Developer gets Android Wear (partially) running on the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2

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Samsung made a very bold attempt at entering the now-somewhat-established smartwatch space—long before the current market leaders—with the launch of their Galaxy Gear devices, but none of these wearables ever made very much of an impact. And since these devices came several months before Android Wear even existed, they ran Samsung’s proprietary Tizen operating system, which many users have agreed is notoriously clunky and unintuitive.

Now, a developer on the XDA-Developers forum has started work on porting Android Wear to the Galaxy Gear 2, and it looks like the OS is already partially functional… Read more

Google wants to buy your patents & avoid trolls, launches experimental ‘Patent Purchase Promotion’

A neon Google logo is seen as employees work at the new Google office in Toronto

Google just announced that it’s launching an experimental service that will act as marketplace for those interested in selling the company patents.

Google noted that the usual process of buying and selling patents can “be challenging, especially for smaller participants who sometimes end up working with patent trolls.” It hopes to offer patent holders an alternative to selling to so-called patent trolls that it says rarely “provide any meaningful benefit to the original patent owner… bad things happen, like lawsuits, lots of wasted effort, and generally bad karma.”

To do so it will allow patent holders an easy way to offer their patents to Google for sale through a program called the Patent Purchase Promotion: Read more

Google announces Q1 2015 earnings: $17.3 billion revenue, $3.6 billion net income

Google today has posted its earnings for Q1 2015. The company reports revenue of $17.3 billion, which is up 12 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014. Net income for Q1 2015 was $3.68 billion For the first quarter of 2015, the company also reports earnings per share of $6.57. Google CFO Patrick Pichette cites momentum of its mobile advertising business as a reason for its strong performance.

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What analysts expect from Google’s earnings call later today, and how to listen in

A neon Google logo is seen as employees work at the new Google office in Toronto

Re/code has a roundup of what analysts are expecting from Google this afternoon, when the company announces its Q1 earnings and provides at least a little guidance on the future.

Consensus estimates are for net revenue of $14.12 billion, a 16 percent uptick year over year. Currency winds could drag down the numbers.

Google isn’t expected to reveal much information about its future plans, but analysts expect at least some degree of clarity in three areas, says the piece …  Read more

Nokia plans a second coming to right the Elop wrong and build Android phones

The Nokia Brand phone company that Microsoft subsumed may be on the verge of a comeback to phones if recent rumors prove true.  According to a recent report, the new/old Nokia will begin producing phones as soon as it is contractually able to do so and those phones unsurprisingly will run a flavor of Android.

Unlike other patent houses that do little more than license intellectual property, Nokia Technologies has designed new products and licensed them to other companies. So far, these ambitions have been small in scale. The division has released just two products — an Android program called Zlauncher and the N1, an Android tablet design it licensed to another manufacturer that is selling it under the Nokia name in China. Its return to the market is likely to employ a similar tactic.

But insiders said those two products are just the beginning.

“They have a lot of great stuff in development,” said Richard Kerris, a former Nokia executive who also consulted for the company until last year as part of his last startup.  “It gave me complete confidence that Nokia is a company that is not going away.”

While Kerris said he couldn’t go into specifics, he said people will be blown away if some of the stuff he saw comes to market.

If you consider Nokia’s N1 Android tablet, the first to use the newly popular USB-C type of interface, which apparently, it can release outside of its Microsoft agreement the rumor isn’t surprising. In fact, it is pretty obvious.

But this whole episode really stinks to me. Microsoft’s Stephen Elop moved to Nokia in 2010 from Microsoft. Within months, he wrote a frightening memo that the company had to shift courses and eventually move to Microsoft’s shifting phone OS which was as disastrous a decision as it could make. Then, as the value of the company was rapidly depleted based off of that poor decision, the smartphone part of the business with Elop in tow gets bought by Microsoft at a steep discount.

Now, a lifetime later in mobile phone years, Nokia is doing what it should have done a long time ago and move to Android. Perhaps there is still some life left in the company.  We’ll see. Read more

Dodocase offering its Google-certified VR viewer for free

Earlier today, Google announced a new program called “Works with Google Cardboard” that highlights all of the third-party Cardboard-compatiable viewers. The program is Google’s attempt at unifying the various variants of Cardboard, which was first shown at I/O 2014, and making sure they are all compatible with the variety of Cardboard apps that are available.

To celebrate the launch of Works with Google Cardboard, Dodocase is briefly offering its Google-certified virtual reality viewer for free… Read more

EU files formal antitrust complaint against Google, begins separate Android investigation. Google responds

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As expected, the EU has formally accused Google of abusing its dominant position in search to favor links to its own products over those offered by competitors. The complaint takes the form of a Statement of Objections: a formal method of announcing that it believes Google has acted illegally and that a full investigation is underway.

The Commission’s preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU antitrust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers. EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that “Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe.”

Google has not wasted any time in attempting to convince the Commission otherwise, arguing in a blog post that the evidence shows that Google has not harmed traffic to competitor websites …  Read more

Google expected to face formal European antitrust charges tomorrow

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Update: the EU Commission has now filed its complaint

It doesn’t sound good for Google in Europe where the company has faced continued criticism, some comical and some less so, for using its dominant 90+% search share to give advantages to its other properties and squash competitors. FT:

Google will on Wednesday be accused by Brussels of illegally abusing its dominance of the internet search market in Europe, a step that ultimately could force it to change its business model fundamentally and pay hefty fines. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, is to say that the US group will soon be served with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals to favour its own services, according to two people familiar with the case.

The NYTimes:

Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to make an announcement that Google has abused its dominant position on Wednesday in Brussels, according to two people who spoke on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity…

“The E.U. competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, will decide what steps they want to go,” Günther Oettinger, a German politician who is charge of Europe’s digital economy, told Die Welt am Sonntag, a German newspaper, on Sunday. “I think that they will be far-reaching.”

Google has yet to comment on the matter but if Google fails to rebut any formal charges, Ms. Vestager could “levy a huge fine that could go above 6 billion euros, or $6.4 billion, amounting to about 10 percent of Google’s most recent annual revenue”.

Google stock is off 2 points today.

Image via TNW

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Google: Net Neutrality doesn’t move the needle for consumers, enabling competition is key

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Google Fiber’s VP of access services Milo Medin says that while the company is a strong supporter of net neutrality, what consumers really need is legislation that enables greater competition in the broadband market. FierceTelecom reported Medin’s remarks in a keynote speed at the Comptel conference.

No consumers are seeing higher speeds than before the order was passed; no consumers are paying less for their Internet services than what they were paying for; no consumers are seeing higher volume caps that they had before; and no consumers have additional choice of providers than they had before.

Governments cannot legislate for better customer service, he said, but they can pass laws that increase competition in the market, and this is what will make the most difference to consumers …  Read more