Xiaomi thinks it can top Apple and Samsung as world’s largest smartphone maker within a decade

Xiaomi Mi2

Just weeks after Xiaomi overtook Huawei and LG to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, The Guardian reports that the Chinese handset maker’s chief executive and founder Lei Jun is out with a bold prediction that his company could move past Apple and Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker within the next five to ten years. Read more

Google reaches agreement to settle patent litigation with Apple-backed consortium Rockstar

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Google, according to a report out of Reuters, has agreed to settle all of its patent litigation with the Rockstar consortium, which consists of a variety of tech companies including Apple, Sony, BlackBerry and Microsoft. The Rockstar consortium paid $4.5 billion for Nortel Network Corporation’s huge patent portfolio in 2011, outbidding Google at the time. The Rockstar consortium originally sued Google and a handful of Android manufacturers in October of 2013, claiming that the companies infringed on seven Nortel patents.

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Here’s why beacon networks are the way to go for retailers & app developers supporting iBeacon

Aloompa_-_Bonnaroo_Beacon_Activity

If you’re a retailer, you have two options when it comes to deploying Bluetooth beacons. You can deploy the hardware yourself and build an accompanying mobile app for the experience, or you can open the experience to existing apps that users already have on their device using a beacon network. Some retailers have decided they want to own the experience and have everything go through their own mobile app, but new data suggests that might not be the way to go. Read more

Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus & iPad Air 2 lose out to Samsung & Surface in detailed color accuracy analysis

DISPLAY-mate-01

Following its detailed reports on displays used in the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, today DisplayMate published a scientific analysis of color accuracy for the six best mobile displays it’s tested this year. Despite ranking high in some categories in the test, Apple’s new entries, the iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2, end up at the bottom of the list overall. Read more

Apple ordered to pay $23.6 million after losing lawsuit over wireless messaging

Apple iMessage Messages iOS 8

Bloomberg reports that a federal jury has found Apple guilty of infringing on six patents related to outdated pager technology from the 1990s. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has ordered Apple to pay a $23.6 million settlement for violating six patents owned by plaintiff Mobile Telecommunications Technologies LLC in the case. Read more

WSJ: Department of Justice uses fake cell towers on airplanes to capture data from mobile phones

planes

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the United States Department of Justice has been using planes equipped with devices that pose as cellular towers (called “dirtboxes”) to collect data from suspected criminals’ cell phones—and capturing data from innocent bystanders in the process.

The devices are capable of capturing data from “tens of thousands” of phones over the course of a single flight. Because most cell phones are designed to automatically connect to the tower with the strongest signal, these dirtboxes can easily fool phones into latching onto its signal.

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Beats announces Solo2 wireless headphones as first new product under Apple ownership

Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones

Following our exclusive report of FCC documents revealing that Beats was working on a new pair of headphones, the accessory maker this morning has announced its brand new Solo2 wireless headphones as its first new product since being acquired by Apple for $3 billion earlier this year. The headphones are set to launch in the United States this month at Apple Stores and select retailers for $299.95. Read more

Fitbit fitness tracking lineup dropped from Apple Online Store

Apple Watch fitness

Apple Watch will include fitness and health tracking features

Update: Fitbit statement below the fold…

If you’re in the market for a Fitbit device and you’re shopping at the Apple Store, you’ll probably have to shop elsewhere to purchase the fitness tracker. Following report from Re/Code last month that Apple planned to drop the Fitbit line of wearable devices from its Apple Store lineup, Apple has today removed the Fitbit Flex and other Fitbit products from its online store following low inventory over the past week. While its unclear why Apple is no longer selling Fitbit products through its retail channels, on the surface the move is similar to Apple’s decision to discontinue selling Bose headphones and speakers at its retail and online stores.

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Move over, Samsung: Lenovo takes the prize for most shameless Apple ripoff

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If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, then the designers at Lenovo must adore the iPhone 6.

Samsung has caught a lot of flak for—and been taken to court over—some of its iPhone-like smartphone design choices, but nothing the Korean company has ever produced comes close to the shamelessly derivative Lenovo S90. Not only does the S90 seem to take more than a few design cues from Apple’s latest smartphone, but its entire advertising campaign seems to be a carbon copy of Apple’s own.

Take, for example, the image above (found on Weibo, via PhoneArena). If it looks a little familiar to you, that might be because it’s the exact same thing you’ll find on Apple’s iPhone webpage. There are about ten of these images total, and nearly all of them look like they were ripped right from Apple’s website.

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Amazon announces Echo, a dedicated, Siri-like speaker system for quick information

Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Siri but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.

You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one, lol), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Hey Siri,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage, but music should work fine via iOS.

The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone and delivery drones, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these untested things.

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Passcode vs. Touch ID: A Legal Analysis

US_Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrest

[Ed. note: Jason Stern is a Criminal Defense Attorney in private practice in New York City]

8:34 am. A college professor receives a text message threatening to blow up the history building. The professor immediately contacts law enforcement, who trace the origin of the call to a student who lives off-campus.

When FBI agents arrive at the student’s residence, they arrest the student and seize his smartphone. In an attempt to search the device to recover evidence of the crime (and perhaps stop other related crimes), they find the smartphone is protected by fingerprint security measures.

With the suspect in handcuffs, the agent swipes the student’s finger across the phone to access his call history and messages. Once the FBI swipes the suspect’s finger and bypasses the biometric security, the phone asks for the student’s passcode. The FBI agent asks for his password but the student refuses to speak. How can the FBI agent access the phone? Whereas a fictional Federal Agent like Jack Bauer would simply pull out his gun, jam it in the suspect’s mouth and scream, “WHERE IS THE BOMB?”, in our example, the FBI agent would hit the proverbial brick wall.

Yes, the phone could be brought back to the lab for analysis and hacking by forensics personnel, but the suspect in this case could not be forced to disclose the password on the phone… Read more