Android Overload: T-Mobile And AT&T File for $1 Billion Spectrum Transfer, Droid Razr Now Available In Purple and More

Modays are always a bit hectic around the Phandroid offices, so it’s no wonder we have an extra big helping of the Android Overload for you here tonight. If you’re new around these parts, this is the place where we pool all the stories we come across from throughout our day, the ones that didn’t get the star treatment on our front page. Doesn’t mean they’re bad by any means, in fact — personally, I can’t wait to see what T-Mobile does with that billion in spectrum they’re about to get from AT&T. Go get ’em, tiger!

  • MIT receives Google’s App Inventor. Still not ready for primetime. [MIT]
  • T-Mobile and AT&T file FCC request for transfer billion in spectrum. [WSJ]
  • Google Music app updated in the Market. Bug fixes galore. [Market Link]
  • Google lobbying expenses were .68 million in 2011. [AllThingsD]
  • Droid Incredible 2 now only with a 2 year agreement at Verizon Wireless.
  • Google updates their Google+ nickname policy. [Google+]
  • Music from Drake, Maroon 5 and Mary J Blige free for limited time. [Google+]
  • LG Optimus Black receiving Gingerbread update in India. [AndroidOS.in]
  • EDF Energy London Eye installs Galaxy Tab 10.1 for interactive experience. [Pocketlint]
  • US Cellular has knocked 0 off the cost of all smartphones. [AndroidGuys]
  • Verizon debuts two new TV spots for the LG Spectrum . [VzBuzz]
  • Sony Ericsson uses Glonass positioning in their latest phones. [Verge]
  • The 16GB Droid RAZR is now available in purple as well as white and black. Price remains 9. [Verizon]
  • Verizon has spent million to beef up the 4G LTE coverage around Lucas Oil Stadium, home of this year’s Super Bowl. [DroidLife]
  • The Motorola Atrix 4G has received a fairly functional port of CynaogenMod 9. [XDA]

Whale Trail for Android Now Available, $.99 for a Limited Time

Hit iOS game Whale Trail has made its way to Android courtesy of developer ustwo. You help Willow the Whale get away from Baron von Barry but you won’t be taking to the seas to make your escape. Willow has to fly sky high through Rainbow Land and it’s your job to keep him up. Obstacles will attempt to impede your progress but rewards for avoiding them will be plentiful. The game is only $.99 but expect that to jump up after some time. Check out the video above and find it in the Android market here.

Lookout Labs Releases Mobile Threat Tracker for Android

Our friends at Lookout have announced a new Lookout Labs application and it’s a pretty good one. It’s the Lookout Mobile Threat Tracker and it visualizes mobile security threats all around the world. It’s almost like a Google Earth for Android malware and viruses. It shows a 3D globe with streams of lights beaming onto the locations where they’ve found and duped the threats. They even show you the top three threats around the world each week. It’s quite useless for actual security if you allow Lookout to automatically update its definitions but still pretty cool regardless. Find the download here. [Lookout]

Congress Introduces Privacy Act to Prevent Sneaky Carrier-IQ Like Tracking

Do privacy issues regarding mobile apps concern you? Or are you one of the “if you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have anything to worry about” types? Either way, the Carrier-IQ scandal caused a stir when the app was discovered pre-installed on mobile handsets, collecting data including geographic locations and times, without prior consent of the user. Congress is trying to prevent similar suspicious activity with the introduction of the Mobile Device Privacy Act.

If it passes, the bill could also have an impact on organizations such as CarrierCoverage.com — scheduled to officially launch in one week — which hope to crowd-source mobile performance metrics while being transparent, open, and honest about their methods and practices:

Whereas Carrier-IQ was built for private use by manufacturers/carriers, Carrier Coverage is built for consumers with the hope of offering accurate and unbiased reports on those very manufacturers/carriers. The Mobile Device Privacy Act will affect all of these groups.

The bill would enforce several requirements for companies doing any type of mobile tracking, most obviously that carriers, manufacturers, and app/game developers must disclose any tracking software installed on the device at point of purchase and/or make disclosure if installed afterwards. The user would have to provide consent and the company would have to make visible attempts to protect the data.

All of this sounds extremely fair, but it’s also concerning to consider the potential pitfalls of putting protection into text. As we all know, Congress doesn’t always get it right, and specific wording within the bill could make or break lawsuits and cases based on the act. Most obviously, note how the bill begins:

To require disclosures to consumers regarding the capability of software to monitor mobile telephone usage, to require the express consent of the consumer prior to monitoring, and for other purposes.

Great- so that means that software to monitor Android Tablets and iPads are protected? Call me crazy, but minute details and loopholes like these are unfortunately a big part of our legal system. And it goes both ways: just as there are loopholes for companies wanting to collect data there are likely sticking points where companies with good intentions could fall subject to fines and penalizations although acting in good faith.

We’re still quite a distance before any legislation becomes law, but given quotes like those from Al Franken-

“the default for collecting any kind of personal data should be opt-in consent,”

“we have a fundamental right to know what information is being collected about us and who it is shared with.”

-I think the motives are spot on. Let’s just hope they integrate them in such a way that services like Carrier Coverage aren’t faced with unsurmountable challenges while dealing consumers a fair hand.

What are your thoughts? Do you see a difference between Carrier-IQ and Carrier Coverage? Let us know how you think this legislation should move forward – if at all – in the comments below.

[CarrierCoverage.com, TheVerge, VentureBeat]

Sony Tablet S, P and Xperia Phones are Being Upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich in Spring

Sony has mentioned to The Verge that Ice Cream Sandwich is well on its way to their userbase. In Spring, owners of the Tablet P and S can expect the upgrade in tablet form while those on the Xperia side of the pond will also be getting some love. As we get close to that season we hope the window will be narrowed even further, but at least we know you all won’t be waiting long.

We’re Live at LG’s CES 2012 Press Conference

We’re in our seats and LG’s CES 2012 press conference is kicking off in just a few minutes. At first glance it looks like we will be seeing a new Android smartphone for Verizon, Google TV gear, and a number of 3D TVs and other home electronics. Things are just getting rolling so stick with us for all the coverage live from the event. The lights are dimming now and the music is pumping. Get ready!

US military ready to deploy secure Android smartphones

The US government is ready to start handing out Android smartphones to high-ranking officials and soldiers stationed throughout the world, according to new reports. We’ve heard plenty of chatter over the past year or so about the government’s interest in deploying devices running Google’s mobile OS for military use, and, the powers that be have signed off on our favorite green robot’s enlistment forms. The decision came after Google’s biggest mobile competitor, Apple, denied government officials access to iOS source code. Android became an obvious choice due to the platform’s openness and the ability for a third-party to alter the operating system’s code. This has allowed for the government to create their own custom version of Android that meets stringent security standards and allows for the transmittal of classified information.

Much work has been done testing specific applications and analyzing the sorts of data transmitted. Researchers found that many apps often ask for permissions excessive of what they actually need to function. Government-issued Android devices will allow users to see exactly what information is being sent and then decline the transmission of that data. The goal is to provide a strong layer of security while still allowing those with the devices to enjoy a casual game such as Angry Birds during down time.

The devices will be used to relay sensitive information and aid in communications between officials high on the political scale as well as soldiers in theaters of combat. Using the secure smartphones our men and women on the frontline will be able to communicate their position and better organize their military movements.

Oh, and the real kicker? One contractor working on the project has revealed that new Android OS updates will be pushed to government-grade devices in as little as two weeks. With a streamlined approval process, once software has been appropriately modified it will be fast-tracked to deployed smartphones. We’d like to see any carrier or manufacturer top that.

[via CNN | Thanks, Fort!]

Mid-range HTC Primo with Android 4.0 and Beats Audio gets rendered

HTC is following the axiom “quality not quantity” in 2012, realizing previous years saw a glut of Android devices with only a few shining stars among the bunch. This doesn’t mean we won’t see any mid-range devices from the Taiwanese manufacturer, though. A new render has surfaced giving us our first look at what is being called the HTC Primo, an Android 4.0 smartphone with a 3.7-inch Gorilla Glass display and integrated Beats Audio support. Other specs include a dual-core Qualcomm CPU clocked at 1GHz, 512MB of RAM, and a 5MP camera capable of capturing 720p HD video. From the render we see HTC has done away with any hardware buttons in favor of ICS’s on-screen controls, and what real estate they would have consumed has been assigned to the Beats logo.

The Ice Cream Sandwich handset is expect to debut alongside the HTC Ville and HTC Edge/Endeavour/Supreme at Mobile World Congress, rounding out a lineup that will meet the need’s of most smartphone users quite nicely.

[via PocketDroid]

Foursquare For Android Update Allows Users To Browse Restaurant Menus And Prices

Foursquarers on Android have something to look forward to in the latest update thanks to the new addition of menus to the feature set. Foursquare has begun tapping into SinglePlatform’s database of more than 250,000 menus — over 13 million individual food dishes — in major cities throughout the US. Also added was a new price-filtering option for those who like to see what they’re getting their wallets into before they arrive at an unfamiliar eatery.

Being able to access menus will definitely help when I’m out with friends and trying to find a new place to dine. If you’re a current Foursquare user, what do you guys think of the new menus feature?

[Market Link]

 

Verizon COWs Converge on Lucas Oil Stadium

The two participants for Super Bowl 46 have been determined (the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, if you happened to miss the championship games last night) and Verizon felt now was the best opportunity for them to get setup at the game’s hosting site. That site is Lucas Oil Stadium, by the way, an Indianapolis shrine for Peyton Manning and his Colts.

Verizon has deployed 3 COWs (Cells on Wheels), installed 400 mobile antennae to handle texts and calls and 600 WiFi stations for data. All this coupled with Verizon already-excellent coverage in the area should ensure that no mobile phone can go unused. If some of you will happen to be there for Media Week let us know how it all works out. Be sure to check out Gotta Be Mobile’s breakdown of Big Red’s setup in the video above.