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Mozilla: In 2014, all your hardware belongs to us

Soon, you'll be able to get your hands on a Firefox OS tablet -- but only if you promise to develop for the fledgling operating system.

Launched last year on three smartphone models in 14 countries on major carriers such as Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom, Mozilla has partnered with hardware maker Foxconn to build tablets for Firefox OS developers in 2014, the company announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday.

The unnamed developers' tablet is "not intended" for the average tablet owner, said Andreas Gal, Mozilla's vice president of mobile.

"The … Read more

CyanogenMod version of Android exceeds 10M installations

CyanogenMod, a version of Android popular among those unhappy with the operating system that came with their phones, has now been installed more than 10 million times.

That's according to the CyanogenMod statistics site, which tracks installations. CyanogenMod got its start as an enthusiast project built from Google's Android Open Source Project -- the public releases of Android's source code, updated each time Google releases a new version of the OS.

Now, though, Cyanogen is a company with venture capital, and it's getting more attention with Oppo N1 phone support and employee hiring.

As of 6:… Read more

Google deepens involvement in open-source patent effort

Expanding its involvement in an open-source legal defense effort, Google has joined the board of the Open Invention Network, an organization that cross-licenses patents to try to reduce the risk of lawsuits against those using Linux and another open-source software projects.

Google previously was an Open Invention Network associate member but now joins Sony, Red Hat, Novell, IBM, Phillips, and NEC with the higher level of involvement.

"Linux now powers nearly all the world's supercomputers, runs the International Space Station, and forms the core of Android. But as open source has proliferated, so have the threats against it, … Read more

DARPA wants you to play video games

The Last Starfighter it ain't, but if you ever wanted to get in good with the military without getting out of your chair, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has the job for you.

DARPA has created five games as part of what it is calling the Crowd Sourced Formal Verification (CSFV) program, aimed at locating software vulnerabilities in the commercial off-the-shelf IT systems used by military, governmental, and commercial bodies.

Called Verigames, they allow DARPA to crowdsource formal verification -- a time-consuming process whereby engineers usually scour the software manually to find the bugs. … Read more

1M people try to help Facebook spruce up Android

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- More than 1 million people help Facebook test its Android app, the social network said Wednesday.

Christian Legnitto, Facebook's manager of mobile release engineering, said the company has more than 1 million users who have signed up for the company's beta testers program and 50,000 users for its alpha program. The two programs let users try out early versions of Facebook's app before it's released to the public. That means the apps are buggy and unpolished, but users can give instant feedback within the app. This lets the company improve its … Read more

Google ejects CyanogenMod installer, citing warranty worries

The CyanogenMod app to more easily install the open-source Android variant only lasted two weeks on Google Play.

CyanogenMod developers removed the installer because Google said it violates Google Play developer terms, but the startup has hopes it'll be restored. Cyanogen explained the installer removal in a blog post Wednesday:

They advised us to voluntarily remove the application, or they would be forced to remove it administratively. We have complied with their wishes while we wait for a more favorable resolution...

After reaching out to the Play team, their feedback was that though application itself is harmless, since it &… Read more

ZTE Source serves up LTE at a budget-friendly price

Assuming you're able get Cricket Wireless' LTE coverage in the first place, the ZTE Source delivers LTE speeds at a decent $189.99 price. In fact, that's the carrier's most budget option for an LTE device by quite a wide margin. Its second-cheapest handset, the Samsung Galaxy Admire 2, costs $250.

True, the Source isn't banging on all cylinders (naturally, you'll have to spend more dough if you want better specs): it can be sluggish at times and its camera's image quality is less than stellar. However, it does feature a decently sized 4.… Read more

Turnabout is fair play: Bitcoins mined with Adafruit's miner used to buy Adafruit products

When Adafruit Industries, a leader in open-source hardware manufacturing, published a Bitcoin mining tutorial last summer, helping people mine the controversial digital currency to purchase Adafruit products was not the goal.

"We didn't think about that at all," said Phil Torrone, Adafruit's co-founder. "I wish we were that clever."

But that's just what happened. Yesterday, New York's Adafruit, which sells a wide range of tools and equipment designed to help people learn electronics, began accepting payment in Bitcoins, and already, its customers have used Bitcoins they earned using Adafruit's mining tutorialRead more

Click! Google rebuilds Android camera base for better photos

Want a better camera on your Android device? Google does, too.

For that reason, the company has overhauled the mobile OS's plumbing. Google has built deep into Android support for two higher-end photography features -- raw image formats and burst mode -- and could expose those features so that programmers could tap into them, the company said.

Evidence of raw and burst-mode photos in the Android source code surfaced earlier in November, but Google has now commented on the technology. Specifically, spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said the support is now present in Android's hardware abstraction layer (HAL), the part … Read more

Google building Spark, a Web-based development tool

Google likes Web apps, but one area where native software remains dominant is programming tools. A Google project called Spark that came to light Thursday could change that.

Spark is a Web-based IDE (integrated development environment) that runs in a browser for developers writing Chrome apps, according to Google's Francois Beaufort, who tracks Chrome developments closely. That means, among other things, that Chromebook coders would have a way to be productive without having to move to a Windows, Mac, or Linux box.

"This is still the very beginning," Beaufort said on Google+. "There's not much … Read more