Apple sues Motorola in the U.S. over Qualcomm patent license

Apple, today, has filed a lawsuit against Motorola over their use of Qualcomm technology, as reported by Reuters. Apple explains that Motorola has breached a contract pertaining to their use of a patent license and “asks this Court to enjoin Motorola from prosecuting and 4 enforcing its claims against Apple in Germany.”

Specifically, Apple is suing Motorola over their claims that Apple is illegally using Qualcomm’s baseband chip. In its lawsuit, Apple asks the court to ban Motorola from being able to sue Apple over Apple’s use of Qualcomm’s technology:

Permanent injunctive relief restraining Motorola and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, agents, employees, servants, licensors, successors, assigns, and all those acting in concert with them, from prosecuting patent infringement proceedings against Apple based on Apple’s use of the Qualcomm MDM6610 chip and other Qualcomm components licensed under Motorola patents in any forum other than this Court

The root of the lawsuit is essentially Apple’s strike-back at Motorola for attempting to stop sales of Apple’s 3G products in Germany. The lawsuit’s referencing of Qualcomm’s chips is a nod to the iPhone 4S, which uses a Qualcomm baseband chip, not being removed for that short amount of time when Apple won a temporary injunction of Apple’s 3G products in Germany.

The full lawsuit filing can be viewed here.

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Samsung requests Apple reveal terms of Qualcomm partnership, might reveal next LTE chips

Samsung made a formal request with the U.S. District Court in California for Apple to reveal the intricacies of its contract with wireless chipmaker Qualcomm, who currently supplies chips for the iPhone 4S, CDMA iPhone 4, and iPad 2. Qualcomm is currently in a cross licensing agreement with Samsung, bringing up the question of whether “Apple’s buying Qualcomm chips is as good as paying for the patents.” The documents could potentially reveal Apple’s plans to move to Qualcomm LTE chips in future iOS devices.

Specifically, Samsung defense lawyer Dylan Ruga wants to know if Apple is considered a “Qualcomm Customer,” a term that is “defined in certain licensing agreements between Samsung and Qualcomm.” The request was discovered in court documents by Korea Times and later confirmed by Samsung Electronics spokesperson Lim Yoon-jeong. Korea Times reported:

Samsung Electronics is alleging that Apple has infringed on Samsung-owned patents that relate to technology embodied in chipsets used in Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The documents are expected to determine whether Apple is in fact a direct customer of Qualcomm — and potentially immune from Samsung’s suits — or whether it purchased its chips through an intermediary.

Here is an excerpt from the document that has not been released by the courts: Read more

Qualcomm’s 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chips shipping to OEMs, likely to land in next-gen iPad

Qualcomm has just issued a press release announcing the commercial availability of their Gobi 4000 chips for 4G LTE and HSPA+ capable devices, a variant of which could very well ship in a next-generation LTE-capable iPad. In August we discovered Apple had possibly begun field testing a next-gen LTE iPads with LTE code floating around the iOS builds, and it’s likely Apple would go with Qualcomm’s chip, as almost every 3G iOS device since the Verizon iPhone has used their Gobi platform, the exception being the the AT&T iPad which uses an older Infineon chip.

“The Gobi 4000 platform allows customers to offer both LTE/HSPA+ and LTE/EV-DO designs to meet the growing demand for embedded 3G/4G connectivity in mobile devices worldwide… System designers now have the flexibility to choose an embedded Gobi 4000 platform for high-speed 4G LTE support, or an embedded Gobi 3000 platform for worldwide 3G connectivity.”

The new chips, now shipping to OEMs with modules available through Novatel Wireless and Sierra Wireless, are based on Qualcomm’s MDM9600 and MDM 9200 3G/4G wireless modems, and as the company notes, have been specially designed for deployment in devices utilizing Snapdragon dual-core and quad-core processors. In addition to HSPA+, dual-carrier HSPA+, and LTE support, the Gobi 4000 platform is also backwards compatible with HSPA and EV-DO. On top of a possible variant of the chip coming to a future 4G LTE iPad, the Gobi 4000 platform will also be included in Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops, and Dell’s Latitude E6420 laptops, in addition to other Windows and Android powered mobile devices.

Qualcomm’s senior vice president of produdct management for CDMA Technologies, Cristiano Amon, had this to say about the announcement:
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800MHz iPhone 4S browser powers past the 1.5GHz Samsung Galaxy S II

Slashgear ran the browser on the dual-core 800MHz A5 iPhone 4S against the latest and greatest Galaxy S II with dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor (skip ahead 4:30). From the video it looks like the iPhone 4S was faster (as expected). However, in their words…

…from initial results the iPhone 4S performs quite well, I’m sure everyone expected that as the original held its own pretty well too. One of the fastest processors around currently, the 1.5 GHz Qualcomm in the Galaxy S II performs very well but is just barely by a hair beat by the new A5 dual-core iPhone 4S in most tests. We could argue about this all day, or try other sites but when it really comes down to it iOS is highly efficient — not to mention many many websites are designed with iOS in mind.

Damn that is a huge screen.

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WSJ: Thinner, lighter iPhone is expected this fall

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The WSJ reports on the next generation iPhone due this fall:

According to some suppliers of components to Apple, the new version of the iPhone is expected to be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4 and sport an 8-megapixel camera. One person said the new iPhone will operate on Qualcomm Inc.’s wireless baseband chips. The current iPhone 4 uses memory chips made by Samsung Electronics Co. and baseband chips from German chip maker Infineon Technologies AG, according to a report by market-research firm iSuppli Corp.

Verizon execs have already said the next iPhone will be a GSM/CDMA world phone – which means it is likely that it will use Qualcomm’s Gobi chips (As the current Verizon iPhone and iPad currently do).  Numerous reports have also said it will contain a 8megapixel camera – from Sony and other manufacturers.

There is some question about whether or not these devices will meet production deadlines, however…

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Thanks to AT&T's marketing tactics, the next iPhone will be '4G'

…in fact, if Apple turned on the HSPA part of the Gobi 14.4 chips in its Verizon iPad and iPhone, they’d already be 4G, at least according to AT&T.

Chris Ziegler noticed today that AT&T has started calling regular old 14.4Mbps HSPA devices 4G in its latest marketing materials.  Until recently, the pseudo ‘4G’ was reserved for HSPA+ on T-Mobile which tops out at 21Mbps.  However, with the release of the HPalm Veer 4G, HTC Inspire 4G and  Motorola Atrix 4G, AT&T has extended the ‘4G’ down to speeds of  14.4 Mbps, the same speed as those Qualcomm chips that Apple loves.

Most industry watchers expect the next iPhone to run on some version of the Qualcomm chip that the Verizon has which would let it do double radio duty and be operable on all US networks.

As Ziegler notes, AT&T is paving the way to charge extra for the benefit of using the newly branded ‘4G’ which doesn’t sound good to us. Read more