When Google acquired Motorola, most major Android device manufacturers like Samsung and HTC must naturally have felt threatened. Samsung, the largest Android device maker, knows better than to keep all its eggs in one basket. It has already hedged its investment in Android device development with bets on alternative platforms including Bada and Tizen.
However, according to the latest rumor sparked by a comment by an analyst, Samsung may be looking to invest around $1.5 billion in Research in Motion, the creator of Blackberry devices, and may also license the upcoming Blackberry 10 operating system for use with its own devices.
If this rumor were to be true, Samsung would have device offerings powered by every major platform except iOS. It already has bets on Android, Windows Phone and Bada.
RIM’s stock was up 5% on this rumor, which if true, could save RIM, which is on the verge of extinction as its devices fail to attract customers while iOS, Android, and now Windows phone gobble up its market share.
Maybe RIM should really look at becoming a services company, while spinning off the handset division. Its current strategy hardly seems to be working. Partnering with Samsung, or selling off its handset division to it could be the shot in the arm that it desperately needs.
Remember the big MotoACTV update we talked about a few weeks ago? Well, the promised date from Motorola (7th March) came and went by without any news from the company. However, the company started rolling out the software update this last weekend for all MotoActv owners to enjoy.
If you had somehow missed the previous post, the new update for the Actv brings a lot of new features including 40 additional activities including Yoga, Pilates, Weight training and Martial Arts etc. Other usability changes include connecting the device to a Wi-Fi network without connecting it to a PC, the ability to wake up the device by simply shaking it, an improved battery life and much more. Most importantly, users will not need to connect the MotoACTV to a PC for any trivial task.
Below is a small video that Motorola uploaded demonstrating the 40 new activities the software update adds -:
MotoACTV owners can install the latest software update on their device by syncing the device to their computer. Users should then be automatically notified about the new software update. If not, well then keep trying!
Even though Steve Jobs expressly mentioned that he would destroy Android by waging a thermonuclear war with them if he had to, it seems that Apple’s stance has softened under the reign of Tim Cook, or at least become more rational, according to a new report.
Apple is currently suing Samsung and Motorola, two of the largest Android device manufacturers, in a bid to get injunctions on the sale of their devices in multiple countries.
However, it seems that Apple is now offering to end some pending litigation in exchange for royalty payments to license its patents. Apple is asking for around $5 to $15 per Android handset sold by these two giants, which adds up to 1% to 2.5% of their selling price.
If such a deal does go through, it could mean a significant revenue stream for Apple, generating billions of dollars in the coming years, adding to Apple’s already massive cash reserves.
Microsoft already receives a licensing fee of the same order from more than 70% of Android manufacturers.
Combining the fees for both Apple and Microsoft, the “free” Android OS could end up costing around $10 to $30, much higher than Windows Phone 7, which stands to benefit the most if manufacturers drop Android as it is currently the best alternative.
What’s ironic and hilarious is that Google may have to foot the bill for Motorola’s patent troubles, when its primary intention behind acquiring Motorola was to alleviate its own.
Google and Motorola have been ordered by a U.S. judge to turn over information about the Android O.S. development to Apple. Additionally, they must also reveal information about the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google. The decision was related to a patent lawsuit which was filed against Motorola by Apple in 2010.
“The Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses,” said Apple’s attorneys.
Motorola has opposed the request, saying that Google isn’t directly involved in the lawsuit, and it cannot force Google to produce these documents.
“Google’s employees and documents are not within the ‘possession, custody, or control’ of Motorola, and Motorola cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Google’s objections,” said Motorola’s lawyers.
Google supposedly acquired Motorola to strengthen its defense against patent trolls and competitors who are trying to force Google and its partners into submission in the form of patent licensing agreements. However, it seems that Google’s move has backfired, with it getting dragged further in Motorola’s own patent troubles.
I’m not sure if Apple is merely trolling Motorola and Google, or if the requested information is indeed critical to the lawsuit, but it would be really funny if it was the former. For now, the patent wars seem to be getting more interesting.
Motorola and Verizon have started rolling out a new software update for the Droid 2 Global. The update does not bring Ice Cream Sandwich or any other major enhancements, which quite a few Droid 2 owners would have been hoping for. The update simply fixes some bugs and loopholes, and improves the memory management on the handset.
Below is the full change-log of the update -:
Device is enabled with the Wireless Alerting System.
A Google Security Patch has been added to improve security level.
Fixed issue where the device may power ON without user interaction.
Adjusted camera settings will be saved, even after the device is powered down.
Resolved possible device resets while playing music.
Reduced Out of Memory errors.
Email, Messaging, and Data
Improved ability to access and receive Gmail messages when the Mobile Hotspot is turned on.
Addressed error that replicated thumbnails in message threads.
Applications & Widget
WAV files can be played from Visual Voice Mail.
Purchased ringtones are now able to be downloaded, saved and used where appropriate.
As it is evident from the change-log above, the update barely brings anything new. However, it is definitely nice to see Motorola and Verizon taking the effort and indulging resources in fixing bugs and security loopholes in old and forgotten Android handsets, albeit quite a months late.
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.
While Apple has been suing other companies for IP and patent infringement, the company is also being sued by its competitors. Today, Apple has announced that it has to shut down iCloud push services in Germany. The reason for this is the successful Motorola bid for an injunction against the cloud syncing service over data pushing technology.
Apple published the news in the support section of its German website, and gave a brief summary of the injunction. Also, the company has listed out temporary solutions that iCloud users can follow while it tries to get the issue resolved by appealing against the decision, reports iPhone-ticker.de.
In addition, the suspension of Apple’s push services will stop the syncing of calendars and contacts for MobileMe until users change certain device settings. iCloud users will not be affected. The document also notes that iCloud and existing MobileMe users within the borders of Germany will not be able to receive push email at this time. All received messages will be still accesible via iCloud’s website or by changing an iOS’s device’s settings. However, all non-mobile products, such as Macs, are not affected.
Apple also states in the support that in the support document that they believe Motorola’s patent is invalid and is appealing the decision.
Last year, when Motorola announced the Droid RAZR, it also announced a sports tracking device for fitness freaks, the MotoACTV. When Motorola had originally announced the device, the ACTV was capable of tracking only outdoor sports activities, which required the use of a GPS.
However, Motorola has now announced in a blog post that it will soon be releasing a new software update for the MotoACTV that will add support for more than 40 new activities including yoga, Pilates, Dancing and Martial arts. The software update will also bring other enhancements like the ability to directly setup Wi-Fi on the device, host your own competitions and more. The update will also enable users to enable the display on the ACTV by just a flick. Hopefully, this software update from Motorola will make the ACTV appeal to a wider range of audience.
According to Motorola, this is just a ‘sneak peek’ of what the new software update is going to bring to the ACTV. The new update for the ACTV is scheduled to go live on March 7 around the world.
After Apple, even Microsoft has filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility with the European Commission under competiton law. Motorola is currently trying to block sales of Windows PCs and Xbox consoles by using its patents related to the Wi-Fi and the H.264 video standard. Motorola is demanding a 2.25% royalty for the use of some of its FRAND patents, which is a bit too high.
While Motorola can definitely demand a royalty for the use of its patents, what it is demanding is quite high compared to what other FRAND patent owners license similar patents for.
Microsoft, Apple and Cisco recently pledged not to seek injunctions against other firms’ products for using standard essential FRAND patents. However, Google seems to have refused to do so.
Google and its partners have been at the receiving end of many a patent troll lately. One of the reasons Google acquired Motorola has been its vast patent trove. Google is unlikely to back down without a fight, but in this case, it may have gone a bit too far.
The European Commission recently also started an investigation against Samsung for abusing its FRAND patents.
It looks like Motorola has not yet forgotten the Droid X! The company will soon start rolling out a new software update for the handset, which squashes some serious bugs and improves the browser security as well. Other serious bugs like the device getting reset while playing music, fewer out of memory errors, improved stability of Music player, improved 3G Mobile Hotspot data connectivity have also been fixed.
The update with the version number 4.5.621 mainly fixes bugs that were introduced in the last software update for the handset, which was released nearly 8 months ago. Yeah, it took Motorola 8 months to roll out another software update to fix the bugs it introduced in the last software update.
Below is the full change-log of the update -:
The update is not yet live, but should go live in the next few days. The update will be rolled out via OTA, and users can manually check for the update by going into Settings -> About Phone -> System Updates -> Download.