Microsoft issued a news release late late night, announcing it signed a patent agreement with HTC over its entire line of smartphones running the Android operating system.
Specific terms of the deal, including how many patents or what they cover, were not immediately released. Microsoft's statement did say the agreement "provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for HTC 's mobile phones running the Android mobile platform."
“HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property,” Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, said in the official statement. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”
CNET's Ina Fried reports that the disputed patents range from the user interface to the operating system itself, and that this is the first time Microsoft has publicly said that HTC was violating patents. Microsoft for years has alleged that Linux infringes on a number of its patents and has sought licensing deals with manufacturers who use the open-source OS, which also is the framework for Android. This, however, is Microsoft's first licensing deal with the mobile OS.
Full text of Microsoft's press release after the break. [Ed. note: Cross-posted at WMExperts.com]
Why do we care so much about another browser for Android when the stock Webkit browser works pretty darn well? Two words: Mozilla Weave. Being able to sync your history, bookmarks and even open tabs between your desktop and mobile browser is something I've been wanting since first hearing about Fennec. And we're getting closer.
Note that this is still very early in the development stage. While anyone can download and install this build of Fennec, it will crash. It will hang. It's a little buggy. And it's very cool that Mozilla lets us play with it this early in its life, so don't judge it too harshly. A few warnings from Mozilla's Vladimir Vukićević:
We've only really tested this on the Motorola Droid and the Nexus One.
It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
Memory usage of this build isn't great -- in many ways it's a debug build, and we haven't really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.
You'll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we're working to get rid of it.
You can't open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
Anyhoo, you can download Fennec here. (FWIW: Mozilla tested with the Nexus One and Droid -- your mileage may vary -- and it does NOT work if you're running Apps2SD.) And be sure to read Vlad's blog for complete instructions and troubleshooting, including instructions for installing Weave.
So, just a few hours ago Phil showed us some custom themes for the HTC_IME keyboard. I know you readers love to support us, so I figured I would make a sweet Android Central keyboard to share with all of you! The install of the keyboard is rather easy, and goes as follows. Note: Your phone does NOT have to be rooted to do this.
Download this file (Android_Central_Keyboard.apk, ~4 megabytes), and install with your favorite file browser.
Go to Settings then Language & Keyboard > Check HTC_IME mod
Open a text entry area, long press anywhere, select input method, and select HTC_IME mod
Enjoy your new keyboard, and show it off to all your friends!
Hope you all enjoy this keyboard as much as I am, and if you come up with your own Android Central creations, we would love to see them in the forums!
That's right. It's a Hello Kitty skin on top of the HTC on-screen keyboard. I'm OK with that. And you should be, too. (There's also Batman, Spider-Man, a panda, Jango Fett, Autobots, Ohio State, Atari and the N.Y. Giants, if you don't want to make your own.) Available with or without root. [Droid-Life] Thanks, Kellen!
Chalk up another victory for Paul O'Brien. Seems like he has the HTC Desire cracked, with su and the superuser app written into the system partition. This is huge considering that the Desire shipped with new and in Paul's words "rather sneaky" protection methods to prevent data being written to the system partition.
As you can see from his latest tweet above, he should have something ready for the general public tomorrow. And have a look HERE to see just how good the superuser application looks in the Desire's app drawer. Nothing has been said officially, but I'll bet a MoDaCo Custom ROM for the Desire will soon come down the pike as well, and the Legend's a real possibility, too. We love your work Paul!
Come on, manufacturers, there's no need to lock these phones up so tightly. It's evident that Android users and developers will do what is necessary to open the software, so just give us the choice (as was done with the Nexus One already) and be done with it!
Why, hello there, little HTC Android phone with a nice, fat keyboard. We've been waiting for one of you guys for quite some time now. That's right, it's a new (and probably) Android device going through the FCC (the buttons give it away, right?), and it has a keyboard that looks pretty much like what we've come to know and love on the Windows Mobile Touch Pro 2. Even better is that the one tested sports AT&T's 3G bands of 850 and 1900MHz. And, boy howdy, it'd sure be nice to have Android on this form factor without having to hack it on top of Windows Mobile. C'mon, AT&T. Do us right with this guy. We've got a few more pictures after the break. [FCC via PhoneDog]
Andy Rubin, VP of engineering for Google and one of the chiefs behind Android smartphones, just slipped a little bombshell into an interview with the New York Times' Bits blog. In it he says that Flash will be coming with the Froyo version of Android. Much of the interview is paraphrased, but writer Brad Stone relates the following:
He also promised that full support for Adobe’s Flash standard was coming in the next version of Android, code-named Froyo.
Doesn't get much more clear than that. There's also some good stuff on Android's openness ("We use the same tools we expect our third party developers to") the iPad (he bought one for his wife) and Android and/or Chrome tablets ("If a consumer walks into store and two of those tablets are my company’s choices, I’m all good.") [NYT Bits blog]
Edit: Good lord, people. Yes. The writer (and not Rubin, actually) said "full support." Read into that what you will. We choose to believe that means Flash is coming with Froyo. At launch? Maybe. We'll just have to see, won't we ...
We know a lot of you guys and gals out there are former BlackBerry users and abusers. And so we'll put the question to you? With the unveiling today of the BlackBerry 6 operating system, how does it stand up to the likes of Android and the various flavors it comes in? (Sense, Motoblur, Touchwiz, etc.) Check out the video after the break if you haven't already seen it, and check out all the coverage at CrackBerry, and let us know. Anything to be worried about here?
Played around a little bit over the weekend with renting a movie on YouTube. And when I say "played around," I mean clicked about three times and had "Reservoir Dogs" available for 24 hours for just $1.99. No muss, no fuss. And best of all, no third-party app or download to do it. Watching full-screen wasn't quite as good as on a DVD (never mind BluRay), but for the price, it wasn't bad at all. And even better was how easy it was.
Point is, YouTube (at least to me) has already proven itself as a viable streaming movie rental service (look out, Netflix). How long until we see such service on an Android smartphone? Let's get that done, Google. Check it out for yourself at YouTube.com/store.
AdMob, which serves up many (for 18,000 sites and apps, it says) of those little ads you see in Android applications, has released its March findings. The bullet points:
Of smartphones in the United States, Android overtook iPhone usage, 46 percent to 39 percent. (In the UK there's much greater disparity, with the iPhone leading 70 percent ot 13 percent.)
The HTC Dream (G1) and Magic (myTouch) made up 96 percent of traffic in September 2009. Seven months later, 11 Android phones make up 96 perecent of AdMob's traffic.
In March, traffic was divided between Android 1.5 (38 percent) Android 2.0/2.1 (35 percent) and Android 1.6 (26 percent).
Motorola scored 44 percent of AdMob's traffic with the Droid and Cliq. HTC had 43 percent of requests; Samsung had 9 percent.
AdMob requests from Android phones grew at a compounded rate of 32 percent a month, from 72 million requests in March 2009 to 2 billion in March 2010.
Handset by handset, the Motorola Droid continues to rock with 32 percent of AdMob's traffic. The Google Nexus One had 2 percent as of March. Not greatly surprising, given the reasons we've stated over and over.
While the Droid, G1 and Moto Cliq lead in the U.S., the HTC Hero, Dream (G1) and Magic (myTouch) lead in Europe.
Do note that AdMob is (still) in the process of being purchased by Google. And these numbers are representative of the ads AdMob serves, and not necessarily of actual smartphone usage. So it's a good ballpark figure, but not necessarily gospel. You can read the entire report for yourself here. (pdf)
Those of you waiting to get your hands on the world's first smartphone with a Super AMOLED may only have to wait another month or so. UK retailer Expansys says it expects the Samsung Galaxy S right around the end of May, which can't come too soon for a goodly number of you. If you're looking to bring it to the U.S, it's gonna cost you about $850, which is quite a chunk of change. (In the meantime, you can make do with our hardware and software hands-ons from CTIA.) It's coming, folks. [EuroDroid via Unwired View]
There have been a few stories in the news of late of a certain tech company losing a certain phone in a bar. If only they'd had WaveSecure. With it, you can back up, lock, locate or wipe your Android phone from any computer, anywhere, at any time. Phone stolen? Not a problem. WaveSecure locks it down and alerts a designated contact if a new SIM card is inserted and requires a PIN to unlock. (Only applies to GSM phones, of course.) Left it somewhere? Track it down with Google Maps. (Get the full run-down at WaveSecure's site.)
And we've got 30 1-year subscriptions (normally $19.90) to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this story through 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight and tell us the worst place you've ever left/lost/or had your phone stolen. We'll pick 30 winners at random and e-mail the subscription codes. Good luck!
Could that weird Motorola Android device we saw last week actually be the Motorola MT820 pictured above? The button arrangement is different but the transparent flip screen, camera placement, and general shape is very familiar. If they're not the same phone (one being prototype, other being final), they at least have to be part of the same family right?
The MT820 certainly looks a lot better than what we previously saw but that could be the higher resolution shots talking. We're still unsure about the whole 'flip' form factor but rumors are suggesting that the extra screen allows the MT820 to display 3D images. The MT820 is headed to China's TD-SCDMA network, which means we'll likely never see the phone. Not like we were dying for it in this first place, the form factor is still too weird and 3D is currently more a gimmicky feature than anything. What do you guys think? Do we want 3D on our phones yet? Ever?
Hit the link to see more pictures of the MT820 [slashphone]
Whether Sony Ericsson and Rogers can hit that date is of course another matter, but we're hopeful they won't bungle this release like the big brother Xperia X10.Surprisingly, the price of the X10 Mini & X10 Mini Pro on a new 3-year contract is expected to be rather affordable. The X10 Mini is expected to retail for $49.99 and the X10 Mini Pro will be priced at $69.99. That would be a great price point for the miniature versions of a once sought after phone. [mobilesyrup]
Oh, my. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, here you go. As Dieter mentions above (you did watch the video first, right?), we're now giving away TWO T-Mobile Nexus Ones.
And, so, after the break is the fourth batch of entries. And just like the previousthreebatches, we've got five more gems here. Check 'em out after the break. A reminder that you still have the rest of this week to get your entries in. Remember, you are the ones voting. You'll decide who wins my (and Dieter's!) Nexus One. Now, on to the vids.
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