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Google Starts Scanning Android Apps

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the bender's-job-between-seasons dept.

Android 172

eldavojohn writes "A recent blog post has Android developers talking about Google finally scanning third party applications for malware. Oddly enough, Google claims this service (codenamed 'Bouncer') has been active for some time: 'The service has been looking for malicious apps in Market for a while now, and between the first and second halves of 2011, we saw a 40% decrease in the number of potentially-malicious downloads from Android Market. This drop occurred at the same time that companies who market and sell anti-malware and security software have been reporting that malicious applications are on the rise.' So it appears that they allow the software to be sold even before it is scanned and it also appears that no one has been bitten by a false positive from this software. Apparently Bouncer is not as oppressive as Apple's solution although given recent news its effectiveness must be questioned. Have any readers had their apps flagged or pulled by Bouncer?"

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Scan for quality? (1, Interesting)

acidradio (659704) | about 2 years ago | (#38914493)

It is good that they are going to finally scan for malware. But in the end Android apps need better quality control. There are so many poorly-written apps with memory leaks. I end up having to reboot my Android at least 1x/day for no explainable reason. Android is really neat but I feel like it is one big beta test that I paid money to use.

Re:Scan for quality? (4, Informative)

ThisIsSaei (2397758) | about 2 years ago | (#38914541)

Some of the most popular Jailbroken iPhone apps have the same issues, like WinterBoard.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about 2 years ago | (#38914673)

That's funny. The only app I ever have issues with is one of the most widely used - Good - and it is awful on both platforms from what I understand.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#38914711)

Saying that an app as "awful" and "one fo the most widely used" in one sentence is a bit strange - why would so many people use an "awful" app? Especially with the competition out there. By the way I assume "Good" is the name of the app? I for one have never even heard about it.

Re:Scan for quality? (2, Informative)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about 2 years ago | (#38914789)

It's because it is the most widely supported enterprise email app. It was the first most companies went with so they are slow to move to alternatives.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

SadButTrue (848439) | about 2 years ago | (#38914815)

I have never used Good, but I would assume if the app is crap and a lot of people still use it then it must do something both unique and desirable.

Re:Scan for quality? (2)

TimTucker (982832) | about 2 years ago | (#38914881)

Because it's used for accessing corporate email. In many organizations, that's the only choice if someone wants to access their mail on a phone.

The biggest selling point is that it keeps corporate data segregated from the rest of what's on the device. (If someone's phone is lost / stolen or leaves a company the end result is that it allows for a remote wipe command to clear out just the data for Good)

Last I had looked at it (close to a year ago), usability was lagging behind the native email clients for Android / iOS, but they did seem to be making slow progress.

Re:Scan for quality? (1, Funny)

Merk42 (1906718) | about 2 years ago | (#38915095)

why would so many people use an "awful" app?

Maybe they want to read the Something [android.com] Awful [apple.com] Forums [somethingawful.com]

Just one word: (0)

mdm42 (244204) | about 2 years ago | (#38915503)

Windows?

Re:Scan for quality? (2)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 2 years ago | (#38915603)

Facebook is definitely one of the most widely used, and awful as well.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

tehlinux (896034) | about 2 years ago | (#38915643)

why would so many people use an "awful" app? Especially with the competition out there.

Usually, with the android market, the competition is awful too, so you're stuck with the "best" of the awful apps.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

stewbee (1019450) | about 2 years ago | (#38914775)

So explain to me how a memory leak could part of the coders problem? The language for development is Java, which should handle the memory automatically. It would sound more like a problem with the VM than the program itself. It is my understanding, that while possible, it is pretty hard to code a memory issue that the GC can't find.

To me this is a serious question. I guess I know enough about Java to be dangerous. Just curious and not trying to troll.

Re:Scan for quality? (4, Informative)

Terrasque (796014) | about 2 years ago | (#38914933)

1. Create ArrayList
2. Add ALL THE THINGS
3. Forget to remove old entries when not used anymore

Reference still exist, not considered garbage.

Re:Scan for quality? (2)

stewbee (1019450) | about 2 years ago | (#38915687)

So as a follow up then, after looking at the API, would a call to 'removeAll' or 'remove' keep this situation from occurring? (using the 'List' interface as my reference for function calls).

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#38915927)

Yes. In other words, competent programming would prevent this problem, like most software problems.

Now, the aggravating factor is that in the Android Dalvik runtime, apps aren't usually idle-killed and don't often exit. Some very user-interactive programs (like games) have some kind of "exit" option, but most apps just stay in the background, suspended but still holding system resources... in other words, their memory leaks can persist until (A) user force-closes the app from the system menu, or (B) user reboots.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

toxonix (1793960) | about 2 years ago | (#38916009)

If the list is the last reference to those objects, yes, for the most part. Once an object is de-scoped or de-referenced, it becomes a candidate for GC. If the GC gets around to it, the memory allocated to the de-referenced objects will be freed.

Re:Scan for quality? (5, Informative)

jiriki (119865) | about 2 years ago | (#38914955)

Memory Leaks in Java are not objects that are not freed, but dangling references to data/objects that are no longer needed (often static HashMaps that people use to implement their own caches and forget to clean up, or listeners that are still registered, even if the listening object could be discarded).

Also there are leaks in the Android WebView: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=9375 [google.com]
So using the WebView (which many apps do) causes leaks :(
(not the fault of the developer though)

Re:Scan for quality? (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#38915917)

"Memory Leaks in Java are not objects that are not freed, but dangling references to data/objects that are no longer needed"

In Java terms that _is_ an 'object that has not been freed'.

Sadly the Cult Of Garbage Collection has made many Java programmers far too lax about ensuring that everything is freed when it's no longer required.

Re:Scan for quality? (2)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | about 2 years ago | (#38914993)

A programmer can code a memory leak in Java (or Dalvik or .NET) just like any other language.

Re:Scan for quality? (2)

robmv (855035) | about 2 years ago | (#38915011)

Memory leaks are a coders problem, even on languages with automatica garbage collection. an example: a developer add items to a Hashmap used as cache but forgets to release unused items, that is a memory leak that no GC will solve

Re:Scan for quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38915013)

The language for development is Java, which should handle the memory automatically.

Exactly. You should be able to just close the application and all memory will be freed.

Since Android is running a Linux kernel, which has had effective memory management since 1995, you shouldn't need to "reboot" the device.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#38916519)

Not all applications exit cleanly, or at all by default.. hit the home button... the app may still be running in the background... if it's an app with notifications, there may be a service that is always running. Most people don't know how/where to stop specific apps from running in the background. Often, as with Windows (which can stop app/service execution), it's usually just easier to reboot.

Re:Scan for quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38915267)

Suppose you have a map, and every time a certain function runs, you allocate some large object, stick it in the map, and never remove it. The GC has no way of knowing you won't ask for that object from the map, so it keeps it around. Basically, you get a memory leak any time you leave a reachable reference to an object you don't need. If these can pile up somewhere (e.g. in a collection), it's a problem.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#38916401)

the java vm can't decide for yourself to add "reference_to_blablabla_that_we_dont_actually_need_anymore=null;".

it's coders problem. everything is.

it's not that much more of a problem than on other ways of doing it than garbage collection. at least with garbage collection if you're leaking memory you (usually) are keeping a reference somewhere and can just find out where.

Re:Scan for quality? (5, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#38914819)

It is good that they are going to finally scan for malware.

Yes.

But in the end Android apps need better quality control.

No.

Look, this site espouses the value of open source and more open markets in general. Android is pretty open as far as markets go, but the caveat that comes with that is that there is a lot of garbage. If you aggregated every, say, Wordpress blog on the Wordpress.com website, 95% of them would probably be unreadable drivel. The same goes for programs.

If an app exists but it doesn't work for you, then go to a competing app. If an app exists, is really crappy, and is the only one of its kind, that is what we call a "business opportunity". The market lacks quality software and that's a hole that you can fill. If an app doesn't exist but it would be useful (or fun!), then do it and make some money.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#38915233)

I'd value "quality" different.
IMO, poor quality software is software that'll fill my disk with garbage, make the OS crash, has huge memory leaks, etc. *These* applications need to get filtered. Or at least tagged by google, and the auther informed.

Software that just "isn't good for anything", or just "not useful" should stay where it is. People should be free to distribute and use that if they like, since they're not harmful in any way.

Re:Scan for quality? (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#38915981)

If an app exists, is really crappy, and is the only one of its kind, that is what we call a "business opportunity". The market lacks quality software and that's a hole that you can fill.

If I wanted to be in app writing business, I'd already *be* in the app writing business. But there's a reason why I'm downloading rather than writing.
 

If an app doesn't exist but it would be useful (or fun!), then do it and make some money.

In addition to not wanting to be in the app writing business... I don't have the months it would take to learn how to write apps in the first place.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#38916031)

Look, this site espouses the value of open source and more open markets in general.

Which is why the fact that Android doesn't bar you from using 3rd party sources is valuable.

Android is pretty open as far as markets go, but the caveat that comes with that is that there is a lot of garbage.

Google's official market should be clean and secure in terms of the behavior of software available through it.

Apple is right in one way, wrong in the other. So is Android. Google could easily take the best of both.

Re:Scan for quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38916375)

More QC? not if people still want to pay $1 for a license for life for an app, bitch and moan that the free version doesn't do what the paid version does and so on. We have crappy apps because Google decided it wanted market share before fairness towards developers and application quality. It is paradoxical that people complain that there are crappy apps out there but don't want to pay anything for them. Even more ludicrous is the fact that they're on $500 phones (of course scammed by carriers who give you "great" deals in 2-year plans -read deals as in drug dealer). These manipulated cattle have a responsibility, it is not all Google's fault. But we can be sure as hell it's not the exploited developers' fault.

So, message to th average user: make sure you know what you're saying when you say you want more QC, because your actions are saying you want no QC at all.

Re:Scan for quality? (1, Flamebait)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#38914857)

Maybe you should not download every little thing that grabs your attention.
The apps installed on my phone are almost all very good. Every once in a while I get something that has not been downloaded over 100,000 times.
But then I usually do some research before just sticking it on my phone.
I am thinking that you need your phone training wheels put back on.
Try an iPhone. You might like the fact that most of the thinking is done for you already.

Re:Scan for quality? (0, Offtopic)

errandum (2014454) | about 2 years ago | (#38914877)

Memory leaks in java?

Please do tell how... Not only there is garbage collection, I was under the impression you couldn't even access the memory directly.

Furthermore, android loads/unloads apps to the memory all the time. If an application is consuming too much memory on the background and you need it, it'll be killed.

On the other hand, you should look into avoiding Sense, Touchwiz or anything like that. Those are the most likely culprits.

Re:Scan for quality? (2)

robmv (855035) | about 2 years ago | (#38915081)

yes in Java and in any other language with garbage collection, stop thinking GC solves all memory leaks problems. example: a developer add items to a Hashmap used as cache but forgets to release unused items, that is a memory leak that no GC will solve

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 2 years ago | (#38916483)

Does the scope of a static variable goes beyond the life cycle of an application?

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

drysquib (1354083) | about 2 years ago | (#38915151)

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 2 years ago | (#38916409)

That "memory leak" is someone adding an image to a cache and never removing it. It might slow down your application when the cache gets too big, but it should still get unloaded when the program exits (and ends up killed because of Android's architecture).

After my answer I actually looked for it and I found a way to do memory leaks in java, but I still think that wouldn't happen on android because of the constant load-unload scheme it has going on.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 2 years ago | (#38916455)

disregard this answer, just noticed it was static. Not sure how android handles static variables, so nevermind.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 2 years ago | (#38916543)

Actually, just read a bit more and my point stands (:

Not everything is garbage-collected (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#38916387)

In Java, the only resource guaranteed to be garbage-collected is unreachable memory. Other resources are not, such as database connections, network connections, open files, and open graphics drawing contexts. There is something called finalize() that's supposed to run when an object is GC'd, but finalizers aren't guaranteed to run at all. The ordinary workaround for the lack of any deterministic finalization (like C++ destructors or C# IDisposable or CPython __del__) is to wrap anything that accesses such a resource in a try...finally block, but unlike in C++ where a destructor can't throw, close() in Java can and often does throw IOException. What should one do after having caught an IOException in close()? Add the object to a static ArrayList<Closeable> and keep trying to close it every 15 seconds?

Re:Scan for quality? (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | about 2 years ago | (#38914911)

Uh, scanning for malware is great. But i don't want Google putting itself in the position of deciding what apps are "good enough" to be in their store. There have already been enough questionable decisions based on things like copyright, i don't want them having to make judgement calls on something even more nebulous like "quality."

If you've found apps that aren't of high enough quality to suit you i suggest you just find a better app and/or tell the author what the problems are and ask them to improve it. Or if you can't find a better version and the problems really bother you that much, just uninstall it. If the problem is dealt with by Google wielding a ban hammer then it is "solved" not only for you, but also for all the people who thought the value of the app was worth dealing with the problems.

Re:Scan for quality? (0)

RoboRay (735839) | about 2 years ago | (#38914913)

Solution: Stop using "poorly-written" apps. Get rid of them. Stop giving them ad revenue, if it's ad-supported. Insist on a refund if you paid for it. Try the free version first, if there is one.

Do you blame Microsoft or Amazon when you buy what turns out to be a crappy EA game for your Windows computer via Amazon.com?

Re:Scan for quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38914917)

Some antivirus guy is even claiming [bitdefender.com] that Bouncer will be ineffective, because it (being VM-based) could be detected and so viruses could adjust their behavior accordingly.

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | about 2 years ago | (#38916239)

ROFL, A guy trying SELL you AV software claiming that something that would limit the need for his product is ineffective...

I'm surprised... Shocked even...

Re:Scan for quality? (1)

xmorg (718633) | about 2 years ago | (#38916187)

Modd down, java does not have memory leaks, you insensitive clod!

Does this mean ... (1)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | about 2 years ago | (#38914511)

Does that mean that app like ROM manager or Titanium Backup will be wiped away, considered as viruses because they need root access to work ?

Re:Does this mean ... (5, Interesting)

Monchanger (637670) | about 2 years ago | (#38914725)

Not likely. FTA:

Once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware, and trojans. It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags.

That's a pretty good description of proper scanning for bad code. As TFS stated, this isn't the Apple paradigm where they want to control their users. The purpose is to maintain a profitable marketplace and platform by protecting users who keep hearing about Android malware.

Re:Does this mean ... (2)

Aladrin (926209) | about 2 years ago | (#38914941)

I think the most important part is actually "possible red flags". This automatically scans, but doesn't seem to automatically ban.

Re:Does this mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38915977)

If malicious code or behavior is detected, the app is flagged for manual confirmation that it is malware. The app could be blocked from being uploaded if it is blatantly malicious or will be removed quickly thereafter if it gets flagged by the scanning process. "It won't get uploaded at all if it is an instance of known malware," Lockheimer said.

From CNet article [cnet.com] on this subject.

Re:Does this mean ... (1)

Monchanger (637670) | about 2 years ago | (#38915995)

Good catch. But note that "possible red flags" appears in the second part of the quote (after "also looks for"), which discusses only the case where the scanned app shares a similarity to other apps of concern- those potentially containing unknown malware.

The way I read it is if known malware is detected, it could/should be automatically blocked. But sharing "similarity" with other applications would be a second category which may require more analysis before getting blocked.

When will they add... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38914533)

...a more fine-grained security model and a firewall to android?

I understand it's a problem for Google if users can suddenly notice how much
is transferred to Google but I think it's the only way to go in the end.

Re:When will they add... (2)

Terrasque (796014) | about 2 years ago | (#38914997)

..a more fine-grained security model and a firewall to android?

Well, it is rather fine-grained. Especially when compared to the other smartphone market leader. But yeah, there are some things that could be done better.

And regarding firewall:
1. Google release firewall
2. Users start blocking ad servers
3. World goes under

Re:When will they add... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#38916511)

it's pretty generalistic when compared to market leader j2me(by numbers, don't argue). it's also a lot less "in your face" though. who the fuck wants to press yes 6 times to create a file?

thing is, what would be needed would be the option to allow/disallow actions when they happen(with "allow always" "allow for a day" etc options) - not at install time. and for example if it's sending a sms, show where it's sending it when asking for permission - and for each app there could be a option to view their security log from app manager.

that wouldn't be too bad to implement and would work wonders - but again, would allow for blocking of ads - however, the app should then just refuse to start if it can't serve it's ads, if it's meant to be ad funded.

Re:When will they add... (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#38915067)

Android is the only smartphone with fine grained security. Applications only have as much access that is granted to them when you download the application.

Re:When will they add... (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#38915787)

Unfortunately it's grant-all basis only. As in app requests a bunch of permissions, and you can not deny one or two of those requests. You must grant them all, or deny (and not install the app). It is only fine-grained as in there are many different, well-defined permissions an app may request. And of course the good thing is that they're all listed when you install a new app, and you're re-requested to give permission if this changes in an upgrade.

But there are issues. I have a 4-in-a-row game on my phone, ad supported. Fair enough. For those ads (and the internet play option) you need network access. I can accept that. But the more recent versions of this app start to ask for location information. Now there it's getting hairy. It has network access so should be able to deduce my rough location by IP address (can be useful for targeting ads), why does it need to know in which street I'm walking around? That's too much.

Other apps ask for access to "services that may cost you money" like to make phone calls, or to send SMS messages. While I don't see any such functionality in the app itself. Then I also wonder why it's needed. And I can't just flat-out deny that specific access.

Re:When will they add... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38916277)

The problem with your idea is that many apps absolutely do need the permissions they ask for. Do you think those apps would work as advertised if you started pulling permissions away from under their feet? Yes, there might be apps that ask for permissions they don't use or only use for secondary functionality, but that doesn't help much for the apps that really need the permissions they ask for.

Re:When will they add... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 2 years ago | (#38916567)

So when the app is running and is in a situation where it needs a permission that is blocked it notifies the user of the error. Apps like Google Maps already do that when GPS is disabled, there's no reason other apps can't do the same. And in fact, there's no reason other apps shouldn't already be doing that because on a phone things like SMS, location data, and network connections aren't always available.

Re:When will they add... (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#38916459)

A privileges-control software package like LBE Privacy Guard purports to control individual app access to distinct individual permissions. I use that app, and it seems to work, but if it leaks access, I'm not certain I'd be able to tell, so YMMV.

Re:When will they add... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38915601)

fine-grained security model and a firewall

Just get a Blackberry instead.
No really, it's the only reason I still have one.

Now? (3, Interesting)

C_Kode (102755) | about 2 years ago | (#38914535)

You figured something like this would have been in place from day one. Let's sell apps, but not worry about if they are loaded malware or viruses. /facepalm

Re:Now? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38914675)

I made all kinds of assumptions about the way that these app stores are run in the early days. That they'd not only scan for malware but even inspect the source.

But no, turns out that with both Android and iOS, you get the freedom of a walled garden with the safety of a sketchy warez site.

Re:Now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38914883)

I made all kinds of assumptions about the way that these app stores are run in the early days. That they'd not only scan for malware but even inspect the source.

But no, turns out that with both Android and iOS, you get the freedom of a walled garden with the safety of a sketchy warez site.

Don't forget that on the original iPhone, apps were intended to be web apps run entirely within Mobile Safari. Apple certainly had the iOS SDK in-house where "professional" developers would build apps, have them code-reviewed, testes, etc, according to whatever Apple's development process dictates.

The uproar over native apps forced them to rush the release of the SDK, rush to opening of the App Store review system, etc. It has certainly become much, much better, but it's not a surprise that there were issues back in the early days.

Re:Now? (1)

ChikMag777 (1337235) | about 2 years ago | (#38916049)

Don't forget that on the original iPhone, apps were intended to be web apps run entirely within Mobile Safari. Apple certainly had the iOS SDK in-house where "professional" developers would build apps, have them code-reviewed, testes, etc, according to whatever Apple's development process dictates.

Looks like AC has something else on their mind this morning.

Re:Now? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#38916531)

on the original iPhone, apps were intended to be web apps run entirely within Mobile Safari

Yet Safari provided no means to access the camera, microphone, accelerometer, etc. How would, say, a web app that scans barcodes have worked?

Re:Now? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#38914951)

Android has no wall.
You can download from Google, or any place else.
No walled garden needed.

Re:Now? (-1, Troll)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38915045)

Yeah, once you jai - sorry, root the device.

Re:Now? (1)

ThisIsSaei (2397758) | about 2 years ago | (#38915157)

I know it's nit-picking, and I do agree with the general statement, but not all side-loading requires rooting.

Re:Now? (4, Informative)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#38915395)

If you had an Android device you would know that you do not need to root your phone to install apps from someplace other than Google.
You just go into settings and select that you want to be able to install programs from Unknown Sources.
You can try again to spread FUD if you like.
I will wait.

Re:Now? (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38915497)

Good luck tethering like that.

Re:Now? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#38915581)

That is not something that Android does.
That is something that your shithole cell phone provider orders the handset maker to add.
You can try again to spread FUD if you like.
I will wait.

Re:Now? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38915663)

That is not something that Android does.
That is something that your shithole cell phone provider orders the handset maker to add.

And the end result is what?

Is it spreading FUD to tell it like it is? Seems more honest than describing a situation that, today AFAIK exists only in theory. It's the Tivo all over again but this time the geeks are on the wrong side.

Re:Now? (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#38915805)

It is not only theory.
Get a Nexus. Buy it. Do not have some phone company pay for most of it for you and then sign a contract stating that you can now be fucked in the ass and blame it on Android.
You can try again to spread FUD if you like.
I will wait.

Re:Now? (2)

toriver (11308) | about 2 years ago | (#38916179)

What is the point in releasing other Android handsets if the answer is always "get a Nexus"? You are ignoring that there have been handsets released where the option to install from untrusted sources was absent and you had to get apps from the Marketplace.

Re:Now? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#38916287)

I have not seen an Android phone with that removed. Nexus, Evo 4G, Photon, G1, Evo Shift, Galaxy S all have it.
If there are handsets like that I have yet to see them.
Not being a dick but if you know of one I would love to here about it.

Re:Now? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#38915921)

Tethering is built into Android. No app or rooting required, works great.

Re:Now? (1)

toriver (11308) | about 2 years ago | (#38916209)

Duh, tethering is built into all smartphones. It's just a question of the contract between you and your operator whether you can use it without cheating.

Re:Now? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#38916717)

I was responding to a poster who did not know that.

Re:Now? (1)

ChikMag777 (1337235) | about 2 years ago | (#38916149)

AFAIK, wireless tether requires root (or payment), but PdaNet, etc. can tether via USB or Bluetooth without root.

Re:Now? (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#38915409)

once you jai - sorry, root the device.

Settings/Applications/Unknown Sources.

It's a toggle, so you can turn it back to block unknown sources after you've sideloaded whatever you wanted.

Re:Now? (2)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about 2 years ago | (#38915413)

No, once you check the box for 'unknown sources' in the device settings menu. I am a power-user and I don't have my current phone rooted. There are very few instances where it is needed. In fact, the only time I have had a rooted phone was as a result of installing cyanogenmod,.

Re:Now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38914767)

Does SourceForge?

Re:Now? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#38914893)

Forgive my squirrley ignorance.
But as to you signature.
Is it not written on the sacred scrolls that all Muds should be written in C?

Why would anyone use Android... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38914559)

...when they can use Harmattan on a Nokia N9, which is a much better option? Fuck Andy Rubin and his minions, be a true geek and say NO to Android!

--
Jordyn Buchanan

Re:Why would anyone use Android... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38914703)

I chose Maemo over Android too, unfortunately we're a small minority even among geeks, I think I'm going to try to hack Maemo or some other GNU/Linux distro onto a Droid 4 for my next phone.

Re:Why would anyone use Android... (1)

TeXMaster (593524) | about 2 years ago | (#38914741)

The fact that Nokia (actually, Elop) is too stupid to sell N9 in all the markets (it's not available in Italy, e.g., except imported more or less legally from e.g. Switzerland) and the fact that the N9 is essentially the end-of-line product for Harmattan are two strong reasons that have strongly limited the sales of that fine product.

Re:Why would anyone use Android... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#38915215)

Because not many people can get an N9? Nokia isn't selling it in the US. Honestly, MeGo and WebOS are better than Android, the problem is you can't get them except on a small handful of devices while I can get Android on every major network for a subsidized price plus it comes in every hardware form factor I'd need/want.

Re:Why would anyone use Android... (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#38915269)

I love maemo too, and love my n900. It makes me sort of sad to think my next phone will *not* run maemo.
However, people are free to use whatever they like, even if it *is* crap, locked-down, etc.

The real solution is to educate a wee bit in order for them to be able to choose a bit more wisely.

free software matters (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38914563)

Malware is why software needs to be free and a system be in place to monitor submissions. This scanning for malware is just a facade to cover the lack of security. The humorous thing is GNU/Linux doesn't have this problem because things are done differently and then GNU/Linux gets blamed for being just as weak as Microsoft Windows (once the numbers exist). It's just not true. Google screwed up in creating a GNU/Linux derived distribution.

Re:free software matters (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38914731)

There's nothing GNU about Android. The kernel is a distant relative of the Linux kernel but that's as far as the relationship goes.

Re:free software matters (1)

SadButTrue (848439) | about 2 years ago | (#38914867)

Why do you say that kernel is a distant relative? I was under the impression that little had changed outside the driver model.

Re:free software matters (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38915023)

At this point they're completely incompatible with each other, so I'd say they're roughly as distant as the Linux and BSD kernels.

Re:free software matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38915405)

Actually the arrogant Android engineers tried to shove their changes upstream but they were rejected by the mainline kernel developers as they were mediocre at best (search for the wakelocks fiasco), so they forked it. Nowadays it is the proprietary Android engineers that need to incorporate changes from mainstream kernel into their forked version. They are a bunch of idiots who never understood what OSS and collaboration are about.

This is all for the better, of course, as Andy Rubin is both a hypocrite and an asshole, and so are most of the people in the Android team.

--
Glass

Re:free software matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38916097)

Well- not the GNU part although GNU is still a big part of what makes up a GNU/Linux system. Just because you remove it doesn't mean they are of lesser of importance. Linux wouldn't be what it is without GNU. You can see that from Android. They took one part of that system and royally screwed it up. In the context of GNU/Linux we are talking a free software system and the way things are done. Android doesn't take from that system except one piece that they mess up.

Re:free software matters (1)

Monchanger (637670) | about 2 years ago | (#38914827)

Please stop. Don't continue to talk about FOSS if you're going to sound this stupid. You make the rest of us look bad.

This is utter nonsense. Look at Ubuntu which is certainly FOSS. Does that mean no proprietary code will run on it? Of course not. Check out their own market- lots of applications are for sale as binary-only. Disallowing those, or any other business model a developer/publisher wants to employ is not best left up to Ubuntu, or Google. That should be the user's choice.

If you choose to run only open source, that's your right. But if that's the case you're a fanatic on the fringe of society, and nobody agrees with you.

Re:free software matters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38916471)

Nonsense. There are plenty of fanatics on the fringe of society that agree with him.

The "recent news" was retracted... (5, Informative)

efriese (681859) | about 2 years ago | (#38914863)

Re:The "recent news" was retracted... (1)

webheaded (997188) | about 2 years ago | (#38916391)

Well to be fair that's only 1 type and that particular one in the article there is actually pretty borderline malware. Applications that do what this this article describes, to me, seem like malware. It switches your browser settings and adds shortcuts to your desktop. That's kind of ridiculous. I'm not a fan of Symantec...but in this particular case, I don't really think they were in the wrong.

What's apparent to you may not be apparent to me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38914963)

So it appears that they allow the software to be sold even before it is scanned and it also appears that no one has been bitten by a false positive from this software.

Why does it 'appear' that they allow the software to be sold even before it is scanned? It could be true but it doesn't seem to follow from anything else that was said. It sounds as if it scans items that "are in the market" but that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't scanned before they go into the market, just that they continue to be scanned as the scanning techniques improve/change.

Why does it 'appear' that no one has been bitten by a false positive? I don't see anything that could lead to that conclusion.

Either or both of those statements could be true, but just sticking "It appears" in front of them without explanation is ridiculous.

sh1t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38914967)

us the courtesy architecTure. My

(plus one Informativie) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38915427)

As to which *BSD By fundamental needs OS. Now BSDI EFNet servers. provide sodas, and building is share. *BSD is what we've known [tux.org]? Are you That *BSD is Despite the luck I'll find to survive at all with the laundry duty to be a big those uber-asshole ALL MAJOR MARKETING NNeds OS. Now BSDI on baby...don't Romeo and Juliet

I suggest a few simple scanning rules (1)

toxonix (1793960) | about 2 years ago | (#38916197)

Was the app developed in the Republic of China? Reject. That solves most of the problem. I have my own filter for apps, one that is based on cultural bias and animosity towards Chinese software mills: If the description is written by an idiot, or the obvious result of machine translation: reject If the 'reviews' are spam or are the typical 'ITS SO ADDICTING!': reject
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