Yesterday, Nvidia's CEO announced that the Ice Cream Sandwich (that's Android 4.0 for those of you new to the game) update for the quad-core Asus Transformer Prime would begin rolling out immediately. Sure enough, users started receiving the update, and we managed to snag and host the OTA ourselves (as well as help you prevent it from breaking root). For most, the update brought everything you'd expect from the hot new version of Android: even smoother, snappier performance, sleeker transitions, and various other perks.
We all have apps that we would prefer to keep prying eyes away from - SMS, Email, Facebook, banking applications... the list goes on and on. You can always lock your entire phone down with a pin, password, or pattern lockscreen, but it gets tedious and annoying to have to unlock each time you want to quickly check something.
Enter Ultimate App Guard, a new app that lets you lock down specific applications.
In what is undoubtedly one of the coolest mods I've seen in months, developer picard666 has released an interactive Mario lockscreen for MIUI. So awesome, in fact, that words can't properly describe it. Take a look at the "diagram":
The top cloud shows the current time, and the two clouds below show calls and messages (left and right, respectively). To unlock into calls or messages, you take control of Mario and have to make him hit the corresponding coin box - a coin pops out (optionally with the accompanying sound), then your phone launches the appropriate app.
Developer bponury, the mind behind WifiKill and FaceNiff, has created something that looks pretty awesome, if you're the owner of a GSM-enabled HTC Evo 3D. That something is the Slide 2 Wake kernel, which allows you to wake and lock your device by sliding a finger across your Evo 3D's capacitive buttons. The kernel is still in its very early stages, but seems to perform quite well.
While the kernel is only running on one very specific device for now, there is hope for at least a port to the CDMA variant of the 3D, and perhaps other devices with capacitive buttons as well.
Joining the race to replace all of your practical possessions with mobile apps, Lockitron is offering an NFC-based, key-free lock control solution for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry that has the potential for tons of applications, from letting people into your home while on vacation, to simply buzzing in a friend with no effort whatsoever.
Utilizing a system of "mobile keys," Lockitron's system communicates with a small hardware device connected to the user's internet router, which in turn communicates with your doors, either automatically, or through the use of an optional NFC tag that the user would manually slap onto a lock.
There are a number of security applications available for Android, such as WaveSecure and Lookout, which lock down your phone if it is lost or stolen, but few come close to being as secure and robust as Theft Aware 2.0.
We took a look at the application at the end of last year, and were thoroughly impressed by its ability to take advantage of rooted devices, installing itself into the system partition of your phone so that it isn't affected by even a full system wipe.
The ability to locate your expensive bundle of joy, when lost or worse, stolen, is priceless. And arguably more so, is the capability to prevent whoever is using it from accessing your personal data and photos while placing premium rate phone calls to xxx numbers in Eastern Europe.
It's peace of mind that even if your phone is truly gone for good, then the biggest expense you'll incur will be a new handset, and hell, the insurance that you are paying through the nose for, should cover that.
In the world of Android and, specifically, Android power-users, there are a lot of things you can do and a myriad of tools you can do these things with. One of my favorite things in the world is getting several tools I use regularly consolidated into a single package. If you use your device with any kind of regularity, you know that there are several things you like to know, modify, kill, lock, or enable.
Good news for all you prepared individuals out there who are subscribed to Sprints TEP (Total Equipment Protection) plan: You now have access to a new app that adds a whole new level of useful to protecting your device through Asurion, the third party company that handles the insurance rigmarole for Sprint (and pretty much every other U.S. carrier, but they don't get an app).
The Sprint Total Equipment Protection App essentially mirrors the functionality of services like Lookout Mobile Security (but without the antivirus part): It can be used for locating your phone via GPS, helping to find it by sounding an alarm (even when on silent mode), backing up your contacts, remotely locking your device with a pin code, and remotely wiping the contacts.
For the last 2 weeks, I've been testing a pre-release version of Theft Aware 2.0 - an app that occupies a spot in the familiar Android Security category, alongside WaveSecure, Lookout, and others. And yet, Theft Aware stands so much taller compared to them that they become small, almost invisible, dots. I could hardly contain my excitement and fascination with Theft Aware, but first, I needed to get answers to all of my questions and pass the info to all of you.