Tag Archive: Apps


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Mobile security company Lookout has continued to expand its list of Android Market applications that have been found to contain malicious code known as ‘RuFraud’. Researchers spotted 22 malicious apps by the start of the week, prompting Microsoft to offer victims free Windows Phone handsets, while five more have been discovered since then.

The titles include several horoscope apps, wallpaper utilities that offer pictures from movies such as Twilight and Moneyball, fake downloaders for popular Android games such as Angry birds, and fake free versions of other games.

Once downloaded, the apps trick users into agreeing to charges that will be applied to the bill due to SMS messages sent to premium numbers. The code appears to affect users in Europe and Asia, rather than North America.

Google has quickly pulled the offending titles from the app portal, however the situation has given credence to criticism of the mobile platform’s security features. The company’s open approach is said to make it easier for attackers to post malicious apps without encountering problems in the approval process. Fragmentation is also seen as a potential problem, as most Android handsets are running older OS versions that lack the latest security protection.

Thanks: Electronista

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More Google services to shut down soon

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Google continues its efforts to streamline its business, announcing on its blog site this week that a number of its services will be closed over the next several months. One of them is Google Wave which launched as a web app for real time communication. Google has now announced that Wave will become read only after January 31, 2012 and will close completely after April 30.

Google Gears, which was designed as a way to make offline web apps via a browser extension will stop working on December 1 for Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline. Later that same month the Gears browser extension won’t be made available for download at all.

Google Bookmark List, created to allow people to share their browser bookmark list with friends, will shut down on December 19. Google says, “All bookmarks within Lists will be retained and labeled for easier identification, while the rest of Google Bookmarks will function as usual.”

Google is also closing down its experimental energy division, which it called Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal. Google concentrated its efforts on improving solar power but has now decided that “other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level.” The company will continue its own efforts to conserve energy and use alternative energy sources in its own businesses.

Thanks: Neowin

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Google’s new Gmail app for Apple’s iOS devices was unceremoniously pulled from the App Store recently but now Google has once again offered the mobile app version of its web-based email service to all those iPhone and iPad users. The official Gmail blog has announced that the original version was pulled on November 2 due to “a bug which broke notifications and displayed an error message.” The notifications are now working for the new (and free) Gmail iOS app.

First announced a couple of weeks ago, the iOS port for Gmail has a number of interesting features, including being able to use auto-complete for all of your Gmail contact email addresses, using search to find a specific email in your inbox and, as noted before, being alerted when a new email hits your inbox with sounds and other notifications. The iPad version of Gmail also has the ability to read your email as well as scan your inbox at the same time.

Even though Google has its own mobile operating system, the truth is there are likely a lot of Gmail users who will want to use the service via an iPhone and iPad. The new Gmail mobile app should allow iOS users to access all of the advanced features of Google’s email service without having to surf to the Gmail web site via Safari.

Thanks: Neowin

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Google may answer one of longer-lasting complaints about Gmail on the iPhone by releasing a native Gmail app, multiple insiders claimed Monday. The app is described by CrunchFund partner MG Siegler’s contacts as “fantastic” and taking advantage of push notifications. It will presumably include starring and may have recent but now established features like Priority Inbox sorting as well as possible improvements for contact IDs, a new threading layout, and much more in-depth searching.

The app may have already been submitted for approval. If cleared, it could be available soon.

Approval is a possible point of competition. Apple has often denied apps that “duplicate functionality” and is well-known for being more resistant to allowing certain Google apps than usual, such as its year-long Google Voice block that has been unofficially attributed to retaliation against Android. Apple has been more willing to allow similar but more specialized apps in recent months.

Adding a Gmail app might help close a gap with Android. As expected, its Gmail app is often considered a selling point for many who have accounts and want advantages such as push e-mail, labels, and filters. On iOS, Gmail users either have to setup a special Exchange sync account to get live mail and lose some features, limit a Gmail account to periodic checks, or use the HTML5 web app.

Thanks: Electronista

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RIM in a stealth acquisition has bought NewBay for $100 million. The deal will give it access to LifeCache, a service that lets users upload and share photos and videos. It also gives the BlackBerry creator Social Networking Gateway to help update from a central hub, also inlcuding photo and video services like Flickr and YouTube.

The deal is expected to keep NewBay in its home of Dublin and represent a rare step outside of North America for RIM.

Intentions for the acquisition weren’t mentioned but may see RIM create a parallel, though not necessarily an equivalent, to cloud services like Apple’s soon-to-launch iCloud or Google’s more mobile-friendly equivalents. BlackBerry users can share media through individual services but don’t have an official, central place to sync and share what they have.

RIM has been spending much of the past year or more trying to reinvent its platforms to appeal to regular people, not just the corporate world. The PlayBook is representative of this through its stronger emphasis on music and video, but most of its effort is poised to come with its next-generation phone platform.

The buyout strategy has lately taken a turn towards services that replicate iOS features. RIM recently took over JayCut to get on-device movie editing.

Thanks: Electronista

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Amazon have just unveiled at an event today the next generation of their eReader devices, except this one is going to be in direct competition with Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color) tablet. The unveiled device is the heavily rumoured Amazon Kindle Fire, which is a 7-inch Android-based tablet that will be going on sale for the extremely low price of just US$200. It is essentially a “souped-up version of the Kindle”, according to Bloomberg, citing Amazon executives.

The exact specifications of the device at this stage remain unknown, but for this low price you can’t really expect much. There is no 3G modem inside, no microphone or camera and it will come with just WiFi to access Amazon’s massive online collection of books to browse and purchase from. On that note, the Fire will also come with a 30-day free trial of Amazon’s Prime membership (usually $79 per year), which grants users free two-day shipping for products and access to their video streaming service.

The Amazon App Store is also reported to be on the device, allowing users to browse over 10,000 applications from Amazon’s very own store. Again, it’s unknown whether the device will also ship with the Android Market, but considering the Amazon nature of the tablet, we highly doubt it. A web browser will also be included, which has been described as “lightning fast.”

This is indeed very big news for the tablet market, as the incredibly low price and Android backend will surely make it a favourite for those looking for a cheap tablet with the possibility of customization (like the Nook Color). More details of the tablet should be revealed as the event goes on.

Update: Specifications are coming in, the Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch IPS panel with an unspecified dual-core processor inside. It will weigh 14.6 ounces (413 grams), and will be shipping out on November 15.

Second Update: Also included in the Kindle Fire will be Amazon’s Silk browser, which shares the workload of pulling down and rendering webpages between the device and Amazon’s EC2 cloud service. Amazon calls it “Dynamic Split Browsing”, where everything can be done locally or remotely. Amazon will also be able to optimize the content it’s sending down for the device, such as downscaling images to the size of the display.

Third Update: Managed to hunt down some exact specifications. The Amazon Fire will be powered by a TI OMAP 4 dual-core processor, it will have a 1024 x 600 7-inch IPS panel, come with 8 GB of onboard storage and WiFI b/g/n. Its maximum battery life is rated for 8 hours, will weigh 14.6 ounces (413 grams) and will be 11.4mm thick.

Thanks: Neowin / Bloomberg

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The Google Chrome 15 Beta browser is now out for download and gets a redesigned new tab page and a newfound ability to synchronize the address/search bar history in multiple installations. The new tab page requires users navigate between apps, commonly visited sites, and recently closed windows rather than on a single page, as before. Bookmarks let users access favorites, and apps can now be arranged into customizable sections like work and productivity simply by dragging and dropping.

New app sections can be renamed as the user desires. The beta build also turns on the Javascript Fullscreen API as a default. The history of everything entered into the address and search hybrid bar, known as the OmniBox History, gets its own entry in Google Sync, letting users choose whether this gets synced to other copies of the browser. Verified sites will have the ability to install Chrome Web Store items inline.

The Dev channel is also now at version 16, with the changes less dramatic. A biggest addition is support for multi-user profiles on Mac and Windows computers. These profiles are accessed and switched within Chrome and synced with a Google account.

Thanks: Electronista

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AVG Mobilation has recently released a brand new antivirus scanner for those running Windows Phone 7 on their smartphone. The free software suite for WP7 combines AVG’s Safe Search with an antivirus scanner that is supposed to keep your mobile use safe and free of malicious activity.

“Free Security Suite from AVG Mobilation – security software for Windows Phone™. Keep your device safe with just one click”

Safe Web Surfing – Stay safe from phishing and malware while surfing the web Safe Search – Allowing you search the web avoiding malicious web sites

Inside the application you get the File Scanner, which scans for viruses hidden inside the files (namely music and images) in your device and removes them; the Safe Search feature which shows safety ratings of web pages before you visit them; and Safe Surf. Safe Surf checks web pages in real-time before you visit them and prevents you from accessing sites considered dangerous by the software.

As WPCentral reports, the application is surprisingly fast at scanning for an antivirus application, and it’s limited protection against attacks through PDF and other files limits the overall effectiveness of the software in preventing malicious code. Some of these limitations do arise due to the operating system (WP7) running beneath the app but it should be good enough for basic protection. The app comes in at around 5MB and can be downloaded through this link to the Marketplace.

Thanks: Neowin

Maybe a lot of people today received an email from Google regarding the App Inventor program. As we mention few weeks ago, Google shutdown the labs program where app inventor belongs. (Click here to read the article)

Here is the email that we received from Google:


Dear App Inventor User,

As a result of the recent changes to Google Labs and App Inventor, effective immediately, the URL for App Inventor will change from appinventor.googlelabs.com to appinventorbeta.com. This URL change WILL NOT have an impact on your projects stored in App Inventor.  All data that you see in your appinventor.googlelabs.com account, as well as documentation and email forums will be available at appinventorbeta.com.

As we announced on the App Inventor Announcement Forum, Google will end support for App Inventor and open source the code base at the end of this year.  Additionally, in order to ensure the future success of App Inventor, Google has funded the establishment of aCenter for Mobile Learning at the MIT Media Lab, where MIT will be actively engaged in studying and extending App Inventor.  This transition will happen at the end of 2011.  At that time you will need to download your data from appinventorbeta.com in order to continue working with it in the open source instance of App Inventor.  In the coming months we will send you detailed instructions on how to download your data.

Please visit the App Inventor user forums to get future updates on App Inventor.

The App Inventor Team

© 2011 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

Skype Launches an App Store

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Jumping on the app store bandwagon, Skype has launched a directory of third party applications that can be added to the Internet telephony service.

Most of the apps are geared toward businesses users, while a few are for personal use. The directory features just under 25 apps, whose functionality includes things like call recording, screen sharing and integrations with third party services.

The most frequently downloaded app at the moment is VodBurner Video Call Recorder, a free app that captures high-quality recordings of Skype video chats and lets users edit them using a built-in production console.

Naturally, Qik, the mobile video app Skype acquired earlier this year, is included as a “featured” app in the directory. Qik is not offered as an add-on to Skype, but rather its listing links off to the iTunes App Store where users can download it for iOS.

Other popular apps include InnerPass Screen Sharing and Zaplee, a cloud-based phone system for businesses that forwards Skype calls to phones, routes calls and handles voicemail.

Developers who use Skype’s API to build applications can submit them by generating an XML file of their content, hosting it somewhere and sending Skype a link to it for consideration.

Thanks: Red Write Web