For shame, Google. The G1 has barely even launched, and it’s already faced with its first major breach. An exploit has been discovered by an independent security expert which could potentially allow hackers to hijack the web browser on the G1, allowing them access to users’ passwords, cookies and text messages.
The exploit was discovered by Charlie Miller of Independent Security Evaluators, who first noticed the hole in the Android SDK. He bought an early G1 off a T-Mobile employee on eBay, confirmed that the exploit worked on the real deal, and reported the problem to Google two days before the G1 launched.
The exploit takes advantage of a buffer overrun flaw in one of Androids 80 open-source components. Android uses an out-of-date version of the component, newer versions have addressed the flaw. To protect G1 early-adopters, Miller hasn’t publicized which of the 80 components is the one with the weakness.
Google’s response? “We are working with T-Mobile to include a fix for the browser exploit, which will soon be delivered over the air to all devices, and have addressed this in the Android open-source platform.”
T-Mobile scored a big win by partnering with Google and handset manufacturer HTC to become the first provider to offer a smartphone powered by Android, Google's open-source OS. The pre-release buzz was so strong that initial estimates indicate as many as 1.5 million HTC G1 phones were gobbled up through preorders alone. It would seem illogical to scoff at those kind of numbers, but that's what Dan Hesse, Sprint's CEO, has done.
According to a report on Reuters, the cynical CEO told the National Press Club in Washington that the current iteration of Android isn't "good enough to put the Sprint brand name on it." Is he hating on Google or pouting over being passed over? Likely not. Initial reviews of the recently released G1 show Android as having promise, but as Engadget points out, Android "has a lot of ground to cover before it's really making the competition sweat," namely platforms like the iPhone and Windows Mobile devices.
Don't fret of you're a Spring subscriber. Despite Hesse's unenthusiastic comments, he has promised to sell an Android-powered phone "at some time in the future." Of course, at some point in the future, other manufacturers besides AT&T will also carry Apple's iPhone, so perhaps this is a case where time is of the essence.
Coders, start your engines. The long awaited release of the Android source code has come to an end, thanks to the Android Open Source Project. The announcement, which was made just yesterday, hopes to potentially influence the future of mobile devices as a whole. Pretty ambitious!
“Even if you're not planning to ship a mobile device any time soon, Android has a lot to offer,” writes Dave Bort (are they out of license plates in the gift shop?) on Androiod’s blog, “Interested in working on a speech-recognition library? Looking to do some research on virtual machines? Need an out-of-the-box embedded Linux solution? All of these pieces are available, right now, as part of the Android Open Source Project, along with graphics libraries, media codecs, and some of the best development tools I've ever worked with.” He continues to encourage anyone with a great idea for a new feature to simply add it. Given the nature of the open source project, anyone can influence Android.
Some big ups have to go out to Google on this one, making Andrioid perhaps one of the easiest development tools to acquire. Considering it’s free to license and now the entire source code is available to anyone that wants it, perhaps their dream of world domination is only a few developers away.
Corporate honchos often abuse earnings calls – and other similar events - for making grandiloquent claims and promises. Google co-founder Sergey Brin used Google’s third quarter earnings calls to broadcast his partisan review of the T-Mobile G1. He went gaga over the G1.
Brin said that he has been using a G1 as his primary phone for a few months now. He pointed out a few of the endearing qualities of the G1, while omitting any possible shortcomings. “I'm able to search and browse through my Gmail just as if I was at my desktop,” said Brin. He also praised its web browser and, finally, encouraged people to try the first Android phone themselves.
Back in August there was quite a commotion over the discovery that Apple had included a “kill switch” in the iPhone, functionality that allowed them to remotely remove applications from the device without the user’s consent. Now, in the Android Market terms of service, Google has revealed that Android has its own kill switch.
To Google’s credit, they’re not attempting to hide the kill switch. They say, in the terms of service “Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement … in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion.” Apple, on the other hand, didn’t say a word about their remote removal function until a developer called them out on it.
Further, Android’s kill switch only applies to programs downloaded through the Android Market, meaning that if users really want some verboten app, they still have the option of getting it from the developer, or through other channels, unlike the iPhone. Also, Google says that it will try to refund the purchase price of any app bought through the Market that it has to disable.
What do you think of the kill switch? Will it help keep malware off your G1, or should that be left up to the user? Tell us after the jump.
It doesn't matter that the first-generation iPhone lacked 3G functionality or that early adopters were slapped in the face so quickly after its release. Even intentional bricking through a firmware update hasn't been enough to knock Apple's iPhone off its pedestal as the must-have cellular phone for geeks and hipsters alike. Can T-Mobile's HTC G1 Android phone deliver the right hook and make this a fight?
It's far too early to tell, but early indications look promising. According to the Motley Fool, T-Mobile subscribers have already gobbled up all of the available preorders for initial shipments of the G1, prompting T-Mobile to triple its order with handset maker HTC. Those have sold out too. All tallied, roughly 1.5 million G1s are already accounted for, with another couple million reserved for retail sales.
That still puts the G1 far behind the 10 million iPhones Apple said it would like to sell this year, but it's a good start for a phone that hasn't even been released yet and still won't be for another couple of weeks. And if the G1 is going to have any chance at taking a bite out of Apple, it's going to need to come out strong and convince buyers there's more to the Android platform than hype.
Anyone plan on picking one up or already placed a preorder? Hit the jump and sound off.
For Android to be a force to be reckoned with, the first Android-based phone has to be a success. T-Mobile is very optimistic about the sales prospects of its upcoming G1 - the maiden Android phone - which will become available on October 22, 2008. The service provider expects the Android-based G1 to take the market by storm.
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Taiwan-based HTC might be committed to the progress of Android but it hasn’t forgotten Windows Mobile - its favorite mobile platform. Not that it has the luxury of forsaking Windows Mobile. It happens to be the leading manufacturer of Windows Mobile-based devices in the world.
The company’s CMO John Wang said that Android and Windows Mobile can coexist. However, Wang let it be known as to where HTC’s allegiance actually lies. He stated that Windows Mobile will continue to be most important for the company. This statement appears to be targeted at Microsoft rather than the average smartphone consumer.
According to reports, Microsoft has delayed the release of its Windows Mobile 7 OS. The mobile OS will now be launched in the second half of 2009. It was previously slated for early 2009. The company is said to have notified its partners about the delay, though an official confirmation is still awaited. Windows Mobile 7 will face stiff competition, when it eventually debuts, from Symbian OS, Android and the iPhone . A new version of the most popular mobile OS in the world, Symbian OS, is also expected in 2009. Microsoft certainly has its task cut out.