A patent war is being fought between two of the industry smartphone leaders of yesteryear – Nokia and Blackberry.
Blackberry filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Nokia Oyj, demanding royalties on the Finnish company’s mobile network products that use an industry wide technology standard.
Blackberry moaned that Nokia’s Flexi Multiradio base stations, radio network controllers and Liquid Radio software are using technology covered by as many as 11 patents owned by BlackBerry.
It added that Nokia was encouraging the use” of the standard- compliant products without a license from Blackberry.
Blackberry did not say how much it wanted Nokia to cough up, but it would appear to be part of Chief Executive Officer John Chen is working to find new ways to pull revenue out of Blackberry’s technology.
He’s used acquisitions to add a suite of software products and negotiated licensing agreements to take advantage of the company’s thick book of wireless technology patents.
Nokia is aware of the inventions because the company has cited some of the patents in some of its own patent applications, BlackBerry said.
Some of the patents were owned by Nortel and Nokia had at one point tried to buy them as part of a failed bid for Nortel’s business in 2009, according to Blackberry.
BlackBerry was part of a group called Rockstar Consortium that bought Nortel’s patents out of bankruptcy for $4.5 billion in 2011. The patents were split up between the members of the group, which included Apple and Microsoft.
Since Blackberry contends that patents cover essential elements of a mobile telecommunications standard known as 3GPP, it has pledged to license them on fair and reasonable terms.
Oracle has decided that it is not going to give up trying to convince the world that Google owes it billions for Android software.
For the last seven years, Google and Oracle have been slugging it out over copyright over Java applets, which Oracle insists are the key to making Android run. It has gone through two federal trials and bounced around at appeals courts, including a brief stop at the US Supreme Court. Oracle has sought as much as $9 billion in the case.
Other than one loss, which was successfully appealed, Google has won. Now Oracle briefs have decided it is time for another round and filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that seeks to overturn a federal jury’s decision last year.
In the trial last year in San Francisco, the jury ruled Google’s use of 11,000 lines of Java code was allowed under “fair use” provisions in federal copyright law.
In Oracle’s 155-page appeal on Friday, it called Google’s “copying…classic unfair use” and said “Google reaped billions of dollars while leaving Oracle’s Java business in tatters”.
Oracle’s brief also argues that “When a plagiarist takes the most recognizable portions of a novel and adapts them into a film, the plagiarist commits the ‘classic’ unfair use”.
So all Oracle has to do is prove that Applets are the most recognisable part of Java which has been converted into a new product.
Samsung sold 76.8 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, giving it a market share of 17.8 percent, but it was just beaten by Apple, which sold 77 million iPhones for a 17.9 percent share, according to figures from market research firm Gartner.
The fourth quarter is usually a strong one for Apple, boosted by holiday sales of the new generation of iPhones it releases each September, said Anshul Gupta, a research director at Gartner.
For Samsung, though, 2016 ended particularly badly, dominated by the fiasco around the recall of its incendiary Galaxy Note7.
Super-phones like the Note7 could have accounted for 10 to 15 percent of Samsung’s smartphone sales in the period before its recall, said Gupta, but Samsung lost more than that: There was also the damage to its brand.
It could bounce back sooner rather than later, though, as it has a new flagship phone coming out at the end of March.
Apple, meanwhile, is expected to wait until September before unveiling new iPhones. This year will mark the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, and the next model is widely expected to be something special, so Apple fans may delay replacing phones until then, said Gupta. That would leave the way clear for Samsung to move back into the lead from this quarter.
That pattern showed up last year too: Although it dominated the fourth quarter, Apple was a distant second over the full year, with market share of just 14.4 percent over the year, far behind Samsung’s 20.5 percent, and the situation was similar the previous year.
Last week, a financial analyst claimed Apple will release three new iPhones with wireless charging capabilities this year, reviving an on-again, off-again rumor about the next-generation iPhone’s capabilities.
The appearance of Apple’s name on the membership list of the Wireless Power Consortium, Qi’s creator, over the last week adds credence to that rumor. Its name was not on the list cached by Google’s search engine last Tuesday.
“After several years of increasing rumor, Apple’s membership with the Wireless Power Consortium points strongly to the expectation that the next iPhone will include wireless charging technology,” said Vicky Yussuff, an analyst at market watcher IHS Technology.
Don’t expect too much, though: That’s pretty much what IHS analysts said about the last iPhone, too.
In fact, Apple’s membership of the WPC may have nothing to do with phones. The magnetic charging adapter supplied with the Apple Watch will charge Qi devices (although the Watch itself is programmed not to work with just any Qi charger, only those supplied or approved by Apple) so membership may just be a delayed recognition of that usage.
Nine in 10 consumers want wireless charging on their next phone, according to Yussuff. The technology is now so widely adopted that it’s no longer something Apple can ignore, she added.
IHS expects around 350 million wireless-chargeable devices to ship this year, in a market largely driven by Samsung Electronics, which has included the capability in its top-of-the-range phones since the launch of the Galaxy S6 in 2015. Samsung also sells wireless charging covers for the older S4 and S5.
Long-standing rumors surrounding the possibility of wireless charging being a hot feature in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 this year are now receiving some confirmation, thanks to the company’s recent decision to join the 213-member Wireless Power Consortium group.
Based on the wireless industry group’s website last week, Apple has been officially listed as one of the latest members to take part in and promote the widespread adoption of the Qi wireless interface standard, which has been used for wireless charging across a number of products.
Early last year, we wrote that the company had filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (July 2015) describing a near-field magnetic resonance (NFMR) power supply arranged to provide wireless power to a number of devices over 1 meter in distance. With the basic concept in physics being that the efficiency of power transfer decreases with distance, the company was said to be developing an aluminum casing for its upcoming iPhone devices that would allow RF waves to pass through from the wireless charging receiver and through a window made from a non-conductive material.
Qi wireless charging more likely than long-range RF for upcoming iPhone 8
But with recent developments in the industry, the possibility of long-range RF charging coming to this year’s iPhone now seem more distant as the company is more likely to adopt the Qi inductive coupling method instead. During CES, a source within Apple’s supply chain partnered with Energous, a company that develops RF-based charging solutions, and this was the first evidence that the more long-range solution featuring transmitters for the home, car and office would make its way into the hands of consumers in 2017. Unfortunately, Energous then announced that plans changed after a “key strategic partnership” was made with another partner, which will now be the first to ship the technology inside its own mobile devices.
While it appears Apple was indeed focused on developing a long-range charging method for its mobile devices, some analysts now point out that it needed to bring a practical solution to the market sooner in order to avoid a potential missed feature that has become standard in the Android community for at least 24 months.
“The success of wireless charging adoption from Apple’s competitors is something that Apple can no longer ignore,” says analyst Vicky Yussuff at IHS Technology. “Consumer survey data shows over 90% of consumers want wireless charging on their next device.”
Although Apple already uses the Qi standard in its watch, which was released in Q4 2015, it is unclear whether the upcoming iPhone will use the full specifications of the technology, as its smartwatch currently uses a modified version that only works with its own chargers.
Nevertheless, the fact that Apple is now an active member of the Wireless Power Consortium allows it to participate and contribute knowledge and ideas to a community responsible for developing some of the world’s more readily available wireless charging standards. The company says “it looks forward to working together with the WPC and its members,” according to a statement given to BusinessInsider.
The introductory plan, announced on Sunday, will give unlimited data to customers on smartphones and tablets on its 4G LTE network. It comes days after competitor Sprint Corp introduced a new unlimited data plan of its own.
The unlimited option appears to be a change in direction for Verizon after one of the company’s top executives said last month it was not looking at unlimited products when asked by analysts whether Verizon needed to be more aggressive in the market.
“We constantly look at… what’s out there. Unlimited is one of the things that some of our competition has at this point in time. That’s not something we feel the need to do,” Matthew Ellis, Verizon’s chief financial officer, told analysts during an earnings call on Jan. 24.
“But as I say, we continually monitor the market and we will see where we head in the future,” he added.
Verizon’s unlimited plan is $80 per month for unlimited data, talk and text for the first line with paper-free billing and autopay, and $45 per line for four lines. The company stopped offering unlimited data plans for most customers in 2011.
Apple’s next three models of the iPhone — the iPhone 8 and two updated versions of iPhone 7 — will finally contain a long-awaited feature: wireless charging, according to an industry analyst with a track record of being right about the company’s plans.
The new iPhone models, which are expected to come in 4.7-in, 5.5-in and 5.8-in form factors when released later this year, will also sport a new 3D Touch feature and an OLED display, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, a financial analyst for KGI Securities.
3D Touch allows users to press harder on the screen to launch actions, such as replying to messages or animating live photos, instead of only selecting applications.
Kuo also expects the iPhone 8 — if that’s what Apple decides to call the new model (see artist rendering above) — to come in an all-glass case, with a flexible, “thinner form factor.”
Kuo, who reports on the Asia-Pacific region, is not just any analyst. The Apple-focused news website and community Cult of Mac, once called him “the most reliable voice on all things Apple…because his ability to accurately prophesy Apple’s future product plans is unparalleled.”
First reported by MacRumors, Kuo’s research note indicated that wireless charging increases the internal temperature of smartphones, which will require the iPhone 8 with an OLED display and glass casing to have a new 3D Touch module with “additional graphite sheet lamination” to keep it from overheating.
“While we don’t expect general users to notice any difference, lamination of an additional graphite sheet is needed for better thermal control and, thus, steady operation; this is because FPCB is replaced with film, which is more sensitive to temperature change of the 3D touch sensor in OLED iPhone,” Kuo wrote in his research note.
Previous MacRumors reports indicate the iPhone 8’s additional features could bump the cost of making the smartphone from 30% to 50% higher — pushing its sale to more than $1,000.
This is not the first time industry analysts have speculated that Apple is about to embrace wireless charging for the iPhone. Last year, market research firm IHS predicted that Apple would introduce some form of wireless charging on the iPhone 7.
Developers can insert these capabilities into their existing custom apps and services using the new BBM Enterprise SDK (software developer kit), BlackBerry said. The SDK will be sold as a per-user license on a subscription basis to developers, including those employed at enterprises, and to independent software vendors (ISVs).
BlackBerry didn’t say what the licenses would cost, but did say the cost would be affordable, especially compared to communications products from competitors that usually charge on a usage basis for texts, voice and video calls. The SDK will be available worlwide later in February for apps running on iOS and Android.
All communications in the new platform will be highly secure and encrypted with keys kept under the management of the application developers, not BlackBerry, said Frank Cotter, vice president of enterprise products, in a conference call.
These communications will be transmitted via the Internet Protocol and not the SMS channel typically used by competitors. The communications also will be compliant with the Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 that the U.S. government uses for approving cryptographic modules in devices, Cotter said.
Using the new BlackBerry platform will allow physicians who text patient information to stay within the requirements of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), Cotter said. “Other vendors sidestep HIPAA and say they are just a pipe and that HIPAA doesn’t apply,” he said.
In one example, Cotter said an emergency room physician could use the communications platform to reach out to another doctor via a text, then quickly escalate that text to a voice or video call and transmit a picture of a patient’s injuries while continuing the call. “We bolt [our software] into existing workflows and apps,” he said.
In another example, Cotter said a dashboard tablet used by a police officer during a high-speed chase could quickly be turned to a secure channel with a dispatcher showing video from the scene and the police cruiser’s location.
BlackBerry already works with developers in a partnership program that has created more than 4,000 third-party enterprise apps, said Marty Beard, chief operating officer of BlackBerry. The new SDK promises to build on those apps, he said.
Apple may have spun its results last week so that the Tame Apple Press thought that it had done much better than was expected.
When Apple published its results, we were surprised as we expected the company to be in a somewhat poorer state due to slumping iPhone 7 and Tablet sales.
Imagine our surprise when Apple announced that it made record profits. After all we knew that Apple had actually contracted its supply of its iPhone’s twice and tablets were a mess – how was it possible to be making even more money? The Tame Apple Press reported that everything was alright and Jobs Mob was back seemingly without coming up with a new product.
We were not the only people who smelt a rat. Jason Snell and the Under pass also thought there was something wrong and delved into the figures. Before the lawyers complain that we are calling Apple liars there is no proof that lied, it just failed to point out that the Tame Apple Press was wrong.
Most Apple fiscal quarters are 13 weeks long. Occasionally, however, they have a 14-week quarter. Apple’s Q1 2017 was a 14-week quarter, for the first time since Q1 2013. This means that Jobs Mob could add in the results of an extra week’s profit.
Snell said that even a rubbish week would add enough to counting stats to push it well above the year-over-year quarter, which was 13 weeks long. In fact, if you knock off a week from the results Apple’s sales and profits fell exactly like we expected.
He said it was possible to make the numbers tell the story you want to tell, with charts to match, and slice it nine different ways.
Part of the issue which the Tame Apple Press failed to spot was that Jobs’ Mob finances were based on its financial statements—and that means the quarters as Apple defines it. In this case Apple, has defined an extra week of sales that it won’t get again for another few years.
To make matters worse it was a windfall week that next year’s year-over-year holiday-quarter comparison will not be able to match.
But that was not the only thing Apple did. A huge settlement benefit hit the first quarter of FY16, which makes Services look even better (but doesn’t change the overall net) so everything is artificially inflated.
So where are the analysts pointing out that Apple might not be the investment that people claim? When this happened in 2013, the Tame Apple Press did exactly the same thing and Philip Elmer-DeWitt wrote a brilliant headline “Apple analysts: Stupid or lazy?” This time they did the same thing and few people have batted an eye lid.
The most recent Federal Communications Chairman, Ajit Pai, who took office earlier last week, has made a commitment to reduce regulatory barriers to growth and innovation and prioritize building the digital divide, a national social inequality measurement on access to internet services.
Speaking to reporters during his first open meeting as commissioner on Tuesday, Pai still says he remains undecided on net neutrality and was unable to answer some questions regarding the rule. Last month, the chairman commented that he believes “[net neutrality] days are numbered]” and has referred to them a “dangerous assault on the culture of the First Amendment”. He has told the media that he wants to review the rules prior to making any determinations.
“I think the issue is pretty simple. I favor a free and open Internet and I oppose Title II,” he said during the meeting. “That’s pretty much all I can say about that topic.”
The agency reclassified broadband Internet service as a Title II “common carrier” service in February 2015 by a 3-2 vote, establishing an Open Internet Order that prohibits app blocking, paid traffic prioritization and data throttling. The order also prohibits Internet service providers from taking actions that “unreasonably interfere with or disadvantage consumers or the companies whose site and apps they’re trying to access.” Now, it appears that the his administration may go back to favoring business interests and giving more leverage to ISP claims of “reasonable network management” practices.”
Focus on bridging the digital divide
One of Pai’s top priorities as chairman will be the facilitation of bridging the digital divide in socioeconomic areas of poor wireless coverage or slow terrestrial buildout of IP network infrastructure. He announced the formation of a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee that will develop specific recommendations on how the FCC can encourage broadband deployment across America. These include identifying unreasonable regulatory barriers to broadband deployment, ways to encourage local governments to adopt deployment-friendly policies and any other reforms available under the Commission’s authority.
Wants to eliminate robocalling
For now, Pai has said that consumer protection is an area he remains committed to enforcing during his tenure as chairman. One of the top complaints often brought by consumers is the prevalence of robocalls, or automated telemarketing schemes designed to issue fraudulent subscription services or obtain credit card information. He says that he intends to “find ways to make sure consumers are protected from that scourge.”
“More generally, my philosophy on enforcement is simple,” Pai said. “You follow the law, you make a diligent search for the facts, and in your review of the law and the facts, take the appropriate action that is necessary to protect the public interest.”
Under the Title II reclassification, consumers and competitors can file complaints against ISPs over prices and policies that pose “unjust or unreasonable discrimination.” The common carrier rule also allowed for some privacy rules, such as getting opt-in consent from consumers before sharing Web browsing data, that were previously opposed by Pai and could be overturned.
Wants to eliminate inspection filing rules
One of the bigger agenda items during Pai’s meeting was a 3-0 vote to eliminate two inspection filing rules. The first rule required TV and radio stations to maintain copies of correspondence from viewers and listeners and make them available to the public. This will now be replaced by an online system available to the public. The second rule required cable companies to “maintain and allow public inspection of the location of a cable system’s principal headend, or the master facility for receiving and processing TV signals.” Now, headend information will only be available to the FCC, TV stations and franchisers upon request. The idea here is that eliminating these regulations can free up some money for ISPs to invest in building and upgrading their networks.
FCC drops set-top box market, business data service reforms from agenda
Another item list that might have been considered for the Tuesday meeting were previous chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposals on set-top box market reform, but on Monday night Pai had dropped these interests from the meeting agenda.
The proposal, introduced last January, would allow customers to freely choose from a variety of over-the-top devices from Google, Apple, Amazon, Roku and others to receive cable or satellite-based television content using coaxial inputs and internal “smart access card” equivalents and a simple subscription activation process. However, previous chairman Tom Wheeler quickly fired off a tweet criticizing Pai’s decision to drop the proposal – likely because it was one of his key agenda items during his tenure.
Other proposals that seem to have been dropped from the first meeting include one to reform the market for business data services by easing tax regulations for high-bandwidth organizations. The proposal would have placed a limit on fees for businesses, hospitals and schools regularly using large volumes of data.
Apple has really dropped the ball when it comes to hardware and is rapidly losing ground to rivals.
Jobs’ Mob’s Mac sales dropped roughly 10 per cent amid a declining market which fell 5.7 per cent for the year. But Apple’s rivals seem to have benefited from Apple’s failure. Bloomberg analysts Anand Srinivasan and Wei Mok noted that Apple’s rivals grew.
Dell saw the most growth at just over 10 per cent.
Apple was pushed to number by with ASUS overtaking it. The top four vendors are now Lenovo, HP, Dell, and ASUS.
These four make up 65.2 per cent of the overall market and each grew year- over-year. All this happened while Apple lost ground by declining to 7.1 per cent. The other 27.7% of the market is comprised of more than 200 vendors.
Bloomberg predicts that the market will consolidate. Samsung and Fujitsu are reported to be in discussions to sell their PC businesses to Lenovo.
Apple has even been losing ground to Microsoft which has been pouching customers so that they switch from the Surface clone that Apple created to the much better real thing.
Srinivasan and Mok suggest that Apple needs to find new markets with their high priced computers to continue growth. They might find an easy mark with the growing middle class in China but they are still in the high price-range relative to other PCs. While
American buyers are that dumb enough to fall for Apple’s marketing, the Chinese are a little more cost conscious. Any Chinese buyer looking at the spec will be aware that they are paying too much for the logo on the clam shell.
Apple needs its US and developed countries in Europe, to improve. These represent 63 per cent of its market and are where people have more money than sense.
After months of collaborating, Apple is joining the Partnership on A.I., with other founding members including Google, IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.
The Partnership on A.I. was founded in September last year to also steer debate on best practices on A.I. The group believes A.I. could help in the areas of health care, transportation, and automation in factories.
Apple’s most visible A.I. technology is Siri, a voice assistant that can answer questions. But a larger A.I. strategy is still a subject of speculation. Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Amazon, and Google have well established A.I. strategies.
Speech and recognition are well-known use cases for A.I. Apple will likely implement A.I. in its mysterious autonomous car project so self-driving vehicles can navigate and cruise the roads safely without a human at the wheel.
Beyond the Alexa voice assistant, Amazon uses A.I. to provide buying recommendations. Google this week said it was providing TensorFlow tools so users can build a wide variety of A.I. capabilities into Raspberry Pi 3 and IBM’s high-powered cognitive computers.
The group believes A.I. holds tremendous promise and will lead to a big societal impact. A.I.’s impact needs to be discussed, and companies need to establish ground rules on how the technology is developed and deployed, according to the group.
The Partnership on A.I. is establishing a diverse board to bring in a variety of opinions. The board includes personnel from the top companies and members from universities and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
There is a lot of cooperation among organizations pursuing A.I. research. Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has poured $1 billion into OpenAI, which is also a member of the Partnership on A.I.
According to the latest report, it appears that Samsung managed to secure an exclusive deal with Qualcomm, scoring the latest and fastest Snapdragon 835 SoC for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, which means that other flagships will have to settle for Snapdragon 821.
According to a report from Forbes, citing industry insiders in Asia, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 SoC “won’t be available in large quantities until after the Galaxy S8 launches”. This means that flagships coming before the Galaxy S8, like the LG G6 or the HTC U Ultra, will be sticking to Snapdragon 821 SoC.
In case you missed it, Snapdragon 835 SoC is based on the 10nm FinFET manufacturing process, has a quad-core Kryo 280 cluster paired up with quad-core Cortex-A53 cores, working at 2.45GHz and 1.9GHz and comes with Adreno 540 GPU.
The Snapdragon 821 SoC is based on the 14nm FinFET process but comes with two quad-core Kryo 200 CPU clusters and Adreno 530 GPU.
The Snapdragon 835 SoC also comes with a fancy new X16 Gigabit LTE modem, capable of 1000/150 Mbps, Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ad WiFi and Quick Charge 4.0.
As wrote earlier, Qualcomm is promising a 27 percent faster SoC with 40 percent lower power consumption, so it is obvious that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone will have an upper hand.
Hopefully, more details will be available as soon as Mobile World Congress 2017 starts on February 26th, despite the fact that Samsung already confirmed that its smartphone won’t be unveiled there.
Apple Inc has filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc in Beijing, accusing the chip supplier of abusing its clout in the chip industry and seeking 1 billion yuan ($145.32 million) in damages, Beijing’s Intellectual Property Court said in a statement on Wednesday.
Apple also filed a second lawsuit against Qualcomm which accused it of failing to live up to promises made to license “standard essential patents” broadly and inexpensively.
Qualcomm is a major supplier to both Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd for “modem” chips that connect phones to wireless networks. The two companies together accounted for 40 percent of Qualcomm’s $23.5 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year.
“These filings by Apple’s Chinese subsidiary are just part of Apple’s efforts to find ways to pay less for Qualcomm’s technology,” Rosenberg said in the statement. “Apple was offered terms consistent with terms accepted by more than one hundred other Chinese companies and refused to even consider them.”
The lawsuits follow a decision by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint on Jan. 17 in which it accused Qualcomm of using anticompetitive tactics to maintain its monopoly of a key semiconductor used in mobile phones.
Apple followed with a related lawsuit last Friday. It asked a federal court in California for $1 billion in promised rebates and accused Qualcomm of overcharging for chips.
Qualcomm did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The company said previously that it would contest both the FTC and the Apple lawsuit filed in the United States.
Safety standards for lithium-ion batteries should be updated following a massive recall of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd phones after faulty batteries caused fires, a U.S. government agency said on Tuesday.
“Consumers should never have to worry that a battery-powered device might put them, their family or their property at risk,” Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement.
The agency reached agreement with Samsung to recall 2.5 million Note 7 phones in early September. While most recalls have a “dangerously low” consumer response rate, 97 percent of Samsung’s Note 7 phones have been returned, Kaye said.
“At a minimum, industry needs to learn from this experience and improve consumer safety by putting more safeguards in place during the design and manufacturing stages to ensure that technologies run by lithium-ion batteries deliver their benefits without the serious safety risks,” Kaye said.