All posts tagged ‘iPhone’

File Under: Browsers, Mobile

Opera Mini Arrives on the iPhone

It's real. Go ahead, touch it.

It's real. Go ahead, touch it.

After weeks of waiting, Apple has finally approved Opera’s Mini browser on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

So sayeth the press release:

Opera Mini will be available as a free download within 24 hours, depending on market

Opera Mini, with more than 50 million users worldwide, enables fast mobile Web browsing by compressing data by up to 90 percent before sending content to the device, resulting in significantly improved page loading. Users of the app will notice an uptake in speed, especially on slower networks such as the 2G Edge network. Surfing the web with the Opera Mini App on iPhone and iPod touch will also help users save money because of its data compression capabilities. This will hold especially true while the user is incurring roaming charges.

Opera doesn’t really need to sell it that hard. If you want Opera on your Apple touchscreen, you already know all about it and you’ve been waiting for this day.

Keep checking the App Store tonight and tomorrow to get yours.

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File Under: Location, Mobile

Where 2.0: Fly a Drone Helicopter and Fight Killer Robots With Your iPhone

SAN JOSE, California — First unveiled at CES in January of this year, the Parrot AR.Drone is a flying wireless toy that’s the center of a new augmented reality game. It streams video and sends location information as it hovers and zips around, and you can control it with your iPhone or iPod Touch.

As you control it, you see the drone’s POV video stream on your phone’s screen. Tipping the phone in different ways makes the drone turn and fly around, as the software senses the iPhone’s accelerometer.

As if a remote-controlled helicopter isn’t cool enough: The Parrot drone’s control screen has cross hairs, and you can “shoot” at things you see on the screen. The drone detects tags that people have applied to inanimate objects, and as objects are tagged, they can be replaced on-screen by virtual objects. So, as you fly around, you can shoot at virtual killer robots that are layered over the real-world background video. You can also put two drones into battle mode and shoot at each other.

Martin Lefebure of Parrot, the company that makes the device, demonstrated the latest version of the drone on stage at the Where 2.0 conference here Wednesday. The thing flew around the room, and everyone in the audience was able to look up onto the big screen on stage, where they could see themselves waving at the drone’s video camera. Lefebure then did battle with some insect-like evil robots that were holding us hostage in the conference ballroom. Unfortunately, he got his ass handed to him.

Parrot first showed off its iPhone-controlled car — the first concept that eventually evolved into the Parrot — at the 2009 edition of Where 2.0.

The iPhone and the drone talk to each other over a standard wi-fi connection. It has a range of about 150 feet (it’s limited by the range of your wi-fi) and the battery lasts about 15 minutes.

File Under: Location, Mobile

Kickball Plots Foursquare Domination With Better Maps

The Kickball slogan.

The Kickball slogan.

A new iPhone app makes messing around on Foursquare a more-visual experience than ever before.

The app is called Kickball, and it more tightly incorporates maps into the Foursquare experience. It has many of the same features as the official Foursquare app, like check-ins, history, badges, tips and shouts, and the list view that shows all your friends’ statuses.

But Kickball (App Store link) ups the ante by letting you plot all of the current Foursquare activity within your network on a map. You can see where your friends are, zooming in and panning around to different neighborhoods. Also, at any time, you can pop up a map that shows you the 15 venues in the Foursquare system that are closest to your current location. Kickball uses Mixer Labs’ GeoAPI, which is now owned by Twitter, for location data.

This discovery feature is especially handy if you’re in a city or a neighborhood you don’t know that well. Even in a place I know all too well (the Wired office), I was able to see all the places within about 100 yards where I can go fight for mayorships. Oh, it’s ON.

kickball_wide

While you’re browsing one of these maps, and you zoom in on a friend or on a venue, you get a button that says, “I’m here too,” making it easy to check in with one click. Equally as accessible within the app is the “Off the grid” choice. There’s also the ability to view details about a place, view relevant tweets and add photos (something else missing from Foursquare).

I’ve been using both Kickball and Foursquare’s official iPhone apps side by side for a couple of days, and the map experience in Kickball is far better than the map experience in Foursquare. The user interface in Kickball is also a little less chaotic than Foursquare. Both have their ups and downs, but if you’ve been wanting a stronger, more elegant integration of maps, Kickball is your answer.

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File Under: Browsers, Security

Web Browsers Crushed in ‘Pwn2Own’ Contest

iphone_finger200px

Think your web browser is secure? Think again. Nearly every common browser on the web has been compromised as part of the Pwn2Own contest at the annual CanSecWest security conference.

Whether it was Internet Explorer on WIndows 7, Safari on OS X, Firefox on Windows or Mobile Safari on the iPhone, just about every browser on the market proved compromisable in some way.

Perhaps the most notable of the hacks is the iPhone exploit, in which a hacker managed to download the entire SMS database of a fully patched (non-jailbroken) iPhone 3GS, grabbing the complete list of contacts and any stored messages.

As in the real world, the Pwn2Own exploit code was delivered via specially-crafted, malicious websites which target a specific flaw in your browser.

Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer were all compromised, but there is one notable exception — Google’s Chrome browser.

One of the key aspects of Chrome that has — thus far — stopped the Pwn2Own hackers is its tightly sandboxed code, which makes it very difficult to exploit. Which isn’t to say there aren’t bugs in Chrome, just that exploiting them to do dirty work outside of Chrome, and thus compromise Windows, Linux or OS X, is much more difficult than it is with other browsers.

For users of IE, Firefox, Safari and Mobile Safari, the only real solution for any security woes is to wait for software updates patching the flaws. Microsoft, which is a CanSecWest sponsor, says it’s already investigating the flaws in Internet Explorer.

Given that one contestant arrived at Pwn2Own with some 20 working exploits for OS X, we’re hoping Apple does the same, but sadly, the company is notorious lax when it comes to patching security flaws in its software.

If you’d like more information about the specific exploits used on each browser, see CNet’s coverage of the nitty-gritty Pwn2Own details.

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File Under: Browsers, Mobile

Video: Opera Mini on the iPhone

As we mentioned last week, we got to see a preview of Opera’s Mini 5 browser running on the iPhone. Opera was showing off the app at its booth at the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. But the Opera folks wouldn’t let us photograph it or shoot video of it, and they couldn’t provide us with anything other than a pre-approved screenshot. But now Opera has released a video of the tiny browser in action, embedded above.

Opera Mini 5 has been submitted to the Apple App Store and is currently awaiting approval.

The browser looks fast — certainly much faster than Safari on the iPhone. The big difference is Opera’s server-side compression technology it uses for Mini, which squishes pages and images down to about 10-20% of their original size before they are sent over the tubes. As a result, some multi-touch functionality (like “the pinch”) is disabled, but the browser is fast.

Also pay attention to the tab switcher, and the tap-to-zoom function, both of which are well-executed.

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