Tag Archives: HTC

Microsoft sued for tracking mobile users’ location without permission

Lawsuit claims that tech giant collects data about customers’ whereabouts even they have opted out of location tracking


Microsoft faces a lawsuit for allegedly tracking the location of users of its Windows Phone 7 software even after they had opted out

Microsoft tracks the location of its mobile users even after customers turned the software off, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleges.

The legal action claims that owners of Windows Phone 7 smartphonesare being unwittingly tracked when the camera on their phone is switched on.

The lawsuit, filed in a Seattle federal court, claims that Microsoft collects data about the whereabouts of its users even after customers have opted out of location tracking.

Microsoft declined to comment on Thursday morning.

The lawsuit follows mounting concern about how technology giants, including Apple and Google, record users’ private data. Microsoft, Nokia, Apple and Google were called before the US Congress in April to explain their privacy policies after security researchers uncovered hidden location-tracking software in iPhones. Google Android phones weresubsequently found to gather location data, but required users’ explicit permission.

The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft’s letter to congress, which claimed that location data is collected “always with the express consent of the user”, was “false”.

The claim, filed by Rebecca Cousineau, says that Microsoft transmits data including coordinates of a customer’s location when the phone’s camera is switched on. According to the lawsuit, hidden tracking affects smartphones using Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 software, such as the HTC 7 Mozart and the Samsung Omnia 7.

Microsoft is understood to be preparing a response to the claims.

In its representation to US Congress in May, the Redmond, Washington-based company said that tracking users’ location helps “deliver more useful and relevant experiences to users”.

It adds: “To provide these rich experiences, Microsoft collects limited information necessary to determine the approximate location of a device. Collection is always with the express consent of the user and the goal of our collection is never to track where a specific device has been or is going.

“We believe that, when designed, deployed and managed responsibly, the location-based feature of a mobile operating system should function as a tool for the user and the applications he or she elects to use, and not as a means to generate a database of sensitive information that can enable a party to surreptitiously ‘track’ a user.”

Samsung launches Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab 7.7

Midsized Galaxy Note is pitched as replacement for pen and paper, while new Galaxy Tab offers Super AMOLED Plus screen

Samsung Galaxy Note

The Samsung Galaxy Note features the pressure-sensitive ‘S-Pen’ and is smaller than HTC’s Flyer

Samsung has unveiled two new tablets, one of which, the midsized Galaxy Note, is being pitched as a replacement for pen and paper.

The Android-based Galaxy Note features a pressure-sensitive “S Pen” that can be used to write, draw and annotate a variety of content types, including photos. The idea has been done before, with HTC’s Flyer, but that tablet’s stylus came as a pricey optional extra that had to be bought separately.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note’s 5.3in screen size is smaller than the Flyer and closer to the dimensions of a standard notepad. The tablet is 9.65mm wide and weighs 178g. The larger tablet announced at the IFA technology show in Berlin on Thursday is the Galaxy Tab 7.7, a slightly enlarged version of Samsung’s first Android tablet, unveiled a year ago.

According to Andrew Coughlin, head of account for Samsung Europe, the Galaxy Note comes with a memo application that can be quickly called up so the user can jot down ideas. “Any screen can be captured and annotated with detailed commentary in your own handwriting,” he said.

Samsung obviously sees a big future for pen-based input. The company will release a software development kit (SDK) so third-party developers can write apps for the stylus – reference apps that have already been created with partners include a multiparty whiteboard application for business use.

It remains to be seen how the device will be priced in the UK or when it will become available. The Flyer, which is already getting long-in-the-tooth by tablet standards, can be picked up for about £400.

Coughlin and other Samsung executives repeatedly referred to the Galaxy Note as a primary device, suggesting that it can replace both the smartphone and the larger tablet size exemplified by the market-leading iPad.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is a revision of the original Galaxy Tab, which featured a slightly smaller 7in screen. The new version is thinner, lighter and brighter, measuring 7.89mm in thickness, weighing 335g and featuring the same Super AMOLED Plus screen technology that is used in the extremely popular Galaxy S II smartphone.

Super AMOLED Plus allows wide viewing angles, a feature that Apple has been keen to promote with the IPS display on its iPad 2. Both of Samsung’s new tablets feature 1.4GHz dual-core processors, which is about the same processing power that can be found in netbooks. By comparison, Apple’s iPad 2 is relatively sluggish with its 1GHz processor.

Versions of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be made available with a variety of connectivity options, including “4G” LTE and the more-common 3G-based HSPA option found in most smartphones.

At the same event, Samsung unveiled its Wave 3 handset, which runs the new version 2.0 of the company’s Bada operating system. Bada is an OS that Samsung is putting into a range of handsets, from the low end to smartphones.

Although the high end of the market is almost entirely taken up with smartphone-specific operating systems such as iOS, Android and the BlackBerry OS, Samsung said at Thursday’s launch that it will do its utmost to make Bada “one of the top mobile platforms in the industry”.