There's a battle ahead, one that many may not have seen coming. Perhaps because it's starting for an odd reason. You see, the auto industry has, more or less, ceased making bad cars. These days they're all pretty good. They'll start on a cold morning, idle happily in traffic on a hot afternoon, protect you in a crash, and look pretty good while doing it. Sure, that last point is always debatable, and certainly some cars are better suited for different tasks than others, but the key is that it's genuinely hard to buy a &… Read more
Open-source apps must maintain accountability when it comes to security. They have an active community of developers and users who help discover vulnerabilities, peer-review code, and perform routine audits on a mass scale. Security holes are patched at a rate that discourages programmers from placing back-door malicious codes. Though not every open-source app is secure, the ones that are benefit from the community in a way that closed-source programs and applications can rarely duplicate.
Many of the apps listed here have been so widely distributed and scrutinized that even RSA Conference attendees trust and recommend them.Gpg4Win
Gpg4Win is a … Read more
BARCELONA, Spain -- Hard to believe it's only day 2 of Mobile World Congress, which already feels like it's been going on for months. The CNET team is now fluent in Catalan, cannot remember any food that isn't tapas, and has renounced all other religions for that of Lionel Messi.
With most of the main announcements out of the way, it's time for some of the smaller companies to share the limelight. Speaking of which...CNET's full coverage of Mobile World Congress
TextSecure is a far cry from driving a multibillion-dollar buyout. But for people who care about having their SMS and instant messages protected from prying eyes, it's an app that just got easier to use and more secure.
The new Android version of TextSecure, announced Monday, still uses the TextSecure v2 protocol that debuted with its CyanogenMod integration last year. Open WhisperSystems' founder, a security researcher and developer who goes by the pseudonym Moxie Marlinspike, said that the partnership has helped his company.
"It's been great," he said. "Their userbase is enormous, and it's … Read more
The download speeds of 4G LTE networks dropped in the US over the last year, according to measurements from network monitoring app OpenSignal.
In the February 2014 report, the United States ranked 15th of 16 countries for download speeds, losing ground as the average data rate dropped to 6.5Mbps from 9.6 megabits per second in the February 2013 report.
Of the country's major network operators, T-Mobile had the best data rate, at 11.2Mbps. AT&T rated 8.9Mbps, Verizon 7.6Mbps, and Sprint 4.2Mbps. However, Verizon, followed by AT&T, rated much better … Read more
Russian search and software company Yandex is offering a collection of free tools to turn the Android open-source foundation into a usable phone operating system.
The software, called Yandex.Kit, gives a Yandex-flavored experience by linking to the company's own services -- e-mail, maps, contacts, online storage, and app store -- rather than Google's alternatives. It's also got lower-level components like a browser and home screen.
There … Read more
European operator Orange's Libon messaging and calling app will add a new feature that lets you send text, picture, and audio messages to your contacts for free -- even if they're not Libon users themselves.
The Open Chat feature goes live on iOS later Thursday, with an Android update planned "in the coming weeks." When a Libon user sends a message to a non-Libon user, they'll be sent a link that takes them to an HTML5 chat window where they can continue the conversation. The HTML5 interface will also work on desktop browsers, as well … Read more
The gooey center of Google's pitch to developers to make apps and services for Android is a series of terms easily misunderstood, but central to Android's flexibility and success.
Every once in a while, Android terminology discussions flare up like a stomach ulcer for Google. They center on Android's nature as a development platform, which in turn affects the variety and breadth of Android apps -- from Minecraft to Pandora to the latest Flappy Bird copycats -- that you can download, and how up-to-date they are. Is Android truly open-source? Can you "fork" Android? What … Read more
There are many types of headphones, and if you understand the pros and cons of each before you go shopping, you'll make a more informed buying decision. Closed- and open-back headphones sound very different and serve different needs. To learn more about how they differ I spoke with two engineers, Sennheiser's Axel Grell and AKG's Philipp Schuster, and thanks go out to them. Today I'll look at open- and closed-back headphones; I covered on- and over-the-ear headphones in yesterday's blog item.… Read more
Microsoft Office might soon lose its position as the go-to platform for the UK government.
Speaking at an event on Wednesday centered on online services, the UK's Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said that the 200 million British pounds the government spent on Office since 2010 could be cut substantially if it moves to the open document format employed by services like Google Docs.
"I want to see a greater range of software used, so civil servants have access to the information they need and can get their work done without having to buy a particular brand of … Read more