Posts Tagged ‘mobiles’
Nokia have unveiled their cheapest handset yet!
The Nokia 130 is aimed at customers in emerging markets such as Africa and the Middle East. It comes as both single and dual-SIM card varieties, and costs a sniptacular $25 (or £14.50).
It doesn’t have the internet, which is now obviously the first thing one wants when looking for a phone, but is optimised for music and video playback, with up to 46 hours worth of music playback time and 16 hours of video. Music and videos can be stored locally on the device with an SD card (the phone itself can store up to 32 GB).
Before you say “Well that just sounds like an elderly iPod you can chat on”, it also comes equipped with an FM radio, flashlight and 1.8-inch LCD display.
Nokia’s daddy Microsoft is quite keen to engage with people who have yet to own a Microsoft or Nokia gadget.
In a rather creepy interview with Recode, Microsoft’s Jo Harlow said: “Microsoft doesn’t have any other project that can reach these consumers.”
“These consumers will create a Microsoft account and become part of the Microsoft ecosystem.”
There’s no release date as yet for the Nokia 130, but it will be available in Africa, the Middle East and a handful of European countries. And pretty soon, you can probably “source” one off eBay.
People tweet about how far they’ve run, selfie themselves into oblivion with some putrid, lurid green smoothie they’ve made and then they chug you about a half-marathon they’re doing for the Cats Protection League.
The Wii got grandmas doing yoga, Nike+ spammed everyone with kilometres, Samsung threw their own fitness technology into the ring and Apple have turned their phones into the impossible – a device that enables owners to even more smug about their tedious lifestyle choices.
Not wanting to miss out, Google are apparently working on a competitor to Apple’s HealthKit, called Google Fit. The second someone invents Smell-O-Phones, the entire internet is going to smell like B.O. and farts from pulse-eating nicompoops.
Of course, Google are readying Android Wear, which will tie-in with this new health system which will monitor your heart and all that nonsense.
You may remember that Google tried this before, with Google Health, but no-one was at all interested. There’s been a growing reluctance for people to want to aggregate their entire lives with Google.
Would it be too much to ask to get some clever hackers to actively hack these crowing keep-fit fanatics hearts and make them all die in the street?
There was a lot to sift through, so here’s the more interesting bits.
Apple’s message service has been tinkered with. You’ll be able to name threads, set up a ‘do not disturb’ feature on a group conversation and Apple have also introduced a thing called Tap To Talk where you can send pictures which vanish after a few seconds, almost as if they’ve copied Snapchat wholesale. There could well be a lawsuit, which will suit Apple because they LOVE going to court.
iOS 8 now lets you interact with your apps from a variety of places, such as the lock screen as well as the home screen. If you swipe down from the top of the home screen, you can interact with your notifications, as previously seen on Android. Apple have also updated the double tap feature which they brought in with iOS 7.
Spotlight is a thing that makes searching for news, music apps and the like, much easier on your device. Imagine it as Apple’s re-edit of Google Now.
iOS 8 will have personalised predictive text with something that looks a lot like SwiftKey. It’ll offer word suggestions as you type and also allow you to put in words of your own, if you swear a lot.
Apple want you to be healthy, so have given you a new app designed to monitor your well-being. The new HealthKit and Health apps will have third party app support, such as Nike’s hugely irritating Nike Plus service. You’ll be able to test your blood pressure or something. Sounds tedious, but some of you may have been waiting all your life to conduct health exams on yourself.
The new HomeKit software allows you to control household objects and appliances from your phone. It seems with Google’s Nest and HomeKit, the software giants want to turn our houses into automated machines, like the one from The Simpsons’ Treehouse Of Horror episode.
Apple have improved the connection between your Mac and iOS, which basically lets you read messages, answer calls and more across your devices on the same Wi-Fi network.
In short, Apple have doled out their own version of Dropbox. Boring, but useful.
With Family Sharing, Apple users are able to share photo streams, reminders lists and calendars with up to six family members on one device. Careful if you’ve been taking loads of photos of your junk to woo potential sexual partners because nana might end up seeing it. You’ll also be able to view purchases made by all members of the family (provided it is from the same credit card), so jumpy parents can snoop on their kids or suspicious spouses can see if their other half has been buying saucy stuff for their affair.
Anything else you’ve seen, that you like/hate the look of with iOS 8?
Samsung have confessed that there’s something wrong with their new Galaxy S5 handset. They’ve admitted that there’s a problem with the camera on a number of its phones, with US mobile operator, Verizon, telling their customers of the issue on their Twitter account.
As ever, any fixes will be dependant on the issue and the handset itself, with some customers set for a replacement of hardware.
The Verizon tweet said: “Galaxy S5 customers who see “Warning: Camera Failed” please contact @VZWsupport & we’ll work to resolve it, including replacing the device.”
Of course, with users constantly taking photos of their faces, nether regions and grammatical errors on shop signs, a phone that doesn’t have a fully functioning camera is nightmarish. No such problems with grammar here, of course.
At the incredibly interesting XDA Developer Forum, one user tried some software alternatives, but they didn’t work. They said: “Returned mine yesterday for a replacement. Factory reset [three] times and even had the Samsung rep wipe it from scratch with Samsung image. No dice. Said it was a hardware failure.”
Samsung told The Inquirer: “Samsung is committed to providing the best experience for customers. We have learned that a limited number of Galaxy S5 devices may have an issue that causes ‘Camera Failure’ pop-up error message.”
If you have one and are experiencing issues, get in touch with the point-of-sale or contact Samsung direct.
WhatsApp – as you know, now owned by Facebook – has been getting it in the neck after a tech consultant by the name of Bas Bosschert said that the messaging app had a flaw which meant snide developers could access your messages via the microSD card.
WhatsApp have now responded, saying that the reports “have not painted an accurate picture and are overstated.” Not only that; anyone downloading the latest version will find that it has already been updated with beefed up security.
The statement from WhatsApp says: “We are aware of the reports regarding a “security flaw”. Unfortunately, these reports have not painted an accurate picture and are overstated. Under normal circumstances the data on a microSD card is not exposed. However, if a device owner downloads malware or a virus, their phone will be at risk. As always, we recommend WhatsApp users apply all software updates to ensure they have the latest security fixes and we strongly encourage users to only download trusted software from reputable companies. The current version of WhatsApp in Google Play was updated to further protect our users against malicious apps.”
Basically, the message here is that, WhatsApp or not, your entire phone is at risk if you download dodgy apps.
However, this won’t be the last story scrutinising the app because, thanks to such a giant takeover, there will now be increased interest in every aspect of WhatsApp.
Another issue is that Android has been something of a malware target and that users may not know what the best thing is for their phone. Reports have said that 98% of all mobile malware in 2013 was aimed toward Android.
However, their findings suggest that, generally, we’re all rather happy with our communications services and that satisfaction is quite high. Further to that, Ofcom have also found that the price we pay for these services are comparable to the rest of the world.
These findings were detailed in their Consumer Experience Report, which was published today, alongside the Cost and Value Report.
The regulator says that, in the past decade, we’ve benefited from significant reductions in prices across most communications services. Basically, they’ve said we’re getting more and spending less.
With that all in mind, Ofcom have vowed to focus on getting further improvements and better value for us. Which is nice. For improvements, they want consumers to be able to switch providers with greater ease and make sure that providers get installations more quickly and a faster turnaround on repairs and faults (or providers will face fines). They also want to review whether key communications services are affordable, particularly for poorer people.
They’ll also be publishing the quality of service so we can all decide who we want to spend our money with and, with that, give providers some incentive to improve. They’ll also be publishing things on 3G and 4G coverage. They’ve also noted that they’ll be trying to protect us from unexpected mid-contract price rises, but we’ve already seen what the providers are doing there.
Ofcom have said that they’ll be working with the Government in a bid to do more to rid us of nuisance and silent calls.
Speaking at the launch of Consumer Experience Report event yesterday, Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom, said: “The quality and value of communications services matters as much as their availability. The record in the last decade is good but we are determined to maintain focus on these important areas to ensure that communications markets continue to work in the best interests of consumers”.
A matter of hours after Ofcom slapped mobile and broadband providers with new rules which meant customers didn’t have to put up with providers changing what they charged on fixed contracts, O2 have changed their terms and conditions to get around it.
So, from today, any customer who signs up with O2 has to agree that their tariff will go up each year in line with inflation, kicking off with a 2.7% increase on 1st March.
If you are already a customer, you will have already heard that prices might go up with inflation.
With Ofcom trying to put an end to this price wiggling, they’ve actually made price increases compulsory. Of course, this isn’t Ofcom’s fault, but you can bet that all the other mobile companies will soon start tinkering with their t&cs, which is typically shady of them.
How profoundly irritating and unsurprising.
The telecoms giant cut the fee on its Last Caller Barring and Anonymous Caller Reject services on Sunday (19/1). They used to cost £3.25 per month and £3.88 per month respectively – or £86 per year for the pair.
However, further investigations show that TalkTalk is the only one of the major home phone providers which offers these features free. Earlier this month, BT started charging customers £1.75 a month for both its 1571 answerphone service and the caller display feature. Which sounds a bit of a piss-take really.
It says the move will help customers avoid nuisance, scam and unwanted calls, which is doubtful as the beggars still manage to get through somehow.
Anyway, new and existing TalkTalk home phone customers can use it for free now, but if you don’t have the services, you’ll need to manually activate them by logging into your online TalkTalk account.
“Is that a tiny printer in your pocket or are you pleased to see me… oh good god, he’s printed a small picture of his penis out!” That could be the cry you hear if you’re interested in buying LG’s latest gizmo, the Pocket Printer 2. Think of it like a Polaroid for 2014.
You plug it into your mobile or tablet and you can print images off when you feel like it. Excellent for very small invoices and the like.
This new gadget will be showcased at CES 2014 in January and is the follow-up to the first Pocket Printer which was launched earlier in the year.
The new one will be thinner and with a better battery. LG reckon it’ll be able to print 30 pictures on a single charge.
It comes with two connectivity options – NFC and Bluetooth – and supports Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8, with Android users getting extra options.
Here’s something a bit worrying – every one of the top 100 paid Android apps and just over half (56%) of the top 100 paid Apple iOS apps have been hacked, according to research. In comparison to last year’s research, compromised free Android apps has gone down to 73% from 80%, but increased in free Apple apps, up to 53% from 40%.
The research by Arxan Technologies also revealed hacking among high-risk apps, like finance apps. Basically, its all very widespread, with Arxan finding that 53% of the Android financial apps were cracked, with iOS finance apps figures at 23%.
“The widespread use of ‘cracked’ apps represents a real and present danger given the explosion of smartphone and tablet use in the workplace and home,” said Arxan CTO Kevin Morgan. “Not only is IP theft costing software stakeholders millions of dollars every year, but unprotected apps are vulnerable to tampering, either through installed malware or through decompiling and reverse engineering – enabling hackers to analyse code and target core security or business logic that is protecting or enabling access to sensitive corporate data.”
Pirated versions of popular apps are available and researchers found that some had been downloaded more than half a million times, which means the problem is most certainly a big one.
“The challenge for greater mobile application security remains significant,” said Morgan.
So, what needs to happen? Arxan says that: “All Android applications that process sensitive information assets must be hardened against binary-level integrity or reverse-engineering attacks before deployment” while “mobile applications with a high-risk profile (Android, iOS or other mobile platform) must be capable of defending themselves against static or dynamic analysis at runtime and be made tamper-resistant.”
Should mobiles be more explicit in their attempts to get us to use anti-virus software while the phone is fresh out of the box? More needs to be done as smartphones grow in popularity.
Despite Apple announcing that they don’t like people spying on their customers, it seems they have some spying of their own to do as they switch on the iBeacon system across 254 stores. This network lets Apple watch their customers as they shop in Apple stores so they can send them targeted, specific message depending on where they are stood.
So, if you’re wandering past some iPads, you phone will kick into action and start telling you all about the products you haven’t bought. It does this by using iBeacon transmitters which utilise Bluetooth to figure out your exact location.
If you’ve got the Apple Store app, you’ve already agreed to let them track your whereabouts. It seems that this isn’t going to be solely used in stores though as this will work with any building that has iBeacon.
They say this offers “a whole new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum, or product displays in stores”.
So, if you don’t like the idea of Apple sending you messages you don’t want, all you have to do is turn off your location services. It may mean other apps don’t work as well, but at least you won’t be watched from afar by Cupertino & Co.
The regulator has started a consultation on how to meet growing demands on networks for communications, saying that a number of spectrum bands “have been identified as potential candidates for future mobile broadband use”.
And it’ll be massive. The next generation networks represent “approximately seven times the amount of spectrum released as part of the 4G auction”.
Ofcom are looking at the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum, currently used by the Ministry of Defence, which probably sounds more exciting that it actually is. 5G won’t make spies of us all sadly. Basically, the goal is to move some of those bands from the public sector to commercial use. An auction could happen as soon as 2015 or 2016.
They’re also weighing up using the 700MHz band used by terrestrial TV the 2.7GHz band used for radar. It’s also considering opening up the 3.6GHz spectrum used for satellite links.
Ofcom said that there isn’t an “unlimited supply” of spectrum. “Ofcom has to balance the interests of all spectrum users and ensure that this scarce national resource is used as efficiently as possible. The public sector has access to just over half of the UK spectrum, and Ofcom is working with government to identify ways of increasing opportunities for commercial access in the future,” it added.
Thanks to a program called PIN Skimmer, the PIN for your phone can be revealed by its camera and microphone. Basically, the software watches your face via the camera and microphone is used to detect what you touch, and it works on Galaxy S3 and Google Nexus-S phones.
After the microphone hears clicks, the camera works out the orientation of the phone and “correlates it to the position of the digit tapped by the user” according to report authors Prof Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon. They continued: ”We demonstrated that the camera, usually used for conferencing or face recognition, can be used maliciously. We watch how your face appears to move as you jiggle your phone by typing. It did surprise us how well it worked.”
This means, codes to unlock your phone or the PIN to access your banking app can be worked out by others, posing the question: what should mobile manufacturers be doing to avoid people hacking into our phones?
Of course, Apple have fingerprint technology, but other mobiles could have longer PIN numbers or something that randomises the position of numbers on the keypad. Or are we moving toward everything being voice activated? Or should we just ride it out and stick with what we’ve got?
The future according to Google, looks pretty bleak as they’ve put a patent in for a microphone that you get tattooed on to your throat. Apparently, this will help to rid calls of background noise and will act as a lie-detector too.
That’s not nauseatingly dark at all.
Google owned Motorola say: “A user speaking falsehoods may exhibit different galvanic skin response than a truth-telling individual.”
“Mobile communication devices are often operated in noisy environments,” said Motorola. “Communication can be improved and enhanced with a method and system for reducing the acoustic noise in such environments.”
This electronic tattoo would have a transceiver embedded in it, so your neck is rigged up to wireless communications and it would run from a battery or solar power. So you might have to plug your skin into the mains at night.
Just think, if you’re trying to tell a white lie to someone, be it because you’re buying a birthday present, trying to throw a sickie a work or you’re simply trying to avoid telling someone that their new haircut is an absolute abomination, you phone will grass you up to everyone.
Still, it won’t just be us – Motorola also said in their application that the device ‘can also be applied to an animal’. So there you go. The future promises us random phonecalls from dogs with microphones grafted into their faces.