Motorola Mobility posts Q1 2012 earnings: $86M loss, 5.1M smartphones shipped

Motorola Mobility reported its Q1 2012 financial earnings this afternoon. It had a net revenue of $3.1 billion (up 2 percent YOY), net loss of $86 million (compared to a net loss of $81 million YOY), and an operating cash outflow of $98 million. Motorola Mobility also reported it had $3.5 billion in cash and assets.

Furthermore, the company said it sold 8.9 million mobile devices, 5.9 million of which were smartphones, during Q1 2012. As for the merger with Google, China seems to be the hold-up.

As previously announced on August 15, 2011, Motorola Mobility and Google Inc. (“Google”) (NASDAQ: GOOG) entered into a definitive agreement for Google to acquire Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or a total of approximately $12.5 billion.

Motorola Mobility and Google continue to work closely with the authorities in China for approval on the acquisition. The transaction has been investigated and cleared without conditions in all other jurisdictions with pre-closing clearance requirements. We continue to expect the transaction to close during the first half of 2012.

It looks like things should be underway by summer. Check out the full press release below.

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NYT: ‘Hacker’ Marius Milner identified as Google’s personal data cropping engineer

Google is embroiled in a hullabaloo over allegations that it cropped personal data from millions of people during its Street View project, and while the Federal Communications Commission ended its 17-month investigation into the matter, with a partial exoneration for the Internet giant, The New York Times is claiming to have found the culprit at the center of the case.

Google Street View is a service highlighted in Google Maps and Google Earth that offers panoramic views of streets. It launched in 2007 in the United States and has expanded to many cities and rural areas worldwide. The project ambitiously maps the world’s streets with photographs while accumulating data about local wireless networks to bulk location-based searches.

It eventually became apparent that Google’s Street View vehicle also gathered unencrypted information like emails and Internet searches beamed from personal computers from within homes. When this came to light, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company fingered a nameless engineer as being solely responsible for the action, which resulted in a F.C.C. inquiry. The search engine did not break any laws, the regulatory body found, but it did obstruct the investigation.

Although Google and the F.C.C. refused to confirm, the NYT published a lengthy piece yesterday that named Marius Milner as Google’s scapegoat. A former state investigator involved in another inquiry into Street View identified Milner as the engineer responsible. He is a programmer with an extensive background in telecommunications and Wi-Fi networking. As the publication discovered, Milner listed his occupation as “hacker” on his LinkedIn page (not working now), and wrote, “I know more than I want to about Wi-Fi” under the profile’s “Specialties” category.

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Verizon’s ‘Droid Does’ campaign is back (Video)

Verizon’s “Droid Does” campaign is back, but now the carrier has ditched the tentacle robot arm and synthesized automaton voice for a wholesome commercial that features a soothing voiceover with cute and giggly kids in the introduction, which is soon followed by panning scenes of hard-working and cheeky folks, who find Droid devices ever-so useful in their pleasant, daily lives.

The original “Droid Does” campaign launched Motorola’s first Droid and helped move Android into America’s mainstream vernacular in 2009. Check out the latest advertisement above for the Droid 4, Droid Razr, and Droid Razr Maxx, and then compare it to the old plugs hosted on this YouTube playlist (videos also below).

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Former Google employee and ‘Father of Java’ James Gosling says ‘Google slimed Sun’

James Gosling has had quite the run-around since he left Sun after Oracle bought the company. Never one to mince words, he set the record straight on his view of Google’s use of Sun’s Java:

Just because Sun didn’t have patent suits in our genetic code doesn’t mean we didn’t feel wronged. While I have differences with Oracle, in this case they are in the right. Google totally slimed Sun. We were all really disturbed, even Jonathan: he just decided to put on a happy face and tried to turn lemons into lemonade, which annoyed a lot of folks at Sun.

Interesting perspective and interesting timing for the guy who went to work for Google after he left Sun with some hinted harsh words for Oracle. Gosling then left Google just a few months later for an Ocean robotics startup, but he never hinted at any ill will.

He told eWeek in 2009 that leadership was needed at the Android division (although, I can think of a lot of people who would disagree).

And what’s going on in the Android world is there’s kind of no adult in charge. And all these handset manufacturers are doing whatever they damn well please. Which means that it’s just going to be randomness. It could be let a thousand flowers bloom, but it also could be a dog’s breakfast. And I guess having been around the track a few times, it feels like it’s going to be more of a dog’s breakfast.

Barnes and Noble and Microsoft ‘Nook up’ for digital joint venture

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This is big news: Until now, Barnes and Noble was at odds (lawsuits) with Microsoft over its Android-based Nook software. Today, the two companies announced a Digital Joint Venture. While the press release does not say so specifically, it would appear that Barnes and Noble might abandon Android as its future eReader OS. Moreover, this would seem to put the previous patent litigation behind the two companies.

Barnes and Noble announced its intentions to spin off its digital arm in January.

BKS doubled in pre-market trading:

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Google X founder shows Project Glass photo capturing capabilities on Charlie Rose

While we have not really received an example of what the Google Project Glass glasses can do, Google provided word on some of its features—specifically around augmented reality and other smartphone-like apps. In a new interview today, we got a closer look at the glasses. Google X (the team at Google who is working to develop these glasses among other products) founder Sebastian Thrun went on “Charlie Rose” last evening to discuss and show off the new prototype. During the show’s taping, Thrun posted a picture taken from the glasses. This is our first look at what the Glasses can actually do.

The Glasses were first noticed in the real world on Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s face at an event earlier this month. Brin was wearing a prototype of the glasses, which were said to look very lightweight. Brin made a comment at the time that the glasses were just rebooting and no actual features were working.

However, looking at last night’s post, Project Glass looks to be coming along quite nicely. As we reported a few weeks ago, Google is still up in the air about giving out pairs at Google I/O this summer. You can check out the interview here, where Thrun discussed more Glass features like composing email and having message read aloud.

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Hulu Plus hack makes Android app Samsung Epic Touch 4G-compatible (as well as other unsupported phones)

Hacker “ReActiveDisorder” posted, well, a hack on the XDADevelopers forum recently that allows the Hulu Plus app to work with the Samsung Epic Touch 4G without a root.

“I have a Hulu membership and was angry cause our device wasnt “Compatible”. Talk about a total rip off. So I modded the apk to work with our device. It is 100% Fully functioning. I hope to contribute more later down the road. Maybe an ICS Rom ;-),” explained ReActiveDisorder on the forum.

Directions:
1. Download the Modded APK at http://db.tt/sq1AjQQu 
2. Sideload APK—it installs like other non-market apps.
3. Sign into Hulu Plus (membership required).

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Google invests $300M in Iowa data center

Google is constructing a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which would bring the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s total investments in the town to nearly $1 billion.

According to the Associated Press, the search engine said the $300 million data center would add 50 new jobs to the area ranging from computer repair to logistics. Construction on the 1,000-acre project is slated to begin immediately; although, details regarding an end-date are not confirmed.

“Google’s secure data centers are some of the most energy efficient in the world,” explained Google on its Date Centers website. “Each year we save millions of dollars on energy costs, and we use renewable energy whenever we can.”

Google invested $600 million in another Iowa data enter three-years-ago to support an array of its services like Search, Maps, and Gmail. The technical plant spurred 200 new jobs, and Operations Manager for the Council Bluffs Google data center Chris Russell said Google intends to use its latest investment for the same purposes.

“We are glad to be in Iowa, and Google’s future here is very bright,” said Russell to the AP.

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Google vs Oracle bits: Original Google Phone, Android revs, and $10 data plan

There is a lot of interesting news coming out of the Google v. Oracle Java trial today. Yesterday, former CEO Eric Schmidt gave his testimony to the court, and today Andy Rubin took the stand where he revealed a slide deck with Google’s ambitions to sell 10 million Android tablets during 2011 and other pieces of information related to Android revenue.

On-hand reports from The Verge point us to a few of the more intriguing statements made by Rubin and others today:

Google Phone:

The image above is of the “original Google phone” concept presented to carriers almost two years before Google finally launched the first Android handset, the T-Mobile G1. The images of the device came up in the trial due to references to Java in the designs. A year later, in May 2007, almost a year after iPhone, Google was still designing Android with a physical keyboard in mind—as noted in Android specification documents during the trial.

Android Revenue:

First, we get a close look at Android revenue numbers for the first time. The numbers come from a quarterly report given by Rubin and others in 2010 that show the company expected revenue from Android to reach $278.1 million during the year.

The forecast was based on increasing the roughly 20 million Android phones in the market at the time to 40 million by the end of the year. Google was also expecting to pull in $158.9 million in Android ad revenue and just $3.8 million from its 30 percent cut of app sales. According to the report, Google forecasted bringing in $840.2 million from Android ads and $35.9m from app sales in 2012.

Subsidized unlimited data plans:

Another interesting document that emerged from the trial shows Google suggested to T-Mobile in 2006 that it would give up its finder’s fee commission for new customers in order to provide Android phones with $10 monthly unlimited data plans. Of course, that plan was never carried out, and the original Android T-Mobile G1 launched with the conventional $25+ plans.

Google Ideas helps launch counter-radicalization ‘Against Violent Extremism’ network

Today, on the Official Google Blog, the company unveiled its next step for the Google Ideas think tank run by former ‘Twitterer in Chief” of the State Department Jared Cohen. In the post, Google announced it would support the Against Violent Extremism, a new online network created by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. The project aims to bring awareness to the issue of counter-radicalization while forming a “global network of formers, survivors of violent extremism, NGOs, academics, think tanks and private sector execs.” Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen explained:

This is the first time that former extremists, survivors, nonprofits and private sector leaders from around the world are combining forces and using online tools to tackle the problem of violent extremism… Until now, there has never before been a one-stop shop for people who want to help fight these challenges—a place to connect with others across sectors and disciplines to get expertise and resources.

The AVE network will consist of various resources such as videos, literature, online tools and forums, and information about projects related to the network. The website also includes an interactive map highlighting people, events, and resources for specific locations. The network will “spotlight formers as positive role models for youth” and provide a tool for the public to tackle radicalization issues that many rely on government to fix.

Cohen elaborated by outlining the focus for Google Ideas going forward:

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Microsoft adds Pegatron to patent-licensing portfolio

Microsoft just revealed it signed a patent agreement with Pegatron that covers the Windows maker’s patent portfolio for a variety of Android and Chrome-based consumer electronics.

The Redmond, Wash.-headquartered Corporation now has coverage for eReaders, smartphones, and tablets running Google’s operating system. Both parties admitted Microsoft would receive royalties from Pegatron; however, the agreement’s particulars were not disclosed.

Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Intellectual Property Horacio Gutierrez said the agreement with Pegatron reflects continued success of its Android licensing program by settling IP issues regarding Android OS and Chrome-powered devices in the marketplace.

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