Researcher uses NFC to attack Android, Nokia smartphones

LAS VEGAS -- Security specialist Charlie Miller demonstrated at the Black Hat security conference today a way to hijack an Android smartphone via the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that's turned on by default on the device, and said he's found problems with NFC implementations on Nokia as well.

NFC tags have built-in antennas and are found in stickers and smart cards that are designed to transfer data to NFC readers, to send specific phone numbers and Web addresses to smartphones and other benign purposes. They require close proximity, a few centimeters or so, for data to be … Read more

The most practical, creative ways to use NFC with your Android device

If you think NFC (Near Field Communication) is only good for Google Wallet or MasterCard PayPass, think again. With the growing number of NFC-equipped phones, NFC tags are becoming an increasingly popular way to take advantage of this sprouting technology.

Thing is, Android users aren't quite sure what to do with them. 

Once you have a stack of NFC tags and have already learned how to program them, bookmark this page. It's an ever-growing list of practical and unique ways to utilize NFC tags, with ideas collected from forums, Twitter, and my own personal experience.… Read more

Episode 5: We get physical!

Hello Internet. Eileen here, Supervising Producer for Always On. Molly is on vacation, so I'm filling in to give you a little background on this week's episode!

This week we get physical! Molly is in the best shape of her life and was inspired by her road test of both the Nike+ FuelBand and Fit Bit Ultra to enter her first half-marathon! She said to me, "I think we need to stay true to the extreme nature of the show. How about I sign up for a half-marathon?!?"

At first I thought she was crazy to … Read more

DIY: Turn a book into a sleek charging phone dock

Remember when it was taboo to write in books? Well, a college career of in-book highlighting and two e-readers later, I'm ready to admit that I have absolutely no guilt about writing in books. Or tearing them apart, for that matter.

So when I was looking for inspiration for a DIY charging dock and found myself staring at a shelf of books, I knew I had the answer.

With this guide, you'll turn a hardcover book into a charging station for your Android or iPhone. And, if you have an Android phone that's equipped with NFC, I'll also show you how to make your DIY dock automate tasks with NFC tags.… Read more

Episode 4: Torture-testing the Samsung Galaxy S3

I think we're starting to get better at this torture-test thing, which is bad news for gadgets.

In preparing to test the Samsung Galaxy S3, I decided the oven we used for the iPad test didn't seem quite right. So I set about trying to devise a new heat contraption that would simulate the baking hot interior of a car parked in the sun, or the heat of the sun on a phone sitting out on the beach, or a similar real-life heat test.

At first, I was on the hunt for some kind of a heat-proof box … Read more

How to use S Beam on your Samsung Galaxy S3

One of the most exciting features announced with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3 is S Beam, which uses near-field communication (NFC) and Wi-Fi Direct to send files between two phones.

Android 4.0 already has a feature called Android Beam, which works over NFC to transmit information such as contact details and browser pages from one mobile to another. But it doesn't use Wi-Fi Direct, so it's impractical for large files.

By combining NFC and Wi-Fi Direct, S Beam is capable of sending large files between phones, such as images, videos and music tracks. The transfer … Read more

Rumor Has It: Is the Kindle Fire 2 really dropping next month? (video)

Our big rumor of the week is directly related to Google, so thankfully Karyne made it back in town just in time to witness the Google Glass-wearing skydivers jump from a dirigible into Google I/O. Wait, what? Whoa!

Before the keynote went off on a crazed adventure sports tangent, Google announced a new product: the new Nexus 7 tablet running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and selling for the small sum of $199. What else sells for that? Oh right, the Kindle Fire.

So this leads us to the question: is Amazon now feeling the pressure to update its … Read more

iPhone 5 prototypes reportedly reveal NFC support

The next iPhone could let users buy products and share files through near field communication.

Code pulled from Pre-EVT (Engineering Verification Testing) iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes by 9to5Mac leads the Apple enthusiast site to believe that NFC chips and an antenna will be built into this year's iPhone.

If true, it means Apple would finally jump onto the mobile payments bandwagon, allowing its users to purchase goods and services directly through their smartphones. This latest rumor also comes on top of the company's launch of Passbook, a feature slated for iOS 6 that would … Read more

Masters of a new domain

Today we're putting dots on everything!

Expect to see tons of new domain extensions crop up, like .app or .baby. Hundreds of companies, including Google, Amazon and Apple, have applied to oversee new domains. If there's more than one application for a word (Google and Johnson & Johnson are battling for .baby), then the two companies will have to duke it out or it'll go to an auction. There are also some controversial ones, like .sucks. You can really see how .sucks can, well, suck for brands. Hard to see a useful purpose for that domain aside … Read more

Samsung TecTiles: A wobbly stepping-stone to NFC

Let's face it: in today's world of electronic mobility, we do things within our phones, not with them.

We can forget them on the bus, drop them, flush them and even hurl them at housekeeping. (Hell, we can even blend them.) But that's the extent of our relationship with the things.

Almost everything we do with the smartphone is contained in that little screen. As objects, we abuse them. We don't really use them.

Samsung wants to use its corporate largesse to change that. The company says it has the most near-field communications-enabled devices in American … Read more