Is Android the real target of latest Apple vs Samsung patent battle that starts today?

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Pieces in the NY Times and the WSJ suggest that the real target of Apple’s second courtroom patent battle with Samsung may be Android.

Some features in Samsung devices that Apple objects to are part of Google’s Android operating system, by far the most popular mobile operating system worldwide, running on more than a billion devices made by many manufacturers. That means that if Apple wins, Google could have to make changes to critical Android features, and Samsung and other Android phone makers might have to modify the software on their phones …

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Google confirms plans to acquire artificial intelligence firm DeepMind, reports indicate $400m or $500m price

terminator

First they created self-driving (and maybe flying) cars. Then they created a new robotics division and put Android’s Andy Rubin in charge. And who could forget that they recently bought Boston Dynamics, the firm responsible for several DARPA-funded robotics projects?

Now, Re/code reports that Google is planning to purchase DeepMind, a London-based AI company that specializes in games and e-commerce algorithms. While Google could possibly put the company’s work on e-commerce to good use, Re/code indicates that Google is likely acquiring the firm for its talent, not so much for its technology. The site pegs the purchase price at round $400 million, but The Information says the number is actually closer to $500 million.

Just what does Google plan to do with all of these purchases? Some have previously speculated that the company is working on an intelligent delivery system to rival Amazon’s futuristic delivery drones. Andy Rubin has said that he has an interest in revolutionizing industries that have not yet been impacted by the precision of robotics technology, such as the assembly of electronics.

Or maybe they just want an army of terminators. But hey, who wouldn’t?

The iPhone forced Google to start over … or not, depending who you believe

The HTC Dream: the first Android handset to go on sale
The HTC Dream: the first Android handset to go on sale, a year after the iPhone

A pithy quote from a Google engineer working on Android on the day the iPhone was launched has been doing the rounds today.

As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.

The quote, attributed to Google engineer Chris DeSalvo, appears in Chapter 2 of Fred Vogelstein’s Dogfight: How Apple and Google went to war and started a revolution. It suggests that Google had to abandon a Blackberry-style smartphone in favor of a touchscreen one in direct response to the iPhone. This is seemingly supported by Android boss Andy Rubin reportedly saying in response to the webcast of the iPhone launch: “Holy crap, I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”

There’s just one small problem with this version of events – it may not be entirely accurate …  Read more

Google acquires Boston Dynamics, jumps headfirst into robotics development

The New York Times reports that Google has just acquired Boston Dynamics, the robotics firm that created machines such as Petman (seen in the video above) and other mechanical terrors wonders that look as close to something out of the Terminator movies as we’ve seen yet.

The buyout comes on the heels of the revelation that the company is planning a move into the robotics industry with Android co-creator Andy Rubin at the helm. Boston Dynamics’ resources and engineers will make an invaluable addition to Google’s growing collection of robotics experts.

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Steve Jobs went all Steve Jobs on Andy Rubin, calling him a “big, arrogant f***”

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs points to a member of the audience during a Q&A session at the end of the iPhone OS4 special event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino

Steve Jobs isn’t exactly a man known for keeping his thoughts to himself which is why excerpts found by Business Insider from a new book documenting the Google-Apple smartphone war are grabbing attention. According to the book written by Fred Vogelstein, Google was already working on its first Android-powered smartphone when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007.

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Google TV gets updated to latest 4.2.2 Jellybean, will see quicker updates and allow secure content

Lost in the shuffle of today’s events is that Google TV is getting significant updates today.

Today, Google TV is moving to the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean, 4.2.2), and we’ve refactored Google TV so that our TV OEM partners can update to future versions of Android in a matter of weeks rather than months. For developers, this means you can build TV experiences using the latest Android APIs, including the NDK.

Today Google TV is also moving to the latest version of Chrome, and from now on Google TV benefits from Chrome updates on the same six week cycle that you’ve come to expect from Chrome. In Chrome on Google TV, we’ve added support for hardware-based content protection, enabling developers to provide premium TV content in HD within their web apps.

Google TV has always been a(t least a) generation behind Android phones and you have to wonder if Andy Rubin’s move away from Android is allowing the YouTube group that runs GoogleTV more access to core Android features. Word on the Street is that Rubin and YouTube boss “couldn’t be in the same room together”.

Speaking of YouTube, the GoogleTV Youtube App got a facelift today with the following additions:

- New home screen interface.
- Enhanced video playback controls.
- Support for paid subscriptions.

Update: LG is on board. Press release and 4.2.2 demo below Read more