November 2009

CrunchPad Bites the Dust

by Wesley Roberts on November 30, 2009

Michael Arrington’s pet project, the Crunchpad tablet device, will apparently never make it to market, at least under that name.

Techcrunch announced the demise in a sad post today, citing a bizarre series of emails and messages from their manufacturing partner, Fusion Garage.

According to the post,

“Bizarrely, we were being notified that we were no longer involved with the project. Our project [Fusion Garage CEO] Chandra [Rathakrishnan] said that based on pressure from his shareholders he had decided to move forward and sell the device directly through Fusion Garage, without our involvement.”

Google has announced the rollout of the free Google Maps Navigation feature for Android version 1.6, following the availability a couple weeks ago for Android 2.0. This is the first turn by turn GPS nav app to be totally free, and is making waves in the GPS world; as you can imagine the folks at TomTom and Garmin aren’t too thrilled with this move.

Navigation brings GPS based voice guidance and rerouting for mobile phones running Android, including maps, Google search via text or spoken word, traffic data and street view images. You can now overlay geo based information on your route map like Wikipedia articles about destinations, public transport route lines, and other data.

The iPhone is coming to South Korea this month, as carrier KT will start selling the popular device in the country, the company announced today. The South Korean mobile phone market is currently dominated by the home grown favorites Samsung and LG Electronics, with a combined 90 percent market share. South Korea is the latest Asian country to get the iPhone; last month, China Unicom started selling the iPhone in China, albeit a version without WiFi connectivity.

Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer could be at risk; a newly discovered unpatched vulnerability in versions 6 & 7 of the browser enables hackers to trick users into visiting malware or phishing sites.

According IT security research company VUPEN: “This issue is caused due to a memory corruption error in the Microsoft HTML Viewer (mshtml.dll) when retrieving certain CSS/STYLE objects via the “getElementsByTagName()” method, which could allow attackers to crash an affected browser or execute arbitrary code by tricking a user into visiting a malicious web page.”

Windows Mobile and Blackberry phones are now the only mobile phone platforms that can’t use Spotify, as Spotify Mobilehas just announced support for Symbian phones. The world’s most popular streaming music service has been available on Android devices and iPhones up to now. If you are not a Spotify member, you will have to wait for an invite, as that is the only way to get in right now. You need to be a Premium member (£10 per month in the UK) to use Spotify Mobile. Although some innovative carriers are starting to offer pre-paid premium memberships as part of their contract pacakges.

NoiseTube, a free Java application for GPS- enabled cell phones, turns your cell phone into a noise sensor and lets you measure your exposure to noise pollution in your environment. Sounds are picked up by your phone’s built-in mic and used in collective noise mapping through tagging it with your perceived annoyance level , sending geolocalized data automatically to the NoiseTube server over internet. The server then tags your noise sample is with the street name and the city name it was recorded at and converts it into a Google Earth compatible format.