Google has announced today via its blog that it has bid for Nortel's patent portfolio. They begin their blog post by chastising companies that use patents to stifle innovation and the current patent system in general.
Here is the next paragraph:
But as things stand today, one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services. Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories.
Nortel is a communications giant that dates back to the 1800s, thus their patent portfolio must be enormous. Google's current bid was labeled as the "stalking-horse bid," which means that others wanting to bid for the portfolio will have to use its bid as the starting point.
Google also mentioned the Android and Chrome projects specifically towards the end of its post, citing the need to protect them as a main reason for bidding.
Ideally, the patent system would undergo much needed reforms; until then, moves like this are the best defense against an onslaught of lawsuits. [Google blog]
The HTC Merge is still officially only available for pre-order on Alltel. But Android Central Forums member jtowndawg scoped out his local store in Georgia and, sure enough, was able to take one home already. And even better, he's given us a nice little photo gallery of his bounty. And for that, he'll be rewarded.
But if you're on Alltel and are dying for the Merge, it'd behoove you to swing by your local store. Tell 'em Android Central sent ya. And check out more pics of jtowdawg's new Merge in the forums. [HTC Merge in Alltel stores now, HTC Merge forums]
Widgets are a big part of Android, providing information at a glance without having to go through the steps of opening an application. Beautiful Widgets has been a long time favorite of both fan and Android Central staff alike, and when we heard that Levelup Studio had released a public beta of a tablet version, we had to go hands-on. It's not perfect -- beta software never is -- but it's stable, and lives up to the beautiful part of the app name. Having said that, the toggle widgets aren't 100 percent just yet, but the clocks, weather, and battery widgets work like a champ.
Hit the break to see a quick video of them in action on the Xoom, as well as a download link for both the public beta and the full, paid Market version (Android 1.5 and up) and a link to the wallpaper before you even have to ask. [Android Central forums]
The unofficial Android 3.0 Honeycomb port for the Samsung Galaxy Tab that we reported a couple of weeks ago has made some pretty impressive progress in a relatively short space of time. Now ROM chef spacemoose1 has made some initial alpha builds available for download, giving the CDMA Galaxy Tab its first taste of Honeycomb. The ROM is based on the Honeycomb SDK build, and although it's (mostly) functional, it's still in the early stages of development and as such is unstable, slow and prone to crashing. Check out the video above to see exactly what we mean.
So it's something you can play around with, but definitely nowhere near stable enough to use as your main ROM. Still, if you have a spare CDMA Galaxy Tab and are feeling adventurous, you can hit the source link to find out more. [XDA] Thanks for the tip, Dan!
Zipcar, the popular metro-based car loaner company, has let slip via its Twitter account that there is finally an Android app in the works. Fun the uninitiated, Zipcar's an easier alternative to buying or even traditionally renting a car. There has been a very nice app on the iOS side which allows users to reserve cars on-the-go, unlock them and much more.
No time frame for when the app is expected to be released, but knowing it's on the way is great news for heavy Zipcar users. [Twitter] Thanks, BSG75!
Sony will release an Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet by the end of summer, according to Bloomberg, which cites Japanese newspaper Nikkei. Nikkei's report is apparently based on information from Sony CEO Howard Stringer, and says Sony will launch its tablet to the U.S. market first.
These reports add considerable weight to earlier rumors that Sony is working on a 9.4-inch Honeycomb tablet based around its PlayStation Suite and Qriocity service. The tablet, codenamed "S1", was said to be powered by a Tegra 2 processor, and due for a September release at a price point around $600.
Early concept drawings of the S1 showed an interesting design with a bulge at one end to make it easier to hold and prop up. If Sony can combine this design with a compelling software package then they could be onto a winner. We'll keep you posted in the months ahead as more info emerges. [Bloomberg]
Oh, hipsters. You give them a couple free Samsung Galaxy Aces and what do you know, they run out and take a video of themselves doing some crazy public stunt using said phones. While the video itself is pretty standard fare -- hip soundtrack, 20-somethings, annoyed older bystanders -- the video quality is quite good and shows that the mid-range Ace is a perfectly capable device. [YouTube] Thanks, Vincenzo
The first photo of the retail box for the T-Mobile G2X, T-Mo's unskinned version of the LG Optimus 2X, has emerged. The image obtained by TmoNews shows a box similar to that of its keyboard-toting cousin, the G2 -- there's the standard picture of the phone on a patterned white background. This isn't really much to write home about, but the fact that retail packaging has started to leak suggests that a release probably isn't far off at this point. T-Mobile hasn't confirmed a release date yet, but rumors suggest the device may launch as soon as April 20.
Back in February we got our first look at FullHDMI, an application for your HTC EVO 4G that mirrors your phones display on a television set. Upon initial release the application was only supported on rooted devices, which did not allow for use by everyone, but the developer has updated the application as previously promised. The application, which is now found in the Android market, will work on any out of the box EVO, as well as rooted users who are on a Sense or AOSP ROM. Be sure to head to the market and pick a copy up for yourself for only $2.99, and be sure to hop in the forums for more information.
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