Is Apple Planning An iCar?

Tech companies used to be very much specialized to their own field, from the standard PCs and Software to advanced medical equipment. Over the last few years, these same companies are now beginning to challenge the established status quo of many other industries, such as the automotive industry. The rumours of Apple designing a vehicle have become stronger after hiring a senior engineer from electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc

Apple have been looking to build a team of automotive design experts with the aim of producing a car for market and now James Carlson has been appointed after leaving Tesla. How do we know of these secret plans? He placed his new job on his LinkedIn or course, this is along with at least 6 others which have experience developing self-driving technology and systems which have also advertised their new position in the same way.

Sources for Reuters have also stated that Apple are actively developing a car and studying self-driving technology, but it is yet unclear if the iPhone maker is designing a vehicle that could drive itself.

When you view the hirings which Apple have made, it is clear the plans are very much in motion, below is a list of recent appointments along with each individual’s previous jobs.

  • Megan McClain – A former Volkswagen AG Engineer
  • Vinay Palakkode – Graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University specializing in automated driving research
  • Xianqiao Tong – Engineer who developed computer vision software for driver assistance systems at microchip maker Nvidia Corp
  • Paul Furgale – Former deputy director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Other Apple appointments since September 2014 with similar experience have worked at automakers BMW, Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co, automotive suppliers Delphi Automotive and Robert Bosch GmbH.

One thing is clear, Apple looks almost certain to be developing an automotive vehicle in some capacity with the aim of competing with similar manufacturers. The tech giant would have an excellent chance of succeeding considering the wealth and investment which has underpinned its performance in the last decade.

Thank you reuters for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of digitaltrends

Nokia Finally Found Someone to Buy Their HERE Maps!

It has been a long search for the best buyer, but it seems that Nokia finally found somebody to buy and further develop their HERE Maps technology. As reported previously, it was thought that Microsoft will buy the HERE Maps technology, seeing that it wanted its mobile phone business. However, the recent change in the company led to believe that Microsoft may move away form the smartphone market.

Uber was interested in Nokia’s technology too, offering an outstanding $3 billion for it. But it looks like Nokia did not agree with what Uber had in mind for their technology, so they declined the deal after all. However, recently, there have been some rumours that some German vehicle maunufacturers were interested in the technology too.

Nokia declined to make any comments on the matter, but a new report surfaced and we finally know that the company is close to signing the deal with Audi, BMW and Daimler for $2.71 billion. This is less than what Uber offered, but Nokia did state that it would sell the HERE technology to someone who really has the means of improving it, didn’t they? Besides, the deal seems to be the best offer Nokia is going to get.

Besides, the German manufacturers want to use the high-definition real-time digital maps to help develop self-driving cars and automotive safety systems. On top of that, they also want other vehicle manufacturers to pitch in and help them with their plans. So as far as the details show, Nokia really hit their target on selling the technology for a lot of money and to a company, well companies, who have the means on improving it, don’t you think?

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Stationary Electric Vehicle Batteries May Be Getting Much Cheaper Than Anticipated

Have you heard the big headline in the electric car market? No? Well, some of you might have heard that Tesla is now selling its own stationery storage batteries. But you might ask, how is it a big thing? Those types of batteries were around for years, but they have never been cost-effective. The thing is, they are becoming more cost-effective than ever before, according to another study.

It is said that the price for installing one of these batteries in a home would have cost more than $23,000 last year. In May, Tesla announced that the price of such a Li-ion battery would start at $3,500, with an installation price of just $500. Ok, so it’s cheaper than ever before to install a battery in your home, but how is that cost-effective when charging it? Well, times are changing and businesses are making a lot of progress too. Tesla announced that it is currently building a “gigafactory” near Reno, Nevada, having Panasonic making its Li-ion batteries.

The above example is just what we would expect in the near future. However, two researchers from Stockholm stated that the cost of battery packs has fallen drastically. From $1,000 per kWh in 2007, it plunged down to $300 per kWh. Due to this price drop, Tesla and similar electric car manufacturers are now refurbishing old electric vehicle batteries to sell for stationary storage. Also, Tesla said that it also takes feedback very seriously and is now looking into increasing the discharge rate of batteries during continuous use, from 2.2 kilowatts to 5 kilowatts.

This does not mean we will see electric cars being a solution and everyone dropping gas cars overnight. Researchers state that the cost of battery packs needs to fall below 150 per kWh before significant shifts towards electric vehicles take place. However, they estimate that a cost level of 200 – 250 kWh might hit before 2020, so we are just a few years away from potentially switching to electric vehicles.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

iPhone 6C Rumoured to Have a 4-Inch Display and Metallic Body

There are always speculations about what the next Apple devices will boast. However, sometimes these speculations turn out to be true, so here it is. According to a blog post on MyDrivers.com posted a pic, emphasising how the upcoming iPhone 6C would look like.

The blog also mentions that the global investment banking firm, Jefferies, said Apple is still considering small screens for their low-end handset, which means that we have a lot of chances to see a 4-inch iPhone 6C this fall. In addition to the latter, Apple is rumoured to ditch the cheap plastic body for a full-on metallic body. However, this might mean that the price would be bumped up a bit since metallic bodies are more expensive than plastic ones.

The investment firm also hints that Foxconn Technologies will be in charge of shipping most of the iPhone 6C models, which is to be expected since Apple used Foxconn as their main supplier for their components in the past. However, take the information with a grain of salt, since rumours are just rumours until they are officially announced. But since we are talking about Apple here, we are definitely going to see what they have cooking right before they plan on shipping it.

Thank you MyDrivers.com for providing us with this information

New Lawsuit Hints at Apple Trying to Get Into the Auto Industry

There have been rumours that Apple is thinking about taking a bite out of the auto industry soon. A newly filed lawsuit might confirm Apple’s intention, having A123 Systems, the company that makes car batteries for the big name auto makers, sue the Cupertino giant for trying to steal their employees.

Analysts in the industry have discussed what Apple might have in the works and the lawsuit now slowly confirms their findings. Apple has made $13 billion and $18 billion in the last two quarters and that’s about the sum spent by all automakers combines for four months of research and development.

However, the analysts state that electric cars are too expensive for just one owner. This means that we might be looking at a future where electric autonomous cars are shared between people and come at a monthly subscription, kind of like Uber if you think about it. This will drop the cost of charging the cars and having them running around 24h a day. If you think about it, it’s not all that bad. We might even cut down on parking space problems in highly dense populated areas for instance.

All in all, if the above tends to be more cost efficient, this means Tesla Motors should start changing its business plan too. Though Tesla does offer a lot of classy electric cars for owners using the same model as traditional car dealerships, the cost for maintaining and charging such a model still proves a big drawback for it to reach a wide consumer market. But are shared electric autonomous vehicles really the future?

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechnoBuffalo

Nokia Plans a Comeback to the Smartphone Market Next Year

If you thought that the famous company who made ‘tough’ phones is out of the smartphone market, think again. Nokia just announced that it plans to make a comeback next year, after Microsoft allows it. It looks like Nokia and Microsoft signed an agreement that prevents Nokia from selling anything phone-wise until 2016.

However, Nokia does not plan on making fully fledged handsets. The company announced that it will start designing smartphones and selling their brand. This means we could be looking at other Nokia Windows Phones next year, but having Microsoft provide the hardware and software, while Nokia provides the designs and its logo. However, Nokia plans on extending its services to other companies too.

This does not mean Nokia is moving away from networking, as they were focusing on the market for quite some time now. Its latest acquisition, Alcatel-Lucent, for $17.8 billion still provides a good understanding that the company wants a chunk of the latter market as well.

In the meantime, its HERE technology is still up for sale. While big companies are eyeing Nokia’s high-definition satellite imagery technology, Nokia says that a ‘good buyer’ for the tech will be someone who can improve it and expand its potential in the long run.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Cyanogen and Qualcomm Form New Partnership

You typically would expect an SoC manufacturer such as Qualcomm to announce what new technology it has planned next at an event such as the Mobile World Congress. However, this time around, Qualcomm has announced a new partnership with Cyanogen to work on the software shipped on next generation reference devices.

Qualcomm makes special devices with every chipset launch, called Qualcomm Reference Devices or QRDs. The program basically simplifies the process for companies to make and sell a device in as little as 60 days. Although Qualcomm uses Android for its devices, it is usually built from internal software repositories with all the basic necessary software to make it work, which is often not optimized.

This is where the partnership between Cyanogen comes in. There are reports that the QRD program has already been updated and that the Snapdragon 200, 400 and 600 series QRDs will be available with Cyanogen OS (not to be confused with CyanogenMod) along with a set of feature options for each device tier.

The partnership would allow manufacturers to be able to customize their experience more on the devices they sell, as well as making the Cyanogen OS more popular on Android devices. Users would also benefit from the partnership, since manufacturers would be able to offer more QRDs with the latest Android and a significantly greater chance for software updates compared to the current QRD.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

HGST Acquires Enterprise SSD Maker Skyera

On March 17, 2013 we reported that WD was investing a huge sum of money into the SSD sector, in fact they invested $51 Million to an Enterprise SSD manufacturer Skyera whose primary focus is to provide cost effect storage solution. Having gotten a taste of what Skyera has to offer, HGST (a Western Digital division) has announced the all-cash acquisition of Skyera.

“Western Digital has established a leadership position in the fastest growing areas of the storage industry,” said Steve Milligan, president and chief executive officer, Western Digital. “The Skyera acquisition supports our strategic growth objectives and plans to deliver long-term value to customers, shareholders and employees.”

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Skyera will be fully integrated into HGST and bring along the acquired engineering talent and intellectual property that will further strengthen HGST’s technical expertise and resources. HGST now has the broadest storage solutions portfolio in the industry, able to serve pretty virtually any level of users.

Thanks to HGST for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of HGST

German Smartphone: Linshof i8 with 80GB of Storage

Equipped with a 5-inch 1080P screen, utilizing super AMOLED IPS technology and with 80GB of internal storage – this German smartphone offering by Linshof is named the i8 and seems to be one of the first top-notch smartphone offerings out of this country.

Reports claim that there will be two produced models of this phone, both featuring 80GB of storage. This storage offering is reportedly designed in the form of a 64GB memory chip added into the device alongside an additional 16GB memory chip. This is said to not only provide more storage, but also faster transfer speeds – something we haven’t really seen before offered commercially, thus we are interested in seeing the release results.

This phone will come pre-installed with Android 5.0, using Linshof’s own “hardware acceleration” user interface which looks somewhat similar to that of a Windows OS phone –  this is due to it’s ‘panel’ like design.

Alongside the 1080p display, the i8 will be complete with a 3100mAh battery, GPS support, Blutooth 4.0, an electronic compass, gyroscope and 3D support. This comes alongside HDMI 1.4 support, NFC connectivity and WiFi/LTE (4G) capabilities.

Expected to be released to the public for $380 US, this product is priced extremely competitively into the market and is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2015. Alongside the i8 release, there’s an expected upcoming tablet release predicted.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more product release information.

Image and information courtesy of Chiphell and ITHome

AT&T to Release Sonim XP6, Rugged Anti-Smartphone

American mobile operator AT&T has just announced a new product under the ‘anti-smartphone’ category – the Sonim XP6. Said to be extremely rugged in design, this new smartphone incorporates a physical keyboard and button support into its architecture. This announced device has been marketed as a phone that can support most common features as seen in regular smartphones, but provides the user with a rugged alternative useable in all scenarios and situations.

The Sonim XP6 can be used with AT&T’s EPTT press-to-talk service, giving consumers another way to manage their clients, management and staff easier whilst on the work site. They’ve also been given IP68 and  IP69 certifications, meaning it is resistant against splashes of water, mud or any other liquid you may come into contact with while on the grind.

Marketed as drop-resistant, said to be able to be comfortably dropped onto a concrete floor, the Sonim XP6’s screen can also be seen in direct sunlight. AT&T have further included an extremely loud 103 db phone ringer capability, said to help identify when calls are coming over the sound of heavy machinery.

There hasn’t been an announced release date or price for this phone yet, but given it’s ‘industrial’ nature – you can exepct it to be quite pricey. This is a common trend amongst companies who cater products towards a commercial audience, why should they lower the price when it’s a company paying for the goods?

Image courtesy of Chiphell

OPPO N3 Phone Being Released With Fingerprint Recognition

We’re seeing more high-tech contenders in the phone market come out of the Asian market in recent times, and we have been trying to follow a few of them. One of the leaders is this local industry is OPPO and their latest release is set to be a major contender.

OPPO are set to release their new phone, the N3, in Bejing soon. Featuring some high-class specifications such as an advanced camera level sensor, a 5.5-Inch FHD screen and a 1.6 MP camera. We understand this isn’t anything too ground-breaking, but these companies are often known for their price point placing, rather than offering industry leading features.

On top of their fingerprint recognition technology, the N3 is said to have a few tricks up its sleeve in the form of an electric rotating camera and their own exclusive VOOC flash charging technology to enable a much quicker charging time. There hasn’t been anything said for the strain given to the battery due to this charging technology, so that may be something to keep in mind.

The N3 will be encased in an alloy design featuring their ‘ice nest cooling system’ – said to enable the phone to operate at lower temperatures compared to competitors.

Set for release on October the 29th, there hasn’t been a price listed yet for this nor an expected release in the Western world – keep your eyes peeled and eTeknix will cover it if it happens.

Image courtesy of GSM Arena

 

 

Samsung Rolls Out its Exynos ModAP SoC with Integrated LTE

South Korean smartphone manufacturer, Samsung, has just announced its latest SoC addition, the ModAP chip, which features an integrated 4G LTE radio. While the company was mostly focusing on their handsets in the past, it looks like it now wants a big piece of the SoC market as well.

The processor itself is said to boast only a Quad-Core processor on a 28 nm HKMG process architecture, compared to its Exynos 5 chips which boast Octa-Core processors. Looking at the SoC market, the only manufacturer available to produce LTE-enabled SoCs was Qualcomm, having Samsung’s flashgrips powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. However, Samsung seems to want to stop depending on Qualcomm’s SoC and start making their own hardware for their handsets, with the possibility of making their SoC available to other smartphone manufacturers as well.

It is said that the Exynos ModAP SoCs have the ability to support the 4G LTE Release 9 of 3GPP and Cat 4, FDD and TDD, as well as legacy 2G and 3G mobile interface support. Although Samsung did come a long way with its SoCs, it is still behind Qualcomm and its Cat 6 LTE-enabled chips, capable of speeds up to 300 Mbps. Even so, Samsung states that thanks to the Exynos ModAP SoC, handsets will be able to boast high-resolution cameras and offer features such as video recording in high quality or playing back graphics in higher quality.

Thank you The Times of India for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Daily Tech

Electronics Company Belkin Pulls Plug on Professional Cycling Team Sponsorship

U.S. consumer electronics company Belkin has decided to pull the plug on its professional cycling sponsorship, announcing the decision in June.

Current team riders have given Belkin a deadline of August 1 to find a new sponsor, or they will begin to look at other teams for 2015 season contracts.  If a new sponsor isn’t found, team management will begin releasing riders to give them the opportunity to stay in the pro peloton.

When Belkin took over the team in June 2013, they signed a two-and-a-half year agreement – and while brand exposure increased in Europe – the California-based company said it wanted to focus on global initiatives.

Here is what the company said after the announcement:

“Belkin would like to thank and pay tribute to the cycling community for the warm welcome and the support that has been extended to our brand over the last 12 months.  Belkin will always have the highest of regards for the team and will actively support them throughout the remainder of the season in their search for a new sponsor.”

Thank you to CyclingNews for providing us with this information

Meanwhile, due to sponsor problems causing an even higher stress level, the team prepares for the Tour de France, which begins on Saturday in Leeds.

Image courtesy of Bianchi USA

Apple Might be Facing Problems with New Tech for the iPhone 6

It appears that even giant companies such as Apple are facing problems this year, having been rumoured that the iPhone manufacturer is currently facing some problems with key components for the upcoming iPhone 6.

The good news in all of this is that the latest iPhone 6 is said to break away from its yearly refreshed mainstream design and move towards something more ‘uncommon’ for the company. This is why there are rumours circulating that the plastic inserts above the antennas will be replaced by glass pieces, giving its general outlook a more appealing look and feel.

The bad news however comes from China, where Apple is apparently facing problems with the new iPhone 6 display. The new technology required to make the displays is reportedly giving quite a few headaches production-wise. China Times has stated that Apple is attempting to use new display technology in order to make its next generation of iPhones thinner.

This is nothing new for companies attempting to move towards newer and more sophisticated tech, though it requires meticulous steps to get the new tech to work properly. Apple is reportedly ditching the two-layers found in the ‘brightness enhancement films’ (BEFs) and moving to a one-layer design in order to achieve the required thinness. This might be why Apple’s suppliers are apparently facing problems, having to work out the final touches for the display in question.

Looking back at previous releases, Apple’s manufacturers were reportedly facing similar production problems before every major release, having the company and its suppliers eventually succeeding in releasing the final product before the deadline. The same thing might be happening now, though the outcome is unknown until the final product gets released.

Apple is said to launch its latest (rumoured 4.7-inch display) iPhone 6 model this year, having the launch date previously leaked as being set for September the 19th.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Business Insider

Ford Working With Intel on Bringing Face and Gesture Recognition Technology to Cars

Automaker Ford and chip maker Intel apparently have started looking into how people can interact with their gadgets even more. With smart watches and virtual reality already on the way, the two manufacturers apparently are looking into making their own innovative technology, but for automobiles.

“Project Mobii” is the name of Intel and Ford’s little project, having it stand for Mobile Interior Imaging. The project itself is not that “small” either, having a team formed from ethnographers, anthropologists and engineers working to achieve a “more personalized and seamless interaction between driver and vehicle.”

What all of this means is that Intel and Ford are experimenting on new ways people might interact with cars in the future. Cameras could be connected and allow owners to check the car remotely via an app, or gestures might be able to control a car’s features, such as a sunroof or windows, or even have the car implemented with facial recognition software in order to identify the driver or give certain permissions to family members.

Though the project is being worked on, this does not mean we will see sci-fi cars on the streets anytime soon. Intel and Ford have apparently made it clear that the project is currently just for research and exploration purposes for now.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Endgadget

High-Definition Holograms Might Hit The Market As Early As Next Year

When thinking about holograms, the first thought is about movies and science-fiction books where most have encountered the described technology for the first time, knowing it is just a fictional technological thought or concept. A startup company based in California tends to change this in a fairly small amount of time.

Ostendo is a company claiming to have solved the problems faced with hologram technology with the help of 5,000 PPI projectors measuring in at just about the size of a Tic Tac. The projectors are said to be able to control the colour, brightness and angle of individual beams of light across 1,000,000 pixels.

The company states that one chip is capable of delivering a usable image, but multiple chips are said to make room for even more complex and detailed images. Recent news indicate that The Wall Street Journal received a demo of this amazing technology, having it beam green dice spinning in the air.

Though the technology is still in its early stages, the company is said to deliver a chip capable of rendering 2D images on a surface of up to 48-inches at first. However, Hussein S. El-Ghoroury, the founder of Ostendo, stated that the company will be able to produce a chip capable of rendering “consistent” 3D objects in mid-air just months after the first chip’s release.

The technology did not go unnoticed, having already stirred the attention of some major handset manufacturers. Also, Ostendo is already looking forward into enhancing the product by reducing the pixel size to be able to boost the image resolution of its holograms, as well as thinking of ways to embed its technology into TVs, smartwatches and even tablets.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Endgadget

MediaTek Announces Its Quad-Core Cortex-A7 MT8127 Soc Featuring the Mali-450 MP4 GPU

MediaTek has just announced its newest addition to its SoC empire, the MT8127, which is said to offer full hardware support for the new HEVC or H.265 video playback standard, allowing videos to play with an average of up to 50% less video bandwidth consumption compared to the previous H.264 standard.

The MediaTek MT8127 is said to feature connectivity solutions such as Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, FM reciever and GPS, having the SoC target the super-mid market given its advanced multimedia features, great performance, low power consumption and affordable price. The company also states that the MT8127 allows manufacturers to shorten the time and costs of delivering the product on the market.

In terms of performance, the MT8127 is said to feature a Cortex-A6 Quad-Core processor having it clocked at 1.5 GHz as well as the Quad-Core ARM Mali-450 MP4 GPU. Other features offered by the MT8127 SoC includes low-power consumption, Full HD 1080p video playback and recording and 13 MP camera support. In addition to the latter, the MT8127 also comes with MediaTek’s MiraVision for excellent image quality and Miracast as well as NFC, providing easy content sharing between devices.

Mediatek announced that the MT8127 will be featured in Alcatel’s Onetouch Pixi 8 tablet which will be launched later this year.

Thank you MediaTek for providing us with this information

Oculus Rift To Aid Ford In Designing New Generation Of Cars

Ford automobile maker apparently is using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to aid in development of new cars, including vehicle color, materials, design, and possible modifications. Ford reportedly is using three systems in Detroit, and plans to expand the next-generation engineering platform to new facilities in the near future.

Ford engineers have the privilege of utilizing the tech in their advantage and are reportedly able to visualize vehicles while manipulating the environment to make improvements inside the 3D environment. Ford worked with Vicon, a company specializing in motion-capture technology, which captures engineer position and orientation from installed motion-capture video recorders.

“Ford can have a group of designers in Detroit reviewing a model while talking to designers in Cologne and Australia, all immersed in the same world at the same time.” says Warren Lester, Vicon product manager.

Each system has an estimated cost of about $30,000, making it a fairly affordable design platform that has great potential for Ford, and other automakers will certainly follow Ford’s progress.
The Oculus Rift Dev Kit has become popular with immersive driving simulators, as it provides gamers with a unique driving experience. It makes sense auto makers are interested in using the same technology to design prototypes.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

Foxconn Planning To Release Their Own 14nm Chips On The Consumer Market

Foxconn is reportedly making preparations to enter the chip market with its own products. The giant, which makes chips for other companies such as Apple, BlackBerry, Sony etc., is willing to acquire Socle technology through which Foxconn is expected to deliver chips on the consumer market.

A chip manufacturer itself, Socle technologies made various ARM Cortex series in the past, as well as GPU chips such as the Mali series. Now it is looking to shift production to 14nm chips, but lacks financial resources to do so. This is where Foxconn comes in. With their financial backup and Socle’s manufacturing capacity, Foxconn can now gain some of their own ground in selling Foxconn branded chips on the market, and not depend on large chip orders from other manufacturers.

Foxconn had been known for bad news in the past, from bad working conditions to Foxconn employee deaths. However, this is good news, both for them and more for us consumers. The bigger the competition on the market, the lower the prices and better quality chips might find their way on retailer shelves. In the end, everybody wants to sell their product, but nobody will ever think of looking your way if the price isn’t as good as the quality provided, especially if you are new on the market.

Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of WCCF

Sony To Release A Windows Phone Device In 2014

Microsoft and Sony are reportedly in talks for releasing a Windows powered Sony handset. Such a move would break Sony’s current loyalty to Android and give Nokia some fresh competition in the Windows Phone segment. Both sides have reportedly held numerous discussions, with Sony going so far as to draw up designs for a prototype device. Any future product could be branded under Sony’s Vaio line, according to The Information.

Talks have continued even after the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft was first announced. But the report notes that a deal hasn’t yet been finalized and plans could come undone if Microsoft and Sony disagree over licensing fees, preloaded software, and other topics. A mobile alliance wouldn’t be altogether new for the pair, and older prototypes reveal that Sony has previously considered embracing Windows Phone.

Nokia’s Lumia smartphones hold a commanding lead over Windows Phone hardware from Microsoft’s other partners. But that’s partially due to a lack of genuine competition; Samsung and HTC both remain focused on developing smartphones running Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system. For Windows Phone to succeed, Microsoft must find other vendors willing to give the platform a significant push. It’s also reportedly held discussions with ZTE to produce additional low-end Windows Phone devices in the US, China, and Europe.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

German Judge States Nokia Should Be Granted Injunction Against All HTC Devices

A German judge has ruled that Nokia should be granted an injunction against all HTC handsets running Android. Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann of the Munich I Regional Court found the devices to be in violation of a broad patent related to a method for transferring resource information across Bluetooth or NFC according to a report from FOSS Patents.

HTC is in between a rock and a hard place in Germany following the ruling. In the event the company can’t come up with a chance to appeal, Nokia could then enforce the injunction which would put a stop to all sales of HTC devices running Android.

And to make matters worse, this isn’t a temporary injunction like we’ve seen so many times before. If Nokia is eventually successful, they would be able to keep the offending devices off store shelves indefinitely.

A victory here could have far-reaching ramifications for other handset makers as well. That’s because the broad patent essentially describes a method used by handset makers to transfer data between devices. True, there’s still Wi-Fi as an option but near-field communication and Bluetooth are both commonly used among Android devices.

This is the second favorable ruling for Nokia against HTC this month. Previously, Nokia won a case that would have required HTC to remove devices from store shelves but HTC made a change that circumvented the infringement. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not HTC can make similar changes this time around to once again thwart Nokia’s injunction.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information

Google To Set Compliance Standards For Android-based Portable Navigation Devices

There are quite a few PND manufacturers out there that have succeeded in releasing Android-based navigation gadgets and features, and even embed them into car dashboards. However, Google intends to make a set of compliance standards that the gadgets and devices have to pass in order to be released.

Having certain standards and requirements set will certainly benefit users that make use of the tech and will improve the software. However, it might not be so good for the device manufacturers, having to put more effort and resources into assuring that the requirements set by Google are met. In turn, this will affect vehicle manufacturers as well and possibly have an impact on price, whereas time equals money as they say.

Current android-based PNDs have been rolled out by Garmin, Mitac International and Papago, but since most PND suppliers are not member companies of the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), their products are unable to secure verification from Google, or do not have support all Google applications.

Whether PND manufacturers will comply with Google’s requirements, we will have to see. There is still a way for them to evade the compliance area by transforming themselves into white-box Android PND manufacturers as some smartphone manufacturers did to solve problems such as this.

Thank you Digi Times for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Slashgear

OCZ Files For Bankruptcy While Toshiba Readies Its Offer For Buying The Company

OCZ has issued a press release announcing their filing for bankruptcy, which was expected since Nasdaq had halted the trading of OCZ stock. They have had financial issues for quite a long time and it was just a matter of time before the inevitable happened. While OCZ did try to change its course by reforming their product portfolio, it seems that the efforts weren’t enough to make the business profitable.

OCZ leaves behind a noticeable amount of assets, most importantly its engineering teams in California, South Korea and Great Britain thanks to the prior acquisitions of PLX and Indilinx. Toshiba has already offered to buy OCZ’s assets but currently there is no certainty on whether the deal will be completed. Toshiba’s offer is, as expected, subject to various conditions such as retention of the employees because it obviously makes no sense to buy the assets unless Toshiba also gets the immaterial capital that is integrated into the employees. We’ll have to wait and see how the deal turns out but at this point I recommend not buying any OCZ products because there is no guarantee that warranties will be honored.

OCZ has been one of the pioneer manufacturers in the consumer SSD industry. They were one of the most active companies when we started to see the first consumer SSDs in 2008 – 2009 timeline, but OCZ lost a ton of sales once Samsung and other major OEMs began to take the consumer SSD market seriously. It’s hard to say what ultimately killed OCZ without knowing their exact cost structure but I believe it was a combination of bad strategy and engineering choices along with other things.

What happens to OCZ now depends on the completion of the Toshiba deal. Even if Toshiba completes the purchase of OCZ’s assets, the OCZ brand will be no more. The deal with Toshiba should work out as OCZ has a lot of potentially useful assets, one of them being OCZ’s Indilinx Barefoot 3 platform.