Phil Nickinson

Do these guys know how to party on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, or what?

As California was just getting ready to go out for the night, and Taiwan was just starting its morning, a joint press release came from Apple and HTC, announcing a cease-fire from the former after the latter licensed all current and future patents for the next 10 years. Don't discount the scope of that agreement. That's a whole lot of patents, for a whole lot of time.

I'd like to think that perhaps the agreement signals a change in the "Kill 'em all" strategy Apple had in Steve Jobs' final years. Or maybe it is just the realpolitik of the tech world -- somebody's gotta do something to slow down Samsung.

Whatever the reasoning behind it (and I'd be willing to keep an iPhone in my pocket for the next 10 years to know all the ins and outs of this one), it's a good thing. As I've written before, we should be focusing on the tech -- the phones -- and not playing amateur lawyer. (Few in this space are equipped to do so anyway.)

One thing it doesn't change is that HTC's still in a pretty big hole, financially speaking. But at least it takes the shovels out of the hands of Apple's seemingly endless supply of lawyers.

We've got a big week ahead of us, folks. Some thoughts on that, after the break.

  • First up on Tuesday is the HTC-Verizon event, where we expect to see the newly official Droid DNA. Remember that Verizon never did pick up the HTC One X or One S. It'll be interesting to see reaction, then, to a 5-inch phone, especially with the larger Samsung Galaxy Note 2 still on the way for Big Red. (Ridiculous branded home button and all.) We'll be there live on Tuesday.
  • Didn't somebody say our pics of the Droid DNA were Photoshopped forgeries? I'll have to go back and find that.
  • And then there's the Tuesday launch of the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet. Kind of a big deal, right?
  • What's all this noise about how Google's not doing preorders? It's been pretty clear from the "Order on Nov. 13" line that's been on the page for a couple weeks now that we'd be able to order on Nov. 13, just as it was pretty clear from the Nexus 7 and Nexus Q preorders that you were able to preorder them at the time. Why no preorders this time around? Who knows. But neither has been been confusing.
  • I was kind of surprised at the response to the poll in our "Should you upgrade?" post on the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4. Some 54 percent of the respondents say they're sticking with the Galaxy Nexus. Assuming the poll's not packed with people who don't actually own a GNex, Maybe I overestimated the GNex as an Android nerd's phone. Or maybe because it'll get most (if not all) of the Android 4.2 update. Or maybe there are just more GNexes on Verizon than I realize.
  • Can't say this enough: If you're stuck on a CDMA carrier but still want to try the Nexus 4 -- or if you're looking at getting off a CDMA carrier -- give one of the prepaid GSM options a go. It's all the same signal, you're just paying less, and without a contract. It's a no-brainer.
  • So why haven't I ditched my account on AT&T proper? Good question, but the first thing that comes to mind is easy roaming data overseas. 

Enough for today. Loads of great stuff coming up this week. Glad to have ya!


Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: HTC and Apple did what?!?!?


I know many Galaxy Nexus owners and they don't intend to upgrade because the Galaxy Nexus works just fine for them. They chose the phone and they're planning to stick to it. In Canada, there's only one CDMA carrier left and they don't even have the Galaxy Nexus so technically, everyone can upgrade, but many feel that it is not necessary and I don't blame them either because the phone actually works quite well.

I myself will pick one up because my Nexus S is showing its age with the lags and all. Also decided to skip the Galaxy Nexus because the audio DAC sucked, and the fact that my Nexus S was still too new to upgrade from.

My Galaxy Nexus stutters and hiccups quite often. Perhaps it's the custom CM10 ROM I'm using perhaps it's something else. I for one am looking towards the upgrade in hardware/software. It'll be better, faster and last longer (That's what she said!)

I have no intention of ditching my gnex for the nexus 4. Though, I am slightly tempted by the HTC One X+...

Now that you mention it, yes. Reworded that line. (And it doesn't change the fact that the Nexus 4 and 10 have clearly said "Order on Nov. 13.")

It doesn't "feel" like a good thing...almost like my enemy's enemy type of situation...don't get too comfortable HTC is a hive of back stabbers

The way Phil worded it says Apple gets to use all of HTC's patents and in return they won't sue HTC. Reading the linked story suggests it was a mutual cross license, but Apple would have very little reason to do that.

Pretty one sided if you ask me.

Prediction: Apple will Buy HTC.

They may use HTC as a beachhead into Android or Windows Phone,, or perhaps to replace their (Apple's) internal design bureau which as we all know is stuck in a quagmire of their former glory.

You saw it here first folks.

Its a sad day in the world when Apple has to cross licence patents with HTC on product design and other things.

People, look at the HTC 8X and the HTC One Series. Apple is no fool. They have been playing the game of redesigning other companies innovations for a long time.

The question for Apple was, "How do we re-innovate Android and WP8 into IOS? ".

I think Apple is just beginning to feel the blowback on their flagrant litigation. The consumers don't like it. It's bad PR. Behind the scenes, I would guess iPhone 5 sales are not what are expected. Apple is setting up some financial safety nets, ones to make stock holders happy, while they re-tool the iPhone series.

This to me sounds like what is happening. Apple could be trying to secure some easy revenue. To be honest I have not seen 1 iPhone 5 out in public. I see more Samsung S3's than iPhones. I think, just maybe, they keep telling the public that there is a supply problem, when really they had a great opening week, than sales nosedived. I know of 2 people that got GS3's to replace their iPhone 3GS's all because of maps. They weren't taking the risk of losing great maps.

The latest version of IOS is even driving existing long time Apple fans to Android. The last two people on our corporate plan still running iPhone 4S phones that aren't even out of contract yet will be paying off their ETF (out of their own pocket) and getting Android phones.

Maps isn't the only reason. Debilitating battery drain, stodgy old UI, a broken IOS that deleted content during the upgrade, and a wealth of other problems has finally gotten the best of them.

Apple fired top executives, not they are settling patent fights that they started long ago. They clearly see trouble ahead.

HTC can't afford to fight Apple in court. They had no choice but to settle. But Apple has something less obvious to gain, and they are playing this pretty close to the vest.

I see it as a smart move for Apple and a big help for HTC. Apple has been so litigious in the last few years, I feel they kinda painted themselves into a corner on the design side of things. They have forced everyone else to design differently than the iphone, this may bite Apple when they have to design something other than the old model they're still running with. Being friends with HTC can only help both sides imo.

Great work as always Phil! I know the DNA will be big in the news this week but do you know if the One X+ is close to a release on at&t? I love HTC and hope they can get out of this hole they are in.

>"Didn't somebody say our pics of the Droid DNA were Photoshopped forgeries?"

"Photo edited". It is an easy and proper term to use that does not promote a single, proprietary program when there are dozens of quality photo editing programs, some of which are multiplatform, open-source, and free. [Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine.]

One doesn't "Honda to the store"
One doesn't "Go for a Nike down the street"
One doesn't "MS-Word a document"
One doesn't "Evo his girlfriend"
One doesn't "Photoshop a picture" resulting in something "Photoshopped"

Really? I have been "Evo"'ing your girlfriend every night this week :)

I also Xerox a document and blow my nose in a Kleenex.

Like Leo Laporte, I also don't like the term "podcast".

It's just people not realizing they've been brainwashed into a walking-talking advertisement. If you don't believe me, google it.

One does in fact Photoshop a picture. Just as one grabs a Kleenex or Tip and Xerox's their documents or Googles information.

Get over it.

Good luCk finding anyone in the GD or other design industries that doesn't say Photoshopped. U prefer GIMP and even I say Photoshopped.

I prefer Gimp, and have a paid license for Photoshop :P

To be fair, I only prefer Gimp because I can script all the routine stuff in Python. 

I wonder how many of those 54% owners of Galaxy Nexus are not upgrading because they own the Verizon CDMA version and are still stuck in their expensive contract?

I think it's more about the amount of people who only just bought their Galaxy Nexus recently (in the last 6 months or so) from the play store or daily steals. The price went below 500 dollars on daily steals in April (that's when I bought mine) and came to the play store for $349 during the summer. Nobody who bought the Galaxy Nexus so recently is going to upgrade to a Nexus 4 right away...

So Phil now that you've made it abundantly clear that Verizon users and future Verizon users are out of luck, how 'bout you throw us a bone and help us decide between a Galaxy Note 2, HTC Droid DNA, or another Android super phone on Verizon? That is, of course, once you guys get a chance to review the DNA.

Lol @ surprised. Maybe some of us are satisfied with our Galaxy Nexus and don't feel the need to "upgrade"? It is going to get 4.2 eventually.

Could someone elaborate on this please?

"Maybe I overestimated the GNex as an Android nerd's phone. "

If people (like me) are keeping the GNex because software-wise it is still as capable as the Nexus 4 (by which I mean it is still rootable/flashable of most ROMs), isn't it an "android nerd's phone"?

Or is Phil just surprised by how low the percentage is of people who would keep the GNex?

Or did I just completely misunderstood that part? :P

It's all well and good, this ceasefire. With foxconn struggling, Apple may actually turn to HTC to manufacture. They may buy them outright, considering HTCs finances. I have also always recommended iproduct-defectors to HTC flagships since the OG desire. As bloated as Sense is, it is the most mature and intuitive 'skin'/launcher/ui feature set provided by an OEM. BTW, HTC hardware is about the only OEM that uses quality materials.

Better than this ceasefire though would be to get OEM's to slow down the rate of production in their flagship lines to one device every 2 years. This will allow them to focus on the existing line of hardware with software upgrades and help them work on a better more significantly upgraded version after 2 years.

And... it will help us save money instead of upgrading every six months. At least, we wont feel scammed or rejected on a flagship device just after 6 months -cough- One X+. These upgrades are iterative at best and that should really be achieved through software upgrade. The Gnex is an excellent example of 'percieved' spec bump simply by upgrading from ICS to JB.

Agree, no? I have both Gnex and One X. The Gnex unbelievably holds its own in the software dept making the prospect of buying the N4 more difficult despite the outrageous price point. The nexus 4 will probably sell like the GS3 because of this price.

I see many people sing praises of Apple´s demise, I seriously doubt they are anywhere near that. Yes there is more competition today than there was years ago, and as such many people would be jumping ships, both ways. But Apple is doing fine. Their stocks are currently down, but recently I have seen everyone´s stock including Google´s drop. It happens. But Apples’ has approx. 38% increase over last year. Apple is doing fine. They have somewhat plateaued though, but other than on the tech sites, I see few people jumping ship.

I see many stating that they have no necessity to upgrade to the iPhone5, because their 4s is great, and that they will wait until the 5s (they seem to be sure that is the name). Many people including myself will not be upgrading to the iPad four for obvious reasons. But Apple is not hemorrhaging customers. People have way too much invested in the ecosystem, and I have heard many people say that they are not interested in learning something new, they are used to the iPhone and iPad. Most people are not us, who always want to be on the vanguard of tech, and those are folks Apple is primarily gearing their products to.

Me on the other, I love Apple products, and I think my iPad is great for what it does, I don´t plan to mess with that anytime soon. My current phone is an iPhone, and I am upgrading to a Nexus 4 this winter. But before the iPhone I had a Motorola Droid Global, and before that a Palm Pre. But that is what we do, we explore and experiment and make our devices be more than just an appliance.

Amongst the geeks, Apple is losing popularity (if it ever had I am not sure), but while they are plateauing with the typical consumer, they have not yet begun to fall. We see the changes they are making, and I assume 2013 might prove to be interesting. So I think they have no desire to fall either. Right now they are the most valuable tech company on the planet, they would want to stay like that for while I imagine.

You know how Apple and HTC could slow down Samsung's domination?

They could make a quality phone! Not getting into details, but briefly put; power, screen size and quality, and storage. Samsung has been doing a great job delivering devices that have all those things and more. Or how about something as simple as a user replaceable battery.

I'm a VZW GNex owner and even if the 4 was offered in a CDMA version, I wouldn't get it and I'll tell you why: LTE. Once I got used to it, which is basically like having WiFi everywhere, I would not give it up for marginally better hardware.