There has been plenty of talk regarding “Heartbleed” lately. For those who may have somehow missed that story, the simple version is that Heartbleed is a flaw in OpenSSL. But while that is simple to say, this is causing issues for quite a few people. On the flip side, we do have a bit of good news for Android users.
It seems Heartbleed is only causing issues for one specific version of Android. Google recently shared some details on the official Online Security Blog and mentioned how “all versions of Android are immune to CVE-2014-0160 (with the limited exception of Android 4.1.1.)” For reference, CVE-2014-0160 is Heartbleed.
There hasn’t been any specific timeline given as to when an update can be expected for Android 4.1.1. Google said “patching information for Android 4.1.1 is being distributed to Android partners.” Basically, it sounds like Google has the fix ready for 4.1.1 users and it is just a matter of when the partners and carriers are ready to begin the rollouts.
Google has combined some of the numbers in recent distribution reports so it is hard to get an accurate figure here. But that said, according to the numbers coming from earlier this month, Android 4.1.x currently accounts for 34.4 percent of Android usage. We can only hope the patching update rolls out quickly, and that Android 4.1.1 makes up a small percentage of the overall Android 4.1.x figure.
Google and DC Entertainment have just taken their partnership to a whole new level. Avid DC fans will probably be tickled pink to know that they can now catch up on their favorite titles and characters on Google Play Books on a monthly or even weekly basis.
This is, of course, not the first time Google Play Books has offered DC’s collection. In 2013, Google’s digital library started to sell DC titles but mostly in collected volume or novel formats. Now monthly and weekly releases will also be available for purchase on Google Play Books.
Google’s store is certainly not the only game in town. DC has long been using other channels to course its digital products to mobile devices. In particular, DC has had a long standing partnership with Comixology and has its titles available from the DC-branded app as well as the all-in-one Comixology app itself. This news, then, perhaps makes more sense to those who rely heavily on Google Play for their digital reading or those who haven’t yet invested heavily on Comixology and friends.
Before you jump for joy, however, there is one tiny detail that might douse your excitement, if you’re not living in the US. The single issue periodicals isn’t available in all territories covered by Google Play Books, at least not yet. Currently, it has only been announced for the US but DC promises that additional markets will follow but, as expected, doesn’t give any clue when.
Longtime frenemies [#protected_0#] and Apple are back in court after a hiatus of several months. The new trial does not question Samsung’s culpability in infringing on Apple’s patents but instead revolves on how much Samsung really has to pay in damages.
According to Apple legal counsel Harold McElhinny, that amount is a staggering 9.8 million. This is to cover all five patents that Samsung has been found to infringe on, including the now iconic pinch to zoom gesture. Samsung was originally ordered to cough up billion last year, but in March this year, US District Judge Lucy Koh said that the jury erred on calculating part of the damages, ordering the two companies to go back to trial in order to argue on the actual amount. The disputed portion that Koh struck off was 0 million, quite close to the amount that Apple is now demanding.
For its part, Samsung’s lawyer William Price is saying that this is quite a hefty price to pay. Instead, according to him, the Korean company only owes Apple .7 million. Price argues that the gigantic amount Apple is asking for covers all 13 of the Samsung products found to have violated Apple’s patents. Furthermore, even million is already a heavy amount even for Samsung, says Price. That argument might be a hard sell if one considers Apple’s testimony that Samsung made off with .5 billion in revenue for selling 10.7 million units of those infringing smartphones.
This is just the opening salvo of the trial that is taking place at the San Jose, California US District Court. The back and forth bickering is expected to continue for a week, to be followed by some rather serious jury deliberation.
There’s change in the Google universe and not all users are happy about it.
Google had an unusually active afternoon yesterday, when it started rolling out updates to a bevy of applications, including Gmail, Search, Analytics, Voice, and Hangouts.
It’s possible that the updates are affecting some users of the Hangouts chat service, who report that the service delivers messages to wrong recipients.
On Google’s product forums, dozens of users complain about the issue, some very vocally. A quick search on Twitter reveals more reports from disgruntled users, complaining about the confusion and potential privacy violation.
The issue may be related to the old Google Talk chat application for PC, and seems to occur more frequently when users use Talk to send messages to users on the Hangouts web app.
They say that the best defense is a good offense, but they also say don’t pick a fight you cannot win. This seems to be the wisdom applied by Motorola when it decided to settle with Xoom Corporation instead of battling out a trademark infringement lawsuit involving the “Xoom” name.
In early 2011, just around the time Motorola launched it’s new tablet, the Motorola Xoom, the company was slapped with a trademark infringement case from Xoom Corporation. Xoom Corp. is an online payment company that had been using the name since 2003. Clearly it did not want Motorola muddying up its name and causing confusion.
Fast-forward to today, Motorola, now a subsidiary of Google, has decided to cut its losses. A company spokesperson gave the usual statement that the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both Motorola and Xoom Corp. Like any settlement, the public will never be privy to the details, such as price and terms. But we do know that as part of that, Motorola will be retiring the Xoom name from its tablet lineup.
It still boggles the mind how, in today’s Internet age, companies as huge as Motorola would not be able to properly research a name before they stamp it on their flagship products. They could have easily avoided the PR and financial fallout that this caused. Considering the Xoom wasn’t really a commercial success anyway, it’s probably just best for Motorola to close this page in its history and move on to a new and better flagship tablet.
Endings are usually accompanied by sadness, but there’s one kind of ending that provokes a smile — the weekend — not only because weekends signal the end of the work week but also because it’s time for our weekly roundup of the week’s newest Android apps.
Of the hundreds of newly published apps on the Google Play Store this week, we picked 7 that we thought might be of use or of great interest to you as they were to us. So, here are 7 freshly baked Android apps straight from the developers’ kitchens this week.
Find where to park faster with ParkMe’s self-named app, ParkMe. This smart app checks your current location and looks for nearby parking spaces with their corresponding parking rates, location, payment options, and lot availability. The app also comes with a parking timer which is pretty handy especially when you’re parking on a budget. ParkMe is a convenient app to have when you’re navigating through a big city like New York or Los Angeles. You can also check parking spaces ahead of time by using the app’s search function. Unfortunately, ParkMe’s location coverage is currently limited to some cities and countries; however, you can still retrieve an up-to-date map of your target location. Check out ParkMe for free on the Google Play Store.
Wallpapers can easily become dull and boring to look at. On the other hand, switching to another wallpaper or installing a different app can be too much work. Timewall Clock Wallpaper free by Stetel srl breaks the monotony of your homescreen as easy as changing your wallpaper. Choose an image from your album and convert it into a an extended homescreen wallpaper. The app also displays the time, day, date, and current battery life; you can easily replace your clock widget with it. The app is ad-supported, but the ads only show up while you’re in the app. Timewall Clock Wallpaper free also has an affordable premium version which unlocks features like setting a custom font color for your time and date display, as well as selecting a background item to be displayed.
Artists tend to weigh down their bags with various art materials and sketchbooks, just in case the inspiration strikes while they’re out and about. Developed by Didlr, the company’s self-named app Didlr lets you doodle on your phone wherever you are. You can draw with a variety of colors and a variety of pen points, as well as use up to three layers. When you’re done sketching your masterpiece, you can instantly share your drawing with other Didlr users. The app shows ads on the main gallery menu.
The more powerful smartphones become, the more functions and features they have. Unfortunately, this means that if we want to access one function, we’ll have to do a lot of swiping and tapping to get there. Easy Touch – Assistive Touch by Cool apps, however, makes your life easier by putting all the shortcuts you need in one place. Launching the app will give you a greyed out ring that will persist across all your screens. Tap the ring to access 7 customizable shortcuts, such as switches, contacts, and applications.
Here’s another app built around the concept of letting you access the apps that you need, well, quickly. Developed by Decad3nce, Quickly lets you put up to 12 app shortcuts on your notification menu. By default, Quickly remains as a notification in your notification menu but pinching out reveals all your set shortcuts. Pinching in hides them. However, Quickly only supports installed apps and cannot make shortcuts for functions and contacts. Get the app quickly from the Google Play Store for US.99.
Capture precious memories in story form with Popup Studios’ Split Camera: Photo Stories. Whether you are just lounging around with your loved one or taking a stroll in the park, don’t miss to capture beautiful moments and make a photo story out of them. Split Camera: Photo Stories lets you create a photo story from up to five photos. Add texts and effects to individual photos to better convey what you are trying to let the viewer feel upon seeing your photo story. Your photo stories can also be shared to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Download Split Camera: Photo Stories for free and start making photo stories of your everyday experiences.
If you frequently use a lot of apps and want them neatly placed on your home screen, maybe trying out Sidebar Pro by Mohammad Adib will be the greatest discovery you’ll ever have today. Have a sidebar placed on your home screen and populate it with your most favorite or most frequented apps. When you need to use one of the apps, you won’t need to visit your app drawer; just swipe from the edge of your home screen to access the sidebar. Tap on a shortcut to launch its app instantly. You can customize the sidebar, too. You can adjust its width, opacity, position, color, and a lot more. Own Sidebar Pro for US.99 only.
Now that you’ve had your fill of our weekly special, I’m sure you’re picking an app that’ll serve your weekend’s purpose. You can choose something that can refuel your creativity or something more useful. Android apps are indeed treasure pots of tricks at your disposal anytime, anywhere. With the right app and the right setting, your weekend is sure to turn out interesting. Who knows? You might learn something new about your phone or yourself.
Liked some of the apps we featured or have you found cool apps you’d like to share? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in a comment below. Now if only there was an app that could guess what people are thinking. Wouldn’t that be fun?