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 Post subject: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:12 pm 
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As requested, here's an Android thread, in the interests of fairness. And better late than never.




APP OF THE DAY: Firefox for Android beta

The best third-party browser yet


By Ian Morris - PocketLint.com



The pre-installed web browser on Android phones is okay. We wouldn't care to be any more enthusiastic about it than that. It's a bit limited, can be slow and isn't inspiring from a user interface perspective. The good news is that it's been given its marching orders, and will eventuially be replaced with Google Chrome.

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But there's a problem. Chrome only works on Ice Cream Sandwich phones, so if you don't have one, you have no option. Well, at least you didn't, until now. But Firefox Beta has recently arrived in the Play store, and it brings new and exciting features that no other browser - even the original Firefox for Android - could manage.

Quote:
Firefox for Android beta

Platform: Android
Price: Free
Where: Google Play
Click The Link...https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.firefox_beta


For us, Firefox is the first non-Google browser that really appeals on Android. We've tried everything, from Opera to Dolphin HD, and none of them has ever had the features and performance to attract us - and some are outright bad and ugly.

The Firefox Beta, on the other hand, is one of the most stylish browsers we've seen. There's a simple URL bar at the top and a button to add more tabs, or to see those you already have open and running. It's clean and simple, something you very much need on a small device like this.

There are also add-ons. This is a boon, because it means that if there's a feature you don't have in the default browser, you can just download an add-on to improve functionality. We noticed that there was no option to "spoof" your user agent - handy for sites that palm you off with a rubbish mobile site. So we downloaded a plug-in called Phoney, that did it for us. Brilliant.

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Speed seems good, perhaps not as lightning quick as Google Chrome - but then we tested Firefox on a slower handset, and can't do a side-by-side comparison because we're not yet on Ice Cream Sandwich. Even so, we think it's better than the stock browser.

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The browser also allows you to turn any webpage into a PDF document. Which could be very handy for saving things for later, or sending information to friends via email, without all that messy copy and paste mumbo jumbo.

Overall, we like Firefox. We think it could be a little quicker, but as an alternative to the pre-Ice Cream Sandwich browser selection, it's a winner. :thumbup:

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:43 am 
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I'll try this and report back.

Although, anyone with a Galaxy 2 or 3 should be running ICS now and JB in the near future. They'll have the Chrome browser, which is pretty good.


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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:06 am 
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O-Dog wrote:
I'll try this and report back.

Although, anyone with a Galaxy 2 or 3 should be running ICS now and JB in the near future. They'll have the Chrome browser, which is pretty good.


Good man. :thumbup:

Yeah, but having the choice is nice. And the extensions. AFAIK Chrome still doesn't provide the necessary stuff to enable the likes of NoScript - which is surely the world's most useful browser add on imo.

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:48 am 
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I still can't update my Galaxy 2... :hmm:

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:04 am 
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O-Dog can you let me know if it has a flash add-on? I currently use Firefox (old one) on my S2 and the only drawback is the lack of flash.

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:10 pm 
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The Firefox Beta is very good. Not a great number of add-ons yet, but I'm sure they'll come in time (not sure if NoScript is available right now). It's really simple to use -just tap the address bar and you have access to your bookmarks, history and the top sites list. You don't need to type in a url, just a search term and it'll return a search or load the site if it knows what you're after.

And yes, Serb, it runs Flash.

It looks great on an S1, so should really sing on the later versions.


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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:10 am 
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Serbinator wrote:
O-Dog can you let me know if it has a flash add-on? I currently use Firefox (old one) on my S2 and the only drawback is the lack of flash.


Does this help?

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... BsYXllciJd

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:18 am 
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Got my Galaxy S3 yesterday :fonz:

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Spawny wrote:
But James and Pak both said they were voting JSP


:doh:

You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:55 am 
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Spawny wrote:
Got my Galaxy S3 yesterday :fonz:


Was that an upgrade, or a new contract?


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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:01 pm 
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conscience wrote:
Serbinator wrote:
O-Dog can you let me know if it has a flash add-on? I currently use Firefox (old one) on my S2 and the only drawback is the lack of flash.


Does this help?

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... BsYXllciJd

Nah I have that, it's a flash plugin for Mozilla that I need. Wll just try this new browser O-Dog is talking about.

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:18 pm 
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O-Dog wrote:
Spawny wrote:
Got my Galaxy S3 yesterday :fonz:


Was that an upgrade, or a new contract?


New contract, have moved from o2 to Three. o2 wanted £99 for the phone, and £36 a month for a worse package than I'm getting with Three for £33 a month and £29 for the phone.

Most irritating thing is my o2 upgrade was due on May 12th, and when I spoke to them at the time they said they'd price-match the Three tariff when the phone was released. After it came out it took my an hour to get to talk to one of their agents who then told me they weren't doing any price-matching on the S3.

So I told them to shove it.

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idontfeardeath wrote:
Spawny wrote:
But James and Pak both said they were voting JSP


:doh:

You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:41 pm 
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Let us know what Three are like. They used to be rubbish when they first came out but think they've sorted themselves out now.

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Orange are currently saying its £149 to upgrade to the S3. If they don't let me upgrade for free, I'll be switching to a new contract.


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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Serbinator wrote:
Let us know what Three are like. They used to be rubbish when they first came out but think they've sorted themselves out now.


Will do mate. I know a couple of people on Three and both said that they were good, so I took a punt. The tariff is good compared to what the other networks offer. 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, and unlimited data, o2 wanted £36 a month for 600 minutes, 3000 texts (they say unlimited but 3k is the fair usage cap) and 1GB of data

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idontfeardeath wrote:
Spawny wrote:
But James and Pak both said they were voting JSP


:doh:

You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Didn't know there was such thing as a fair usage cap for texts, what happens when you hit that limit?

Unlimited data is pretty awesome though, last time my contract was up the best around I could find was generally 500mb.

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Serbinator wrote:
Didn't know there was such thing as a fair usage cap for texts, what happens when you hit that limit?

Unlimited data is pretty awesome though, last time my contract was up the best around I could find was generally 500mb.


Not sure, I assume either you start getting billed or can no longer text. It's meant to stop people using a normal mobile phone contract for marketing texts, where you'd be sending thousands upon thousands. I think Vodafone's fair usage cap is 2000, and o2's is 3000... Three just tell you, you get 5000 texts and that's it, so it's a bit more transparent.

I had unlimited data with o2, but that was as a £5 a month bolt-on to my tariff. Now it's just a standard part of the tariff.

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idontfeardeath wrote:
Spawny wrote:
But James and Pak both said they were voting JSP


:doh:

You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:27 am 
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ACLU releases Android app that secretly videos police
Police Tape prevents officers from deleting video shot during police stops.

by Dan Goodin - Arstechnica.com



The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has released an Android app that surreptitiously records police stops and sends the videos to legal watchdogs for review.

The advent of Police Tape is designed to counter a practice an increasing number of civilians have encountered over the past few years: those who videotape or photograph police officers performing routine stops and other official acts are frequently arrested or disciplined. Evidently, many officers are all in favor of increased surveillance as long as it isn't turned on them. Earlier this year, for instance, a Miami journalist covering a police effort to evict Occupy Miami protestors recovered video of officers arresting him after it was deleted from his camera.

Police Tape provides basic advice for people who are stopped by police officers. It also claims to provide controls for discreetly recording the video or audio of such stops. After it is activated, it disappears from the screen. The app will also upload the recording to ACLU-NJ so monitors there can review it for any civil liberties violations. "Once it has been uploaded, it's saved on an external server, so police cannot permanently delete the file," an accompanying video states. An app for Apple iOS devices is in the works, the ACLU says.

Depending on local laws and other specifics, recording video or audio without the knowledge or consent of people in the immediate vicinity may run afoul of the law. That means end users may want to seek legal advice before routinely using Police Tape. Then again, having the app installed and ready to go in an emergency may not be a bad idea, either.

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:00 pm 
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New Android malware runs rings around Google Play security protocols

By Brad Reed | BGR News



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New Android malware runs rings around Google Play security protocols


Symantec has discovered a new piece of Android malware, since removed from the Google Play store, that managed to chalk up between 50,000 and 100,000 downloads of malicious apps before being identified. In a post on his company’s blog, Symantec researcher Irfan Asrar details how the malware disguised itself as popular games such as Super Mario Bros. and Grand Theft Auto 3 Moscow City, and then delivered its payload in incremental downloads to make it harder to detect.

“What is most interesting about this Trojan is the fact that the threat managed to stay on Google Play for such a long time, clocking up some serious download figures before being discovered,” writes Asrar. “Our suspicion is that this was probably due to the remote payload employed by this Trojan.”

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:16 pm 
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$99 Ouya wants to bust down console gaming’s walled gardens

Controller-equipped, Android-based system gives indies access to the TV.


by Kyle Orland - Arstechnica.com


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Don't call it a Gamecube... though it does play games... and is rather cubic... Pic: Ouya

Since the days of the great Atari crash, the history of game consoles has been one of increasingly powerful walled gardens. Massive companies exercise tight control over what games can be released on their platform, how often, and at what price. But that model is starting to look a little outdated. We live in a world where iOS is succeeding as a game platform with thousands of lightly regulated titles, where even hardcore games like Team Fortress 2 are making the free-to-play model work, and where PC developers often make more money when they control the price of their own games.

Those are the kinds of business developments that are motivating the team behind Ouya, a $99, Android 4.0-based TV game console project launching on Kickstarter today. Ouya is promising to provide a more open, hackable, and flexible gaming environment than the console market has ever seen before.

Ouya founder Julie Uhrman—who’s had executive experience at GameFly, IGN, and Vivendi Universal—thinks it's about time the console market learned from the success other platforms have seen recently by opening up. “It’s ironic, all the growth in gaming is moving to mobile platforms, [and] we’re seeing a lot of AAA developers leaving their console shops to go to mobile, yet three out of every four dollars is still spent in the living room, a majority of gaming time is still spent on the TV, and if you survey any gamer they’ll tell you their No. 1 platform is the TV.”

The increasing expense and complications of getting a game on to a console are forcing developers onto other platforms, Uhrman said. It's leading to a situation where the consoles are “stuck with sequel after sequel versus new created games and IP because it’s too expensive and no one wants to take a risk as something new. … We just think the time is really right. Nothing new came out of E3 [hardware-wise], and everybody’s feeling a little tired. It’s interesting because around the time of E3, everyone was asking if consoles were dead. We don’t think consoles are dead, we just think it’s time to rethink the way we do business.”

Hackable hardware

The proposed hardware specs for the Ouya are about what you’d expect for a console that comes in at less than $100. The system uses the same kind of quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor that powers the Google Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface tablets, along with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage. That’ll let the system easily run decently complex 3D games at 1080p, but graphically it won’t hold a candle to the Xbox 360 or PS3 (much less their successors, which are expected as soon as late 2013).

What Ouya lacks in raw power, it makes up for with its low price and an open design that seems perfect for hackers and hobbyists. Ouya owners will be able to open the casing with a standard screwdriver to upgrade everything from the RAM to the memory chips, and even to solder additions onto the motherboard itself using “clearly documented test points,” according to a fact sheet. Basic consumers won’t be expected to regularly upgrade the internals like PC gamers, however—Uhrman said developers can be confident in developing for “one chipset that will be totally standard.”

On the software side, every console will come pre-loaded with a free SDK, letting anyone familiar with Android development become a potential Ouya developer without paying any additional fees. The operating system on the Ouya is fully rootable, as well, meaning we’re sure to see a Linux distro for the box roughly five microseconds after it’s available in the wild.

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Ouya's hybrid controller has traditional buttons and joysticks, plus a central touchpad for controlling mobile Android ports.

But Uhrman said Android was a preferable option over an open source environment like Linux for one key reason. “Familiarity is key,” she said. “Any time you want to launch something new, you want to remove as many reservations and hurdles as possible... there’s always opportunity cost, and you want to give the best value proposition. I looked at what was out there, and Android is well accepted by hundreds of developers, it’s easy to understand it is not expensive to start developing on, and we’re starting to see a huge movement of developers to the mobile space... It’s something that they know; they’re not learning something new.”

Android roots don’t mean a completely touch-based interface, though. Ouya will include a standard wireless controller with two analog sticks, a d-pad, and eight action buttons, along with a 2-to-3-inch touchpad set in the middle to allow for gesture-based controls. The dual-use controller allows for the accuracy and responsiveness required for standard, joystick-and-button-based console games, Uhrman said. It will also serve as a bridge to let existing Android games be ported to the system easily. She even suggested that the unique controller could lead to new games that use both the touchpad and the standard buttons, which “won’t be available anywhere else” (though we think the Wii U’s tablet GamePad could probably handle them).


Software questions

Ouya’s Android architecture means most existing Android games and apps should work on the system with little to no modification. However, we imagine games designed for a 4-inch phone screen might need some graphical changes before being shown on an HDTV. Ouya owners won’t just be able to pluck any old app off the Google Play store, though—developers and customers will have to go through a proprietary Ouya store. This lets the company take a standard 30 percent fee from all content sold (the store will also provide an “extra layer of security” against piracy through online authentication, a representative told Ars). And while games will be the primary focus for the system, non-gaming apps will also be available on the store, including game-focused live video streaming service Twitch.TV.

The Ouya store will have a minimal approval process that allows a wide variety of titles, Uhrman said, but there will be one requirement that is non-negotiable: every game on Ouya will be free-to-play in some form. That might bring up visions of a system dominated by microtransactions and pay-to-win schemes, but Uhrman clarified that the “free-to-play” portion of an Ouya game could take any form a developer wants. An Ouya game could follow the popular PC and console demo model, for instance, offering a free feature or time-limited version gratis with the option to pay a one-time fee to unlock the full version. “Our only requirement is that the gamer have the opportunity to play some aspect of it for free,” Uhrman said. “We don’t like the idea that you pay $60 for a game and feel cheated. We want anybody to have the opportunity to try the game.”

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A prototype menu screen provided by Ouya shows a rash of Android ports for the system. Oh, and Minecraft.

Precisely what games those Ouya owners will be trying at the system’s planned launch early next year is still a mystery. Uhrman wasn’t ready to confirm which titles or developers would be represented at the system’s planned launch early next year, but a press sheet accompanying the announcement listed supportive quotes from developers including Jordan Mechner (Prince of Persia), Jenova Chen (Flower, Flow), Adam Saltsman (Canabalt), and Markus “Notch” Persson (Minecraft). Images of a prototype menu system provided by Ouya also showed a prototype system with a menu highlighting Minecraft as an option, as well as titles with a more mobile heritage like Canabalt, Triple Town, Dead Trigger, and Shadowgun.

While it seems like Ouya won’t hurt for support from the indie and mobile sides of the industry, it remains to be seen whether the big-name, AAA console publishers will be willing to throw their weight behind an unproven new system (or whether a low-cost, hacker-friendly system can survive and thrive without them). Uhrman thinks the major publishers will come on board, though, because Ouya gives them easy access to an open digital distribution environment without the danger of lowering the value of their games. Unlike mobile phones and tablet platforms, she said, publishers will be able to sell downloadable titles on Ouya for $60, and “it’ll be accepted by gamers, because it’s a television-based game that’s leveraging a real controller and everything that comes along with it.”

Interplay founder Brian Fargo (Wasteland, A Bard’s Tale) told Ars he was skeptical of the idea behind Ouya when he first heard it pitched. But Fargo was convinced to become a minor investor in the project when the founders pointed out how well systems like the PlayStation 2 have continued to sell at the $99 price point. And while independent developers aren’t exactly hurting for opportunities to innovate on platforms like the PC and iOS, Fargo said he’s excited to see these developers get a crack at making games designed for the living room TV with a standard controller.

“I like to support anything that provides more opportunities for smaller developers,” Fargo told Ars. “No one company can compete with the crowd. This is, for the first time, giving the crowd a chance to see what they can do with a console television.”

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 Post subject: Re: All things Android
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Spawny wrote:
Got my Galaxy S3 yesterday :fonz:


How are you finding it so far?

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