Android This Week: Motorola Sued; User Data Sent to Advertisers

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Microsoft filed a patent infringement suit against Motorola, contending that the Droid line of Android phones violates a number of Microsoft patents. In April, the company in Redmond signed a license agreement with HTC, another Android handset maker, which protects the maker from similar litigation. Motorola and HTC are the two largest Android handset makers; most likely Samsung might be the next target for Microsoft, given the popularity of their Galaxy S line of phones.

Researchers uncovered proof that Android apps are routinely sending user location data to advertisers. Two universities together with Intel Labs tested 30 Android apps at random and discovered that half of them were furnishing not only location data but user’s phone numbers. When an app is installed, Android warns the user that information will be accessed, but the apps do not indicate they will supply the information to third parties.

The Android Market doubled the global reach of paid apps, as Google announced that it will support paid apps in a dozen new countries. Before a country is accepted, Android phone owners there see only free apps in the store. But once a country is added, local residents can access all paid apps. The new markets should improve app sales significantly.

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