Author Archives: Staff Editor

Mocana’s NanoPhone offers security options for the Android platform

Mocana has announced the NanoPhone security suite for the Android mobile platform. With NanoPhone users can add a much-needed firewall, encryption features and VPN to Android-powered handsets without compromising performance or battery life. With smartphones there is always the question of whether or not you are secure, especially with disclaimers in applications that should be more than secure such as the new Visa app. Google has already tried to fix security issues that users are having with the T-Mobile G1, but have been reportedly been unsuccessful. Many users these days are forced between security and usability when shopping for a new smartphone. The Android platform has already become a target for attackers. “We hope to encourage the adoption of Android by the enterprise and by security-conscious consumers by giving developers the critical security components they need to protect Android smartphones, their users and the information that resides on them,” said Adrian Turner, CEO of Mocana. NanoPhone hopes to increase the security of the Android platform by incorporating these key security features:
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) clients to secure data communications between the device and corporate network;
  • Voice, video and data encryption (in transit and at rest) with FIPS-validated crypto;
  • Comprehensive malware and virus protection with no false positives;
  • A higher performance, more secure browser for ecommerce and online banking applications;
  • Scalable and secure firmware updating and secure boot capabilities;
  • Robust certificate handling features to authenticate devices, network services and individuals to each other.

Jeffrey Sharkey gives us OilCan before starting at Google

Jeffrey Sharkey is at it again, this time pumping out his OilCan before he hops over to Google. For those of you who do not know who Jeffery is, he is one of the developers behind CompareEverywhere. OilCan is basically “Greasemonkey on steroids” but for the Android platform. You can use OilCan to customize any website by inserting JavaScript to change the website. Examples of what OilCan can do include, making a JavaScript call to scan a barcode, pick a contact, or launch into Maps or other Android apps. Say you would like to get rid of extra margins and columns on a website, just run a script with OilCan and you can give the page more real estate. There are thousands of Greasemonkey scripts out there for users who would like to tweak their Android experience. There is even a script that allows you to long-press an application to uninstall it rather than going through all the needed steps. For more information there is an OilCan site for more information about the Userscript format and security model. You can download this tool by clicking on this link from your G1's browser. Congratulations to Jeffery Sharkey on landing his sweet new job! [Via JSharkey]

My Maps Editor by Google puts your custom maps in your pocket

My Maps Editor by Google has just been released into the Android Market and not a moment too soon. With this applications users can create, edit, share, and view personalized maps on your Android-powered handset and synchronize them with the My Maps tab on Google Maps. You can take your desktop maps with you when your on the go and update them every step of the way. With this app you get the full functionality for markers, lines, and shapes on maps. If you wish you can also post geo-tagged photos directly from your phone. No need to upload any changes you have made to your maps, they are synchronized automatically. You can make good use of having your maps at your side by planning trips, bike rides or even keep track of your road trips. Head over to the Android Market and download this application, then tell us what you use it for.

Kogan’s new Agora smartphone gets a face lift just before release

Not long after we receive word that Kogan is releasing the Agora Pro powered by Google’s Android, we are now reporting that the handset has received a bit of a facelift since we first saw it. More details after the jump. There is not too much of a change, just making the phone wider and the screen a little bit wider.  Just what everyone in the world wants out of a phone. Sure the d-pad is reworked, but we have lost the softkeys all together. I’m not sure about you, but I would rather have a larger screen than a widescreen. Lets just hope that there are not many more changes made to this phone with the shipping date coming up soon. What do you guys think about the changes? Is cutting a little off the bottom of the screen really justifiable to make it appear as a widescreen? [Via Kogan]

Android Community Week in Review – Week 50 2008

Android Community kicked off this week with a real treat. The QiGi was spotted in a hand on video demonstrating Android. The interface seems to fit the screen very well and respond with ease. The user flipped the handset over for a brief glimpse of the camera and interesting Android logo. Another bit of great news we received this week was instructions on how to change the bootloader on the T-Mobile G1 to that of the developers’ model. Now we can all hack out T-Mobile G1 without having to register as a developer and purchase the $399 version from Google. We also reported that there are new AdWord options for Android and the iPhone. Now those of us who are AdWords advertisers to your desktop text and image ads on the T-Mobile G1, or any device that has a full HTML browser. Another bit of fantastic news is the addition of 14 companies to the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). The companies who joined include, AKM Semiconductor Inc., ARM, ASUSTek Computer Inc., Atheros Communications, Borqs, Ericsson, Garmin International Inc., Huawei Technologies, Omron Software Co. Ltd, Softbank Mobile Corporation, Sony Ericsson, Teleca AB, Toshiba Corporation and Vodafone. Can it be we are seeing not one but two laptop manufactures joining? We can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves. Probably the most notable of all the companies who joined is Sony Ericsson. We received word that they are taking Android very seriously and will be releasing multiple handsets starting in the summer of 2009. Now Sprint can’t possibly ignore Android any longer. A how-to has been released giving instructions on how to run Android on your HTC Touch. We have been very curious as to how it is done after seeing video demonstrations in the past. T-Mobile finally came fourth commenting on the international roaming issue that one user had. They claim that the T-Mobile G1 will not use data when the option is turned off, however applications are free to access the Internet regardless whenever they like. This brings us back to one of the original issue we have been experiencing with the lack of the ability to end processes – including applications –running in the background. Data Viz has announced that they will be bringing office solutions to the Android platform in 2009. They plan to allow users to view, edit and create Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents all with the help from their Documents To Go application. This is one application that we will be closely watching as it is one feature that Android currently lacks. In other application news, Visa Mobile Application finally made its way to the Android Market claiming the first financial application for Android title. This app is currently in the beta stages but offers users alerts, offers and location services to help with your financial management. Loopt has finally made its way over to the Android Market. Now users can keep tabs on where their friends are and what they are up to. Loopt is available on many different carriers as well as over 100 different handsets including the iPhone and Blackberry line. Reketu is offering a services that is very much like Truphone, allowing users to place international phone to phone, phone to computer or computer to phone calls for a much smaller rate. Sprint is finally looking to Android to help pull them out of the pit that they have managed to work themselves into. This change comes less than two months after Sprint CEO Dan Hasse said that Android is ”not good enough to put the Sprint brand on it.” Who knows what they are thinking over there, whatever it is, it has yet to work. T-Mobile has just started selling the inline 3.5mm headphone adapters at retail locations for $9.99. Now early adopters of the T-Mobile G1 can have this godsend. The adapter also includes a microphone and answer/ mute button for use with headphones. To wrap up the week we got a glimpse of the new “Ophone” being developed by Lenovo, who joined the OHA just recently. Unfortunately this handset will only be available in China. This large touchscreen Android-powered handset has a shape that is very familiar, almost like the new BlackBerry Storm with the curve on the top and bottom. With all these Android-powered handsets coming out of China we may be considering a move.

T-Mobile now selling HTC inline 3.5mm headphone adapter

We recently wrote about the official HTC inline headphones adapter that are now shipping with T-Mobile G1 handsets. Some of our users who were early adopters of the G1 have been unable to talk T-Mobile into sending them a replacement jack for their device. Thanks to our member LordKurgan, we now we know why they are so reluctant. He stopped by a T-Mobile store today to pick up a case for his G1 only to find that they are also selling the Official HTC inline adapter for $9.99. The salesperson told him that they were released only today. He reported that the adapter provides good quality audio through the headphones that he owns. For those of you who missed our story on these 3.5mm headphone jacks, they also include a microphone and answer/mute button for placing and answering calls. Thanks LordKurgan!

Reketu allows Android users to make cheap international calls

Reketu just released their Reketu Mobile service for the T-Mobile G1. Now users can make phone-to-phone calls, send SMS messages, email, send and receive instant messages, store and share pictures over a data connection. This new service is added to Raketu’s existing communications information, entertainment and social networking features.

"Raketu's release for Google's G1 mobile will allow users the ability to access free or lowest cost communications services from anywhere in the world," said Greg Parker, president and CEO of Raketu. "Adding support for the new Google G1 mobile continues Raketu's focus of providing free or lowest cost communications and entertainment services to all mobile devices." Much like Truphone, users can make international calls from any device from anywhere in the world for Raketu’s low rates. Make phone to computer, commuter to phone or phone to phone calls without ever having to pay extra. This service is available currently for existing customers; if you are new you can sign up at [Via BBXExchange]

Sprint finally accepts Android

Despite Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse claiming Android is not good enough for the Sprint name, they are ready to welcome an Android-powered handset sometime in the next year.  Looks like someone is eating his words and coming back with his tail between his legs, contradicting himself less than two months after making the statement that Android is ”not good enough to put the Sprint brand on it.” Last time I head Sprint was seeing substantial losses while Google is seeing tremendous growth. Sprint executives are closely monitoring the progress of the T-Mobile G1 and waiting for the right time to “pull the trigger." After sustaining a loss of almost 3 million customers in a single year, Sprint must look beyond what they are currently doing (putting down Android) and open up to new ideas. Taking on a new platform such as Android could really help them out in this time of need.
"We've just got to make sure our customers are saying, 'If you had a phone like this, man, I would really be more interested in Sprint because of it,' " Packingham said. "You want to go out with a bang, because you believe that your investment is one that's going to generate a lot of return with customers -- new customers. That's what our shareholders are looking for.”
Many happy Sprint customers would hate making the jump to another carrier for an Android-powered handset, but if Sprint does not produce one, some of the 50.5 million customers may have no choice. Chief Service Officer Bob Johnson said that Sprint may close as many as 20 call centers next year to help the company recuperate. [Via Seattlypi]

Please welcome Loopt to the Android Market

The very popular social networking application, Loopt has officially made its way to the Android Market. This is one application that we have been waiting for since the launch on the T-Mobile G1. Now you can spy on all of your friend and see where they are and what they are up to without having to ask. Loopt allows you to keep track of your friends, where they are and what they are doing. You can share you location between carriers with Loopt users on AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Boost, MetroPCS and T-Mobile. Loopt is available on over 100 handsets including the iPhone and BlackBerry so all your friends can stay connected.
“From the start, our goal has been to build a ubiquitous interoperable network in which customers don’t have to worry about who has what provider or mobile device,” said Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of Loopt. “
Loopt for Android will offer all of the current core features you would expect to find in other versions, including background location updating which enables users to receive alerts when a friend is nearby. You can also view your friend’s location in satellite view or map mode as well as monitor traffic delays. Loopt also allows you to share you information with social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter or personal blogs and Web sites.

Visa Mobile Application hits the Android Market; may not be as secure as you think

Back in September we reported that the Visa Mobile Application was being created as the first financial application for Android. It has been a while but they managed to push it to the Android Market in hopes that it would get some use for the holiday season. With the Visa Mobile Application you can track your card transactions as they happen, to better keep track of your own expenses. With alerts you will know instantly when someone else is using your credit card. This feature is a must in today’s world with all of the credit card and identity fraud going on. If you delete this application you must text the word “STOP” to MVISA in order to discontinue text notifications. This application also gives you many special coupon offers both online and on your handset. Visa Mobile Application even gives you location information where you can redeem offers. As with most Visa services there is always the fine print to watch out for. If you tear through the Terms of Service you will find one very unassuming line that could very well make you turn around and never look back. This line reads, “unfortunately, no data transmission via a mobile handset can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.” It just sound to me like Visa is trying to keep them selves from any liability T-Mobile may place on them due to security issues.
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