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4 years ago

Google agrees to change business practices as FTC closes investigation


Google has agreed to change a couple of its business practices following an anti-competitive investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over the past several months. There are two main parts to this agreement -- online search and standards-essential patent licensing. For the former, Google has agreed to change its policies to both let advertisers more freely manage advertising campaigns on both Google and other search engines simultaneously, as well as not give its own sites any preferential treatment in results in specific categories such as Travel and Shopping. Beth Wilkinson, outside counsel to the FTC, had this comment on the search findings:

“The evidence the FTC uncovered through this intensive investigation prompted us to require significant changes in Google’s business practices. However, regarding the specific allegations that the company biased its search results to hurt competition, the evidence collected to date did not justify legal action by the Commission. Undoubtedly, Google took aggressive actions to gain advantage over rival search providers. However, the FTC’s mission is to protect competition, and not individual competitors. The evidence did not demonstrate that Google’s actions in this area stifled competition in violation of U.S. law.”

As for the patent side, Google has agreed to license its portfolio of standards-essential patents (technologies necessary to make phones work, like a 3G radio for example) in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner -- that's the FRAND acronym we see thrown around. This means that if any company that wishes to use these patented technologies in their devices Google should be forthcoming on letting them do so for a reasonable price and set of associated terms. The FTC argued in its investigation that when Google acquired Motorola Mobility -- and its portfolio of over 24,000 patents and patent applications -- it reneged on its FRAND commitments and instead attempted to pursue injunctions against other companies with the patents. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz had this to say:

“We are especially glad to see that Google will live up to its commitments to license its standard-essential patents, which will ensure that companies willing to license these patents can compete in the market for wireless devices. This decision strengthens the standard-setting process that is at the heart of innovation in today’s technology markets.”

Now folks are spinning this one every which way. As consumers, this doesn't really have much tangible effect on us. But on the surface this seems like a pretty non-threatening result to Google. The FTC seems pleased with Google's initial commitments and compliance terms, and we'll just have to wait and see in the future how well Google actually follows up on these commitments. These compliance terms are enforceable, which means it's in Google's best interest to follow them closely. If you happen to be a lawyerly type, you can take a look at the full statement from the FTC at the source link below.

Source: FTC

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4 years ago

Google TV YouTube control coming to more devices in 2013


YouTube rolled out updates to both its Android and Google TV apps to let users control their TV YouTube experience from their phones in just one tap a while back. Users can essentially pair and control their Google TV viewing experience with any number of devices and manage a queue of upcoming videos. Be it your own devices or a friends, as long as they're on the same Wifi network as the Google TV box, the phones or tablets can be a controller for managing a playlist of videos on the big screen. It's a pretty neat feature to help with the social watching of videos in the living room, assuming that you or someone you know actually owns a Google TV.

Google is trying to fix that problem by announcing new partners for Google TV that will include this quick device pairing at CES 2013. Devices from Bang & Olufsen, LG, Panasonic and Sony will be shown off next week, with partnerships announced between Google and Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio and Western Digital as well. These are really neat features provided people actually get to use them, and with a partner list like that we surely hope we see some compelling new devices.

Source: Official YouTube Blog

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4 years ago

Polaroid launches 7-inch kid-focused tablet at $150


Polaroid (yes, that Polaroid) is launching a durable, kid-friendly 7-inch tablet today at a pretty great price point. The tablet, which doesn't seem to have a proper name, is designed to be rugged enough to be handled and controlled by a young child as you can see with the large buttons and bezels. The device is actually running Ice Cream Sandwich -- though you'd never know it -- and is pre-loaded with 35 "premium apps" out of the box, with more available in a kid-friendly App Shop. It's probably best not to give a little kid Google Play access right from the get-go anyway.

There's 8GB of storage and some moderate specs here, so for $149.99 it may be a compelling option if you're looking to get a young child in your life a "my first tablet" kind of device. The tablet is on sale now from Polaroid directly or in stores later this month.

Source: Polaroid (BusinessWire); Polaroid Store

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4 years ago

Catch the first Android Central Podcast of 2013 this afternoon!


We're back, boys and girls! It's a new year, and we're ready to kick this podcast into high gear. Coming up this afternoon -- at a special time of 3:30 p.m. Eastern -- we'll be recording Episode 121 of the Greatest Android Podcast in the World! On tap today -- our predictions for the year, a preview of what we expect next week from CES in Las Vegas, and more of your e-mails and voicemails.

Not at a computer? Pick up the free UStream Viewer from Google Play [link] and search for Mobile Nations a little before the show (it won't appear until we go live). We'll see you there!

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4 years ago

Kobo Arc review


Kobo's latest Android tablet is a marked step up from previous efforts, but does it make for a compelling purchase in an increasingly crowded space?

The small tablet space is becoming increasingly populated of late. The Google Nexus 7 undoubtedly sets the bar pretty high, but recent months have seen respectable releases from Amazon, Acer and on the other side of the fence, Apple. Now, along comes Kobo. A Canadian company better known for e-Readers and their eBook store, they have dipped their toe in the Android tablet space before. 

The Kobo Vox wasn't the greatest tablet on the market by any stretch of the imagination. Quite chunky, a less than impressive touch response and Gingerbread sadly overshadowed a cheap, and -- unlike Amazon's Kindle Fire -- fully Google Certified tablet. Fast forward though, and things are quite different. 

First unveiled to a small group of press in Berlin at the annual IFA conference, the Kobo Arc is the company's latest attempt at an Android based, content focused tablet device. Immediately it was clear that this was something much more interesting than its predecessor. Better software, better hardware, and a competitive price point. But, looks can be deceiving, as we all know. We've had one for a little while now, so click on past the break and we'll take you through it.

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4 years ago

What I used in 2012: Jerry Hildenbrand


It's the end of one year and the beginning of the next, and that means lots of lists covering all manner of tech stuff. I like reading lists. Everything laid out in an easy-to-read format fits my analytical side, and helps me process more information faster. I don't much like writing lists though, because that leaves less space for me to ramble and drift away from the topic at hand. Sort of like now, huh?

Anyways, back to my list. I used a crapload of mobile stuff this year, most of it some flavor of Android. I'm not even going to run through them all, just what I use everyday while working for AC or as a general technophile. A lot of you will disagree with my choices, and that's a good thing. The world would be pretty much a suck-fest if everyone were like me. Jump through and have a read.

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4 years ago

T-Mobile USA to sell Nexus 4 in all stores in January


If you're in the U.S. and weren't able to bag a Nexus 4 through the Google Play Store -- and let's face it, many of us weren't -- then your other option was to pick one up from T-Mobile. But not all T-Mobile stores were offering the handset, and the carrier's online store quickly sold out of stock.

So in 2013, it seems T-Mobile will address these availability concerns by offering the Nexus 4 from all of its retail locations. A leaked internal screen obtained by TmoNews indicates that all T-Mo retail stores will sell the LG-made Nexus in January. As TmoNews points out, the carrier could only support such an expansion with a hefty influx of new inventory, which could bring hope of the device becoming more attainable in the weeks ahead.

In the meantime, there's still no hint of the Nexus 4 becoming available through Google Play anytime soon. The device was back-ordered by several weeks in December, and remains sold out at present.

Source: TmoNews

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4 years ago

LTE-toting HTC One SV now available SIM-free in the UK


HTC's mid-range 4G LTE phone for Europe and Asia, the One SV, has begun making its way to British shores today, first dropping by online retailer Clove Technology. Clove has the One SV in stock today, and is selling the device unlocked and SIM-free for £350 (approx. $569) in white and blue color options.

In addition those 4G data capabilities, the One SV packs a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip, 1GB of RAM and a 4.3-inch WVGA SuperLCD2 display. Around the back, it's packing a 5MP HTC ImageSense camera. Unfortunately it's not running Jelly Bean, and instead comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box.

So the HTC One SV is a mix of high-end and low-range tech, but what you're really paying for here is the ability to pick up an unlocked 4G LTE device without breaking the bank.

The One SV will also be coming to EE, the UK's only LTE carrier, in the near future. Right now, though, there's no mention of the device on EE's site.

Source: Clove Technology

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4 years ago

Those 'glitterless' Nexus 4 stories are bullshit


OK, folks. This has gotten ridiculous, and it needs to stop. Now.

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4 years ago

Is 2013 the year of the smart appliance? LG thinks so, and is bringing them to CES


LG is a big ass company. Like Samsung, another Korean electronics giant, they make a little of everything -- if you plug it in, chances are LG makes several different models of it. Of course they make appliances, and their new breed of "smart appliances" look to be pretty damn cool if you're an Android fan.

Get your fridge, or oven, or dryer (you get the picture) installed and turned on, then touch your LG Android smartphone to it and the magic of NFC sets it up so that your phone controls your appliance. You have a Smart Control app to use if you like, or you'll be able to use your voice -- "Home-bot, start cleaning" starts up the Roboking cleaning unit, or "Have you got a few minutes, washer?" will tell you the status of the load of laundry you've got washing. As long as you're on the same Wifi network, you're in control.

While it's not quite the level of automation control we see from Hollywood movies, it sounds awful damn cool (and expensive). You bet your ass we're going to look at these next week at CES.

Source: LG (Korea)

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4 years ago

Dailymotion app updated with new UI and features


Dailymotion Streaming Video, an app that is the second largest video provider on the internet, has just updated its app substantially in both design and functionality. This newest version -- 3.0.1, to be exact -- has a completely overhauled UI that fits nicely into Android 4.0 and above's holo design, taking advantage of the new tabbed interface, overflow settings button and UI fragments.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also a lot of new behind the scenes fixes to improve overall responsiveness of the app. The video player is quicker, there's a new offline mode and improved search suggestions. The latest small update brought many bug fixes to keep everything smooth as well. If you want to know a little more about Dailymotion you can take a look at the press release after the break, or just head straight to the app at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

The Ubuntu phone's time, if ever, is now - not in 2014


And any number of hurdles still stand in Canonical's way, no matter how cool things look now

Canonical has been buzzing in our ears about Ubuntu as a mobile device operating system for a while now. We've seen them tout integrating a solution into Android for a year, and before that they had plans for their own mobile version of Ubuntu that more than a few Linux geeks were following. Today they came full circle and showed off a native OS on an Android phone, getting some of us pumped for the "next big thing."

But with yet another announcement without a single flashable image, will Ubuntu OS even have a chance?

Let's discuss the pros and cons, and see why 2014 might be too late for any success for Canonical. Read on.

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4 years ago

Google to deliver Q4 2012 results on Jan. 22


Here's your early warning that Google is scheduled to announce its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time on Jan. 22. Or, if history repeats, its printer may decide to do it a few hours early, sending Wall Street into a tizzy

Source: Google

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4 years ago

Over-the-top VOIP users to reach 1 billion in 4 years


Over the top (OTT) VOIP users will top 1 billion by 2017, according to some new research. It's no surprise that traditional voice call usage is going down, but that doesn't mean that people are stopping voice calls all together. The transition to VOIP (Voice Over IP) calling services is on the rise, according to a report out today by Juniper Research, and could reach a massive 1 billion users in just 4 short years. Today, current VOIP solutions like Skype and Talkatone don't integrate natively with phones but rather run as standalone apps, and don't always work as well as users would expect over regular 3G data technologies.

Fortunately as LTE becomes the standard for mobile data, the higher speeds and lower latency will help this move. Apps will start to take advantage with better audio codecs and other software innovations as well. The unknown in all of this is how carriers will react to the move towards VOIP solutions as primary calling options for users.

Source: FierceWireless

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4 years ago

Google's Eric Schmidt headed to North Korea on 'private, humanitarian mission'


North Korea as seen from the Dora Observatory

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt is going to North Korea as part of a "private, humanitarian mission," The Associated Press reported this afternoon. North Korea is all but cut off from the rest of the world when it comes to the Internet (among other things). Will Schmidt's trip the the beginning of any sort of change there? We can only hope.

Source: Associated Press

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