A quick heads up for those of you who own the Verizon Galaxy Home Button, erm, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 -- a software update is currently coming down the pike. We don't know exactly what's in version LL4 (Verizon's usually excellent upgrade info pages are currently failing us), but it's looking like the Exynos exploit is targeted, and that'd make sense, seeing as how other Samsung devices have been updated for the same thing this week.
Update: OK. The changelog is as follows:
- Android Security Patch added for additional security.
Sprint Epic 4G Touch, T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 getting fixes so far
When word dropped in December about an exploit to the kernel used with some Samsung Exynos chipsets, Sasmung promised an update "as quickly as possible" to plug the hole. Looks like fixes are starting to push out. Here's what we're seeing so far:
- Sprint Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch: Sprint has officially announced software update FL24. It'll be rolling out over the next 30 days or so. In addition to "security updates," it adds Sprint's Connections Optimizer. More in our Epic 4G Touch forums. If you can't wait for the update to push out to you, Team Sextape (really, folks?) has it in TAR form.
- T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2: Also official is the T889UVALL4 update for TMo's Note 2. The update comprises "Exynos and other security enhancements" along with "various bug fixes." The update is pushing out over the air, or you can update manually via Kies. More in our Note 2 forums.
Other devices affected include the international Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note and Note 2, certain tablets using Exynos 4, Galaxy Player models, Galaxy Tab 2s and the Galaxy Note 10.1.
A Samsung spokesperson has given Android Central an updated statement on its plans to fix the recently-discovered Exynos kernel vulnerability issue. In today's update, the company has indicated that it's aware of the problem and is preparing to move forward with software updates to remedy the situation on affected devices "as quickly as possible." Samsung also confirms what we already knew about the nature of the exploit, specifically that a specially-coded malicious app is required to take advantage of it. (As we mentioned a few days back, if you're not downloading sketchy apps, you probably don't have much to worry about.)
Here's Samsung's statement in full --
Samsung is aware of the potential security issue related to the Exynos processor and plans to provide a software update to address it as quickly as possible.
The issue may arise only when a malicious application is operated on the affected devices; however, this does not affect most devices operating credible and authenticated applications.
Samsung will continue to closely monitor the situation until the software fix has been made available to all affected mobile devices.
The exploit, which was discovered over the weekend, could give a malicious app to free reign over an affected device's RAM, allowing it to take complete control of the device. Over the weekend, popular phones like the Galaxy Note 2 and international Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S2 were found to be vulnerable to the exploit. Given that sales of those devices are measured in the tens of millions, it isn't surprising to see a swift response from the manufacturer.
In the meantime, there are third-party fixes already available for those worried about falling foul of malware based upon this vulnerability.
There was potentially worrying news for Samsung phone owners this weekend, as a serious kernel security vulnerability was identified in Android devices running Exynos 4210 and 4412 chips. The list of affected devices includes some of the most popular Samsung phones, like the international Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3, and all Galaxy Note 2 models. The exploit in Samsung's kernel could give a malicious app free reign over a device's memory, allowing it to take complete control of it.
We reached out to Samsung for comment, and the company has today informed us that it is "currently in the process of conducting an internal review" into the matter. That's not a whole lot of information, but it at least confirms that Samsung's aware of the issue and is looking into it.
We'll keep you apprised of any further developments. In the meantime, if you're concerned about whether your own phone could be affected by this security vulnerability, check out our full report from yesterday.
Update: Looks like the $249 price was right. The Chromebook seems to have sold out, and is now listed as "coming soon".
Google's new Chromebook, made by Samsung, is available in the Google Play Store starting today for just $249. The latest iteration, which is now based on an ARM processor rather than Intel, comes packed with an 11.6-inch 1366x768 screen, Exynos 5 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The sparse internal storage is supplemented by 2 years of 100GB free Google Drive storage, which is a nice feature.
The idea of a Chromebook may be appealing to many of the Google-centric users among us, so what do you think? Can you live with just Google Chrome as your entire operating system? For $249, you may consider it.
Source: Google Play Store
There's been a little hubbub in the Android developer community surrounding the lack of proper documentation and source code for some of Samsung's Exynos 4 chips. The absence of documentation has lead to some high-profile CyanogenMod developers giving up on porting to some Samsung devices, including the international Galaxy S3. To cut a long story short, smartphone chips are incredibly complex, and trying to port open-source Android to them without the right code samples and documentation is extremely difficult.
Today, following a short social media campaign, Samsung acknowledged the dev community's desire for full Exynos documentation, saying on its official Twitter account --
We hear your concerns about documentation & source code for Exynos-based devices. We're discussing it with our team and will update you soon.
Samsung has proven itself to be relatively developer-friendly in the past, allowing unlocked bootloaders on devices, and even putting out a special developer edition of the locked-down Verizon Galaxy S3. Hopefully Samsung's internal discussions will result in a positive outcome for devs. If so, it'll mean better custom ROMs for owners of Exynos devices.
Samsung has announced and published the whitepaper for their upcoming Exynos 5250 SoC (System on a Chip), and it looks like the stuff a hardware geek's dreams are made of. Sporting a dual-core 1.7GHz CPU, paired with a quad-core Mali GPU. The full feature list reads like the side of a desktop computer box.
- A15 CPU dual-core 1.7GHz CPU
- Mali T604 quad-core GPU
- 800 Mhz LPDDR3 RAM support
- USB 3.0 support
- OpenGL ES 3.0 support; OpenCL 1.1 full profile support; DirectX 11 support
- Support for WXQGA (2560x1600) resolution
- Wifi display support
- 1080p 60 FPS video performance and VP8 codec decoder
We see a couple things nobody expects to see in an ARM chip for mobile devices, namely USB 3 and DirectX support. With Microsoft announcing a slew of upcoming Windows 8 tablets, we should get used to seeing it. And chances are that's where we'll see this chip first -- in Samsung built Windows 8 tablet/clamshell hybrid.
Of course, it will also be a total screamer in the benchmark arena on the Android side, so that's what we're looking forward to seeing. No word on when that may happen, but while we all wait there's a great breakdown and discussion starter in the forums, where everyone can talk about the Exynos 5 until it gets in our Android devices. Check it out, along with links to Samsung's whitepaper and announcement below.