As tit-for-tat patent infringement litigation steps up a few notches in the telecoms world, people with a sense of irony will no doubt appreciate the news that Microsoft has signed up as the first member of a new organisation challenging specious software patents. The company that has threatened the likes of Salesforce and TomTom over their use of Linux (which Redmond claims infringes on Microsoft IP – an assertion that has yet to be tested in court) has signed up for Litigation Avoidance, a crowdsourcing service “designed to help companies analyse and act on patents of questionable quality.”
In a clear bid to make up ground lost to Android and iOS devices, embattled Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has announced its acquisition of German social-gaming outfit Scoreloop. With sales of the Blackberry PlayBook reported to be less than stellar, commentators are suggesting that Scoreloop’s in-app billing capabilities played a hand in the deal as RIM looks to play catch-up in an increasingly cut throat apps market.
As interest in defunct kit maker Nortel’s patent portfolio heightens, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is reported to be taking a close interest in the bidders. Apple is the latest company reported to be interested in making a purchase after Google opened bidding with a $900m offer in April. Now the DoJ is said to be concerned that the patents will be used to stymie competition in the telecoms sector.
The limited roster of LTE enabled smartphones worldwide was boosted yesterday by the arrival of the LG Revolution on Verizon Wireless in the US. The operator said that the device, which is now available online and in stores, will deliver download speeds between 5 and 12Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5Mbps, in areas covered by its LTE network.
When 24 of the telecoms world’s biggest players announced the formation of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) at the Mobile World Congress in February 2010, it’s fair to say the pundits’ response was overwhelmingly sceptical. Peters Suh, WAC CEO, tells Telecoms.com such scepticism was misplaced.
Carriers are going to need to think and act laterally if they’re to gain relevance in an over-the-top (OTT) mobile data market. This is the message from Openwave SVP for product management and marketing, John Giere, who said that with customer experience representing a key driver of growth, carriers need to drop their linear approach to billing and services and start taking advantage of their unique access to end-user data.
Google’s move into the desktop operating system environment was completed Wednesday with the launch of its much anticipated Chromebook device, which is to be manufactured by Acer and Samsung. In a throwback to the days of the dumb terminal, the device is essentially a portal to cloud-based applications and services, all accessed through the Chrome browser.
Google’s bid to buy $900m worth of Nortel patents and patent applications was approved on Monday. The planned sale required the approval of courts overseeing Nortel’s bankruptcy proceedings in Canada and the US. Under the terms of the auction, other parties may submit bids until June 13th, with the auction taking place on June 20th. Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.
Yahoo has acquired TV tagging start-up IntoNow in a deal reported to be worth between $20-30m. The purchase is expected to bolster the firm’s video and social content offerings. IntoNow, which only launched at the end of January this year, has developed a free iPhone application that allows users to share instantly the programmes they are watching with Facebook and Twitter friends as well as iTunes and Netflix. The expectation is that an Android version of the application will now be developed.
Sony Ericsson has launched its own channel on the Android Market. The handset maker claims that it is the first manufacturer to offer such a service, which will be operator-dependent. Owners of Sony Ericsson handsets will now see the “my apps” feature on their Android phone replaced with the Sony Ericsson channel, although they will still be able to access “my apps” from the phone’s menu. While this last change may cause consternation among some users, Xperia users may find direct access to software geared specifically towards them handy
Korea’s SK Telecom and China Mobile have announced plans to collaborate on developing content for mobile gaming, as well as co-operation on R&D for wired and wireless technologies. The announcement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two telcos last week, in which they agreed to jointly develop next generation technologies for their respective markets.
Google has responded to reports of growing tension between it and device manufacturers over what many view as Mountain View’s efforts to lock down the Android operating system. With Google requiring that manufacturers gain permission before making alterations or partnerships based on Android, some commentators are claiming that this represents a move towards Apple’s walled garden approach.
Nortel Networks is to continue its post-bankruptcy asset sell-off, announcing the sale of its remaining patent portfolio to Google. The search giant is said to have offered $900m in cash in a “stalking horse” arrangement that could yet see another bidder come in with a higher offer. The patents in question are said to include both granted and pending applications covering wireless, 4G/LTE, data networking, optical, voice, social networking and internet, among others
Motorola Mobility is rumoured to be working on its own mobile operating system based on web technologies such as HTML5, which would make it easier for developers to port Android and Apple applications to its devices.
A group calling itself The Android Developers Union has formed to demand changes in the Android Market’s terms and conditions. The so-far anonymous group has issued a list of seven demands which Google can implement “to improve the market,” stating that they are “tired of being treated like sharecroppers on Google’s digital plantation.”
Android’s march towards market dominance continues apace with reports from ABI Research that the collective share of the smartphone market held by Android-based phones has increased from 4 percent to 24 percent in the past year.
Chinese vendor ZTE has reported close on 50 per cent year-on-year growth in shipments of its handset products worldwide, selling 90 million units in 2010. The firm said that it had been ranked as the leading Chinese 3G handset vendor by research firm iSuppli, and pledged to boost its branding activities to help it achieve a place among the top three handset vendors worldwide within five years.
International carrier Orange has announced an overhaul of its own-branded application store that it said will dramatically cut the time it takes for developers to get their apps to Orange customers.
Smartphone use accounts for 65 per cent of all mobile cellular traffic worldwide, despite smartphone penetration running at just 13 per cent, according to research released today from Informa Telecoms & Media. Usage is set to increase exponentially over the next five years, Informa found, with average traffic per smartphone user increasing by 700 per cent by 2015.
Korean vendor Samsung has launched its first tablet device, with global carrier Vodafone announcing that it is to begin offering the product from October. Dubbed the Galaxy Tab, the device runs the Android 2.2 OS, known as Froyo.