The legality of certain phone modifications in the United States, particularly those that allow phones to be used on wireless carriers for which they weren't originally intended, is currently on a congressional see-saw. Every three years, the Librarian of Congress has to approve or extend an exemption of the infamous Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to allow or deny consumers the right to unlock (read: carrier unlock, and in some cases rooting/jailbreaking, but not unlocking bootloaders) their phones by circumventing digital rights management. Congress let the exemption slide earlier this year - read the gory details here. Now a new bill has been entered that, if passed, would grant a permanent exemption to the DMCA for carrier unlocking, among other things.
In October of 2012, the Library of Congress elected not to renew DMCA exemptions that explicitly allow end users to unlock their cell phones at will, thus ending a six year tradition. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. The quest to do something about it began almost immediately. And by "almost immediately" I mean "nearly three months later and at almost the very last minute."
Still, regardless of when the outrage gained steam, the fact is it did. Quite a bit of steam, in fact. Despite the White House raising the bar for online petitions to 100,000 signatures (after the previous bar of 25,000 resulted in an entertaining, if frivolous response about why the President won't build a Death Star), you did it!
Yesterday, HTC dropped a teaser on their Facebook page: a vector outline of a phone with an HTC logo and a big "5" in the center and a caption of "This Sunday you'll discover something fast." With 5 days to go until MWC began, we took a few stabs at what it could mean. Today, the company has followed up with a "4" teaser image on their Facebook, with the caption of "This Sunday, you'll hear something authentic."
I'm going to go out on a limb here and do some speculation, so take everything with a major grain of salt.
Shortly after CES ended, we heard word of a new phone from LG that would be the first to sport NVIDIA's impressive new quad-core CPU, the Tegra 3. Other specs were rumored to include a 4.7" 1280x720 display, 16GB on-board storage (plus a microSD slot), a 2000mAh battery (!), an 8MP camera in the rear, and a 1.2MP front-facer.
Now, the extremely reliable Paul O'Brien of Modaco has word from a source that those specs are correct - the sole exception is that the front-facing camera is 1.3MP (not 1.2). The build used in the shots sent to him runs Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.3) and the latest kernel from NVIDIA, and suggests little UI customization by LG.
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).
After the Carrier IQ debacle, the public has taken a heightened interest in the privacy of the information on their smartphone devices, and rightfully so.
Right now at MWC, Eric Schmidt is showing off a brand-new, Google-developed Android app: Movie Studio. The app, as the name may suggest, is a video editor. It's designed specifically for Honeycomb tablets, and as a video editor, that sort of makes sense. It's pretty rough trying to edit video on a smaller screen, though not impossible (which is to say, I imagine an XDA port for phones will happen as soon as an APK gets leaked).
Movie Studio will contain most of the features you'd expect in a competitive (*cough* iMovie *cough*) video editing app: transitions, audio import, splicing, A/V timeline, and multi-format export and sharing options.