Google, Samsung, and several other Android handset manufacturers are being sued by Rockstar, a consortium backed by Android competitors Microsoft and Apple, over alleged infringement of several search patents acquired by Rockstar from Nortel in 2011. Last year HTC reached a ten-year agreement with Apple as part of a patent infringement settlement. That deal would result in both companies licensing existing and future patents from one another, but it seems that agreement does not apply in this case.
Bloomberg reports that Google and other Valley companies are contributing “dozens of computer engineers and programmers to help the Obama administration fix the U.S. health-insurance exchange website.”
The help is arriving as the government’s main site to offer health insurance remains plagued by repeated outages a month after its Oct. 1 debut. Among those assisting are Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer on leave from Mountain View, California-based Google, and Greg Gershman, the innovation director for smartphone application maker Mobomo, according to a government official who asked not to be identified because the moves haven’t been made public.
The Google engineers are in for a rude awakening when they see the government cafeterias. Read more
Most folks connect the best speakers in their house up to the TV. If you are like most folks and a Pandora listener/Chromecast user, some good news today: Pandora is now available on the $35 Chromecast. You can now stream your music from your Android smartphone or tablet directly to your TV and theoretically to those awesome speakers attached.
The Pandora App for Android was also updated with an improved Tablet interface today.
Google apparently isn’t stressed about Pandora taking away from its $8/month All-access Play service which gives users more control over what they listen to. Recent Chromecast converts include Hulu.
Cameras, TVs, gaming and movie divisions all lost money, leading the company to slash its annual profit forecast by 40 percent to $300M … Read more
Amir Efrati reports that Google has been working to make Android 4.4, codenamed KitKat, work on as many devices as possible, according to a leaked internal document. Those devices would include low-end smartphones with limited RAM, wearable devices such as smartwatches, smart TVs, and anything else that needs to run an operating system.
Google has reportedly been working with developers of smartphones at the lower end of the hardware spectrum to ensure that KitKat uses its resources wisely, essentially allowing it to run on a variety of phones that may not have been able to run Jelly Bean. If Google can overcome limited hardware to put KitKat—and future versions of Android—on every new device that ships and many that are already available, the company finally stands a chance of defeating the fragmented experience that has long plagued users and software developers alike.
According to the Washington Post, the NSA has “infiltrated” the servers belonging to both Google and Yahoo and is collecting records of user-data:
According to a top secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — ranging from “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, to content such as text, audio and video.
Earlier this year, claims emerged that said the NSA has been working lawfully via a “PRISM” program to legally intercept data from the servers of technology companies. This new information, however, seems to indicate that the NSA is obtaining the information via its own means.
In order for the data centers to operate effectively, they synchronize high volumes of information about account holders. Yahoo’s internal network, for example, sometimes transmits entire e-mail archives — years of messages and attachments — from one data center to another.
Tapping the Google and Yahoo clouds allows the NSA to intercept communications in real time and to take “a retrospective look at target activity,” according to one internal NSA document.
In order to obtain free access to data center traffic, the NSA had to circumvent gold standard security measures. Google “goes to great lengths to protect the data and intellectual property in these centers,” according to one of the company’s blog posts, with tightly audited access controls, heat sensitive cameras, round-the-clock guards and biometric verification of identities.
Google and Yahoo have both responded to today’s claims with surprise, noting that it does not hand data to the NSA.
A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!
The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass). Is #GoogleGlass illgal while driving or is this cop wrong???
Any legal advice is appreciated!! This happened in California. Do you know any other #GlassExplorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the US? Read more
Droid life spotted an update the the Moto X site which includes a temporary/now removed “Moto G” Menu item. The “G” has appeared in trademark applications and it is speculated to either be a smaller “Mini” version of the X, a Google Play version of the X or something entirely different – like an accessory.
The fact that it hit the website probably means we wont have to wait terribly long to find out.
For the record, we’ve heard Google/Motorola is working on some pretty cool stuff including a set “smart headphones”. Read more
The state of New York announced that Google donated 17,000 Nexus 7 tablets on the one year anniversary of the tragic Superstorm Sandy. The $2.7 million worth of Nexus 7s (/17,000=$158/ea=v1) are likely to go to community centers, training programs and libraries:
- Libraries will use the tablets in job training, work skills and English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages classes, and as e-reader loaners in the areas where libraries are not yet reopened
- Small business development organizations plan to integrate tablets into onsite business assistance and training classes. The organizations will also provide assistance to a high school entrepreneurship program run in about 30 underserved schools in New York City by New York State Small Business Development Centers.
- To help combat senior isolation, senior centers will employ tablets in teaching seniors to use video chatting and other electronic communication services as a way to keep them connected to their friends and families.
- Community centers will be able to use tablets in their programs to move young people living in poverty towards STEM and other high-skilled careers, as well as to assist their parents gain and improve technology-based job skills.
New York Politicians and former New York Politicians who now work for Google had nice things to say:
“It has been almost a year since New York went through the worst natural disaster in our history but for many of our state’s residents who are still building back the generosity of companies like Google can make a huge difference,” Governor Cuomo said. “Private donations like these are critical in aiding local communities in our ongoing recovery. We thank Google for helping New York build back better than before.”
“Google is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo and the New York State Community Action Agencies on this hardware donation,” said former New York Congresswoman Susan Molinari, Vice President for Government Relations at Google. “We believe that technology can and does play a compelling role in rebuilding communities to make them more resilient and stronger. Increasingly, more and more people are using technology and the internet to educate themselves or provide for their families. Our hope is that these tablets will be a resource to do just that.”
“I applaud Google and Governor Cuomo for coordinating a donation that focuses on strengthening our communities,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, who Governor Cuomo placed as Hurricane Sandy Donations Coordinator. “The New York Department of State is proud to have played a role in assisting Google in this donation.”
More details in the press release below: Read more
If you want to join the hangout, head over here.
Update: looks like Google is about 15 minutes late and counting.
We’re not quite sure which of Motorola’s Advanced Technology And Products (ATAP) team projects seems less likely: a cartoon mouse and sombrero, or teaming up with PhoneBloks to explore the possibility of a modular smartphone. Motorola’s version of the concept is called Ara.
Project Ara is developing a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software […]
To give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs, and how long you’ll keep it … Read more
Strategy Analytics is out today with its latest report covering mobile phone shipments globally during Q3 2013. According to the report, Samsung continues its lead as among mobile phone shipments as total shipments grew 7 percent to approximately 418 million units during the quarter. With Apple reporting 33.8m iPhone units during its earning call yesterday, the report estimates that Samsung was able to ship a record 120.1 million units, up around 17% since last year. That would mean it shipped more units than Nokia, Apple, and LG combined for a record 29 percent of the market during the quarter:
Solid demand for the new Note 3 phablet and for mass-market devices like the Galaxy Y helped to lift Samsung’s volumes. Nokia shipped a slightly better-than-expected 64.6 million mobile phones worldwide in Q3 2013. Nokia’s 15 percent global mobile phone marketshare is showing signs of stabilizing sequentially as demand for the Microsoft Lumia smartphone range is improving. However, Nokia’s feature phone unit remains a problem-child as global volumes dipped -27% year-over-year.”
Keep in mind that these estimates include feature phones, which currently make up around 40% of all shipments. Compare Samsung’s 120.1 million units with 64.6 million mobile phones shipped by Nokia, 33.8m by Apple, and 18.3 million by LG, which of course includes feature phones in addition to smartphones for every company except Apple.
Coming in fifth was Huawei with 14.6 million units, but the report doesn’t take into account shipped vs sold or share any break down of feature phones vs smartphone sales. In comparison, IDC put out its report today of smartphone market share globally with Samsung on top at 80.2 million units in Q3, Apple with its 33.8M, Huawei in third with 12.5M units, Lenovo with 12.3M, and LG with 12M: Read more