The government has called on handset makers to implement technology that will potentially reduce the instances of smartphone thefts, which are increasingly on the rise. Several makers were sent an open letter months ago by New York Attorney General Schneiderman, as well as District Attorney George Gascón of San Francisco, criticizing them for not taking a more proactive approach to the issue.
Now two of those companies – Apple and Samsung – are having their anti-theft technology put to the test at a meeting under the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S) Initiative. The devices being tested are Apple’s iPhone 5 and its Activation Lock, and Samsung’s GALAXY S 4 and its Lojack for Android. The meeting was underway today in San Francisco.
Said the two in a statement: “While we are appreciative of the efforts made by Apple and Samsung to improve security of the devices they sell, we are not going to take them at their word. Today we will assess the solutions they are proposing and see if they stand up to the tactics commonly employed by thieves. Together, we are working to ensure that the industry embeds persistent technology that is effective, ubiquitous and free to consumers in every smartphone introduced to the market by next year.”
The meeting includes reps from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, more commonly known as NCRIC, according to the statement. Under the test, the smartphones in question will be “treated” like they were stolen, presumably with the security features being utilized to demonstrate what the result would be. There’s no word yet on whether either of them satisfied the state and federal ambitions for the technology.
Although California and New York are being most vocal about the move, the S.O.S Initiative is a national coalition that is enjoying participation from public safety activists, various DAs and AGs, city comptrollers, law enforcement, and consumer advocates. All of this follows the launch of a stolen cell phone database that went live in the US in October 2012.
I remember being back in high school, and listening to my math teacher tell us the importance of being able to quickly solve problems on paper, because we wouldn’t carry a calculator everywhere when we got out into the real world. While those lessons were good ones, almost everyone does have a rather powerful calculator in their pocket. In fact, most of us can’t seem to be parted from our smartphones. So what happens when you’re at the office, and your phone is about to die, and there is no charger in sight?
If you happen to be carrying the CulCharge, then you need only find the nearest USB port to ensure that your phone will stay juiced up. The CulCharge is one of the smallest USB chargers around, as it measures 6cm long. At that size, it’s small enough to sit on your keychain, and go unnoticed. It’s even thin enough to slip into your wallet, without causing a bulge.
Due to the small size, they aren’t able to fit multiple connectors onto one CulCharge. You’ll need a separate one for each type of device. They have them available with MicroUSB, MiniUSB, 30-pin iPhone, and Lightning plugs, depending on your need. If you back the IndieGoGo campaign, you’ll be able to get one for just $9, unless you’re after the iPhone 5′s Lightning connector, in which case, you’ll need to spend $15 (due to the increased costs associated with it).
It’s always when you’re in a hurry, isn’t it? Every traffic light goes red as you drive towards it. Every. Single. One. It’s unbelievable.
But here’s something you can believe. In future, your car will tell you how fast to drive in order to reach every single traffic light when it’s green. It’ll also tell you when you’re about about to hit a traffic jam (hopefully in time for the satnav to recalculate), when there’s an ambulance coming up behind you and when you’re about to hit a patch of black ice.
We saw a couple Sony Xperia Z Ultra teaser videos appear on YouTube shortly after the handset’s announcement late last month. The newest teaser video has been published, and among the showing off of features offered by the massive smartphone is a look at the Smart Bluetooth Headset, as well as an ink pen with the cartridge removed being used as a stylus.
The device is demonstrated as being used for a variety of business purposes, giving us a look at different features offered by it. Among them is the user in the video using what appears to be an ink pen with the cartridge removed – or possibly a mechanical pencil – to write on the screen, something that seems unnecessarily risky, but does demonstrate the device’s use-anything-as-a-stylus functionality.
As we mentioned, the Smart Bluetooth headset makes a brief appearance, which you can see for yourself in the video below. Essentially, the device is a thin black rectangle allowing the user to hold it up to his or her ear as they would a handset. This allows one to answer a call without wearing a headset, and to continue using the giant smartphone while on a call.
Sony is the latest company to jump on the super-sized bandwagon – but is this nearly tablet-sized device worth squeezing into your pockets?