Where Did I Put My Data?

With Dirt Cheap Data, Can FreedomPop Crack U.S. Smartphone Market?

I can has affordable wireless bill? (Photo: flickr.com/joshsemans)

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. Read More


Booting Up: A $2 Billion Valuation for Airbnb?

Hard to go wrong betting on a huge, sick loft. (Photo: Airbnb screencap)

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]

Bills Bills Bills

Americans Are Paying Through the Nose for Smartphones

A smartphone. (Wikipedia)

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. Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Samsung’s Galaxy 3 is Vulnerable to Remote Wiping by Hackers [VIDEO]

Ravi Borgaonkar demonstrating Galaxy handset flaws. (Screengrab)

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: Read More

True Crime

Crime Blog Asks if Social Media Could Have Stopped Charles Manson

Detail from photo of Charles Manson

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: Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Demo Shows How Easily Your iPhone 4S and Android Phone Can Be Hacked

Hope you don't get cancer, CEO guy. (flickr.com/perspective)

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: Read More

Get Smart(Phones)

A Robot Assistant To Finally Do What You’ve Always Wanted: Compliment You

(Photo: Happiness Engine)

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. Read More