Google's I/O conference, in usual form, kicked off with an explosive start. The day's news saw the revelation of things we've been waiting to see for months. Things we've heard rumor of, wished for, and even (quite accurately) predicted. With all the things we saw, it only seems right to round up all the day's news in one place. Grab a snack, because we've got a lot to talk about.
One of the bigger changes we saw in the jump from Gingerbread/Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich was in the camera app. ICS not only brought a streamlined, more subtle design to an app that so badly needed it, but also introduced zero shutter-lag, meaning the time between pressing the shutter release and capturing a photo was pushed down to (almost) zero. In fact in many cases, the time between touch and capture is imperceptible.
Following the collapse of T-Mobile's planned $39 billion deal with AT&T, the magenta carrier has turned its attention to network quality and performance to draw new customers. Chief Executive Philipp Humm provided comment on the situation Wednesday:
We have a very clear spike on value compared to everyone else. Now it's about bringing the quality phase alive. That's something that during the transition phase kind of suffered.
Magenta lost more than 467,000 contract customers over the 10 months it worked with AT&T on the ill-fated takeover, focusing not on network enhancements, but instead on completing the deal. Humm noted that T-Mobile will have a more clear business plan later this month, but said that the company may consider asset sales.
Sprint announced earlier today that customers in San Francisco's Bay Area "can have happy holidays this year with increased 3G coverage." For those who haven't been obsessively checking the enhancement tracker on Sprint's network site, the Now Network has implemented 130 capacity upgrades in the Bay Area over the past 90 days alone, with 62 more enhancements planned for the next 90 days.
Christopher Brydon, Sprint's Northern California Area Director, had this to say about the recent improvements:
According to a group of computer scientists at North Carolina State University, a vulnerability exists within many Android devices that would allow hackers (or malicious apps) to bypass the permissions request process and tap into audio and location, wipe apps and data, or send unauthorized SMS messages, all without the user knowing.
This news may sound a bit sensational, but the researchers have created and tested a dummy app which effectively demonstrates the exploit:
Among the eight phones tested with the researchers' diagnostic app (Woodpecker), HTC's Evo 4G seemed to be the most vulnerable, able to "leak" eight different capabilities to their dummy app, which was not explicitly granted appropriate permissions by the user.
As you may (or may not) recall, we crowned the DROID Bionic the most exciting device in Verizon's LTE lineup after playing with it at CES, but it appears that the version we saw might not be the version that'll end up in retail stores. Over the past few days we've heard countless reports that the device has been delayed (or even cancelled), and now a Motorola spokeswoman has reached out to the Wall Street Journal with this nugget of information: