All About Android 20

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All About Android
Episode 20

All About Android 20: Revealing Too Much With SMS Apps



  • Android could allow mobile ad or phishing pop-ups
  • Lot's of fun coming out of the annual Defcon conference in Vegas over the weekend. Researchers discovered a flaw with the design of Android that allows for apps to take focus from other apps and display pretty much anything they want.
  • Apps currently are required to pop up a notification in the notification bar if it wants the users attention from the background, but this particular api can be used to push a willing app to the foreground. visual flash is all that the user would see to indicate that something is amiss. This could then be used for things like pop-ups or even worse, spoofing a site that you trust.
  • A Google spokesman responded by saying that ""Switching between applications is a desired capability used by many applications to encourage rich interaction between applications. We haven't seen any apps maliciously using this technique on Android Market and we will remove any apps that do.""
  • The Google spokesman also directed CNET to Visidon's AppLock as an example of how that functionality is used. The app uses facial recognition technology to prevent unauthorized access to parts of your phone, such as your Gmail app.
  • Nicholas Percoco, one of the researchers, responded saying that \""Application switching is not the issue. The real issue is ability for other apps to identify which app is in the foreground and then decide to jump in front of that running app without the user giving it permission to do so.' He also noted that the "wait and see what happens" approach is detrimental to the security of the Market.
  • That big, scary call recording malware isn't in the Android Market
  • Lookout found that mobile malware has increased significantly, with Android users two-and-a-half times as likely to encounter malware today than just six months ago. Lookout estimates that between a half million and one million users were affected by mobile malware in the first half of 2011. At the same time, web-based threats which operate across platforms, have emerged as a significant part of the threat landscape with three out of ten mobile users likely to click on an unsafe link, including malicious and phishing links, over the course of a year.


  • Nick Gotch, Developer of Fieldrunners wrote to us at length about his thoughts. Here are a few excerpts from that email, which you can find in full in our show notes at
  • "The problem they're talking about with Amazon is true; despite the public notice that leads people to think devs get paid for the free app, they don't. We saw a tremendous spike in downloads for the free day and were not paid for it. The free app system helped us "seed" our brand, something we really wanted to do, before hitting the core Google market. Also, we have always planned to release pay DLC to help recoup some of the lost revenue from the free downloads. If you understand how it works, Amazon is pretty useful as a marketing machine. Also, providing a free outlet for users on Android helps counter some of the serious piracy issues on the platform."


I use my phone for both work and personal calls. I was wondering how to keep my contacts separate. I don't want to have to search though all of my work contacts to find a personal one.

I don't know if it matters but I have about 170 contacts on the business side.

Thanks for the help.

Mike Puyallup, WA


  • The Not-So-United Android & iPhone States of America
    • Mobile ad network Jumptap released a report over the weekend that visualizes the breakdown of mobile OS's across the United States. Its network reaches 83 million mobile users, and the results show Android dominating in the South and South-western parts of the country. iOS does well in the Northeast and Midwest. And Blackberry doesn't dominate as much, with one very notable stronghold in New York!
    • Now, as this IS an ad network report, it should be noted that iOS outperforms in the click through rate realm with .78%. Android comes in at .47%, slightly below the average of .52%. Tech Crunch points out that click through rates like these don't necessarily spell a successful ad model for mobile.



Love the show. Question about the Video Chat apps you reviewed on the last podcast. I'm a huge fan of Tango but like Ron said, most of my friends/family use Skype. I can now Skype on my ThunderBolt but only with the BACK FACING CAMERA. I understand that it's an issue with Froyo vs Gingerbread but how come other vchat programs (ooVoo, Tango, Qik) can use the front facing cam but Skype requires Gingerbread 2.3.4? Thanks!

-- Best Regards,

Tony Hannides

  • Official support for front facing cameras in Android came with Gingerbread. Some have been able to work around that. Skype obviously chose not to.

On episode 19, a question came up from an email sent from Kory about saving space on internal memory. As an owner of a Nexus One, I have a similar issue (512mb of internal memory). I've also done the Apps2SD movement as much as possible through Cyanogen, but I also use an app called Cache Cleaner.

I have not heard from anyone if it's potentially harmful to running apps similar to running a task manager, and I've had good experiences with running this every couple days. It can free up to a couple MB's of space which if vital when hovering around 20MB of free space. Once it goes under that, my phone becomes quite the annoyance.

At any rate, check around and see if anyone else is using it or if it's advisable. This takes out the manual process that Jason Applebaum mentioned to go to each app in settings and clearing out cache.

Thanks, I enjoy the show :)

Mike Lewis

Android Arena!


Production Information

  • Edited by: Jason
  • Notes:
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