Stuart Breckenridge

The Cheapest Smartphone in the World

Hitesh Raj Bhagat, ET Bureau (via the Economic Times):

February 18, 2016 will be an important day for the smartphone industry - at 6am, registrations for the Freedom 251 will start. Priced at Rs 251 (less than $4), it’s not just the cheapest smartphone in India - it’s the cheapest smartphone ever.

Just look at the app icons and home button. They look disturbingly familiar.

— Supported by —

ASICS to Acquire Runkeeper

Jason Jacobs, founder of Runkeeper, discussing their acquisition by ASICS:

When we look ahead, it seems clear that the fitness brands of the future will not just make physical products, but will be embedded in the consumer journey in ways that will help keep people motivated and maximize their enjoyment of sport. By putting these two pieces together (digital fitness platform and world class physical products), you can build a new kind of fitness brand that has a deeper, more trusted relationship with consumers and can engage with them in a more personalized way.

Partnering with ASICS to fulfil this vision together makes a ton of sense. We both have deep roots in and focus on running as a core component of the fitness experience. There is strong alignment between our brands and core values. And from people using our Shoe Tracker feature in the app, we know that ASICS shoes are by far the ones that Runkeeper users run in the most!

From the end-user standpoint, not much will change. Not only will the Runkeeper product carry on, but we will be able to move even faster. We will be able to pursue the vision we’ve set out to pursue all along, with a partner that can bring many resources to bear that we couldn’t fathom having access to on our own.

My favourite running tracker and my favourite running trainer—I use the ASICS Gel-Kinsei 6—joining forces is good news. I’m hoping for discounts on merchandise in exchange for completing running challenges.

Related: Why I use Runkeeper instead of Apple’s Workout app.

Sparkle Framework Vulnerability

Dan Goodin:

Camtasia, uTorrent, and a large number of other Mac apps are susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks that install malicious code, thanks to a vulnerability in Sparkle, the third-party software framework the apps use to receive updates.

The vulnerability is the result of apps that use a vulnerable version of Sparkle along with an unencrypted HTTP channel to receive data from update servers. It involves the way Sparkle interacts with functions built into the WebKit rendering engine to allow JavaScript execution. As a result, attackers with the ability to manipulate the traffic passing between the end user and the server—say, an adversary on the same Wi-Fi network—can inject malicious code into the communication.

If you want to find if there are affected apps on your Mac, run this command in Terminal:

find /Applications -name Sparkle.framework

On my Mac, Coda 2, Fabric, GPG Keychain, and Sketch show up as using the Sparkle Framework. However, it’s important to note that the vulnerability only works when updates are served over a non-HTTPS connection. With that in mind:

  • Coda 2 is not affected
  • Fabric is not affected
  • GPG Keychain is not affected
  • Sketch is fixed as of v3.5.2

Say what you want about the state of the Mac App Store, but this stuff hasn’t happened there.

Apple Special Event on March 15th

Matthew Panzarino:

Now, it looks like the date has solidified. March 15th is the date, according to sources, and we should indeed be seeing a rumored 4″ iPhone and a new iPad.

My bet is that we’ll also see the launch of iOS 9.3 with support for Apple Pay in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Spain (via Amex).

Thoughts on Apple Watch from Around the Web

Brent Simmons:

Here’s the thing, though: the Apple Watch contains a hundred miracles of engineering and design, surely, but serious problems with software and services can turn even the most incredible hardware into something you just sit on your desk and ignore.

Nick Heer:

I’ll add one more to the mix: since watchOS 2.0, I haven’t been able to launch native third-party apps on my Watch. Apps from TestFlight work fine, as do WatchKit apps, but native third party apps continue to experience an issue associated with the FairPlay DRM that prevents them from loading — they simply crash at launch.

Marco Arment:

The result is promising, but clunky and slow. It could be so great at its three most useful functions — notifications, activity tracking, and timekeeping with robust complications — if only they were more reliable and better executed. Someday, I hope they are.