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Failed Funding Effort Blunts Canonical's Ubuntu Edge
August 23, 2013
Canonical raised more than $12 million over 30 frantic days of crowdfunding its ambitious Ubuntu Edge superphone project, but it was still short some $20 million by the time the effort closed on Wednesday. The company's target was $32 million. "We raised $12,809,906, making the Edge the world's biggest ever fixed crowdfunding campaign," wrote Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth.
Snapchat Adds a Splash of Spontaneity to Sharing Photos
August 23, 2013
A few weeks ago I looked at Burner, an Android app that creates anonymous, disposable phone numbers for your smartphone. Android app Snapchat is in the same arena in that it, too, provides privacy for smartphone users. The difference, however is that this app uniquely deletes MMS-like multimedia messages once they've been viewed.
Voxer Gives Push-to-Talk a Multimedia Makeover
August 16, 2013
Voxer Pro Business turns your smartphone into a walkie-talkie. Smartphone walkie-talkies are not new, of course -- Nextel, which got swallowed by Sprint, used to offer a unique push-to-talk, or PTT, walkie-talkie cellphone feature called "Direct Connect." Nextel's simulated half-duplexing service mimicked walkie-talkies but ran over spectrum similar to that used by cell networks.
1 Small App, 1 Giant Feather in Linux's Cap
August 13, 2013
What a difference a day makes, as the old saying goes -- or, perhaps more aptly here in the Linux community, what a difference an app makes. Which app, you may ask? Why that would be Microsoft Office for Android, of course -- the arrival of which a few weeks ago has caused no shortage of jubilation in the Linux blogosphere. "It looks like Linus has won," noted a recent article.
Android Flaw Could Empty Bitcoin Wallets
August 12, 2013
Android device owners who use Bitcoins may have their digital currency stolen because of a security flaw in Android, the Bitcoin Foundation has warned. The problem may lie in Android's implementation of the java.security.SecureRandom application programming interface in Java. It was first publicized by Nils Schneider in January. "This is a serious issue," remarked ABI's Michela Menting.
Samsung Slapped With ITC Ban in Patent Merry-Go-Round
August 12, 2013
Almost a week after the Obama administration overturned a ban issued by the ITC against the import of certain Apple items, the ITC made a similar ruling -- this time, against Samsung. The commission on Friday banned the import of two older versions of the Galaxy smartphone and Galaxy tablet, agreeing with Apple's contention that those products infringed two of its patents.
This Watchdog Is Android's Best Friend
August 09, 2013
If you find yourself bashing away on your Android device and maxing it to the hilt with numerous background-running apps, there's a good chance you've encountered freezes and slowdowns. As PC makers can attest, we're using our Android and other newer devices as laptop substitutes these days, and thrashing phones and tablets in the process. However, there are tools to help manage the maxing-out.
Chinese News Agency Earnestly Reports Satirical News on Bezos' Post Purchase
August 08, 2013
The Borowitz Report, a satirical chronicle of daily news, is frequently the Most Popular item on The New Yorker's site. Not everyone gets the humor. Xinhua, the Chinese government's official press agency, took notice of a Borowitz Report article that claimed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' recent US$250 million purchase of The Washington Post was an accident.
Seasonal Smartphone Marketing Madness Begins in Earnest
August 08, 2013
Samsung this week launched a marketing blitz for its Galaxy Note III phablet, which will be unveiled in Berlin Sept. 4, just before the IFA consumer electronics show. That timing has become a Samsung tradition, as have the orchestrated leaks about its forthcoming product. Samsung has been splurging to buy market share. However, sales of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone did not meet expectations.
iPad Challengers Catching Up
August 06, 2013
Worldwide tablet shipments slowed during the second quarter, possibly because consumers are awaiting a next-generation iPad, according to a report from IDC. Vendors shipped 45.1 million devices in the second quarter of 2013, the firm reported -- a 9.7 percent dip from the first three months of the year. However, worldwide shipments were up more than 59 percent from the same period a year ago.
Canonical's Edgy Endeavor
August 05, 2013
Fans of Ubuntu will have to be forgiven if they've been a little distracted lately. After all, exactly two weeks ago Canonical launched its crowdfunding campaign for the new Ubuntu Edge smartphone. It's not just any crowdfunding campaign, of course -- it's a big one. Really big -- to the tune of $32 million. No one ever said Mark Shuttleworth lacked ambition.
Zeebox Serves as Tonto to Second-Screen Lone Rangers
August 02, 2013
If you read my columns regularly, you'll know that I'm a second-screen proponent. For those unfamiliar with the dual-screen concept, it suggests that tablet or phone often accompanies big-screen television watching, resting on the viewer's knee and acting as a two-way, interactive, Internet-connected screen. Where the concept breaks down, however, is that no one really knows how second screens are used.
The Controversial, Toothless, 'Landmark' Mobile Transparency Code
August 02, 2013
Mobile device users' privacy will be safeguarded under a new transparency code of conduct created in an effort involving 40 groups ranging from businesses to advocacy groups and led by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling hailed the code as "a seminal milestone in the efforts to enhance consumer privacy on mobile devices."
Android's Crazy-Quilt Syndrome
August 01, 2013
There's no question that Android is fragmented. OpenSignal has counted nearly 11,900 distinct Android devices so far this year, compared with fewer than 4,000 last year. OpenSignal's visual representations of the number of devices and the brands are a welter of shapes and colors. Think crazy quilts sewn by demented craftspeople inhaling non-tobacco substances.
Hackers Demand Ransom for Hijacked Androids
July 30, 2013
Ransomware has made the jump from personal computers to the Android world. Android.FakeAV.C, a new breed of ransomware, has turned up in Asia -- almost half of it in India and Indonesia -- according to an alert by Bitdefender security researcher Liviu Arsene. Mobile ransomware works much like its PC kin. In a PC, a malware program seizes control of a computer and demands a ransom for its release.
Tech Industry Closes Ranks Behind Apple as ITC Ban Looms
July 29, 2013
The Business Software Alliance reportedly is pushing to overturn the U.S. International Trade Commission's ban against older iPhones and iPads, maintaining that it would set a dangerous precedent. When the ITC makes a decision to ban a particular product for import into the U.S., it is fast and usually final. That, after all, is what companies like about the ITC.
How Firefox OS Could Sneak Into the Smartphone Chicken Coop
July 26, 2013
Spanish wireless network Telefónica recently started selling a super-cheap Linux-driven phone called the "ZTE Open" for the equivalent of around $90, which includes about $40 worth of prepay. Essentially, it's a $50 smartphone. Aside from the bottom-end retail price, what's unique about this smartphone is that it's the first to use Firefox OS.
Sleep as Android Analyzes You In and Out of Soft Slumber
July 25, 2013
Here's another app that takes personal analytics to the maximum. I've already looked at Android workout app Runtastic Pro, which allows for elaborate analytics to be run on exercise routines, conceivably enabling a honed fitness regimen. Well, here's an app that lets you do the same kind of in-depth data-crunching on another element of life: sleep patterns.
With Porteus in Your Pocket, You're Good to Go
July 24, 2013
Don't think that a live version of a Linux desktop with the ability to save configuration changes is better than an operating system fully installed to a hard drive? Think again. Its persistent memory feature, unlike regular live distro sessions, lets you carry a complete Linux desktop with all of your files and special application settings in your pocket to run on any computer.
Google Play Misses Dangerous Apps at Border Control
July 23, 2013
Despite yeoman efforts by Google to close a critical hole in its Android mobile operating system that allows any app to be turned into a malicious Trojan, programs are still appearing in the company's Google Play store with the flaw. A number of apps containing the so-called MasterKey vulnerability were discovered by cybersecurity firm Bitdefender last week.

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