The latest version of the Play Store hit the scene a little over a week ago and introduced a tweak to the way permissions are displayed at install time, and it left some people feeling a little...uncertain. Gone is the ugly wall of poorly spaced, semi-specific permissions. The replacement is a short set of simplified categories, each with crisp-looking icons and buttons that reveal a brief description when tapped. Google filtered through roughly 145 permissions and narrowed them down to a dozen groups, plus one bucket for anything that remains.
There should be no doubt, Google is getting ready to make a lot of announcements at I/O. If we've learned anything from past experiences, Google starts packing its apps full of surprises in the weeks leading up to the big show. The latest update to Play Services started rolling out yesterday and it has grown by a whopping 4 MB, almost 30% larger than the previous version. There's obviously a lot of stuff to look at, so let's just jump right in.
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.