How A Single App Can Kill Your Phone

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Up until few weeks ago I had a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone. While I was waiting patiently for Samsung to upgrade the Android OS 4.1 to a newer version, I got sick and tired of waiting and bought a shiny new Nexus 5 phone.

I got my new phone and was amazed of how fast and responsive it is. I installed all my favorite apps and was very content. However there was one problem with the phone. The battery life was poor and I had to charge it after 6-8 hours. At first I didn’t pay any special attention to it, since I was reading that battery life on Nexus 5 was poor. Then one day I notice that the battery drained after only 4 hours and I got suspicious.

Looking at the battery statistics I notice that the service mostly used the battery was mm-qcamera-daemon. Googling the issure I found many posts saying mm-qcamera-daemon drains the battery if you have Yahoo Messenger Video plugin, which online forums suggest to un-install. The problem is that I did not install this app. i was still lost.

After some more un-successful attempts for information searching, I started to think that if mm-qcamera-daemon is related to camera usage then what apps do I have that use the camera. Finally a light bulb over my head appeared and I solved the riddle.

One of the first apps I installed was “SmartStay +” . This app leaves the screen on if it identify you are looking at the screen using the front facing camera and face detection API. I then removed this app and WOW, no more mm-qcamera-daemon in the battery statistics, and battery now lasts for a whole day without charging.

Google has officially acknowledged the Nexus 5 bug on its Android issue tracker website and promised that a fix is in the works. However there is no timeline as far as when the fix might be issued, and Google would only say that it will be implemented in a future Android software update.
In the bug track issue, Google noted that Skype is among the more popular apps that trigger the bug and recommend you uninstall Skype or reboot your device every time mm-qcamera-daemon is miss-behaving.


Samsung announces the Galaxy Round with a curved display

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Samsung has taken the wrapper off its rumored smartphone with a curved OLED display. The Galaxy Round, which will launch on SK Telecom in South Korea, has a 5.7-inch 1080p screen the same size as seen on the company’s Galaxy Note 3, but there’s a difference — it curves on the vertical axis in a similar fashion to some of Samsung’s OLED TVs.

Samsung is touting a new feature called “Round Interaction,” which allows you to look at information such as missed calls, battery life, and the date and time when you tilt it on a flat surface with the screen off.


Android adware vulnerabilities are so BAD, researchers won’t ID it

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A popular mobile ad library used by multiple Android apps poses a severe malware threat, researchers at infosec firm FireEye have warned. The security researchers said that altogether 200 million affected apps had been downloaded.

This ad library aggressively collects sensitive data and is able to perform dangerous operations such as calling home to a command-and-control server before downloading and running secondary components on demand.

Mobile ad libraries are third-party software included by host apps in order to display ads. Because this library could potentially be used to conduct large-scale attacks on millions of users, FireEye refers to it anonymously by the code name “Vulna” rather than revealing its true identity.

An analysis of the most popular apps (those with over one million downloads) on Google Play reveals that 1.8 per cent of them used “Vulna”. The potentially affected apps have been downloaded more than 200 million times in total.

FireEye catalogues a variety of built-in aggressive behaviours which, in addition to vulnerabilities with the technology, make Vulna a threat.


Samsung: Note 3 Reginal Lock Applies Only For Device Activation

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Reports that Samsung has crippled its new Galaxy Note 3 by adding region-locking, making buyers of unlocked units attempting to use it in geographies outside of the area in which it was purchased subject to exorbitant roaming fees, are not entirely accurate.

A statement from Samsung clears the issue. The notes refer to being able to bring your unlocked device into other regions, but rather that the initial activation must occur in a particular region. This means that unlocked Galaxy Note 3 devices intended for the European market devices can be activated only with a SIM card from that region. After initial activation and commissioning, everything is as usual, you can use a SIM card from any region.

AllAboutSamsung.de asked Samsung for comment on the matter. Here are the essential points from Samsung’s official statement (original in German):

Samsung does lock some devices based on the region where they were purchased from. These devices are, besides the Note 3: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy S4 Mini.
The region lock only affects units manufactured after the end of July 2013, that ship with the warning sticker on the box. Devices that have already been delivered, like those sitting in warehouses or in stores are not region locked.
If a user takes a new phone that hasn’t been yet activated to a country outside the home region, the user can unlock the phone at a local Samsung service partner for free.


Microsoft: Google unfairly using Android to promote Google’s products

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

About a decade ago, if we were to tell you that Microsoft is part of a group who is filing a complaint against another software giant who they feel is unfairly using its own software to promote it’s own products, you would have thought we were crazy. But that is exactly what is happening today in the EU as Microsoft, Nokia, and a few other companies are accusing Google of unfairly using its own Android software to promote Google’s products and services.

Sound familiar? It should, it’s a similar complaint that Microsoft faced many years ago that resulted in the browser ballot that you see today and also the N versions of the Windows platforms in Europe. The NYTimes is citing a lawyer for Fairsearch, Thomas Vinje, who filed the complaint, that represents these large corporations by stating that Android software is “a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today”.

This is kind of typical to large companies, if they can’t compete they try to buy you, if they can buy you they’ll sue you. Microsoft and Nokia don’t believe Windows 8 can compete with Android and gain market share, the same way Android competes with iOS and eventually won ?


Apps That Help You Sleep & Still Be Available For Emergency.

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Whether you work in a high-tech company, law enforcement, health care or any other job that require you to be on call or available for emergencies you probably familiar with the dilemma of going to sleep with your smartphone turned on next to your bed.

In the middle of the night you get email alerts, annoying push notifications from games and apps installed on your phone or irritating text messages that are most likely not important enough for you to wake up at 2:00am, and can wait until the morning for you to read.

On the other hand you cannot turn off your phone because you do want to be available for emergency calls from your job (or your kids) and would like the phone to ring in order to wake you up.

I use two apps that in one hand keep my phone silent at times I want and on the other hand if someone important calls the phone “wakes up” and in turn wake me up from my beauty sleep.

Silent TimeThe first one is called Silent Time. Silent Time automatically silences your phone based on your weekly schedule. You can also add exceptions to let important callers through and use the Quick Quiet widget to silent it for whatever else might come up like meetings and movies.

My Vip CallThe second app is “My VIP Calls“.
“My VIP Calls” let you decide who can reach you even when you put your phone to silent/vibrate mode.
You can mark any number in your contact list as VIP (add to white list).
You can also check “Unknown” option to let unknown numbers to contact you.
Useful if you are expecting important call from unknown number.
Works with SMS messages too!
You can set sound volume and app will use this settings for ringing.

There are other alternatives apps that do similar things, but I use these two and very happy with them.


Android 4.1 Jelly Bean comes to Samsung Galaxy S3

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Samsung started to roll an update to the operating system of Galaxy S3 phones (I just got mine).
Android Jelly Bean is being pushed over the air or via the Samsung Kies software, first to unlocked Samsung Galaxy S3 phones.

Network operators Three, O2 and Vodafone previously made the OS available to their customers, leaving Orange and T-Mobile as the only major providers yet to offer it.

Samsung initiated a gradual roll out of the operating system in Europe last month.

In the US market Sprint is the first U.S. carrier to update the Samsung Galaxy S3 to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. To date, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular are still waiting for their turn.


My New Samsung Galaxy S3 Saga

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Last week I got my new Galaxy S3 phone. Before getting this phone I was contemplating whether to get the HTC One X or the S3. While I like HTC very much (I have the HTC desire) I decided to try the Samsung S3.

So finally I got the new phone and after opening the phone and turning it on, I noticed that I have a defective screen. So I looked at the warranty card and found the number for the service provider. I called them and asked what to do. They told me to go to the main service location at a company called “C com Ltd“. So I drove there expecting to get a new phone instead of the defective one I got.

After waiting for the representative he told me that he can not give me a new phone, but I should leave my phone at the lab and they will replace the screen within two days.

Two days passed…Four days passed and I did not get a call from the lab telling me to pick up my phone. So I tried to call them and it took me two additional days get a hold of someone (they just don’t answer the phone nor returning a call after I filled the online contact form).

Eventually after waiting for 8 days I decided to drive over there and to pick up my phone. I reached the service station and the representative told me it is still not ready. I was very upset and I told the representative that in any other company I would get a new phone instead the defective one, and not have to wait for over a week to get a NEW phone fixed. He agreed with me, and made some phone calls to try to expedite the process and told me that they will deliver the phone to today to my office, but it is their policy and he can not give me a new phone to replace the bad one.

Needless to say no phone was delivered.

I think I’m done with Samsung. If this is their policy regarding defective phones, my next phone will not be Samsung. I know that if I had an iPhone and it was defected out of the box, I would get a new phone immediately instead of the defective one.

Now I have to point out that the phone is critical to my job and I need to be connected all the time, and they did not even give me a temporary replacement phone.


Android grabs more than half of US smartphone market

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Android increased its US smartphone market share to more than 50 percent for the first time during the three months to February 2012.

Digital measurement firm ComScore found that Android’s market share hit 50.1 percent, up from 46.9 percent in November 2011 and up 17 percentage points compared to February 2011. Google announced this week that nearly 3 percent of all Android devices have now been upgraded to the latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of the OS.

Apple’s iOS had the second largest share with 30.2 percent of the market, up five percentage points compared to a year ago. RIM’s BlackBerry OS came in third with 13.4 percent, followed by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 3.9 percent and Symbian 1.5 percent.

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