Text messaging Stories August 14, 2015

Sprint rolling out Stagefright vulnerability patch for HTC One M8

Like every other US carrier, Sprint has been working diligently to release a patch to the Stagefright vulnerability in Android to its lineup of phones, and today HTC One M8 owners get the fix.

The release notes for the update only list a “Patch for critical security vulnerability (‘Stagefright’)” as being included in this update, so don’t expect anything else.

Stagefright is a vulnerability spotted in Android’s default MMS behavior that makes delivering and executing code on an Android-powered smartphone as simple as delivering a rich text message. Android has the ability to fetch the contents of a message before the user even opens it (this functionality itself is called “Stagefright” in Android), and most messaging apps previously didn’t prevent this from happening because, why not? Pre-fetching contents would be ideal as it means the user doesn’t have to wait for something to download when they tap and open a message.

Unfortunately, however, it’s also an easy way for bad guys to gain control of your phone. Google’s default text messaging app on Android, Messages, as well as its Hangouts messaging app, have both received updates to solve this from happening. Other popular messaging apps have followed suite, but Google’s vulnerability patch means that more apps won’t need to do the same.

Since this is a carrier update it’s being rolled out in stages, so it could be a few days before you see it hit your device. You should receive a notification when it’s available, otherwise you can manually check by visiting Settings > About phone > System updates.

Text messaging Stories July 29, 2015

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Update: As expected, the app has just gone live in the Google Play Store for the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and UK. You can download it here, and Livetext should also be rolling to to U.K., Canada, Germany and France as we speak.

After testing the waters by releasing the app to the iOS App Store in certain regions a few weeks back, Yahoo has come out publicly to unveil Yahoo Livetext, a new (unabashedly Snapchat-like) messaging app from the company with some unique twists to it… expand full story

Text messaging Stories May 16, 2014

The four largest carriers now support texting 911, but most emergency call centres don’t

When the FCC set a voluntary deadline of yesterday for putting in place technology to allow people to text 911, all four of the main national carriers complied. But since most emergency call centres aren’t yet equipped to receive texts, don’t expect to be using it any time soon.

The FCC said that the ability to text 911 could be a life-saver for those with hearing or speech impairments, as well as in situations where it might be dangerous to make a phone call – while a crime is in progress and the perpetrator within earshot, for example.

But the wireless trade association, the CTIA, warned that even where 911 texting is supported, it’s still impossible to guarantee immediate delivery of texts. We’ve all experienced examples of texts that arrive the next day, so the advice remains to make a voice call wherever possible.

The FCC has uploaded a list of emergency call centres accepting 911 texts. If you attempt to text 911 in an area where the service is not supported, you’ll get a text bounce-back. Needless to say, please do not test the service.

Text messaging Stories February 25, 2014

Fleksy, the makers of the ‘smart’ predicting custom keyboard, are bringing their technology to the Samsung Gear 2. Fleksy says they are the first custom keyboard developer to integrate with the Gear 2 to enable sending and responding text messages, at a microscopic scale.

With a hilariously small button layout, it’s hard to believe that input will be anywhere near accurate enough for real use.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Text messaging Stories January 13, 2014

Of the most notable things Motorola has accomplished over the past year is arguably its contextually aware services, found on devices like the Moto X. Today, the company’s Assist app on the Play Store has been updated with a few new features. For those unaware, Assist can determine your actions, such as driving and sleeping, and perform a pre-specificed command.

Up until today, the app could only read you the text messages you got while driving. With this newest update, however, you can now reply to texts while driving by speaking to the phone. So once the text is read to you, you will have the ability to read a response to the app. In addition to that, Assist can also now launch your music player of choice when it notices you are driving.

The update is available on the Play Store, although Motorola Assist is only compatible with the most recent Droid line of devices, as well as the Moto X.

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