Congress is a lot like a slot machine - once in a while, something good comes out. A new bill introduced by Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts would require cellular carriers in the US to disclose to end users upon purchase of a mobile device any tracking software present on said device, or any such software that might be installed at a later date by the carrier, manufacturer, or OS provider (that would be Google for Android).
|David Ruddock||David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.|
Whenever I hear about the latest and greatest tablet under $100, I get a little bit sad inside. It's sort of like that feeling you get when you see a 3-legged dog - your heart is mildly warmed by its perseverance, but the rest of you would much rather look away and think about something a little less... depressing.
Datawind's $50 (2499INR) Aakash tablet is a 2-legged dog. It's powered by a 366MHz ARM11 CPU - a processor architecture released a decade ago.
Let's be frank: RIM's BlackBerry products are unilaterally, shall we say, unexciting. And RIM's new theme song should probably be this. And by "unexciting," I mean ugly, hopelessly dated, and so boring that a story about them spontaneously bursting into flames might actually give the company some much-needed edginess in their marketing campaigns. Maybe that's a bridge too far.
Anyway, when I read this morning that RIM's new CEO Thorsten Heins, speaking to CrackBerry, said Android devices are "all the same," I couldn't help but go slack-jawed in a combination of muted laughter and near disbelief at the irony.
Verifying a rumor put out by BGR over a month ago, HTC has announced after a dismal end to 2011 (net profits fell 26% last quarter) that the company will be changing its handset strategy to focus on fewer, "hero" devices in the coming year. The problem of excessive handset iteration is one I've opined on before. It is a problem, and while it's unlikely that HTC's balance sheet woes were even in majority caused by the large number of handsets they released, making fewer models is certainly a way to cut costs and increase the amount of attention that goes into each product.
A recent Newsweek article has been making the rounds claiming, through an unnamed Apple "insider," that Apple has spent north of $100 million litigating its various grievances against HTC since late 2010. Verifying the accuracy of this number is pretty much impossible. But that doesn't really matter. It may just as well be $80 million, $150 million, or $300 million - the conclusion drawn would remain the same: Apple is spending quite a chunk of income on its growing lawsuit habit.
This a cause I think we can all get behind. Back in 2010, the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress issued a rulemaking statement exempting smartphones and DVDs from reverse engineering laws under the DMCA. Previously, companies like Apple had used these provisions to threaten criminal prosecution (as well as civil action) against those who "jailbroke" (rooted) devices such as the iPhone (or iPad). The exemption to these penalties put in place by the Copyright Office extended to the "jailbreaking" (or, as we know it in the Android community, rooting) of all smartphones (it also extends to things like bootloader unlocking).
Now, we're an Android blog and all, but we aren't exactly deaf to the seemingly never-ending corporate death-curdle that is Research in Motion. As we speak, the tech world is watching (halfway out of actual interest, half for sheer entertainment value) as the once seemingly immovable enterprise titan rolls, like a god on high fallen from Olympus, to the bottom of a mountain called Relevancy.
The story of that tumble can be told, foot by foot, from the day of the iPhone launch.
If you were part of the PC gaming scene in the late 1990's and early 2000's, you almost certainly played Counter-Strike at some point. It was the online first-person shooter (of course, Doom III was around as well), and was essentially a modified runtime of Valve's popular sci-fi FPS Half-Life. Later iterations of the game like Condition Zero and Counter-Strike: Source lacked the magic which made the first game so addictive, and so the series has essentially been undergoing a slow death over the last few years.
When I read the comments of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in an interview with The Daily Beast, my first thought was "this sounds like an eminently reasonable man making some well-reasoned points." Of course, being an Android site, we took interest in Wozniak's comments on Android's superior (in some respects) voice commands, as well as his praise of its workable built-in navigation solution (something iOS currently lacks outright).
I've used Siri.
Late yesterday, we got a chance to spend some time with the Motorola DROID 4 over at the Verizon booth here at CES, and we have to say - It sure seems like Motorola has done it again. The DROID 4 will likely once again set the bar for QWERTY slider phones, and thanks to the addition of 4G LTE and a snappy TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor (the same one found in the DROID RAZR), it's also going to be the fastest DROID yet.