Headlines

3 years ago

Samsung/Ericsson patent dispute ends with $650 million deal

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Samsung to pay $650 million plus royalties as part of settlement

Ericsson's ongoing patent dispute with Samsung has ended with an agreement on licensing terms as part of a multimillion dollar settlement, the former has announced. Ericsson says Samsung will pay around $650 million plus "ongoing royalty payments" to end the spat, ongoing since 2012, which relates to cellular networking and touchscreen technologies. Full details of the settlement are to remain confidential, but Ericsson says the agreement covers "a new multi-year license agreement" and "ends all ongoing patent related legal disputes" between the two.

The announcement comes just hours after Samsung reached a ten-year cross-licensing agreement with Google. Meanwhile Samsung remains locked in legal combat with bitter rival Apple, with the next trial set to begin in March.

Source: Ericsson; via: Reuters

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3 years ago

New Samsung wearables rumored for your wrist and face

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Reports from Korea suggest 'Galaxy Gear 2' and 'Galaxy Glass' on the way later in the year

Last year saw Samsung's first entry into the world of wearable devices, with the launch of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and more could follow this year if reports from the Korean press are to be believed. Today two reports from outlets in Samsung's home country point to Samsung Galaxy-branded wearables for both your wrist and your face arriving in 2014.

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3 years ago

ASUS launches another Padfone, in a color named after a whiskey

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ASUS kitting out the Padfone range with this mid-range offering that comes in Johnnie Walker Black

Barely 3 weeks after dropping a bunch of new devices on us at CES, ASUS has quietly launched another new Padfone device in its native Taiwan. The Padfone E is a mid-range hybrid offering, that looks like it sits between the Padfone Mini and the more high end Padfone X. Oh, and it comes in the best named color ever; Johnnie Walker Black – and Pearl White, but that's boring!

Spec wise, the Padfone E comprises a 4.7-inch smartphone and a 10-inch tablet dock, both with 1280x720 resolution displays. As always, the internals are all packed into the smartphone, and we're looking at a 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400, 1GB of RAM, a 13MP camera and a pretty small 1820 mAh battery – though thankfully the dock has a 5000mAh power plant within. 

Details on on-board storage seem to be missing from the specs list, though we imagine it won't be anything above 8GB at best, though ASUS does provide a microSD card slot for folks that like that sort of thing. It's going on sale in Taiwan initially in dual-SIM form with a price around $560. 

Source: ASUS (translated)

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3 years ago

Google reportedly acquires artificial intelligence company you've never heard of

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Deepmind purchase said to be in the region of $400 million

Google's spending spree looks like it's continuing, with the reported $400 million purchase of a London based artificial intelligence company you've likely never heard of. But, just because Deepmind isn't a household name, doesn't mean there isn't some serious talent behind it.

The acquisition was first reported, and then confirmed later, by re/code, who's sources said that this is an artificial intelligence and talent led acquisition, led by Google CEO Larry Page himself. Deepmind's business is largely unknown, but the company's website describes it as combining "the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms."

Quite what Google has in mind only time will tell, but it'll be a lot of fun finding out. 

Source: re/code

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3 years ago

Introducing the Windows Phone Central App for Android!

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And with five, we have a family. Windows Phone Central is now the fifth Mobile Nations site — along with Android Central, CrackBerry, iMore and Smartwatch Fans — to have an official Android application.

Available now in Google Play, this is the same app you've come to know and love with all of our sites. You get all the latest in Windows Phone news, reviews of devices, apps and accessories, editorials, podcasts — all the best from the fine folks at Windows Phone Central.

Plus, you've got access to the WPC forums for even more help and discussion.

Give it a download. And because you'll ask — yes, we've got a combined Mobile Nations app on our roadmap for later this year. Thanks, folks!

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3 years ago

AT&T backs out of Vodafone bid at request of UK authorities

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New deal within 6 months possible if situation changes dramatically

Following speculation AT&T would make a bid for Vodafone somewhere north of $60 billion, the second-largest U.S. carrier has filed a statement saying it won't pursue the action any further. The official statement comes as a result of U.K. laws — in this case the U.K. Takeover Code — which require companies to release written statements as to their intentions of bid for a U.K. company.

Now our U.K. law prowess isn't of the highest degree, but it seems as though AT&T never actually had much of a serious intention to make a bid for Vodafone to begin with. And in light of the negative effects of the speculation on Vodafone's stock price — down about 3 percent over the weekend — AT&T was required to make a statement reflecting its true intentions.

Citing note 2 of Rule 2.8 of the UK Takeover Code, AT&T does have the right to make a bid for Vodafone in the next six months provided the circumstances fall into line with the notes on that rule. Loosely put, note 2 of Rule 2.8 gives AT&T the opportunity to make another bid for Vodafone if the deal structure changes dramatically (i.e. a reverse takeover), another company makes a serious offer to buy AT&T itself, or the U.K. authorities decide that there has been a dramatic change in circumstances surrounding an AT&T-Vodafone buyout.

That's all big and complicated with lots of legal jargon, but the end result looks to be AT&T putting a bid for Vodafone on the back burner for now. Unless something dramatically changes, we won't see the carrier making such a splash in Europe — or at least the U.K. — any time soon.

Source: AT&T; U.K. Takeover Panel

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3 years ago

LG posts Q4 and full 2013 results: Revenues up slightly, mobile jumps 29% over 2012

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Strong G2 and Nexus 5 sales lead to a huge 13.2 million units shipped in Q4

LG has just posted its complete Q4 2013 and full year 2013 financial results, and it looks like it was another big year for the Korean manufacturer. In terms of just the fourth quarter, LG as a whole posted revenues of $14.03 billion, leading to an operating profit of $223.89 million but a net loss in the end of $60.21 due mostly to non-operating expenses. LG's mobile division made up $3.38 billion of those revenues, which was up 18 percent quarter-over-quarter.

Looking at 2013 as a whole, LG saw a small bump in revenues to $53.1 billion, leading to an operating profit of $1.17 billion but a net profit of just $203.67 million. Again breaking out just the mobile business, annual revenues were up 29 percent year-over-year to $11.85 billion.

Building on strong sales of its LTE handsets like the G2 and Nexus 5, LG sold 13.2 million phones in the quarter, which is an increase of 54 percent over the previous year. That's also a notable jump over the 12 million it shipped in Q3. LG is on a pretty solid trajectory upwards in terms of shipments and revenues in the mobile space, and we don't see it slowing down any time soon.

Source: LG

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3 years ago

LG G Pro 2 is officially coming in February

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A Mobile World Congress unveiling appears likely for LG's next oversized smartphone

LG this evening officially announced that the successor to the LG (Optimus) G Pro will be unveiled in February, and it'll be call the LG G Pro 2.

The original G Pro — seen in the image above and which launched with the "Optimus" name at Mobile World Congress 2013 — was the Korean manufacturer's first step into the oversized smartphone world. It sported a 5.5-inch IPS display and was the first non-Nexus device to have Photosphere-like capability (called VR Panorama). LG dropped the "Optimus" name from its brand in 2013.

LG has not announced any specs or availability for the G Pro 2. Mobile World Congress takes place Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain.

Source: LG

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3 years ago

Samsung and Google sign a 10-year cross-licensing deal

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Agreement covers current patents and any filed during the next decade

Some pretty heavy hitting news of a patent nature this fine Sunday evening, with the announcement of a cross-licensing deal between Google and Samsung. This agreement between the creators of Android and its biggest OEM covers all current patents held by both parties, and any future ones that should be filed during the next 10 years. 

“We’re pleased to enter into a cross-license with our partner Samsung,” said Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google. “By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation.”

Without dropping names, it could be intimated that the last part of the above comment – and certainly a follow up one that you'll find at the source link below – be directed towards Apple, with whom Samsung has been embroiled in patent lawsuits with for far too long now. Samsung and Google may not have ever been seen as direct threats to each other, but cross-licensing is definitely a more productive outcome to filing endless lawsuits. 

Source: Samsung

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: When the lights go out ...

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Funny things happen when online services we all depend on go down, as much of Google did for a bit on Friday. We all scramble to get stories up, alerting everyone to the fact that this online service they depend on has gone down. You know, just in case they didn't notice. Our inbox floods with tips saying that this online service we all depend on has gone down. We rush over to the Google Apps Status Dashboard to see what's the matter, but it's usually not updated quickly enough for our liking, and even then with only minimal information.

Patience is hard, I know.

Ask anyone who makes their living online, and there's little worse than down time — especially if there's nothing you can do but stay out of the way. We poke fun at the failure in different ways (I do think the "Google+ went down and nobody noticed" jabs were easy and dumb), but, let's be honest here — that's just for attention-seeking on Twitter. "Look how clever we can be while everyone's talking about this thing!!!"

We're as guilty of it as anyone, of course. And it's not that outages aren't serious. They cost time, money and trust. But they will, from time to time, happen. On the micro level, I'm always amazed at the dedication and determination of our own Mobile Nations tech team when the lights go out. (I don't usually understand half of what they're saying, but it's fascinating to listen to.) That the failure technically only lasted 35 minutes (though the residual effect was felt throughout the day for many of us) but affected services worldwide is sobering. 

Google's explanation for what happened is worth reading. It takes a little time to identify, confirm and determine the best way to explain it to customers. Outages are frustrating. But my glass is very much half full these days, and I like to look at them as time to slow down. Take a break. And pray like hell that they don't happen too often.

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3 years ago

Get the Grammys tonight with this Android app

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The 56th annual Grammy Awards takes place tonight. And if you can't get in front of a TV, you'll easily be able to follow on your smartphone. Any number of websites track the winners, of course, but there's an official Grammys app that brings you videos, photos and news, long before the TV coverage kicks in.

The app itself isn't all that great, but it's workable. (If it's that bad, just use the website — it appears to be the same content.) And try to ignore the malformed ad that pops up at the begging. Also look out for any Justin Bieber sightings. It's the Grammys, where the recording industry at least attempts to honor good music, so chances are slim we'll see public enemy No. 1. But you can't be too careful.

Download the app at the link above. The show kicks off at 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. PST.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Jelly, Click UI, TowerMadness 2 and more!

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A great list of games, tools and themes to get you through the weekend

Saturday afternoon often brings many great things — one of which is our Apps of the Week column on Android Central. We carve out a slot on the site each week to give the writers here a chance to show off an app they've been using on their phone or tablet in the last week. We see games of all kinds, launchers, themes, alarm clock apps and beyond here, and there's a good chance at least one will be completely new to you.

Hit the break to see our list this week, where you may just find an app or two to install on your own device.

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3 years ago

AT&T making eyes at Vodafone for a $60 billion takeover

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AT&T CEO has met with EU regulators ahead of any potential bid

Verizon has just recently agreed to buyout Vodafone's stake in it, but the European carrier is now the target it seems of AT&T. Around the time the Verizon buyout was getting going, we first heard AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson talk about Europe as the next potential target for expansion. But instead of going after a smaller carrier, it looks like the target is one of Europe's biggest, with a potential $60 billion takeover of Vodafone in mind. 

Ahead of any bid, Stephenson has been meeting with EU regulators to discuss the U.S. carriers European ambitions. The two giants coming together would create a combined entity with a market value around $150 billion. The Vodafone deal with Verizon hasn't yet been completed, so no formal approach has been made by AT&T, but that is expected to close soon. AT&T has apparently already begun discussing financing for a the potential takeover bid. 

Acquiring Vodafone would certainly be a big entry into Europe for AT&T. Some of the biggest mobile markets in Europe are covered by Vodafone, including the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy. 

Source: Sky News

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3 years ago

D'oh! 'The Simpsons' will spoof Google Glass on Sunday

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This should be good.

Thanks, Steve!

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3 years ago

How to upgrade the SSD in your Acer C720 Chromebook

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Whether you're planning to run Linux or just need more space to work with, an SSD upgrade is easy and cost-effective. {.intro}

Chromebooks are all about working in the cloud, and we admit there's not a whole lot you can do on one without an active internet connection. But sometimes you want to have a local copy of those cloud backed-up files. Or maybe you want to carry around 20GB worth of movies and music to watch offline when streaming isn't an option. And let's not forget how simple it can be to load up your favorite copy of Linux onto your Chromebook if you want to break out of just using Chrome OS.

Whatever the reason, you may find the paltry offering of a 16GB SSD on the Acer C720 Chromebook to be lacking for some use cases out there. You can pick up a C720P model with 32GB of internal storage — and a touchscreen — for $50 more than the regular C720, but what if you already have one or need more than 32GB? Well, it turns out it's extremely simple to replace the SSD in the Acer C720, and we're going to show you how to do it.

Hit the break for the entire step-by-step process.

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