According to Apple, you should think twice before jailbreaking your iPhone to run software that hasn't been approved for distribution through the iPhone App Store. Should you decide to do it anyway, cellphone towers could come under "potentially catastrophic" cyberattacks, Apple says.
In a filing with the Copyright Office, which is considering a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to legalize the practice of jailbreaking, Apple wrote:
"A local or international hacker could potentially initiate commands (such as a denial of service attack) that could crash the tower software, rendering the tower entirely inoperable to process calls or transmit data. Taking control of the BBP software would be much the equivalent of getting inside the firewall of a corporate computer -- to potentially catastrophic result."
Apple went on to say that the technological protection measures in the iPhone were specifically designed to avoid such scenarios, and jailbreaking would undo all of that.
Fred von Lohmann, the EFF attorney who has requested that consumers have the legal right to jailbreak iPhones, isn't buying Apple's claims.
"As far as I know, nothing like that has ever happened," Lohmann said in an interview. "This kind of theoretical threat is more FUD than truth."
According to news and rumor site The Inquirer, Microsoft plans to rebrand its Windows Mobile operating system to Windows Phone. The name change "reflects the upcoming desktop operating system release where people away from their PC can have the same experience everywhere," Microsoft explains.
The Windows Phone branding will be applied to Windows Mobile 6.1, the upcoming 6.5 release, and also to the multitouch-capable WIndows Mobile 7, due out sometime in 2010. There's no word yet on when the new Windows Phone branding will be implemented, nor do we have much info on why Microsoft has decided to rebrand, other than to make it easier for consumers.
Windows Mobile 6.5 Windows Phone has already been sent to manufacturers and will include the ability to backup all SMS and email content to the Web, remote disabling of the handset, and the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
On Tuesday, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch reiterated the company’s promise to release a beta version of its Flash 10 player for mobiles by the end of this year. He was addressing analysts at an event specially organized for them. He went on to add that the mobile version of Flash will begin making full use of APIs by the beginning of next year. This will allow the mobile variant of Flash to fully tap such hardware features as multi-touch and accelerometer, which are found on an increasing number of smartphones.
Synaptics hopes to take mobile touchscreen technology to a whole new level with the company's recently announced ClearPad 3000 Series. Unlike two-finger capable touchscreens, the ClearPad 3000's capacitive touch pad can track up to 10 simultaneous finger touches.
"By enabling more devices to have multi-finger gesture capabilities, our premium ClearPad 3000 Series opens the door for innovative software developers to push the edges of the user interface envelope by creating exciting new classes of applications -- such as multi-user gaming -- not possible before, giving OEMs greater flexibility to differentiate their products," said Tom Tiernan, Synaptics president and COO.
Synaptics says the ClearPad 3000 is based on new, proprietary technology featuring 48 sensing channels and advanced power management. The end result is support for larger screen sizes up to 8 inches diagonally in a thin, low-profile design. Synaptics also boasts a high level of accuracy.
The company plans to ship engineering samples for general release starting in November 2009, which means you may see some snazzy new multi-finger touchscreen devices just in time for the holidays.
You knew it would happen sooner or later, we're just a little surprised it took this long for hackers to release a botnet running on mobile phones. According to Symantec, a piece of malicious software called Sexy Space may be the first documented case.
Like most botnets, Sexy Space relies on quite a bit of user interaction to be effective. Those who ultimately become a zombie in the botnet first receive a text message saying "A very sexy girl, Try it now!" Inside the message is a link that must be clicked, which then asks the potential victim to download software. The software then scours through the user's contact list and sends an SMS with the same message to each person.
Symantec says that this particular botnet is being controlled by a central server, but it remains unclear whether or not the phones respond to remote commands.
We're undoubtedly preaching to the choir on this one, but be wary of any rogue text messages, especially when they ask you to click a link and download software.
In the movie Braveheart, there's a pivotal scene involving Mel Gibson and a Scottish battalion where, as William Wallace, he tries to muster some courage from his ragtag company. Face painted blue and half-hysterical, he rallies them with a memorable speech about freedom and love of country. Then, the army proceeds to completely destroy the foreign oppressor in a fight to the bitter end.
In some ways, the current war on smartphone devices could be just as pivotal...and bloody. Companies such as Palm and Nokia have everything to lose if their platforms do not thoroughly crush the competition. Meanwhile, Apple has taken a strong lead with the iPhone, and BlackBerry devices do not appear to be losing any momentum, at least in the business sector. Google has entered the fight with their Android OS, attracting legions of developers to the platform in record time.
All of these operating systems support touch control, rudimentary multi-tasking, rich media, desktop-like Web browsing, and advanced messaging. Yet, only one OS is superior and will ultimately emerge as the victor. It might seem like Apple has already had their Braveheart moment, and maybe there is room for several companies at the top of the pile, but if Windows has taught us anything, it's that a single operating system can become so dominant that every other desktop OS becomes inconsequential. Developers lock into a platform, users get accustomed to it, and that OS wins the war.
We set out to put the major contenders to the test and find out which could become the most dominant. Really, it's too early to call Apple the victor, even though it would be easy to do so with 50,000 apps available and over a million iPhone users. As any technology analyst can tell you, there are actually significantly more Nokia and BlackBerry phones in use today than the iPhone, especially in Europe. The surprise is that the OS that seems to be winning the battle (the iPhone) may not eventually win the OS war in the long run.
Forget about dialing into your Google Voice number in order to use the service from your smartphone. Pretty soon, that will be the old-school way of doing things, as Google is releasing a mobile application that allows users to make calls directly from their phone. The caveat? It will only work with Blackberrys and Android phones, although Google did say it is working with Apple to bring its app to the iPhone.
For those with a compatible phone, when making a call with the new app, the recipient will see the user's Google Voice number instead of the mobile phone number. The same applies for text messages. Other features include the ability to more easily access voice mail, and view message transcripts and have them read back to you"karaoke style," as Google calls it, where the words being read are highlighted.
Not everyone will get access to the new features. Currently, Google Voice is by invitation only - sign up here.
Old school adventure gamers who own an Apple iPhone may soon have reason to raise up a mug of grog, and those who have never matched wits with LeChuck might be in for a treat. In a not-so-subtle Twitter update, LucasArts stopped just short of saying it would release The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on the iPhone.
"For our Monkey fans - an iPhone sized wallpaper. No reason. Wink wink nod nod," LucasArts tweeted.
LucasArts plans to release the remastered adventure game for the PC and Xbox 360 on July 15th, just two days from now, and the Twitter message is being seen as a (strong) hint that the game will also find its way to the iPhone, though it's anyone's guess as to when that might be.
The remastered title will feature high definition graphics, original cast member voice-overs, renewed music score, a new interface, an in-game hint system, and the ability to switch between Special Edition and Classic Modes at any time during gameplay, LucasArts says.
“The vast majority of devices we launch after Hero will have a 3.5mm jack. Devices that we have already announced but that still come out after Hero will not necessarily be a part of this change,” HTC informed Mobile Crunch.
Just over a year ago, Finnish mobile firm Nokia acquired Symbian, a move that put the handset maker in direct competition with Google and Apple for mobile internet market share. But despite a vested interest in sticking with its Symbian platform, word on the web is that Nokia is developing a mobile phone powered by Google's open-source Android OS.
Nokia's decision came after seeng its global smartphone market share drop from 47 percent in 2007 to 35 percent last summer and 31 percent by the start of 2008. That's a frightening trend for a company which makes about four out of every 10 mobile phones being sold.
The smartphone maker has been doing everything it can to remain relevant in the mobile sector, including forging an alliance with Intel to develop a new breed of Intel Architecture-based mobile devices.