Antitrust investigators with the Federal Trade Commission are focusing on Google’s Android operating system and web search services, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Reportedly, there is some concern that Google prevents its Android partners from implementing services provided by Google’s competitors to their smartphones. One example comes from backin May, when Google blocked Motorola from using Skyhook Wireless’ location services on its phones. The FTC is also investigating whether Google promotes its own services over its rivals, and whether it actually uses data that its competitors have collected, such as local reviews, to populate its own results. The FTC announced that it was opening an investigation into Google’s business practices on June 24th and, at the time, Google said that it was not clear what the FTC’s concerns were. The search giant said that it will cooperate fully and will continue to follow its five pillars: “do what’s best for the user,” “provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible,” “label advertisements clearly,” “be transparent,” and “loyalty, not lock-in.”
When Google first introduced its Chrome operating system, the search giant touted its rock solid security. In an effort to keep hackers out, Google automatically installs the operating system on three different hard drive partitions: one swap partition, one encrypted user partition and one read-only operating system root partition. Despite those security enhancements, VentureBeat says researchers Kyle Osborn and Matt Johanson of White Hat Security’s Threat Research Center were able to break into the operating system using “web-based hacker tricks,” that provided access to Google Docs, the address book, Google Voice messages and emails. The two hackers demonstrated how easy it was during the Black Hat security conference. “This conversation is about the web, not Chrome OS,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat. “Chromebooks raise security protections on computing hardware to new levels. They are also better equipped to handle the web attacks that can affect browsers on any computing device, thanks in part to a carefully designed extensions model and the advanced security available through Chrome that many users and experts have embraced.” More →
T-Mobile announced new “Value” plans for customers who sign up for service and pay the full price of a new phone or bring their own device. Beginning on July 24th, customers will have the option of paying for a new device at an unsubsidized cost upfront or in monthly installments. T-Mobile’s cheapest Value plan is a $39 monthly option that provides 500 minutes and unlimited texting, but the carrier will also offer 2GB, 5GB, and 10GB data packages. Family lines will start at $49.99 per line, and customers will have the option of signing up for “value” mobile broadband plans, too. The new plans will be particularly attractive to customers who take hand-me-down phones from friends, but there’s a small catch. It’s typically attractive to buy a phone at full price to avoid being locked into a two-year agreement. If you sign up for a Value plan, however, you’ll still be locked into a contract. T-Mobile’s current “Even More” plans will be rebranded “Classic” when the Value options make their debut. Read on for the full press release from T-Mobile. More →
Web-based jailbreak tool Jailbreakme.com is back, and jailbreaking your iPhone, iPad or iPad touch has never been easier. How easy is it, you ask? Simply navigate to jailbreakme.com in Safari on your iOS device and then follow the on-screen instructions. Within seconds, you’ll be on your way to sporting an open iDevice. What’s more, JailbreakMe 3.0 is the first widely available tool to feature support for the iPad 2 (running iOS 4.3.3), so tablet owners will undoubtedly be excited about that. The service also supports every other iOS device other than Apple TV: iPad (iOS 4.3+), iPhone 3GS (iOS 4.3+), GSM iPhone 4 (iOS 4.3+), CDMA iPhone 4 (iOS 4.2.6+) and third or fourth-gen iPod touch (iOS 4.3+). Developer betas of iOS 5 are not supported. Remember to back up with iTunes before jailbreaking and, of course, proceed at your own risk. More →
According to the analytics firm StatCounter, Google’s Chrome web browser now has a 20.7% grip of the web browser market — seven times more than it had just two years ago. The boost comes at the cost of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser, which now has less than a 50% hold on the market. Mozilla’s Firefox web browser has a 28% share of the browser market, down from 30% two years ago, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer share fell to 44% from 59% two years ago. According to Reuters, StatCounter gathers its data from more than 3 million websites with more than 15 billion page views. More →
On Tuesday AT&T officially announced that its customers can now sign up for a $50 unlimited GoPhone plan that includes unlimited text, talk, and web for $50 per month. AT&T’s GoPhone option does not require a contract and it also allows customers to text Mexico, Canada, and 100 other countries at no additional cost. AT&T’s new pricing is a considerable drop from the original $60 per month GoPhone option, which just provided unlimited talk and text.Read on for the full release. More →
Verizon Wireless on Thursday announced that it will carry a 4G LTE version of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android Honeycomb tablet. The device — currently the thinnest tablet on the market — will be available in two capacities, 16GB and 32GB, and will launch in two color schemes: “metallica gray” and “glossy white.” Save for its 4G LTE radio and updated operating system, the tablet is nearly identical to the special edition that we reviewed earlier this month: it offers a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, a 1280 x 800 resolution display, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats, and a 3-megapixel rear camera. Pre-orders begin on June 8th, and you can pick up the 16GB version for $529.99 or the 32GB model for $629.99 with a new two-year contract. Verizon Wireless also said that it will offer a range of accessories for the Galaxy Tab 10.1, including a full keyboard. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Microsoft’s senior director of the Windows Phone Marketplace, Todd Brix, has announced that Microsoft will launch a new web-based Windows Phone Marketplace for Mango phones. Brix explained that customers will be able to read reviews, view screen shots, and even promote applications on social networks. Purchases can be made with any credit card associated with your Windows Live ID, and you can choose to download the applications over-the-air to your phone. We’ve seen similar interfaces before: Google’s http://market.android.com website already allows Android users to install apps over the air, search for new apps, and more. The Windows Phone Marketplace web store is expected to launch in tandem with Mango, which Microsoft has confirmed will happen this fall. More →
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android Honeycomb tablet is now available for pre-order from J&R. The 16GB tablet is priced at $499.99 while the 32GB version will set you back an additional $100. Here’s a quick rundown of its specs: it offers a 10.1-inch display with a 1280 x 800 resolution, a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, full 1080p HD playback, a 3-megapixel camera capable of recording 720-p video, a 2-megapixel forward-facing camera for video chats, and more. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 also happens to be the thinnest tablet on the market right now. If you want a deeper dive, be sure to check out our full review of the limited edition version. J&R doesn’t specify exactly when the tablet will ship, although we’ve heard the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be available on June 8th. More →
The BGR team picked up the new and improved Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 from Google’s I/O conference earlier this week, and I have been using it non-stop for the past few days. There’s a lot to discuss here: the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the third Android Honeycomb-powered tablet launched by a major OEM in the United States, and Samsung went to great lengths to revise the design and slice off the extra bulk. The unit I have measures just 0.33-inches thick, which makes it the thinnest tablet available on the market today. It’s powered by a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, contains 32GB of storage, and Samsung promises that there will be an Android 3.1 update coming in the “next few weeks.” Is the Galaxy Tab 10.1 the best Honeycomb tablet yet? Check out our gallery below, and then read on to find out!
We can’t say it comes as much of a surprise, but Google has just taken the wraps off of a service many of us have been waiting for years to see… or should we say, hear. Google’s freshly unveiled Music Beta service will give users a cloud-based solution for storing and streaming their digital music collections — and we mean, their entire collections; Google’s service supports the storage of up to 20,000 songs as opposed to the 1,000 tracks supported by Amazon’s Cloud Drive product, which Music Beta will compete with directly. Google’s Music Manager app supports Windows and Mac, and it allows users to upload their tracks directly to Music Beta. The Web-based music manager is a full-featured music player that supports organization, playlist creation and plenty more. The related Android app features all of the same functionality as the Web player, and playlists created on one device will instantly be available on all devices. Recently played music is always cached by the mobile player, and albums can also be downloaded and stored for playback when data connections are unavailable. Music Beta is available initially by invitation only, and it is free — at least, it’s free during the beta period. Google’s updated music app with Music Beta support is available in the Android Market beginning today.
In conjunction with its Places service, Google is piloting a new, free feature for business owners. Being called Business Photos, Google is looking to supplement an establishment’s Places page with interior photographs. “Millions of potential customers visit Google every day to learn about places and businesses,” reads the company’s website. “Through scheduled photo shoots, Google is introducing a new way for you to showcase your business to the world.” In a handful of U.S. and international cities, business owners can apply to have a Google “photo shoot.” The search giant notes that demand will help them decide where to send its photographers. There is a video after the break explaining the news service, enjoy. More →
Trying to save a few bucks for your summer vacation? Today, Verizon Wireless officially launched “Unleashed,” the carrier’s own unlimited prepaid service. A spokesperson told Fierce Wireless that the service is available in parts of Florida and Southern California, to start. Customers can choose between four different plans — including daily and by-the-minute — but the most attractive offering is a $50 monthly option that provides unlimited calling, texting, and web browsing. There are only three feature phones available from Unleashed right now, including the LG Accolade ($39.99), the LG Cosmos ($99.99), and the Pantech Caper ($79.99). By contrast, Boost Mobile, which offers a similar $50 monthly unlimited plan, has 18 different phones including a few that are powered by Android. If you’re looking to save some cold hard cash without sacrificing cell phone minutes or text messages — or Verizon’s coverage — then Unleashed should do the trick. More →