Nokia Beats Apple in Patent Law Suit

June 14, 2011

Apple has settled a patent dispute with Nokia that has been going on since 2009. The struggling Nokia giant sued Apple, claiming that it had infringed on 10 patents, and then added another 36 to the the suit in the following years. These patents covered everything from touchscreen scrolling to Wi-Fi to “multitasking operating systems, data synchronization, positioning, call quality and the use of Bluetooth accessories.” Read more

Microsoft Buys Skype

May 10, 2011

First Facebook and then Microsoft were in talks to buy Skype.  Microsoft announced that it has acquired Skype the VoIP giant for $8.5 billion.

Skype will be integrated into Microsoft devices and systems such as Xbox and Kinect, Xbox Live, the Windows Phone, Lync and Outlook. The company has assured to continue supporting and developing Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms as well.

This  acquisition is expensive for Microsoft. Not only is it the largest price Microsoft has paid for a company in decades, Skype is not yet profitable. Despite revenues totaling $860 million last year and operating profits of $264 million, the company lost $6.9 million overall, according to documents filed with the SEC. And the company carries $686 million in debt.

Much of the company’s attraction rests in its largest user base of 663 million, 145 million of which use Skype monthly.

AT&T Buys T-Mobile for $39 Billion

March 21, 2011

AT&T just announced an agreement with Deutsche Telekom to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion. In a press release, AT&T said the agreement has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors.

If the deal meets regulatory approval, AT&T will be the largest wireless provider in the United States. The company says the transaction will allow it to expand its 4G LTE network to 95% of the population of the United States, and touts enhanced “quality in the near term” for AT&T and T-Mobile customers.

Those of a patriotic bent will be glad to know that the transaction will make T-Mobile USA a U.S.-based company instead of a German telecom company that ironically calls itself T-Mobile USA. However, if you want to use a GSM phone, you won’t be left with many choices if this deal does go through. But in AT&T’s press release, the company emphasized how the U.S. market will continue to be competitive even after this deal: Read more

Nokia CEO Pissed

February 9, 2011

Nokia Finally Faces the Hard TruthNokia CEO Stephen Elop is pissed the Finnish cellphone maker gave their market dominance to Apple and Google. Real pissed. Fearing the company has reached a point of no return, Elop issued a no-holds-barred 1,300-word memo to employees, and seems primed to make some bold moves in the next week to help Nokia regain some of its former glory.

Bluntly stating that they’ve failed to compete with any of the major smartphone players, Elop, a former Microsoft executive, minced no words in the memo, which included the following bit: Read more

DumbPhones still rule the market

January 23, 2011

There’s a lot of people left to be converted to smartphones, which is something we usually forget.

Majority of people in the USA (not accounting for rest of the world) still use regular phones opposed to Smartphones such as iPhone, Android, or Blackberry.  This in part is due to expensive data plans that mobile carriers obligate you to have and the steep prices of the smartphone devices.  As dumphones are becoming extremely cheap, sometimes even handed out for free as a subsidy by carriers, smartphone have not dropped in price that much.  You take the data plan plus the price of the smartphone and you quickly realize that overall its an expensive machine to have.  Smarphones are basically computers in the palm of your hand and most of them have WiFi built it.  Carriers shouldn’t make anyone buy into the dataplan when some consumers rely solely on Wifi to access email and web.  Many workplaces, retail shops, and homes, have WiFi, and so a smartphone without a data plan can still remain as smartphone.

Until carriers change their business model, the dumbphone market is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Nokia Beats Apple and Android In Shipment of Smartphones

September 14, 2010

Nokia’s annual convention, the Nokia World 2010 is on a full swing today in London, with the Finnish mobile giant unwrapping surprises from its goodie bag. Amongst all the other announcements from new phones to Ovi Store updates, Angry Birds and new Nokia browser, the company also startled the audience by revealing some interesting shipment statistics for its smartphones, across the globe.

So all those who thought Nokia  had lost the smartphone game and needed to overhaul its product lineup, might want to think again. According to the company, Nokia moves around 260,000 smartphones a day, pretty ahead of the two competitors it has always been accused of losing to. If some recent stats are to be believed, Apple ships somewhere around 80,000 iPhones per day, and Android activate 200,000 devices per day.

So now you can imagine Nokia grinning at your face for talking foul about it.

Besides, another interesting announcement from the stage comes about the launch of new C6 and C7 Symbian^3 handsets by the company.

Nokia C6 features an 8 megapixel camera and a 3.2-inch AMOLED screen with all-new ClearBlack Display (CBD) technology and has been priced at $334. Nokia C7 on the other hand gets a 3.5-inch (also AMOLED), more memory and a stainless steel body, which  Anssi Vanjoki touts as the sleekest device in the world. The model has been priced at $430. Both handsets are capable of rec0rding pixel-heavy 720p video .

Unlocking or Jailbreaking is finally LEGAL!

July 26, 2010

The FCC has made the controversial practice of “jailbreaking” or unlocking your phone —  legal.

Unlocking — the practice of  freeing the phone so it can be used on another network — has technically been illegal for years. However, no one has been sued or prosecuted for the practice.

Apple fought hard against the legalization, arguing that jailbreaking/unlocking was a form of copyright violation. The FCC disagreed, saying that unlocking merely enhanced the inter-operability of the phone, and was thus legitimate under fair-use rules.

The upshot is that now anyone can jailbreak or unlock any cell phone without fear of legal penalties, whether you want to install unsupported applications or switch to another cellular carrier. Cell phone companies are of course still free to make it difficult for you to do this — and your warranty will probably still be voided if you do — but at least you won’t be fined or imprisoned if you unlock a handset.

The nasty iPhone 4 problem

June 24, 2010

Hold the iPhone carefully by the glass, avoiding the new steel antenna band that runs around the edges. Notice the number of signal-strength bars you have. Now, touch the steel band with your other hand, preferably the left and bottom sides together and you will see your signal disappear, or drop by three or four bars.

The problem is widely reported by many user reports. The problem is also repeatable, making it look like a lot more than a coincidence.

Out of more than 40 respondents tested, about 35 are reporting a signal problems.

FREE Wi-Fi at Starbucks Nationwide

June 15, 2010

Starbucks is stirring up a few changes to its Wi-Fi access that should make Web-surfing coffee drinkers happy.

Starting July 1, the coffee brewer said it will launch free Wi-Fi access throughout all of its stores nationwide, with no special registration or account required and no limits on the time people can spend online.

Available through AT&T, the enhanced Wi-Fi improves on the current access, which is free to customers who use their AT&T accounts or Starbucks cards to log in, $3.99 for everyone else, and restricts the time online to no more than two hours.

Appearing at Wired’s business conference Disruptive by Design on Monday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz spoke about the new Wi-Fi access as part of the company’s goal to embrace social and digital media and look for new ways to bridge a customer’s coffeehouse experience with the digital world.

Beyond the enhanced Wi-Fi access, Schultz also unveiled plans for a new in-store service called the Starbucks Digital Network, slated to come online this fall. Teaming up with Yahoo, Starbucks will offer customers free and unrestricted access to different paid sites and services. Content partners will include, iTunes, The New York Times, Patch, USA Today, Yahoo, and Zagat. Additionally, Schultz said the new network will provide exclusive content, free downloads, and local community news.

Though Starbucks has offered its limited brand of Wi-Fi service for years, first through T-Mobile and then through AT&T, the company has lagged some of its competitors in offering unlimited free access.

McDonald’s, which sells coffee alongside its thick milkshakes, added free, unrestricted Wi-Fi access via AT&T to its menu in January, while nationwide cafe chains like Panera Bread also offer instant and free Wi-Fi.

Since his return to the CEO role in 2008, Schultz has been busy trying to promote Starbucks as a spot where people can work and socialize, especially online. He has spoken before about creating a third place between work and home and reiterated that point at the Wired business conference.

Given the company’s track record at tapping into the online world, Schultz’s new Wi-Fi initiatives may pay off. In a study from last July, Starbucks was named the biggest brand on the Web at using social media to promote itself and engage its customers.

Report: Apple Orders CDMA iPhones, Maybe for Verizon

March 30, 2010

Apple is working to develop a CDMA version of the iPhone that could be marketed by Verizon Wireless, according to a report.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Apple is working with Pegatron Technology to develop a CDMA version of the iPhone that could be mass produced by September. A second version of the iPhone is also under development by Hon Hai.

As the Journal noted, that Apple is working on another iPhone is not really a secret; the company has refreshed its iPhone lineup every June or July. Reports of a Verizon-branded iPhone surfaced in 2009, when a report by USA Today came up with a similar conclusion. The paper also reported that the two sides had talked in 2005 about a similar partnership.

The paper did not reveal any other features of either phone.

At the time, however, neither Apple nor Verizon seemed warm to the concept of a CDMA phone; instead, both companies seemed to indicate that any Verizon phone would use Verizon’s upcoming LTE network.

“There has been lots of incorrect speculation on CDMA iPhones for a long time. We haven’t seen one yet and only Apple knows when that might occur,” said an AT&T spokesman, according to the Journal.

Apple iPhone users have been notoriously dissatisfied with AT&T’s network coverage, enough that AT&T committed to spending an additional $2 billion this year to improve its network coverage, even as the iPhone swelled its subscriber ranks Apple took note, even as Apple recently said it would sell an iPhone without the need for a contract. That phone is still locked to AT&T’s network, however.


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