Vendor News

Apple and Samsung's Patent Battle

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Samsung AppleApple sues Samsung-- claiming its Galaxy smartphones and tablets "slavishly" copy the iPhone and iPad.

The lawsuit continues, for 38 pages, alleging Samsung violates Apple's patents and trademarks due to its copying, well, everything off it-- from the look, product design and UI down to the packaging.

Samsung meanwhile releases its own statement, saying it will take counter-action against Apple-- who, in a worthy twist, is also one of Samsung's major buyers of semiconductors and display panels, accounting for 4% of its annual revenues. There's no word out yet, but legal issues could possibly complicate thar relationship.

This far from Apple's first legal battle, as it's also involved in the courts with HTC, Motorola, Amazon, Nokia, Kodak and Microsoft.

Go Apple: Samsung Copied Design (WSJ)

HTC Overtaking Nokia in Market Race

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The FT reports HTC is now the world's 3rd most valuable smartphone manufacturer-- taking over Nokia's position.

Nokia HTCThe 2 biggest smartphone makers in the world are Apple and Samsung, even if one has to keep in mind smartphones are not the 2 companies' sole business. 

Nokia still remains the world's biggest mobile device producer (by volume), with 28.9% global market share. 

HTC's rise to success reflects the market's acceptance of touchscreen-based smartphones, with their now being mass-market products in the Europe and the US. IDC expects the global smartphone market to grow by 50% this year, even if slowdown is expected. 

Other analysts, including Morgan Stanley, have less cheering news for HTC-- the company could face "increasing headwinds" as competitors catch up with low- or mid-ranged smartphone models growing in popularity at the expense of premium models. 

Go HTC Overtakes Nokia in Market Value (FT)

A Single Account to Synch all Devices

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NetQinNetQin announces its personalised cloud-based platform, NQ Space-- allowing users to synch their personal data across multiple devices using a single online account. 

The cloud-based system not only stores data online, but also scans for viruses and gives users security ratings to their devices, giving guidelines on how to improve them. 

If one loses one of their devices, NQ Space also allows them to locate and control it remotely-- in order to either wipe it, sound off an alarm or lock it. 

Go NetQin

Honeycomb Shut Tight-- For Most

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Bloomberg reports Google's holding tightly to Honeycomb's source code-- releasing it to none but its biggest partners.

Honeycomb logoNow smaller developers and manufacturers are going to find out what happens when the Google decides its software "is not ready to be altered by outside programmers". The only manufacturers having Honeycomb access are the industry's heavyweights-- Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC and their likes.

Some commentors say Google's holding back in order to "protect" users from "poor experiences". Yet the delay won't protect anyone: the smaller hardware vendors in Europe will only suffer more delays (and the costs involved) while waiting for Google to finally open its now closed vendor club.

Meanwhile the poor experience will continue flooding the market-- in the shape of inferior Chinese mobile Android iPad-wannabes.

With the situation as it is, the only Honeycomb tablet options retailers will have are those from the big brands-- the Xooms and Galaxy Tabs. Which is where the "poor experiences" theory falls flat. No big company will risk its millions-- and reputation-- in the name of an unfinished OS, not even a Google-branded one. If Honeycomb wasn't ready, no one would have had it.

In an interview with Businessweek, Android group head Andy Rubin also expresses fears that should Honeycomb be released out in the open source wilds, nothing would stop manufacturers from using it in smartphones, creating a "really bad user experience." Then again, as mentioned earlier, nothing's stopping Chinese developers from shoehorning the Android 2.2 (or earlier) experience into tablets.

One would expect any normal company (whose motto does not read "Do No Evil") to do just that-- using first access priviledges in order to sell to the industry's big players. With the "delay" expected to run for a few more months, the competition-- the small hardware vendors-- struggles between a rock and a hard place, while retail has to stick to selling Big Brand Honeycomb.

Go Google Holds Honeycomb Tight (Bloomberg)

Microsoft Out of Nokia's Tablet Game?

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Nokia's plans to enter the tablet market may exclude (or not) its recent American smartphone partner, Reuters reports. 

Nokia TabletThe news agency's source says Nokia is considering its tablet options-- which include MeeGo, the Nokia-Intel OS project. 

Even if Apple still dominates a crowded tablet market (while an increasingly crowded competition squabbles for the remaining scraps) Nokia still wants a slice of the pie-- but appears to be taking its time in order to "get its first tablet right". 

Another question still remains-- did Intel drop the MeeGo ball? As Nokia pairs up with Microsoft for its post-Symbian smartphone plans, Intel is said to be looking for new partners in its aims for the mobile market. 

Meanwhile Windows is still pushing Windows as a tablet platform, and should be launching a Windows 8 tablet by 2012.

Go Nokia's Tablet Path May Exclude Microsoft (Reuters)