An anonymous reader writes "Ars has an extensive review of the newly-released BlackBerry 10 operating system. Since it's such a late entry into the market, the tech community has been eyeballing the new operating system with trepidation — would all that time go to waste with a poor offering, or would BlackBerry 10 be a reasonable alternative to iOS and Android? Well, it seems BlackBerry (the company formerly known as RIM) actually put the time to good use. The review finds most of the UI innovations to actually be.. innovative. "BlackBerry took a lot of time to see what the competition is doing, and then it worked to refine its operating system. It essentially had an excellent cheat sheet, filled with everything that has worked wonderfully and all the things that have bombed. That said, BlackBerry still has to mold its product for its two huge core audiences: the business-oriented multi-tasker and the developing smartphone markets. To that end, it has included all of the essential features and apps to appeal to both of those parties. The corporate user has his or her share of content to watch on the train ride to work, games and apps to help keep busy when not entrenched in a meeting, and the perfect Hub for messaging (not to mention the literal split between work and personal environments)." However, the review also notes that the system is not really designed to make people drop their Android or iOS devices, so uptake is going to be slow at best. The question for the platform's success (and the company's) is no longer 'Is it any good? but 'Is it too late?'" There's also a review of the z10 smartphone itself.
judgecorp writes "Fears that mobile phones cause cancer have never had strong backing from scientific research, but Israeli startup Tawkon is using those fears for an interesting business model. Its free app (banned from Apple's App Store, but on Android, BlackBerry and unlocked iPhones) tracks how much radiation your phone is emitting. This lets concerned users hold their phones away from their heads or whatever — but it also gives Tawkon a useful map of cellphone coverage around the world, which is the real asset it is monetizing — for the benefit of everyone, it says."
An anonymous reader writes "Smartphones running the open source Ubuntu operating system will be available to customers beginning in October 2013, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth told CIO Journal. Ubuntu will be available on a full range of devices, including desktop and tablet computers, potentially providing corporate IT executives a way to reduce the number of devices they purchase and manage, and would allow users to access all manner of corporate data through a single, pocket-sized device. 'You can share Windows apps to the phone desktop,' said Mr. Shuttleworth during a meeting in New York Tuesday." Jon Brodkin adds, "Canonical is taking community input on what the core applications (e-mail, calendar, clock/alarm, weather, file manager, document viewer, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) should look like. The best aspects of community proposals will hopefully make it into Ubuntu phones when they finally hit the market sometime toward the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014. Take a look at the best designs Canonical has received so far."
After many months of effort, today we've brought the new mobile site out of beta. Featuring an interface optimized for touch devices, we think it's a huge improvement over the old mobile interface. You'll find comments easier to navigate, the most popular stories highlighted at the top of the page, and a surprisingly pleasant interface for navigating old polls. We've also spiffed up user profiles, resurrecting and improving the friend/foe system in the process. And that's not all: we're pleased to announce that you can login to Slashdot in general using various social media accounts, so if you use Facebook or Google+ there's no excuse not to enjoy the benefits of being a registered user, without the hassle of creating yet another account. Our weblog has a few more details. As always, if you encounter any issues let us know by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The release date is approaching for Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet, and reviews for the new device have started appearing. The Surface Pro differs from the Surface in that it runs a full version of Windows 8 Pro, rather than the tablet-centric Windows RT. It also has much beefier hardware specs: 4GB RAM, an Intel Core i5 CPU, and a full HD display with 10-point multitouch. Ars describes it as having the expected good performance at the expected costs of heat, noise, and battery life. "This is not an all-day machine. Surface RT probably is. But Surface Pro is not." The review praises the screen and the stylus, but points out some odd scaling issues as well. The Verge's review also mentions the scaling, and notes the strangeness of dealing with issues inherent to a Windows desktop OS — like antivirus — on a tablet. BGR looks at the big picture, calling the Surface Pro Microsoft's "declaration of war" on its hardware partners. All three reviews dwell on how the Surface Pro exists at the intersection of laptop and tablet, and doesn't quite fulfill either role. Ars says, "From the tablet perspective, Surface Pro is not acceptable. It gets too hot for a hand-held device, its battery life is woefully inadequate, and it's too thick and heavy to be comfortable to hand hold for long sessions. ... From a laptop perspective, Surface Pro falls down too. The traditional laptop has a stiff hinge to hold the screen at an angle of your choosing. ... In practice, the Surface RT and Surface Pro have a bigger footprint on my lap even than my old 15-inch MacBook Pro. And if I move a little, whomp, the screen drops off the back of my knees and folds out of sight." The Verge adds, "The real dealbreaker for me was that it's just unusable in my most common position — sitting on my couch, feet on the coffee table, with the computer on my lap."
msm1267 writes "Activist Chris Soghoian, who in the past has targeted zero-day brokers with his work, has turned his attention toward wireless carriers and their reluctance to provide regular device updates to Android mobile devices. The lack of updates leaves millions of Android users sometimes upwards of two revs behind in not only feature updates, but patches for security vulnerabilities. 'With Android, the situation is worse than a joke, it’s a crisis,' said Soghoian, principal technologies and senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union. 'With Android, you get updates when the carrier and hardware manufacturers want them to go out. Usually, that’s not often because the hardware vendor has thin [profit] margins. Whenever Google updates Android, engineers have to modify it for each phone, chip, radio card that relies on the OS. Hardware vendors must make a unique version for each device and they have scarce resources. Engineers are usually focused on the current version, and devices that are coming out in the next year.'"
pigrabbitbear writes "Internet access is an essential need on par with education access, but at what point do regulators recognize that? When will government officials acknowledge that widespread, guaranteed access is essential to fostering growth in the country? Somewhat surprisingly, that time is now, as the FCC is now calling for nationwide free wi-fi networks to be opened up to the public. The FCC proposes buying back spectrum from TV stations that would allow for what the Washington Post is dubbing 'super wi-fi,' as the commission wants to cover the country with wide-ranging, highly-penetrative networks. Essentially, you can imagine the proposal as covering a majority of the country with open-access data networks, similar to cell networks now, that your car, tablet, or even phone could connect to. That means no one is ever disconnected, and some folks – especially light users and the poor – could likely ditch regular Internet and cell plans altogether."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Hewlett-Packard is the latest PC manufacturer to jump into the Chromebook game, whipping the curtain back from a 14-inch device loaded with Google's Chrome OS. Powered by a dual-core Intel Celeron processor, and touting roughly 4.25 hours of battery life, the HP Pavilion Chromebook follows in the footsteps of other Chromebooks released by Acer and Samsung over the past few months. While these manufacturers continue to produce devices loaded with Windows, the growth of Chrome OS could spark some worry among Microsoft executives, who have become used to their hardware partners operating as Windows-only shops. But is Chrome OS a true threat to Windows, or just a way for manufacturers to gain some additional leverage in negotiating with Microsoft over licensing fees and other matters?"
jfruh writes "U.S. Mobile companies are working hard to get customers on fancy high-speed LTE plans with expensive smartphones. But Verizon is shrewdly working to eke out profit from its older infrastructure as well. The company is offering no-contract pay-as-you-go 3G-only plans, which might appeal to those who don't use a lot of wireless data and who might want to take advantage of the glut of older Android and iOS phones available on the market." It's good to see prices dropping from one of the biggest names in the industry, but it seems there are some cheaper options already around, especially for unlocked phones or for people who don't need data.
judgecorp writes "TotalBoox, a startup from Tel Aviv, plans to sell pay-as-you-read eBooks, charging for each page read. 'We are trying to rid the world from outdated, expensive ritual of buying a book before you read it,' says founder ~Yoarv Lorch, saying that readers can save money and move on if they start a best-seller on the spur of the moment and it turns out to be a turkey. But what about slow-burning classics that you have to 'get into'? What about reference books? And all the bits of a reference book that you don't actually need? The company has a beta app on Google Play for Android tablets."
An anonymous reader writes "Google is fearlessly trudging on with its Chromebook push in the education market. The company announced on Friday that there are now 2,000 schools using Chromebooks for Education around the world. Just three months ago, there were 1,000 schools, showing an impressive adoption rate so far."
An anonymous reader writes "Joel Runyon recounts a tale that will be familiar to many people who have bought secondhand smartphones. After his old dumbphone died a few months ago, Runyon picked up a used iPhone. He just needed it for basic phone capabilities, and used it as such, turning data off. However, AT&T eventually figured out he was making calls from a smartphone, and they decided he needed a data plan, even if he wasn't going to use it. They went ahead and opted him into a plan that cost an extra $30 a month. Quoting: 'According to AT&T: They can opt me into a contract that I didn't agree to because I was using a phone that I didn't buy from them because it had the ability to use data that I wasn't using (and was turned off). To top it all off, they got the privilege of charging me for it because I bought a differently categorized device – even though the actual usage of their network did not change at all and I never reconstituted a new agreement with them.'"
coondoggie writes "When it comes to relatively new technologies, few have been developing at the relentless pace of mobile. But with that development has come a serious threat to the security of personal information and privacy. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a report (PDF) on mobility issues and said less than one-third of Americans feel they are in control of their personal information on their mobile devices. 'The report makes recommendations for critical players in the mobile marketplace: mobile platforms (operating system providers, such as Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Google, and Microsoft), application (app) developers, advertising networks and analytics companies, and app developer trade associations. ... The report recommends that mobile platforms should: Provide just-in-time disclosures to consumers and obtain their affirmative express consent before allowing apps to access sensitive content like geolocation; Consider developing a one-stop “dashboard” approach to allow consumers to review the types of content accessed by the apps they have downloaded; Consider offering a Do Not Track (DNT) mechanism for smartphone users.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "To give the Mars Rover Curiosity the brains she needs to operate took 5 million lines of code. And while the Mars Science Laboratory team froze the code a year before the roaming laboratory landed on August 5, they kept sending software updates to the spacecraft during its 253-day, 352 million-mile flight. In its belly, Curiosity has two computers, a primary and a backup. Fun fact: Apple's iPhone 5 has more processing power than this one-eyed explorer. 'You're carrying more processing power in your pocket than Curiosity,' Ben Cichy, chief flight software engineer, told an audience at this year's MacWorld."
silverpig writes "It now appears that graphene has reached a point worthy of serious, direct industrial attention. The grant money itself comes from the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), but the work will be done by a large non-governmental company with eyes on developing useful real-world applications. Smartphones contain many components with high potential for making use of graphene. From the article: 'Nokia is leading the electronic firms within the Graphene Flagship Consortium, which includes 73 other companies and academic institutions from a number of mediums. The Finnish handset manufacturer has received a grant of $1.35 billion to research and develop graphene for practical applications, with the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) providing the grant itself.'"
itwbennett writes "Here's a bright spot in Beijing's off-the-chart bad air pollution: The market for mobile apps that monitor air quality is thriving. 'When the pollution went beyond the air quality index, all the social networks in China and media began paying attention to the problem,' said Wang Jun, one of the developers of the China Air Pollution Index app. 'This caused the downloads to increase 30 times.'" Obviously a Spaceballs fan, a Chinese man is even selling fresh air in cans.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The company formerly known as Research In Motion—which decided to cut right to the proverbial chase and rename itself 'BlackBerry'—launched its much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system at a high-profile event in New York City Jan. 30. Meanwhile, Microsoft is still dumping tons of money and effort into Windows Phone. But can either smartphone OS — or another player, for that matter — successfully challenge Apple iOS and Google Android, which one research firm estimated as running on 92 percent of smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012? What would it take for any company to launch that sort of successful effort?"
An anonymous reader writes "Ok, so the idea of opening all Wi-Fi networks in a misthought utopian vision didn't go over so well. But no one discussed the best part of open Wi-Fi networks: bonding different Wi-Fi and mobile carriers to get the best price and decent performance. We could save money and avoid lock in by bouncing to whoever gives us the best rate, and, when we need speed, jump on all of them at once for a network bonded boost."
Zordak writes "Micron has recently landed U.S. Patent 8,352,745, which claims priority back to a February 2000 application---well before Apple's 2004 slide-to-unlock application. While claim construction is a highly technical art, the claims here are (for once) almost as broad as they sound, and may cover the bulk of touch screen smart phones on the market today. Dennis Crouch's Patently-O has a discussion."
judgecorp writes "Yesterday's BlackBerry 10 announcement did not mention the company's tablet, the Playbook, but users will be relieved to know it will get an update to BlackBerry 10. It's not a huge surprise, since BB10 is based on the PlayBook's QNX operating system, but PlayBook users may have been worried since the company did not even mention the struggling tablet in passing at the event." Hopefully the Playbook's camera is better than the one in the new BB10-based Z10 phone, the low-light performance of which Gizmodo describes as "four-years-ago crap."
itwbennett writes "Now that the ridiculous phone unlocking law is a done deal, and we all understand exactly what that means (i.e., 'fines of up to $500,000 and imprisonment of up to five years'), you might be left wondering what can you do about it. Well, you could start by lending your John Hancock to this petition at the White House's 'We The People' platform. It's already over halfway to the number of signatures required to get a response from the executive branch."
pigrabbitbear writes "We are strangely territorial when it comes to our wireless networks. The idea of someone siphoning off our precious bandwidth without paying for it is, for most people, completely unacceptable. But the Open Wireless Movement wants to change all that. 'We are trying to create a movement where people are willing to share their network for the common good,' says Adi Kamdar, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'It's a neighborly thing to do.' That's right, upstanding citizen of the Internet, you can be a good neighbor just by opening your wireless network to strangers — or so the line goes. The ultimate vision is one of neighborhoods completely void of passwords, where any passerby can quickly jump on your network and use Google Maps to find directions or check their email or do whatever they want to do (or, whatever you decide they can do)."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Research In Motion has whipped the curtain back from BlackBerry 10. The revamped operating system is widely perceived as RIM's best chance at staying relevant in a smartphone market dominated by Google Android and Apple's iOS. Once a significant player in mobility, RIM watched its earnings and market-share crumble over the past few years. BlackBerry 10 abandons the longtime BlackBerry user interface, centered on grids of icons, in favor of one built on the same QNX technology that powers RIM's PlayBook tablet. The BlackBerry 10 home-screen offers 'live tiles' that dynamically refresh with updated information, and RIM is playing up how users can move between apps and alerts by swiping and flicking the screen. Other features include BlackBerry Balance, which divides the 'personal' and 'corporate' sides of the phone, as well as an updated BlackBerry Messenger. More details in the article." RIM also announced they are rebranding themselves as BlackBerry. If you like pictures, omfglearntoplay sent in an article that delivers. Gimmicks of the launch include hiring Alicia Keys as their "Global Creative Director."
An anonymous reader writes "From the LA Times: 'Although Microsoft's 128 GB Surface Pro tablet is advertised as having 128 gigabytes of storage, the amount of space available to users is much less than that. That's also true for the 64 GB model. The Redmond, Wash., company confirmed Tuesday that the 128 GB Surface Pro has 83 GB of free storage, while the 64 GB version comes with 23 GB of open space. The reason for the difference: space already taken up by the tablet's Windows 8 Pro operating system and various preinstalled apps.' It's generally understood that your device won't have as much available storage as advertised, but it's usually a lot closer than this. Should device-makers be required to advertise how much storage is available to users, rather than the size of the storage media?"
adeelarshad82 writes "With the BlackBerry 10 launch just around the corner, there is a lot of pressure on RIM's CEO to provide a 'Steve Jobs Moment.' However, given BlackBerry's 1.1% percent market share compared to the combined 92% share between rivals Android and iOS, it's a long road back. To add to the struggle, no other first-generation smartphone leader has been able to pull off this kind of rebirth. Palm and Symbian are dead and Microsoft is struggling. But, as one mobile analyst explains, RIM has a chance to carve out its own market with tomorrow's launch of BlackBerry 10 given that they get a few things right. They need to heavily promote their devices to CEOs, heavily promote the top apps to users, and most of all, they need to be able to explain why people should give it a look."
noh8rz10 writes "Holy moly! iPad gets a heavyweight sibling, clicking in at 128GB. This places it in range of storage for Surface Pro and ultrabooks. It's clearly targeted at the professional market, as the press release cites X-rays and CAD files as reasons. Should Microsoft be afraid? Methinks so. Best part, pricing is growing by log 2. Just as the 32GB version is $100 more than the 16, and the 64 is $100 more than the 32, this new version is $100 more than the 64!" Update: 01/29 16:00 GMT by T : Here's Apple's announcement itself.
First time accepted submitter aNonnyMouseCowered writes "One of my favorite freeware Android applications has been pulled from the Google Play app store. While I found a replacement for the app, I've decided to install only apps that won't become obsolete merely because of the developer's whim or lack of interest. With the exception of games, which I don't deem essential for work, I don't want to install potential abandonware even if they cost the pauperly sum of $0.00. My decision has thus far meant installing a relatively crude text editor like BusyBox's version of vi, rather than any one of those full-blown mobile office suites. I've found a short list of open source Android apps at Wikipedia, including the usual suspects, Firefox and the VLC media player. There are also links to two other sites at the end of the article. But even the more comprehensive listings have large gaps in them even when compared 'merely' to the programs available in a typical GNU/Linux repository. So can anyone recommend useful or even just fun Free, Libre and Open Source Software for an Android smartphone or tablet? Free virtual beer to those that can find links for FLOSS programs for editing audiovisual media (Blender for Android?) and documents more sophisticated than HTML."
netbuzz writes "An iPhone case with a built-in cup holder? The designers were looking for $25,000 to make it on the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. One look at the contraption should have been enough to convince anyone that the thing was a joke, or a publicity stunt, but a number of mainstream press outlets (LA Times, UPI) and bloggers took the bait with little or no realization that that they might be on the wrong end of the hook. Today the Dutch marketing firm behind the effort acknowledged that it was 'a joke.'"
sconeu writes "My wife uses an assistive communication device. She wants to use it for SMS texting... We currently have Verizon, so we don't have a SIM. The computer will take a SIM. I'm looking for a pay-as-you-go plan where I can take the SIM from a cheap phone and put it in her computer. Any suggestions?" It would be interesting to hear how this question would be best answered both in the U.S. and around the world.
Now that unlocking a new phone is under many circumstances illegal in the U.S. (!), Digital Trends has collected a useful set of answers outlining just what that means. As they put it, a "quick guide to answer all your why, how, and WTF questions." Among them, some explanation of the rule-making process, the reasoning that led to the end to the unlocking exception to the DMCA (including the Ninth Circuit's 2010 Vernor v. Autodesk decision), and illustrations of situations in which it is not illegal to unlock your phone.
An anonymous reader writes "WindowsAndroid is a very cool tool from the Beijing-based startup SocketeQ that lets you run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) as a native application on Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 machines. The creators tell us they have a deep background in virtualization, operating system, and graphics technologies, and have been working on the project for years. Essentially, WindowsAndroid allows you not only to execute Android apps on your Windows computer, but also use the browser, not to mention every other component of the operating system."
Tyketto writes "Referencing a decision outlined in the Federal Register, Tech News Daily has published an article noting that the window to unlock your new mobile phone in the U.S. is closing. 'In October 2012, the Librarian of Congress, who determines exemptions to a strict anti-hacking law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), decided that unlocking mobile phones would no longer be allowed. But the library provided a 90-day window during which people could still buy a phone and unlock it. That window closes on January 26.' While this doesn't apply to phones purchased before the window closes, this means that after 1/26/13, for any new mobile phone you purchase, you'll have to fulfill your contract, or break the law to unlock it." It will still be perfectly legal to purchase an unlocked phone, which many carriers offer. This change removes the exemption for buying a new phone under contract (and thus, at a discount) and then unlocking it.
Snirt writes "Symbian is now officially dead, Nokia confirmed today. In the company's earnings announcement that came out a little while ago, Nokia confirmed that the 808 PureView, released last year, was the very last device that the company would make on the Symbian platform: 'During our transition to Windows Phone through 2012, we continued to ship devices based on Symbian,' the company wrote. 'The Nokia 808 PureView, a device which showcases our imaging capabilities and which came to market in mid-2012, was the last Symbian device from Nokia.'"
alphadogg writes "Mobile devices like the iPhone 5 are embracing the 5GHz band, and that trend will expand as 802.11ac radios become prevalent even on smartphones starting in 2013. The FCC announced a New Year's Wi-Fi gift during the International CES show earlier this month: a proposal to dramatically expand the unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz frequency band for use by Wi-Fi devices. The announcement comes as a growing number of vendors are announcing products that will support the "Gigabit Wi-Fi" 802.11ac standard in 2013. To find out the implications of the FCC's plan, Network World talked with Matthew Gast, director of product management for Aerohive Networks (author of "802.11n: A Survival Guide"). Gast blogged enthusiastically after FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the spectrum move, even admitting he had an 'engineer-crush' on the chairman as a result."
CowboyRobot writes "The metaphors and conventions of mobile apps on phones and tablets are now driving the design of desktop software. For example, dialog boxes in typical desktop software used to be complex, requiring lots of interaction. But these are now typically much simpler with far fewer options in a single pane. Drop-down menus are evolving, too. The former style of multiple cascading menus is being replaced. Drop-downs today have a smaller range of options (due to mobile screens being so small and the need to have the entries big enough that a finger touch can select it), and they never use the cascading menu. In Web-based apps, the mobile metaphors are finding greater traction as well. One need only look at the new Google Mail (GMail) interface and see how it's changed over the last year to view the effects of this new direction: All icons are monochrome, the number of buttons is very limited, and there's a More button that keeps the additional options off the main screen."
adeelarshad82 writes "AT&T has purchased the U.S. retail wireless operations of Atlantic Tele-Network Inc. (ATNI) for $780 Million. Alltel operates under the Alltel brand in several markets. The acquisition includes wireless properties, licenses, network assets, retail stores, and about 585,000 subscribers. It also includes spectrum in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz, and 1900 MHz bands, and that's likely the big draw as the carrier continues to build out its 4G LTE network. If the deal is approved by the FCC and Justice Department, AT&T expects it to close in the second half of 2013."
adeelarshad82 writes "According to Microsoft, the Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available for purchase on Feb. 9 in the U.S. and Canada. As anticipated, the Surface Pro will be slightly thicker than the Surface with Windows RT, and will weigh about two pounds. The tablet is powered with an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of memory. It also includes an 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band Wi-Fi, a stylus for pressure-sensitive input, dual 720p HD webcams, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, microSDXC slot, and mini DisplayPort. Since the Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro, it will work with your corporate infrastructure, as well as any older apps that you used on Windows XP to 7. In terms of pricing, the 64GB version will cost $899 while the 128GB will set you back by $999."
jfruh writes "Call it Google Analytics for physical storefronts: if you've got a phone with wi-fi, stores can detect your MAC address and track your comings and goings, determining which aisles you go to and whether you're a repeat customer. The creator of one of the most popular tracking software packages says that the addresses are hashed and not personally identifiable, but it might make you think twice about leaving your phone on when you head to the mall."
"When you think about electronics manufacturing, you probably don’t automatically think about Africa. You are about to meet somebody who would like to change your mind about that. His name is Tony Smith, and he is the CEO and Founder of Limitless Electronics." That's how Slashdot Editor Timothy Lord introduces this video. And that's what it's about: Former Microsoft employee Tony Smith at CES 2013 talking about his efforts to bring electronics assembly and distribution to his native country, Cameroon, through his company, Limitless Electronics.
Nerval's Lobster writes "For quite some time Mozilla has been working on Firefox OS, a lightweight mobile OS built in HTML5. Now it's whipped the curtain back from the first developer preview phones. The developer preview phones are unlocked, requiring the user insert their own SIM card. If those specs seem a little underpowered compared to other smartphones on the market, it's because Firefox OS is intended for lower-end smartphones; target markets include developing countries such as Brazil and China. (The first developer preview phones will be available in February.) The Firefox OS (once known as 'Boot to Gecko') is based on a handful of open APIs. The actual interface is highly reminiscent of Google Android and Apple iOS, with grids of icons linked to applications." The specs really aren't that bad; reader sfcrazy points out that they include the usual features baked into medium- and high-end phones these days: Wifi N, light and proximity sensors, and an accelerometer (though no mention of NFC).
Bennett Haselton writes "Here are three hacks that I adopted in the last few weeks, each of which solved a minor problem that I had lived with for so long that I no longer thought of it as a problem — until a solution came along, which was like a small weight off my shoulders. None of these hacks will help impress anyone with your technical prowess; I'm just putting them here because they made my life easier." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.
Incarnate-VO writes "Long running space-MMO Vendetta Online, which debuted with Linux support back in 2002, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support a major gameplay expansion, including player-owned stations, capships, and territorial conquest. If the Kickstarter succeeds, an upcoming iPad version could also gain some added polish, joining the existing mobile support for Android. (The Kickstarter video is also available on YouTube in HD)."
Trailrunner7 writes "Up to a million Android users in China could be part of a large mobile botnet, according to research unveiled by Kingsoft Security, a Hong Kong-based security company, this week. The botnet has spread across phones running the Android operating system via Android.Troj.mdk, a Trojan that researchers said exists in upwards of 7,000 applications available from non-Google app marketplaces, including the popular Temple Run and Fishing Joy games." Update: 01/19 12:54 GMT by S : Changed summary to reflect that these apps didn't come from Google Play.
another random user sends this news from the BBC: "Nokia is releasing design files that will let owners use 3D printers to make their own cases for its Lumia phones. Files containing mechanical drawings, case measurements and recommended materials have already been released by the phone maker. Those using the files will be able to create a custom-designed case for the flagship Lumia 820 handset. The project makes Nokia one of the first big electronics firms to seriously back 3D printing."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft on Wednesday launched a new mobile app powered by Windows Azure called HelpBridge that lets you both ask for help after a natural disaster, as well as offer to give it. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the launch is an excellent initiative to rally everyone around one cause: supporting each other during a time of need. You can download the app right now from the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, and the Windows Phone Store. Unfortunately, it's only available in the US right now, but hopefully Microsoft will be expanding regional support soon."
YokimaSun writes to point out a Kickstarter project that may warm the cockles of your heart: "Fans of emulation and homebrew have not had much to cheer about over the years; the recent generation of consoles has pretty much killed off any hacking by constant firmware updates. The days of PSP homebrew have died a death and consoles like the Caanoo, GP2x and even the mighty Openpandora never really lived up to the massive expectation. There is a glimmer of hope from a team of homebrew developers who have developed a new console called the GCW-Zero, a new open source handheld system which uses the OpenDingux Linux OS. The specs are impressive, with a Ingenic JZ4770 1 GHz MIPS processor, Vivante GC860, capable of OpenGL ES 2.0, 3.5 inch LCD with 320x240 pixels; 4:3 aspect ratio, 512 MB DDR2 and 16GB of internal memory which can via external memory card be extended by another 32GB. N64 and PS1 emulation and everything below should be at full speed in time."
CWmike writes "It's starting to look like the BlackBerry store will be well stocked with apps when Research In Motion launches BlackBerry 10 (see YouTube preview) at the end of this month. The company held an event over the weekend where it offered app developers incentives to port their programs to the BlackBerry 10 platform and managed to attract 15,000 app submissions. 'Well there you have it. 37.5 hours in, we hit 15,000 apps for this portathon. Feel like I've run a marathon. Thanks to all the devs!' wrote Alec Saunders, vice president of developer relations at RIM, in a Twitter message. The 'port-a-thon' event was held in two parts: One aimed at Android developers and the other at apps written in other platforms, including Appcelerator, Maramalade, Sencha, jQuery, PhoneGap and Qt. RIM was offering $100 for each app ported and subsequently approved for sale in the BlackBerry 10 app store, up to certain limits. Developers could also win BlackBerry 10 development handsets and a trip to RIM's BlackBerry Jam Europe developer event." It's hard to believe that many current iOS or Android users are leaping toward Blackberry, though. If you're in one of those camps, is that so crazy?
netbuzz writes "A mysterious GPS-tracking glitch has brought a parade of lost-phone seekers — and police officers — to the front door of a single beleaguered homeowner in Las Vegas. Each of the unexpected visitors – Sprint customers all — has arrived absolutely convinced that the man has their phone. Not so, police confirm. The same thing happened in New Orleans in 2011 and Sprint got sued. Says the Las Vegas man: 'It's very difficult to say, 'I don't have your phone,' in any other way other than, 'I don't have your phone.''"
tsamsoniw writes "Microsoft has filed a patent for a mobile technology called Inconspicuous Mode, aimed at helping you not be 'that guy' who disrupts movies, meals, or meetings with noisy, bright-screened phone alerts. It's a setting that would effectively put your phone in stealth mode when the device sensed it was in a movie theater (thanks to location information) and that the lights had gone down. The idea is, you could still receive alerts if a call or text came in, but no one around you would be disturbed by phone sounds or screen flashes."