August 27, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
While they don’t offer any additional functionality over capacitive buttons, the software buttons that first appeared in Honeycomb and continued to Jelly Bean have become rather popular. They’re not only a modifiable novelty, but with screens as large as they are, giving up a little screen real estate for the software buttons isn’t exactly a big deal. Now, the Samsung Galaxy S III and its US variants running CM10 can have their software buttons enabled with a single mod.
The original thread was started by XDA Recognized Developer graffixnyc to bring the software buttons to the international Galaxy S III. However, XDA Forum Member NemesisRE took it a step further and developed a mod that brings the soft keys to all Galaxy S III devices.
There are five mods that users can use, all of which are flashable through custom recovery software. They are as follows:
NAV_Only: none of the hardware keys are enabled (except Volume and Power)
NAV_HomeWake: Home button wakes device but has no other function
NAV_HomeCamera: Long press Home button opens Camera and takes Pictures but has no other function
NAV_StockKeys: Functions as normal but with on Screen Navbar
NAV_Remove: Removes the mod
Not only does it work on any Samsung Galaxy S III devices, but it also may work with any device that uses the same key binding as the Galaxy S III. As NemesisRE explains:
This should work on any device with the same keybindings:
key 172 HOME
key 158 BACK
key 139 MENU
In the this files:
For more info, check out the thread above or the single post for more details.
January 11, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Sprint customers have been listening to rumors of 4g LTE from as early as last Spring. The rumor turned into announcement just a few short months ago via Dan Hesse himself, announced for Q2 of 2012. Now, there are definite signs of life as customers can now see Sprint LTE being used in the wild.
Thanks to a sneak peak thread posted by XDA Senior Member mazook998, Sprint customers can check out some of the improved speeds customers can expect once Sprint’s new network goes live via speed tests on YouTube.
In the thread, you’ll find 2 links that go to YouTube videos. One for a couple of speed tests for the LTE and one for the speed tests on the “improved 3g”. The YouTube videos show over 40Mbps download and 5Mbps upload times for the LTE, with suggested videos showing 50Mbps. The “improved 3g” speed tests show 7.5Mbps download and 2.5Mbps upload speeds.
Whether these are real world speeds or just really good because of the lack of people on the network is anyone’s guess at this point, but with the announcement of Sprint LTE phones right around the corner, this could get really exciting for Sprint customers as LTE is no longer an entity in the distant future, it is right around the corner!
January 9, 2012 By: liwen
If you’ve been following the LTE-wars, you know that Sprint has decided to diversify beyond WiMax by building a LTE network. Today, Sprint has announced its first two LTE devices, both of which run Android. The first ought to be familiar: the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It’ll be the same Galaxy Nexus that we already know (with a 1.2GHz TI OMAP CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a 720p S-AMOLED HD display), except that it’ll come pre-loaded with Google Wallet. Then we have the new LG Viper, which will also ship with a 1.2GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM, but a lower-resolution 4″ WVGA Nova display. It also has Google Wallet pre-installed, and thus a NFC chip. The Viper is made from eco-friendly materials, like recycled plastic.
December 14, the deadline Senator Al Franken gave to answer his questions about Carrier IQ, came and went. Now the responses are public. Franken also questioned FBI director Robert Mueller in the Senate Judiciary Committee about the FBI’s collection of information specifically obtained from Carrier IQ’s software. Thankfully, Franken was not satisfied by the answers he received in either inquiry. From Franken’s press release, which includes companies’ responses,
“I appreciate the responses I received, but I’m still very troubled by what’s going on,” said Sen. Franken. “People have a fundamental right to control their private information. After reading the companies’ responses, I’m still concerned that this right is not being respected. The average user of any device equipped with Carrier IQ software has no way of knowing that this software is running, what information it is getting, and who it is giving it to—and that’s a problem.”
There’s a big problem of specificity in how the media reported Trevor Eckhart’s (XDA Recognized Developer, TrevE’s) research. And now, anyone who wants the issue minimized is exploiting that lack of specification of what people mean when they say “Carrier IQ” to avoid saying anything damning. For example, look for the clarity in Mueller’s initial response, where the FBI “neither sought nor obtained any information from Carrier IQ”–the company–in this video:
When Franken pressed on, trying to clarify the question, it was abundantly obvious how unpracticed Mueller was at using “Carrier IQ“ to mean the software. Of course, the assertion that the FBI never sought information from Carrier IQ, the company, isn’t true. Andrew Coward, Carrier IQ’s VP of Marketing, told The Associated Press that the FBI is the only law enforcement agency to contact them for data. It’s a discrepancy that will probably be excused by the semantic ambiguities of “sought”.
The EFF posted an article about the lack of clarity in reporting about Carrier IQ, identifying four different meanings of “Carrier IQ”. It should be standard reading for anyone making inquiries into the Carrier IQ issue. I personally feel that Carrier IQ themselves are responsible for much of the confusion. Instead of giving words like “IQ Agent”, which is their software’s name, they gave words like “metrics” and “profile”, which require a working understanding of their software. Eyes glaze over as people read technical explanations, and they give up, deciding to just say, “Carrier IQ”.
Responsibility is perpetually deferred using this ambiguity. Carrier IQ says the data belongs to the carriers. The carriers have the software installed by the manufacturers. The manufacturers say they’re simply following instructions from the carriers. The carriers say the data is aggregated by Carrier IQ. Carrier IQ says they send the data to the carriers. Nobody shares the information with anyone else. And the FBI never sought or obtained information from Carrier IQ. Except they did. And they didn’t. Maybe.
Examine Sprint’s response to Franken’s seventh question, “Has your company disclosed this data to federal or state law enforcement?”
Sprint has not disclosed Carrier IQ data to federal or state law enforcement.
The ambiguity even here is dangerous. Does this response mean they don’t share data collected by the software on individual phones? Does it mean they don’t share the aggregated data from Carrier IQ, the company? Does it mean they don’t share the kind of data collected by IQ Agent? Does it mean they don’t tell law enforcement what they know about Carrier IQ, the company?
Franken has every reason to be dissatisfied with these answers. I implore members of the media and their readers to do their part in clarifying the issue in their articles, and by demanding clarifications in their interviews.
There was a time where I would gladly jump ship to another carrier to get the best phone out there. I switched back and forth every couple of months it seemed. For me, I settled down when the G1 came out, stayed on T-Mobile though the Nexus One and the Nexus S. But then, I was given a new reason to jump ship. Verizon Wireless launched 4GLTE in my area, and that was all the reason I needed. A faster network is a vital thing in a world with multitasking, streaming content, and “the cloud” on our devices. In the US, the faster network surge started with Sprint and their WiMax network. Much of the HTC EVO’s success is often attributed to Sprint’s WiMax network. Sprint deciced earlier this year to maintain their WiMax network until 2015, but to also begin shifting their network to LTE. Eventually Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T will all have similar LTE networks to offer competitive service on. At least, that was the plan. Now, according to a recent Sprint webcast, we might not see LTE on Sprint until late 2012.
Initially, the plan for “The Now Network” was to begin deploying LTE networks and LTE devices in mid 2012. While that’s still a pretty long way away, especially with Verizon Wireless not pushing LTE to more than half of the US and AT&T planning to fire up more and more LTE networks, Sprint users will essentially be looking at about a year before their network compares. What’s worse, there seems to be no information anywhere about any improvements to their WiMax network, so things will remain static at Sprint for about a year. A year in the Smartphone ecosystem can feel like a lifetime for the dedicated among us. A few months may not seem like a deal breaker to many, but for some it may be a long look down an increasingly growing corridor.
This article intends to extrapolate the implications of egzthunder1’s article on Carrier IQ, and to comment on the responses by Carrier IQ, HTC, and Sprint, given in Russell Holly’s article on Geek.com.
The point–short, sweet, and at the beginning of the article–is that we do not get to choose whether this information is collected. Or who sees it. Authorized employees only? Marketing and polling firms? Law enforcement? All rhetorical questions, because we don’t know.
To be clear, the “information” I’m talking about are the Android intents logged by Carrier IQ, discovered by TrevE, which include your location, when you open an app and what app you open, what media you play and when you play it, when you receive an SMS, when you receive a call, when your screen turns off or on, and what keys you press in your phone dialer.
Assuming the best, these companies want to know every detail about you so that they can update services to bring you the best products possible. Note, however, that there is no log to show that the best product possible is one in which data about me is not collected.
If this data collection means little to you, think about this: If Google’s vision of Android@Home comes true, these companies will know when you eat, when you sleep, when your house is empty. They will know when you buy food by your refrigerator temperature, when and how you cook that food, and when you wash the dishes. They will know how long you spend in each room of your house, based on when you flip the light switch. And so on. That’s only the uses Google presented at Google I/O 2011.
Nevermind the very real possibility of exploits that would give criminals all this information. And still assuming the best, it’s not that we think Sprint employees would rob us based on all that information. The question is, who needs information like that, anyway? And who needs all the information currently gathered? Nobody with good intentions. While each of these companies may have good intentions, that’s still the impression. It’s also not that I think I, personally, would be incriminated by that data. It’s simply my life. Mine. No company has any excuse for stealing that. No matter the reason.
So I find it interesting that each company’s response blames someone else as an excuse for our data being collected. Carrier IQ says they provide a service that collects data, and what is done with that data is up to the manufacturers and carriers. HTC says they put it on their phones because the carriers tell them to. Sprint says it’s on their phones because we, their customers, obligate them to do so. And if there’s one certainty in any blame game, it’s that blame is used to minimize your own guilt.
Carrier IQ, you sound like J. Robert Oppenheimer on the day Hiroshima was bombed. HTC, if you refused to let it on your phones, you may get less money from carriers, but at least you won’t betray the people who want so desperately to fall in love with your work. (Though, based on your implementation of HTCLogger and TellHTC, I doubt you have the heartstrings to pull.) And Sprint, do not blame us. Not when you don’t give us the option to opt out. We gave you no obligation, because we gave you no permission.
Here is a list of options you have to begin regaining our trust, in order from most to least acceptable:
1) Discontinue automatic data collection and publicly apologize for abusing your customers.
2) Give us full–and I mean full–development access to our devices, including proprietary source codes, so we may offer people the best alternatives to your invasion of privacy.
3) Publicly disclose every single customer you sold our information to, what you sold them, and give us the names and business addresses of every person with access, current or past, to your Carrier IQ Portal.
4) Publicly disclose all the information gathered, in detail, and explain the exact methods used to keep our data anonymous. Oh, and make it anonymous, whether we opt in or not.*
5) Adopt a policy that allows anyone who cites privacy concerns to terminate their contract, no matter how far they are into the contract term, without any fees or payments outside what is owed up to that point.
*This won’t really score any brownie points with us. It’s simply the bare minimum of what you should be doing already, and are not. Don’t bother pointing at the fine print on the service and purchase agreements. I found my grandfather’s magnifying glass to read it. You didn’t list all the information you gather, let alone in detail. Nor did you explain your methods for keeping the information anonymous. And based on the training manuals downloaded from the Carrier IQ site, “anonymous” simply isn’t the word for it. Not even you should know whose data it is.