Industry News

Apple and HTC: War is Over

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Sometimes one wakes up to something truly surprising-- Apple and HTC drop all current lawsuits, thanks to a "global settlement" complete with 10-year license agreement covering all current and future patents held by the two companies.

HTC AppleYes, sometimes a man does get to bite a dog... and a couple of pen strokes end 32-month long patent war.

Unsurprisingly settlement details are confidential, even if HTC says the agreement does "not have a material adverse impact" on financials-- meaning HTC is paying at least something to Apple.

HTC was another target under Apple's "thermonuclear war" against Android. The first salvo fired on March 2010, when Apple sued over 10 user interface patents. HTC lost (due to 1996 patent covering a data-detecting function) and as a result products such as the HTC One X were temporarily banned in the US.


ARM Announces Cortex-A50 Processors

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UK-based ARM reveals two processor cores for use in the smartphones, tablets and even servers of the near future-- the Cortex-A53 and Cortex A57.

ARMBoth carry the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture launched back in October 2011, and are compatible with 32-bit ARM applications.

ARM calls the A53 "the smallest" 64-bit chip yet, as well as the most power-efficient ARM application processor. Meanwhile the A57 is the "most advanced" applications processor from the company.

Like the earlier Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7, vendors can link the two processors in what ARM calls big.LITTLE configuration-- with the weaker A53 handling most task before the A57 takes over heavy-duty workloads, in order to increase power efficiency.

The company already names AMD, Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon, Samsung and STMicroelectronics as licensees of the new series, and expects the processor designs will appear in actual devices by around 2014.

Go ARM Launches Cortex-A50 Series

Latest HP Tablet is All Business

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HP has a take on the Windows 8 tablet aiming at enterprise use-- the ElitePad 900, a 10-inch tablet similar to high-end EliteBook laptops from the company.

ElitepadIt carries an Atom-based Intel Clover Trail processor, 2GB of RAM and either 32 or 64GB of eMMC storage. The display handles resolutions of up to 1280 x 800, making it slightly disappointing, while cameras come in 1080p (front-facing) and 8MP (rear) varieties.

Input is not limited to touch-- the device also allows for pen- and voice-based input.

Like the EliteBook laptops the industrial design looks premium, with CNC-machined aluminium construction and Gorilla Glass 2 coating the 400-nit IPS display.

HP sells a duo of "SmartJacket" accessories for the tablet-- the Productivity Jacket (with integrated keyboard, SD card reader and connectivity ports) and Expansion Jacket (with x2 USB ports, HDMI-out and room for optional battery expansion). Further accessories include standards such as a docking station, a "military-grade" rugged case and a tablet pen.

Go HP Unveils a True Tablet for Business

EC Steps into Digital Music

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The European Commission (EC) hopes to bolster the European digital music industry with a proposal streamlining the way agencies collect royalties for copyright holders-- making the sale of digital music across the 27 EU nations much easier.

EU MusicThe EU has tried to bring about pan-European licensing for a while, following the antitrust decision in 2008 against national royalty collecting agencies. That decision allows rights holder to issue pan-European licenses.

European collecting agencies collect an estimated €6 billion annually from radio stations, restaurants, bars and other music users. However according to the EC less than 50% of collected royalties are distributed within the 1st year.

Currently music copyrights are still granted on a national basis within the EU-- meaning customers can only purchase digital music from an online store (such as iTunes or Spotify) operating within their home country. As a result, music pirates find a nice in customers who are unable to legally purchase digital music.

Apple managed to roll out iTunes stores in 12 European countries (including Poland and Hungary) in 2011... only 7 years after iTunes first opened its digital floodgates in Germany.

Go Moving the Single Market for Online Music (EU Observer)

Tangled Patent Web: An Apple Update

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IP consulting firm Kanzatec provides an updated bird's eye view of the patent war-- and reveals how Apple sits at the centre of nearly 60% of all major mobile-related suits. 

Patent WebThe list of companies attacking (and in turn being attacked by!) Apple is pretty much a who's who of the mobile business. It includes many familiar mobile device makers, such as Samsung, Motorola, HTC, RIM, Kodak, Nokia, Microsoft and Google. There are also service providers, including Comcast, Sprint and Oracle. 

Why is Apple at the epicentre of such a battlefield? According to Kanzatec, that is due to its having a "dominant place" in the market. As long as retains its market share-- and huge amounts of cash in hand-- Apple will remain a juicy target for potential litigators. 

Then again, Apple is not one to stand back in a legal fight... And the patent war goes on, and on. 

Go Who is Suing Whom? Current and Recent Mobile Technology Litigation (Bloomberg)