All posts by Pathik

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Android Captures Almost 50% of the Worldwide Smartphone Market

The global smartphone market has been exploding in terms of sales. In Q2 2011, the market grew 73% year on year, with shipments of almost 107.7 million units worldwide. However, not all smartphone platforms are seeing equal growth. Nokia’s Symbian and RIM’s Blackberry have been on the decline since months now, while Android and iOS are gaining market share every quarter.

Android

According to research firm Canalys, Android is the number one platform in over 35 of the 56 countries that it tracks. It now has a global market share of nearly 50%. About 52 million Android devices were shipped in Q2 2011, up 379% over Q2 2010.

It has an 85% share in South Korea, the home of Samsung – the largest Android device manufacturer, and a 71% share in Taiwan, where iPhones come to life. In the U.S. market, Android has a 39% share, while iOS has a 28% share.

About 20.3 million iPhones were shipped in the last quarter, making iOS the second most popular smartphone platform worldwide. It now has a 19% market share. Apple is now the largest smartphone manufacturer by sales.

Samsung comes a close second with close to 17 million unit shipments. It grew almost 421% year over year.

While Nokia still leads in emerging markets like China and India, it will soon be overtaken by Android devices.

Despite being bogged down by multiple lawsuits, Android is continuing its march ahead. The Droids are taking over the world.

iOS Developers Team Up to Fight Lodsys and Other Patent Trolls

Lodsys is probably the most hated patent troll right now. It started suing iOS app developers for implementing in-app purchasing in their apps, alleging patent infringement. The patent in question was actually handed to Lodsys by Intellectual Ventures, the greatest patent troll known to mankind.

Apple had actually licensed the patent from Intellectual Ventures, but Lodsys claimed that it didn’t cover the app developers, and that they should have to license it themselves. Apple has been trying to defend iOS developers, but there doesn’t seem to be any resolution in sight.

Recently, Lodsys also started going after independent Android developers, as well as biggies like EA, Rovio and Atari, slapping them with lawsuits.

Today, Mike Lee, an iOS developer announced the Appsterdam Legal Defense Team. He aims to rally all the affected indie developers together, and join forces to to fight off Lodsys and other patent trolls as one.

“We will let the patent trolls know: if you attack one indie, you attack all indies, and we will file every motion we can against you, we will attack your patents, and we will show you for the mafioso thugs you are.”

They will also be starting the Appsterdam Legal Defense Fund to accept contributions to fund the legal proceedings.

Most indie developers don’t have the resources to fight off trolls like Lodsys on their own, but if they all come together, they have a good chance of getting the frivolous lawsuits against them dismissed.

“Legal action will be the start of our three-pronged attack. Next we’ll take the fight to Washington, raising a wall of legislation against future attacks. Imagine a law that allows small software companies to opt out of the patent system.

We will also mobilize the many talented designers and evangelists in our community to launch a massive media marketing campaign to let the public know that small businesses, jobs, and the economy are being threatened by parasites.”

Via: ArsTechnica

Apple will Launch the iPhone 5 in October, Not September

You seriously thought Apple was going to launch the iPhone 5 in September? Hah!

According to yet another rumor about the iPhone 5, every rumor which said that the iPhone 5 will be launched in September is wrong. Apparently, “sources with knowledge of the situation” (the super-secret, anonymous kind) have claimed that the reports that the iPhone 5 will be launched in September are misinformed.

The sources also say that though AT&T is definitely blocking employee vacations for some launch event, it’s not going to be the iPhone 5 launch. According to them, the iPhone 5 will be launched only in October.

As the supposed launch date nears, the iPhone 5 rumor mill has gone into overdrive. There have been exactly 247 rumors about the iPhone 5 yet, with all of them claiming that it will be launched in September.

Normally I wouldn’t lend any credence at all to this new rumor. However, since this one has been published by AllThingsD, which has had a good track record so far, I’m really confused. It might turn out to be true after all.

Most rumors suggest that the iPhone 5 will come with an 8 MP camera and may sport a 4 inch display. It will also sport the new dual core A5 processor, like the iPad 2.

Apple Gets a Temporary Ban Against Samsung Tablets in Australia

Apple sued Samsung a few months ago for patent infringement related to the Galaxy line of devices. It alleged that Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone and Galaxy Tab tablets were infringing on multiple Apple patents and that Samsung had slavishly copied the iPhone and the iPad in creating these devices.

Samsung had fired back with its own counter-suit claiming that even Apple had infringed on its patents. It had also demanded prototypes of the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 from Apple in a rather amusing move, which was denied. While the legal tussle is still going on in the U.S., Apple has managed to get a temporary injunction against Samsung in Australia.

Samsung will have to stop advertising and selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet in Australia until a final decision or settlement is made between the two parties.

Samsung will also have to provide Apple with three samples of the Australian version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 a week before it plans to start selling it in the country. The next hearing is scheduled for August 29.

In case Apple loses the lawsuit, it will have to pay damages to Samsung for the lost potential sales.

Sorry, Australian Android fans, you won’t be getting your hands on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for at least another month.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Microsoft Loses Ancient Patent Lawsuit Against Alcatel-Lucent; Must Shell Out $70 Million

Back in 2003 when most of us were kids, and Facebook and Twitter did not yet exist, Alcatel-Lucent, a telecommunication equipment manufacturer from France had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Microsoft.

Alcatel-Lucent claimed Microsoft was infringing on its patents related to touch screen form entry in applications such as Microsoft Outlook, among others.

In 2008, Alcatel-Lucent won the lawsuit and was awarded $358 millon in damages. However, Microsoft appealed against the verdict and managed to get a retrial to reassess the damages.

Today, according to a report by Bloomberg, a federal jury ruled that Microsoft would have to pay $70 million in damages. Alcatel-Lucent had asked for about $75 million while Microsoft asked the jury to limit the amount to only $5 million.

    Alcatel-Lucent is obviously pleased with the verdict and the jury’s recognition in the value of the Day patent that Microsoft infringed,said Luke Dauchot, a lawyer for Alcatel-Lucent.

This new verdict is much more favorable for Microsoft than the original ruling that required them to pay $358 million in damages.

    “We continue to maintain that current law requires a genuine apportionment of damages when the infringement is directed to a small feature of a feature-rich product. We are reviewing the verdict in that light and considering next steps.” said David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel.

Microsoft has been involved in a lot of patent lawsuits lately. It stands to make more than a billion dollars in patent licensing fees and damages off Android. It is also a major investor in Intellectual Ventures, infamously known as the world’s largest patent troll.

Apple Lawsuit Forces Amazon to Stop Using “Appstore” in Germany

Apple App StoreApple has not been very successful in its bid to get Amazon to stop using the term “Appstore” for its online application store, at least in the U.S.

A U.S. District Court judge recently ruled that it was unlikely that Amazon’s using the term would confuse customers, and denied a preliminary injunction to Apple.

However, according to a report by Dan Frommer, Apple’s lawsuit against Amazon seems to have had some temporary success in Germany. Amazon has had to stop accepting new apps from developers in Germany because of Apple’s legal action.

Amazon sent out an email to all its German App Developers:

    Dear Amazon Appstore Developer,

    Thank you for your participation in the Amazon Appstore for Android. We wanted to notify you of a recent change to your Developer Portal account; for the time being, we are not accepting new app submissions from developers located in Germany. We have been forced to impose this restriction due to a legal action filed by Apple in Germany seeking to prevent us from using the term appstore. We believe Apple’s claim is without merit and are actively contesting it.

    When you log into your Developer Portal account, you will notice that the options to add new apps have been removed. We hope to begin accepting new apps from German developers again soon and will notify you as soon as we are able to do so.

    We appreciate your patience and your continued interest in the Amazon Appstore for Android.

    Thank you,

    Amazon Appstore Account Team

It’s unlikely that Apple will win the lawsuit against Amazon even in Germany, but even a temporary restriction is better than nothing at all, right?

iPhone 4 Prices Slashed; iPhone 5 Launch Imminent?

While most of the rumors of the iPhone 5, the next version of the iPhone, have been wild guesses by ‘trusted unknown sources’, there is one thing which has been consistent in all the rumors. All of them seem to indicate that Apple will launch the iPhone 5 in September. A recent report also indicated that Apple had already ordered shipments of 15 million iPhone 5 units from its supply partners in anticipation of huge demand.

Usually, just a few weeks before the launch of a new iPhone is scheduled, Apple or its retail partners cut the prices of the current models to quickly sell out the existing stock.

Today, Engadget and PhoneArena have reported that both Radio Shack and Target will start offering price cuts on the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS.

Radio Shack has cut down the price of the 16 GB iPhone 4 from $199.99 to $169.99, and the price of the 32 GB iPhone 4 from $299.99 to $269.99. The price of the 8 GB iPhone 3GS will now be dropped to just $19.99. These price cuts will be effective only on the AT&T iPhone models.

Similarly, Target has also announced a few price cuts which vary depending on the carrier. Both the AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4 16 GB devices will be going for $149.99. The iPhone 3GS will be sold for $19.99, while the Verizon 32 GB iPhone 4 will be priced at $249.99.

Obviously, if you plan to buy the new iPhone 5, these price cuts won’t matter at all.

HTC, Samsung and LG to Launch New WP7 Mango Smartphones in September

September is going to be an exciting month. The iPhone 5, or whatever the next version of the iPhone is going to be called, is supposed to be launched by Apple in the first week of September.

By September, we should also see the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S 2, the current king of Android smartphones in the U.S. smartphone market.

Today, Digitimes reported that there is going to be yet another major release in September. According to the report, HTC, Samsung, LG and some other manufacturers are going to launch new Windows Phone 7.5 Mango powered smartphones in September. The first WP7 Mango smartphone, the Fujitsu IS12T was announced last week.

Windows Phone 7

The new Mango phones by HTC will be powered by 1.5 GHz processors and will have display sizes ranging from 3.8 to 4.7 inches. Samsung is apparently working on a variant of the Galaxy S 2, which will be powered by Windows Phone 7.

Even Nokia is planning to unveil its first Windows Phone 7 device around the end of September. It will be interesting to see if all these new devices help Microsoft grab market share from Apple or Android.

Microsoft and its partners will have to time these launches right. It is very likely that the iPhone 5 launch may completely overshadow all these device launch announcements.

HTC Shipped 12.1 Million Smartphones Last Quarter

Seriously, what is with all these consumer tech companies? All of them seem to be doing extremely well; at least that’s the impression I get when I check their quarterly results. All the major tech companies – Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Samsung – which posted their Q2 2011 results in the last week have had record quarters with huge revenue growth.

Today, HTC did the exact same thing. Its Q2 2011 results have surpassed expectations, with net profits of  NT$17.52 billion,  up 102.9%  year over year. It sold 12.1 million units in Q2, which is 123.7% higher than sales in the second quarter of 2010.

It shipped many new products in Q2, including the HTC Sensation, EVO  3D, Wildfire  S, ChaCha, Salsa  and  the Flyer.

“Consumer  reactions  to  our  award‐winning  designs  have  driven  us  to  another  record‐breaking  quarter, said  Peter  Chou,  CEO  of  HTC.  “Our  teams  work  so  hard  to  create  each  individual  
experience  on  the  device,  and  it  is  gratifying  for  all  of  us  to  see  them  embraced  at  the  volume  levels  
we  are  consistently  reporting  across  the  globe.”

HTC expects to ship about 13.5 million devices in the next quarter.  It is currently the second most popular Android device manufacturer worldwide, after Samsung. In the U.S. smartphone market, it has a 20% overall share, second only to Apple, which has a 28% share with the iPhone.

Check out HTC’s Q2 2011 Results here.

Apple Has More Cash than the United States Government

When Apple announced its Q3 2011 results last week, everyone was surprised. Apple had managed to beat even the most optimistic estimates on Wall Street and had posted a record quarter, even by its own lofty standards.

Each figure reported in the Q3 results just made my jaw open wider with awe, until it finally it the floor. Apple had posted revenues of $28.6 billion, and a net profit of $7.3 billion. What was even more impressive was total value of its cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities – $76.2 billion. Going over those figures again, I went nuts and started dreaming about all the things I could do if I had that kind of money.

I could picture Steve Jobs diving into a pile of gold Krugerrands and cash, a la Scrooge McDuck. I even wrote a long post on “What Apple Could Do With its Billions in Cash“.

Today, however, the Financial Post reported something that completely blew my mind. Apple, now has more cash reserves than the U.S. Government’s operating balance, which is less than $74 billion, according to figures revealed by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Just think about it for a minute – Apple has more cash than the most powerful government on the planet. Obviously, the numbers aren’t comparable and don’t have a lot of significance, but they do illustrate the fact that Apple’s power has increased by an order of magnitude, since its near demise in the late 90s.

Its market cap is now just $33 billion less than Exxon Mobil, the most valuable company in the world. My bet is, when the iPhone 5 launches in September, Apple will easily cross the $400 billion valuation mark and beat Exxon to become the most valuable corporation in the world.