Report: Injunctions against Motorola Mobility force German store to pull most Android devices

Motorola Mobility apparently yanked all tablets and most smartphones from its German store.

According to the company’s online German store (translated), just three devices are available for purchase: the Motorola Razr I, the Motorola Razr HD, the Motorola Gleam+. Meanwhile, there are absolutely no Motorola tablets for sale through the website  (translated).

Tech news website ZDNet first noticed the lacking selection of Android-powered devices from Google-owned Motorola, and it blamed the insufficient stock on “aggressive and successful litigation” against the company in recent months:

The mobile hardware maker has suffered a series of defeats in German courts after the firm was accused of patent infringement by software giant Microsoft. However, Motorola recently batted one victory to the back of the cage proving that Microsoft’s litigious advances were not fool-proof.

A German regional court ruled earlier this week that a patent belonging to the Redmond, WA.-based company was not infringed by Motorola. In spite of Motorola’s recent victory against Microsoft’s claims, the previous injunctions remain in place.

Apple also had a hand to play in the ongoing playbook against Motorola after the phone maker infringed a European patents belonging to Apple, a software feature described as a ‘rubber-banding’ patent.

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House Intelligence Committee advises US companies to stop doing business with Huawei and ZTE, says ‘cannot be trusted’

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Intelligence just published a report that deemed two Chinese manufacturers of routers, switches, and telecoms equipment as a possible threat to national security, and it subsequently warned American companies to purchase their hardware elsewhere.

According to the committee’s press release:

The Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers (R-MI) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), today released a report recommending to U.S. companies considering doing business with Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE to find another vendor.  The report encourages U.S. companies to take into account the long-term security risks associated with either company providing equipment or services to our telecommunications infrastructure.  Additionally, the report recommends that U.S. government systems, particularly sensitive systems, exclude Huawei or ZTE equipment or component parts.

Reuters reported that Huawei and ZTE are the world’s second- and fifth-largest manufacturers, respectively, of telecom equipment by revenue. ZTE ranks fourth in the global mobile smartphone sector, however, while Huawei sits in sixth. The majority of both companies’ U.S. sales come from devices sold through U.S. carriers like Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA.

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HTC posts 79 percent drop in quarterly profit for Q3 2012, net profit down to $133M

HTC released its third-quarter earnings today and announced a drop in net income to NT$3.9 billion ($133 million). The company’s net income is down from NT$7.4 billion in the quarter before and NT$18.68 billion during the same time last year. HTC announced revenue for the third quarter of NT$70.2 billion, missing analysts’ estimates from Bloomberg, as operating income declined 76 percent to NT$4.9 billion. HTC is certainly hoping its recently unveiled HTC One X+ might help it gain back some marketshare in Q4 as the device rolls out across Europe, Asia, and eventually the U.S. According to estimates from Bloomberg, HTC could post yet another drop to NT$5.2 billion in the fourth quarter on revenue of NT$76.5 billion.
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YouTube celebrates success of original channel initiative by launching more channels from Europe and US

YouTube announced 100 original channels were coming to the video-sharing platform last fall, and now it is following up exactly one-year later with the launch of new channels coming from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“From local cuisine, health and wellness and parenting to sports, music, comedy, animation and news, this new lineup of original channels will have something for everyone,” revealed YouTube on its global blog. “They are backed by some of the biggest producers, well-known celebrities and emerging media companies from Europe and the U.S.”

Along with the news about upcoming channels, YouTube also revealed a few statistics on the success of its one-year-old initiative:

  • Our top 25 original channels are now averaging over a million views every week
  • 800 million of your are watching 4 billion hours every month, that’s up from 3 billion hours earlier this year
  • The number of people subscribing has doubled y/y
  • And partners this year are reaching the 100k subscriber mark 5x faster than they were just two years ago

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Google to offer AdWords credit to advertisers

The Financial Times reports that Google is getting into the credit business tomorrow in the United Kingdom, but this is not a typical credit card. It is only available for spending on Google’s own Adwords product.

Google’s decision to issue its own credit card, which will also be made available in the US within weeks and other unspecified countries later, signals the company’s first attempt to use its huge cash reserves to support its core search advertising business by subsidising low-interest rate credit lines.

Google provided all the info on its Adwords blog:

  • In the UK, AdWords Business Credit will have a variable 11.9% APR Representative.   In the US, AdWords Business Credit will offer an APR as low as 8.99%*, the same rate as in the pilot. Neither card will have annual fees, and they will both have an ample credit limit for AdWords.
  • We’re teaming up with Barclaycard, part of the Barclays group, in the UK and Comenity Capital Bank in the US to issue the card. Both are MasterCard cards.
  • AdWords Business Credit can only be used for AdWords advertising purchases.

 

A pilot program has been going on in the U.S. for over a year. The results of the study proved that Google could sell more and more valuable ad space by putting the money up front. Customers would receive between $200 and $100,000 a month to pay for their use of Adwords. The money, theoretically, would be paid back after Adwords drew bigger audiences and increased revenues of the client’s website.

This play is not an attempt at a new profit center or necessarily tied to (or confused with) Google Wallet. It is simply to drive higher revenues to Adwords—especially from cash-strapped companies.

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Sony halts Xperia Tablet S sales over manufacturing defect

According to a report from Reuters, Sony announced today that it stopped sales of its Xperia tablet S after a flaw was discovered in the manufacturing process:

The problem with the tablet, which is supposed to be water resistant, is the result of a manufacturing flaw at the Chinese plant where it is fabricated, said Sony spokeswoman Noriko Shoji. Sony has not yet decided when it will resume sales, she added.

Sony confirmed that it would fix the issue for any of the 100,000 devices it has shipped since the tablet went on sale in September. On Sony’s website, the company apologized to customers and confirmed the limited number of units affected “may not meet the splash proof specification.” It also provided information on a recall and repair program:

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Report: Quad-core processor and wireless charging among ‘confirmed specs’ for rumored LG Nexus device

 

Update: Cnet reports that it has learned from a reliable source that the LG Nexus will be introduced at the end of this month. It is also hearing that a final name for the device has not been decided, and there could possibly be other Nexus devices introduced by additional OEMs:

The phone will be announced at the end of the month, according to a person briefed on the matter. While it will run some of the same specifications as the Optimus G, it will be modified to fit into the Nexus program. Google and LG haven’t yet come up with a name for the product… LG, however, may not be the only company to unveil a Nexus phone, the person said.

Tech community MoDaCo, citing “various sources,” just revealed a list of hardware and software features for a yet-to-be-announced LG Nexus device.

The much-discussed pure Android device is supposedly Optimus G-based, but it will not look the same, and it boasts a quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB RAM, 8-megapixel camera, and 1,280-by-768 True-HD IPS display. According to MoDaCo, additional specs include:

  • On-screen soft keys
  • No microSD slot
  • 8GB and 16GB versions (initially)
  • Non-removable battery
  • Wireless charging built-in

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German court rules Motorola does not infringe Microsoft patent

According to the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany, Motorola Mobility does not infringe on a Microsoft patent enabling a “method and radio interface layer comprising a set of application programming interfaces (APIs).” The patent, which Reuters described as allowing “applications to work on different handsets,” is considered a rare victory for Google’s Motorola. Throughout its countersuits, Microsoft has been able to win three patent cases against Motorola in Germany. As noted by Microsoft-funded blogger Florian Mueller, “Microsoft should actually thank Motorola for this initiative, which at this stage has been far more productive for Microsoft than for Google.”

Microsoft is expected to appeal the decision, as usual, but the Judge Voss did not go over the reasoning behind the ruling during the announcement. Microsoft’s associate general counsel David Howard provided a statement to Reuters:

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Samsung Galaxy Camera to debut on AT&T’s 4G network

Samsung and AT&T just revealed the Samsung Galaxy Camera would debut on AT&T’s 4G network.

AT&T noted its network would allow Galaxy Camera users to share and connect while on the go, but there is no direct mention of LTE. The carrier called the point-and-shoot “4G-connected,” however, so the Jelly Bean-powered device will likely support HSPA+. There is no specific information regarding pricing or availability either, but the camera will go on sale in the “coming weeks.”

The Galaxy Camera unveiled at the Samsung Unpacked event in August, and it packs a 4.8-inch HD Super Clear LCD screen, 21x optical zoom lens, 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, and a quad-core 1 GHz processor. A few of the software highlights, aside from access to Google Play, include: Samsung’s AllShare Play for remote access to the camera over the same Wi-Fi connection; Buddy Photo Share for instant face tagging; and Share Shot for auto-sending of images to other Samsung devices.

Get more details in the press release below.

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Nissan unveils self-driving ‘NSC-2015′ concept car that responds to Galaxy S III [Video]

Uh-oh, Google better step on the pedal: Automaker Nissan recently unveiled a self-driving car at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies tradeshow in Tokyo.

The concept car, dubbed “NSC-2015, can park or drive up to a passenger when commanded by a smartphone. In the Nissan press video above, a demonstration at CEATEC 2012 shows the modified Nissan Leaf responding to an Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S III.

Nissan specifically said the car could search for an empty space and park itself after a driver has left the vehicle and then the driver could later summon the car with just a simple smartphone tap.

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Google and AAP reach agreement on 7-year copyright dispute

 

Google and the Association of American Publishers just announced a settlement agreement for a 7-year-old litigation that will further provide access to copyrighted content digitized by Google for its Library Project.

Google started to scan and digitize library books in 2002 for its Book Search service founded in 2004 that allows users to download public domain books and snippets of copyrighted books. The Association of American Publishers filed a lawsuit against Google in 2005 for copyright infringement over the unauthorized snippets.

The Association sought an injunctive relief, but Google maintained the scanned book snippets were fair use. Both parties reportedly began negotiations to settle in 2006. However, in 2011, a supervising judge ruled to reject a major settlement proposal between them. Any news about close talks has since been quiet until today’s announcement about a finalized agreement.

The finalized agreement effectively ends the 2005 copyright infringement lawsuit; and the settlement is between the parties, so the court does not have to approve terms. The publisher plaintiffs include McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, John Wiley & Sons, and Simon & Schuster. Although the companies’ statement does not reveal whether Google infringed, they said the settlement “acknowledged the rights and interests of copyright-holders.”

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Amazon announces Mobile App Distribution in Japan, Cloud Drive in Italy & Spain

Amazon is making a couple of announcements today for both developers and users, including adding support for new countries to its Mobile App Distribution Portal and Cloud Drive services. Starting with Cloud Drive, Amazon announced today that is launching Cloud Drive in both Spain and Italy following introductions of the service in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France earlier this month.

Another improvement in this release of Cloud Drive now allows U.S. users to share files they upload by selecting the individual files at www.amazon.com/clouddrive. Meanwhile, iPhoto users in the U.S. and Europe can now easily import their photos:

In addition, Cloud Drive customers in the U.S. and Europe using Mac computers can now easily upload their iPhoto albums to Cloud Drive in as little as two clicks using the Cloud Drive Desktop App. Users can select the events they want to upload and the Cloud Drive Desktop App seamlessly uploads photos so they can be enjoyed instantly on Kindle Fire or from any web browser.

As for the Mobile App Distribution Portal, Amazon announced today that developers can now submit their apps for sale in Japan: Read more