Yep, I'm 100% serious. Right now, on my phone, is an alpha, proof-of-concept build of Portal. No, it's not official (it's definitely not supported by VALVe Software in any way), but it is tantalizingly awesome. Now, before you ask, we aren't going to link to the apk - it's from a pretty sketchy source. But if you look hard enough, you'll probably be able to find it out there in some of the darker corners of the web.
The thing is, you probably wouldn't want to play it, because there's actually not much to play. It's more proof of concept than anything, but it's a concept we very much like, and that basically seems to work - you listening, VALVe?
Update: You can download a batch script to root your DROID 4 now (you'll need to have USB debugging and Unknown Sources enabled in the Application settings menu). Find the file on this page, and if you can spare it, take the time to donate to Dan Rosenberg for finding the exploit. All proceeds will go directly to charity, in this case, the American Red Cross.
Widely known and respected security researcher Dan Rosenberg has evidently uncovered a root method for the Droid 4, in addition to a universal Motorola root method. Though the Droid 4's root access was discovered less than a day after its release, both exploits are being withheld until a $500 bounty is raised.
Earlier today, when I read comments from Motorola executive Christy Wyatt over on PCMag explaining that lagging software updates could be blamed in large part on hardware variation, my first response was "really?" Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Motorola has iterated so much hardware in the last year that it has actually promised to cut down on the number of versions of Android handsets it will make.
Specifically, Wyatt made a point of the obvious fact that when Google releases the source code for Android, the only devices it will readily compile on fall into the "Nexus" category.
Yesterday, a security firm called zvelo demonstrated a vulnerability within Google Wallet, cracking its PIN verification system using brute force, giving Wallet access to anyone who had the exploit. It was also revealed that the hack only worked on rooted devices, and Google swiftly reported that a fix for the bug was already being worked on.
Adding to Google Wallet's security worries, a new hack was posted online today, claiming to give access to Google Wallet (sans PIN) on non-rooted devices, requiring just a few steps to gain user information (and funds).
The Smartphone Champ reported on the newly-discovered flaw, explaining just how the exploit works:
The security flaw is painfully easy to do and requires no extra software nor does it require root. All a person who wants to access your Google Wallet has to do is go into the application settings menu and clear the data for the Google Wallet app. After doing that your Google Wallet app will be reset and will prompt for you to set a new pin the next time you open it. The problem here is that since Google Wallet is tied to the device itself and not tied to your Google account, that once they set the new pin and log into the app, when they add the Google prepaid card it will add the card that is tied to that device. In other words, they’d be able to add your card and have full access to your funds.
HTC just posted on its Facebook page some details regarding the upcoming Android 4.0 update for many devices:
HTC has been working hard to get its Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades ready, and we’re excited to announce that our first round of ICS upgrades will roll out by the end of March for the HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation 4G and HTC Sensation XE, followed soon there after by the HTC Sensation XL.
In addition, we can confirm Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades will be coming later this year to the HTC Rezound, HTC Vivid, HTC Amaze 4G, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G, HTC Incredible S, HTC Desire S and HTC Desire HD.
Remember back when an HP Touchpad was spotted running Android out of the box? Well, it would appear that after some cajoling, the CM team (in association with an attorney) have convinced HP to release the Touchpad's Android kernel source, along with a couple of other GPL components specifically modified for Android-powered Touchpads accidentally released to the wild. In addition to the kernel, HP released code to androidvncserver and i2c-tools. The only thing missing, according to Green (part of the CM team), is the Wi-Fi driver. Green explains this in an announcement on the RootzWiki forums:
I did some digging around and it appears that the wifi driver shipped with both webOS and with the Android are GPL, there are multiple evidences of that including the driver licensing string.
It looks like users lucky enough to be running Google's Chrome for Android Beta now have access to another sweet treat – Chrome to Mobile Beta. Reminiscent of Chrome to Phone, Chrome to Mobile Beta is an extension for both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome that enables users to send live URLs from their computer to an Ice Cream Sandwich-powered mobile device, also allowing copies to be sent for offline viewing.
The extension is available for both smartphones and tablets, as long as they're running Ice Cream Sandwich with Chrome for Android Beta.
Chrome to Mobile certainly seems like it will make the Chrome experience on Android more practical and intuitive, allowing users to quickly grab a webpage, map, or video for mobile viewing on the go, and it will be interesting to see what other extensions are developed to help Chrome run seamlessly between devices.
Steve Kondik (aka Cyanogen) put out a public update to the situation with CyanogenMod 9 earlier today, and revealed a few interesting tidbits about Team Douche's progress. Here's a few excerpts we thought were particularly important:
Android 4.0 contains many internal changes that require updated graphics drivers. Unfortunately, these drivers are almost always closed-source and don’t appear until a device or devkit is released with them. For many devices, our hands are tied...
We’ve eliminated the CMParts app, instead choosing to add our custom features directly into the main settings. We are also taking a “just works” approach when it comes to configuration- CM7 had too many options that just weren’t widely used...
Google Voice received its first major update in some time earlier today, undergoing a major UI refresh for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices (Gingerbread devices only see minor changes, such as the app icon), as well as new interface for Honeycomb and ICS tablets. Under the hood, SMS offline message queuing is now supported and works for multiple recipients.
Unfortunately, it still is ungodly slow to load on my Gingerbread phone, and scrolls like something from Android 1.6. I hear it's a lot smoother on Ice Cream Sandwich, though. Hit up the Market to download it now.
Are you outside one of the eligible countries for the Chrome for Android Beta? Good news - we've pulled the .apk (the app installation file). Simply download the file from one of our mirrors, then run it from the Downloads menu on your device. Remember, this only works on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices.