Yahoo Turns Patent Troll; Goes After Facebook

Yahoo, the yesteryear Goliath of the internet, has apparently turned into a patent troll. It is one of the most recent companies to have entered the patent wars, and is gunning for Facebook. It is trying to force Facebook to license 10 to 20 of its patents related to website personalization, social networking and messaging, according to a report by NYT. If Facebook fails to sign a licensing agreement with Yahoo and doesn’t agree to pay it for their use, Yahoo is threatening it with a lawsuit.

“Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property,” a Yahoo spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights.”

Facebook hasn’t yet decided its course of action, and is considering its options. According to a Facebook executive, they haven’t yet had the time to fully evaluate Yahoo’s claims.

Yahoo’s timing is perfect, as Facebook is expected to go public in a couple of months, and would like to steer clear of any legal hassles that could derail its IPO.

Yahoo has one of the most valuable patent portfolios related to internet technology, with more than 1000 patents. Facebook may possibly be forced to license its patents. Given the opportunistic timing, it’ll be interesting to see how much money Yahoo is able to force out of Facebook’s sizable cash reserves.

Samsung Admits It’s Not Doing Well in Tablets; Hopes to Change That

At a recent press conference at MWC 2012, a Samsung executive has finally admitted that the company is not doing very well when it comes to the tablet market. Unlike the smartphone market, where Samsung has done exceedingly well and is now the top smartphone manufacturer in the world, its offerings have failed to catch on when it comes to tablets.

“Honestly, we’re not doing very well in the tablet market,” said Hankil Yoon, a product strategy executive for Samsung, during a media roundtable at MWC. No shit, Sherlock.

Though it is one of the top Android tablet manufacturers, it still lags miles behing the top dog – Apple – which leads the market by a huge margin. Apple has traditionally offered only one model with different capacities, but Samsung has been throwing everything it can make, in all sizes and specifications at consumers hoping that at least something would stick. Unfortunately for Samsung, nothing has.

Samsung has unveiled two more tablets at MWC this year – the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0 and 10.1) and the Galaxy Note 10.1. However, both of them have failed to impress me, and I doubt, they will be the iPad killers that Android fans want them to be.

However, now that Samsung is past the denial stage, we can hope that it at least understands the problems it faces, and will bring us a tablet which is far better than the current range of Android tablets.

In the meantime, Apple is apparently getting ready to launch the iPad 3 on March 7. Expect it to blow away the competition in terms of sales, at least in the coming quarter.

Apple May Have Won the Patent Battle Against Motorola in Germany Already

When it comes to the patent wars, Motorola and Google have been on the receiving end lately. Both Apple and Microsoft made a complaint against Motorola recently, accusing it of misusing standards essential FRAND patents by seeking injunctions against their products in Europe.

Today, Apple won a ruling in a German Court, which enables it to continue selling iPhone and iPad models through its German online store. Motorola had won an initial ruling which empowered it to force Apple to stop selling certain iPhone and iPad models.

The verdict states that since Apple has filed an appeal against the ruling, and made an amended offer to license Motorola’s FRAND patents, any further attempts by Motorola to ban Apple’s products would be a violation of antitrust rules.

The ruling could possibly help Apple’s prospects in its appeal, and force Motorola to grant a license for its standards essential patents to Apple. If that does happen, Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola, which was primarily for its patent portfolio, could prove to be a huge failure. It has not only pissed off its Android device partners, but also added a low margin business to its high margin cash cow -search advertising- with almost no product synergies between the two.

Panasonic Eluga Power: Android 4.0 ICS, 1.5 GHz Dual Core CPU, 8 MP Camera

There are so many impressive new devices being launched at MWC 2012 this year, that it’s almost sad that despite being so full of potential, most of them will be overshadowed by others which are just marginally better in terms of specifications or are backed by a known brand. The Panasonic Eluga Power will probably end up as one of those. Despite its weird name, the Panasonic Eluga Power seems to be a very impressive Android smartphone.

Panasonic Eluga Power Specifications

The Panasonic Eluga Power is powered by a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual core processor. It sports a 5.0 inch LCD display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. It is just 9.6 mm slim, weighs 133 gms, and has a sleek design. It comes with a 1800 mAh battery and apparently offers a fast charging feature.

It comes with an 8 MP camera with autofocus, 1080p video recording and 8x digital zoom. It also offers 8 GB of internal storage with 32 GB microSD card support. It will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, presumably with some custom UI overlay by Panasonic.

Panasonic Eluga Power

“The ELUGA power is a real landmark for us as it redefines everything a modern smartphone should be. For too long, smartphones have either compromised on looks to embrace new features or dropped functionality in the pursuit of the perfect form. The ELUGA power marks a true turning point – delivering both high performance and high-end style,” said Toshiya Matsumura, General Manager, Head of Mobile Communications, Panasonic System Communications Europe.

Check out the entire press release at Engadget.

Samsung Galaxy S III Specifications Revealed?

The Samsung Galaxy S III is undoubtedly the most awaited Android device on 2012. Following the tremendous success of the Galaxy S and the Galaxy S II which propelled Samsung on to the top of the Android leaderboard, the Galaxy S III is likely to be the best smartphone this year.

However, breaking from tradition, Samsung had announced that it wouldn’t be unveiling the Galaxy S III at MWC 2012. Given the barrage of impressive Android devices at MWC, it’s understandable that Samsung would want to hold a separate event for the Galaxy S III launch.

If you were one of those waiting for the Galaxy S III with bated breath, here’s some good news for you: some of the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S III may have been leaked.

BGR reports that they have some details about the specifications of Samsung’s upcoming superphone.

Apparently, the Samsung Galaxy S III will sport a 4.8 inch 1080p display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It will likely be a SuperAMOLED Plus display, or something even better.

It will be powered by a 1.5 GHz quad core Exynos processor. My guess is it will also offer 2 GB of RAM. It will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and will reportedly have a ceramic case, instead of a plastic or metal one.

On the camera front, it won’t offer much more than the Galaxy S II. It will have a 8 MP primary camera and a 2 MP secondary camera.

These are all the details we have so far. Hopefully, we will see some official announcement soon.

Here’s a rendering of the Samsung Galaxy S III. It is rumored to have a very thin bezel, just enough to accomodate the sensors.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Android Seeing More than 850K Device Activations Every Day

Android is growing faster than you can imagine. Just two months ago, Andy Rubin had stated that Google was seeing more than 700k device activations every day. Today, he said that the number of Android device activations per day was now up to 850k. At this rate, Android could easily see more than 1 million activations every day before the end of April.

Rubin also revealed some interesting numbers about Android. There are around 300 million Android devices around the world now, with 12 million on them being Android tablets.

At MWC 2011, there were only around 150,000 apps in the Android Market. That number has more than tripled to 450,000 apps. Android is closing in on the more than 500,000 apps on the iOS App Store.

Another interesting stat – more than 800 different Android devices have been launched to date. The Android stand at MWC 2012 itself showcases more than 100 different Android devices.

Rubin also stated that Google intended to focus on Android tablets in 2012. Until now, Android tablet sales, except those of the Amazon Kindle Fire, have been laughable compared to sales of the Apple iPad.

However, it is rumored that Google plans to launch a Nexus tablet soon, which could possibly give Android a fighting chance against the iPad.

Huawei MediaPad 10 Revealed: Quad Core, HD Display, ICS & More

Huawei was one of the first companies to hold a press conference at MWC 2012 today. While the announcements focused primarily on its new Android superphone, the Huawei Ascend D Quad, Huawei also revealed some details about a new tablet – the Huawei MediaPad 10.

Huawei MediaPad 10

Unlike Huawei’s previous tablet offerings, The Huawei MediaPad is supposed to be a high end Android tablet with some seriously good hardware powering it. It will offer an HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, an 8 MP camera and will be powered by Huawei’s new K3V2 processor, which was launched at the event too. The new K3V2 is a quad core processor which is clocked at 1.2 or 1.5 Ghz.

Huawei MediaPad 10

Besides 4 A9 processor cores, it also packs in 16 GPU cores, which makes it one of the most powerful mobile processors to date. According to Huawei, it offers 2X the graphics performance, and is almost 50% faster in CPU tasks than its competitors, while using 30% less power. The same chip will be powering the Huawei Ascend D Quad too.

Anyway, the MediaPad 10 will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and sport an aluminum unibody design. It will be launched in Q2 2012. The pricing details haven’t been announced yet.

Check out our complete coverage of MWC 2012 – MWC 2012 @ Techie Buzz

Images courtesy Engadget

LG Wants to Build the Next Google Nexus Device

Building Google branded Nexus smartphones has always been an honor reserved for the top Android device manufacturers. The Nexus One was made by HTC, while the Nexus S and the more recent Galaxy Nexus were made by Samsung. Each Nexus device is usually among the first to get an upgrade to the latest version of Android.

Apparently, LG is in talks with Google and wants to build the next Nexus device. Such a deal could propel it directly into the big leagues, but is very unlikely considering that LG hasn’t yet launched a truly excellent Android smartphone which could compete with the flagship offerings from Samsung, or even HTC and Motorola.

The next Nexus smartphone will run Android 5.0 Jelly Bean (or whatever the next version of Android is going to be named). If I had to bet on who had the best chance of making the device, I would bet on either Samsung or Motorola, given that Samsung is currently the number one Android device manufacturer and Motorola is now owned by Google.

Google is apparently planning to launch a budget Nexus tablet too, to compete with the Kindle Fire and more importantly, the iPad. However, that device is reported to be in the late stages of development already, so it is unlikely the Nexus device that LG is taking about.

To LG’s credit, it recently unveiled some impressive devices like the LG Optimus 4X HD and the Optimus 3D Max at MWC 2012. If those devices prove to be a success, LG might have a good shot after all.

Nokia Lumia 610 Leaked Ahead of MWC 2012, Runs Windows Phone Tango

Despite a series of price cuts for the Lumia 710, Nokia currently doesn’t have a solid budget Windows Phone offering which could take on low end Android smartphones. However, Nokia had revealed earlier this year that it would be launching budget Windows Phone devices powered by Tango to compete with Android in the entry level smartphone segment, in a bid to capture more market share.

The Nokia Lumia 610 will be one of its first budget Windows Phones which will be launched soon. Nokia is supposed to launch the Lumia 610 at its MWC press conference on February 27, but details of the device have already been leaked out by BGR.

Nokia Lumia 610 Specifications

The Nokia Lumia 610 will come with a 3.2 inch touchscreen display and a 3 MP camera. It will ship with Windows Phone Tango, the latest version of Windows Phone tailored specifically for low end smartphones. It will presumably have 256 MB RAM, and a 1 GHz processor, considering that the Lumia 710 has a 1.4 Ghz processor and 512 MB RAM.

Here’s the best part: it will be priced at around 175 euros, which converts to around $240 or 11,500 INR.

Nokia Lumia 610

Nokia, which is already the biggest Windows Phone manufacturer should see its market share jump after the launch of its new budget smartphones.

Stay tuned. We will be bringing more MWC 2012 updates to you here at Techie Buzz.

Intel Partners with Lava to Launch Medfield Smartphones in India

Apparently, Intel is really desperate to get Android smartphones powered by its Medfield processors in the hands of consumers. We already posted about its partnership with Motorola, which should yield a Medfield powered Android device soon. We can expect it to be launched globally.

In China, Intel has partnered with Lenovo to launch the Lenovo K800, with more devices in the works.

In India, it seems that Intel has partnered with a local mobile manufacturer called Lava, according to a report by BGR. Lava’s first Medfield smartphone running Android may be unveiled at MWC 2012. It will launch a new smartphone brand and presumably launch a series of Intel powered devices running Android.

The first Lava-Intel Android smartphone will likely come with a 1.6 GHz dual core processor, 8 MP camera and a 3.7 inch display. No other details have been revealed yet, but the hardware specifications seem impressive.

However, to compete with giants like Samsung, HTC and Motorola, Lava will have to price it much lower than similar devices by them. Given Lava’s track record, I’m not sure what to make of this announcement. Hopefully, we should see a quick hands-on of the device at MWC 2012.