So here's the scary number: the major wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and a couple little guys like U.S. Cellular and Cricket) revealed that in total, in 2011, they received 1.3 million requests for user data from law enforcement agencies. They released this information only after an inquiry by Congressman Edward J. Markey. This is the first time we've had any overarching glimpse at how (and how often) the carriers work with law enforcement.
This is a major step forward towards transparency. It received a front-page New York Times story, and certainly a fair bit of coverage elsewhere. It provides much more information than we've ever had before, especially from AT&T, which lists a few categories of requests as well as the specific (very tiny) number of requests AT&T refused to honor. But! That 1.3 million number leaves out some legitimately important information. Most important: what information is revealed, exactly, and how often do the carriers comply?
Mozilla has been making some small moves into mobile with the Firefox browser for Android, but today the company announced much bigger plans: Firefox OS, previously known as "Boot to Gecko," is an entirely new operating system for smartphones. The OS will be based on Linux, but all apps will be entirely browser-based, built on HTML5, like Google's Chrome OS.
By Stewart WolpinPosted 05.14.2012 at 5:47 pm 1 Comment
More cellphones meet their demise from exposure to moisture than from any other cause--so we've all got a vestedinterest in waterproof phones. In the past, a user who wanted to protect his phone had to buy a watertight case, and thus double the size of the device.
Nobody expected the enormous, 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note to be anything more than a joke. Many gadget reviewers hate big-screened phones. When I first saw it, all I could think was "cheese board." "Is that the Note? It looks absurd," said our Web Editor John. Sam Biddle over at Gizmodo called the Note a "distended LED baking sheet," amongst lots of other creative things.
Now, two and a half months later, the Note has sold well over 5 million units, making it a legitimate hit. You can bet HTC and Motorola and LG will all make a competitor--HTC's has already been heavily rumored--and last week, Samsung unveiled that its new flagship line, the Samsung Galaxy S III, would have a huge 4.8-inch screen, to the dismay of myself and many other gadget writers.
What do the people buying Galaxy Notes see that we supposed professional reviewers do not? To find out, I talked to a few Note owners and lovers.
If you want to buy a phone right now, and you're shopping based on quality rather than price, you have two choices in terms of size. You can get the iPhone, with its 3.5-inch screen, or you can choose from a handful of top-tier Android and Windows phones, all of which will have, at the bare minimum, a four-inch screen. Most of them will be bigger--4.3 inches is much more common right now, and an increasing number are even larger, including the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (4.65 in), HTC Titan (4.7 in), and the Samsung Galaxy Note (which, at 5.3 inches, is more lunchtray than phone).
The Nokia Lumia 900 is essentially a 4.3-inch version of the Lumia 800, a phone I absolutely loved in its 3.7-inch iteration (a Europe-only model). So reviewing the Lumia 900 presents an interesting question: with most other specs remaining constant, how does the experience of using a phone change when it grows to the size most phone manufacturers insist we really want?
Mobile World Congress, Europe's biggest mobile tech conference, was the site of Nokia's ruthless mining of the world's natural megapixel reserves. The Finnish company (who's lately started making phones we really like) announced the 808, a smartphone with a 41-megapixel camera, along with a sensor and flash big enough to feel at home in a point-and-shoot. According to our photog brothers at Popular Photography, that'll give the phone better digital zoom capabilities and hopefully better image quality--Nokia has a new system to take all those pixels and turn them into nicer, smaller pictures. (Oddly, the phone will use, of all things, the very dead and very awful Symbian OS.) Read more over at Pop Photo.
Here at Nokia's press conference at CES, the Finnish company just announced what we so nicely asked for: a Nokia-made Windows Phone, in the U.S. In fact, Nokia's going to have two: the Lumia 710 will hit T-Mobile, and the Lumia 900 is coming to AT&T.
Most of the wireless carriers have scaled back on coverage at CES, but AT&T is still here, loud and proud, announcing a host of phones for the upcoming year. It's a sort of similar situation to last year with Verizon; AT&T is finally rolling out their LTE network, and they're using CES to announce the first round of phones. And a lot of them look great! Here's what you'll see trickling into AT&T stores this year.
News regarding Carrier IQ, a third-party service loaded on certain smartphones that's capable of tracking users and even recording keystrokes, has been spreading rapidly in the past few days, though the original discovery happened back in March. The world is still learning more about what the service specifically does, but the latest news is that references to Carrier IQ were found in Apple's iOS, the operating system used by the iPhone and iPad. Here's what you need to know.
Without question, Alexander Graham Bell's master invention changed our lives and revolutionized the way we communicate. But science is never satisfied, and so we began a steady stream of improvements to the telephone that took it from rotary dials and operators to the unique problems of autocorrect and Siri's witty retorts. Today, we take a look back at the ever-evolving history of the telephone.