Two Google Play apps secretly mines Litecoin and Dogecoin

Ars Technica reports on two Android apps that secretly mine Litecoin and Dogecoin.

Users with phones and tablets that are suddenly charging slowly, running hot, or quickly running out of batteries may want to consider if they have been exposed to this or similar threats. Also, just because an app has been downloaded from an app store – even Google Play – does not mean it is safe.

Google Play is not secure. But lack of outrage regarding the matter is rather disturbing. Are Android users more concerned about how the mining could be done even more discreetly, rather than be alarmed that their phones are used for something they were unaware of, without their consent?

Android KitKat’s SD card change breaks apps

AndroidCentral explains why apps stored on the SD card stop working after updating to KitKat.

It’s simple, really. Prior to Android 4.4 KitKat, applications — provided they had permission to access the SD card — could read and write to any area on removable storage, including the system folders like DCIM, Alarms, etc. That has all changed, and now third-party applications — as in ones you download from Google Play or elsewhere — can only write to files and folders that they have created or have taken ownership of.

This should have been how it was designed from the start. There are people who say they will not update to KitKat because of the hassle to work around the change in SD card support. But if you wanted things to work out of the box, perhaps you should have considered iOS. Isn’t the draw of Android, or so I’ve been told, its flexibility in allowing users to handle the files and folders?

Of course, you can choose not to upgrade. You just need to be very careful with the apps you install and trust that the apps you choose to install have no malicious intents.

WhatsApp says reports of security flaw are overstated and inaccurate

TechCrunch reports on Whatsapp’s response to the report security flaws in its Android app.

Under normal circumstances the data on a microSD card is not exposed. However, if a device owner downloads malware or a virus, their phone will be at risk. As always, we recommend WhatsApp users apply all software updates to ensure they have the latest security fixes and we strongly encourage users to only download trusted software from reputable companies.

WhatsApp is shifting the blame to users for downloading malware. This does not address the issue of their encryption being cracked.

Google also needs to rethink the way they allow apps to access folders. Perhaps they can learn from how Apple sandboxes iOS apps.

For now, Android users should be very careful what apps they install as the exploit still works with the latest version of WhatsApp. Of course, if you don’t mind people reading your messages, then it’s not an issue.

LeBron James bashes sponsor Samsung

Business Insider reports on how LeBron James reacted to his Samsung’ meltdown.

His tweet:

My phone just erased everything it had in it and rebooted. One of the sickest feelings I’ve ever had in my life!!!

Upon realising that he just bashed his sponsor, he deletes his tweet. Another PR disaster for Samsung, but at least he didn’t tweet with an iPhone.

Apple needs to take action

Eric Jackson writes for Forbes about what he thinks Apple should do.

Apple needs to start picking off strategic assets as if their life depends on it, rather than continuing on with a plodding attitude that doesn’t match the speed of their competitive environment.

This just sounds like advice from someone who knows nothing about how Apple works. As John Gruber pointed out, Apple’s product strategy is a thousand no’s for every yes.

Apple acquires a company to integrate it into Apple, not acquire something for the sake of it. Just because Facebook is going around buying companies doesn’t mean that Apple should do the same.

The writer strongly believes that Apple needs to take action:

No longer. Apple needs to start playing offense.

It’s time for Apple to get aggressive.

But he fails to explain why. Because Facebook is doing so is a weak argument.

Again, he thinks that spending will make the company better but he doesn’t give an explanation:

The bottom line is I think Zuckerberg or Musk (or pick another young entrepreneur like a David Sacks) would have no hesitation to use Apple’s cash and stock to make it a much better company.

He suggests that Apple buy Tesla:

Well, they could pay $400/share to take out Tesla (TSLA) and make an audacious huge play for the Internet-connected car, as well as snagging Musk into the fold in one fell swoop.

Yes, but it seems that Apple has found a way to do that without having to spend $50 billion.

It is a little coincidental that Jackson suggested that Apple should be aggressive in acquiring services since “it would nice for iMessage not to go down” and a couple of days later WhatsApp was down.

The real impact of CarPlay

Macworld reports on the real impact of CarPlay—software.

Most people probably don’t ever think about the software in their car. And with good reason, too, since most automakers aren’t exactly consumed with a passion for developing software. Even in the cases where car companies do want to pimp the software features, the spotlight’s always going to be on the newest model—they don’t have too much interest in continuing to update the software on older models, especially when it comes to adding new features.

Sound familiar? Because to me it’s reminiscent of the state of the cell phone market prior to about, oh, 2007.

There is a difference between cars and mobile phones. Most people hardly change their cars so the adoption rate would be a lot slower.

BlackBerry CEO on T-Mobile’s campaign to convert BlackBerry users to iPhone

BlackBerry CEO John Chen responds to T-Mobile’s campaign.

Is T-Mobile wrong to offer a better alternative for its customers? Definitely not. T-Mobile should be applauded for putting their customers first and not be afraid of ruffling the feathers of phone makers. Perhaps if BlackBerry put out new products, T-Mobile might actually have something to offer existing BlackBerry users to upgrade to.

Here’s another perspective of how BlackBerry has fallen. WhatsApp started as an app that provided a cross-platform alternative to BlackBerry Messenger. It just sold for more than what BlackBerry is worth.

John Legere’s tweet speaks volumes of difference in how the two CEOs engage their customers:

Four numbers that explain why Facebook acquired WhatsApp

Sequoia Capital gives an insight on why Facebook bought WhatsApp.

Two numbers stand out for me.

One.

WhatsApp has one focus: messaging.

This discipline is reflected in WhatsApp’s unconventional approach to business. After one year of free use, the service costs $1 per year — with no SMS charges. This can save users trapped in expensive data plans up to $150 per year.

And charges only $1 per year.

It’s easy to take this novel model for granted. When we first partnered with WhatsApp in January 2011, it had more than a dozen direct competitors, and all were supported by advertising. (In Botswana alone there were 16 social messaging apps). Jan and Brian ignored conventional wisdom. Rather than target users with ads — an approach they had grown to dislike during their time at Yahoo — they chose the opposite tack and charged a dollar for a product that is based on knowing as little about you as possible. WhatsApp does not collect personal information like your name, gender, address, or age. Registration is authenticated using a phone number, a significant innovation that eliminates the frustration of remembering a username and password. Once delivered, messages are deleted from WhatsApp’s servers.

Zero.

Rather than invest in marketing, they let the service sell itself.

There may be no greater testament to the viral nature of WhatsApp than the fact that the company has accomplished all this without investing a penny in marketing. Unlike their smaller competitors, it hasn’t spent anything on user acquisition. The company doesn’t even employ a marketer or PR person. Yet like the world’s greatest brands, it’s created a strong emotional connection with consumers. All of WhatsApp’s growth has come from happy customers encouraging their friends to try the service.

I find their success through such a minimalist approach an inspiration.

Google Glass guidelines

For some reason, Google is compelled to post a guideline for Glass users.

It is interesting to note that Google has embraced the use of the term Glasshole:

Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.

As Gruber pointed out, it is a concern if Google has to tell users not to be a creep. Does it mean that there is something fundamentally wrong with the concept of Google Glass? Such as how it will infringe on privacy.

This feels like gun makers putting up a guideline for gun owners not to shoot innocent people. Except that gun makers don’t do that.

Samsung to implement fingerprint sensor in the upcoming Galaxy S5

SamMobile reports on the implementation of the fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy S5.

The sensor itself works in a swipe manner, which means that you would need to swipe the entire pad of your finger, from base to tip, across the home key to register your fingerprint properly. Also, you would need to keep your finger flat against the home key and swipe at a moderate speed or else it won’t recognise your fingerprint. The fingerprint sensor is sensitive to moisture, as well. So, don’t try to use it with wet fingers because it will, literally, give you an error and tell you to dry your fingers first.

Whatever happened to all that talk about Apple’s Touch ID being a gimmick?