Samsung today announced that it and several other companies have created a group called the Open Interconnect Consortium. The OIC's goal is to create a connection protocol for what is commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. Some of the other companies include Dell, Atmel, Intel, Broadcom, and Wind River. The group is focused on delivering a specification, an open source implementation, and a certification program for wirelessly connecting devices, such as smartphones, tablets, PCs, and various other bits of gear. The group will first target hardware common to homes and home offices, such as thermostats and refrigerators, and will expand from there. The OIC is competing with a similar group supported by Qualcomm and Microsoft.
Microsoft and Dell have inked a patent-licensing agreement in which Dell has agreed to pay Microsoft royalties for sales of devices based on Google's Android and Chrome operating systems. Android uses some patents that are owned by Microsoft, and most major handset makers have already signed similar licensing agreements with Microsoft. Motorola is the last major hold out because it believes its thousands of mobile patents negate the need to license Microsoft's. Terms of the agreement between Dell and Microsoft were not disclosed.
Dell confirmed that it no longer plans to make smartphones. Speaking at the Dell World conference, head of Dell's consumer business Jeff Clarke said that the company does not intend to return to the smartphone market in the near future. "It needs a lot of investments to really be successful," said Clarke. Dell had offered the Venue and Streak Android devices and the Venue Pro Windows Phone through its web site until March of this year. Dell continued to sell those devices in other markets, but Clarke's comments confirm that Dell is exiting the smartphone business entirely. For now, Dell will focus on its PC and and tablet computer businesses.
Dell has confirmed that it recently ceased offering smartphones to U.S. buyers. Dell had offered the Venue and Streak Android devices and the Venue Pro Windows Phone through its web site, but each of these products has reached end of life status in recent months and they are no longer available. Speaking to PC World, Dell confirmed said that it is still selling these devices in other markets, and that more mobile devices are planned. PCMag and AllThingsD reported that Dell will release new smartphones and tablets in the U.S. later this year, but the company isn't ready to provide information about those devices at this time.
Microsoft and AT&T are now delivering the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update to the Dell Venue Pro. Microsoft encourages owners of the Venue Pro to update their devices. Instructions are available on Microsoft's support site.
WiLan, a Canadian patent-licensing firm, today announced that it has initiated legal proceedings against a number of technology companies over patent infringement. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, names Apple, Alcatel-Lucent, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, HTC America, Kyocera International, Kyocera Communications, Novatel Wireless, and Sierra Wireless America as the defendants. According to WiLan each of the companies is infringing upon two patents, one pertains to CDMA and HSPA, and the other pertains to LTE and Wi-Fi. Patent litigation has become an oft-used tool to generate income.
Qik today announced an update to its video chatting client for T-Mobile Android devices. The most significant change to the software is enhanced privacy controls. Users will now be able to block anonymous video callers, and all videos recorded will be set to private by default. This lets users specify which videos their contacts are able to see. Qik for T-Mobile is available to the myTouch 4G, Galaxy Tab, Dell Streak 7, Vibrant 4G, Sidekick 4G, G2x, Sensation 4G, and Samsung Exhibit 4G.
Microsoft today announced that more hardware makers will soon be bringing Windows Phone 7 devices to market. Acer, Fujitsu Limited, and ZTE Corporation all join Dell, HTC, LG, Nokia, and Samsung. The first Nokia WP7 device will have Mango.
Dell recently began offering a variant of its Venue Pro Windows Phone 7 smartphone with support for AT&T's 3G bands. The FCC approved the AT&T variant back in December, though until now, the Venue Pro has only been available with support for T-Mobile's 3G network. Dell is offering it for $99 with an AT&T contract.
Microsoft today published a blog post regarding the status of the NoDo update delivery. Microsoft noted that it is making progress in getting the update out to WP7 users as quickly as possible. It also asked users to wait for the official update and avoid using any of the homebrew methods of forcing the update. Microsoft explained, "If you attempt one of these workarounds, we can’t say for sure what might happen to your phone because we haven’t fully tested these homebrew techniques. You might not be getting the important device-specific software we would typically deliver in the official update. Or your phone might get misconfigured and not receive future updates. It’s even possible your phone might stop working properly. Bottom line: unsupported workarounds put you in uncharted territory that may void your phone warranty." T-Mobile subscribers who own the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro should be receiving the update. NoDo is still being tested by AT&T, and a delivery is still targeted at later this month.
Dell has indicated via one of its Twitter accounts that it will start pushing out the NoDo update to the Venue Pro WP7 smartphone starting today. Dell will also be pushing a Dell-specific update to fix bugs at a later date.
Microsoft has published a web site to provide Windows Phone 7 users with a general idea of when they might expect their devices to receive the NoDo update. According to the site, Microsoft is scheduling the update for the Dell Venue Pro and HD7 (both on T-Mobile), which means it should be available in the next 10 days or so. The update is still being tested for other phones, such as the Surround, Quantum, and Focus, and the update has yet to be scheduled for them. NoDo provides copy and paste and better Marketplace search.
Dell had the Venue, its slab-style Android phone, on hand in Mobile World Congress. We check it out.
Hands-on with the full range of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices announced this week, including the HTC HD7 and Surround, LG Quantum, Samsung Focus, and Dell Venue Pro.