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Android Browser security flaw could affect 40% of Android users

By Rob Triggs

os browser by share

A vulnerability has been spotted in the open-source WebKit-based Android Browser, which opens up the app to a number of JavaScript exploits – from reading cookies and passwords, to sending emails on your behalf.

The issue was reported as bug on September 1st, but appears to have much larger implications for a number of Android users. Rafay Baloch, a researcher who uncovered the issue, found that Javascript constructed in a particular way could bypass the browser’s Same Origin Policy (SOP), allowing him to alter and exploit the content on a websites loaded in another tab.

SOP is designed to prevent scripts on one site from affecting the content of another page. In other words, scripts can only modify resources coming from the same site domain and/or port number. This prevents malicious websites and scripts from infecting honourable pages. Without this protection, rouge scripts can alter the content of other sites and proceed to upload malevolent scripts, trick users into downloading malware, or track their data.

Who is at risk?

Whilst the odds of running into such an exploit are probably quite small, after all this trick doesn’t usually work, a good number of Android users are still running the exploitable Android Browser.

Pre-Android 4.2, the Android Browser was included as the default browser option, before Google switched the stock option to Chrome and dropped support for the old browser. Even so, Google only moved the default browser over to the full Chromium engine as recently as Android 4.4, as some parts of the browser still used some of the old software’s features.

Whilst you are unlikely to find the default browser referred to as the Android Browser on anything but devices running older stock versions of Android, many third party and OEM browsers have been built upon the open-source browser, and it is unclear how many of these are affected by the bug.

In terms of numbers, Google’s own figures suggest that 24.5 percent of devices are running Android 4.4 KitKat, which is exploit free unless you have installed the open-source browser yourself. The Android Browser accounts for around 21 percent of global mobile browser usage. Given that Android accounts for around 45 percent of all devices, and we can probably attribute the vast majority of the Safari usage to iOS, we come to a rough estimate that around 40 percent of all Android devices are using a form of the vulnerable browser.

The easiest way to protect yourself again the security flaw is to simply install a different browser that isn’t based on the old Android code. Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are based on different engines, but other browsers may implement some of the vulnerable code. Google has said that it can reproduce the problem, and that the company is working on a fix.

Source: aretechnica; …read more

Source:: android authority


Sony books a $1.7 billion loss due to disappointing smartphone sales

By Bogdan Petrovan

SONY Brand Shot logo CES 2014-3

Sony sharply cut its outlook for the current fiscal year, citing the failure to achieve “significant sales growth” as the principal reason for the downwards adjustment.

Sony’s previous forecast from July was negative as well, with a net loss of approximately $465 million estimated for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2015. At the time, Sony attributed the negative outlook to weaker than anticipated smartphone sales; the company said it was aiming for sales of 43 million, down from 50 million in the previous forecast.

Now Sony announced it would record an “impairment charge” of approximately $1.7 billion from its mobile communications unit, representing the unit’s entire goodwill.

In plain English, Sony realized that its mobile business is not as valuable as it thought and had to book the $1.7 billion loss representing the difference between its estimations and reality.

The impairment charge will be recorded in the second quarter of the year (ending on September 30), and as a result, Sony shareholders will not receive a dividend this fiscal year. It’s the first year in the company’s 56 years history when it doesn’t give out a dividend. The total loss for the year is expected to be a whopping $2.15 billion.

From profit to a $1.7 billion loss

So, what happened exactly to Sony’s mobile biz, which used to be a profit maker? The press release gives us some clues – Sony failed to make the money it was expecting due to “significant change in the market and competitive environment of the mobile business.” Basically, Sony didn’t sell enough phones.

To address the issue, the company will “change the strategy of the Mobile Communications segment in certain geographical areas, concentrate on its premium lineup, and reduce the number of models in its mid-range lineup.”

Hopefully, Sony will manage to turn around its mobile business quickly – the company is doing a lot of things right with its high-end Xperia lineup, which includes the brand new Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.

Sony isn’t the only one feeling the heat in an increasingly cutthroat market – after years of record profits, Samsung seems to have stalled, and analysts now expect a second earnings shock.

At the other end of the spectrum, LG expects record sales this year, while Xiaomi just took first place in the bustling Chinese market and is now aggressively expanding around the world.

Via: WSJ;
…read more

Source:: android authority


The craziness of Goat Simulator is now on Android

By Jonathan Feist

Goat Simulator

Some of you may be familiar with that wacky simulation game that popped up earlier this year called Goat Simulator, if not, you’ll now get to know it on Android. We mentioned it was coming just last week, and now it is here: Goat Simulator just launched in the Google Play Store for $4.99.

Before we go all crazy here, let’s recall that Goat Simulator was built as a small game jam project on top of NVIDIA PhysX and Apex game engines and technology. Many game developers, especially for Android, have chosen game engines like Unity or Unreal for their projects, so this is a great opportunity to see another approach in action. Of course, we cannot yet confirm what exact game engine, if any, is used for the Android port of this game.

The serious stuff is now complete, let’s do this! Goat Simulator is one of the zaniest games out there, and certainly plays on the stereotype of the unrealistic nature of simulation games that try to be super realistic.

The developers, Coffee Stain Studios, embrace the craziness of Goat Simulator. They plan to maintain the game, fixing any bugs that crash the game, otherwise, if you find that the physics are completely off in a given scenario, letting you stretch the goats neck or tongue to twelve feet long, or walk through walls, you should prepare to laugh it off and be sure to Twitch your findings for all to enjoy.

Seriously, this game is ludicrous, but one of the most entertaining messes you will encounter, at least this week for sure. It is a little steep at $5, but if that is reasonable for you, head on over to the Google Play Store to snag your copy.

Goat Simulator Deal With ItLet me leave you off with a little quote from the Goat Simulator Disclaimer – “Goat Simulator is a small, broken and stupid game… don’t expect a game in the size and scope of GTA with goats. In fact, you’re better off not expecting anything at all, actually. You should probably spend your money on something else, such as a hula hoop, a pile of bricks or maybe a real goat.

What’s it going to be, are you up for some Goat Simulator madness?

Get Goat Simulator

Via: Android Police;
Source: Google Play Store, Goat Simulator; …read more

Source:: android authority


Now that it has big phones, Apple publishes a guide for switching from Android

By Bogdan Petrovan

Move content from your Android phone to iPhone 001626

For several years, Android had the advantage of modern screen sizes, a benefit that’s reflected in its massive 85 percent global market share. But Apple fans can now finally enjoy larger screens – 4.7 and 5.5 inches varieties – and that could slow the steady stream of defections to Android and, maybe, even bring in some new users.

Apple is clearly hoping to attract Google users, as it put up a guide for moving content from Android to iPhone, including mail and contacts, photos and videos, music, books, documents, and apps.

The guide explains how to set up iPhones with new email addresses and copy over contacts and calendars using apps like Copy My Data and AT&T Mobile Transfer. There are similar sections for moving over photos, music, and documents, as well as instructions for setting up iCloud.

The biggest problem with switching platforms is probably finding and installing replacements for all your apps. Apple’s guide touches on this issue – “go to the App Store, search for the apps you have now” – but fails to mention that you may have to re-purchase some of the apps you already paid for on Android.

Putting up a switching guide isn’t newsworthy in itself. After all, it’s perfectly normal to help customers bring their business to your platform. Android OEMs have been doing it for years. But Apple publishing this guide is highly symbolic of its current standing in the mobile landscape. Apple can no longer ignore or dismiss Android, and, more importantly, it must counter it in every way it can.

What say you, Android users? Will Apple’s bigger screens change the balance in the market? Are you in any way tempted by them, or do you know people who are considering switching to iPhone?

Via: 9to5Mac;
…read more

Source:: android authority


Did you know that your Exynos 5433 powered Note 4 is actually 64-bit?

By Jonathan Feist

Exynos 5

We already know that Samsung‘s latest round of Exynos 5 Octa series chipsets bring a lot to the table. The Exynos 5433 is perhaps the most popular of the group, seeing that it will ship inside the brand spanking new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, at least for some markets across the globe. Although the Note 4 is a 32-bit machine, did you know that the Exynos 5433 is actually a 64-bit SoC?

That’s right, according to a great bit of detective work from the folks over on Anandtech, the Exynos 5433 is a 64-bit SoC running a big.LITTLE configuration of Cortex A57 and A53 processors. If you recall, the A57/A53 combination is a 64-bit architecture capable of running the ARMv8 instruction set.

Be sure to check out our coverage of the Cortex A57 and A53 cores from a few months back.

Geekbench A53 A57

We still do not know why Samsung decided to launch the Exynos 5433 version of the Note 4 running only in AArch32 32-bit mode. Good thing Samsung’s new 20nm process capitalizes on some of the other advantages of the A57/A53, which, if nothing else, should see better power consumption than previous A15/A7 and similar configurations. Here is a look at the Exynos 5433, and a few other Samsung Exynos 5 Octa series chips as well.

Samsung Exynos 5433 table Note 4 Anandtech

Beyond the processors, the Exynos 5433 is also rocking the new Mali T760 GPU running at 700MHz.

All in all, the Note 4 with Exynos 5433 SoC is chalking up to be a mighty powerful little unit. So, what’s next for Samsung? That would be the Samsung Exynos 7 series, of which the Exynos 7420 is rumored to be bringing us full 64-bit capabilities through the same Cortex A57/A53 and Mali T760 configuration, but with a brand new chipset build and a few other upgrades. Though we’ll have to wait for Android L and probably 2015 to get here before we see the Exynos 7 series on the streets.

This leaves us with the obvious question, given the choice, would you rather purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with the Exynos 5433 or the Snapdragon 805?

Via: Anandtech;
…read more

Source:: android authority


Let the tinkering begin – Android One KitKat kernel source released

By Edgar Cervantes

100 dollar Android One

Android One devices have finally launched in India this week and multiple devices are available. These Android One smartphones are great to have as super affordable devices, even if they do have their flaws. We all know the fun part of Android is that developers and fans can tinker with the hardware and software, though.

After all, we do want to make the best out of these cheap, yet limited smartphones. This is why Google has just released the Android One KitKat kernel source.

Today we pushed the kernel source for the Android One device family. The kernel source can be found on the android-msm-sprout-3.4-kitkat-mr2 branch in the kernel/msm project. It’s also tagged with ‘android-4.4.4_r3′. -Bill Yi

With three devices in the market, we are sure more than a few fellow Indian techies would love to play around with this.

Gotta love this Android One initiative. The software is open sourced and the hardware is amazingly affordable. And now you can start working on them. Enjoy!

Source: Android Building; …read more

Source:: android authority


Samsung said to be working on its own GPU – how far can they get?

By Edgar Cervantes

NVIDIA Shield Tablet Tegra K1 GPU Benchmarks OpenGL ES 3.1

Manufacturing GPUs takes massive amounts of talent, research, testing, experience and time. It is really an exhausting market, which is why very few companies embark in the quest to build these. Good GPUs are pivotal for a good experience, which means other manufacturers have to pay licensing fees and use one of these few companies’ video cards.

If the latest reports are to be believed, Samsung could be breaking itself away from this chain and making its very own graphics cards. They have been working on this for years, according to information given by “Silicon Valley and insiders.” The company has also been hiring talent from NVIDIA, AMD and Intel along the way.

The main question here is whether Samsung will be able to become successful in GPU manufacturing. They are (arguably) good with hardware, software and CPUs, but those are completely different worlds compared to graphics cards.

We can assume nothing significant will come soon, but we may very well see Samsung devices with Samsung GPUs coming to the market at some point in the near future. Even if not the best, it would be a significant jump for the mid-range smartphone/tablet market.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 1600

Licensing fees can be expensive, not to mention manufacturing hardware in-house will often save large companies money in the long run. Samsung would then be able to transfer at least part of those savings to consumers.

It would also be a great move to avoid lawsuits, like the one NVIDIA has initiated against Samsung and Qualcomm due to GPU patent infringement (which is ultimately Qualcomm’s fault). There is a plethora of reasons why Samsung would want to make its own component. They must make them right, though.

Samsung is a giant in tech, so they may have the resources to get it all worked out. But please do remember not to get your hopes too high. These are still rumors and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Source: Fudzilla; …read more

Source:: android authority


ZTE ZMAX is a big T-Mobile phablet with a not so big price tag

By Alex Wagner

Phablets are all the rage in the smartphone world as of late. Heck, even Apple has finally jumped on the bandwagon. Today ZTE unveiled its latest phablet effort, a device known as the ZMAX that’s headed to T-Mobile in the US.

The ZTE ZMAX will launch on September 24 for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $10.50 each. That works out to a total of $252. In exchange for all of those hard-earned pieces of paper, you’ll get a device with the following specs:

  • 5.7-inch 1280×720 display
  • 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor
  • 8-megapixel rear, 1.6-megapixel front cameras
  • 16GB storage
  • microSD slot with support for cards up to 32GB
  • 6.4” x 3.3” x 0.35” (162.56 x 83.82 x 8.89mm)
  • 3400mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

With its big screen and big battery, the ZTE ZMAX is a phablet for folks that want a big phone but also want a device that’ll be easy on the wallet.

What do you think of the ZTE ZMAX? Would you use it as your daily driver?

…read more

Source:: androidandme


Google Play Services 6.1 update: Analytics, Drive and Fit enhancements

By Edgar Cervantes

google fit platform

Google Play Services is getting its seasonal update, which comes about every 6 weeks. This time we are seeing Google’s Android backbone being upgraded to version 6.1, with major improvements coming to Analytics, Drive and the newly-released Google Fit.

The Enhanced Ecommerce analytics extension was introduced in Google Play Services 5.0. It provided great input on pre-purchase behavior and product performance, which is why it has now been included int he Google Tag manager. This will allow developers to easily manage tags within mobile apps.

Google Drive got a significant UI re-design, leaning more towards Material Design. Developers also have some neat features, though, as Completion Events enhancements have been applied to the Google Drive API. This will make it easier for developers to handle conflicts between server and local files.

Google Fit developers can also now test their apps with any Android device. It was only introduced last August, so we can except more changes coming to the APIs soon.

Most of us won’t really notice these changes, as they are not consumer-oriented. One thing is for sure, this update will definitely change your user experience. At the end of the day, that is what makes a good device awesome. It needs to handle all the mundane features like a boss before more gimmicky features are added.

With that said, stay tuned for your update, as it should be coming in a few days. A quick Google Search will also allow you to download it )just in case you are not that patient). This is mostly for developers, so we wouldn’t rush to get the update unless you really want to see the few design improvements.

Source: Android Developer Blog; …read more

Source:: android authority


ZTE ZMAX unboxing and first impressions

By Joshua Vergara

zte zmax unboxing and first impressions aa (2 of 20)

ZTE unveiled its latest mid-range smartphone offering, the ZMAX, at a press event in New York earlier today, along with announcing the exclusive availability of the device from T-Mobile. Bringing to the table a large display, 4G LTE support, and a big battery, the newest addition to T-Mobile’s smartphone portfolio gives users a great mid-range option at a more than reasonable price point, perfect for those not looking to spend the big bucks on the latest and greatest. Before we dive into a full review, we first take a look at the unboxing, and give you our first impression of the ZTE ZMAX!

Opening the box shows you the phone in all its glory. Underneath, you’ll find the microUSB cable, the AC charger, a pin to open up the SIM tray and the microSD card slot, and the usual paperwork, including the instruction manual, warranty information, and legal notices. Considering that the device will be available exclusively from T-Mobile, a T-Mobile SIM pack is also included in the box.

zte zmax unboxing and first impressions aa (11 of 20)

The ZTE ZMAX comes with a beautiful curved back design with a semi-matte finish, that definitely gives the device a more premium look and feel than its specifications and price tag would suggest. The power button and the microSIM card slot are found the right side, with the volume rocker and the microSD card slot on the left. With its 5.7-inch display, it is no doubt a large device, but the placement of the buttons make them easy to reach. The headphone jack is found up top, with the microUSB port at the bottom. The front of the phone is dominated by the large display, with a set of capacitive keys found just below it. The handling experience is as you’d expect from a device of this size, with the curved back allowing it to sit nicely in your hand but the gripping on the sides isn’t ideal since they aren’t flat.

zte zmax unboxing and first impressions aa (7 of 20)

When it comes to the display, you get a large 5.7-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720, resulting in a pixel density of 258 ppi. It’s not the highest resolution and pixel density we’ve seen on a display of this size, but is par for the course as far as current mid-range offerings are concerned. The LCD display brings with all that you’d expect, including good color reproduction, great brightness, and fantastic viewing angles. Despite its lower pixel count, you’ll still have a good time doing anything on this display.

zte zmax unboxing and first impressions aa (8 of 20)

Under the hood is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, clocked at 1.2 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 305 GPU. It may not be the fastest processing package out there, but performs well enough to handle day to day tasks with ease, helped along by the near stock-like software experience. Other specifications include 16 GB of internal storage, that is further expandable via microSD, and a large 3,400 mAh battery, that should offer almost two days of battery life with average use.

zte zmax unboxing and first impressions aa (17 of 20)

The camera setup isn’t nearly as impressive as some other mid-range smartphones out there, at least on paper. You get an 8 MP rear camera that should do a decent job, but a more in-depth review of the camera will be required before we jump to any conclusions. the ZTE ZMAX also comes with a 1.6 MP front-facing shooter.

When it comes to the software, you get a near stock-like Android 4.4 Kitkat, which is certainly a pleasant change from the more drastic measures that Chinese OEMs tend to take with their software experiences. One of the few noticeable changes to the stock apps, however, is the camera. While the Zmax might not have the most impressive camera (at least on paper), there’s actually quite a few options when it comes to the camera app including a manual mode that lets you further enhance your photo taking experience.

Overall, the ZTE Zmax is a solid looking device, both on-paper and in terms of aesthetics. On the downside, it’s also a pretty big device, not just because of the display, but also because of the large bezels found around the device. This means the Zmax might have a great price tag and good specs, but it’s also a bit unwieldy.

This concludes our first impression of the ZTE Zmax, though stay tuned for the full review which should be on its way in relatively short order.

…read more

Source:: android authority