chicksdaddy writes "The Federal Trade Commission announced on Thursday that it settled with the maker of 'Brightest Flashlight Free,' a popular Android mobile application, over charges that the company used deceptive advertising to collect location and device information from Android owners. The FTC says the company failed to disclose wanton harvesting and sharing of customers' locations and mobile device identities with third parties. Brightest Flashlight Free, which allows Android owners to use their phone as a flashlight, is a top download from Google Play, the main Android marketplace. Statistics from the site indicate that it has been downloaded more than one million times with an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. The application, which is available for free, displays mobile advertisements on the devices it is installed on. However, the device also harvested a wide range of data from Android phones which was shared with advertisers, including what the FTC describes as 'precise geolocation along with persistent device identifiers.' As part of the settlement with the FTC, Goldenshores is ordered to change its advertisements and in-app disclosures to make explicit any collection of geolocation information, how it is or may be used, the reason for collecting location information and which third parties that data is shared with."
Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
sfcrazy writes "The creator of the most sought after 'Android' of the world has been secretly working on creating a robotics division within Google. The search engine giant has acquired over seven robotics companies recently to create the robotics unit which is being headed by none other than Andy Rubin himself. Andy made the disclosure in an interview given to the New York Times." Their initial goal is to automate the woefully manual process of electronics manufacturing.
Trailrunner7 writes "The skies may soon be full of drones – some run by law enforcement agencies, others run by intelligence agencies and still others delivering novels and cases of diapers from Amazon. But a new project by a well-known hacker Samy Kamkar may give control of those drones to anyone with $400 and an hour of free time. Small drones, like the ones that Amazon is planning to use to deliver small packages in short timeframes in a few years, are quite inexpensive and easy to use. They can be controlled from an iPhone, tablet or Android device and can be modified fairly easily, as well. Kamkar, a veteran security researcher and hacker, has taken advantage of these properties and put together his own drone platform, called Skyjack. The drone has the ability to forcibly disconnect another drone from its controller and then force the target to accept commands from the Skyjack drone. All of this is done wirelessly and doesn't require the use of any exploit or security vulnerability."
In the world of head-worn displays, Google Glass seems to lately get most of the praise as well as most of the dirty looks, though it's far from alone. At this year's DroidCon in London, I talked with Epson Europe product manager Marc-Antoine Godfroid about a very different kind of head-worn display: the Moverio BT-100. Epson's display is running a Google operating system, but it isn't competing with Glass, at least not directly. The hardware in this case is a relatively high-definition stereo display meant for immersion (whether that means information overlays or watching recorded video) hooked to an external control unit running Android, rather than the sparer, information-dashboard, all-in-one approach of Glass. One other big difference: Epson's stereo, full-color headset is cheaper than Glass, and available now. Hit the link below to see what it looks like.
cagraham writes "According to IBM's latest Data Benchmark report, 21.8% of all online Black Friday sales were made from mobile devices. Mobile traffic, meanwhile, accounted for 39.7% of all Black Friday traffic. Interestingly, iOS users accounted for 18.1% of online sales, while Android users accounted for just 3.5%. The data come from IBM's real-time monitoring over 800 U.S. online retailers. The report also notes that tablets generated less traffic than smartphones, but accounted for almost twice the number of sales. Overall, online sales for Black Friday grew 18.9% year-over-year."
An anonymous reader writes "Until now, it was particularly difficult to obtain reliable figures on the results of the Android operating system in China. Indeed, there is no 'centralized app store' and most smartphones sold in the country do not use Google services, including activation. In fact, it is very difficult to know the actual results. The search engine Baidu has corrected this by publishing a report on trends in the mobile internet for the 3rd quarter 2013. It appears that there would be now 270 million active users of the Google platform in the country (more than 20% of the total population). Growth would, however, decrease with a small 13% against 55% for the same period last year but up 10% compared to Q2 2013."
jones_supa writes "Talouselämä Magazine met Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimäki and asked a puzzling question. If Jolla truly is compatible with Android devices, is Jolla going to let individual users to install the Sailfish operating system on the Android devices that they already have? Pienimäki answers: 'That is the plan. We are on device business and OS business. It is fairly easy to install the OS on Android devices'. He says that especially in China, changing firmwares is a mainstream thing. About half of the smartphone buyers are upgrading their older or cheaper devices with a better version of Android. Therefore, Jolla's plan is to get some Sailfish installations sneaked in, too."
mrspoonsi writes "A team of ex-Nokia employees has released the first handset running on a new smartphone platform. The Jolla phone — pronounced Yol-la — is powered by open-source operating system Sailfish, but can run most apps designed for Google's Android platform. The platform — originally called MeeGo — was developed by Nokia, but dumped in 2011 in favour of the company adopting the Windows Phone system. Nokia released just one handset running the software, the N9-00. Antti Saarnio, chairman and co-founder of Jolla, told the BBC in May that MeeGo — now called Sailfish — had not been given enough chance to succeed."
judgecorp writes "BlackBerry has launched BBM Channels, a rather Twitter-like social network that runs on its BBM messaging system. Meanwhile the company had good news in the developing world: it is the second most popular phone in South Africa. From the article: 'The update is available for BBM users on BlackBerry 10 and some older BlackBerry smartphones, but it is promised that support will be added for iPhone and Android soon, with users of those platforms able to access the web version if they have a confirmed BlackBerry ID email address.'"
Gone are the days of boring bathroom mirrors that only reflect what's in front of them. What you really need is a bathroom mirror that gives stock quotes, displays the local weather, and tells you the temperature of the water you are about to use to wash your face. Seraku Corporation is now in the process of filling that burning need and has gotten a bunch of press attention by doing so. A cynic might wonder why people who absolutely, positively must have Internet access while they shave or perform other bathroom mirror duties don't just make a wall-mounted holder for their tablets next to their pre-Internet bathroom mirrors, but that would destroy the fun of having the display built directly into the mirror, along with sensors that detect hand gestures so you can control your mirror (no doubt by asking, "Who is the fairest of them all?") without touching it with your greasy fingers. Note that this is technically not a smart mirror but a smart washbasin with a mirror attached to it. Either way, it's not available for retail sale quite yet.
jones_supa writes "Jolla, the mobile phone company formed by ex-Nokia employees, has officially launched its first phone. It will be initially available in Finland, paired with the local telecom operator DNA. After that, it will be made available in 135 other countries. The Jolla handset runs the Sailfish OS, which is itself based on the former MeeGo platform developed by Nokia and Intel several years ago to produce Linux-based smartphone software. Sailfish can run Android apps and it also integrates Nokia's Here mapping and positioning technology. Looking at the hardware, the device sports a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 1GB memory and 16GB of flash storage, plus a 4.5in 960x540 IPS touchscreen with Gorilla 2 Glass. It has the usual mobile network support, including GSM/3G/4G, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth, 8MP autofocus rear camera and 2MP front camera. SIM-free pricing is expected to be €399."
An anonymous reader writes "Google has launched the Google Voice Search Hotword extension for Chrome, bringing the 'OK Google' feature to the desktop. You can download the new tool, currently in beta, now directly from the Chrome Web Store. Android users with version 4.4 KitKat will recognize the feature: it lets you talk to Google without first clicking or typing. It's completely hands-free, provided you're already on Google.com: just say 'OK Google' and then ask your question." Quick, someone wire Pocketsphinx up to Firefox, or integrate Simon into Krunner.
MojoKid writes "Benchmarks are serious business. Buying decisions are often made based on how well a product scores, which is why the press and analysts spend so much time putting new gadgets through their paces. However, benchmarks are only meaningful when there's a level playing field, and when companies try to 'game' the business of benchmarking, it's not only a form of cheating, it also bamboozles potential buyers who (rightfully) assume the numbers are supposed mean something. 3D graphics benchmark software developer Futuremark just 'delisted' a bunch of devices from its 3DMark benchmark results database because it suspects foul play is at hand. Of the devices listed, it appears Samsung and HTC in particular are indirectly being accused of cheating 3DMark for mobile devices. Delisted devices are stripped of their rank and scores. Futuremark didn't elaborate on which specific rule(s) these devices broke, but a look at the company's benchmarking policies reveals that hardware makers aren't allowed to make optimizations specific to 3DMark, nor are platforms allowed to detect the launch of the benchmark executable unless it's needed to enable multi-GPU and/or there's a known conflict that would prevent it from running."
Lucas123 writes "Epson and Evena Medical today unveiled a new smart-glass technology that allows nurses to see 'through' a patient's skin to the vasculature beneath in order to make intravenous placement easier. The Eyes-On Glasses System is based on Epson's Moverio Smart Glasses Technology, an Android-based, see-through wearable display launched earlier this year that allows users to interact with apps and games. The glasses use near-infrared light to highlight deoxygenated hemoglobin in a patient's veins and capture the images with two stereoscopic cameras. The cameras then project the vein images onto the see-through glass screens. The glasses can store the images and video and transfer them wirelessly to a patient's electronic health record, and they also come with dual built-in speakers for video conferencing."
An anonymous reader writes "Google has extended its proactive Patch Reward Program to include even more open-source software. Among them is the Android Open Source Project, which the company previously did not reveal was going to be added. Last month, Google started providing financial incentives (between $500 and $3,133.70) for proactive improvements to OSS that go beyond merely fixing a known security bug. Google said at the time it would be rolling out the program gradually, and hinted that more project types would be on the way."
An anonymous reader writes "Not a month goes by without security researchers finding new malicious apps on Google Play. According to BitDefender, more than one percent of 420,000+ analyzed apps offered on Google's official Android store are repackaged versions of legitimate apps. In the long run, their existence hurts the users, the legitimate developers, and Google's reputation in general. Google Play has recently surpassed the one million mark when it comes to the apps it offers, and the researchers have analyzed a good chunk of the total in order to discover just how many are hiding their true nature."
Ars Technica runs through the pretty and simple (but Windows-only) installer that is one of the first big fruits of the newly commercialized CyanogenMod project, and finds it very worthwhile. However, and despite being far easier for ordinary mortals than the error-prone process of the old way to put on CyanogenMod, it's not perfect: reviewer Ron Amadeo ran into troubles using it on his Nexus 4, and cautions: "If CyanogenMod Inc. really wants to lower the barrier to entry, they next thing they need is a way for users to just as easily go back to the setup they had before installing CyanogenMod. Currently, the installer is a one-way street. If the user decides CyanogenMod isn't for them and wants to go back, they're stuck. Even worse, they could run into the situation I did, where CyanogenMod installs but everything is broken. I've done this enough that I know how to go back to stock, but for a novice, they would have been abandoned with a broken phone."
New submitter isza writes "MobilECG is probably the first open source clinical-grade electrocardiograph with simultaneous 12-lead recording and Android support. It has been designed to meet all the relevant medical standards (ISO 60601-1, etc.). Manufacturing cost @ 1000 pieces: ~$110. I had worked at a medical device company designing clinical electrocardiographs for three years. Fed up with the unreasonably high price, cumbersome design, and dishonest distribution practices of clinical ECG machines, I started working on a high-quality ECG that is different. After a couple of failed attempts to get funding for the expensive certification process and completely running out of funds, I decided to publish everything under a license that allows others to finalize and manufacture it or reuse parts of it in other projects." From the project page linked: "The software is licensed under WTFPL, the hardware under CERN OHL 1.2," and a few words of disclaimer: "Note: the design is functional but unfinished, it needs additional work before it can be certified. There are also some known bugs in it. Most of the software is unimplemented." Conventional crowdfunding may have fallen short, but Isza has proposed an interesting bargain for working on the project again himself: that will happen if he raises via donation half the amount of his original $22,000 investment.
itwbennett writes "The FCC's new Android app will allow users to measure the speed of their mobile broadband connection, while providing aggregate data to the agency for measuring nationwide mobile broadband network performance. Released as open-source software on Thursday, the free FCC Speed Test App will test network performance for parameters such as upload and download speed, latency and packet loss. An iPhone version of the app is in the works."
An anonymous reader writes "'When the first NSA surveillance story broke in June,' writes Dennis Fisher at Threatpost, 'most people likely had never heard the word metadata before. Even some security and privacy experts weren't sure what the term encompassed.' The NSA and its supporters have, of course, emphasized that phone records collection is 'not surveillance.' Researchers at Stanford are now crowdsourcing data to incontrovertibly establish just how much the NSA knows. 'Phone metadata is inherently revealing,' says a study author. 'We want to rigorously prove it—for the public, for Congress, and for the courts.' If you have an Android phone and a Facebook account, you can grab the MetaPhone app on Google Play."