HTC Acquires Dashwire For its Patents; For a Fighting Chance Against Apple

It’s getting crazy out there, with everyone warring with each other over patent infringement. Google is clearly the underdog here, with a much smaller patent portfolio than its opponents – Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. Well, technically, Google is being sued by Oracle, while Microsoft and Apple are going after its Android device partners like HTC and Samsung.

Microsoft and Google have been engaged in a series of arguments over the patent situation since a couple of days.

While Microsoft is making $5 off every Android phone by HTC, Apple wants to completely shut it down in the U.S. It already won an initial ruling against HTC in the case. HTC recently bought S3 Graphics, which had won a ruling in its own patent lawsuit against Apple, which could lead to a partial ban on the import of Macs in the U.S.

HTC certainly thought that it could leverage S3’s lawsuit against Apple to defend itself against Apple’s lawsuit. But apparently, it’s still doubtful whether that will actually help HTC at all.

So, HTC seems to have made another purchase. Yesterday, HTC announced that it had acquired Dashwire, a mobile application company which provides some kind of cloud based cross platform synchronization solution for Android, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Mobile.

It seems that HTC may have actually bought Dashwire not for its product offering, but for its patent portfolio. Apparently, as reported by BGR, Dashwire had entered into a deal with Intellectual Ventures in April, and acquired patents to use for defensive purposes. If HTC is able to use this patents to defend itself against Apple, it might be a very good deal at under $20 million.

Google’s Android partners are well aware that Google might not be able to defend them. HTC seems to have taken matters into its own hands, while Samsung is trying to do so too, by getting its hands on the InterDigital patents.

Buying Guide: Best Windows Phone 7 Smartphones in India [2011]

Unlike many others, I quite like Windows Phone 7. Lately, I had gotten bored with Android, and I had a chance to try out a friend’s Windows Phone 7 device. The new tiles based user interface is a refreshing change from the standard icon based fare on both Android and iOS. It may not have hundreds of thousands of apps like the Apple App Store or the Android Market, but it does offer most of the essential ones. Additionally, one of the best things about Windows Phone 7 is that Microsoft enforces a set of minimum hardware requirements, which makes sure that even the mid range Windows Phone 7 devices are fast and responsive. You also don’t have to worry about OS upgrades; every Windows Phone 7 device will get the Mango upgrade.

Until recently, most Windows Phone 7 devices were priced prohibitively high, in the Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 range. In the last month, there have been a series of price cuts, which have brought some great Windows Phone 7 devices in the Rs 15,000 price range.

There are only a few Windows Phone 7 devices available in India. Of the available options, if I had to buy one, it would probably be the

HTC Mozart

HTC Mozart

Buy the HTC Mozart at Flipkart

The HTC Mozart was one of the best Windows Phone 7 devices which were released in the initial wave. Despite having a smaller display than the other phones, it received rave reviews.

It comes with a 3.7 inch S-LCD display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. It has an 8 MP camera with autofocus and Xenon flash, probably one of the best in the entire spectrum of Windows Phone 7 devices.

It comes with a 1 GHz Scorpion processor and an Adreno 200 GPU with 576 MB RAM. It has 8 GB internal storage and offers all the standard connectivity options – Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, 3G HSDPA and is powered by a 1300 mAh battery.

If you still aren’t convinced, here’s the best part. It is now available for just Rs 16,499. This makes it the cheapest Windows Phone 7 device in India. It offers the most bang for your buck from the current crop of WP7 smartphones.

HTC HD7

HTC HD7

Buy the HTC HD7 at Flipkart

This is another good Windows Phone 7 option available to Indians. It comes with a bigger 4.3 inch LCD display, with the same resolution – 480 x 800 pixels. It is powered by the same processor – 1 GHz Scorpion – and has the same GPU – Adreno 200. It also has the exact same amount of RAM – 576 MB.

However, there is one shortcoming – it comes with a 5 MP camera, which isn’t as good as the HTC Mozart’s 8 MP shooter.

It’s also a bit more expensive than the HTC Mozart, at Rs 17,599.

If I had to choose between the two, I would go with the Mozart.

Dell Venue Pro

Dell Venue Pro

Buy the Dell Venue Pro at Flipkart

The Dell Venue Pro was the phone that caught my attention when it was first unveiled as part of the Windows Phone 7 lineup. It was different from all the other WP7 devices, with a vertical sliding QWERTY keypad.

It has identical hardware under the hood – 1 GHz Scorpion CPU, Adreno 200 GPU, and slightly less RAM – 512 MB. It comes with a 5 MP camera too.

It has a 4.1 inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. While it beats the Mozart in terms of display size and quality, and the presence of a physical keypad, it is much more expensive, at Rs 23,999.

If You Can Wait…

If you aren’t in a hurry, you might want to wait for a couple of months. Microsoft is planning to launch a series of new Windows Phone 7 smartphones by HTC, Samsung, LG and of course, Nokia. They will definitely be much better than the current crop in terms of hardware, and should be priced in the Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 range.

Some of them may also be budget devices priced under Rs 20,000.

You might also want to check out my Android Smartphone Buying Guide for 2011.

HTC Provides More Information About Bootloader Unlocking Method

Until last year, HTC were the developer’s favorite Android handset manufacturer because their phones did not ship with a locked boot loader. However, since 2011 HTC has started shipping phones with a locked bootloader, which received a lot of criticism from users and developers, alike. Thankfully, HTC heard the criticism of their customers and decided that they will provide them with a way to unlock the boot loader.

HTC_Logo

Today, HTC has released more information about how the bootloader unlocking process will work, and why their latest handsets are still shipping with a locked down bootloader. Since an unlocked bootloader provides extensive control’ over the device and custom ROMs may harm your devices, HTC will continue shipping devices with a locked bootloader.

HTC will release a web-based tool for users interested in unlocking the bootloader, by this month, which will aid them in unlocking the bootloader. However, if a user unlocks the bootloader on his HTC device, he will void the warranty of his device.

HTC will release a software update for the Sensation, followed by the Sensation 4G on T-Mobile and the EVO 3D on Sprint, which will then allow users to unlock the bootloader on these handsets using the web-based tool. The company aims at releasing the software update sometime this month.

For more information about the bootloader unlocking process, readers should head over to HTC’s Facebook page.

HTC Desire Android 2.3 Gingerbread Update Released

After a lot of drama, HTC have finally released the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for the original Desire. There is a catch though; the update will not be rolled out to the general public.

HTC_Desire

Due to the low internal memory on the Desire, HTC had to strip down a lot of apps, features and wallpapers from the Gingerbread update. So, the company has decided against releasing the update for the general Desire users. The update is meant only for developers, and the RUU can be downloaded from HTC’s developer website.

The Gingerbread update for the Desire will bring improved copy-and-paste functionality, minor UI changes, and an improved performance and battery life.

Here is a small list of things which HTC had to strip down :

1. All customizations, including operator applications, will be removed.

2. All wallpapers, except the default wallpaper, will be removed and placed online on the HTC Developer website.

3. Several HTC applications will be removed and placed online on the HTC Developer website.

4. The official Facebook application will be removed and is downloadable on the Android Market.

Interested Desire owners can go ahead and install Gingerbread on their phone via the RUU. However, they should make a backup of all the data on their handset, since the handset will be wiped clean of all data.

Please make sure that your Desire variant is supported by the RUU, before flashing it. Otherwise, you may end up with a bricked or a partially unusable phone. Desire owners, who are running a custom ROM on their handset, I recommend you people to wait for a rooted version of the official update to be out.

At the moment, it is unknown whether HTC will release an OTA version of the Gingerbread update for the Desire or not.

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 Sensation, EVO 3D and Flyer Get S-OFF Thanks To Revolutionary

unrevoked was a very popular tool to get S-OFF and turn off NAND protection on older gen HTC Android handsets. However, the guys behind unrevoked have been out of action for nearly the whole of 2011.

image

Just when everyone thought that the folks behind unrevoked had given up, they team up with AplhaRev to release revolutionary. The team behind AlphaRev has been working on getting S-OFF on the latest batch of HTC devices, with a locked boot loader for quite sometime now.

revolutionary is an S-OFF tool which turns off the NAND protection on the 2011 line-up of Android handsets from HTC, which come with an encrypted boot loader.

Here is the list of devices which the tool supports :

Revolutionary currently supports the following Android phones and HBOOT versions:

  • HTC Desire (bravo) 0.93.0001
  • HTC Desire CDMA (bravoc) 1.06.0000
  • HTC Wildfire (buzz) 1.01.0001
  • HTC Aria (liberty) 1.02.0000
  • HTC Incredible S (vivo) 1.09.0000 and 1.13.0000
  • HTC Droid Incredible 2 (vivow) 0.97.0000
  • HTC Desire S (saga) 0.98.0000 and 0.98.0002
  • HTC View (express) 1.09.0000 and 1.13.0000
  • HTC Flyer (flyer) 1.10.0000
  • HTC Sensation (pyramid) 1.17.0006, .0008, .0011 and .0012
  • HTC Evo 3D (shooter) 1.30.0000 and 1.40.0000

Revolutionary will permanently unlock NAND write protection by default on the following phones:

  • HTC Sensation (pyramid)
  • HTC Evo 3D (shooter)

Readers should keep in mind that S-OFF does not mean the handset is rooted. To get root access, users need to flash this file via recovery. The tool is in developer preview right now, so interested users need to provide their handsets serial number before they get a download link. Interested readers can find more info about revolutionary tool here.

Now, the wait begins for some awesome mods, kernels and custom ROMs for the EVO 3D, Sensation and Flyer begins!

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.

HTC’s S3 Acquisition Could Ward Off Apple’s Patent Threat

The patent wars just keep getting interesting. As we already know, Apple had filed a lawsuit against HTC regarding infringement of patents held by Apple which relate to the technology used in the iPhone. About 2 weeks back, a U.S. International Trade Commission judge gave an initial ruling in favor of Apple, stating that HTC did infringe upon 2 of Apple’s patents.

We also reported how Apple’s win against HTC could lead to a ban on the import of all Android devices in the U.S. Google obviously knows that, and has asserted that it “will make sure they don’t lose.”

Well, it turns out that HTC may have some leverage after all. On July 6, HTC announced that it had bought S3 Graphics from VIA. At first, the acquisition didn’t make much sense, but then it did. A lot. S3 Graphics had won a ruling in its own patent lawsuit which could lead to a partial ban on the import of Macs, which use chipsets from Intel or AMD, in the U.S.

Now that HTC controls S3, it could use those patents to force Apple to enter into a cross licensing agreement with HTC, thus preventing the ban on its Android devices. It has already stated openly, that it is willing to negotiate with Apple on the issue. It’s not yet clear if HTC could use the S3 patents to get a ban on the import of Macs, but it seems highly likely. Apple has already challenged the validity of S3’s patents at the U.S Patent Office. We should know the results of the patent reexamination process soon.

This could turn out to be the smartest acquisition HTC ever made.

T-Mobile G2 Android 2.3 Gingerbread Update Rolling Out Now

HTC and T-Mobile have started rolling out the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for the G2. The update is being rolled via OTA starting from today. The G2 was supposed to get the Gingerbread update by the end of Q2, but T-Mobile and HTC delayed the update for some unknown reason.

T_Mobile_G2

Here is the official change-log from T-Mobile :

The update provides the following enhancements and improvements.

  • New features:
    • Android   2.3.3 (Gingerbread)
    • Tell HTC app
    • Google Books added
    • Notification bar color scheme is changed to black
    • New battery indicator, phone, and web icons
    • Color-coded network icon and signal indicator added. Green when connected to Google   servers. Grey when not connected.
    • Pressing the power key while on a call disables the proximity sensor
  • Improvements:
    • Wi-Fi calling improvements
    • New SMS and email notification improvements
    • Improvements to sending MMS from the Gallery

Alternatively, T-Mobile G2 owners can head to any of the T-Mobile stores beginning from August 5 to get the update installed on their handset. However, they will need to make a backup of their data, since the handset will be wiped clean of all the data.

The Gingerbread update is the last Android OS update for the T-Mobile G2. The phone will not be getting any more official software updates, post this update.

(Source)

CyanogenMod 7 Lands on the HTC Sensation

The Sensation is the best smartphone HTC has to offer right now. The handset sports a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor, an Adreno 220 GPU and 768MB of RAM. However, one major problem with the handset is that it has a locked down boot loader.

sensation

HTC received a lot of negative criticism for the locked down boot loader on the Sensation. The Taiwanese company heard the negative feedback of its customers, and promised to unlock the boot loader on the handset sometime in August.

For the developers, August was still too far away and they somehow managed to get S-OFF and temp-root on the Sensation. The first result of an unlocked boot loader? CM7 comes to the sensational Sensation.

The CyanogenMod developers are working hard on bringing CM7 to the Sensation, and have already managed to get a partially-working build to boot on the phone. Expect the CyanogenMod developers to get a fully working build of CM7 on the Sensation, in the next few weeks.

In other CM7 related news, CM7 nightly’ users should expect the nightlies beginning from today to be based on Android 2.3.5. The small bump in the Android version does not bring any new changes, and is mainly aimed at fixing bugs and improvements related to NFC.

Via Ed Carrigan