Apple and Google agree to settle patent litigation, but will not cross license

Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

According to a court filing discovered by Reuters, Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility unit have agreed to settle their ongoing smartphone patent litigation battle against each other. In a statement, the two companies said that this agreement does not include the ability cross license each other’s patents, but rather the promise to “work together in some areas of patent reform.”

The two tech giants have been battling it out over various patents for several years now, both directly and indirectly. It’s important to note, however, that this agreement is solely between Apple, Google, and its Motorola Mobility unit. This does not apply to any lawsuits between Android device manufacturers, such as Samsung and HTC, and Apple. Although theoretically, it would apply to patents owned by Google that device manufacturers are licensing.

A verdict was reached in the latest Apple v Samsung battle just a few weeks ago, with Apple being ruled as the victor, albeit small. The court ruled that Samsung owed Apple $119 million, which is far less than the $2 billion it was seeking.

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Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

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Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Amazon reportedly announcing first smartphone in June, will feature glasses-free 3D

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is planning to announce its first entry to the smartphone market in June. The possibility of an Amazon phone has been a long-running rumor, but recently sources claimed that the company had partnered with HTC to finally produce the device.

Following the launch of the Fire TV earlier this month, the Amazon phone will mark the second of Apple’s product categories the online retailer hopes to invade in 2014. With its Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon has been attempting to position itself to compete with the iPad for a few years.

The Amazon device will reportedly feature a display capable of creating 3D images without the need for glasses, according to the WSJ report:

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HTC unveils new One (M8) with dual-LED flash, Sense 6 software, Gunmetal design

HTC has just announced its 2014 flagship in New York. Dubbed the new HTC One (M8), the device is just as all the leaks have depicted it over the past few months. Most notably, HTC is touting the device’s high-quality metal construction, which it describes “like a premium watch.” (Remember when Jobs described the iPhone 4 as a “a beautiful old Leica camera”?) The device is  available in a new Gunmetal Gray Hairline Finish that makes it look significantly more high-end than its predecessor. Taking a page out of Apple’s book, the device features a dual LED flash on the back, much like the iPhone 5s.

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Should Apple open the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor to devs in iOS 8? [Poll]


With Touch ID in the iPhone 5s, Apple wasn’t the first to integrate a fingerprint sensor in a smartphone, but it certainly popularized the feature as other manufacturers race to build similar technology into their next-gen iPhone competitors. HTC is packing in fingerprint sensors in its latest flagship devices and Samsung announced its new Galaxy S5 earlier this week with finger scanning as one of the standout upgrades. The verdict is still out on how Samsung’s tech compares to Touch ID, but it is interesting to see how others are using fingerprint sensors while Apple keeps it closed to developers and offers very limited applications. With Samsung letting app developers access the new S5’s fingerprint scanner for mobile payments and more right out of the gate, should Apple open the fingerprint sensor to devs in iOS 8? Read more

Speculation and circumstantial evidence points toward possibility of Apple using solar in upcoming products

Image: 1iphone5wallpaper.com

Image: 1iphone5wallpaper.com

There has long been speculation about Apple incorporating a solar panel into its products, both for environmental reasons and to boost battery-life. There have been Mobile-Solar Apple Jobs that have vanished after discovery, tons of patents, trial rumors and of course the Solar effort/expertise on Apple’s Data Centers and new Campus 2 building. This week, Seeking Alpha has a highly speculative piece by Matt Margolis suggesting that the evidence may be mounting for the iPhone 6 being the product Apple uses to bring the Solar idea to market.

Before we get too far into the speculation, it is worthwhile to note that the surface area of an iPhone would hardly be enough to keep a charge let alone recharge a phone even with the most efficient solar technology in labs today. However, all of the evidence weighed together might make you forget all of that ‘science’…

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iOS market share continues to fall, but Apple unlikely to be worried

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The headline news in the latest IDC stats might look like bad news for Apple: iOS Q3 market share dropped from 14.4 percent last year to 12.9 percent this year. But it’s a number that is unlikely to lead to too many sleepless nights in Cupertino, for four reasons.

First, Apple isn’t competing with most of the Android market, which spans all price-points, only the top end of it. Samsung has been struggling to make money from its flagship handsets, with most of its profits coming from low-end models, while HTC has been in all kinds of trouble. Looking at Apple’s market share in the smartphone market as a whole is the most academic of exercises.

Second, while market share is down, shipments are up: from 26.9M in Q3 last year to 33.8M in the same quarter this year.

Third, for most of Q3 savvy iPhone buyers were holding fire, waiting for the new models Apple launched almost at the end of that quarter. The iPhone 5s and 5c between them notched up a record 9M sales in just the opening weekend. Q4 is where it’s really at …  Read more

Ten days of iPhone 5s and 5c sales help Apple break 40 percent in U.S. smartphone market

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Apple’s share of the U.S. smartphone market grew by 0.7 percent in the last quarter to reach 40.6 percent, according to comScore data.

Sales of low-cost handsets mean that Android’s position as leading mobile platform is safe, with a marginal drop to 51.8 percent of the market, but Apple remained top of the vendor rankings …

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Boost Mobile to Offer iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on November 8

Along with US Cellular who announced on Friday, Boost Mobile will now also offer the iPhone 5s and 5c on November 8th according to short press release this morning (below).

Boost is a Sprint Co. pre-paid sister site of Virgin, which also announced iPhone 5s and 5c availability last month with $100 off retail pricing and $30/month plans. Boost Mobile iPhone media (above) was leaked last month.

Nine other regional carriers have announced iPhone 5s/5c availability on November 1st.  Read more

Three new reports show the state of the nation for the iPhone

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

The latest numbers from IDCABI and Strategy Analytics (the latter not yet online) paint an interesting picture of where the smartphone business currently stands, and where the iPhone sits within it.

The overall picture for smartphones is, of course, strong. IDC reports:

In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 237.9 million units in 2Q13 compared to the 156.2 million units shipped in 2Q12. This represents 52.3% year-over-year-growth, the highest annual growth rate in five quarters. Second quarter shipments were up 10.0% when compared to the 216.3 million units shipped in 1Q13.

While ABI pegged the year-on-year growth at a significantly lower 44 percent, it’s clear that much of the traditional featurephone market is switching to smartphones.

The high-end also remains strong, with both the iPhone and Samsung S4 outpacing the smartphone market as a whole, though both sets of figures show iPhone growth at a long-time low …  Read more

HTC fights ‘slide-to-unlock’ in London as Samsung continues patent war with Apple ahead of settlement talks

With court moderated settlement talks between Apple and Samsung executives set to take place within the next 90 days, Samsung has now filed a counterclaim in a California federal court alleging Apple’s iOS devices are infringing eight patents. The counterclaim is part of an original patent infringement lawsuit initiated by Apple in February. Foss Patents reported:

It comes as no surprise that Samsung retaliated with infringement claims. Samsung owns roughly 30,000 U.S. patents. It has from the outset of its dispute with Apple demonstrated its belief that a good offense is the best defense. So far, none of Samsung’s infringement claims against Apple has succeeded anywhere on Earth, despite efforts in nine different countries, but Samsung keeps on fighting.

Apple is also in the middle of patent infringement cases with HTC, which just told a court in London that its touchscreen devices, specifically its “slide-to-unlock” functionality, do not infringe on Apple’s patents. Bloomberg reported today that HTC’s lawyers described the functionality in question as “extremely simple implementations of commonly known techniques.” Apple’s lawyer Simon Thorley argued HTC is “attacking the validity of four patents” and claimed, “It is clear the inventions make the requisite contributions.”

If HTC is successful, it could have an impact in ongoing patent infringement related cases with Apple in Dutch and German courts. The report described the functionality Apple claims is covered in the patents:

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MOG unlimited music hits the iPad ahead of Spotify

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MOG is a Spotify-like service that streams 14 million songs to your devices and allows you to download music for offline viewing. The free version allows you to stream music against advertising. Meanwhile, the $4.99 version allows you to not only listen to ad-free music but also download music. The $9.99/month version allows unlimited downloads on mobile devices. Today, MOG added one new big device to its list: The iPad.

The iPad version (not universal?) hit the App Store today joining the earlier iPhone version. Perhaps, if you like your music on a native iPad-sized app, it is time to move to MOG (14-day free trial here with unlimited downloads).

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