Info & Phones News
Ericsson today said it will cease to make wireless modems for mobile devices and cut about 1,000 jobs as a result. Ericsson cited fierce competition in the space as playing a role in its decision. More and more handset companies are demanding modems that are built into application processors, such as those made by Qualcomm. Ericsson does not have its own application processor business, and has seen its share in the market drop accordingly. Ericsson said it will shift some employees from the modem business to an R&D facility in its networking and M2M business. Earlier this year, Broadcom made a similar decision to stop making basebands for cell phones.
Samsung and Ericsson have reached a patent-licensing deal that will put an end to litigation between the two companies. The deal concerns telecommunications patents that Samsung previously licensed from Ericsson. The original agreement between the two companies ended in 2011, and Ericsson sued Samsung in 2012 after the two failed to come to terms over the value of the patents. The new cross-licensing agreement covers an unknown number of patents, some of which are deemed to be standard essential. The companies did not disclose terms.
HTC, Sony, Ericsson, and Alcatel-Lucent did not infringe on four Wi-Lan patents, according to the patent-licensing firm. Wi-Lan sued the four companies for infringing on a handful of its wireless patents, but a Texas jury cleared all four firms in the case. Wi-Lan expressed disappointment in the outcome. Patent-licensing firms often use litigation to generate income. Wi-Lan filed similar litigation against BlackBerry late last year.
ST-Ericsson today revealed that it has sold its mobile GPS business to Intel for an undisclosed sum. ST-Ericsson is a joint venture between STMicroelectronics and Ericsson. The two parent companies revealed earlier this year that they were preparing to wind the struggling venture down. ST-Ericsson's GPS-related assets and engineers will be added to Intel's existing GPS business. Intel, which recently named a new CEO, is making a concerted push to become a mainstream player in the mobile chip business. This acquisition can help it in that pursuit.
Sprint's Network Vision project has been plagued by problems with its equipment providers, the company said in paperwork recently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "During the second half of 2012, we experienced delays with vendor execution, backhaul connectivity delays, shortages in equipment such as fiber cable and antennas, as well as other regulatory and environmental issues," said Sprint. Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Samsung are the three companies providing Sprint with its networking gear, each of which is responsible for a select geographical area of the country. "However, we expect that we will recover from these delays and we are still forecasting to have the majority of the sites on-air by the end of 2013 with expected completion of Network Vision deployment by the middle of 2014." Sprint has been slow to deploy its LTE network, which first launched during the second quarter of 2012. It had expected to cover 250 million POPs with LTE by the end of 2013, but has revised that estimate downward to 200 million. It says it is still on track to reach 150 million POPs by the middle of 2013.
Ericsson today announced that it has agreed to acquire Devoteam Telecom & Media of France. Devoteam provides consulting and IT management services, which Ericsson will add to its own consulting organization. The acquisition includes about 400 employees, as well as Devoteam's StartVision operations. Ericsson expects the acquisition to close during the second quarter of the year, pending regulatory review.
The U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday agreed to investigate Ericsson's patent infringement claims against Samsung. Ericsson filed the ITC complaint in December after it and Samsung were unable to agree on licensing terms for Ericsson's wireless patents. Samsung claims that Ericsson wants royalty rates that are far above what would be considered fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory. At issue are Samsung's smartphones, tablets, TVs, PCs, and base station equipment. Ericsson filed a separate patent-infringement lawsuit, seeking compensatory damages, in U.S. District Court againt Samsung in late November.
Ericsson today filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to block the sale of some of Samsung's telecommunications equipment in the U.S. Ericsson filed a separate patent-infringement lawsuit againt Samsung last week. Ericsson filed the lawsuit after it and Samsung were unable to are on licensing terms for Ericsson's wireless patents. Samsung claims that Ericsson wants royalty rates that are far above what would be considered fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory.
Ericsson has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against competitor Samsung after the two companies failed to reach a licensing agreement. According to Ericsson, the two telecom giants negotiated patent licensing agreements for more than two years, but never came to a settlement. "Ericsson has tried long and hard to amicably come to an agreement with Samsung and sign a license agreement on FRAND terms. We have turned to litigation as a last resort," said the company in a statement. In this case, the patents pertain to telecommunication networking gear, which both companies provide to wireless network operators. In its own statement, Samsung said, "Samsung has faithfully committed itself to conducting fair and reasonable negotiations with Ericsson over the past two years, but Ericsson has demanded prohibitively higher royalty rates to renew the same patent portfolio." The lawsuit was filed in the United States.
Ericsson today announced that it has acquired ConceptWave for an undisclosed amount of cash. ConceptWave, which is based in Toronto, provides operational support systems and business support systems. ConceptWave's customers are based worldwide. According to Ericsson, the acquisition will help it to strengthen its own support services for its wireless network operator customers. For example, Ericsson manages Sprint's cell towers. Ericsson acquired ConceptWave's approximate 170 employees as part of the deal, which has already closed.
Nokia Siemens Networks is in talks with several companies that are interested in purchasing its business support systems unit. Nokia Siemens CEO Rajeev Suri said the company continues to pare down non-core business units as it restructures. Suri didn't mention what businesses are interested in the support unit, but Reuters reports that Ericsson is among the top contenders. Nokia Siemens has already divested its wired broadband and WiMax businesses.
Sprint today announced measures it has taken in order to acquire more capital for on-going business operations. The company secured a $1 billion credit agreement from Deutsche Bank and other banks to finance equipment purchases from Ericsson for its Network Vision project. Sprint today also announced that it is retiring $1 billion in fourth quarter 2013 debt maturities. Sprint raised several billion in capital in late 2011 and early 2012 through the sale of notes. Sprint is using the funds for general operations, the build out its LTE network, and to help fund Clearwire. Sprint expects to launch its LTE network in several markets in the coming months, with 120 million POPs covered by the end of 2012.
Ericsson today announced that it has devised a way to triple the upload speeds across HSPA networks by making some alterations to how base stations handle such traffic. Ericsson said that a new set of software algorithms allows it to surpress the interference that WCDMA/HSPA base stations have to deal with on the uplink. Using the interference suppression technique in combination with configuring base stations with four antennas allows it to triple uplink speeds from 4Mbps to 12Mbps for a given 5MHz carrier. Ericsson says that this technique will not require network operators to invest in new base station equipment other than software updates and additional antennas. The solution works with existing consumer cell phones.
Sony announced that it has finalized the acquisition of Ericsson's shares of the two companies' joint venture, Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. and has been renamed to Sony Mobile Communications. Sony said that it will work to integrate Sony Mobile and its handsets across Sony's line of consumer electronics.
Qualcomm today announced that it and partner Ericsson have successfully completed the first voice call handover from an LTE mobile network (using voice over LTE -- or VoLTE) to a WCDMA network. The call used Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC), which is required for VoLTE calls to seamlessly switch to a WCDMA network when a consumer on a VoLTE call leaves the LTE network's coverage area. SRVCC and its predecessor CSFB (circuit-switched fall back) allow both LTE and 3G network connections to be supported on a single chip, which lets handset makers design smaller, less expensive, more power-efficient phones. The test was completed using an Ericsson handset with Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 3G/LTE multimode processor.
Ericsson and ZTE today announced that they have come to terms over patent litigation between them. The companies have both signed a global cross-licensing agreement and agreed to drop all litigation. ZTE has also signed a royalty-bearing license agreement to certain Ericsson patents. The patents in question concerned GSM and 3G/UMTS cellular technology. Companies in the telecommunications space often use litigation as a tool to forge such licensing agreements.
Sony Ericsson today revealed that the Xperia Active Android smartphone is available to U.S. buyers through a handful of online retailers, including Newegg. It costs $339.99, is being sold unlocked, and is compatible with AT&T's 3G network.
C Spire Wireless today announced the launch of Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play gaming smartphone. The Xperia Play is available immediately through most C Spire retail channels for $49.99 after rebate with a new two-year agreement.
Sony Ericsson recently revealed that it is going to discontinue its Sony Ericsson Sync service, which was meant to help users of Sony Ericsson devices, such as the Xperia line of smartphones, keep their contacts synced properly across devices. In a note posted to its support forums Sony Ericsson lays out the steps users need to take to make sure their contacts and other date are backed up. Sony Ericsson recommends that its users switch to Google Sync or other similar services for their future syncing needs.
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg has indicated that the company plans to flex its patent muscle in order to generate more revenue. "By 2015 two thirds of all consumer electronics devices will have some sort of connectivity," Vestberg said in an interview with BusinessWeek. "Any company or manufacturer that wants to get in there will need an agreement with Ericsson." Ericsson owns the rights to about 27,000 patents, which cover "basically everything in the telecom industry," according to Vestberg. The company is looking at its Wi-Fi patents, as well as those concerning Web search and optical transmissions in particular. The company has yet to decide the best coarse of action to take, though it appears to want to steer clear of bilateral agreements and may instead target chip makers directly. Patented technology has become a source of income -- and litigation -- for many players in the telecommunications and smartphone industry. Vestberg said that using its patents to earn additional revenue could help even out its quarterly performance.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it has made the Xperia neo V and arc S available to U.S. buyers through the online Sony Store. Both handsets are being sold unlocked. The neo V costs $349.99 and the arc S costs $449.99, no contracts required.
Sony Ericsson today announced on its blog that it will update its entire line-up of Xperia-branded Android smartphones to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This includes the Xperia arc and arc S, Xperia Play, Xperia neo and neo V, Xperia mini and mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia active, and Xperia ray. Sony Ericsson said that it is working to merge the features of its Xperia software with those of Android 4.0, and will have more information on the availability of the system updates at a later time.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it has partnered with Ingram Micro to help distribute its unlocked smartphones to retail points in the U.S. Ingram Micro ships devices to retailers world wide, and has a number of U.S.-based reseller partners, including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Buy.com, and Newegg.com. When Ingram Micro starts shipping Sony Ericsson's smartphones later this month, they will become available to U.S. buyers from the aforementioned retailers. The agreement covers a number of devices in Sony Ericsson's Xperia line of Android smartphones.
ST-Ericsson today announced that it has won a deal to supply wireless chips to Nokia for the Finnish phone maker's future Windows Phone smartphones. To-date, all Windows Phone devices have included chips from Qualcomm. ST-Ericsson said it believes its chips will allow Nokia to build Windows Phone devices at a lower cost, allowing it to target different market segments and regions. Nokia recently revealed its first two Windows Phone 7 devices, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710. Both use Qualcomm chips.
Sony today announced that it is going to purchase Ericsson's share of the two companies' Sony Ericsson cell phone joint venture for $1.47 billion. Once the purchase is complete, Sony Ericsson will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony, which intends to integrate the handset division into its other consumer electronics products. As part of the deal, Sony gains five essential patent families related to wireless technology, and also struck a cross-licensing agreement with Ericsson concerning other, non-essential patents. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies, and is expected to close in January 2012, pending regulatory review. The joint venture originally launched in October 2001.
Sony Ericsson said that it is going to shift its entire cellular phone business to smartphones only starting in 2012. According to Sony Ericsson, smartphones already account for 80% of its sales and its Android phones account for 12% of all worldwide Android sales. The company still makes some feature phones, but will cease doing so come next year. Reports surfaced last week that Sony might buy Ericsson out of the joint venture so that the company can more closely integrate its smartphone products with Sony's large line of consumer electronics. Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg declined to verify that report.
Sony is near to reaching a deal that would let it buy Ericsson's stake in the two companies' cell phone joint venture, reports the Wall Street Journal. According to sources familiar with Sony's plans, the company wants to fully control the cell phone and smartphone business so it can more fully integrate those products with its computer, tablet, media player, and other consumer electronics businesses. Sony Ericsson was created by the two companies in 2001 and is currently the world's sixth-largest maker of cell phones. The Journal said that the talks between Sony and Ericsson have been on-again / off-again for years, are still tenuous, and could fall apart at any time. The Journal believes Ericsson's stake in the joint venture is valued between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion, though it is not clear what Sony would pay to Ericsson to regain full control over the company. Sony wants to be able to more effectively compete against companies such as Apple and Samsung.
Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg indicated during an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the company is not planning to adopt Microsoft's Windows Phone platform any time soon. "At this point I wouldn't feel comfortable investing in a platform that isn't as good as the one that we currently use," said Nordberg. "Therefore we have remained with Android, but I am quite curious about Windows Phone. However, our Android strategy has been successful and the best choice we could have made, considering the growth of the Android platform." The Journal also queried Nordberg on why Sony Ericsson has been slow to adopt the newest technologies in its handsets, such as Long Term Evolution and WiMax. Nordberg replied, "We are quite careful throwing ourselves into new technology, simply because there is no guarantee that consumers will buy, just because we develop it. But it's safe to say that Sony Ericsson should have taken the iPhone more seriously when it arrived in 2007." Nordberg went on to say that the company is using the Xperia Play Android smartphone, which is sold by both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, as a stepping stone to grow its share of the market in the U.S.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it is making the Xperia Ray Android smartphone available to buyers in the U.S. via newgg.com and other online retailers. The Xperia Ray runs Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread and features an 8.1-megapixel camera with an Exmor CMOS sensor, face detection/recognition, autofocus, touch-to-focus, and 720p HD video capture, and a 3.3-inch Reality Display with the Mobile Bravia Engine. The Xperia Ray retails for $429.99 and is sold without a contract. it is compatible with AT&T's 3G network.
Skype has updated its Android application to version 2.5. The new version of Skype adds compatibility with a number of new handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1; HTC Nexus One and EVO 3D; Sony Ericsson Xperia Live and Xperia neo V; LG Optimus Black, Optimus 3D, and Optimus 2x; Motorola Photon, Droid 3, Bionic, Xoom, and Atrix; and the Acer Iconia. In addition to the new devices, Skype 2.5 for Android supports video calls in portrait and landscape; it includes double-tap to zoom; groups recent calls by contact; improves support for Bluetooth headsets; adds the ability to delete and edit IM messages; and adds in-app advertising for non-premium users. The software is free to download and install from the Android Market.
Isis today announced that a large number of handset manufacturers have agreed to adopt Isis' near-field communication technology for mobile payments. HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, RIM, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and DeviceFidelity will all introduce NFC-enabled mobile devices that use components backed by Isis' NFC standards. Isis is a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless that aims to bring NFC-based mobile payments to their customers. Trials are scheduled to start in early 2012.
AT&T today announced that it will sell its own version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play gaming Android phone starting September 18. The device will cost $49.99 with a new agreement.
Sony Ericsson today announced the Xperia Arc S, an update to the Xperia Arc that bumps the processor up to 1.4GHz. Sony Ericsson says the Xperia Arc S can open the camera application 25% faster and render web sites 20% faster. In addition to the faster processor, the Xperia Arc S includes an 8-megapixel camera with an Exmor sensor and can capture 2D and 3D panoramas, which can be viewed on 3D HDTVs via the HDMI output. The camera can shoot 720p HD video and has an LED flash, touch-to-focus, and image stabilization. The Xperia Arc S has a 4.2-inch Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It will ship with Sony's Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services, which provide access to music and video content. The Arc S will ship in two variants, including a quad-band 800/850/1900/2100MHz UMTS/HSPA version for use on U.S. networks. All variants include Bluetooth, GPS, FM radio, and Wi-Fi. The Xperia Arc S will ship in select markets starting in the fourth quarter.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it will provide a major software update to the bulk of its Xperia Android smartphones. The update includes Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread and a number of new features from Sony Ericsson. The update will add: Google Talk with Video Chat to devices with user-facing cameras; a 3D sweep panorama mode to device cameras; easier app and game sharing/discovery within Facebook; compatibility with USB-based accessories to the Sony Ericsson LiveDock multimedia station; swipe text input; and the ability to take screen shots from any application. This update will be delivered to the Xperia Play, Xperia arc, Xperia neo, Xperia ray, Xperia pro, Xperia mini and Xperia mini pro smartphones. The update will go out in select markets starting in October
Sony Ericsson today announced the Xperia Neo V, a new Android smartphone that will include refreshed Xperia software from Sony Ericsson. The Neo V is a monoblock slab running Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread with a 1GHz SnapDragon processor and a 3.7-inch, scratch resistant 480 x 854 FWVGA Reality Display with Mobile Bravia Engine. The new Xperia software heavily revises the Facebook experience on the phone; adds swipe text input and easy screen shots; adds 3D sweep panorama capabilities to the camera; and enables a wide array of USB-based accessories, such as mice, keyboards, and game controllers. Other features of the Xperia Neo V include a 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus/touch-to-focus, face detection, panoramas, LED flash and 720p HD video capture. It includes Wi-Fi, aGPS, Bluetooth, FM radio with RDS, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. One variant of the Neo V will have support for AT&T's 3G networks. Pricing and availability were not announced.
Sony Ericsson today announced the Live, a new Android 2.3 Gingerbread Android smartphone with dedicated WalkMan features. The Sony Ericsson Live with WalkMan is a monoblock slab with a 3.2-inch display with 320 x 480 pixels. It comes with a WalkMan button to call up the device's music features, which include stereo speakers with xLOUD so they sound good at high volumes; Sony's Qriosity music and video content services; track ID to identify songs playing on the radio; and the Infinite button, which taps the internet to deliver content about the artist currently playing in the WalkMan application. The Live also includes an FM radio with RDS and Stereo Bluetooth. Other features include a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, face detection, smile detection, touch-to-focus, flash/video light, and 720p HD video capture. The Live with WalkMan includes Skype, Sony Ericsson's TimeScape and Facebook applications, and 3D games. The Live comes in two different radio configurations, one of which is a quad-band GSM/EDGE and tri-band 850/1900/2100MHz UMTS/HSPA variant for North America. Sony Ericsson expects the Live with WalkMan to ship globally during the fourth quarter. Pricing was not released.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it will make its Xperia Arc Android smartphone available to customers in the U.S starting in August. The device will be sold directly to consumers via Sony Ericsson's online retail site, as well as Amazon.com, Newegg.com, and Buy.com. The Xperia Arc is compatible with AT&T's 2G/3G networks, runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and has an 8 megapixel camera. The full retail price of the Xperia Arc is $599.99.
Both the Motorola Droid X2 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 can be updated to Android 2.3 Gingerbread thanks to Verizon Wireless and Sony Ericsson. Droid X2 owners can update their handset over the air using the on-board system update tools. If they don't, Verizon's servers will eventually notify the user that the update is available. Xperia X10 owners will need to connect their handset to a computer to download and install the Gingerbread system update. It will become available at some point in the next few days. The update adds a number of new features to both handsets.
AT&T revealed at a media event in New York that it will soon offer the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. According to representatives on-hand, the device will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and can access AT&T's HSPA+ network at 21Mbps. Pricing and availability weren't available.
Reuters today reports that judges in the United States and in Canada have approved an Apple-led consortium's bid on some 6,000 Nortel patents that were auctioned off in late June. Apple, RIM, Microsoft, EMC Corp, Ericsson, and Sony Corp out-bid rival Google for the patents, many of which pertain to wireless networking technologies. Combined, the companies bid a total of $4.5 billion for the patents. The auction was held to satisfy Nortel's financial obligations resulting from its bankruptcy.