First, we heard that KitKat would bring some changes to the API, breaking many of the SMS apps we've come to rely on. On the day KitKat was released, we were given a more full explanation, shining some light on the technical details and exactly what types of apps would be affected. But did anybody really think this was the end of the story? It turns out that a hidden permission exists which can still grant non-default apps the right to modify the SMS database just like they used to - no rooting required.
One of the ways Android protects application users from unwanted activities is by requiring every app to declare a set of permissions and allowing users to view those permissions during the installation phase. Don't like what an app can do? Just don't install it.
However, this all or nothing approach doesn't allow you to selectively turn off specific permissions, so if you don't like that an application accesses your phone state, you can't just disable that and still have the app installed.
The latest Angry Birds update v1.5.1 that hit the Market yesterday introduced a whole bunch of levels, support for lower-end devices, and... a new SMS permission requirement. This not only prevented the update from being installed automatically, but also created quite a bit of user confusion, or even panic, around the reasons why the game would ever need to send or read our text messages.
Rovio's own Twitter account, probably manned by one of those evil pigs, insisted it was a mistake that would be fixed Monday, which calmed some of us down, but the truth ended up lying elsewhere.
If you've been following the EVO 4G root progress, you would know that the current root status is incomplete:
- the unrevoked method allows granting root to apps but doesn't allow writing to the /system partition, which means you can't remove applications added by Sprint and do any kind of useful hackery, such as installing custom recoveries or ROMs
- toastcfh's original method (now known as Part 1), which grants write access to /system but only in recovery mode, which means you need to reboot your phone into a special recovery console to gain those write permissions.