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Lobbyists push the FCC to not reverse cellphone ban during flights

By William Neilson Jr

CellphonesAirplanesInflight

New York Daily News

In 1991, cellular devices were banned from use during airline flights due to concerns over potential interference with cellular ground networks and “concerns that electromagnetic emissions might unintentionally affect aircraft communications, navigation, flight control, and electronic equipment.”

Then in January of this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began to consider whether to reverse its 23-year-old ban by publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which allowed for cellular communications above 10,000 feet. Even if the ban is reversed, the FCC will still allow the airlines to decide on whether to permit the use of data, text, and/or voice services while airborne.

Now, lobbyists are asking the FCC to keep in place the cellular ban. The Association of Flight Attendants and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) are just two of the groups against the change.

“We’re not arguing [cellular calls while in flight] is not technologically feasible,” Shane Downey, director of public policy for GBTA. Rather, the group’s members are uniformly against the idea of passengers talking or listening to others talk on their phones during flight. But Downey said his group’s objection goes beyond the annoyance factor. “There’s a security aspect to it.” Cellphones “could be a potential tool for terrorists to exploit.” – InformationWeek

Downey then was unable to answer the question of whether terrorists could communicate using the in-flight WiFi service that airlines provide today.


Source: InformationWeek; …read more

Source:: android authority

    

CaseManager – Indie app of the day

By Joe Hindy

google play

What is CaseManager

CaseManager is an application aimed at lawyers, legal teams, and legal assistants that helps organize and manage case files, contact information, and other various information for easy access later. It also comes with a news, events, and task section for those that may need it.

Here’s how it works. You can use the various sections to organize your information in a way that you can find it later. There are eight categories that you can use to keep everything in order. Those who have worked in law know just how much information each case can have and having that many categories can really help people keep track of their things. The news section isn’t all that big a deal. It’s a standard RSS-style blog and website list that has legally relevant news for you to read if you need that. It is nice for those who want to keep up on the latest legal wheeling and dealing that made the news.

The interface is simple and easy to use which will be nice for those who aren’t so tech savvy. Pretty much everything is done in list view for easy scrolling and reference. There are sections like the calendar that have a more interesting layout. There are also other cursory features like a note taking pad where you can use handwriting (via your finger or a stylus), customization features to add your firm’s name (or employee’s name) to each device for a little class, and a built in calculator for expense reports.

You’ll no doubt notice the price tag which looks rather egregious at first. $20USD is quite a bit to be asking for an application. CaseManager developers have pointed out that many case manager apps like this one require a monthly subscription service while CaseManager has one flat rate. When it’s calculated altogether, you’ll end up paying more for the subscription services than you will for this app. In short, this is not for the casual user. This is for the professional.

casemanager review

Case management done right.

PROS
  • One flat rate over a subscription service is a really good idea for this type of application.
  • Plenty of organizational features are available.
  • Extra stuff like handwriting notes, a built in calculator, Dropbox syncing, and a news section are nice touches.
  • Holo-style user interface is easy to learn and use.
  • Some customization features are available for those that need them.
CONS
  • It’s a tad pricey up front even if there is no subscription service. It’s clearly not for casual users.
  • While the interface is well drawn out and easy to use, it is a little boring to look at.
  • It’s a brand new application which means there are bugs people haven’t found yet.

8.0

Overall, this is a very strong offering in the case management app market. It has a lot of peripheral features and even a few customization features to make you feel right at home. The categories help keep everything together and the Dropbox sync is icing on the case. If you’re ready to fork out $20 then click the button to get started.

Check out the last indie app of the day: Blinq Launcher
Join us in the Apps and Games section of the Android Authority forums! Just don’t forget to read the rules first!


Source: CaseManager (Google Play Store); …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Google wants to kill 404 errors, replacing them with offline web pages

By Rob Triggs

Google 404

We all experience those annoying 404 page errors once in a while, and it seems that Google shares our frustrations. The tech giant wants to put an end to this and similar errors, and help keep websites interactive even when we lose our internet connections.

Google’s new browser standard named “Service Workers” aims to do away with the error by storing web page information locally, a sort of cache if you will, which is used to save pages that you have already visited. Therefore, even if you temporarily lose your internet connection you will still be able to look at old content rather than receiving the dreaded error message.

“We want to load something instead of nothing.” – Alex Russell, Google software engineer

The other upside of this design is that pages you regularly visit could load much faster, as a lot of the page’s content, such as large banner images and layouts, can be loaded up locally rather than downloaded from the site each time. Pages can simply be updated with new content as it arrives, saving on your data plan too. The video below explains the technical side of things better than I could, or you can read about it here.

The flip side of this design is that your browser will probably end up a bit bulkier, and of course you will have to make room in your phone’s memory for all that offline data. Web browsers implementing this technology will probably eat up more resources too, as some extra processing power will probably be required to piece offline data together with newly acquired online updates.

There’s still more work to be done on Service Workers before Google works it into a finished browser, but the company already has plans to integrate the standard into its Chrome browser by the end of the year. Firefox is also said to be implementing the idea.


Via: Engadget;
…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Google planning to display in-app purchase amounts in the Play Store

By Gary Sims

Google-Play-store-shipping-options

It looks like Google is set to make some major changes to the Play Store this month. Earlier today Google released an announcement for developers warning them that as from September 30 they will need to provide a physical address which will be displayed on an app’s details page, for all users on Google Play to see. This opens the door to all kinds of privacy issues and even abuse, since independent developers could be forced to publish their home addresses. As part of a response to a user who emailed Google about this change, the reply from Google Play Developer Support also stated that Google will implement another change: as of September 30 the price ranges for all in-app purchases and/or subscriptions will be shown on an app’s listing page.

amazing spide-man 2 with in-app purchases

Offers in-app purchases… But no details on prices.

While Google’s first change is clearly ludicrous and badly thought out, the second change is brilliant. I can’t remember the number of times I decided not to download a free app because it offered in-app purchases, but I had no way to know the depth or breadth of those purchases. Normally you would need to download the app, and then search for the in-app purchases section, and then look at the prices and the value of those purchases.

itunes-in-app-purchases

How iTunes displays details of in-app purchases.

Google’s proposed changes would mean that pertinent information about the in-app purchases would be available before downloading the app. Apple implemented the same thing in iTunes and it is long overdue for the Play Store. Depending on how Google display this information it could either be a simple range (which is what the reply from Developer Support implies) stating the cheapest in-app purchase and the most expensive. Or if Google follow Apple’s scheme then in-app purchases will be listed individually, probably in increasing order of price.

This just goes to show that a giant like Google is quite capable of making a really bad decision and a really good decision, all on the same day.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to more information about in-app purchases in the Play Store? Please share your thoughts below in the comments section.


Via: Android Police;
…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Google forcing independent developers to publish their home addresses on the Play Store

By Gary Sims

google logo (2)

Brionv Google has published an announcement inside its developer portal informing all app developers that as of September 30th it will be mandatory for them to supply a physical address, and that this address will be visible to every Google Play Store user. In other words Google is forcing independent developers to publish their home addresses on the Play Store.

The privacy issues around this are enormous. It is understandable that big game studios who have dozens of employees and a nice suite of offices won’t have an issue with publishing their address. They are probably a Incorporated company of some kind and they have a register business address. But what about independent developers? They have neither a office or an official business address, all they have is their home address.

I can sell items on eBay without eBay needing to publish my physical address on its site. How is it that Google needs to trample all over the privacy rights of indie developers?

According to Google it will be mandatory to provide a physical address. Developers who don’t provide a physical address could have their apps removed from the Play Store. This is true draconian, almost communistic thinking by Google. As an indie app developer I have no problem with Google having my address. It has my banking information (to send me payments) and knowing my address isn’t an issue, in fact it makes good sense to verify the author of an app. But the moment that information gets published on the Play Store for every Tom, Dick, Harry and would-be stalker to find then that is a different matter.

Also notice that Google is expressly asking for a physical address. It isn’t asking for a postal address. At least with a postal address indie app developers can protect the sanctuary of their homes by renting a postal box or by using some kind of forwarding service. But Google want to publish your physical address, your actual real address, your home, your house, for everyone to see.

The exact wording of Google’s announcement is as follows:

google-developer-address-annoucement

Google are justifying their request by saying that the physical address is needed to “comply with with consumer protection laws.” I am no expert, but I can sell items on eBay without eBay needing to publish my physical address on its site. How is it that Google, which is selling digital goods and not physical ones, needs to trample all over the privacy rights of indie developers?

At the moment there seems to be little that developers can do. Personally I have contacted Google, as an indie developer, and reported my outrage at its request. If Google force this through I will likely remove my apps from the Play Store. The only tiny, sliver of light in this terrible situation is that the need for a physical address only applies to paid apps or apps with in-app purchases. One way out for me, and for other indie developers, is to move all my apps over to being advertising supported.

What do you think? Has Google gone mad?

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

LG takes out the largest ad in the world

By Rob Triggs

LG Billboard

In today’s ultra-competitive smartphone market, vendors rely on marketing more than ever to convey new products to consumers. Billboards are a classic advertising medium, but do you really need one that spans the length of two football fields? LG seems to think so.

The company has setup a humongous billboard outside King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia to advertise its not quite so colossal LG G3. So large is the advertisement that it has also been awarded a certificate from Guinness World Records.

The giant billboard is expected to be glanced upon by the 20 million or so people who travel through the international airport each year. Coming in at around 240 meters wide and 12 meters high, with a combined surface area of 3000 square meters, it is going to be pretty tough to miss.

LG Billboard Dark

LG expects that the billboard could help bring in around $25 million worth of business over the next 12 months. After the LG G3 campaign, the advertisement will be used to showcase LG Electronics’ range of home appliances, air conditioners, and, of course, its broad range of smartphones.

Due to its large size, the steel structure had to be specially designed to withstand the harsh local winds and whipped up desert sands. The extra safety precautions are probably a sensible move given that LG’s last stunt, the big balloon event in Seoul, left 20 people injured after participants showed up with BB guns and spears to pop the balloons.


Source: social.lge; …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Moto 360 review: probably the best Android Wear smartwatch yet

By Joshua Vergara

moto 360 unboxing initial setup (11 of 13)

The Bottom Line

With its elegant design and robust performance, this could very well be the smartwatch you’ve been waiting for

PROS
  • Round face looks great
  • Minimalistic design helps it blend with many styles
  • Great wireless charging
  • Heart rate monitor implemented well
  • Voice commands still awesome
CONS
  • Large face not for everyone
  • Round form factor makes plenty of apps awkward (for now)
  • Android Wear still growing
  • Watch strap not easy to remove/replace
  • Battery life barely gets by

8.2

The Moto 360 addresses a number of issues with smartwatches in general, and that’s where it gets its charm. Its round face and minimalistic design succeed in style and its charging dock helps keep the smartwatch useful even when off the wrist. This might be the softest entry point for Android Wear we currently have.

The Moto 360 has been one of the most highly-anticipated devices of this summer, following its announcement and quick preview ahead of Google I/O back in June. Of the three smartwatches announced during the event, this was definitely the most watch-like, being the first Android Wear device to come with a round face. We got a better look at the smartwatch in Berlin, and have done the unboxing and initial setup process. Today, we dive into the comprehensive review of the Moto 360!

Design

Of course, the most noticeable design element right off the bat is the round face of the Moto 360, perhaps its most marketed feature. It is a big, but sleek, device, and I’ve made jokes in previous videos of it feeling like an Oreo strapped to your wrist, but that wasn’t meant to be a negative. Of course, liking a design is a matter of taste, but the fact that this watch features a very neutral look and profile can be considered one of its strengths.

moto 360 ifa aa (15 of 16)

The two choices consumers have is between the silver and black versions of the metal construction, which have standard black or grey leather straps, with the option of a steel bracelet version expected in the future. Keeping with its more watch-like design aesthetics, the Moto 360 also has a button on the side, though it offers little functionality, other than to wake the device or access the system menu.

moto 360 review aa (4 of 9)

The leather band is quite thin when compared to the width of the body, but it isn’t unattractive by any means. That said, if you’re unhappy with the standard bands available, you might run into a few problems if you are looking to swap it out. This is because the bars that hold the band in place are tucked pretty far into the plastic back, making it difficult to find bands that can be fixed in there.

moto 360 ifa aa (12 of 16)

Of course, it won’t be a discussion about the Moto 360 if the black bar at the bottom of the watch face isn’t mentioned. While there is no denying that it is a blemish on what should have been a perfectly round face, the fact that it houses the ambient light sensor and more, somewhat helps with the backlash. That said, though it does get in the way in the beginning, it isn’t something that you won’t get used to after a little bit of time.

moto 360 review aa (5 of 9)

Whether or not this is the best kind of design for Android Wear is a matter of opinion, but I will admit that Motorola’s version is one that seems to fit the most styles. With the screen on or off, the simple round design helps the Moto 360 blend into any clothing ensemble, and that is probably the most appealing part of this smartwatch, at least for me.

Display

moto 360 review aa (7 of 9)

As far as the display is concerned, you get a 1.56-inch LCD screen, with a resolution of 320 x 290. The display comes with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, which means that it should be able to withstand some punishment. As far as the colors go, the cards and information displayed look quite good. What is most striking about about this watch is its size. It is the largest Android Wear device thus far, and does well to display everything in an easy to read fashion.

moto 360 review aa (8 of 9)

Touch sensitivity wasn’t much of an issue at all, though the round face does lead to some challenges. For example, any applications that require precise swipes from a corner need special aim, and while it is something you get the hang off after some time, it has proven to be a nuisance on more than one occasion.

Performance

moto 360 ifa aa (14 of 16)

While the Snapdragon 400 seems to be the standard when it comes to Android Wear devices, the Moto 360 packs a TI OMAP 3 processor under the hood, which may be older, but still provides a comparable performance nonetheless. Performance has been quite good, maintaining good speeds throughout, with rarely any signs of slow down. More importantly, I haven’t faced encountered any unexpected reboots or similar problems.

Hardware

moto 360 review aa (2 of 9)

Beyond the performance, and with the lack of Android Wear customization afforded to OEMs, hardware is one of the areas where these smartwatches can differentiate themselves. In the case of the Moto 360, it does have more to offer than just a round face. IP67 certification for resistance against dust and water helps it brave the elements, so you can basically wear this watch wherever and whenever you want.

moto 360 review aa (3 of 9)

A heart rate monitor is present underneath as well, and I have to admit I like the way it looks better than any others available. …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Sony Xperia Z2 receives a significant price cut in the U.S.

By Jonathan Feist

sony xperia z2 aa (4 of 26)

Some good news for those of you still looking to pick up the Sony Xperia Z2, the device has seen a major price slash in the U.S., bringing the unlocked phone down to just $579.99. Not half bad considering the initial price at U.S. launch was $749.99.

This is an altogether unsurprising move by Sony, being that they just put up product pages for their new line of Xperia Z3 phones and tablet. If you are dedicated to getting your hands on the latest and greatest of Sony flagship technology, I’ll recommend you hang on just a bit longer, the Z3 will be available “this fall.”

For those that are comfortable picking up last season’s fashions, the Xperia Z2 is a solid device that launched earlier this year. Actually, it only just launched a couple months ago in the U.S., but that’s another story.

sony xperia z2 unboxing (9 of 24)

Perhaps the best feature of the Xperia Z2 is its 20.7MP camera. I will never get tired of sharing with you the photos a dev unit took in Tokyo back in February. Of course, the Snapdragon 801 processor at 2.3GHz, 3GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch 1920×1080 IPS display and Adreno 330 GPU don’t hurt at all on the performance front. The 16GB of internal storage is starting to feel a little small these days, but microSD card support up to 128GB should help offset that for now. Finally, the lights stay on thanks to the 3200mAh battery.

In all, the Sony Xperia Z2 has proven a great phone for the few users that have picked it up. The avoidance of carrier specific tie-ins is an approach with a mixed bag of feelings – we appreciate the availability of unlocked phones, however, lack of carrier means a lack of subsidy, so you won’t be able to find the typical ‘$100, or free, on contract’ pricing deals of other phones.

If you are still go for the Xperia Z2 head on over to the Sony website and grab your new unlocked Z2 in black, white or purple for $579.99.

I have asked this before – is it too little, too late for the Sony Xperia Z2, or is this new price worth it for you?


Via: Phone Arena;
Source: Sony; …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Tronsmart Orion R28 review and full hands on

By Gary Sims

OrionR28 (20)

At A Glance

PROS
  • Quad-Core Cortex-A17
  • Mali-764 GPU
  • Android Kit 4.4
  • Fast and flexible
  • Developer friendly
CONS
  • Difficult to use with just the remote control

8.5

The Tronsmart Orion R28 turns your TV into a fully fledged Android smart TV. Access YouTube, Netflix, the Google Play store, and more.

Although media streaming devices like the Chromecast are gaining popularity, there is still a lot to be said for having a fully functional Android box connected to your TV. Not only can it stream music and video, but it can also do almost everything a Android tablet can. In other words it can turn your TV into a full Android smart TV.

Back in early 2013 I reviewed the EZTV media player and since then my family has been hooked on Android based media players. We use them for YouTube, for web browsing, for Netflix, as a way to show our photos, and so on. This new box, the Tronsmart Orion R28 is interesting for several reasons. First it uses the new Cortex-A17 based Rockchip RK3288 SoC and second the device is very developer friendly. In fact the first batch of boxes sent out included a free 8GB microSD card with all the source code needed to build your own firmware. Also included on the micro SD card is a RK3288 technical manual (which is in English), plus an eclectic collection of other technical documents, which are unfortunately in Chinese!

Design

The design of the Orion R28 is quite simple. It is a small black box with an array of connectors and ports. It is powered by an external power supply and connects to your TV via HDMI. On the front is a small glass window for the remote control sensor and on the top is the power button and the box’s branding. On the back is the HDMI port, the connector for the Wi-Fi antenna, the power connector, an Ethernet port, a 3.5mm AV jack port, a “normal” USB port, and an OTG micro USB port. There are two more USB ports on the side along with a micro SD card slot.

The box is designed to stay flat with the Wi-Fi antenna sticking upwards from the back, rather like a Wi-Fi router. The device can be used with out the antenna if your Wi-Fi hotspot is near-by, but you will lose some connection speed.

OrionR28 (8)
OrionR28 (2)
OrionR28 (6)
OrionR28 (13)
OrionR28 (5)
OrionR28 (17)
OrionR28 (11)
OrionR28 (3)
OrionR28 (14)
OrionR28 (9)

Hardware

At the heart of the Tronsmart Orion R28 is the new Rockchip RK3288 SoC. It includes a quad-core Cortex-A17 CPU and an ARM Mali-764 GPU. The CPU has two 32K level 1 caches, one for instructions and one for data. It also supports Large Physical Address Extensions (LPAE ) meaning it can handle up to 8GB of memory. The GPU supports OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL1.1, Renderscript, and Directx11. The hardware video decoder support MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVS, VC-1, VP8, and MVC at 1080p at 60fps.

The review model came with 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. The next model down comes with just 8GB of internal storage, but the same 2GB of RAM. Tronsmart are promising a bigger model, the Orion R28 Telos with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

The 16GB of storage is actually a true 16GB! It seems that the device has 2GB of storage for the Android firmware and for apps and then an additional 16GB of storage (dubbed NAND FLASH) for your media. There is also the option to move apps to the SD card, i.e. to the 16GB “NAND FLASH”.

The only wrinkle with the hardware is that I couldn’t get the Ethernet port to work. I tried using it with DHCP and with a static IP address, with Wi-Fi on and Wi-Fi off, but no joy. The physical connection seems to work as the right LEDs appear on my router, but the software didn’t want to bring the Ethernet port up. I sure it is just a software issue and I hope it will be fixed in the future.

Software

The device comes pre-installed with Android 4.4.2 along with services like Google Play. There are also a few special apps which have been designed to work with the remote control. These include an app installer, an app launcher, a Home Media Center, a video player, a music player and XBMC. These all have simple, colorful interfaces that are easy to navigate with the direction keys on the remote.

Using the default video player I tested the R28 with a number of different video files including H.264 and H.265 encoded video. All the videos worked perfectly without any problems.

It is also interesting to note that the device is “rooted” and SuperSU comes pre-installed.

OrionR28-XBMC
Screenshot_2014-09-18-11-03-32
Screenshot_2014-09-16-11-15-18
OrionR28-Applauncher
Tronsmart Orion R28
Screenshot_2014-09-16-11-17-22
OrionR28-Chome
Screenshot_2014-09-16-11-17-46

Performance

With a Cortex-A17 based CPU and a Mali-T764 GPU, I was keen to see how the Orion R28 performed according to the benchmarks, and in real life. Starting with real life there is little to say other than the device gives a smooth, fluid and enjoyable experience. The device worked perfectly for web browsing, watching locally stored movies, and for streaming video from YouTube and Netflix.

Screenshot_2014-09-18-11-08-21

As for the benchmarks, AnTuTu v5.1 gave the Orion R28 a score of 37,212, which is very impressive. So while less than some of the Cortex-A15 devices, it shows that the Cortex-A17 is a great processor and according to ARM it is designed to use less power than the Cortex-A15.

Running Epic Citadel showed that the the Mali-T764 can do 59.0 frames per second at 1920×1008 in the games High Quality mode. …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Android L to use device encryption by default

By Jonathan Feist

security google io 2014 keynote (37 of 41)

Although device encryption has been available as a security measure to Android users for a while now, Google is stepping up user security in Android L by turning on device encryption by default.

Niki Christoff is a spokeswoman for Google and has been quoted as saying “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”

There are many security benefits to encrypting your Android device, including, but not limited to, preventing would be thieves from accessing your data on device without your password, and even blocking law enforcement from accessing data like your stored messages and photos. Google makes it clear that they do not store any encryption keys off of device, so they cannot help law enforcement access your phone, even if they wanted to.

android encryption

While the encryption process will be setup within the device activation process, thus making it a default setting, users will have to keep in mind that the security pin or password they put in place should remain private and secure. Let’s face it, if you lose or forget this password, you will be locked out too.

Another major benefit to device encryption, aside from being a theft deterrent, is that your personal files will no longer be able to survive a device factory reset. We recently reported that determined individuals were able to recover many personal files from a collection of devices that had been factory reset and were on their way for resale as used electronics. A little bit scary, but will not be a factor for new Android L devices.

Android Device Manager

As a default offering, this is a great move by Google to go a step above and beyond their Android Device Manager‘s remote locate and wipe functionality to protect users and their data. We also suspect that this is a part of Google’s overall strategy to comply with new California law requiring new devices to ship with anti-theft measures baked in. It may be of note that Apple has also just announced they will have similar measures in iOS 8.

Have you been using Android’s device encryption or other more drastic security measures?


Via: Ars Technica;
…read more

Source:: android authority