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FTC to HTC: Patch Vulnerabilities On Smartphones and Tablets

timothy posted about a year ago | from the tla-envy dept.

Android 111

New submitter haberb writes "I always thought my HTC phones were of average or above average quality, and certainly no less secure than an vanilla Android install, but it turns out someone was still not impressed. 'Mobile device manufacturer HTC America has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company failed to take reasonable steps to secure the software it developed for its smartphones and tablet computers, introducing security flaws that placed sensitive information about millions of consumers at risk.' Perhaps this will push HTC to release some of the ICS upgrades they promised a few months ago but never delivered, or perhaps the reason they fell through in the first place?"

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111 comments

Cyanogen Mod. (5, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#42992593)

The best software patch I've found for HTC products, though I have tried others.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (2)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about a year ago | (#42992741)

Not just for HTC phones. I'd be tempted to flash CyanogenMod on any supported phone if it's not a Nexus device (and even then there are advantages with CM, especially with older Nexus devices that were deemed not powerful enough for 4.x).

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42993661)

Not just for HTC phones. I'd be tempted to flash CyanogenMod on any supported phone if it's not a Nexus device (and even then there are advantages with CM, especially with older Nexus devices that were deemed not powerful enough for 4.x).

In my experience, cyanogen is the best android distro there is. If you can get an official build or an unofficial port of it for your device, you should be running it.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#42994831)

In my experience, cyanogen is the best android distro there is. If you can get an official build or an unofficial port of it for your device, you should be running it.

I'm not arguing, but as a happy "stock" droid 4.2.2 user on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, I would be interested to know what makes it better. I seriously considered CM when I had a Sony/Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro piece of abandonware, and was in fact making preparations to install CM when that machine died.

As a follow-up question, with subsequent upgrades of Cyanogen, do they follow a non-destructive procedure similar to Google's with Nexus devices, or do I have to blow away all my apps, settings etc every time I upgrade? I could see that getting a bit tedious. I put up with that once in order to get the phone out of the grasp of my lazy telco, and it was worth it, but I wouldn't want to have to do that every other month.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

poity (465672) | about a year ago | (#42996079)

Nexus device owners should stick to stock, since they get the fastest updates and thus the best security. Only the people who own devices whose manufacturers are slow to release updates should consider modding.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42996875)

I have a Galaxy Nexus, and I've put Cyanogen mod on there to make sure that Verizon wasn't running any software on my phone in the background, and because it got rid of annoying stuff like Google circles. If you're happy with your stock, don't worry about changing, performance isn't an issue. If you don't like the omnipresence of Google everywhere on the device, CM is great for getting away from it.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about a year ago | (#42992779)

I haven't tried Cyanogen yet but I agree entirely. HTC hardware is right up there with the best but the software ranges from okay to an excercise in frustation and one recent upgrade actually cost me the ability to share files with my Linux computer. Then in frustration I borrowed my wife's Windows laptop and it was only after half an hour that I could share files on that and then only by systematically turning off every bit of HTC software that it had installed on her laptop.

HTC make lovely phones that look and feel superb but they are let down by some really crappy software releases and even crappier software design choices.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (4, Interesting)

puto (533470) | about a year ago | (#42992947)

I am a tech support manager at one of the largest cell carriers in the US, and while HTC might have nice hardware, they are very shoddily made and usually about 3 months into it 40-60% of the phones crap out multiple times and we have to end up giving out Samsung as replacements. Which is why you see the HTC 1X selling new for 99 cents, because it is a horrible piece of crap.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993013)

Not a big fan of HTC after my experience with the Hero a couple years back, but this sounds like some hyperbole.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about a year ago | (#42993037)

That's really interesting. My experience, and I'm on my fourth HTC (and possibly last depending on how well Cyanogen goes). I've never had any hardware problems. I don't even cringe when I accidentally drop my phone onto concrete now because I know it won't break.

Which do you recommend as the better quality brands? The Samsungs have lovely specs but they're huge and look seriously ugly. There just doesn't seem to be much of anyone else in the HD range where I'm looking.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Snotnose (212196) | about a year ago | (#42993529)

I've got an HTC One V. My power button started going out about 3 weeks after I got the phone. As in I had to fiddle with it to turn the phone on/off. HTC said to back everything up and send it to them, they'd get it back to me in 4-6 weeks. Overnight shipping both ways wasn't an option. I don't have a landline so I lived with it hoping for the best. After 3 months it pretty much didn't register, it's a bitch to turn the phone on.

Google shows others have this issue and suggested using a silicon spray on it. I did, now I can turn it on. But I can't turn it off. I did discover that holding the power button down takes a screenshot. WTF? It registers the button is held down long enough to take a screenshot, but not to power off?

I've got other software issues with the phone, like sometimes I don't get the flashing notify LED. Or the LED will flash a few minutes, then quit. The camera seems to have a "fuzz" filter. I get ready to take a picture, it's in focus. I snap it, I get about 1/2 second of an in-focus picture and then it goes blurry. Always. I have yet to find a setting to unblur my camera. Note this isn't a dirty lens or anything, the picture is clear until the moment the phone saves the picture.

On the whole, the hardware sucks, the software sucks, and the customer support sucks.

Not seeing my phone in the Cyanogen builds tho :(

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#42995271)

" I did discover that holding the power button down takes a screenshot. WTF?"

Indeed. Who the fuck thought to put the camera control on the power button? That's kinda like having your car radio only play when the ignition is in the ACC position.

Time to buy a better phone.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

tfigment (2425764) | about a year ago | (#42997955)

My biggest issue with my HTC One V is that it goes into super deep sleep and I miss phone calls and alarms do not go off. Alarms will go off when I turn the phone back on after it is usually too late. (Note: None of the free alarm apps help as I've tried the best 3 of them) What does help is keeping the thing charged. The other is that the ringer volume sometimes does not match settings and rebooting the phone fixes the volume control.

At least they fixed the battery issue in the Nov/Dec update. There were times I could not charge my phone beyond 50% unless I drained it completely and recharged while off to 100%). I was an inch away from returning the phone if they could not get the battery issue fixed.

Definitely a disappoint experience for me. I was probably happier with a simple Motorola phone and an iPod Touch for my smart phone needs before this phone.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

GeoBain (1954832) | about a year ago | (#42993275)

they are very shoddily made and usually about 3 months into it 40-60% of the phones crap out multiple times and we have to end up giving out Samsung as replacements.

Sure am glad I am in the other 40-60%. Both my and my son's Droid Incredibles are still going strong after almost 3 years. (32 months)

Re: Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Archwyrm (670653) | about a year ago | (#42995651)

I've had two HTC phones (one being the Nexus One) and have noticed no significant problems. I have noticed that most of the apps that came with the second one are not worth using compared to the stock Google apps (Calendar, Music, etc) but that probably goes for most brands of phones.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (2)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#42993321)

My buddy who is a sys-admin for a rather sizable company talked me out of getting a Galaxy S and getting an Evo 4G (WiMax original) instead. His experience, running IT for an organization with a really healthy blend of multiple types of handsets was that the HTC's were physically much more durable than the Samsungs.

My personal experience doesn't include a Samsung phone, but I'm rough on stuff. I've got bent keys in my pocket because they were bent in my pocket. I work at the Johnson Space Center running cables under the floor, up walls, I'm regularly on ladders, in the sub-floor and I even do work on the side. I destroy or work pager or two a year while I'm rolling over on the phone in my pocket at the same time. My original Evo held up until I dropped it face down on a rock by an accident, losing it off of a bicycle moving at a fairly quick pace. My current one, an LTE Evo model has held up for nine months so far. The work pager's been replaced at least once since I've gotten it.

To clear things up - I've got a slightly warped Leatherman pocketknife (not an normal multi-tool). I'm rough on stuff. Part of the reason I wear carpenter pants is I like putting my phone in the leg pocket. It took two years to make my old Evo get buggy. It still works - post screen replacement - and I've got it setup for my daughter to play games on it. It still worked fine as a phone as of the day I decommissioned it - the signal just wasn't as reliable as it my coworkers identical phone on an identical plan anymore and hey, newer model out there. Before my Evo I destroyed on iPhone 3G and the replacement for that (also iPhone 3G) had a crack in the case, the WiFi and Bluetooth no longer worked, but the phone itself still did.

You may have some experience I don't in this area. I just don't see it.

Also your username means ass.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993381)

"Also your username means ass."

Not in any Spanish-speaking country I've ever been to, and I've been to most of them.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about a year ago | (#42993417)

I once asked my Argentino friends when they used the word if "puto" meant "mujeriego" (man whore in that particular context) and they laughed and told me it meant "maricón" (poofter).

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993709)

My One S has been VERY durable with its aluminium body. Thrown it @street at LEAST 3 times (by accident of course) :D couple bumps on aluminium but working perfectly. My old Hero is also still very much alive. I'd say HTC's hardware is THE most durable one, bar none.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#42993977)

As someone who owns 3 Samsung devices and tires of hearing about it from HTC fanbois, thanks for that. :-)

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42995197)

LOL I LIKE ONE PHONE BRAND OVER ANOTHER

I'm glad I still have a dumbphone, you people are ridiculous.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42994713)

So you're telling me that the two different plastic piece of shit Samsung phones I've owned with flimsy breaking battery doors are all in my imagination? That my metal HTC phone is more poorly made? WTF?

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#42995423)

No offence, but I find your figures pretty unconvincing, nobody would be able to run a business with 50% failure rates.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#42997717)

it's not 99 cents, it's 99 cents as downpayment and two years of paying.

incidentally, are services taxes different from sales tax in USA? that might actually explain some of the "free phone!" shit. though in that case tax authorities are suckers for not smacking down the hammer on operators.

htc phones aren't particularly cheap in reality(full unsubbed pricing), even if they feel cheap.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42992997)

Re: your sig...

I said - don't look Ethel!..., but it was too late..., she'd already looked

Just remembered where I know that from. That's from Ray Steven's "The Streak"! (Look at that, look at that physique!) :-)

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

nametaken (610866) | about a year ago | (#42992785)

You could have just said CM is the best software patch for any android device that isn't a platform reference.

Do any of them actually support their devices? I know Samsung doesn't, either.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42993011)

Do any of them actually support their devices? I know Samsung doesn't, either.

HTC's phones are extra bloatware, though, which was true with Windows Mobile and is true now with Android. And then they often get sold by some carrier like T-Mobile who puts a bunch more bloatware on them. Really, you owe it to yourself to load CM on anything you can load it on.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#42993329)

Agreed. Part of the reason I got Cyanogen was I hated Sense and the bloat attached to it. On my LTE Evo Sense artificially limits the abilities of the phone for reasons I just can't comprehend. It almost makes it a non-multi-tasking device where it's awesome at multi-tasking with Cyanogen Mod.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | about a year ago | (#42993007)

I had Cyanogen Mod on my old phone, then bought one of the Thunderbolts mentioned in the summary. Cyanogen offers NO support for this device. There was a dev who was releasing a really nice port of Cyanogen for the Thunderbolt, but he stopped several months ago.

It's my understanding that the main thing keeping Cyanogen from officially supporting the Thunderbolt is a lack of drivers for the phone's radio coming from HTC. HTC keeps promising us an ICS update, which wouldn't be as good as full Cyanogen support, but would be better than outdated OS on a not very old phone, which was sold as one of their premium phones not that long ago.

As a consumer, I feel like HTC really dropped the ball on this, and in the future will be considering a Samsung to replace my HTC. Previously, I've had a few other HTC phones and loved them. But this whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth with them.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#42993303)

The best software patch I've found for HTC products, though I have tried others.

Not me, whenever I root a device.

I always try to get the HTC Sense mod version of a ROM (although, it's probably not very legal).

And I've also tried others.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#42993437)

I used Mean ROM for a while, which is a Sense ROM. That ROM's biggest claims to fame were the biggest things going against it for me. Overclocking when the screen is on - great - but let me disable that. The disable is to under-clock it was the screen on. I loved the single core under-clock with screen off thing but there was no easy way to configure this behavior. Also the web browser was supposed to be awesome for some of the customizations, I liked some but couldn't disable the others so I used Chrome for Android while I was on it.

I also used Fresh Evo on my old phone. Nice but had some bugs I couldn't overcome and I gave up on it.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42995439)

Hey, it's the big racist man. How about you shit on the Japanese some more, fucking racist fuck? I'm fully surprised you haven't blamed the Japanese for your problems. Typical fucking racist fuck.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Mistakill (965922) | about a year ago | (#42993763)

Agreed... i love my HTC One X, and CM 10 works great on it... HTC were painfully slow at bringing out Jellybean for it, especially for my CID

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about a year ago | (#42993825)

I'm with you. I've only had one HTC device (G1/Dream), but Cyanogenmod was the best thing I could have possibly done to it. I don't know how long HTC supported the Dream, but Cyanogenmod allowed me to use it way longer than the hardware should have allowed. I've since upgraded (newer phone, another brand) and the first day I had the new phone I flashed a Cyanogenmod-based ROM. No crapware, better battery life, smoother performance, more up to date.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#42995693)

I think the Dream was the only HTC device that was long-supported on Cyanogenmod. I had a G2 and they stopped porting new OSes to it after Gingerbread - that was only a year newer than the device.

Sure, CM supports the devices longer than the vendors do (with the exception of Nexus phones), but their efforts have been diluted considerably and you don't see stable CM releases for most phones after a year. A year really isn't long enough to stop security updates for a computing device that is used heavily for web browsing.

Re:Cyanogen Mod. (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#42995701)

CM is certainly the best option there is for HTC products, but few devices get CM releases after a year. Of course the vendors should be supporting the devices in the first place, but even the CM community doesn't really keep things going for that long. Nobody is paying them, and there are a LOT of phones out there, and most of the better developers seem to buy new phones frequently and move on.

Perhaps... (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42992605)

company failed to take reasonable steps to secure the software it developed for its smartphones and tablet computers, introducing security flaws that placed sensitive information about millions of consumers at risk

It should also be illegal to install bloatware that is embedded to the point of not being removable (without at least rooting the device and perhaps voiding warranty). Nothing makes the phone more secure than facebook processes -- there are several, and a dozen other built-in crapware clients (peddling games, services, etc).

And I don't think that buying full-priced phone changes anything, either.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#42992641)

I completely pwn my phones for exactly that reason. I considered the crapware Sprint put on my original Evo border-line criminal. It wasn't nearly as bad on Evo LTE, but they still secured crap in the "S-Off" area.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42992663)

I completely pwn my phones for exactly that reason. I considered the crapware Sprint put on my original Evo border-line criminal.

Pray tell, have you ever needed warranty services on your phone?

I am not opposed to having to root my phone per se, but if I lose my warranty as a result, then provider behavior is criminal. Imagine if uninstalling one of the crappy adware services provided by PC manufacturer caused you to lose PC warranty.

Re:Perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42992679)

They can't cancel the warranty over that, unless the firmware causes the damage.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#42992915)

Sort of.

I dropped my old Evo 4G (WiMax) onto a rock face first and shattered the screen. I was going to have to do a warranty replacement (no questions asked) but the guy behind the counter made me a deal. Buy $50 worth of crap in the store and he would replace my screen for free. I spent $100 on a pair of Bluetooth headphones, which is about what the claim would have cost anyways, but I got to keep the headphones.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#42993089)

Not even "sort of."

That's not a warranty claim, but might have been an insurance claim if you'd gone that route.

Warranties cover defects. Insurance covers accidents. [Insert car obvious analogy here.]

(That said: It sounds like it was a win-win deal. Counter-geek gets a sales commission and something to do with his free time at the shop, and you get the repair you were after.)

Re:Perhaps... (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#42992685)

I briefly had a Motorola Backflip and I loved the concept of it. Unfortunately, it was underpowered to begin with and AT&T insisted upon larding it up with all sorts of things that would run and make it even slower.

It's a shame, because the device was actually fairly nice in other respects.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42992801)

Nothing makes the phone more secure than facebook processes

Say what?

Oh, I see, humor. Swoosh!

At least with the later versions of Android, you can go in and Disable these apps, and they won't run, won't get updates, and only take up storage.

Re:Perhaps... (4, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#42993049)

Yeah -- but there are other's you can't do anything about. Dropbox or Google+ for example: only options are "force stop" and "uninstall updates". How about a flat out "uninstall".

Re:Perhaps... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#42994333)

You need Root Uninstaller. Takes care of those uninstallable crapware. Of course, you need root for this so either take the phone in to one of those dodgy shops or go read xda-developers forums for your device.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42994379)

On ICS you can also select "disable" which removes all their hooks into the OS like share meny entries and activity associations. I use it to disable most of the Samsung stuff on my GS3.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42994381)

Ignore my other post. What I meant to say is that I can in fact disable Dropbox and G+ on my GS3.

Re:Perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42995647)

Nice lie. On my nexus 7, it gives me the 'disable' option for google+. No root needed. Also, if you wanted to delete that preinstalled app with root, you don't gain usable storage space because it is on a read-only partition.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | about a year ago | (#42993081)

But if your stuck with an old version of android (droid x2 [android 2.3 i think]) and the company (Verizon?) has no intention of upgrading you, and you can't unless you root it. Than what? I don't even think they the cyno mod mentioned had something, but I could look again. I forget.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#42992945)

It should also be illegal to install bloatware that is embedded to the point of not being removable (without at least rooting the device and perhaps voiding warranty).

The ICS upgrade to my HTC Thunderbolt allows me to disable any built-in app that isn't considered "critical". Surprisingly, their definition of "critical" isn't much different from mine. The only app I might want to disable that I cannot is a process that makes sure that you can't tether a device to the phone via WiFi, and I can understand the reasoning.

But Facebook, Verizon Navigator, and all the other bloatware are disabled and will not run. Not being able to remove the apps isn't really a big deal, as I have plenty of storage (2GB on the internal card and over 30GB on the microSD card).

Re:Perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42994839)

The FCC ruled that Verizon's blocking tethering without paying extra is illegal. You should look into that.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#42993057)

without at least rooting the device and perhaps voiding warranty

Everyone talks about "voiding the warranty."

But has anyone ever actually had a warranty claim denied just because the phone is/was rooted and/or running different software?

Indeed, even HTC's own warranty statement [htc.com] doesn't seem to automatically exclude coverage for devices that are simply running different software.

(Also: Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act [wikipedia.org], etc.)

Re:Perhaps... (2)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#42993799)

I used to have an HTC Merge. I had rooted (and unlocked, of course) the phone. I sent it in for a repair twice, to HTC itself not an insurance claim, and though the second time resulted in my getting a different phone returned to me I never once had anyone complain or deny my warranty because of this. YMMV and I have since moved away from HTC, great hardware though. I'm pretty rough on stuff.

Re:Perhaps... (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#42994035)

Everyone talks about "voiding the warranty."

But has anyone ever actually had a warranty claim denied just because the phone is/was rooted and/or running different software?

Indeed, even HTC's own warranty statement doesn't seem to automatically exclude coverage for devices that are simply running different software.

Well, the thing is, most people do NOT file warranty claims - they go back to their carrier and ask what to do. Because what happens if you have to send the phone to HTC and then wait for them to replace it - if you're lucky, it'll take a week. Most of the time it'll take 2 or more weeks. And you'll be spending a chunk on shipping and other things to get your RMA in.

Most people will just go back to their carrier and then figure out what to do. If they broke the screen, they'd probably buy a new phone, or do an early upgrade. If it's a real fault like a bad power burron, they'd probably replace it or steer you towards the extended warranty.

About the only people who do actually claim warranties are for Apple phones - mostly because you just go into the store and they can replace it on the spot. But you can't do that at a Samsung store, a Microsoft store, or other manufacturer store.

But claiming warranty service is always a PITA - you call them up, get an RMA, ship it off, wait for it to be returned, etc. etc. etc.

Carriers often provide their own warranty and extended warranty, and have the bulk power to basically make the manufacturer responsible for it - they'd just return them back en masse and claim it against future shipments. When that happens, who broke it, etc. gets lost and a company like HTC is in no way going to be able to individually deny warranty claims because it takes too much work when you're getting 1000 phones sent back.

Most will simply be reflashed and tested - if they work, great, if not, fix it or use it for parts. Now, if it was you or I doing the whole warranty thing, maybe they'll test it and deny the claim. But when the carrier is returning thousands at a time (which could be a month or so), it's not so practical. Plus, unlike Apple, these companies NEED carrier business. If HTC started denying claims, the carrier can simply not bother to purchase HTC phones (or buy a lot less of them).

Re:Perhaps... (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#42994231)

All those words.

Have you ever sent a phone in under warranty and had a claim denied because it was rooted or was otherwise running different software?

That is the question, but none of that text answers it.

Thanks for nothing!

-flodadolf

Re:Perhaps... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#42995743)

without at least rooting the device and perhaps voiding warranty

Everyone talks about "voiding the warranty."

But has anyone ever actually had a warranty claim denied just because the phone is/was rooted and/or running different software?

Well, a more useful question is whether anybody has had a court of law deny them warranty coverage on the hardware for a phone simply because they had changed the firmware.

Anybody can deny a warranty for any reason. I can sell you a bike and give you a contract signed in blood that says I'll fix it for any reason for a year, and then you could bring it back to me, and I could say no. Now, if you took me to court the court would likely tell me to fix it, because I'm violating the law.

The problem is that getting relief from a court over a phone that has depreciated to $200 and needs a $50 repair is incredibly cost-ineffective. So, carriers/vendors/etc can basically do whatever they want.

However, I do maintain that warranties are not voided by software changes unless the software itself caused the problem. That's basic warranty law - if you change the battery on your car it doesn't void the warranty on the leather seat, but it might void the warranty on the radio if it was damaged by a power surge of some kind and the battery could be shown to have caused it. But, you're really at the mercy of the companies good faith.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#42993285)

It should also be illegal to install bloatware that is embedded to the point of not being removable (without at least rooting the device and perhaps voiding warranty).

Yes, the FTC report also mentions Carrier IQ by name.

Re:Perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42994725)

Isn't it ironic that the cell carriers don't want people to root their phones, but they have piled them so high with crapware/spyware that people have such a strong incentive for people to root their phones that they'll learn "hacking" for the first time just to escape? If the carriers would calm down a little on the shitware, there'd be less people rooting their phones.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#42994901)

If the carriers would calm down a little on the shitware, there'd be less people rooting their phones.

True. My last phone (Sony/Ericson) never got updated beyond Android 2.1 by the manufacturer, and the asswipes did a deal with my telco to cripple tethering (despite said telco explicitly telling me they didn't have a problem with tethering). So I pretty much had to root the device to get the functionality I needed.

However, my more recent Galaxy Nexus (from the same telco) came with a much closer-to-stock ROM on it, and with less crapware, and I never did get around to rooting it.

Even now that I have flashed the device with a "real" stock image from Google (I got tired of waiting for JellyBean), I still haven't needed root access.

Bad summary. (3, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#42992713)

Granted, HTC was late in delivering ICS to the Thunderbolt. But, contrary to the summary's claim and link ("upgrades they promised a few months ago but never delivered"), it was in fact delivered - a few weeks ago.

Re:Bad summary. (1)

gerf (532474) | about a year ago | (#42992743)

And I'm still waiting on my ICS update for the Incredible 2 on Verizon. So while the Thunderbolt got ICS, some phones did not.

Re:Bad summary. (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42992763)

Right. Why do summary writers always try to force the story toward their pet peeve.

Further this FTC settlement had NOTHING to do with what version of Android was installed, but rather the diagnostics and monitoring applications they had installed, mostly at the carriers request.

Both "Carrier IQ", something demanded by carriers, till they got caught, and "Tell HTC" a bug reporting software, ended up leaving logs on the phone that contained private data in clear-text, and transmitted that data to the carriers or to HTC in un-encrypted format. It also had to do with the handling of that data once it was delivered to the carriers and more specifically to HTC.

Why the summary writer had to make it about something else is beyond me.

Re:Bad summary. (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#42992869)

Right. Why do summary writers always try to force the story toward their pet peeve.

Because oftentimes their personal grudge against the company is the only reason they take the time to write up a story and submit it.

Re:Bad summary. (3, Informative)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#42993405)

To be clear, this is what the vulnerability did:

Let me put it another way. By using only the INTERNET permission, any app can also gain at least the following:

        ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION Allows an application to access coarse (e.g., Cell-ID, WiFi) location
        ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION Allows an application to access fine (e.g., GPS) location
        ACCESS_LOCATION_EXTRA_COMMANDS Allows an application to access extra location provider commands
        ACCESS_WIFI_STATE Allows applications to access information about Wi-Fi networks
        BATTERY_STATS Allows an application to collect battery statistics
        DUMP Allows an application to retrieve state dump information from system services.
        GET_ACCOUNTS Allows access to the list of accounts in the Accounts Service
        GET_PACKAGE_SIZE Allows an application to find out the space used by any package.
        GET_TASKS Allows an application to get information about the currently or recently running tasks: a thumbnail representation of the tasks, what activities are running in it, etc.
        READ_LOGS Allows an application to read the low-level system log files.
        READ_SYNC_SETTINGS Allows applications to read the sync settings
        READ_SYNC_STATS Allows applications to read the sync stats

http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/10/01/massive-security-vulnerability-in-htc-android-devices-evo-3d-4g-thunderbolt-others-exposes-phone-numbers-gps-sms-emails-addresses-much-more/ [androidpolice.com]

Note the date of that article. (!)

Carrier IQ was spyware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993449)

It was a binary on the handset, it has the ability to spy on everything, right down to the keystrokes. They advertised the ability to capture app usage, right down to keystokes, etc. They claimed to be only using the call quality feature of that spyware.

Their servers send a profile to your phone, the profile says what to capture. That data is then sent to CarrierIQ's server, and data mined on behalf of their customers from that database.

They were caught, because HTC's version left the debug flag on and all the possible capture data was seen to be recorded into a file. However even with HTC's debug turned off, this product is still spyware.

Carrier IQ's denials were non-denial-denials. They amounted to saying they *didn't* capture data, not that they *couldn't* capture data. Which is true, as long as they didn't send a profile down to require the capture.

The FTC's response is to treat the DEBUGGING flag as the problem, because the file could have been accessed. But the problem is the USA handsets have spyware installed on them.

HTC suck (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42992871)

HTC suck.

Totally crap smartphones that fall apart from minimal use.

...yet more satisfying than the iPhone (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42993165)

http://ondeviceresearch.com/blog/iphone-5-ranked-fifth-in-user-satisfaction%2C-behind-four-android-powered-devices#sthash.9vdyrgB2.7dG9XnAT.dpbs [ondeviceresearch.com] On device research found the One X to be the most satisfying phone in the UK beating out the iPhone.

So a NO NAME blog website (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993445)

Is your source of "good" info???

No a respected reseach firm :) (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42993463)

It was a serious survey from a respected research firm "320,000 mobile and tablet users in six countries, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Indonesia, about how satisfied they were with their device." I am sorry you don't like the results, but they are unsurprising.

Re:No a respected reseach firm :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42994217)

It wasn't an independent review though was it.

You only like the result because it backs up your bias which is why you post it so often

FTC to carriers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42992943)

FTC to carriers: stop delaying updates, but FTC is too much in bed with them

Re:FTC to carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993043)

I don't think that carriers are too thrilled with regulators, seeing as their mergers keep getting blocked by FTC and DOJ.

Rant (1)

detain (687995) | about a year ago | (#42992949)

HTC makes pretty good phones from what I've seen over the years. They aren't the top of the line devices but they aren't far behind either usually at a fraction of the cost (especially getting refurbished they get really cheap). They come with a good set of hardware and software and update the software for each new phone for a few months, but after that they tend to forget about the phone and move onto the next piece of hardware without looking back. They should spent the next few years focusing on revamping their software support to fall in line more with Samsung and Google's level. While CyanogenMod is a currently available alternative for some, its not available for others. Many of the HTC CM trees still suffer from too many problems like excessive battery draining.

Re:Rant (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42993019)

They come with a good set of hardware and software and update the software for each new phone for a few months, but after that they tend to forget about the phone and move onto the next piece of hardware without looking back.

I got a Raphael (Fuze) free from AT&T and boy was it garbage. Sad thing is, later versions of Sense are actually pretty good on Windows Mobile (I hear they still all suck on Android) and with EnergyROM 3.0 the phone is halfway decent. Unfortunately, Android phones got cheap before a decent Android release happened for it. You can run Android, but it's crashtactular and the kernel build service images are no longer hosted so you can't use ext3, with the end result that it's unusable.

Re:Rant (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#42994383)

They come with a good set of hardware and software and update the software for each new phone for a few months, but after that they tend to forget about the phone and move onto the next piece of hardware without looking back.

Exactly: a short while after selling it they forget about it. I have asked their support people why they won't release new software and they just give bullshit answers. That is why I will not buy another HTC phone and warn others about them.

Can we also send this to Verizon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42992971)

Still waiting for 4.2.1 and now 4.2.2 on my Galaxy Nexus through Verizon...oh wait not anymore since I flashed Mmuzzy ROM. Still would be nice if we could get faster updates.

Re:Can we also send this to Verizon? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993141)

4.2.1 sucks balls, 4.2.2 almost fixes that abortion of a release, it should have been called Android ME.

Too bad... (0, Troll)

sdsucks (1161899) | about a year ago | (#42993063)

HTC is the only company who sells Android phones that I'd consider buying. Too bad Android apparently has issues with security updates / etc. Sure, blame the vendor... But this seems to be a prevalent problem with Android based phones.

Apple Phones have too many problems (4, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42993137)

HTC is the only company who sells Android phones that I'd consider buying. Too bad Android apparently has issues with security updates / etc. Sure, blame the vendor... But this seems to be a prevalent problem with Android based phones.

Lets have a little look at security on the iPhone...hmmm you can just fiddle with the power button and making an emergency call then immediately hang up, and it bypasses the passcode.

Perhaps you would have been better with a HTC phone after all ;)

Re:Apple Phones have too many problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993239)

HTC is the only company who sells Android phones that I'd consider buying. Too bad Android apparently has issues with security updates / etc. Sure, blame the vendor... But this seems to be a prevalent problem with Android based phones.

Lets have a little look at security on the iPhone...hmmm you can just fiddle with the power button and making an emergency call then immediately hang up, and it bypasses the passcode.

Perhaps you would have been better with a HTC phone after all ;)

Good comeback! Personally, these iphone vs android arguements are getting weary. IPhones are safer! Android's not a walled garden! Get a job so you can afford an iPhone! I want a powerful phone, not a status symbol! Androids fragmented! iMaps sucks! Patent lawsuits... and on and on... Can't we all just get along people?

Ah, screw this, SNL is gonna' be on soon, hope it isn't a repeat...

Apple make cheap Phones. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42993351)

Good comeback! Personally, these iphone vs android arguements are getting weary

Except I personally would say none of those things, in fact those things are Apple spin, and in retrospect kind of sad that you think they should be worth mentioning. There is only one argument left, profits vs market share.

Re:Apple Phones have too many problems (1)

sdsucks (1161899) | about a year ago | (#42993891)

Who brought up iOS? Oh, you. And I agree completely about the iOS passcode bug - a massively severe issue.

Still, my comment and the article are about HTC.

Re:Too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993187)

It also has crashy issues and stuffed Bluetooth issues, screen corruption issues (Chrome Beta), battery killing issues (6 hours on a nexus 7 with the screen off), charging issues (draining faster than it can charge with the screen off). Booting issues (getting stuck in a loop because the power got to low) etc. etc. I honestly don't know how people can stand it. I hate Apple with a passion but if the only other option was Android I'd go Apple. The UI is also from Windows 95, if you replaced the system menu with a Windows button and instituted double click you'd swear it was the same, crashes and all.

All this an a sainted device from Google I hate to think how bad it is when external vendors get involved.

I'm sure the fanboys will mod this down into oblivion but it's still the truth.

Nexus 7 (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42993425)

All this an a sainted device from Google

Except people [including myself have been incredibly impressed with having a high resolution; quad-core; small tablet running latest Android....and so are the reviews. Top searches on Google

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/tablets/google-nexus-7-1087040/review [techradar.com] 4.5 stars
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/tablets/379261/nexus-7 [pcpro.co.uk] 3x 5 out of 6 and 1x6 out of 6
http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/laptops/1297408/google-nexus-7 [expertreviews.co.uk] 5 out of 5 User 5 out of 5 expert
http://reviews.cnet.com/google-nexus-7/ [cnet.com] 4 out 5
http://www.wired.co.uk/reviews/tablets/2012-11/google-nexus-7 [wired.co.uk] 9 out of 10
http://www.theverge.com/products/nexus-7/5831 [theverge.com] 8.8 expert 9.1 User
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/tablets/google-nexus-7.aspx [laptopmag.com] 4 out of 5
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2406552,00.asp [pcmag.com] 4.5 out of 5

I know you love Apple but right now Apple need compelling products, priced competitively not fanatics spreading lies. It simply tarnishes the Apple brand more, and its been damaged enough just lately.

Re:Nexus 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993657)

It good for you that you can settle for the Nexus 7, for me I was completely unimpressed. It was my first foray into android and I hated it, I have had two and they have both been unstable shit. I hate apple, hugely and yet would still choose one above the 7 which shows how bad I found it. I refunded the PoS and got a Windows 8 tablet that can actually keep running an application for more than a few hours without the damn thing crashing and that has apps that work on the damn platform (RDP that supports modern security like NLA and RDP Gateway). So much of the Play store gave me the 'not for your device' run around. The apps that there were actually more expensive than on the Windows marketplace.

Call me a shill if you like but personally I found the Nexus to suck to bad I would rather go to my most hated company (Apple) over them. The Windows stuff worked for me fine though so all you apologist fanboys can get jumped.

I don't care if your one actually worked, I went through two and the bits of junk were both rubbish, maybe I have bad luck or maybe other people are just waaaay less picky about their devices actually working than I am.

Re:Too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993593)

FWIW, I am a big fan of HTC myself, my last 3 or 4 phones were HTC. But recently switched to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and have no regrets. You get use to the size pretty quick.

Re:Too bad... (1)

sdsucks (1161899) | about a year ago | (#42993899)

No offense to the fanboi's on here, but I won't touch another Samsung phone in my life. Hence why HTC was the only company I was considering.

The Nexus tablets look nice, but I am really quite happy with my iPad (and regarding the Nexus 7, I have zero interest in any 7 inch tablet including the nearly 8 inch iPad mini).

Sigh... RTFA (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#42994179)

Too bad Android apparently has issues with security updates / etc. Sure, blame the vendor... But this seems to be a prevalent problem with Android based phones.

Erm You did read the complain right? Silly me of course not. The problem being complained about is massive security flaws in 2 HTC apps as well as HTC's botched implementation of the Android security model which allows applications to bypass any permission checking. These are NOT Android security flaws. They are entirely HTC flaws, they lie entirely at the feet of the vendor, and it is entirely the vendor's fault that they haven't been fixed more than 14 months after they were discovered and reported.

And this is the reason why HTC sells nothing I would consider buying.

Re:Too bad... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42994389)

Not really. Samsung are pretty good with updates, especially security related ones. If you absolutely must have the very latest version there are a number of Nexus models to choose from.

HTC has always been shit with updates on every platform. It's their hallmark. The only people who are worse are the carriers.

FTC to HTC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993217)

The free market doesn't work. Let me tell you how to do your job.

Sincerely,
Baquack Obamailure Obummer

Re:FTC to HTC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42993685)

The free market doesn't work. Let me tell you how to do your job.

Sincerely,
Baquack Obamailure Obummer

It doesn't take your fascist religion of the market and go and worship with the other nutbars. A single system is almost never a perfect model, the blind American obsession with the market being the only answer is more stupid than creationalisum, just ask all the people who die from easily preventable or fixable diseases or injuries in your country that would be fixed up for free in countries that you almost certainly look down on. Or your unemployment, or your debit, you lot are in the biggest glass house and yet you persist in throwing more stones than anyone else.

Other vendors? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#42994537)

So will the FTC now force all vendors to promptly offer security patches for their devices for at least 3 years after the last one was ever sold? I don't think it's fair if they only take on HTC, they should do this to all vendors, regardless of what OS or number of devices sold.

I liked my HTC (1)

Geeky (90998) | about a year ago | (#42994645)

I liked my HTC One S until the latest update (Sense 4+).

For some reason they've seen fit to cripple the camera application so that the lowest resolution is 2048x1536. Lowest. So much for taking quick snaps to email to people. Nope, got to upload them now to edit later or get an app to resize them first.

Otherwise it's a great phone. The X was a bit too bulky for my taste, and I prefer the sense homescreen navigation to the - what I assume is stock Android - way my Nexus 7 does it. Battery lasts at least a couple of days for my usage (getting a bit wound up by the constant reminders telling me I don't have the powersave option on, though - I don't need it so stop nagging me!)

I'll take security issues with a slight pinch of salt - today it's HTC, tomorrow it'll be Samsung, then Apple - the risk is going to be there with all of them.

Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42995475)

After reading through the posts on this page in fascination, I am astonished that anyone would ever want an Android device. How much time do you spend customizing, rooting, removing bloat ware etc?

I spend 0 minutes because I have iOS, and I have everything I want on the phone.

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