Archive for December, 2010


Friday, December 31st, 2010

‘Most sophisticated

mobile virus’

starts spreading on

Android smartphones

December 31, 2010 – 10:00AM
The Google Nexus One smartphone, seen here at its launch in Washington in January, uses the company's Android software.
Targeted … Google Android phones. Photo: AFP

A very powerful virus targeting smartphones in China using Google’s Android operating system may represent the most sophisticated bug to target mobile devices to date, security researchers stated.

Anti-virus firm Lookout Mobile Security estimates that the number of phones that have been infected by the virus, dubbed Geinimi, could be tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands.

Researchers said that the virus has yet to wreak havoc, though, and that they were unsure what its authors were seeking to accomplish. 

“It is not clear to us what the purpose of it is,” said Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer for Lookout. “It could be anything from a malicious advertising network to an attempt to create a botnet.”

A botnet is an army of enslaved computers that its controllers can compromise for identity theft, use to launch attacks to shut down websites or turn into spam email servers.

Still, the emergence of the Geinimi virus underlines concerns that hackers are shifting from focusing on attacking PCs to targeting mobile devices as sales of the powerful handheld computers take off and users increasingly put sensitive data in their pockets.

Phones become contaminated with Geinimi when users download software applications that have been repackaged to include the virus, according to researchers from Lookout and Symantec Corp.

Tainted programs include versions of the video games Monkey Jump 2, President vs. Aliens, City Defense and Baseball Superstars 2010,Lookout said.

Lookout researchers said that so far they have only found the tainted software at third-party apps stores targeting the Chinese market. Legitimate versions of the applications in the official Android market appear to be safe, they said.

Compromised phones call back to a remote computer for instructions on what to do at five-minute intervals. Then they transmit information on the device’s location, its hardware ID and SIM card back to the remote computer.

To date the remote computers have been collecting data but have not issued any other orders to the infected phones, Mahaffey said.

Liam Murchu, a research manager with anti-virus software maker Symantec, said that infected devices could be ordered to make calls, send text messages and download other malicious software onto the phones.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, December 31st, 2010

Sony to launch

PlayStation phone

December 30, 2010 – 10:33AM
A grab from a leaked video purporting to be of the PlayStation phone.A grab from a leaked video purporting to be of the PlayStation phone.

Sony’s long-rumoured PlayStation Portable smartphone is set to be launched in North America and Europe as early as the first half of 2011, according to  Japanese newspapers.

The phone gaming device would likely be based on Sony’s handheld PSP Go game console, would be made by Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and run Google’s Android operating system, said the Asahi Shimbun’s English edition, citing unnamed sources.

Sony hopes to take on Apple’s iPhone, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry and Nokia devices by offering the first smartphone that is based on a portable game console, with a set of controls that allows very advanced gaming.

The PSP Go, launched in November 2009, does feature software downloads through a wireless connection, allowing players to also browse the internet, watch movies, play music and read books and comics.

The new PlayStation handset would similarly work with Sony’s online media platform, Sony’s answer to Apple’s iTunes.

Sony hopes the phone will stimulate sales in the sluggish videogame console market, said the Asahi.

Sony called the newspaper report “speculative” and declined to comment.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Microsoft co-founder


tech patent suit

General view of Microsoft Corporation new headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris October 6, 2009. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

General view of Microsoft Corporation new headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris October 6, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

By Bill Rigby

SEATTLE | Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:44am EST

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen relaunched a wide-ranging patent lawsuit against Apple Inc, Google Inc, Facebook and others with specific allegations that the companies are illegally using technology owned by his company.

Interval Licensing LLC, a small research company set up by Allen in 1992, originally filed a broad patent suit in federal court in Seattle in August, but Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed it on the grounds that it did not specify any actual products or devices. The revised suit was filed by Interval on Tuesday.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, claims Interval was central to research and development of technology in the Internet arena in the 1990s, amassing more than 300 patents and providing research assistance to Google.

In the suit, Allen’s company claims four of its patents — chiefly related to the way Web data is sorted and presented — have been infringed by a number of successful companies.


The first patent concerns the generation of data related to information being browsed. Interval claims Google uses this technology to match advertisements from third parties to content being displayed, while AOL’s sites use it to suggest items related to news stories.

Interval claims Apple’s iTunes service uses the technology to suggest music based on a user’s searches, and that eBay Inc, Facebook, Netflix, Yahoo Inc and Office Depot’s sites have also infringed the patent in the way they direct users to related content.

The second and third patents concern relaying information on a computer screen in a peripheral, unobtrusive manner, such as in an instant messaging box or overlay.

Interval claims its patent has been infringed by features in AOL’s Instant Messenger, Apple’s Dashboard, Google Talk and Gmail Notifier, Google’s Android phone system and Yahoo Widgets.

The fourth patent concerns alerting Web browsers to new items of interest based on activity of other users. Interval claims AOL uses this technology on its shopping sites, while Apple’s iTunes uses it to recommend music.

Interval claims eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, Staples Inc, Yahoo and Google’s YouTube all have infringed the patent in the way they suggest content to users.


The suit makes no mention of Microsoft as a patent holder or infringer, even though Allen’s former company offers products similar to some described in the suit. A spokesman for Allen declined to comment on the suit.

Allen, 57, is the world’s 37th richest person, according to Forbes magazine. He resigned as a Microsoft executive in 1983. Since then, he has funded scientific and medical research through his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and invested in many projects in his native Seattle and Pacific Northwest region.

Interval has asked the court for damages and a ban on products that use the disputed patents. It is unclear how seriously the court, or the companies he has targeted, will take Allen’s legal charges.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

China delays NSN’s

$1.2 billion buy

of Motorola unit

By Tarmo Virki, European technology correspondent

HELSINKI | Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:36pm EST

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Nokia Siemens Networks’ agreed $1.2 billion acquisition of Motorola’s telecom network equipment arm has been delayed by the Chinese regulator, which has yet to grant permission for the deal.

The chief executive of Nokia Siemens, Nokia’s network gear unit, said he was working closely with the Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce of China to finalize the clearance.

“This delay is disappointing, but we’re looking forward to completing the acquisition early in the new year,” Nokia Siemens Networks CEO Rajeev Suri said in a statement on Tuesday.

The deal will strengthen Nokia Siemens – a joint venture between Nokia and Germany‘s Siemens – against its key Chinese rivals, and make it the second-largest mobile telecom gear maker ahead of China’s Huawei.

All other regulatory clearances for the deal which will grow Nokia Siemens business in key markets in North America and Japan, have been obtained, Nokia Siemens said.

“Nowadays Chinese approval is a pre-closing condition for many high-tech M&A transactions, and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has previously shown that it takes its time even after other regulators clear a deal,” said Florian Mueller, consultant on competition issues.

“China proved in the Panasonic-Sanyo case that it stood its ground even after a deal had been cleared by the U.S. and the EU, and insisted on additional remedies,” Mueller said.

In October 2009 China granted Panasonic Corp anti-monopoly clearance to buy Sanyo Electric Co Ltd subject to conditions, including cutting its stake in a battery venture with Toyota Motor Corp.

Motorola and NSN have had a hard time battling bigger players to win business with large telephone companies in the cut-throat mobile gear market, which is expected by analysts to decline in 2010.

Motorola has only 3 percent share of global mobile network market, but it gives Nokia Siemens relationships with more than 50 telecom operators and to strengthen its position with major carriers like China Mobile, Clearwire, KDDI, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone.

Motorola said the delay in unit sale would not impact its ongoing split-up.

“It will not affect the separation of Motorola, which is on schedule for January 4, 2011,” said Motorola Solutions spokeswoman Tama Mcwhinney.

In New York Nokia shares were 0.4 percent lower at $10.18 at 1640 GMT, while Motorola 0.1 percent lower at $8.98.

(Additional reporting by Yinka Adegoke in New York; Editing by Erica Billingham)

Sourced & published by Henmry Sapiecha


Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

An edible iPhone with app-y garnish-Phone food

5:08am | Apple’s iPhone freaks who can’t get enough of the popular gadget can now go nuts over a cutting-edge cookie.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Sony to spend

$1.2 billion

to double

image sensor output


People walk in front of the Sony Corp's headquarters in Tokyo in this November 25, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

People walk in front of the Sony Corp’s headquarters in Tokyo in this November 25, 2010 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

TOKYO | Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:03am EST

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony Corp will invest $1.2 billion in the next financial year to double its output of image sensors, taking advantage of brisk demand for digital cameras and smartphones.

The sum includes a deal announced last week to buy back a semiconductor production line from Toshiba Corp, which has been estimated by an industry source at 50 billion yen ($600 million).

Sony will take advantage of a Japanese government subsidy for environmentally friendly businesses to help with the investment, it said in a statement but declined to say how much that would be.

It will convert part of the plant in Nagasaki, southern Japan, for the production of CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors and invest in wafer processing equipment for CMOS image sensors.

Sony is the world’s second largest digital camera maker behind Canon Inc and runs a mobile phone joint venture with Sweden’s Ericsson.

The investment will bring its total production of image sensors, including CCD and CMOS types, to 50,000 units a month by March 2012.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

No jokes or paper

crowns in

iPhone’s Christmas


Marika Dobbin

December 28, 2010

India Thomas with her father's iPhone 4.India Thomas with her father’s broken iPhone 4. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

TWO new iPhones were accidentally broken in the Thomas household in just two days recently. Worth nearly $900 each, it was a financial blow the family of five did not need before Christmas.

But new research shows the Thomases are not alone, with the latest model iPhones much more prone to cracked screens and accidental damage than their predecessors.

Released in Australia in July, the iPhone 4’s glass front and back are 82 per cent more likely to crack than the single screen of the iPhone 3, according to research by SquareTrade Warranties.

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The company analysed its warranty claims for more than 20,000 iPhone 4s and found that owners also reported 68 per cent more accidental damage than for iPhone 3s.

About 15.5 per cent of iPhone 4 owners had an accident within months of buying their phone.

”The iPhone 4 appears to be significantly more likely to break than previous versions. The aluminosilicate glass seems to crack at least as often as the old glass, and there is now twice as much surface area to break,” the company said.

Apple gave away free rubber bumper sleeves not long after releasing the iPhone 4 because of reception problems when it was gripped in a certain way.

Repair shops also reported within days of the launch that the phone smashed too easily. Dropped iPhones are not covered by Apple under warranty.

Steve Thomas, a Melbourne builder, said his touchscreen shattered when his daughter India, 6, dropped it on the road while taking photos. His wife Eve found hers had somehow cracked in her handbag the next day.

”I dropped my old iPhone heaps of times and that never happened,” Mr Thomas said.

Apple has not followed other big handset manufacturers in extending warranties from one to two years in cases of 24-month phone contracts. It charges extra for an extended warranty.

Apple Australia could not be reached for comment.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Apple sued over

iPhone and iPad apps

that snoop on users

December 28, 2010 – 9:18AM
Apple CEO Steve Jobs poses with the new iPhone 4 during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.The iPhone 4’s killer apps come at a price. Photo: Reuters

Apple is being sued sued over claims that applications for the company’s iPhone and iPad transmit users’ personal information to advertising networks without customers’ consent.

The complaint, which seeks class action, or group, status, was filed on December 23 in federal court in San Jose, California. The suit claims Cupertino, California-based Apple’s iPhones and iPads are encoded with identifying devices that allow advertising networks to track what applications users download, how frequently they’re used and for how long.

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“Some apps are also selling additional information to ad networks, including users’ location, age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation and political views,” according to the suit.

The suit, filed on behalf of Jonathan Lalo of Los Angeles County, identifies applications such as Pandora, Paper Toss, the Weather Channel and, and names them as defendants along with Apple. Lalo is represented by Scott A. Kamber and Avi Kreitenberg of KamberLaw LLC in New York.

Apple iPhones and iPads are set with a Unique Device Identifier, or UDID, which can’t be blocked by users, according to the complaint. Apple claims it reviews all applications on its App Store and doesn’t allow them to transmit user data without customer permission, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit, claiming the transmission of personal information is a violation of federal computer fraud and privacy laws, seeks class-action status for Apple customers who downloaded an application on their iPhone or iPad between Dec. 1, 2008, and last week.

Amy Bessette, a spokeswoman for Apple, didn’t immediately return a phone call or email seeking comment.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

GEAR4 UnityRemote turns iOS devices into universal remotes

UK-based GEAR4, a company better known for its iPod and iPhone audio docks, today announced the U.S. availability of its UnityRemote that turns an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad into a universal remote control. To get around the fact these Apple devices don’t pack an infrared transmitter, the GEAR4 setup consists of an app available for free from the iTunes Store and a small cylindrical device that receives a Bluetooth signal from an iOS device and then sends an infrared command to control the various components of your home entertainment setup. Read More

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Poco PRO – the credit card-sized 14-megapixel compact digital camera

With cameras pretty much standard equipment on mobile phones nowadays, a lot of people don’t bother with the extra hassle of carrying around a separate one, even if it means sacrificing picture quality for convenience. While we can’t comment on the picture quality, the Poco PRO from Iain Sinclair certainly seems to tick the right boxes in the specs department and won’t be too much trouble to cart around thanks to its credit card-like dimensions. Read More

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha