alphadogg writes "There are currently several million smartphones certified to run on a 'HotSpot 2.0' Wi-Fi network, which promises automatic Wi-Fi authentication and connection, and seamless roaming between different Wi-Fi hotspot brands, and eventually between Wi-Fi and cellular connections. In November, about 400 smartphone users finally got a chance to do so — in Beijing, China. The next big public demonstration of what's confusingly referred to as both Hotspot 2.0 and Next Generation Hotspot will be in February: an estimated 75,000 attendees at the next Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will be able to take part."
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tramp writes "The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable. Of course it is 'only metadata' and absolutely not invading privacy if you ask our 'beloved' NSA." Pretty soon, the argument about whether you have in any given facet of your life a "reasonable expectation of privacy" may take on a whole new meaning. Also at Slash BI.
OldJuke writes "Called the YotaPhone, the device pairs a traditional LCD color touch-screen on one side with a black-and-white, electronic-paper display on the other, allowing users to continuously view data in real time without having to constantly wake up their phones and drain their batteries. General interaction will be done through the LCD screen, but the e-paper display allows an image to be displayed at all times — from maps, airline boarding passes and family photos to Twitter messages and emails — but only uses power when the picture changes. BBC News interviewed the company's leader, Vlad Martynov, for a hands-on demonstration."
First time accepted submitter wick3t writes "The Neo900 fundraising campaign has already achieved the milestone of 200 pre-orders which means that mass production is now feasible. This follows a successful first prototype that was showcased at the OpenPhoenux-Hard-Software-Workshop 2013. Their next target is 1000 pre-orders as they aspire to reduce the production costs of each device." For those not familiar, the Neo 900 is an offshoot of the OpenMoko GTA04 designed for use in the popular Nokia N900 case (and, yes, they're fixing the weak usb port).
jones_supa writes "Talouselämä Magazine met Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimäki and asked a puzzling question. If Jolla truly is compatible with Android devices, is Jolla going to let individual users to install the Sailfish operating system on the Android devices that they already have? Pienimäki answers: 'That is the plan. We are on device business and OS business. It is fairly easy to install the OS on Android devices'. He says that especially in China, changing firmwares is a mainstream thing. About half of the smartphone buyers are upgrading their older or cheaper devices with a better version of Android. Therefore, Jolla's plan is to get some Sailfish installations sneaked in, too."
mrspoonsi writes "A team of ex-Nokia employees has released the first handset running on a new smartphone platform. The Jolla phone — pronounced Yol-la — is powered by open-source operating system Sailfish, but can run most apps designed for Google's Android platform. The platform — originally called MeeGo — was developed by Nokia, but dumped in 2011 in favour of the company adopting the Windows Phone system. Nokia released just one handset running the software, the N9-00. Antti Saarnio, chairman and co-founder of Jolla, told the BBC in May that MeeGo — now called Sailfish — had not been given enough chance to succeed."
jones_supa writes "Jolla, the mobile phone company formed by ex-Nokia employees, has officially launched its first phone. It will be initially available in Finland, paired with the local telecom operator DNA. After that, it will be made available in 135 other countries. The Jolla handset runs the Sailfish OS, which is itself based on the former MeeGo platform developed by Nokia and Intel several years ago to produce Linux-based smartphone software. Sailfish can run Android apps and it also integrates Nokia's Here mapping and positioning technology. Looking at the hardware, the device sports a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 1GB memory and 16GB of flash storage, plus a 4.5in 960x540 IPS touchscreen with Gorilla 2 Glass. It has the usual mobile network support, including GSM/3G/4G, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth, 8MP autofocus rear camera and 2MP front camera. SIM-free pricing is expected to be €399."
MojoKid writes "Motorola is forging ahead with the concept of modular, customizable smartphones first put forth by designer Dave Hakkens with his Phonebloks concept. The company said recently that it was officially pursuing such an idea with Project Ara, and Motorola is already putting together important partnerships to make it happen. 3D Systems, a maker of 3D printers and other related products, has signed on to create a 'continuous high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfillment system' for it. In other words, 3D Systems is going to print parts for the project, and what's more, the company has what appears to be an exclusive agreement to make all the enclosures and modules for Project Ara."
aitikin writes "The Federal Communications Commission is expected to propose allowing passengers to use their cellphones on airplanes. While phone use would still be restricted during takeoff and landing, the proposal would lift an FCC ban on airborne calls and cellular data use by passengers once a flight reaches 10,000 feet. From the article: 'The move would lift a regulatory hurdle, but any use of cellphones on planes would still have to be approved by the airlines, which have said they would approach the issue cautiously due to strong objections from their customers. Airlines would have to install equipment in their planes that would communicate with cellphone towers on the ground.'"
Ars Technica runs through the pretty and simple (but Windows-only) installer that is one of the first big fruits of the newly commercialized CyanogenMod project, and finds it very worthwhile. However, and despite being far easier for ordinary mortals than the error-prone process of the old way to put on CyanogenMod, it's not perfect: reviewer Ron Amadeo ran into troubles using it on his Nexus 4, and cautions: "If CyanogenMod Inc. really wants to lower the barrier to entry, they next thing they need is a way for users to just as easily go back to the setup they had before installing CyanogenMod. Currently, the installer is a one-way street. If the user decides CyanogenMod isn't for them and wants to go back, they're stuck. Even worse, they could run into the situation I did, where CyanogenMod installs but everything is broken. I've done this enough that I know how to go back to stock, but for a novice, they would have been abandoned with a broken phone."
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "Yes, there's yet another company out there with an inscrutable system making decisions about you that will affect the kinds of services you're offered. Based out of L.A.'s 'Silicon Beach,' Telesign helps companies verify that a mobile number belongs to a user (sending those oh-so-familiar 'verify that you received this code' texts) and takes care of the mobile part of two-factor authenticating or password changes. Among their over 300 clients are nine of the ten largest websites. Now Telesign wants to leverage the data — and billions of phone numbers — it deals with daily to provide a new service: a PhoneID Score, a reputation-based score for every number in the world that looks at the metadata Telesign has on those numbers to weed out the burner phones from the high-quality ones."
jfruh writes "In America we're celebrating the fact that we don't have to stow our Kindles during takeoff and landing anymore, but the EU is going a step further and not requiring passengers to switch their phones to "airplane" mode anymore. If you're on an airplane with a Network Control Unit that regulate cellular connections, you can text and make calls over standard 3G and 4G networks. You'll want to watch out for roaming charges, though, especially if you're on a flight crossing national borders."
cartechboy writes "A new survey out this week says that the number of motorists who surf the Web has nearly doubled over the past four years. In 2009, 13 percent of motorists admitted that they'd accessed the Internet while driving. In 2013, that figure had jumped to 24 percent. Smartphones are the primary culprit, making the unsafe task even easier. Other distracted driving behavior is on the rise, too, and younger drivers are the biggest issue — 76 percent of motorists 18 to 29 said that they talked on a hand-held cell phone while driving. 70 percent said they were texting. Keep in mind we have states legislating smartphone use task by task, which clearly doesn't help."
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "Every smartphone or other device with mobile communications capability (e.g. 3G or LTE) actually runs not one, but two operating systems. Aside from the operating system that we as end-users see (Android, iOS, PalmOS), it also runs a small operating system that manages everything related to radio. So, we have a complete operating system, running on an ARM processor, without any exploit mitigation (or only very little of it), which automatically trusts every instruction, piece of code, or data it receives from the base station you're connected to. What could possibly go wrong?"
Zanadou writes "CyanogenMod today released for general availability a friendly[er]-to-use Windows-based installer that will automagically (no need to first root and/or unlock the bootloader) step users though downloading, flashing and setting up an appropriate CyanogenMod version on supported Android phones. Along with this, a 'companion app' that apparently helps set up the installer is now available the Play Store, along with a newly-refreshed download page. Still no image for 'hammerhead' (Nexus 5), though."
First time accepted submitter SlongNY writes in with a story that journalists may be banned from taking photos or videos with smartphones at the 2014 Olympics. "'Journalists using mobile phones to film athletes or spectators will be considered a serious violation and will result in cancellation of accreditation,' said Vasily Konov, head of the state-run R-Sport news agency, which controls accreditation at the games. According to Buzzfeed, Mr. Konov later denied that he had said the ban was in place. Radio Free Europe, however, also reported him as saying the same thing."
sfcrazy writes "The newly incorporated CyanogenMod has secured a deal with Oppo to bring their N1 to the market preloaded with CyanogenMod. The special edition of the OPPO N1 has been customized to support all the unique features of the OPPO N1, and include extra CyanogenMod accessories."
MojoKid writes "One of the hallmark features of Google's Nexus 5 flagship smartphone by LG isn't its bodaciously big 5-inch HD display, its 8MP camera, or its "OK Google" voice commands. That has all been done before. What does stand out about the Nexus 5 is Google's new Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS and LG's SoC (System on Chip) processor of choice, namely Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core. Qualcomm is known for licensing ARM core technology and making it their own; and Qualcomm's latest Krait 400 quad-core along with the Adreno 330 GPU that comprise the Snapdragon 800, is a powerful beast. Google also has taken the scalpel to Kit Kat in all the right places, whittling down the overall footprint of the OS, so it's more efficient on lower-end devices and also offers faster multitasking. Specifically memory usage has been optimized in a number of areas. Couple these OS tweaks with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and you end up with a smartphone that hugs the corners and lights 'em up on the straights. Putting the Nexus 5 through its paces, it turns out preliminary figures are promising. In fact, the Nexus 5 actually was able to surpass the iPhone 5s with Apple's 64-bit A7 processor in a few tests and goes toe to toe with it in gaming and graphics." Ars Technica has a similarly positive view of the hardware aspects of the phone, dinging it slightly for its camera but otherwise finding little to fault.
jfruh writes "Like Windows, Android has built a dominant market share because any hardware manufacturer can license it — and as they did with Windows, those manufacturers are loading up Android devices with their own proprietary crapware. Although the process is a bit convoluted, you can get this crapware off your phone — and in doing so you'll actually make the device more secure."
iONiUM writes "As a follow up to LG's announcement of mass flexible OLED production, and as a competitor to the limited Samsung Round trial which was only available in Korea on SK Telecom, LG has released the G Flex phone which is curved vertically (instead of the Round's horizontal bend, which many thought was the 'wrong way'). In addition, the G Flex can actually be flexed, as shown in the video in the article."