Technology StocksSmartphones, Tablets, Wearables and Gadgets

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To: Brian Sullivan who wrote (1626)2/20/2012 7:29:10 AM
From: average joe
   of 2974
Another cool thing about the Samsung Galaxy is that my old Samsung phone charger works with it.

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From: FUBHO2/27/2012 4:23:48 PM
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Andy Rubin: 850k Android activations a day, 300m total devices, 12m tablets

By Nilay Patel on February 27, 2012 06:05 am

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From: sylvester802/28/2012 3:54:36 PM
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Apple’s iOS massive security problem: Contacts uploading is just the tip of the iceberg. Apps can upload all your photos, calendars or record conversations
Seth Weintraub Apple Inc Discussion (40)
February 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Apple responded today to the contacts-sharing issue with a statement indicating it plans to put some form of a setting on contact data that would allow users to control who views the data, similar to the way Apple locks down location data.

“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines. We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”
Congress became involved and probably motivated the move, but the legislative body is not going to like what it hears.

The problem is that iOS apps not only have access to a user’s contacts database (including addresses and notes), but apps also have full and unencumbered access to everything in the iOS app sandbox, such as pictures, music, movies, calendars, and a host of other data. Any of this content is literally open for developers to freely transmit to their own servers while apps are open.

(note that pictures with geotags will pop up a Location dialog which can be averted in code with some well known tricks)

Moreover, approved apps also have access to the iPhone’s camera and microphone, so apps can also take pictures and make recordings without permission (although, this would be easy to detect by the user with the light from the front camera or red bar during audio). Photos, videos, and audio are transmittable securely or insecurely up to servers that you and Apple do not know about.

To developers, this is no big secret. It is not trivial, but putting that kind of functionality into an app is straightforward and only uses Apple’s publicly available and blessed developer APIs (which means this stuff will not likely be detected by Apple’s App Store approval process).

Obviously, shady developers and even government entities are probably already using such apps to gather information. Therefore, these are some scenarios:

A Spam marketing firm creates a free fart/flashlight app that—while using it—sucks up your complete contact address book and shoots it over the net to their servers securely.
A shady government creates a free photo app that automatically uploads any pictures geotagged in a particular area to their servers for free intelligence gathering. That also means users are traceable by picture-taking without location services toggled on.
Some important points to note:

Apps can only spy and slurp down your information when they are open. Just installing an app does not let this happen.
Obviously, most developers would never consider doing something like this, and most companies would never try to do this either, because word getting out would destroy them immediately. However, there are many developers out there, and it is trivial to get on Apple’s development platform.
Apps like Path were busted because it was transmitting data via SSL, but granting it a fake SSL certificate (Ed. Thanks commenter) actually let the developer watch the data as it is transmits. However, if data is encrypted without SSL, security experts and Apple cannot really see what is transferring securely, so it is harder to ferret out nasty applications
This is not specifically an iOS problem. Any desktop application can suck up data and send it to a server somewhere far away (including email). Android handles this a little differently: If an app wants access contacts, it asks permission upon installation. Most people do not look at this, but the onus is on the user to approve access. So, that is protection in name only.
What can Apple do about this?

There is not an easy answer. Obviously Apple plans to add a Location type control in Settings for contacts, but it cannot do that for /everything/.

If Apple decides it has to block access to these features, it would almost instantly break many apps that are not doing anything illegal.

Apple, in an upcoming release, could institute controls for everything meaning you would have to expressly give all apps individual permission to access location, contacts, camera, photos, etc.

In other words, opening Facebook would take 10 minutes.

It will be interesting to see what Apple does.

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From: FUBHO2/28/2012 5:15:36 PM
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Samsung Aims to Double Smartphone, Tablet Sales This Year
By Jun Yang - Feb 27, 2012 2:47 PM GMT+0800

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the world’s second-largest handset maker, said it aims to double sales of smartphones and tablet computers this year with a wider range of Galaxy-branded devices, intensifying competition with Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Samsung, which shipped about 97 million smartphones last year, plans to introduce a successor to the Galaxy S II in the first half of the year and other models later, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung didn’t disclose data for tablet sales and the 2012 target.

Samsung, locked up in global patent lawsuits with Apple over mobile technology and design, sold a record 300 million handsets including basic models in 2011, helped by the popularity of its Galaxy products that run Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software. The company expects to sell about 380 million handsets this year, including all types, J.K. Shin, head of the mobile business, told reporters in Barcelona yesterday.

“The target shows the confidence Samsung has,” Koo Ja Woo, a Seoul-based analyst at Kyobo Securities Co., said by telephone. “I’m not sure when the next iPhone will come out, but Samsung will keep introducing flagship models to keep pace. Also, low-end smartphones will be a new volume area.”

Samsung fell 0.8 percent to 1,171,000 won in Seoul trading today. The shares have gained 11 percent this year, compared with a 29 percent increase for Apple.

Global sales of the Galaxy S II reached 20 million in about 10 months since it went on sale, about seven months faster than shipments of its predecessor, Samsung said last week. Tablet sales may double to about 10 million units this year, Koo said.

At the Mobile World Congress show starting in Barcelona today, Samsung will unveil what it says will be the world’s thinnest smartphone, the Galaxy Beam. The phone can also be used as a video projector, the company said in a separate statement today. Samsung will also show two models of the Galaxy Tab 2 with 7-inch and 10.1-inch displays.

The company has sold about 2 million units of the Galaxy Note equipped with a 5.3-inch screen and a stylus since sales began in October, Samsung said today. The company expects to sell another 8 million units of the model by the end of this year and plans to introduce more pen-equipped products with different screen sizes, Samsung said.

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From: FUBHO2/29/2012 12:29:52 AM
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Sprint reveals it spent $15.5 billion to fuel its iPhone hunger

By Daniel Cooper posted Feb 28th 2012 at 4:12PM

Sprint's SEC filings have revealed that the carrier has committed to purchasing $15.5 billion worth of iPhones as part of the long-promised $20 billion gamble. If each handset costs around $630 at trade, then we're talking about the network holding nearly 24 million units. Given that the company most recently ate a loss of $1.3 billion, most of which was caused by carrier subsidies for the 4S, there's a genuine fear that the company won't be able to make enough back on each customer to offset the initial outlay. Given the Baller-style purchasing decisions of Dan Hesse of late, we'll be watching how this unfolds with great interest and our fingers very firmly crossed.

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From: sylvester802/29/2012 9:10:58 AM
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Analysis: Apple is Seeking 10,000x FRAND Rates in Patent Lawsuits
Jason Mick (Blog) - February 29, 2012 6:15 AM

Patent reform is crucial or electronics industry will be consumed in self-destructive chaos

It's simple math. And it illustrates how broken the international patent registration and court system is when it comes to intellectual property.

I. The System is Broken

Microsoft Corp. ( MSFT) recently revealed that tentative Google Inc. ( GOOG) acquisition Motorola Mobility wanted $22.50 per devicefor a series of video codec patents. This request was clearly ridiculous -- as Microsoft states, the typical licensing rate for a collection of standards patents under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms is around $0.02 USD per device.

FRAND is actually a model system in that it is inherently an exemplar in the world of intellectual property. It represents fair compensation to innovators, yet opens key developments to the masses, allowing them to push the envelope.

The issue is that FRAND is on the verge of dying.

The would-be murderer is patent litigation. Keep that $0.02 USD patent licensing figure in mind. Now imagine you patent a trivial user interface gesture, which is essentially some sort of variant on drag and drop. Suddenly you can ban a competitor's device which retails for $200.00 USD.

That's right -- based on recent court decisions, almost trivial non-FRAND patents [ 1][ 2][ 3] are being rewarded with rulings worth 10,000x or more the cost of traditional licensing fees.

This abysmal state of affairs not only encourages patent trolling, it offers a strong financial incentive to stop any FRAND related work. If your competitors go non-FRAND and your company works cooperatively under FRAND guidelines, your firm will almost certainly be dealt a series of crippling court rulings under the current patent atmosphere. Try explaining that to investors.

II. Some Suggestions for Improving the System

User interface patents, firmware patents, and their ilk certainly represent a philosophy of protecting software innovators. That's a noble goal. However, in the future, it would be good for the patent system to consider a couple of points:

1. The potential for alternatives

Apple recently patented sending an interrupt to a processor in order to underclock it. Now, interrupts have been used for decades as the fundamental firmware mechanism to deal with immediate events. And a processor's power circuitry must receive some sort of guidance in order to underclock a chip.

Thus, while Apple's patent may be novel (assuming a lack of prior art), there are few feasible alternatives. The patent system should note this kind of situation and put a higher pressure to reach a fair licensing situation in this kind of case. You can't patent the laws of physics, so to speak, and even if you could, the least the system can do is to force you to license it.

2. The importance of a patent

Thus far Apple has secured short bans on Android products for relatively trivial features -- swipe to unlock, fast scrolling algorithms, and a "bounce" animation when performing drags or pinches.

In terms of the iPhone's net worth these represent maybe 1/500th or less of the total software innovation in the device. Thus it might be fair to charge collectively $1.00 USD per device for them, but seeking a ban or exorbitant fees from competitors who use similar effects/inputs is extremely punitive and unfair.

3. Eliminating repetition

The mobile industry is awash in a deluge of repatents -- companies taking personal computer innovations, putting a mobile spin on them and then filing for a patent. Apple's swipe to unlock is essential a touch screen version of the time immemorial drag-and-drop.

Motorola's forbidden swipe to unlock gesture [Image Source: YouTube]

If such repeats are allowed, the patents should at least be flagged. Again such a flag could be used as a basis to force a licensing settlement and/or reduce the maximum damages a company can seek to collect in a suit.

4. Force Companies to Reach Licensing Settlements

Barring a handful of patents where the IP describes essentially an entire product, there should be strict guidelines forcing companies to settle software IP disputes.

A reasonable place to start would be to charge x10 the going FRAND rate (e.g. $0.20 USD for licensing a portfolio of IP). In FRAND terms, this would not be fair and reasonable. But the approach would bring into line the risk-vs-reward equation of the FRAND-vs-non-FRAND filings, versus the current hyper-inflated value scenario which essentially tilts the value scale in the direction of non-FRAND so far that the balance bar breaks.

III. Don't Want to Fix the System? Prepare for a Dying Industry

As the industry stands right now, FRAND is on the verge of collapse. Google and its partners are fast learning that playing fair does not work. Their FRAND suits illustrate a willingness to play dirty. And that new perspective will likely soon manifest in a cessation of FRAND work.

This is a horrible state of affairs for the industry. By allowing injunctions that exceed FRAND payouts 10,000-fold, the global intellectual property sphere is revelling in the creation of an anti-competitive, anti-technology environment.

This system promises an ugly future in which mobile communications are slow (as it would be uneconomical to participate in FRAND communications standard development), there interfaces will be clunky (a company will be limited to a handful of UI elements for fear of infringement), and product quality will be decreased to offset an inevitable slew of licensing fees.

Prepare for the future of technology if the patent system is not reworked.
[Image Source: Museum of Natural History]

This is a system where nobody wins. And this is the system that will result if drastic action is not taken, right now.

Is Google/Motorola/Samsung playing dirty? Yes.
Is Microsoft milking the licensing system [ 1][ 2]? Yes.
Is Apple acting as an anticompetitive litigation abuser? Yes.

In a macroscopic sense, the problem is not these companies. The problem is the intellectual property system. This argument must not be lost amid our personal prejudices, lest the increasingly hyperlitigious atmosphere destroy the innovative devices we enjoy today, regardless of who makes them.

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From: FUBHO2/29/2012 12:24:44 PM
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Mozilla's 'modest' proposal: Dump the smartphone OS

Companies tout 'Boot to Gecko' platform that can fully control the smartphone and its features without the complexity of a conventional OS
By John Cox |

Mozilla has a "modest proposal" about smartphones and it's simply stated. "Dump the operating system. All of them."

But unlike the famous essay by British satirist Jonathan Swift, Mozilla isn't fooling around. And at Mobile World Congress, the non-profit creator of the Firefox browser and its partner, the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica, showed just how serious they are.

The companies unveiled details for a smartphone platform that has the merest sliver of an OS, a small Linux kernel and other low-level elements, which act mainly to support device drivers and to launch the Gecko rendering engine, the heart of Mozilla's Firefox. Coupled with a growing array of new APIs, and a user interface dubbed Gaia, the platform can fully control the phone and its features without the complexity of a conventional OS.


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From: sylvester803/7/2012 9:01:17 AM
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Google Inc. Said Shopping Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.'s Set-Top Business-DJ
7:03am EST Dow Jones reported that Google Inc. is looking to sell Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.'s set-top box business ahead of closing on the $12.5 billion acquisition, The New York Post reported. While Google hasn't opened the sales book on the set-top business, they have sought help from Frank Quattrone's investment bank, Qatalyst Partners, and Barclays Capital to shop the asset.

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From: sylvester803/8/2012 7:33:20 AM
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BREAKING..Justice Department preparing Apple iBooks antitrust lawsuit
By Daniel Cooper posted Mar 8th 2012 5:50AM

The Justice Department is reportedly preparing to go after Apple, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan and HarperCollins following its investigation into alleged e-book price-rigging. The case centers around a deal to switch to agency pricing, where the vendor takes a 30 percent cut of each sale, rather than the wholesale model that gives publishers more flexibility to reduce prices or even sell e-books at a loss. Some publishers are now trying to agree on a new policy in an effort to stave off the kind of federal suit that nobody wants to wear.

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From: pcyhuang3/10/2012 11:55:57 PM
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Why the IPAD is Unbeatable

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