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printed January 25, 2015
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BlackBerry CEO Weighs In On Net and App Neutrality

Thursday, 8:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry CEO John S. Chen penned a blog post concerning net neutrality. Chen does not think the FCC should reclassify broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. He believes the FCC can come up with other ways to ensure an open, competitive market. Perhaps more interesting, however, are Chen's thoughts on "application neutrality." Chen believes application developers and content providers should be required to make their apps and services available to all mobile devices, including BlackBerries. "Not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality," wrote Chen. "Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple's iMessage messaging service. Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. This dynamic has created a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. Therefore, neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer's mobile operating system." Both the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store are home to more than one million apps each. The number of apps available to BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices is much, much less.


Apple Picks Up Music Analytics Firm

Wednesday, 8:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has purchased a company called Semetrics for an undisclosed sum. Semetrics, which is based in the U.K., can track online music sales as well as illegal downloads and buzz across social media. Semetrics' Musicmetric service lets artists gauge how well their songs are performing within services such as Spotify, for example. Apple is believed to be preparing a music streaming service to compete with Spotify, Pandora, and others, and Semetrics can help provide it with the data needed to more effectively run that service.


Amazon Wallet App Headed for the App Graveyard

Wednesday, 8:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon has informed users of the Amazon Wallet application that it will shut down the app and remove it from the Appstore today, reports CNET. Amazon launched the app as a beta service in July. Amazon Wallet let people store gift cards, loyalty cards, and membership cards. Amazon originally pitched the app as a way to reduce clutter in wallets and purses. The wallet app did not connect to bank accounts or credit cards and couldn't be used to make tap-and-go payments. "We have learned a great deal from the introduction of the Wallet and will look for ways to apply these lessons in the future as we continue to innovate on behalf of our customers," said Tom Cook, an Amazon spokesperson. Amazon said customers will be able to use the balances of any gift or loyalty cards stored in the app, but it will no longer track balances. Amazon didn't say if the app will return at some point in another form. Consumers are able to use alternate services, such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Softcard, to make contactless payments at participating retailers around the country.


Facebook Working On Its Own Voice-to-Text System

Jan 20, 2015, 8:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook plans to add voice-to-text transcription to its Facebook Messenger application, said David Marcus, Facebook's vice president of messaging products. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Marcus said the company is already testing the system using machine-to-machine learning, though he declined to say when the feature might be added to the app. Facebook expects the feature to be popular across Asia and other regions where typing various languages on mobile devices is more of a chore. Apple, Google, and Microsoft already provide their own voice-to-text services, which are built into the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone operating systems, respectively. Marcus didn't say how Facebook's transcription service will differ from what's already available to consumers. Marcus said 500 million people use Messenger monthly and it hopes to grow that number to 1 billion. Marcus indicated Facebook is exploring ways to monetize Messenger, but the company wants to avoid advertising. Facebook also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, which have 700 million and 300 million monthly users, respectively. Facebook said it will monetize Messenger before WhatsApp. Facebook has an "ambitious" roadmap for Messenger, and will add other features over the course of the year.


Samsung Picks New Design Chief

Jan 19, 2015, 8:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae as senior vice president of Samsung’s global design team, where he will oversee all Samsung's designs. Before being scooped up by Samsung, Lee worked for a U.K. design agency called Tangerine. Tangerine once consulted for Apple more than 20 years ago, and is where Apple found its current design chief Jony Ive back in 1992. Sales of Samsung's top phones slipped during the latter half of 2014, which has effected changed across its entire mobile device business. The company shook up its executive ranks at the end of 2014 and rearranged several business units. Lee's hiring is one of many steps the company has taken to help revitalize interest in its products.


Sprint Expands Leasing Program to G3, Note 4

Jan 16, 2015, 12:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today increased the number of devices eligible for its leasing program by adding the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Sprint said new and existing customers can lease the G3 for $15 per month for 24 months or the Note 4 for $25 per month for 24 months. Customers can take the devices home for $0 down. At the end of the lease, customers can turn the device in and lease another or return the device (as long as it is in working order) and terminate their service. Sprint already offers leases on the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5.


Big Tech Firms Settle Wage Suit Terms

Jan 16, 2015, 8:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe have agreed to new payout terms to settle a lawsuit over hiring practices in Silicon Valley. In 2011, former workers alleged the companies conspired to not poach one another's employees in order to avoid a salary war. In so doing, they unfairly limited their workers' ability to find better-paying jobs between 2005 and 2009. The four companies have agreed to pay a total of $415 million after a judge rejected their initial offering of $324 million. The reward will be disbursed to some 64,000 workers, who will receive about $5,000 each after attorney's fees. The plaintiffs support the $415 million proposal, but it still needs to be approved by the court. The companies involved admitted no wrongdoing and said they chose to settle only to avoid costly litigation.


Xiaomi Debuts High-End Phablet

Jan 15, 2015, 8:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Xiaomi today announced the Mi Note, a new flagship device for the company that will compete with the likes of Samsung's Galaxy Note and Apple's iPhone 6 Plus. The Mi Note features a 5.7-inch full HD display, 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0. The main camera has a 13-megapixel Sony sensor with OIS, f/2.0 aperture, and two-tone LED flash. The user-facing camera has a 4-megapixel sensor. The phone has curved glass on the front and back surfaces and it measures 6.95mm thick. It will cost about $370. Xiaomi also announced a Pro version of the Mi Note, which steps up the display resolution to quad HD, improves the processor to a Snapdragon 810 with better graphics, and boosts memory to 4GB. It will cost about $520. At the moment, Xiaomi sells its devices only in China, India, and other emerging markets. The company has global ambitions, but it hasn't announced plans to sell the Mi Note outside of its home region.


Apple and Ericsson Argue Over LTE Patents

Jan 14, 2015, 9:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple and Ericsson have filed legal grievances against one another regarding the value of LTE patents. A patent agreement between the two companies expired two years ago and they have failed to come to terms in signing a new one. Apple is accusing Ericsson of demanding prices that are outside the "fair and reasonable" terms dictated by standard-essential patents. Ericsson says every Apple iPhone has its technology inside and believes patent pricing should be based on the total value of the handset. Apple, on the other hand, believes the patent pricing should only apply to the value of the LTE-specific components. Ericsson is asking a separate entity to determine whether or not its terms are in fact fair and reasonable.


Skype 5.9 for iPhone Promises Faster Performance

Jan 14, 2015, 9:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today announced version 5.9 of its app for the Apple iPhone. The updated communications app has an improved dial pad that suggests contacts as users type in order to make if faster to find people. Skype also updated the chat picker, which it says makes starting conversations with select contacts easier. Last, Skype said it is seeking people willing to test pre-release versions of its app. Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to sign up for free. Skype 5.9 for the iPhone is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


AllCast Now Available to iOS Devices

Jan 13, 2015, 9:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AllCast recently brought its media-sharing app to the iTunes App Store. AllCast lets iOS device owners cast content from their camera roll, Google Drive (Google+, Picasa), or DropBox on their iPhone or iPad to an AppleTV, Chromecast, FireTV, Roku, or Xbox. AllCast also supports music casting, though the files must be stored locally on the iPhone or iPad. AllCast duplicates some of the features of Apple's own AirPlay. AllCast is free to download from the iTunes App Store. AllCast is already available to Android devices.


New MHL Spec Supports USB Type-C, 8K Video

Jan 7, 2015, 11:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 7, 2015, 11:17 AM

The MHL Consortium this week revealed superMHL, a new specification that future proofs its against changes in device connectors and makes dramatic improvements with respect to handling media content. The superMHL connector is reversible, much like Apple's Lightning cable. Further, it supports the new, reversible USB Type-C connector, which will eventually replace the microUSB connector found on mobile devices. Beyond the physical elements of the cable/connector, superMHL can deliver 8K video at 120fps and supports up to 48-bit color. It adds HDR video and immersive sound support, including Dolby Atmos, DTS-UHD, and 3D audio. It also supports daisy-chaining between multiple devices (TVs, Blu-Ray players, receivers) and can control them all with a single remote. The new superMHL spec also supports power charging up to 40W. The superMHL specification will be available for consumer electronics makers to download at the end of January.


Monster Sues Beats Over Alleged Fraud

Jan 7, 2015, 10:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Monster claims it was duped by Beats Electronics into giving away millions of dollars worth of intellectual property. Monster filed a lawsuit against Beats, its co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, and HTC for conducting a sham transaction. Monster claims it created the Beats by Dr. Dre line of headphones and used Iovine and Dre only for promotional purposes. Iovine and Dre did not front any money in developing the headphones, which became very popular under the Beats brand after their 2008 debut. Monster's CEO personally helped design the headphones. Later, Beats forged a deal with HTC, which paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company. This triggered a clause in the contract between Monster and Beats that forced Monster to hand over its intellectual property regarding the headphones. The financial relationship between HTC and Beats was eventually dissolved. Monster's CEO, who was promised there was no "liquidity event" in Beats' immediate future, sold off most of his shares of Beats. Several months later Beats turned around and sold itself to Apple for $3.2 billion. Monster's CEO alleges his shares would have netted him $100 million personally as part of the sale. The cost to Monster was much greater, though it didn't place a dollar value on its losses. None of the parties involved provided comment on the lawsuit.


Insteon Unveils HomeKit-Enabled Home Control App

Jan 6, 2015, 2:01 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 6, 2015, 3:00 PM

Insteon today announced the Insteon App, a comprehensive iOS app that lets you control a wide variety of HomeKit-compatible home automation gear. Via Apple's HomeKit, the app controls gear using the Insteon standard as well as competing standards such as ZigBee and Z-Wave. The app is one of the first complete HomeKit apps to be shown to the public. The app can control lights, door locks, color-changing bulbs, garage door openers, thermostats, and much more. Insteon also unveiled the Insteon Hub, a small $150 box that connects Insteon home automation gear to Apple's HomeKit system. The Hub supports advanced features such rooms, zones, scenes, and schedules. Insteon's proprietary home connectivity standard uses both wireless and power-line communication for improved reliability. Insteon makes its own line of home automation gear, and several other manufacturers support Insteon technology as well.

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Apple Selling Unlocked iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on Web Site

Jan 6, 2015, 10:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 6, 2015, 11:03 AM

Apple has made unlocked versions of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus available on it web site. Customers can now choose to buy their iPhone without a carrier commitment. The unlocked models support GSM-based networks such as those operated by AT&T and T-Mobile. They can also be used on networks in other countries. The unlocked models cost the same as standard models. The 16GB unlocked iPhone 6 costs $649 and the 16GB unlocked iPhone 6 Plus costs $749. Consumers can opt for higher capacity models if they so wish. The unlocked models are sold without SIM cards.


AT&T to Sell LTE 4G Case for WiFi-Only iPads

Jan 6, 2015, 10:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced it will soon offer Modio Smartcases to the Apple iPad Mini and Apple iPad Air tablets. The case serves as a mobile hotspot for WiFi-only versions of the iPad and allows them to connect to AT&T's LTE 4G network when out of WiFi range. The case includes a large battery that provides for 10 hours of continuous LTE 4G web browsing and provides addition storage through a microSD memory card slot. AT&T said the LTE 4G service can be added to existing Mobile Share plans. AT&T typically charges $10 per month to add tablet access to accounts, but didn't specify if that rate will be available to case owners. The case will first be available for the iPad Mini, Mini 2, and Mini 3, followed by the iPad Air and Air 2. AT&T didn't say how much the case will cost. Apple sells LTE-equipped iPads for $130 more than the WiFi-only models.


Volkswagen Signs Up for Android Auto and CarPlay

Jan 5, 2015, 7:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Volkswagen today took the diplomatic route with respect to enabling smartphone connectivity in its cars. Beginning with select models later this year, Volkswagen's second generation modular infotainment platform will support Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay platforms, in addition to the platform-agnostic MirrorLink spec. The company said Android Auto will support devices from the likes of Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony, while CarPlay will support Apple's iPhone. The services will allow smartphone owners to access their device content, apps, and services through the infotainment console of their Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Golf will be the first model to support these connectivity platforms.


Qualcomm Says New AllPlay Gear, Apps On the Way

Jan 5, 2015, 4:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today said more hardware makers and app developers have voiced support for its AllPlay media streaming technology. For example, Bayan Audio, Goodmans, House of Marley, Inkel/Sherwood, Optoma Nuforce, SVS, TCL Communications, and TP-LINK will add AllPlay to their gear over the coming year. Similarly, popular apps such as SoundCloud, KT Music, QQ Music, and Tidal have announced that they will integrate AllPlay into their streaming music offerings. AllPlay is a competitor technology to DLNA, Apple's AirPlay, and Google's Cast for Audio.


Apple Hit with Class Action Lawsuit Over iPhone Storage

Dec 31, 2014, 3:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple is facing a lawsuit from consumers who feel the company's mobile operating system consumes too high a percentage of the on-board memory. Specifically, the plaintiffs argue, "The discrepancy between advertised and available capacity is substantial and beyond any possible reasonable expectation. For the devices, the shortfall ranges from 18.1% to 23.1%." The lawsuit alleges that Apple hid the size of the iOS8 update from users and then "aggressively marketed" additional cloud storage to those who ran out of storage space on their mobile devices. The issue primarily impacts owners of Apple's 16GB iPhones, iPads, and iPads. The operating system leaves as little as 12.3GB available to consumers on some devices. Further, the lawsuit alleges that Apple falsely advertises the amount of storage available to its devices due to the way the company partitions the drives. Drives in Apple devices have a media partition and a root partition. The lawsuit claims the size of the root partition is unnecessarily large, leaving consumers with an even smaller portion of the drive for their media. Finally, the lawsuit also complains about the iPhone's inability to use swappable memory cards; its incompatibility with file manager programs; and its strict ties to Apple's cloud services. The lawsuit was filed in California on behalf of two Florida residents.


Apple's Patent Consortium to Sell 4,000 Patents for $900M

Dec 23, 2014, 10:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Rockstar Consortium, a patent-holding company headed by Apple, has agreed to sell more than 4,000 mobile patents for about $900 million. Apple and partners Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony paid $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 patents from Nortel four years ago in order to help protect against litigation. The companies are selling two-thirds of the patents to RPX Corp., which is another patent-focused company that protects companies from lawsuits. RPX plans to license the patent portfolio to a syndicate of 30 technology companies, including Google and Cisco, according to the Wall Street Journal. The syndicate members contributed the bulk of the $900 million in order to purchase the patents. In addition to the patent sale, Rockstar will settle patent-related lawsuits it has filed against Android device makers, including Samsung, Huawei, HTC, and LG. Terms of those settlements were not disclosed. Rockstar Consortium will hold onto about 2,000 of the old Nortel patents, which the Journal described as the "most valuable" of the bunch.


Ticketmaster Adopts Apple Pay for Ticket Sales

Dec 22, 2014, 12:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Ticketmaster recently updated its iOS application and added support for Apple Pay. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners can now authorize ticket purchases using Apple Pay via the Touch ID fingerprint reader. Ticketmaster is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Microsoft Expands Xim's Sharing Abilities to TVs

Dec 18, 2014, 9:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft recently updated its Xim app and added compatibility with a wide range of media streaming devices. Microsoft first released Xim in October. It's a cross-platform app that allows people to easily share photos without requiring them to physically hand their phone to someone else. People use Xim to create a connection directly between devices for sharing photos from sources such as the camera roll, Instagram, and Facebook Today's update allows people to share photos not only with other phones, but with streaming media devices, including Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox One, and Amazon Fire TV. Xim users need only connect to the WiFi network associated with the streaming media device for it to show up in the list of sharing options within the Xim app. Xims are impermanent, sort of like Snapchat, and expire after a short period of time. The updated Xim app is available from the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Phone Store.


More Banks and Retailers Sign Up to Support Apple Pay

Dec 16, 2014, 10:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple Pay has garnered more support from banks and retailers around the country, according to the New York Times. SunTrust, Barclaycard, and USAA have already agreed to support Apple Pay with their cards, and 10 more banks, including TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank, are adding support for Apple Pay beginning today. With the new financial institutions on board, a significantly larger percentage of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners can use Apple Pay to make mobile payments at participating retailers. More retailers are interested in Apple Pay, too. Staples will begin accepting Apple Pay at its 1,400 stores beginning today, and Amway Center, where the Orlando Magic basketball team plays, will begin accepting Apple Pay at concessions stands during games. Apple Pay uses an NFC radio embedded in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to power tap-and-go payments at more than 220,000 retail outlets around the U.S. iPhone owners use their fingerprint to approve purchases, which are secured thanks to unique codes assigned to each transaction. Apple Pay launched Oct. 20. Competing services, such as Softcard, are available to select Android and Windows Phones sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.


Apple and IBM Release First Wave of Enterprise Apps

Dec 11, 2014, 11:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple and IBM have followed through on an announcement made earlier this year and delivered a range of mobile applications aimed at large businesses. The IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps rely on IBM's cloud services, which bring data and analytics tools to enterprise users of Apple's iPhone and iPad. Apple and IBM are targeting select verticals first, including banking, retail, insurance, financial services, telecommunications, government, and airlines. The apps are secure, embedded with analytics tools, and have deep hooks into enterprise processes. According to Apple and IBM, the apps can be customized for any type of business, as well as managed and upgraded thanks to IBM's cloud services. The companies said more apps, targeting a wider range of business types, are still under development and will be released in the future.


Microsoft Offers Its MSN Apps to Android and iOS Devices

Dec 11, 2014, 9:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today expanded the availability of its MSN-branded apps beyond Windows Phone, adding them to the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. The apps, which have evolved on the Windows Phone platform this year, include MSN Food & Drink, MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Money, MSN News, and MSN Sports. These five are available to both Android and iOS today. The MSN Weather app is available to Android today, too, and will be available to iOS soon. Of note, Microsoft said its MSN Health & Fitness app makes use of Apple's HealthKit tools, which will allow iPhone owners to track steps and other fitness goals. Microsoft has targeted Android and iOS aggressively this year with its own applications and services, including MS Office, its core productivity suite, and other utilities such as OneNote and OneDrive. All the apps are free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.


iOS 8.1.2 Fixes Ringtone Bug

Dec 9, 2014, 1:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 8.1.2, a minor update to its mobile operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. According to Apple, the release includes bug fixes and addresses a problem where ringtones purchased through the iTunes Store may have removed them from devices. The update is small, but still requires WiFi to download and install.


Sprint Says Network Vision Is Basically Done

Dec 3, 2014, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint recently indicated that its years-long Network Vision project is coming to a close. Sprint's 1900MHz LTE network covers 260 million POPs, according to Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer, who made the comments at a Bank of America investor conference this week. Sprint's 2.5GHz LTE network covers 92 million POPs and its 800MHz LTE network will cover 100 million POPs by the end if the year. "I think from a network standpoint we have been waiting to get to this point of having a network that is substantially complete," said Euteneuer. Sprint said it will continue to add coverage in the 1900MHz band as its obtains more spectrum. All Sprint smartphones support tri-band LTE, which Sprint markets as Sprint Spark. Spark-compatible handsets are able to use whichever of the three spectrum bands (800MHz, 1900MHz, 2.5GHz) offers the strongest coverage in areas where all three bands are available. Sprint had previously said Sprint Spark would be available to 100 million people by the close of 2014, and it now appears that goal depends on deploying LTE to its 800MHz spectrum. All the major carriers are supplementing their LTE networks with additional capacity in other spectrum bands. For example, Verizon operates LTE in the 700MHz and AWS bands. AT&T and Verizon cover about 300 million POPs each with LTE. T-Mobile covers about 250 million. Sprint's Euteneuer also noted that Sprint will push an over-the-air update to the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the next two to three months to enable Wi-Fi calling.


Sony to Reign In and Reduce Its Smartphone Business

Nov 25, 2014, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony today announced its intent to transform its smartphone business with a eye on making it a profitable operation. The company, in effect, admitted its goal of becoming the world's number three smartphone maker behind Samsung and Apple was perhaps too ambitious. The company will reduce the number of handsets it makes moving forward, focusing cuts on entry-level and mid-range devices for select markets. Sony said it expects to layoff some employees as a result. "Our urgent task is to make the business profitable even if we face declines in sales by 20% or 30%," said Hiroki Totoki, the new head of Sony’s mobile unit. The company will further reduce its presence in China and some emerging markets, while retaining a toehold in Europe. Sony said it is still evaluating how much it will commit to the U.S. Sony sells only a few handsets in the U.S., many of which are made available directly to consumers via its web site. Right now, The Xperia Z3v and Z3 are offered by Verizon and T-Mobile, respectively, but the Z3 Compact is not offered by any U.S. carriers.


Square Says It Will Support Apple Pay Next Year

Nov 21, 2014, 12:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Square founder Jack Dorsey said the company will add support for Apple Pay at Square-based terminals at some point in 2015. Square makes a dongle that attaches to smartphones and tablets, as well as a tablet-based register device, in order to help small businesses use modern tools to expand their customer base. "We're not building a credit card," said Dorsey to CNN. "We're not building a payment device. We're building a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments." Apple Pay is accepted at about 220,000 retail locations around the U.S., and just this week became available at Winn-Dixie and Harveys grocery stores. Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners make tap-and-go payments at compatible terminals.


Google Settles with Rockstar Over Patents

Nov 20, 2014, 12:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 20, 2014, 12:38 PM

Google disclosed this week that it has settled a lawsuit filed against it by Rockstar regarding mobile device patents. Rockstar is a patent-holding consortium led by Apple. It outbid Google to acquire thousands of old Nortel patents back in 2011 and filed the lawsuit against Google and others in 2013. Terms of the settlement were not revealed.


Apple Found to Violate Pager Patents

Nov 18, 2014, 4:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple was found guilty of violating four patents held by Mobile Telecommunications Technologies. The Texas-based company's heydey was during the 90s, when it operated SkyTel 2-Way pagers. The company sued Apple last year over five patents covering the two-way exchange of data, such as messages and calendar invites. Apple was exonerated of violating a patent pertaining to emoji. Mobile Telecommunications Technologies initially sought $237.2 million. Apple was ordered to pay $23.6 million in damages. Apple didn't immediately comment on the verdict.


Apple to Developers: Start Making Apps with WatchKit

Nov 18, 2014, 1:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released WatchKit, the set of tools developers need in order to create apps for the forthcoming Apple Watch. Apple said developers can create notifications for their apps that appear on the Apple Watch, as well as create Glances (Apple parlance for quick nuggets of app-specific data). The WatchKit tools include programming guides, human interface guidelines, and templates. Apple said that developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch beginning later next year. The WatchKit developer tools are found within the iOS 8.2 SDK, which is available for download from Apple's developer site beginning today.


Winn-Dixie Now Accepting Apple Pay

Nov 18, 2014, 11:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Bi-Lo Holdings, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, Harveys, and BI-LO grocery stores, today said Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners can use Apple Pay at most of its locations across the southeast. Winn-Dixie, Harveys, and BI-LO stores are available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Bi-Lo didn't specify exactly how many stores are involved. Apple Pay uses an NFC radio embedded in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that is connected to a credit card for making payments at contactless terminals. Apple Pay is accepted at about 220,000 locations around the U.S.


Apple Pushes iOS 8.1.1 to Boost iPhone 4s Performance

Nov 17, 2014, 1:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made available iOS 8.1.1, a minor update meant to help improve the performance of the iPhone 4s and iPad 2. The update also resolves some on-going bugs for newer Phones and iPads. It is free to install.


MHL Develops HDMI Cable Compatible with USB Type-C

Nov 17, 2014, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

MHL today said it has developed an HDMI cable that is compatible with with the forthcoming Type-C USB port. Using what it calls MHL Alt Mode, a USB Type-C connector and cable can support the MHL 3 specification, which includes 4K video and multi-channel surround sound audio. The Type-C connector specifications were finalized earlier this year. Type-C will replace the Type-B connector (microUSB) found in most modern mobile devices. One of the key aspects of the Type-C connector is that it is reversible and can be inserted either way (much like Apple's Lightning connector). The Type-C connector supports the USB 3.1 spec for delivering quick data transfer and power. The new MHL Alt Mode cable will make it easy for smartphones and tablets of the future to push content though a wired connection to devices such as HDTVs.


BlackBerry, Samsung Announce Security Tie-Up

Nov 13, 2014, 12:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry and Samsung today agreed to sell one another's security software. The joint effort is meant to help Samsung sell more phones and to help BlackBerry win more BES customers. Samsung's Knox security platform is embedded on many of its devices. It can be used to separate work and personal information, as well as secure that data on the device. BlackBerry's BES services allows businesses to remotely manage Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone smartphones. The companies think this partnership will appeal to businesses that want to use Samsung handsets for the Knox platform, but manage them via BES. BlackBerry's enterprise chief John Sims said the deal "isn't about one company displacing the other. This is about one and one makes three." BlackBerry's presence in the smartphone market has been reduced to practically nil in the face of stiff competition from Apple, Samsung, and others, while Samsung has long been making overtures to potential business customers.


Verizon to Give Free Content to Everyone on Nov. 26

Nov 12, 2014, 8:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced that it will give away a wide selection of content to all U.S. wireless users on November 26. Verizon has dubbed the day before Thanksgiving as "Connection Day." The content includes mobile access to movies and TV shows via the FiOS Preview app; 10 free apps from Amazon and two free books from Audible; a "special offer" from Apple's iTunes store; 17 free Conde Nast digital magazines; 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi at airports (via Boingo) and aboard airplanes (via GoGo); and a seven-day trial of Pandora One. In partnership with Verizon, JetBlue has pledged to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi on flights between Nov. 26 and Dec. 24. Verizon Wireless' More Everything customers who register for Connection Day online are eligible to receive a one-time gift of 1GB of shareable data applied to their account, plus another 1GB of data for the following billing cycle. Last, Verizon customers who aren't on a More Everything plan are eligible for a discount on a Mophie Powerstation 4000. In order to access the content, wireless customers will need to navigate to Verizon's Connection Day web site.


Court Says Lost Message Suit Against Apple Can Proceed

Nov 11, 2014, 1:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple must face a lawsuit in federal court over vanishing text messages. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh said Apple has to hear the claim from Adrienne Moore, who says Apple blocked messages sent by iPhone users to her after she switched from an iPhone 4S to a Samsung Galaxy S5. Moore further claims that Apple's iMessage system interfered with her contract with Verizon Wireless. "Plaintiff does not have to allege an absolute right to receive every text message in order to allege that Apple's intentional acts have caused an actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship," said Judge Koh. Just this week Apple released a tool that lets former iPhone owners delist their numbers from the iMessage service. The issue has been a problem for former iPhone users for years.


Apple Releases Tool to Remove Numbers from iMessage

Nov 9, 2014, 7:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has published a tool on its web site that makes it easy for people to remove their phone number from iMessage. Phone users who switch away from the iPhone but keep the same number sometimes lose text messages from other iPhones because Apple keeps them within the iMessage service. Apple suggests that, if possible, users first turn iMessage off directly on their Apple device. People who are no longer in possession of an Apple device, however, now have another option. The web site makes it possible to deregister from iMessage by typing the phone number into the site and confirming it via an SMS code. Once these steps are completed, former iPhone users should receive text messages without issue.


Defense Mobile Targets Vets with Low-Cost Service

Nov 7, 2014, 8:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

RadioShack recently launched Defense Mobile, wireless service meant exclusively for members of the U.S. armed forces, their families, and veterans. Defense Mobile resells access to AT&T and Sprint's networks, and offers the most popular devices available, including the Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5. According to RadioShack, Defense Mobile is supported by a 100% veteran-staffed Member Care organization and offers perks to active members of the military. Defense Mobile offers prepaid individual plans that start at $30 per month and family plans with scalable data for up to six lines starting at $110 per month. Defense Mobile includes bonus services for military members, such as a banking application associated with a pre-paid MasterCard, an app that helps military members and their families find veteran benefits, and a free email service that's associated with their branch of the armed forces. Defense Mobile service is available at 2,500 RadioShack locations around the country.


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