Weekly high-tech hot topics in the blogs: Google stops censoring in China, iPad apps, HTC Evo 4G superphone

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The Independent Tech

Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending March 19: Google keeps its word and stops censoring search results in China, software developers unveil applications for the forthcoming iPad, HTC EVO named the smartphone to beat, Opera submits its Opera Mini browser to the App Store and iPhone security highlighted as hackers hijack SMS database.

Google stops censoring search results in China
Google announced it would redirect google.cn traffic to google.com.hk in a March 23 blog post, making good on its promise to stop censoring search results in its Chinese language website. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (and many other blogs) congratulated Google for following through on its promise saying, "Google has garnered good will among those Chinese Internet users who want access to a free and open Internet as well as with all those who fight censorship in the rest of the world." Later in the week the LA Times Blog announced that Google was going further to end its censorship in China and introducing real-time search results, "in effect, lifting a nine-month blackout of the microblogging service in China."

Apple opens App Store for iPad application submissions
The New York Times article "The iPad App Derby Gets Under Way" reflected a constant flow of iPad application-related articles that started to appear in the blogs this week. Amazon showed off its Kindle for iPad application, the Omni Group unveiled their $49.99 OmniGraffle diagram creating application, and publishing houses started talking about the in-magazine advertising deals they were striking with other companies. Bloggers also write about the possible prices of magazine subscriptions and applications, saying magazine prices will be similar to newsstand prices and iPad apps may be much more expensive than their iPhone counterparts due to increased functionality.

HTC Evo 4G superphone
The world's first 4G Android phone was well received by bloggers and tech journalists when it was officially announced this week. HTC unveiled its well endowed Evo to a full round of praise. Engadget wrote, "HTC EVO 4G is Sprint's Android-powered knight in superphone armor", Venture Beat Mobile told you to "Commence drooling" and 9to5mac declared it "The new Android phone to beat." The EVO's 'supersonic' specifications include one of the biggest pinch-to-zoom touchscreen displays at 4.3 inches, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, dual cameras (an 8 MP auto-focus camera with HD-capable video camcorder and a 1.3 MP forward-facing camera), wireless tethering for up to eight WiFi enabled devices, and an aggregated social networking experience.

Opera submits Opera Mini browser to Apple App Store
Web browser developer Opera Software announced they had designed an iPhone compatible version of their popular Opera Mini web browser back in February. The third party app is said to be up to six times faster than Apple's default iPhone browser, Safari, and provides savings for iPhone users who travel the globe by reducing their roaming browsing costs by up to 90 percent. But until this week, Opera still hadn't submitted the browser to the strict vetoing processes in the App Store. "Hopefully, Opera Mini will pass muster and it will be the beginning of the browser revolution for the iPhone - or, at very least, we'll have two browsers to choose from" wrote Read Write Web's Mike Melanson.

iPhone gets hacked
During the CanSecWest Pwn2Own contest, hackers showed that they could easily hack a non-jailbroken iPhone and steal the contents of its SMS database by luring consumers onto a website hosting malicious code. "Using an exploit against a previously unknown vulnerability, the duo - Vincenzo Iozzo and Ralf Philipp Weinmann - lured the target iPhone to a rigged Web site and exfiltrated the SMS database in about 20 seconds," reported Zdnet's Ryan Naraine. Bloggers also highlighted security flaws found in Firefox and Internet Explorer 8 after hackers showed that they were able to compromise computers using vulnerabilities in the software.

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