Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

Motorola Must Pay Fujifilm $10M For Patent Infringement

May 6, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Motorola Mobility announced that a U.S. jury ordered the company to pay $10.2 million in damages for using Fujifilm Corp’s patented technology in its phones without permission.

Fujifilm Corp, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Fujifilm Holdings Corp, sued Motorola in 2012, accusing the company of infringing three of its patents on digital camera functions and a fourth patent relating to transmitting data over a wireless connection such as Bluetooth.

The damages the jury ordered on Monday were lesser than the $40 million Fujifilm sought while going into the trial, which began on April 20.

The jury in San Francisco said Motorola, a unit of China’s Lenovo Group, proved that three of the disputed patents – two on face recognition and one on wifi-bluetooth were invalid. Motorola failed to prevail on a patent related to converting color images to monochrome.

“We are pleased with the verdict related to three out of the four patents and are evaluating our options on the one patent on which we did not prevail,” Motorola spokesman William Moss said in an email.

A spokeswoman for Fujifilm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Motorola, which Lenovo bought from Google Inc last year, had argued that the Fujifilm patents should be canceled because they were not actually new or they were obvious compared to previously patented inventions. The company also argued it already held a license to Bluetooth technology.

 

 

Can Intel Turn Your Modem Into A Server?

May 6, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has come up with technologies which it believes will give broadband a kick up the back-end.

According the Register cunning plan is to put more of its chips into modems and routers that homes and smallish businesses use to connect to the web.

Currently the gear is run by cheap and stupid technology. Embedded Linux is about the best you can expect and that cannot be customised even if you could get to it.

Intel thinks that building x86s into CPE devices will make them more interesting. It already uses Atom cores into its PUMA range of DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems, but apparently stage two involves putting it into DOCSIS 3.1 kit. This will mean that it can deliver gigabit cable Internet performance. Recently Chipzilla bought Lantiq, which makes DSL modem system-on-chips. Lantiq got some G.fast technology which is tipped to be the gigabit-speed successor to VDSL.

If Intel installs x86 cores into PUMA kit and Lantiq gear and tarts it up with a bit of visualization the home router becomes a server and the ISP can push services directly into the home. Firewalls could be run by the ISP along with some of the security defenses.

If Intel gets OpenStack running at carrier scale then chips on modems become an important part of its Internet of Stuff policy.

Courtesy-Fud

ACLU Launches ‘Mobile Justice’ App

May 5, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

A California civil liberties group unveiled a mobile application that will allow bystanders to record cell phone videos of possible cases of police misconduct and then quickly save the footage to the organization’s computer servers.

The California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said the app will send the video to the organization and preserve it even if a phone is seized by police or destroyed.

The launch of the ACLU’s “Mobile Justice CA” app comes as law enforcement agencies face scrutiny over the use of lethal force, especially against African-Americans, following several high-profile deaths of unarmed black men in encounters with police over the last year in the United States.

“It’s critical that people understand what is being done by police officers, because what is being done is being done in the name of the public,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California.

The app is targeted at residents of the most populous U.S. state, but ACLU chapters have launched similar mobile apps in at least five other states, including New York, Missouri and Mississippi over the last three years.

It also sends an alert to anyone with the app who might be in the area, giving them an opportunity to go to the location and observe, the ACLU said.

Villagra said the ACLU, in looking at which cases to delve into more deeply, will prioritize those that come with a written report, which is another element users can submit through the app. Records of incidents from users living in other states will be sent to ACLU officials there, he said.

ACLU officials advised anyone interacting directly with officers who wants to use the app to announce they are reaching for a phone, because officers might mistake the device for a weapon.

A representative from the California Peace Officers Association declined to comment immediately on the app.

 

 

Apple Confirms Tattoo Interference Problems With iWatch

May 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Dark tattoos may interfere with the Apple Watch’s ability to montor and report a person’s heart rate, Apple confirmed on the device’s product support page.

“Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings,” Apple said.

Some watch functions require direct contact with the skin to work. If the device can’t detect a pulse, it assumes it isn’t being worn, shutting downs apps and requiring people to enter their passcode. Turning off the wrist-detection function solves the issue, but prevents people from using Apple Pay.

Reports emerged this week that people with dark wrist tattoos were experiencing problems with their Apple Watches. One watch owner with a tattoo on his left wrist said the device would lock, preventing him from receiving notifications. He initially thought the device’s sensors were defective.

But when he placed the watch on his hand, which isn’t tattooed, he was able to get text notifications.

Green LED lights and photodiode sensors on the back of the watch measure the amount of blood flowing through a person’s wrist, using a technology called photoplethysmography, according to the support page. Blood absorbs green light, and by flashing the LED lights, the watch can measure blood flow and then calculate a person’s heart rate. When the watch is unable to get a read, it increases LED brightness and sampling rates, Apple said.

Apple reminded users that Bluetooth-equipped external heart rate monitors, like chest straps, can be connected to the watch to obtain vital readings.

Apple didn’t immediately reply to a request for further comment.

 

 

Verizon Investing In ‘Smart Cities’ Services

May 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions unit has announced a bigger push into smart cities and smart agricultural support services that rely on wireless networks and Internet of Things technologies.

The new initiatives include alliances with the Smart Cities Council and the Thrive Accelerator mentorship program to promote smart farming. Verizon is also a partner in an AgTech Summit coming in July with Forbes.

Dan Feldman, Verizon’s director of IoT Smart Cities, said city leaders in the U.S. are interested in investing in smart streetlights, car sharing and smart parking to find greater efficiencies. Verizon last year created an Auto Share service to connect drivers to vehicles via Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Verizon has been active in a number of connected services in cities for years. In Charlotte, N.C., Verizon joined with Duke Energy to connect buildings in the commercial district with kiosks that help the community track energy consumption. People can also connect via social media alerts. Over two years, Charlotte has been able to reduce power consumption by 8.4%, at a savings of $10 million, Verizon said.

Smart cities and farms are more than buzz words. Cities are increasingly willing to invest in new IoT technology and wireless carriers and network providers have been actively involved. In Kansas City, Mo., last week, the City Council voted to authorize a contract with Cisco and its partners that envisions video sensors, free public Wi-Fi, 25 interactive kiosks, and smart lighting along a 2.2 mile-streetcar line that’s under construction in the downtown area.

 

 

Is Samsung The Top Player In The Smartphone Arena?

May 1, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics is winning the Smartphone war, despite what you might be reading in the mainstream press.

According to the company it expects earnings to rise in the second quarter after posting its highest profit in three quarters in January-March, boosted by strong demand for its new Galaxy S6 flagship smartphones.

To make matters even more cheery for Samsung, researcher Strategy Analytics saying the South Korean giant overtook Apple as the world’s top smartphone maker in the first quarter.

Samsung Vice President Park Jin-young “Galaxy S6 sales have been going as well as expected, while demand for the Galaxy S6 edge have been better than anticipated. “

The firm reported a January-March operating profit of $5.64 billion and promised that earnings for April-June should continue to rise, thanks to the two Galaxy S6 models which are breaking the company’s sales records.

There had been some fears that Galaxy S6 phones might not be selling, but it turned out that this was just a rumor.

Analysts have been agreeing that Samsung is winning because there is nothing else out there that can match it. Daewoo Securities analyst Jonathan Hwang said there was nothing within the current Android camp that could stand as an alternative to Samsung’s high-end smartphones.

Samsung’s chips business remained the top earner thanks in part to surging orders from smartphone makers including Samsung itself. The company said it expected robust chip sales to continue in the April-June period.

Samsung also warned that the typical industry pattern of a stronger second half may not be as pronounced this year due to risks like the weaker euro and emerging market currencies.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft To Allow Android, iOS Apps To Be Ported To Windows Phones

May 1, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft Corp is will remove obstacles for apps written for rival Google Inc’s  Android and Apple Inc’s iOS systems to work on Windows phones, in a bid to attract users to its unpopular mobile devices, the company’s operating systems chief said.

The move marks a radical shift in strategy for the world’s biggest software company, which still dominates the personal computer market but has failed to get any real traction on tablets and phones, partly because of a lack of apps.

Microsoft has found itself in a circular trap, as many developers will not build apps for Windows phones which have few users, and few people want the phones which have fewer apps than Android or Apple phones.

Getting apps built for Android and iOS onto its phones and tablets could be a shortcut to breaking out of that trap.

“Microsoft is making a major play to win back developers,” said Forrester analyst Michael Facemire. “They’ve opened up the once-impenetrable castle walls.”

Speaking at Microsoft’s developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Executive Vice President Terry Myerson said developers will be able to use the vast majority of their Android code to turn their apps into Windows-compatible versions, which will work on Windows phones running a special subsystem.

The apps will technically be Windows apps and available only through Microsoft’s online app store. The apps would automatically use Microsoft’s services such as Bing maps, rather than Google’s services, as an app would on an Android phone. That is a crucial distinction because Google gets revenue from ads on services rather than from the Android system itself.

Myerson also announced a surprise move to make it easier for iOS developers to make Windows apps, saying that Microsoft’s developer software will be compatible with Objective C, the main programming language used by Apple.

Microsoft, which bought Nokia’s handset business last year, has only 3 percent of the global smartphone market. By contrast, Android phones, led by Samsung, control 81 percent of the market and Apple 15 percent, according to Strategy Analytics.

 

 

 

Samsung Exploring Wearables For Enterprise Users

April 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics thinks it can make work fun and more productive with its wearable devices and virtual-reality headset.

The mobile-device company is currently selling smartwatches and the Gear VR headset mostly to consumers, but it is exploring the use of wearables in business with some companies. It is also working with developers to write applications, which are important for smartwatches, and also developing content, a key driver for headsets.

Businesses are interested in smartwatches for alerts and immediate access to critical information, while VR headsets are drawing attention as a potentially powerful way to present multimedia content, said Eric McCarty, vice president of mobile marketing, at a Samsung event in New York.

But both types of devices may also present challenges. For smartwatches, those could be security and weaving them into BYOD programs. Samsung may integrate a security layer if it develops an enterprise-focused wearable, much like it has in its Galaxy smartphones and tablets with the Knox platform, McCarty said.

Samsung proposed some business uses for smartwatches and said there has been interest from the finance and hospitality industries. Day traders could use smartwatches to get alerts on stock prices or make trades on a timely basis. Field service workers could get job alerts while on the road.

In restaurants, smartwatches could be a more efficient way to send service notifications to staff. Such notifications could be received from a server or ordering system via a Bluetooth or 3G connection. Samsung sells its Gear S smartwatch with 3G connectivity, so the devices don’t necessarily have to be an extension of the smartphone.

The Gear VR headset could be used for training videos in enterprises, or in the real-estate industry to give virtual tours of homes. There’s also an active interest in VR headsets for entertainment on planes, McCarty said. The most interest in headsets is coming from the automotive industry, he said.

But the use of Gear VR is only as good as its multimedia content, which is unique to each company, McCarty said. There are questions around who will develop it and how that content will be deployed, McCarty said.

It will take years of experimentation to figure out how wearables fit in the enterprise, said Bob O’Donnell, principal analyst at Technalysis Research.

 

 

 

 

 

MediaTek Goes 20nm For 10 Cores

April 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

While everyone is rushing to 10nm process technology for smartphones, fabless chipmaker MediaTek is about to create a 10 core SoC using TSMC’s 20nm process tech.

According to Digitimes the outfit is about to enter volume production of its 10-core SoC series for smartphones in the third quarter of 2015.

Dubbed Helios X20, the SoC will be targeted at Chinese based smartphone makers who want to upgrade their flagship devices.

Marketing will begin in the middle of the second quarter. When it gets into the shops it will be the world’s first 10-core chip.

The Helios X20 uses a 2+4+4 design, delivering 40 per cent more performance than eight-core chips. While this will give a lot of power to a smartphone, it is not clear what it will do for battery life or the size of the beast.

Still it is nice to see that someone has found a new way of getting more life out of the 20 nm process and do something good with it.

Courtesy-Fud

Judge Rules Microsoft Windows Phones Infringe Patents

April 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft Corp  lost a round in a potentially expensive patent fight when a U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled that the software giant used InterDigital Inc’s technology in its mobile phones without permission.

The judge, Theodore Essex, said that Microsoft infringed two wireless cellular patents owned by InterDigital , a patent licensor, and said it would not be against the public interest to ban the Microsoft devices from being imported into the United States.

The judge’s decision must be reviewed by the full commission before any import ban is enacted.

The ITC has the authority to stop the import of products that it determines infringe a U.S. patent. Companies frequently sue at the ITC to win an import ban and in district court to win damages.

Wilmington, Delaware-based InterDigital first accused Nokia Corp  of infringing its patents in 2007. Microsoft acquired Nokia’s handset division last year. The InterDigital patents relate to moderating a mobile phone’s power to reduce signal interference.

The ITC originally cleared Nokia of infringement, but in 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the nation’s top patent court, overturned that decision and sent it back to the ITC.

Microsoft called Monday’s decision one step in the process.

“We have a successful track record challenging patent assertion entities that misuse industry standards,” the company said in a statement.

InterDigital Executive Vice President Lawrence Shay said the company looks forward to “continued discussion” with Microsoft to license its patents.

 

 

 

Facebook Unveils Free Video Calling For Its Messenger App

April 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Users can now place free video calls with Messenger, as Facebook continues to broaden its app’s reach beyond simple text-based chats.

With the feature, Facebook is also going aftert competing products like Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft’s Skype and Google Hangouts. Facebookpreviously allowed video calling through its site on the desktop, but not within its Messenger app.

The video calling feature is available in the iOS and Android Messenger apps. iOS users will be able to video chat with Android users, and vice versa. It began rolling out Monday in the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries including Mexico, Nigeria and Uruguay, with availability in more regions slated for the coming months, Facebook said in a blog post.

The feature arrives as Facebook makes Messenger a platform for a variety of digital tasks. Other app developers can now integrate their software into Messenger, and users will soon be able to interact with businesses via the app to check the status of their orders. In March, Facebook began letting Messenger users send each other money through the app.

Messenger already handles more than 10 percent of all Internet-based voice calls, according to Facebook. The company sees video as an important extension of its functionality, especially when a voice call won’t do.

To start a video call, users tap the video camera icon in the upper right corner of the chat window.

With Messenger now available on the desktop, the feature could become a useful communications tool for businesses. It’s designed to work over Wi-Fi and LTE even when the signal strength is low.

With more than 600 million users who log in monthly, Messenger is one of Facebook’s most popular apps.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp, meanwhile, supports voice calling, but does not yet offer video calling.

 

Kingston’s Hyper-X Division Deals A Blow To The SSD Market

April 29, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Kingston’s Hyper-X division has announced the arrival of its Savage SATA drive for the premium and gaming laptop market.

The SATA3-based 2.5in solid state disk drive (SSD) is based on the Phison S10 quad-core eight-channel controller making it capable of 560MB/s read speed and 530MB/s write.

Individual operation per second clock in at up to 100,000 read and 89,000 write, with a life expectancy of one million hours between failures.

“We are proud to introduce the HyperX Savage as our latest and fastest SATA-based SSD,” said Tony Hollingsbee, business manager for SSDs at Kingston.

“The HyperX 3K drive has been a core part of our SSD offerings since 2012, and now with Savage we are unleashing even higher performance and capacities to satisfy the most demanding consumers, enthusiasts and gamers.”

Available in capacities of 120GB to 960GB, the drive will be available as standalone, or in an upgrade kit with USB 3.0 enclosure, bracket and mounting screws, SATA data cable, cloning software, multi-bit screwdriver and an adapter that allows the 7mm thick drive to work in older 9mm cavities.

The price includes a three-year warranty with tech support and full backwards compatibility with SATA2, so you’ll still feel some of the difference with an older configuration.

Kingston has been gradually augmenting its HyperX division in recent years. The company’s DDR4 chips broke the overclocking world record with a frequency of 4351MHz using a 3333MHz module and a lot of coolant.

In a separate experiment, a previous SSD iteration, the Kingston HyperX 3K, became one of two drive models still functioning after rewrites of more than 2PB, far more than was ever intended and suggesting a lifespan of hundreds of years under normal use.

The company has also been augmenting its line of gaming accessories with the HyperX Cloud II Headset with its own inbuilt 7.1 Soundchip debuting at the start of the year.

Courtesy-TheInq

CurrentC Mobile Payment Service To Launch Mid-year

April 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a group of large U.S. merchants, announced it expects to launch an early version of its CurrentC mobile payment app mid-year in an unnamed, mid-sized market.

The group unveiled CurrentC in September, saying it had already launched the payment service by that time in private pilot mode in select, unnamed locations, with plans for regional and national rollouts in 2015. MCX wasn’t more specific, other than saying that would take place “mid-year” in an email to Computerworld.

“The market will be determined based on a number of factors, including retail support, infrastructure and consumer population,” Scott Rankin, chief operating officer at MCX said in the email.

The group’s 62 members include Walmart, Best Buy, and CVS; together they control more than $1 trillion in payments annually.

MCX has long been considered a threat to Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other mobile payment systems, partly because of the size and buying power of its customers. Analysts have predicted that MCX will offer alternatives to loading credit or debit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express on the CurrentC app so that merchants can avoid the 2% or greater swipe fees they pay to banks for every purchase.

Critics of the MCX approach have noted that without the largest credit and debit cards, retail customers might be borrowing credit from the retailers themselves or simply using CurrentC to transfer funds from their personal bank accounts or Pay Pal. Visa, MasterCard and American Express together control more than 80% of all U.S. credit card transactions.

At one point last year, MCX members CVS and Rite Aid stopped taking payments from Apple Pay and other recently-installed NFC-enabled systems. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay all use NFC payments, relying on a chip inside newer phones and devices such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S as well as the new Apple Watch.

Most analysts had predicted MCX would rely on QR codes to activate in-store payments or some technology other than NFC.

In its email on Monday, Rankin said it is “protocol-agnostic” and works in test mode across QR code, Bluetooth and others. “We are in market today with multiple technologies and not opposed to using NFC in the future,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Nokia Says Reports Of Returning To Handset Business Are False

April 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Finland’s Nokia denied reports in Chinese media that it was gearing up to return to manufacturing phones.

“Nokia notes recent news reports claiming the company communicated an intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China. These reports are false,”Nokia said in a statement posted on its website.

“Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.”

However, Nokia has said it is looking into returning to the smartphones business by brand-licensing.

Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft last year, but just months after that it launched a new brand-licensed tablet computer, produced under license by Taiwan’s Foxconn, with an intention to follow up with more devices.

Nokia has agreed with Microsoft that it will not enter the mobile phone business before 2016.

“It would be crazy not to look at that opportunity. Of course we will look at it,” Sebastian Nystrom, the head of products at Nokia’s Technologies unit, told Reuters in November.

Nokia this month announced a takeover of France’s Alcatel-Lucent, a bid to boost its mainstay network equipment business, and also said it could hive off its map business, which has reportedly drawn interest from carmakers as well as Facebook and online taxi service Uber.

 

 

Project Fi Will Allow Google To Amass More User Data

April 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

As Google jumps into the Wi-Fi and cellular network services business, some are wondering what’s behind it.

Google, known for its dominant search engine and Android operating system, has been stretching boundaries with newer projects like autonomous cars and robotics. Now it’s competing with the likes of wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T in the data and cellular market.

While the latest Google move may look confusing, Project Fi is feeding Google’s long-term strategy — getting more data about its users that it can turn into ad sales and greater revenue.

“I’m not sure they’re trying to become a big-time wireless player,” said Brian Haven, an analyst with IDC. “But by becoming a wireless service, it allows Google to gain a lot more data from new end points with users. Data is what drives them. Regardless of whether or not they can generate a nice revenue stream, the data will still feed into the other things they do.”

Google just last week announced that it’s working with Sprint and T-Mobile to come out with its own wireless network, dubbed Project Fi.

The company is asking would-be customers to sign up online for an invite to what it calls an Early Access Program for the service; Fi will only be available to Nexus 6 smartphone users at the start.

The company, which makes most of its money on search and related advertising, is known for trying out various ideas and technologies. Not all of them work out, but Google doesn’t seem afraid to try.

“Google’s strategic imperative is always to drive usage of Google services and applications,” said Bill Menezes, an analyst with Gartner. “Their core business is never going to be cellular service provider. Their core mission is to get more people to click on Google ads, to use Google Docs, to watch YouTube videos. This new service plays in perfectly with that.”

Menezes agrees with Haven that Project FI will enable Google to gain insights into consumer behaviors — and amass more user data.