Headlines

2 years ago

Customs delay a short-term nuisance, not a killing blow for HTC

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Last week the AT&T HTC One X and Sprint EVO 4G LTE were delayed at U.S. customs following an International Trade Commission exclusion order and subsequent review that Apple won against the Taiwanese company, banning them due to infringement on a specific aspect of an Apple patent wherein linked phone numbers would open an options menu. HTC in December said it already had a workaround, and sure enough it's present in the One X and EVO 4G LTE.

But this customs delay caused HTC to miss its launch date for the EVO 4G LTE at Sprint, and has caused AT&T to show an out-of-stock message on the One X. HTC stock was smacked by nearly 6 percent by the end of last week. And now that U.S. Customs has cleared the EVO 4G LTE, the market obviously feels comfortable with the idea that HTC has skirted this particular patent issue. The stock already has recovered from last week’s punishment. [HTC Corp at Google Finance]

But we really should be taking a long-term view of this situation. Similar to our friends from Waterloo who sell BlackBerry, HTC has been struggling in the U.S. market lately. Samsung quickly has become the top selling phone vendor on the planet.  And according to Gartner’s latest numbers, Samsung sells more than four times  the number of Android phones versus its closest competitor. 

So HTC really needs a comeback in the U.S. market. And that’s why a delay by International Trade Commission hurt as much as it did. Having just come home from a Canadian long weekend up in cottage country, these short term delays at U.S. customs remind me more of mosquito bites rather than bullet wounds. They’re irritating, but not deadly. They heal quickly and we forget about them.

But there’s no denying that Apple is putting some serious pressure on Android. Giving credit where credit is due, Apple single-handedly reinvented the user experience on a mobile phone. Android, BlackBerry, and others have copied Apple. 

Steve Jobs made no secrets about how he felt about this. I’m not saying that Apple never copied anyone either ... obviously it has.  But, unfortunately, that doesn’t matter. Patent law doesn’t care whether the plaintiff has infringed other IP in the past. 

The way I see it, Android vendors are exposed to future IP litigation by Apple. These first customs problems are the mosquito bites. But are the bullets still coming? And what are HTC, Samsung, and even the mighty Google doing to sidestep these bullets through future software redesign? 

HTC’s problems also go way beyond patent litigation. The company’s stock price has fallen from about 2,500 Taiwan dollars last April down to nearly 400 Taiwan dollars today. That kind of collapse is on the order of what happened to RIM.  But in the case of HTC, it's fighting purely on hardware. It doesn't own a platform like Apple or RIM. It doesn't have the supply chain strength to compete against Samsung. And to me, these are bigger issues than patent litigation.

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2 years ago

Spotify now live in Australia and New Zealand

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It's been a long time coming, but finally our friends in Australia and New Zealand can enjoy the Spotify service as it has launched down under. By now, Spotify needs no introduction, but its arrival in another new market is welcomed. As a 'celebration' of the launch, a special Australian themed playlist has been put together by Spotify to get everyone started.

The service you'll be interested in as a reader of this site, is the Spotify Premium, which includes the ability to listen to music on your Android device. In Australia, you're looking at $11.99 a month for this, and $12.99 in New Zealand. 

We've included download links to the Spotify app below to get you started. But, there's a newer -- and much better -- preview version available directly from Spotify themselves. We did a little hands on back in April when it first emerged, so don't forget to head over and give it a read. 

Source: Spotify

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2 years ago

ShopAndroid Daily contest winners!

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up during the week. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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2 years ago

Jha steps down, Woodside steps in as Google-Motorola deal closes

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Google CEO Larry Page this morning penned a blog post announcing the close of his company's acquisition of Motorola Mobility (thanks to China's recent approval) -- and the departure of Sanjay Jha as Moto CEO. Taking over is Google's Dennis Woodside, whom Page notes increased revenue in the Americas region by some $6.7 billion in three years.

The big question, of course, is exactly what Google plans on doing with Motorola, Page's post was long on cheerleading and short on strategic answers. No surprise there, but Page does stress the importance of the mobile space, saying:

"It’s a well known fact that people tend to overestimate the impact technology will have in the short term, but underestimate its significance in the longer term. Many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine, and the impact of that transition will be profound--as will the ability to just tap and pay with your phone. That’s why it’s a great time to be in the mobile business, and why I’m confident Dennis and the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come."

Woodside, for his part, wrote in a release that "“Our aim is simple: to focus Motorola Mobility’s remarkable talent on fewer, bigger bets, and create wonderful devices that are used by people around the world.”

Motorola's news release notes that Woodside has brought on board execs from DARPA, Nokia, Google and NVIDIA (among others) and has retained a number of Motorola executives in their current roles, including product development, mass market products, software and enterprise and consumer experience design.

Read Page's full post and Motorola's release at the source links below.

Source: Google; Motorola

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2 years ago

David Beckham and the Galaxy Note get official

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In case you missed the leaked version last week.

(And I could totally do that.)

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2 years ago

Carphone Warehouse to offer early collection for Galaxy S III pre-orders

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When Samsung announced the early launch for the Galaxy S III at its own store in London, it also said it'd allow other retailers to open an hour later. Today we have confirmation that at least one major UK retail chain plans to do just that -- Carphone Warehouse sends word that it'll offer collection for pre-order customers in "select stores," at 7pm next Tuesday, May 29. No word on which stores will be running the promotion, so you'll probably want to call in and ask to avoid disappointment.

Carphone also hailed the Galaxy S III as the "fastest-selling pre-order of 2012," which if nothing else shows that it's outpacing HTC's One series in the pre-order stakes. The retailer adds that over 800 of its stores will stock the S III from its UK official launch date of May 30.

Are you picking up a launch day Galaxy S III? Planning on collecting yours the day before everyone else? Let us know in the comments! (Also check out our exhaustive launch day coverage)

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2 years ago

Three UK launches Samsung Galaxy Ace 2

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Three UK continues its barrage of mid-level Android handsets with today's launch of the Galaxy Ace 2 from Samsung. The Ace 2 is, unsurprisingly, the successor to last year's Galaxy Ace, which saw success among entry-level and mid-range buyers in Europe. The new version rocks a 3.8-inch WVGA display, an 800MHz dual-core CPU, a 5MP camera and TouchWiz'd Android 2.3 Gingerbread. So aside from a few differences with screen size and display tech, it's a similar deal to the Galaxy S Advance, which we recently reviewed.

Three's offering the Galaxy Ace 2 for £229.99 SIM-free, or for free on two-year contracts starting at £22 per month. Cheaper monthly plans, which include an up-front fee, start at £15 per month.

More: Three UK

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Texting and driving

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This one comes from Cory, who happens to be shopping for new car insurance. While deciding how much coverage he should buy, he brought up the question of other folks texting and driving. He is worried just how many people still do it, even though everyone knows they shouldn't, it's illegal damn near everywhere, and it's a good way to cause some serious harm to yourself or others. We're hoping that very few of you guys will say yes in tonight's poll -- we'll all be safer that way and Cory can save a little money.

Do you ever text and drive?

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2 years ago

S-Voice isn't another Siri, EVO 4G LTE [From the Forums]

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We're back from the weekend and have quite few things lined up this week for you -- nevermind those silly Canucks, being on vacation and all. If you happened to miss out on anything because you were out soaking up some sun, now is your chance to do so both here on the blogs and in the forums.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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2 years ago

Netflix for Android updated, brings 'enhanced playback experience' and a secondary install method if needed

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The Netflix Android client has seen what appears to be a relatively minor update this evening, promising an enhanced playback experience on both phones and tablets, stability improvements, and general bug fixes. Sound like a typical maintenance release. But what caught my eye was this, from the Google Play store change log:

If you are having problems updating your application, you can update your device manually by opening your mobile browser and going to this URL: http://tinyurl.com/nflx180
Once the application is downloaded please tap on it and follow the instructions to install this application. In some cases you may have to allow applications from untrusted sources to be installed.

Having had a device with "issues" when trying to update this particular app from the Play store once or twice, this is a really nice option. No need to try some potentially janky (or worse) version found in a forum, Netflix is offering up an alternative of their own. Hopefully, nobody needs it -- but it's great that it's there. 

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