ASUS has just announced via Twitter that they are currently testing Android 3.2 on the Eee Pad Transformer, and that the keyboard super-dock tablet will be receiving the update soon. What does Android 3.2 bring? A slew of bug fixes, mostly - along with compatibility for apps that don't scale properly (called "Zoom Mode") on Honeycomb tablets. Check out our article on Android 3.2 to learn more.
Regardless of where you sit in the tech world, there is one thing that affects us all: security vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, our little green robot is no exception this rule, and The Register recently dropped a report on a potentially bad exploit.
Apparently, in Android 2.3.3 and below, there is a vulnerability that would allow attackers to collect digital tokens that are stored on the device after users login to Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, and "several other accounts."
Here's how it works: when you login to an account, an authToken is stored locally on your device for 14 days, allowing you to re-access the service without hassle.
Android In Recent News
Fragmentation has been one of the biggest criticisms of the Android platform. Essentially, Google allows anybody to take the Android code and tweak it suit their own needs. This is how manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung are able to create custom layers (MotoBlur, Sense UI, and TouchWiz, respectively) over the vanilla Android interface and how some carriers load up new phones with crapware. Although this is a price to pay for openness and customizability, a recent study indicates that 86% of developers are unhappy with the state of Android fragmentation (24% of them describing it as a "huge problem").
For everything that we love about Android – openness, customization, large selection of devices, etc. – there are things that we hate about it, too, like fragmentation and manufacturers pre-loading devices with crapware and (some) custom UIs. It seems, though, that Google is looking to change all of that. Insiders from companies “in the Android ecosystem” have told Businessweek that Google is starting to crack down on changes that manufacturers are allowed to make to Android.
Bloomberg is reporting that Google intends to test out the still nascent NFC (near field communication) technology by allowing shoppers in New York and San Francisco to pay for their purchases using only their mobile devices.
Apparently, Google is planning on buying thousands of special cash-register systems from VeriFone Systems Inc. and installing these at retail outlets in the two metros sometime in the next four months. Then customers with NFC enabled mobile devices can pay for their purchases by tapping in on these special registers.
Pocket-lint has been told that the Viewsonic ViewPad 4 smartphone will be the first device with Android 2.4 when it launches in April of this year. Android 2.4 was confirmed over a month ago; however, this rumor lends credence to the fact that the update will not be a major release. Instead, the update will augment Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), allowing dual-core apps specifically designed for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) to work on single-core devices.
According to Don Kellogg from the Nielsen Company, 31% of all mobile phone users in the U.S. own some type of a smartphone. More interestingly, it appears that the race for market share in the U.S. by the leading smartphone platforms - Android, iOS and BlackBerry - is in a dead heat.
We have already learnt from analysts at Canalys that shipments of Android-based smartphones globally commanded a 32.9% share of the market, followed by devices running Nokia's Symbian OS at 30.6%, Apple's iPhone OS at 16%, and RIM's BlackBerry OS at 14.4%.
If you were simply dying for a Lotus Notes solution on Android like me, today is your lucky day! IBM has introduced a version of it's Lotus Notes Traveler software for the Android OS. The free software is designed to give Lotus Notes customers two-way, over-the-air synchronization of information between their accounts and mobile devices via the Lotus Domino server. The new app impressed with:
Word on the street (and by “the street,” I clearly mean TechCrunch) is that the next version of Android, (Gingerbread, which is rumored to be coming in 4Q2010), will focus on refining the UI. It may seem like a waste of time, as most Android phones today run a custom UI (HTC, Motorola, etc) – but that’s just the point. By stepping up the default UI, handset makers (hopefully) won’t feel the need to layer on their UIs.