On Tuesday Garmin announced that Navigon’s shareholders have signed an agreement for a Garmin subsidiary to purchase Germany-based Navigon. “This acquisition is a great complement to Garmin’s existing automotive and mobile business. Navigon has invested significantly in the European automotive OEM business, and we feel that we can rapidly expand our automotive OEM footprint and capabilities through this transaction,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and COO. “With Navigon, we are also acquiring one of the top-selling navigation applications for the iPhone and Android platforms – something that we expect will help drive revenue for the combined company going forward. Combining Navigon’s and Garmin’s strength also improves our competitiveness and standing particularly in Europe.” Garmin said that Navigon will continue to operate as a subsidiary of Garmin and that the deal is still subject to regulatory approvals. Financial terms were not disclosed. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Nokia’s latest QWERTY candybar phone, the E6, is now available for pre-order in the U.K. Nokia took the wraps off of the E6 in April — at the same time it announced X7 — and said it would ship with the latest Symbian “Anna” operating system. The E6 offers a 2.46-inch 640 x 480 pixel touchscreen, an 8-megapixel camera, GPS, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and a 1,500 mAh battery. Symbian “Anna” will provide enterprise grade security with hardware accelerated encryption, several new e-mail features, a revamped user interface, and a new version of Nokia’s mapping application (formerly Ovi Maps). The E6 is priced contract-free at £349.00 ($570) and Nokia expects pre-orders to ship by the end of June. More →
On Wednesday Delivery.com — the popular food delivery service — launched a dedicated iPhone application. It offers a bunch of useful features, including a “nearby” feature to find restaurants that deliver nearby, automatic sync with your account, the ability to filter for cuisine, distance, or rating, and more. Users can check out using a debit card, gift card, or credit card, although we suspect that cash-on-delivery is still an option, too. The application is free in case you’re ever looking for McDonald’s delivery in NYC — yes, we’ve done that. More →
Wirefly this month unveiled a new service option for its popular mobile backup service. Mobile Backup PRO, which is compatible with the Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile 6.5 devices, affords subscribers a host of functionality not available with the standard free service. For starters, PRO subscribers get either 10GB or unlimited storage for music, photos, videos, and any other data backed up using the service, depending on the subscription option they choose. Free subscribers only get 2GB of storage. For added value, PRO subscribers can also use the service to locate their phone remotely using the device’s GPS, lock and unlock their phone remotely, display a message on the phone’s display, sound an alarm on the phone, and completely erase the phone’s memory remotely. Wirefly’s full-featured backup and remote security solution costs $2.99 per month or $30 annually for one phone and one computer with up to 10GB of storage. $5.99 or $60 annually grants users unlimited storage for up to five phones and one computer. Both plans feature a free 30-day trial for users who enter the code “WMBPRO.” More →
A new series of emails were made public on Monday as a result of Skyhook Wireless’ lawsuit claiming Google interfered with a contract the LBS company had in place with cell phone maker Motorola Mobility. The emails, which were sent to and from numerous top executives at Google including CEO Larry Page and SVP of Mobile Andy Rubin, detail the company’s shock at losing out to Skyhook. The internal emails also reveal Google’s admission that Skyhook’s location product is better and more accurate than its solutions, and scratch the tip of the iceberg regarding how Google seemingly used its muscle to squash Motorola’s deal with Skyhook. Hit the break for screen shots of a few of the emails, and hit read link for a collection of what may be the most interesting emails of the bunch. More →
A lawsuit has been filed against Apple, Pandora, and The Weather Channel in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico that alleges Apple “intentionally [intercepts] personally identifying information.” The plaintiff, Lymaris M. Rivera Diaz, is charging Apple with unfair trade practices, abuse and fraud, and he believes that Apple shares the iPhone’s unique ID, as well as personal location information, with third party developers such as The Weather Channel and Pandora. Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law on Tuesday, and said “Apple does not track users’ locations,” and that the Cupertino-based company has no plans to do so. This is the second lawsuit filed against Apple in regards to the location tracking scandal; The first was filed in Tampa, Florida late last month. More →
Google and Apple testified before the Senate on Tuesday, where both firms were grilled on collecting location information from mobile phones. During the hearing, Senator Al Franken was particularly vocal on the issue. “My wireless companies, Apple and Google, and my apps, all get my location or something very close to it,” Senator Franken said. “We need to address this issue now, as mobile devices are only going to get more popular.” We covered Apple’s response on Tuesday, during which Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, said that “Apple does not track users’ locations,” and that the firm never plans to do so. However, Franken was also concerned that Apple and Google have done little to police third-party applications that are collecting and transmitting location data, and suggested that both companies require developers to alert users of their specific privacy policies. Trimble said Apple already does this, but it has never tossed an application for violating that rule. Google’s director of public policy, Alan Davidson, said Google would consider adding the option. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jessica Rich, the deputy director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer-protection bureau said that, despite both firms saying they don’t collect user data, “there’s a lot [the FTC] can do… to challenge,” those claims. More →
While testifying before the U.S. Congress today, Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, tried to clarify concerns that Apple had been tracking owners of its iPhone and iPad Wi-Fi + 3G. Apple has said in the past that it does not track its users and it also recently issued iOS 4.3.3, which reduces and encrypts the crowd-sourced location database cache, but Tribble explained the story in a bit more detail:
We do not share customer information with third parties without our customers’ explicit consent. Apple does not track users’ locations. Apple has never done so and has no plans to do so. An Apple device does not send to Apply any specific information associated with a user. The purpose of the cache is to allow the device to more quickly and reliably respond to location requests. Apple was never tracking an individual user’s location. The data seen on the iPhone was not the location past or present of the iPhone, but the location of cell towers surrounding the phone. Although the cache was not encrypted, it was protected from other apps on the phone.
According to 9to5 Mac, Tribble also explained to the U.S. Congress that, as we know, the iPhone and 3G iPad are able to determine a user’s location using triangulation between nearby Wi-Fi hotspots or cell phone towers. More →
One of our Apple sources has just informed us that Apple isn’t wasting anytime fixing the infamous location tracking issue in the iPhone and other iOS devices — it’s going to be addressed in an update within the next two weeks, possibly sooner, in iOS version 4.3.3. We’ve been sent the OS and while we haven’t loaded it on our iPhone just yet, here is what we have been told it will address:
- The update will no longer back up the location database to iTunes.
- The size of the location database will be reduced.
- The location database will be deleted entirely when Location Services are turned off.
- Battery life improvements.
- iPod bug fixes.
That’s all we have for now but stay tuned for more!
Last week, the public was up in arms after O’Reilly revealed that Apple was recording and storing the location of its iPad and iPhone users. Not long after that, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was also tracking and storing the locations of Android users. Even though Google has said all location sharing is opt-in and that all location data is anonymized, Bloomberg is reporting that two Oakland County Michigan residents have filed a lawsuit against Google with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Detroit. The class-action suit asks Google to stop saving smartphone location data, and it also seeks $50 million in damages. The plaintiffs argue that the level at which Google tracks their AT&T HTC Inspire 4G phones would ordinarily require a court-ordered warrant. The case is “Julie Brown v. Google 11-11867, U.S. District, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit),” but we’re not so sure this will end in the favor of the plaintiffs — after all, they did give Google permission. More →
In an effort to be “clear and transparent” with its customers and the government, Verizon Wireless has sent a letter to Congress detailing plans on how it will better inform consumers about location data collection on their smartphones. The wireless carrier will soon apply a removable stickers to its devices with the following warning:
“This device is capable of determining its (and your) physical, geographical, location adn can associate location data with other customer information. To limit access to location information by others, refer to the User Guide for Location settings and be cautious when downloading, accessing, or using applications and services.”
Verizon Wireless will also issue alerts more clearly in its V CAST applications, some of which can be used to track family members or friends voluntarily. It confirmed that it does not sell or rent out personal user information, and that user habits are only used for internal marketing purposes. Verizon says it only collects location data for “various service and operational purposes,” and that it uses the data to ensure customers have solid call and data quality. Hit the jump for a full PDF of Verizon’s letter to Congress. More →
We’ve just been sent a tip that Sprint is going to be raising its popular total equipment protection plan to $8, up from $7, starting on June 24th. It’s probably not the end of the world considering TEP not only offers insurance against lost or damaged devices, but also includes a free app that will remotely find, lock, or wipe your handset.
Break out your tin foil hats, people — they’re out to get you. Apple finally issued a statement on Wednesday regarding the recent uproar over iOS devices tracking their owners’ locations, but a new report from The Wall Street Journal will ensure that consumers can continue to cry foul. According to the WSJ, Apple and Google both track users’ locations not only using mobile devices, but also using computers. Apple allegedly collects location information each time its Mac computers scan for wireless networks, and Google is said to collect location data from Wi-Fi connected computers that use its Chrome browser or its search toolbar plug-in with other browsers. The report notes that it is unclear how Apple and Google use this data, and it says in “most cases” the location tracking services are opt-in. More →