Where Did I Put My Data?
What’s a girl got to do to get some affordable data service around here? Americans are putting more money than ever towards their smartphone bills, and carriers don’t seem inclined to cut their rates any time soon. But the Wall Street Journal says one company wants to break the stalemate, with dramatically less expensive 4G offerings. The question is whether they can pull it off.
FreedomPop, which launched today, will offer users five gigabytes of data for $35, and one gig for $10. Compare that to the $80 or so six gigs will run you at Verizon, and suddenly you’ve got a lot more money for steak dinners.
There are, however, a couple of bumps in the road to adoption.
Bills Bills Bills
According to reports, Airbnb is raising a new round. The Valuation? Try “‘north of a billion’ between $2 billion and $3 billion.” It’s amazing what you can do with srs bsns revenues. [TechCrunch]
If this list ranking top 50 venture-backed startups is any indication, it’s enterprise companies’ time to shine. [Wall Street Journal]
Don’t look now, but the maps app in iOS 6 isn’t the only thing looking a little half-baked: “Burning question I have to ask: what is up with Apple’s Passbook app?” [GigaOm]
Sure, they might give you text neck, but mental health pros are increasingly using smartphones apps as a way to supplement treatment for conditions like OCD. [CNN]
It was reportedly conflict over turn-by-turn directions that prompted Apple to strike out on its own and create a new map app. [AllThingsD]
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
Americans’ smartphone bills are looking pretty onerous these days. How bad has it gotten? According to the Wall Street Journal, people are cutting back on dinners out and other such vices in order to sustain their ravenous Netflixing of Homeland episodes while waiting at the dentist’s office. And with carriers pushing back on unlimited data plans, matters are only getting worse.
During a recent security conference in South America, a Berlin-based researcher revealed that Samsung has a major problem with its iPhone challengers, the Galaxy 3 and Galaxy S2 smartphones.
Both can easily be remotely wiped by code embedded in a web page.
Ravi Borgaonkar found that the Galaxy’s “service loading” feature, its method of communicating with application servers, can be exploited with just one line of code tucked away in a web page’s HTML. If the attack is successful, the malicious code reverts the phones to their factory settings. Worse still, once the attack begins, the phone’s user can’t do a thing about it.
That’s bad enough. There’s also this:
True Crime Diary is a great true crime blog run by writer Michelle McNamara. Ms. McNamara doesn’t update her blog daily, but when she does, the product is often an insightful and thought-provoking long read. That’s true of this entry posted yesterday, “#bloodbath: how social media might have changed one of history’s most infamous crime sprees.“
The crime spree in question: the horrific murders committed by the followers of maniac Charles Manson during the Summer of ’69. Using facts from the case, Ms. McNamara posits an alternate timeline in which smartphones and Twitter were as ubiquitous then as they are now. She paints a brief portrait of how tech might have altered the course of the Manson Family’s rampage, beginning the night Manson followers slaughtered actress Sharon Tate and several guests at Ms. Tate’s secluded Hollywood home:
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
The New York City Police want to help you find your lost or stolen iPhone, which is nice! That’s why the NYPD will implement something called Operation ID, beginning Friday, September 21st–not coincidentally the date the iPhone 5 goes on sale. The police will be on point for that, too:
Attendees at the EuSecWest-sponsored World Security Professional Summit in Amsterdam are participating in a contest called Mobile Pwn2Own. Contestants are, yes, basically revealing that our mobile devices can be easily pwned by someone with the know-how. Quell your bubbling phone fanboy or fangirl rage right now: it looks like both Androids and iPhones are vulnerable. The Next Web describes the Android pwnage, which was partially done, by the way, via near-field communication, or NFC:
Smartphones are a menace. Lots of them are straight-up covered in poop germs. We’re all well-nigh addicted to the chirping that heralds an incoming email. And now, CNN reports, our constant texting is giving everyone “headaches, neck cricks and achy shoulders.”
Finally, a way to pretend those headaches aren’t due to your runaway Read More
Mobile devices are a brave new frontier for cyber thieves, and the BBC reports malware creators are cashing in. Citing surveys by Lookout mobile security, the BBC states that sneaky cash-snatching apps have increased from 29 to 62 percent of all smartphone malware. Users acquire the thieving bugs when they ride into your phone on the backs of seemingly innocent apps:
What if your boyfriend was really sweet and helpful and you could shrink him into a tiny cyborg that lives inside your phone? Regardless of what Honey I Shrunk the Kids taught you, we don’t have the technology to do that–yet. But luckily there are Happiness Engines, little bots made by a startup in San Francisco that help make using your smartphone a little bit easier.