackBerry is not a company that's afraid to do things a little differently, and this is something that's perfectly demonstrated by its latest release. Rather than eschewing the physical keyboard like most smartphones, the BlackBerry Classic embraces it. The square 720 x 720 screen is comparable to that of the BlackBerry Passport, but stands out from mainstream handsets due to its size -- just 3.5 inches -- and unusual aspect ratio.
The look of the handset might be a little dated, and the specs are also something of a blast from the past. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus dual-core processor, the phone has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an 8MP rear camera, and a 2MP front shooter. And it can be yours for $449 unlocked.
Plex is perhaps the most well known media server among home theater and HTPC enthusiasts. Both a server and end-user app are provided, the former for free, while the latter will set you back a nominal fee. However, it's well worth the time to set up and few dollars out of your pocket.
Now the service is improving on it's offering to Google's mobile platform. Plex for Android has just gained Playlists, making things just a bit easier for its multitude of customers.
In the grand scheme of things, we aren't far removed from a time when most people thought the Earth was flat. Yes, we went from thinking a boat could sail off of the edge of the world, to landing a spacecraft on a comet -- crazy, right?
When Google Earth was first released, it was a mind-boggling program. It allowed users to easily navigate a virtual Earth; a high-tech globe, if you will. While people take it for granted, the search-giant's offering remains wonderful. Unfortunately for developers, Google is killing the Earth API.
Benedict Evans recently wrote an insightful piece exploring new questions for the mobile industry. Among the five questions he brought up, I believe that the evolution of interaction models and messaging will end up being the most important.
I don't have anything to add there as think Benedict's analysis here was excellent. However, I do think that three of his questions could benefit from deeper analysis. I also think that he may have missed a crucial question brought on by the scale of the mobile industry.
For Nokia to get any real traction with HERE outside of Windows Phone and its former brands, the Finnish company must make its app available to as many potential new users as possible. And that means offering it on the biggest mobile app stores around today -- Apple App Store and Google Play.
Today, Nokia is taking a step in the right direction by making HERE for Android available on Google Play. The app's availability on the largest Android app store comes more than three months after the initial launch, for Galaxy smartphones. HERE still sports the beta label, but continues to offer the same lovely features we have come to expect from it.
One of the key reasons why businesses migrate their systems to the cloud is to make them easier to access from anywhere.
But that can create complications where office systems are Windows based and mobile devices are running a different OS. Cloud services provider dinCloud has an answer in the form of webHVD, its HTML5-based virtual desktop.
The latest monthly report from internet security specialist Doctor Web shows that whilst Windows and Android users have no cause for complacency, November saw substantial numbers of malicious programs aimed at Mac OS X and Linux platforms.
Trojans remain the most popular form of attack making up 8.7 percent of all malware detected. Trojan.InstallCore.12, which installs different adware, toolbars and browser extensions, ranks first. BackDoor.Andromeda.404, which downloads other malicious programs into an infected system when commanded to do so by intruders, ranks second.
Small is beautiful, and this is something that the Raspberry Pi demonstrates perfectly. But now there's a little competition. The Creator CI20 is a new diminutive micro-computer which offers more power than an existing Raspberry Pi, as well as a choice of operating systems -- Android or Linux.
The company behind the barebones computer is another UK chip manufacturer, Imagination, and at just $65, it's a perfect stocking stuffer. Or at least it would be if units were going to ship before January 2015. Like the Raspberry Pi, the Creator CI20 is a fully loaded board designed for use in all manner of DIY computing projects.
Samsung is not as fast as rival makers HTC or Motorola when it comes to rolling out software upgrades to the latest version of Android, but the company appears to be finally cleaning up its act. Not too long after Google released Android 5.0, Lollipop is now available for Galaxy S5.
The epicenter for the Android 5.0 Lollipop roll-out is Poland, a market Samsung has frequently used to commence roll-outs of new major software upgrades. The company is currently targeting users of the SM-G900F version of Galaxy S5, which, as some of you may know, is the model featuring a Qualcomm processor (Snapdragon 801).
Pandora, one of the darlings of the music streaming industry, has been around for some time. But the old dog can still learn new tricks, and the service proves that by continuing to improve its offering. It's also one of the best priced services, if you care to get the premium subscription.
The latest update benefits iOS and Android users -- two of its biggest customer bases. "The design of this latest update is part of our ongoing dedication to innovate the UX and UI across platforms, and as a result, provide effortless music discovery and listening for more than 75 million listeners each month", Pandora announces.
Just like any other first iteration of a major operating system release, Android 5.0 Lollipop is not without its fair share of problems. The main issues that users are reporting are related to battery life, responsiveness and Wi-Fi. Like other 2013 Nexus 7 users, I also have problems every so often with video playback on YouTube, something which did not crop up back in the Android 4.4 KitKat days.
Naturally, most issues will go away with the first or second update. Google is actively working on squashing the reported bugs, proof being that the company just pushed Android 5.0.1 Lollipop to AOSP (Android Open Source Project) and released the accompanying factory images for a number of its devices.
Chinese smartphone vendor OnePlus just launched its One flagship in India, where it is available to purchase exclusively through the local arm of retailer Amazon. Prospective buyers are only able to scoop up the top-of-the-line 64 GB version of the smartphone, as the lesser 16 GB model is nowhere to be seen at this stage.
OnePlus appears to be committed to the Indian market, as it says that it has already set up a service network of 25 walk-in centers for its prospective local customers. Speaking of customers, the number of local buyers who will be able to buy One is still controlled by OnePlus, as the company is continuing to enforce its invite-only system.
As first revealed on BetaNews just before Thanksgiving, a rogue Microsoft blog post seemed to let slip that the company was on the verge of acquiring Acompli. Now it's official. Both Microsoft and Acompli have confirmed that the acquisition is going ahead and the "innovative mobile email apps for iOS and Android" are now in the hands of Microsoft. Seen by many as the mobile app that Outlook.com deserves, Acompli fits neatly into Microsoft's plan to expand further into mobile realms.
Corporate Vice President of Outlook and Office 365, Rajesh Jha says "it's essential to give people fantastic email experiences wherever they go". The existing Acompli app is destined to become integrated into the work already carried out by the Outlook team. While iOS and Android are both mentioned, no reference is made to Windows Phone.