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Shock and Awe: OEMs Cause Android Security Issues

Shock and Awe: OEMs Cause Android Security Issues

It should come as no surprise that here at XDA, we are always calling on the OEMs to do a better job of removing the bloat of their custom UIs (Samsung – we’re looking at you and your now insane TouchWiz size) and improving the overall user experience. What may come as a shock to some, though, is that a recent study by researchers at North Carolina State University says that those same OEMs, and their incessant need to have a custom UI as some sort of “branding,” are directly responsible for most of the security issues found with Android. Cue Home . . . READ ON »

Device Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Device Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 2

2013-11-07 09.51.44

There I was, lined up in the queue of the local electronics store, waiting to collect my Microsoft Surface Pro 2 from the seemingly tired and overworked store attendant behind the counter. I glanced over at the section of the store where all the Surfaces were lined up for display, thinking to myself about whether I’ve made the right decision or not. It definitely wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.

For quite some time now, I’ve found myself in a pickle, not knowing whether to get a fully-fledged ultrabook for university, or continue using a somewhat lackluster Android tablet to do . . . READ ON »

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Google Patent Trolled by Rockstar

Google Patent Trolled by Rockstar

31st of October. It’s a date millions of young boys and girls will remember as a fun-filled occasion of candies and sweets, ghosts and ghouls, and jack-o’-lanterns. On the other hand, Google and Co. will remember it as the eventful day when they were massively trolled.

Much like the history of Halloween, the developments leading towards this nuclear-level, momentous event is just as interesting, gripping, and downright peculiar in the world of tech and law. Back in 2009, Canadian-based, telecom company Nortel went into liquidation in 2009, auctioning off its biggest asset, a portfolio of mobile, networking, and . . . READ ON »

Android 4.4 KitKat Security Enhancements

Android 4.4 KitKat Security Enhancements

In addition to the many user-facing improvements in the latest incarnation of Android announced yesterday, there are a number of interesting security improvements, which seem to indicate that Google have not totally neglected platform security in this new release. This article will run through what’s new, and what it means for you.

SELinux in Enforce Mode

In Android 4.4, SELinux has moved from running in permissive mode (which simply logs failures), into enforcing mode. SELinux, which was introduced in Android 4.3, is a mandatory access control system built into the Linux kernel, in order to help enforce the existing access . . . READ ON »

Google Taking Aim at Device Modders in Android 4.4 KitKat

Android 4.4 introduces a number of changes intended to reduce the risks of rootkits on the platform. In addition to SELinux, the dm-verity kernel feature is also used on boot. The dm-verity feature is used to verify the filesystem storage, and detect modifications to the device at block level (rather than file level). In essence, dm-verity aims to prevent root software from modifying the device file system. This is done by detecting the modifications made to the filesystem, which will no longer match the expected configuration.

In dm-verity, each block of the storage device has a SHA-256 hash associated . . . READ ON »

Android 4.4 Coming Soon to the Nexus 4, 7, 10, Moto X, New Droids, HTC One and SGS4 GPe; No 4.4 for the Galaxy Nexus

What an exciting day we had yesterday. As was widely speculated, the Google Nexus 5 was finally released, which means that you can finally put that F5 key to rest. However, the new device wasn’t the only important announcement yesterday. We were also given a nice dose of the next version of Android, version 4.4 KitKat. Now the question in everybody‘s mind undoubtedly turns to when their device will get the update. Luckily, we now know the roadmap for certain key devices.

Nexus Lineup: Very soon

The current Nexus devices (Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 . . . READ ON »

New in Android 4.4 KitKat: Everything You Need to Know

CaptureSo the long awaited Google Nexus 5 is finally here. And with the new device, comes a new version of Android: version 4.4 “KitKat.” About two months ago, Google announced the name of their latest version of Android. However, not much was said about the OS, and what would be different from 4.3 Jelly Bean. This comes in stark contrast to the Nexus 5′s hardware, which was pretty much a done deal seemingly forever ago. In any case, both the device and the OS are available now. And as such, all of the remaining details have come to light.

Last . . . READ ON »

Android 4.4 KitKat to Target Wearables, Ease Fragmentation, and Improve Support for NFC and Lower End Devices

The Google Nexus 5 is so close that we can almost taste its KitKat-laden goodness. But while the device itself has been leaked nine ways ’til Tuesday, relatively little has come to light about the device’s OS, Android 4.4 KitKat. We’ve seen a few leaked images here and there, but we’ve not heard much about the key changes differentiating KitKat from the incumbent Jelly Bean. Now, Amir Efranti, over at JessicaLessin.com has managed to geta closer look at the OS.

Fragmentation

So what are the biggest changes this time around? For starters, Google is well aware of the fragmentation . . . READ ON »

A Morning with Google+ Event Highlights: SMS and Location Sharing in Hangouts, New Features for G+ Photos

conferenceAbout an hour ago, the Google+ team held an event where Vic Gundotra discussed the past, present, and future of various products tied in some way to Google+. While the much anticipated Google Nexus 5 was not announced (sorry guys), we learned more about the growing momentum of Google+, changes to the Google Hangouts experience, and additions to Google+ Photo tools.

Growing Momentum of Google+:

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Google+ has seen a tremendous increase in users. There are now 540M 30-day active users now, up from 390M at this year’s Google I/O. Similarly, there are now 300M active users “in the . . . READ ON »

Motorola Announces Modular Smartphone Project Ara

Remember that far-reaching and seemingly unrealistic Phonebloks concept by Dave Hakkens from early last month? The vast majority of us shrugged off the idea as unrealistic.

There are many reasons why one would think an idea such as Phonebloks would never come to fruition. After all, there are quite a few hurdles getting in the way, not the least of which is the fact that given the current model of smartphone production and planned obsoletion, it is not in an OEM’s best interest to produce something that can actually last. As electronics are becoming cheaper and cheaper, they are also . . . READ ON »

XenoAmp Updated to Support ViPER Audio’s New External API

A little over a year ago, we briefly talked about the then-new replacement media player XenoAmp by XDA Senior Member ssuukk. In fact, we liked XenoAmp so much that we even put in on our Holiday Guide 2012 apps list. The player has amassed a loyal following, thanks in part to its fantastic and unique UI, which is seemingly unlike any other player available.

But it’s not all about the visuals. Rather, XenoAmp can be considered somewhat of an audiophile-grade music player, or at least as close as one can come when listening to compressed media through a mobile device. One . . . READ ON »

Microsoft Releases (Free) Remote Desktop Client for Android

Here on the XDA Portal, we normally don’t talk about applications developed by large corporate developers. We instead prefer focusing on the impressive development works created by our own community members (especially of the open source variety), as these creations demonstrate that when passion and dedication combine, greatness is sure to follow. That said, we make some exceptions every now and then when well warranted. Recently, Google released a couple of waves of updates for their first party Android apps. Now, Microsoft is making a rather large splash of its own on the Android platform with its free remote desktop . . . READ ON »

Can Mobile Accelerometers Spy on Your Desktop Keystrokes?

The answer to the question above, as security researcher Philip Marquardt demonstrated, is “yes.” However, it’s not all that likely in practice, and there are several simple ways to protect yourself.

Data security is a rapidly growing concern in our increasingly digital world. In order to help bring these concerns to light, we recently launched a Security forum specifically for discussion of various security-related topics. Not too long ago, we also talked about malware on Android and how this is largely an overstated problem for those running relatively recent builds of the OS. However, when most people think of mobile security, . . . READ ON »

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