New Samsung patent showcases a ‘multidisplay’ smartphone with advanced hinge [Photos]

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office first published Samsung’s patent about a dual-display smartphone in September 2011, but now a second patent application on the subject recently surfaced that advances on the previous design.

According to PatentBolt, the two patents detail the device’s functionality by describing how both screens can display several apps simultaneously, such as showing a picture on one screen and chatting in a window on the other panel. The device could further feature capabilities for “television (TV) watching, on-line game service and on-demand video service are communications or applications that may be provided to users,” or even voice communication, SMS, and mobile banking. The dual screens could also seamlessly join to create one larger display.

Samsung’s older patent explained many of the above functions, but a problem with manufacturability weighed down the likelihood of this product ever becoming known. One of the main drawbacks to the original design is its hinge, but a large part of Samsung’s newer patent concerns a better hinge solution.

The strength of the new hinge will allow the unit to stay in place, so the user can consume content while recharging (and without the need for a separate docking station). The entire concept provides “the plurality of display units which rotate stepwise,” according to PatentBolt, by way of an advanced multi-axis hinge. Moreover, Samsung now uses the term “multidisplay” instead of “dual display.”

The South Korea-based manufacture apparently believes consumers need a portable communication device with a “multidisplay.” Its latest patent application for the device filed in Q4 2011 in the U.S., and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published it in Q2 2012.

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Google details energy efficiency of Google Apps and the cloud

Google’s reduction of energy use for servers and server cooling.

Google wants businesses to make Google Apps their primary productivity suite, so the company is recruiting at full swing today with a new blog post that discloses a few stats about its energy efficiency.

Google Apps is a Google service that features several Web applications like traditional office suites. The services vary per edition but generally include Docs, Gmail, Calendar, Talk, Sites, Groups, Video, and Marketplace. Its popularity among businesses and academicians is rapidly increasing due to enhanced sharing features, accessibility, and cost.

According to Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure Urs Hoelzle on the Official Google Blog:

At Google, we’re obsessed with building energy efficient data centers that enable cloud computing. Besides helping you be more productive, cloud-based services like Google Apps can reduce energy use, lower carbon emissions and save you money in the process. Last year, we crunched the numbers and found that Gmail is up to 80 times more energy-efficient than running traditional in-house email. We’ve sharpened our pencils again to see how Google Apps as a whole—documents, spreadsheets, email and other applications—stacks up against the standard model of locally hosted services. Our results show that a typical organization can achieve energy savings of about 65-85% by migrating to Google Apps.

Hoelzle further explained how lower energy use equals less carbon pollution. The executive supported this statement with an anecdote about the U.S. General Administration. It switched to Google Apps for Government to save $285,000 annually at a 93 percent cost reduction, and it reduced energy consumption by 90-percent and carbon emissions by 85-percent.

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Google updates Transparency Report with government requests for blog post removals and user data

As noted in a recent post on the Official Google Blog, Google recently made changes to the Transparency Report that launched a couple of years ago to report data on “government requests.” The interactive reports, which are available here, already included user data requests from courts and government agencies, real-time and historical traffic from various Google services worldwide, and removal requests from both governments and copyright owners. Google is adding data related to government requests today for user information and the removal of blogs posts and videos made from July 2011 to December 2011:

Today we’re releasing data showing government requests to remove blog posts or videos or hand over user information made from July to December 2011… Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different. When we started releasing this data in 2010, we also added annotations with some of the more interesting stories behind the numbers. We noticed that government agencies from different countries would sometimes ask us to remove political content that our users had posted on our services. We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not… For the six months of data we’re releasing today, we complied with an average of 65% of court orders, as opposed to 47% of more informal requests.

An example of some of the requests is outlined by Google’s Senior Policy Analyst Dorothy Chou:
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J&R outs Sony’s Next Generation GoogleTV: Gesture enabled remote and voice actions for $199

We know Sony was picking up the Google TV set-top box baton that Logitech ceremoniously dropped, but we were expecting to hear more about it at Google I/O later this month. Thankfully, J&R is giving us a heavy spoiler of the $199 device:

Sony expands home-entertainment choices with the NSZ-GS7 Media Player with Google TV. Boasting a host of features including Web browsing and picture-in-picture, the media player’s real strength lies in the impressive Google TV remote. Equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard, a Touchpad that supports gestures, and a Microphone for voice commands, the Google TV remote may be a Streaming accessory to be reckoned with.

The Google TV difference starts with the cross search functionality, which crawls all content sources available from Broadcast providers and the Internet to deliver customized Video results on demand.

The $200 price does not bode well as Google tries to compete with Apple for the set-top box market, even though Google adds a different subset of features including a much smarter remote. I imagine the market for this will be Android device owners who can use their devices to control the TV just as Apple TV owners use their iOS devices.

via Engadget

YouTube considering paid subscriptions as alternative to cable bundles

Speaking at the Reuters Media and Technology Summit yesterday, YouTube chief Salar Kamangar talked about the video service’s desire to include subscription-based offerings that would possibly rival traditional cable channels. Reuters explained:

Cable channels with smaller audiences will in the future migrate to the Web and become available on an “a la carte” basis, Kamangar said at the Reuters Media and Technology Summit on Thursday… Some of those channels, which Kamangar said receive little or no affiliate fees from cable distributors, could be one of the viable offerings for Google-owned YouTube as it weighs selling subscriptions to some of the hundreds of millions of people who watch videos on the website every month.

The report also noted YouTube is thinking about charging a fee for access to some of its recently launched partner content channels:
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Prominent developers begin pulling games from Google+

Developers Wooga and PopCap recently announced that they are pulling a few games from Google+.

Wooga develops free-to-play browser-based games for social networks and is currently the world’s fourth-largest game developer by monthly active users on the Facebook platform as of April. The Berlin, Germany-based firm confirmed that it took down Monster World from Google’s social network offerings and said more removals are coming.

“We decided to remove certain games from Google+ because we have a much larger following on Facebook and they are active users,” said a Wooga representative to AllThingsD.

According to Social Games Observer, Wooga will further cut Bubble Island and Diamond Dash on July 1. Meanwhile, PopCap Games is a Seattle, Wash.-based subsidiary of Electronic Arts that also confirmed it is eliminating titles from Google+. The company revealed its Bejeweled game would no longer be live starting on Monday.

“PopCap has decided to suspend Bejeweled Blitz on Google+ to redeploy our resources to other adaptations of Bejeweled. Certainly, Google is a valuable gaming partner for PopCap and EA, and we’ll continue to develop for Google platforms,” explained a PopCap spokesperson to AllThingsD.

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Google rolls out YouTube app for Google+ Hangouts

Hangouts on Google+ are often touted as one of the social networks flagship features, which is why it is not too surprising that Google has now integrated YouTube into the feature. Available through a “YouTube” link at the top of the Hangouts screen, after users have allowed access to the app, members of the hangout can add videos for everyone to view in a familiar YouTube playlist on the right. The playing video airs in the large part of the screen above the active members, while everyone sees and can edit the same videos or playlist. Google explained:

Everyone can add videos in the Hangout through a search tool in the app, or remove the videos you don’t like. All your friends in the Hangout can drag and drop videos to sort the order in the playlist, or skip forward or backward to play the next one. Click the “Push to talk” button to chat with the group to give props to the best curator, or to hand out reprimands to the friend who keeps adding the 10-hour Nyan Cat video.

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Analyst: iPhone ‘under pressure’ at Verizon as Droid RAZR MAXX takes top spot during the quarter

William Blair analyst Anil Doradla (via Barron’s) wrote in his notes today that the iPhone is still the best-selling smartphone across the United States, but it is coming “under pressure, particularly at Verizon” due to the carrier’s aggressive marketing of 4G-capable devices. Citing his checks of sales for the current quarter as of June, Doradla claimed the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX outsold the iPhone on Verizon:

Since Apple’s iPhone launch in North America, we believe this was the first quarter where the iPhone was not the best‐selling smartphone at a North American mobile operator (where it was available). While Apple continued to maintain its top position at AT&T and Sprint, Motorola’s Droid RAZR MAXX was the best‐ selling smartphone at Verizon. Our checks also indicate that at this stage consumers are not pausing in front of the iPhone launch as it is not influencing their purchasing decisions (but we expect it to start impacting over the next couple of months).

While the RAZR MAXX took the top spot, Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus grabbed third position behind the iPhone, according to Doradla. He backed his “outperform” rating on Apple by saying he is “not worried” given the next generation iPhone, which is likely due in October, is expected to include 4G LTE capabilities:
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Amazon’s Kindle app now supports 1000 titles for children’s books, graphic novels, and comics

Amazon just bulked its Kindle app for Android, iOS, and its Cloud Reader by adding children’s books, comics, and graphic novels that were previously exclusive to Kindle Fire owners.

The apps now offer over 1,000 titles for children with features like Text Pop-Up, which help to improve and simplify the reading experience, and Kindle Panel view for comics and graphics to allow panel-by-panel viewing. A few of the literary additions include Brown Bear, Curious George, Batman, and Superman.

Android tablet owners, or those with Cloud Reader on a widescreen display, will also notice the ability to customize their reading experience with new margin and line spacing controls. The update also brings side-by-side viewing of two pages in landscape mode. Meanwhile, iOS users have a new Search option to locate content by title or author.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

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AT&T’s Sony Xperia Ion available for $99 on June 24

While it already made the rounds at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony and AT&T made things official today for the Xperia Ion. It is coming exclusively to the carrier starting June 24. Available for $100 on the usual two-year contract, Sony’s first LTE device packs a 4.6-inch (1,280-by-720) “Reality” display, 1.5Ghz dual-core processor, 12-megapixel main, 720p front-facing cameras, and 16GB of memory via microSD. It is also PlayStation Certified. AT&T will make the Sony Xperia Ion available through its regular retail channels on June 24.


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Google releases employees’ sworn denials in Street View data cropping case

Google released sworn denials (PDF) on Tuesday from nine Googlers who claimed they had no knowledge about data mining in the Street View mapping project.

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 expanded to many cities and rural areas worldwide. The project ambitiously maps the world’s streets with photographs, but the plotting venture allegedly cropped unencrypted Internet data from wireless networks for roughly three years until 2010.

Google’s Street View automobiles gathered sensitive information, including private dispatches, as it roamed many boulevards, avenues, roads, highways, lanes, and thoroughfares across the globe. Tuesday’s unveiled declarations by nine Google engineers featured redacted names and titles, while it explicitly disclosed that the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company employees did not know about the misconduct. The Googlers were in the dark, because either content collection was not a part of their job, or they did not assess given project documentation.

It eventually became publicly clear that Street View gathered unencrypted information, like emails and Internet searches beamed between personal computers from within homes, thanks to German regulators who began to probe the mapping service in their country. When the findings came to light, Google fingered a nameless engineer as being solely responsible for the action, which resulted in a Federal Communications Commission inquiry.

The search engine did not break any laws, the regulatory body found, but it did obstruct the investigation. The F.C.C. fined the company $25,000, despite the sworn documents having been originally provided as part of the inquiry into Street View.

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