Rockstar, a patent consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, and Sony, has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Google, Samsung, Huawei, and HTC. Rockstar alleges that the companies are violating its patents. Google, in particular, stands accused of infringing on seven different patents that pertain to internet search terms and advertising. Specific details about Samsung, HTC, and Huawei's infringements weren't immediately specified. Rockstar is seeking damages from Google, which it says is violating the patents willfully. Rockstar is a group of companies that together purchased thousands of patents from bankrupt Nortel. The firms spent a total of $4.5 billion on the patents. Google and others attempted to buy the same patents won by Rockstar. "Despite losing in its attempt to acquire the patents-in-suit at auction, Google has infringed and continues to infringe," read a portion of the lawsuit.
Huawei today announced the Ascend W2, a new Windows Phone that takes a page from Nokia with vividly colored shells. The Ascend W2 is being offered in black, yellow, red, and blue, and has 20 colored homescreen themes to mix and match with the handset's exterior. Huawei says that matching color choices are offered across the phone's keyboard backlights and user interface themes, as well. The phone has a 4.3-inch WVGA LCD screen with what Huawei calls "Magic Touch" technology. The screen is sensitive enough so that it will work when the user is wearing gloves. The W2 is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. The device runs Windows Phone 8 and includes 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage. It can shoot 720p HD video. The Huawei Ascend W2 is already available in Huawei's home market of China, and will reach Russia and The Netherlands in November, with other markets to follow. Huawei didn't reveal any specific plans to sell the device in the U.S.
A handful of mobile technology companies today announced the formation and launch of MobileBench, a consortium meant to help developers better benchmark their apps and services across today's mobile devices. The founding members include Broadcom, Huawei, OPPO, Samsung, and Spreadtrum, all of which met for the first time this week and demonstrated the first MobileBench benchmarking tool. The consortium has two major areas of focus: benchmarking mobile hardware, and how the hardware affects the user experience within applications. Developers and engineers have full control over the tools, and can alter parameters throughout the testing process, which delivers results immediately. The MobileBench Consortium is actively seeking new members and hopes to provide "objective ways to evaluate a mobile device's performance in the real world."
Consumer Cellular today announced the availability of the Huawei Vision. The Vision is an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone and it has a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 1GHz processor, MP3 player, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. It also includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. The Huawei vision costs $99. Consumer Cellular also announced that the Vision and the Envoy, an inexpensive flip phone, will be available at Sears stores throughout the country.
MetroPCS recently added the Huawei Valiant to its roster of Android smartphones. This bar-style device, which is available from the MetroPCS web site for $79 without a contract, features a 4.0-inch display with Gorilla Glass and a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor. The Valiant also has a 3-megapixel camera that also captures video, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2GB of internal memory, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The Huawei Valiant is powered by a 1750mAh battery and runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
MetroPCS stores recently added the Huawei Pal to their lineup of simple feature phones. The Pal, also referred to as the U2800, is a bar-style phone that features a 1.8-inch screen with 160 x 128 pixels and a 900mAh battery. The Pal runs Brew and includes basic messaging and web apps.
The U.S International Trade Commission today found that Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE did not violate a patent owned by InterDigital. This was the preliminary decision reached by an administrative law judge. The full ITC will make a final decision on the matter in October. InterDigital is a patent-licensing firm and had sued the companies over intellectual property pertaining to power conservation and messaging in mobile devices. LG was also named in the original suit, but settled with InterDigital. InterDigital was hoping the ITC would block the offending devices from entering the U.S.
T-Mobile USA recently added the Huawei Prism II to its web site. The Prism II is an Android smartphone that ships with 4.1 Jelly Bean. Features include a 3.2-megapixel camera, 1GHz processor, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. The Prism II also supports microSD memory cards and Wi-Fi calling, but not T-Mobile's forthcoming LTE network. The Huawei Prism II has been available in select markets since June 19, but will see national retail and online availability beginning June 26. It requires a down payment of $19.99 and 24 monthly payments of $4.
Huawei is looking at ways to grow its business, and acquisitions are one possible avenue it might explore. One company that has made its short list of targets is Nokia. "We are considering these sorts of acquisitions; maybe the combination has some synergies but depends on the willingness of Nokia. We are open-minded," said Richard Yu, head of consumer products for Huawei in an interview with the Financial Times. Huawei has faced difficulty finding traction in the U.S. with its telecommunications networking gear business, though its handsets have found space on the shelves of U.S. wireless network operators. Yu did not indicate that Huawei and Nokia are holding formal talks, nor did Nokia comment on Yu's remarks.
Huawei today announced the Ascend P6, an Android smartphone that measures just 6.18mm thick. The P6 features a metallic body that houses a 4.7-inch HD in-cell display that can be used with when wearing gloves. The P6 includes a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and an 8-megapixel main camera with backside illumination and an aperture of f/2. The P6 also has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for higher-quality self portraits. It comes with a 2,000mAh battery and Huawei's Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) and Quick Power Control (QPC) battery optimization tools that Huawei claims results in power efficiency gains of 30%. Other Huawei software elements include its Emotion user interface, which offers customized widgets and apps. The Ascend P6 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The P6 will first ship across China and European markets beginning in July, with other markets to follow. Huawei did not say if the P6 or a version thereof would be sold in the U.S.
Odin Mobile today announced that it will launch new cellular service in July for those with visual impairments. Odin Mobile is an MVNO that operates on T-Mobile USA's network. The company will offer several handsets, including the Huawei-made Ray (pictured). The Ray is a touch phone that was designed with eye-free operation in mind. It can be used to make and receive voice calls, manage contacts, and lets the visually impaired access their call history and use caller ID. It uses text-to-speech technology to read text messages aloud, and includes a calendar, and the ability to recognize colors and money. The Ray can be used with audiobooks and audio magazines, as well. The Ray costs $299.99. Odin Mobile is offering two other handsets made by Emporia, the Click and the Essence, The Click is a flip phone and the Essence is a bar-style phone. They offer similar features, such as adjustable fonts, high-contrast displays, large buttons, and loud speakers. They also include basics such as SMS, Bluetooth, flashlights, GPS, and emergency call buttons. The Click costs $73.00 and the Essence costs $49.00. Service plans start at $10 per month for 150 minutes and 150 texts and range up to $45 per month for 4000 minutes/texts. Odin did not say exactly when in July its service will launch.
Mozilla and Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, confirmed that the two companies will soon launch a mobile device. Mozilla distributed invitations to a press event scheduled for June 3, which is when the two companies are expected to more formally announce their partnership alongside the new device. The device will run Mozilla's Firefox OS, which Mozilla has been developing as an alternative for hardware makers looking to offer something other than Android gear. Mozilla has already scored other hardware partnerships with LG, Huawei, and ZTE. Foxconn is most well known for being the manufacturer of Apple's products.
Powermat today announced that it has merged with PowerKiss. Powermat, based in the U.S., makes and markets wireless charging accessories. It backs the standard supported by the Power Matters Alliance. Before today, PowerKiss, which is based in Finland, backed a competing standard. Now that the two companies are one, they are together throwing their weight behind the PMA wireless charging standard. The PMA is mounting a challenge to competing standards Qi and the Alliance for Wireless Power. Earlier this year, the PMA won support from AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, LG, Samsung, Starbucks, and ZTE. Further, AT&T mandated that its handset partners incorporate the PMA wireless charging standard into their devices by 2014. Verizon Wireless supports the Qi standard. The consumer electronics industry has yet to settle on a single standard.
Huawei today announced that the W1, its first Windows Phone 8 smartphone, will be available at Walmart stores in the U.S. beginning later this month. The W1 is known as the Ascend W1 in other markets. It features a 4-inch LCD screen with 800 x 480 pixels, a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera with 720p video capture, 1.7GB of internal storage, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. Huawei did not say which carrier will provide service for the W1, but Walmart sells TracFone devices, and the W1 is compatible with TracFone's network. Pricing was not provided, nor was the exact release date.
Huawei has revised sales estimates for its wireless networking business downward after reassessing its chances in the U.S. market. Huawei had hoped U.S. network operators, such as Sprint, would purchase its networking equipment and boost its presence here. The company met with resistance from members of the U.S. government, which cast suspicion on the company's ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has steadfastly denied such claims. However, it has not been able to gain the traction it wanted with U.S. companies. "We are not interested in the U.S. market anymore. Generally speaking, it's not a market that we pay much attention to," said executive VP Eric Xu. Huawei still sells cell phones though U.S. network operators.
The Power Matters Alliance, a group pitching a wireless charging standard that competes with the Qi and the Alliance for Wireless Power standards, has recently won new support from handset makers and carriers. The group announced this week that HTC, Huawei, LG, and Samsung have all joined the PMA, which already includes members such as AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, Kyocera, PowerMat, Starbucks, and ZTE. Further, existing PMA member AT&T is asking its handset partners to integrate PMA-compatible wireless charging technology into their handsets by 2014. According to the PMA, there are already some 1,500 PMA-certified wireless charging stations at Starbucks coffee shops, airports, and other locations around the country. The Power Matters Alliance uses a wireless charging technology that is slightly different from those offered by Qi and A4WP. Each of the three standards allows devices to charge wirelessly when placed on a compatible charging pad. Verizon's handsets have incorporated Qi for years, which already has wide support from other carriers and handset makers. The electronics industry as a whole has yet to settle on one of the standards for all devices moving forward.
Sprint and Softbank have agreed to unofficial terms requested by the U.S. government with respect to purchasing telecommunications and wireless networking equipment from Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE. Softbank is in the process of acquiring a 70% stake in Sprint, and the agreement is meant to help ease the transaction though the approval process. Government regulators cannot mandate that Sprint and Softbank avoid equipment made by Chinese companies, but lawmakers wanted to make sure they had an ear to the ground when Sprint is purchasing gear. "I have met with SoftBank and Sprint regarding this merger and was assured they would not integrate Huawei in to the Sprint network and would take mitigation efforts to replace Huawei equipment in the Clearwire network," said Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The U.S. government is concerned that equipment made by Huawei and ZTE could be used by the Chinese government to spy on the U.S. Huawei flatly denies that its products pose any sort of security risk.
In order to win U.S. government approval of its equity sale to Softbank, Sprint may have to allow government officials to unofficially greenlight networking equipment purchases. According to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, the intent of the provision would be to keep Chinese suppliers Huawei and ZTE from selling their gear to U.S. companies. The U.S. government has long been wary of allowing Huawei and ZTE to provide telecommunications infrastructure due to fears about espionage. Sprint is selling 70% of itself to Japanese network operator Softbank for $20 billion. The Journal notes that any such provisions could not be spelled out explicitly, as that would violate international trade law, and would instead only require Sprint to let the government know when it is making telecommunications gear purchases. A law signed by President Barack Obama last week included a new cyber-espionage review process for U.S. government technology purchases. This law more explicitly states that the U.S. government needs to approve of IT purchases made by NASA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The intent behind this new law is the same as that being applied to the Sprint deal: the government wants to be able to restrict the sale of Chinese networking equipment to U.S. agencies. Huawei spokesperson Bill Plummer said to the Journal, "The adoption of such a policy would seem little more than a market-distorting political or protectionist exercise."
MetroPCS today announced the Huawei Premia 4G, a new Android smartphone that costs just $149. The Premia boasts a 4-inch 800 x 480 pixel display and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 1GB of RAM. The Premia features a 5-megapixel main camera with LED flash and 720p HD video capture, as well as a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. It is compatible with MetroPCS' joyn messaging service, and ships with Rhapsody preinstalled. Other features include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and support for MetroPCS' LTE 4G network. The Huawei Premia 4G runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is available online and in stores beginning today.
Here is a quick look at the Huawei Ascend P2, the company's flagship smartphone for 2013. It is incredibly thin and light, and still manages to include an impressive array of features. Here are our initial thoughts.
The U.S. International Trade Commission indicated that it will review InterDigital's patent-related complaints against Samsung, Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE. The complaint was filed in January and alleges that the companies are violating its 3G and 4G technology patents. InterDigital is asking the ITC to block the offending products. In particular, the patents cover WCDMA, cdma2000, LTE, and Wi-Fi technology as used in the infringing companies' phones, laptop dongles, hotspots, laptops, and tablets. The complaint will be given to an administrative law judge, who will hold a hearing and issue a preliminary ruling. The ruling will then be reviewed by the full committee. InterDigital is a patent-holding company.
Consumer Cellular today announced that more of its devices will be available at Sears retail stores beginning later this month. The Huawei 8800, an Android smartphone, and the Doro PhoneEasy 618 feature phone are among the new handsets being made available for $149.99 and $59.99, respectively. The Motorola WX416 will continue to be available for $34.99, but now in red and black colors. Consumer Cellular's plans start as low as $10 per month.
The court overseeing Eastman Kodak's bankruptcy proceedings has approved the company's $525 million patent sale to a consortium of companies. The consortium, which is led by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corp., includes Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Fujifilm, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Samsung, and Shutterfly. Under the terms of the agreement, Intellectual Ventures (which is itself a patent-licensing firm) and RPX gain ownership of the patents, while the other firms are all contributing licensing fees for access to the patents. The patent sale allows Kodak to move forward with its restructuring plans.
Huawei's first Windows Phone, the Ascend W1, was on display at CES and we spent a few moments with it. Here are our first impressions.
Huawei today officially announced the Ascend W1, its first foray into the Windows Phone business. The W1 runs Windows Phone 8 and features a 4-inch IPS LCD 480 x 800 pixel display. The W1 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, which is paired with 512MB of RAM and an Adreno 305 GPU for graphics performance. The W1 measures 10.15mm thick and has a 1,950mAh battery. Huawei claims its 470 hours of standby time is longer than any other Windows Phone. The W1 also includes a 5-megapixel main camera with a flash and a VGA user-facing camera. It inclues 4GB of on-board storage and supports microSD cards up to 32GB. It will be available in multiple colors. The Ascend W1 goes on sale in Russia and other countries later this month, and should reach the U.S. later this year. Pricing and carrier details were not provided.
Huawei has a new entry in the phablet market with the Ascend Mate. This large phone (or small tablet) has a massive 6.1-inch screen and a 4,000-mAh battery to power it. Read on for our first impressions.
Huawei today announced the Ascend Mate, a phone/tablet with a 6.1-inch display. The features and appearance are similar to the Ascend D2 - also announced today - with a few differences. The Ascend Mate has an 8-megapixel camera and 4,000 mAh battery, but the same quad-core processor. The Mate has a few extra software features for the larger screen, such as a set of pop-up windows that float over regular apps, for limited real-time multi-tasking. Available pop-ups include a calculator, calendar, notepad and video player. The Ascend Mate also sports a modified keyboard that shifts all of the keys toward one side, making it easier to type one-handed. Pricing and U.S. availability was not announced.
We spent a few moments with Huawei's new flagship phone to take on the iPhone. This 5-inch phone has a solid metal frame with exposed sides, like the iPhone. Huawei is proud of the hundreds of manufacturing steps to make the phone. Is it worth the effort. Read on for our impressions.
Huawei today showed off its newest flagship phone, the Ascend D2, with a 5-inch 1080 x 1920 pixel "Super Retina" 443 ppi display. The phone also sports a touch-screen sensor that works through gloves, a 13-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, and a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. The dust- and water-resistant body body sports a flat glass front with on-screen Android controls, curved sides formed from machined solid metal frame, and a curved glossy plastic back. Thd 3,000-mAh battery is sealed inside. The phone sports 32 GB of internal storage plus 2 GB of RAM. It runs Android 4.1 with Huawei's Emotion UI 1.5.
Samsung today indicated that it plans to bring smartphones with its Tizen operating system to market by the end of the year. The company said the devices would be competitive, but didn't provide any details about the hardware or which carriers around the world might sell them. Tizen is a version of Linux that's being developed by Samsung and Intel, with support from Huawei, Sprint, LiMo, and The Linux Foundation. Tizen has been in development since 2011 and reached 1.0 status in May 2012.
InterDigital today filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE. InterDigital alleges that the companies are violating its 3G and 4G technology patents, and is asking the ITC to block the offending products. In particular, the patents cover WCDMA, cdma2000, LTE, and Wi-Fi technology as used in the infringing companies' phones, laptop dongles, hotspots, laptops, and tablets. InterDigital filed similar litigation with the U.S. District Court of Delaware. There, it is seeking a permanent injunction against the companies, as well as compensatory damages. Earlier this week, InterDigital announced that Research In Motion agreed to license its LTE 4G patents.
Eastman Kodak today announced that it has sold a collection of its imaging patents to a consortium of companies for a total of $525 million. The consortium, which is led by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corp., includes Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Fujifilm, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Samsung, and Shutterfly. Under the terms of the agreement, Intellectual Ventures (which is itself a patent-licensing firm) and RPX gain ownership of the patents, while the other firms are all contributing licensing fees for access to the patents. The patent sale is one measure being taken by Kodak to recover while undergoing bankruptcy reorganization. The patent sale also concludes any litigation between Kodak and the new licensees.
U.S. Cellular announced plans to increase the availability of its phones through a distribution deal with Walmart. Consumers can now purchase U.S. Cellular phones at 460 Walmart stores around the country. U.S. Cellular said that the Samsung Galaxy S III, Chrono 2, and Freeform 4, as well as the Huawei Ascend II will be some of the phones available at Walmart stores. Customers who activate a U.S. Cellular postpaid plan at a Walmart store will be eligible for rewards, such as early device upgrades and discounts on certain services.
U.S. Cellular recently made the Huawei Ascend Y available for purchase from its web site. The Ascend Y runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and features a 3.5-inch HVGA display, an 800MHz processor, 3.2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The Ascend Y ships with a 2GB microSD card, but supports cards up to 32GB. The Huawei Ascend Y costs $0.01 when purchased with a contract or $99.99 when purchased for use with U.S. Cellular's prepaid service.
MetroPCS recently began selling the Huawei Verge via its web site. The Verge is a bar-style feature phone that has a 2.4-inch screen with 640 x 480 resolution. The Verge also has a camera, Bluetooth, 192MHz processor and runs the BREW platform. The Verge has 30MB of internal storage and does not support microSD. The Verge is selling for $49.99 and does not require a contract.
T-Mobile USA recently listed the Huawei Summit for sale on its web site. This bar-style device appears to be almost identical to the Prism, also made by Huawei and on sale with T-Mobile since May. Both phones feature a 3.5-inch HVGA screen, 3.2-megapixel camera, and support for T-Mobile USA's HSPA+ high-speed network. Other features include Wi-Fi (with Wi-Fi Calling), GPS, and Bluetooth. According to T-Mobile's web site, the Huawei Summit runs a proprietary operating system. The software appears to be based on Android. The user manual describes an Android interface, except lacking Gmail and possibly Google's Play Store. It costs $49.99 with a new contract.
Cricket Wireless today announced that LTE 4G service is now up and running in the Las Vegas market. Las Vegas marks the second LTE market for Cricket, which first launched in Tucson, Ariz., on a trial basis last year. According to Cricket, about 80% of the Las Vegas area has access to its LTE service. The company plans to cover 21 million POPs with LTE by the end of this year, and two-thirds of its current CDMA network footprint by the end of 2015. The only LTE device available is Huawei-made Boltz USB modem. Leap has not said when LTE-capable phones will become available. LTE data plans range from $35 to $80 per month.
Leap Wireless is prepared to officially launch its first LTE market at some point next week. The first market has yet to be named, but it will be followed by others in November and December. The company plans to cover 21 million POPs with LTE by the end of this year, and two-thirds of its current CDMA network footprint by the end of 2015. The company has been testing LTE in Tucson, Ariz. As in Tucson, the only LTE device available in the launch market will be a Huawei-made mobile hotspot. Leap has not said when LTE-capable phones will become available.
A draft report written by the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee concludes that both Huawei and ZTE should be prevented from expanding their businesses in the U.S. due the possibility that they could threaten the national security of the U.S. The draft report, which is set to be published in final form October 8, is the culmination of an 11-month investigation into the two corporations, which make wireless networking gear and cellular telephones. "U.S. network providers and system developers are strongly encouraged to seek other vendors for their projects," said a portion of the report. It also said Huawei and ZTE "cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems." The authors of the report said that both companies were reluctant to hand over key documents about their relationships with the Chinese government. The authors also said they received "credible allegations" that suggested Huawei is guilty of bribery, corruption, discriminatory behavior, and other malfeasance. Huawei spokesperson Bill Plummer rejected the reports conclusions. "Baseless suggestions...that Huawei is somehow uniquely vulnerable to cyber mischief ignore technical and commercial realities, recklessly threaten American jobs and innovation, do nothing to protect national security, and should be exposed as dangerous political distractions from legitimate public-private initiatives to address what are global and industry-wide cyber challenges." Plummer's comments went submitted to Reuters via email. It's not clear how the report will affect Huawei and ZTE's existing business relationships. MetroPCS, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA all sell Huawei and/or ZTE handsets.
AT&T recently added the Huawei Fusion 2 to its selection of devices available through its GoPhone prepaid wireless service. The Fusion 2 runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has an 800MHz processor, 3.2-megapixel camera, 512MB of RAM and 2GB of internal storage. The Fusion 2 has a 3.5-inch display with 320 x 480 pixels, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. The Fusion 2 is available for $99.99 without a contract.