March 3, 2010

Apple is using (and touting) too much of Google’s technology at the moment to sue Google by name.  By suing Google’s most prominent handset partner, they are isolating Android rather than Google as a whole.  Can you imagine Apple touting Google technologies in their presentations (They do it often) while there is a huge public lawsuit going on between the two companies at the same time?

Is Google too important for Apple to sue?  Maybe, but I have a feeling that Apple would like to have its own Maps applications sooner rather than later.

At the iPad event last month, Steve Jobs touted Google’s mapping back end as the heart of the iPad’s Maps application.  Also skip ahead to 23:00 for more Google Maps and Youtube luvin’.

March 2, 2010

  • If you think this isn’t really a suit aimed at Google, you are kidding yourself (Android Nexus One and myTouch cited in the brief ).   By going after HTC, is Apple trying to scare manufacturers away from Google’s Android?  Wouldn’t Palm have been a better choice since they make both the hardware and the software in their devices?  Can’t HTC just say that they make hardware and none of the software stuff applies to them?  “Go bother Google!”
  • Was Steve Jobs’ Town Hall meeting where he called Google’s ‘don’t be evil’ mantra BS a call to battle? “On Google: We did not enter the search business, Jobs said. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them, he says.” was he readying the troops for this?
  • The suite comes a month to the day after Google enabled multi-touch on its flagship Nexus One phone.
  • As a long time Apple-watcher this has some parallels to the Microsoft/HP lawsuit of the 1990’s.  But those were about copyrights.  This is about patents.  Much easier to prove and win/settle patent disputes.
  • Apple hired Bruce Sewall to be their General council last year.  Sewall was part of the team that represented Apple vs. Microsoft in the 1990s and lost.  He’s also spent time with Intel doing anti-trust government litigation.
  • Are lawsuits what Steve Jobs’ $40 Billion war chest are for?  Is that what the big plan is? 
  • Why hasn’t Palm gotten hit?  Perhaps because they aren’t a threat?  Palm was who Tim Cook was saber-rattling against when he said Apple would defend its patents…weren’t they?  What about RIM?
  • Google didn’t enable Multi-touch on Android in the US specifically so they wouldn’t get sued (Apple ‘asked them not to’).  Is this what kept them out of trouble or is it only a matter of time before they become roped into all of this?
  • Are all of those people (myself included) who said “If you can’t beat them, sue them” when Nokia sued Apple going to change their minds?
  • The patents in dispute range from Object Oriented Programming techniques from NeXT in 1995 (Which is apparently still a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple’s) to the “Swipe to unlock” patent which is a month old today and all points in between.
  • It is a good time to be a technology IP lawyer in the valley (unless you value family time).  You’ve got the three of the world’s biggest mobile companies squaring off against each other (with Kodak thrown in) and all of the rest in a scramble to protect themselves.  It will be interesting to see if the ITU or Govt. orgs

Updated with exact claims from Engadget below:

You were wondering why Google was hesitant to put multi-touch on those HTC Android handsets in the US?  

Apple’s lawyers.  

Today Apple announced they were suing HTC for infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.   Google wasn’t mentioned but this is just the latest (and biggest) escalation of the battle of Silicon Valley behemoths. 

Steve Jobs said: 

9to5toys 

February 25, 2010

The Wall St. Journal this morning had a short synopsis of Adobe Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen’s talk at the Goldman Sachs technology conference this week.  That’s the same conference where Tim Cook spoke yesterday.

He spoke on his view of why the iPad wasn’t equipped to play Flash:

Narayen said Apple’s decision likely had everything to do with its business model as it tries to keep a proprietary, closed system so everything goes through its iTunes store, and has nothing to do with the Flash technology. He said about 85 of the top 100 Web sites in the world use Flash, and 75% of the video on the Web today is in Flash, including Google Inc.’s (GOOG) YouTube, News Corp.’s (NWS) Hulu and broadcasters such as ABC and Fox.

Earlier this month, Jobs reportedly told Wall Street Journal execs that if the iPad used Flash the battery life would go from 10 hours to 1.5 (has Apple been testing this?).  

But is it all about technology?  Perhaps Adobe’s CEO is partially right.  Even if Flash ran efficiently on the iPad and weren’t full of security holes, Apple might balk at having other ways to get applications on the iPhone.  Certainly, Flash/AIR developers would rather write applications once and do updates online rather than have to reprogram their Apps to work natively on the iPhone.  Those apps would run on Android devices and any other devices that run Flash.  

The first mobile devices with Flash won’t run well.  Batteries will drain fast, they will crash a lot and they won’t be capable of performing anywhere as well as native applications.

Over the next year, however, things will change.  Flash will become more efficient

(Beijing Apple Store)

Apple plans to add 25 stores in China over the next two years according to Fortune, who’ve been following the Apple shareholder meeting today.  Tim Cook said this week that Apple had plans to open 50 stores this year and it appears that half of those will be in China.

Apple seems to be taking China very seriously lately, especially with handset rival Google in limbo there after the hacking fiasco.  Although Apple had a slow start with the iPhone in China, they’ve been ramping up efforts there considerably.

 

February 18, 2010

Google Voice is a pretty incredible service, but not everyone understands what exactly it does (hint: it isn’t VoIP – yet!). Google is hoping to remedy that with a fantastic series of videos which I’ve painstakingly pasted below for you to view.

Although, Android phones allow full use of Google Voice services, even people with iPhones through AT&T can take advantage of Google’s Voicemail services. And Google Voice has a nice iPhone Web App.

read more

9to5google 

The WSJ has a quick roundup of the tablet space with some interesting tidbits.  One, HP let Steve Ballmer “show off” their Slate computer at CES but waited for Apple to announce pricing so they could  tweak their pricing to make their product competitive.  They compare to the $629 3G iPad model, so it is assumed that the HP device will have 3G.

Interestingly, since the device will be running Windows 7, it will need PC internals, probably those of a Netbook (Intel Atom Processor) which typically run at higher prices than the ARM chips that the iPad is based on.

The Journal also mentions that Microsoft is still hammering away at their “secret” Courier device which Gizmodo profiled last year in videos and still images of all sorts.

Dell skipped the big tablet space and is instead going after the “big iPod touch” space with its Mini 5 which will be running Android.

But with Apple’s iPad a month away and costing much less than anyone had anticipated,  Apple clearly has the upper hand.

February 16, 2010

Wired today offers an update on their tablet work from their earlier concepts.  While they say that they are designing for the iPad and iPhone, they’ve created this product on Adobe Air from the same Adobe InDesign files they use to create their award-winning magazine.   If it isn’t obvious by now, Apple isn’t going to allow Adobe Air or Flash on the iPad.  They say:

Although the Wired Reader starts as an AIR app, Adobe has created tools that allow us to easily convert it for major tablet and mobile platforms. In Barcelona this week, Adobe announced that AIR would run on Android, and Adobe has already announced its Packager for iPhone tool that will allow Flash apps (including AIR) to run on Apple mobile platforms. And AIR already runs natively on Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems.

So is Adobe offering some magical Adobe Air to iPad conversion tool?  It isn’t out of the realm of possibility, since they’ve got a Flash CS5-> iPhone app exporter already in production.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/56328629001?isVid=1&isUI=1&publisherID=1564549380

I’ve got absolutely nothing solid to go with here, but doesn’t it seem strange that Skype has been promising 3G/Push notifications for months on the iPhone yet they announce an “always-on app” for Blackberry and Android on Verizon first?

I’ll let Skype do the talking: 

Russ Shaw, General Manager of Skype’s mobile business in December 2009:

Many of you have also been asking when we’ll release a version which allows you to make calls over 3G – the holy grail of Skype on the mobile, if you like. We’ve had a 3G-capable version ready for some time now, but Apple’s current restrictions mean that they won’t allow us to make it available on the App Store for the moment.

Apple, of course, lifted this restriction last month when vendors such as Fring released 3G versions of the Skype client.  AT&T lifted any restrictions on VoIP apps last year.  

Nothing from Skype.

Push Notification requests flood our comments and those of Skype every time they make an iPhone announcement.  They clearly know this is the first (and often only) feature request people have yet they’ve failed to address this at every update.

Let’s not pretend Skype is a mom and pop shop and need some help figuring out this Push notification thing either.  Skype has over half a Billion user accounts.  That’s almost two accounts for every man, woman and child in the US.  They had revenues of $185 million in the last quarter on 27.7 billion Skype-In minutes and 3.1 billion Skype-Out minutes. 

Skype is the world’s largest international voice carrier, bigger than Vodafone, AT&T, Verizon or anyone else.  They have versions of Skype for just about every platform imaginable: Symbian, Maemo, Linux, Windows, Mac, WinMob, Blackberry, Java phones of all shapes and sizes, etc.

Skype for iPhone was a smash hit.  They had a million downloads in two days.  It is one of the most popular apps on the iPhone.

So after all of that let me get this straight: Skype hasn’t been able to get 3G and Push Notifications working on the iPhone why?  The only reason besides complete ineptitude that would possibly make sense is that they threw that into the Verizon deal.

electrek 

Verizon’s Android and Blackberry customers who use Skype got some huge news today. Verizon and Skype announced that they are going to let Skype work over 3G in an always-on type of mode, thus allowing their phones to act as Skype devices while attached to Verizon’s network.

The service will allow incoming and outgoing Skype calls including Skype phone number access. The service will always be on and will be active so long as there is a Verizon 3G data connection. That means you can make really inexpensive international calls on Skype rather than Use Verizon’s native service. It also means that incoming calls to your Skype-In voice number will “ring” on your Verizon phones.

read more

February 15, 2010

At Mobile World Congress 2010, Adobe introduced the latest version of Flash for mobile phones, including the unveiling of Adobe AIR on mobile devices, a consistent runtime for standalone applications to come out of the Open Screen Project.

Expected to offer Android support in 2010, Adobe pushed AIR  as a solution for developers hoping to create rich applications, across operating systems – though it has also been revealed Windows 7 will not support Flash.

Adobe also announced that a beta of Flash Player 10.1 is now available to content providers and mobile developers worldwide. The final version is expected to ship in the first half of 2010.

The company touted Flash Player 10.1

February 2, 2010

Ever since Google’s Android came on the scene, it hasn’t had true multi-touch.  A report by Venturebeat said that Apple had asked Google not to use multi-touch in its Android phones and Google had complied, rather than get into legal trouble.

Fast forward to today.  Google has sent out an update to its Nexus One phones enabling multi-touch on Maps, the Chrome Browser, Gallery and other applications.   Multi-touch will only be available on 2.0+ phones and the updates are coming throughout the week (assuming Droid is next here).

What happened?  Are the gloves coming off?  Palm has had multi-touch for awhile and nothing legal has come up yet.  Perhaps Google thinks (perhaps correctly) that Apple won’t try to protect its share of multi-touch patent ownership? The update also included Google Goggles, Night Driving for Navigator GPS and an update to the 3G.

 

January 28, 2010

Adobe’s Adrian Ludwig posted a quick reaction to the news that iPad, at least in its initial form, won’t have Flash.  The decision not to include Flash on iPhones was already controversial, but now with a bigger screen and a different usage profile, the iPad’s decision not to use Flash has even more people up in arms. 

It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers. Unlike many other ebook readers using the ePub file format, consumers will not be able to access ePub content with Apple’s DRM technology on devices made by other manufacturers.  And without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the web.

If I want to use the iPad to connect to DisneyHuluMiniclipFarmvilleESPNKongregate, or JibJab — not to mention the millions of other sites on the web — I’ll be out of luck.

Would Flash make the iPad better?  Surely, even Apple’s go-to publication, the NYTimes.com uses it (and uses it extremely well).  For me, Hulu is the most important Flash site that won’t work on the iPad.   Instead of being able to watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report free with ads, my only option is to buy them on iTunes (or download a torrent and convert to a format that the iPad can use – but that’s getting absurd).

Will Apple continue to shut out Hulu if they don’t go to HTML5 or build a dedicated app?  There might be other iTunes-related politics on that particular case.  But what about the NYTimes or any of the sites mentioned above by Ludwig?  Until there is a good HTML5 SDK (might not be a bad idea to tack this onto the Webkit team, Apple?), Flash is the best alternative for companies that want to put out interactive content for the web.

The Flash issue was, for the past three years, a technical issue on the iPhone.  Those Samsung ARM chips wouldn’t deliver a good Flash experience and Steve Jobs even mentioned that as the reason for not including Flash.   But now Android phones and others with ARM Cortex A8 processors are getting a very usable version of Flash.  It stands to reason, then, that Apple’s new A4 ARM Cortex A9 chip would provide a good experience, especially with Adobe working with ARM on optimizing the experience for their architecture.  

So now it isn’t about speed.  The iPad’s processor can handle Flash.  It is politics.

On one side, you have Apple who doesn’t want to rely on Adobe to keep its application running well on its platform (see Mac version of Flash) or nor do they want competition for App Store developers.  On the other, you have Adobe who’ve optimized their code for mobile devices and have millions of Flash apps already on the web and thousands of developers spitting out new applications every day.

In the middle, is the consumer who wants to buy an iPad to watch Hulu TV.

Perhaps, if implemented like Safari on the desktop with Flash running as a separate process with a ClicktoFlash implementation, it would make sense for Apple to support it.  It could be done like Copy/Paste, MMS or tethering (whoops!) on the iPhone: Slow, behind the curve, but eventually done right.

But there is also every possibility that Apple will never let the Flash player onto any of its iPhone OS products.  

9to5toys 

January 21, 2010

January 20, 2010

Get the fuck away from me you two faced liar!

Jim Goldman got a little bit of feedback on the Bing search for Mobile Safari story we discussed yesterday.  Of the three points, one struck us as pretty significant.

“Jobs hates Eric.”

That doesn’t bode well for the Apple/Google relationship.  Perhaps there was some tension caused by the Admob deal?  ChromeOS?  Android on AT&T?  Google Latitude?  Google Voice?  Chrome passing Safari?

We’ve heard this before, but with AT&T announcing both Android and Palm Pres earlier this month, it just might be time for Apple to announce a Verizon iPhone.   According to Canaccord Adams’ Peter Misek (via Apple 2.0), there is a “good chance” that Steve Jobs’ one more thing will be the announcement of iPhone OS 4.0 and a Verizon iPhone.   In a note to clients Wednesday he said:

“Together with our semi-conductor partners, we have ascertained that there is a reasonable chance the Asian supply chain is prepping for mass production of a new iPhone in March, for availability in late Q2, likely June. The phone will be carried on Verizon and hence will operate on the CDMA network; however, it will also support European GSM and HSPA standards.”

Other fun facts pointed to by Misek?

He thinks we’ll see a 4GS iPhone that will support LTE in June 2011,Tiered data plans are imminent including an unlimited data plan from Verizon and he expects Apple to sell 37 million iPhones in 2010.

9to5google 

January 19, 2010

According to Businessweek, Apple is in talks with Microsoft to drop Google search as the default on Mobile Safari on the iPhone and iPod Touch.  The move would place Bing, Microsoft’s recently rebranded search, at the top of the mobile browser.  The reason would be twofold.  One: Microsoft would offer more money for users who click on ads from search and two, because Google’s Android is a much bigger threat to Apple’s iPhone than anything Microsoft can muster.

Interestingly, Apple may also add Bing as an option in Desktop Safari as well, according to their sources.  The deal, if finalized, may not be a long one however.  Businessweek closes by saying that Apple is working on a skunkworks search product of their own and they don’t want to ‘outsource the future’.

January 11, 2010

Those French Mobile Operators….they love to talk.  The latest information escaping their lips, according to French Magazine Challenges.fr (via TiPB), is that the iPhone 4G* is coming in early May, not the typical June-July timeframe that we are used to.   The magazine cites “several industry sources” but couldn’t offer any details on the 4G iPhone.  They also speculate that the reason for an early launch would be to counter Google’s rush of higher specced smart super phones with the Android OS.

They also mention that Microsoft could be a competitor as well, though we heard today that Windows Mobile 7 might not come until 2011 – which might as well be 3011.

*4th generation as in iteration of iPhone not 4G network

January 5, 2010

The Nexus One is officially out.  Standout features include:

  • 720×480 Video recording and 5 megapixel camera with flash.
  • 800×480 AMOLED display.  
  • 11mm thin (same width as pencil) 
  • 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • Speech recognition throughout OS
  • Noise cancellation using 2 mics.

Interestingly, during the Q&A, Google was asked if they would implement multi-touch on Android phones in the US and Google wouldn’t say that it would be available.

 


 

 

New Camera Gallery

 

 

 

 

Voice Input

 

Customization (with Live Homescreens)

 

 

 

 

Power and battery

Removable 1400 mAH battery

Charges at 480mA from USB, at 980mA from supplied charger

Talk time
Up to 10 hours on 2G
Up to 7 hours on 3G
Standby time
Up to 290 hours on 2G Up to 250 hours on 3G
Internet use
Up to 5 hours on 3G
Up to 6.5 hours on Wi-Fi
Video playback
Up to 7 hours
Audio playback
Up to 20 hours

Processor

Qualcomm QSD 8250 1 GHz

Operating system

Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 (Eclair)

Capacity

512MB Flash

512MB RAM

4GB Micro SD Card (Expandable to 32 GB)

Location

Assisted global positioning system (AGPS) receiver

Cell tower and Wi-Fi positioning

Digital compass

Accelerometer

Size and weight

Height
119mm
Width
59.8mm
Depth
11.5mm
Weight
130 grams w/battery
100g w/o battery

Display

3.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen WVGA AMOLED touchscreen

800 x 480 pixels

100,000:1 typical contrast ratio

1ms typical response rate

Camera & Flash

5 megapixels

Autofocus from 6cm to infinity

2X digital zoom

LED flash

User can include location of photos from phone

electrek 

January 4, 2010

Mac4ever (translated) is reporting that the January event isn’t just going to be a Tablet show and tell.  They indicate that Apple will unveil a beta SDK for the fourth generation of the iPhone.  This SDK will also conveniently have a tablet simulator for developers who want to build or port their apps to the tablet.

They also note that the next version of the iPhone will likely have more pixels to play with like recent Android and Windows Mobile phones have had. 

We also learned that in French “sont

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