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Android

Why You Can't Build Your Own Smartphone: Patents 179

Posted by timothy
from the hard-to-count-'em-all dept.
jfruh writes "In the mid-00s, more and more people started learning about Android, a Linux-based smartphone OS. Open source advocates in particular thought they could be seeing the mobile equivalent of Linux — something you could download, tinker with, and sell. Today, though, the Android market is dominated by Google and the usual suspects in the handset business. The reason nobody's been able to launch an Android empire from the garage is fairly straightforward: the average smartphone is covered by over 250,000 patents."
China

Foxconn Denies Plans For New US Operations 96

Posted by timothy
from the wishful-thinking dept.
pigrabbitbear writes with an update to the story, based on a DigiTimes report, that iPhone maker Foxconn would be opening a new factory in the U.S. "Foxconn makes a lot of stuff, but as it's one of Apple primary manufacturing partners, lots of people jumped to the salacious conclusion that a U.S.-based Foxconn factory could finally produce an American-made iPhone. Foxconn denied the DigiTimes report today. A company spokeswoman told CNET that the company actually 'already has multiple facilities based in the U.S.' but that 'there are no current plans to expand our operations there at this time.' Foxconn doesn't make iPhones in the existing U.S. factories, and they don't plan to."
Microsoft

Bungled Mobile Bet Will Be Ballmer's Swan Song 300

Posted by Soulskill
from the tablets-tablets-tablets dept.
snydeq writes "'If Windows 8 and the Surface tablet flop, you'll see a shareholder revolt that will send Steve Ballmer packing by this time next year,' writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. 'First it was the netbook, then it was the Ultrabook. Microsoft, Intel, and the PC makers keep looking for a way to convince buyers they don't need an iPad or Android tablet. Neither initiative gained much traction, so Microsoft bet big on Windows 8 and the Surface. ... Maybe we're wrong, and buyers will decide that the new OS and the Microsoft's first serious venture into hardware are what they want. It would be a huge boost for the industry if it happens, but I'm not optimistic. ... There's been a string of bad quarters, and the stock has been frozen for nine years. At some point — I think we're getting really close — investors are going to demand a shakeup. When they do, it's going to be good-bye, Ballmer."
Australia

Australian Telcos Declare SMS Unsafe For Bank Transactions 42

Posted by timothy
from the txt-me-ok? dept.
littlekorea writes "Australia's telcos have declared that SMS technology should not be used by banks to verify identities for online banking transactions, in a bid to wash their hands of culpability for phone porting hacks. But three of Australia's largest four banks insist they will continue to use SMS messages to carry authentication codes for transactions."
Android

Samsung's Galaxy S III Steals Smartphone Crown From iPhone 348

Posted by timothy
from the depends-how-you-count dept.
zacharye writes "The best-selling smartphone in the world is no longer an iPhone. New data released on Thursday by market research firm Strategy Analytics finds that Samsung's Galaxy S III was the world's top-selling smartphone model in the third quarter this year, displacing Apple's iPhone for the first time in years. Samsung announced earlier this week that cumulative Galaxy S III channel sales reached the 30 million unit milestone and according to Strategy Analytics, 18 million of those were shipped in Q3 2012. During the same period, Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S handsets, slipping into the No.2 spot for the quarter..." Also at Slash Cloud.
Businesses

Imagination Technology Buys MIPS 56

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the gotta-catch-em-all dept.
New submitter HalWasRight writes "After years of struggle, MIPS Technologies — the original RISC processor company — is being sold to Imagination Technologies, best known for its popular mobile GPUs. Part of the deal included MIPS divesting much of its non-processor related patents to a group that includes ARM. This deal could change the landscape in the battle for mobile sockets." MIPS press release, Imagination press release.
Handhelds

iPad Mini Costs $24 More To Make Than Kindle Fire HD 260

Posted by timothy
from the price-theory-at-work dept.
sweetpea86 writes "... but retails for $130 more. Teardowns of the Apple iPad Mini and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD have revealed that the two devices cost almost the same amount to manufacture, despite the retail prices being significantly different. Andrew Rassweiler, senior principal analyst of teardown services for IHS iSuppli, explains that Apple is sticking to the premium brand strategy it has always used for its media tablet and smartphone products, whereas Amazon is banking on content."
Verizon

Verizon To Shut Down App Store By January 59

Posted by timothy
from the dog-won't-hunt dept.
alphadogg writes "Verizon Wireless is closing down its app store by January next year, it said in a notice on its developer community portal. The operator said it will start removing in January the Verizon Apps application from all compatible Android and Research In Motion devices. It anticipates completing the process by March 27. The carrier's app store, launched in March 2010, has been overtaken by popular online app stores from tech companies like Google and RIM."
Privacy

Some Smart Meters Broadcast Readings in the Clear 138

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the find-out-who-hates-the-planet dept.
alphadogg writes "University of South Carolina have discovered that some types of electricity meter are broadcasting unencrypted information that, with the right software, would enable eavesdroppers to determine whether you're at home. The meters, called AMR (automatic meter reading) in the utility industry, are a first-generation smart meter technology and they are installed in one third of American homes and businesses. They are intended to make it easy for utilities to collect meter readings. Instead of requiring access to your home, workers need simply drive or walk by a house with a handheld terminal and the current meter reading can be received." Perhaps more distressing, given trends in 4th amendment interpretation, I bet the transmissions are open game for law enforcement.
Microsoft

Software Uses Almost 1/2 the Storage On 32GB Surface Tablet 471

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-used-up dept.
First time accepted submitter jigamo writes "Microsoft's newly released Surface tablets are available in 32 and 64 GB capacities. The company has disclosed how much of that space is available to the user. After taking into account Windows RT, Microsoft Office, built-in apps, and Windows recovery tools, nearly 13 GB of the available space is eliminated from user accessible storage. Microsoft's recommendations for adding additional capacity are to use cloud storage, a memory card, or a USB storage device."
Businesses

Is It Time To Commit To Ongoing Payphone Availability? 267

Posted by samzenpus
from the who-you-gonna-call? dept.
jenningsthecat writes "Public payphones seem headed the way of the dinosaur, as noted here on Slashdot 10 years ago, and again by the CBC earlier this year. Reasons typically cited for their demise are falling usage, (thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone), and rising maintenance costs. But during the recent disaster in NYC caused by Hurricane Sandy public payphones proved their worth, allowing people to stay in contact in spite of the widespread loss of both cellular service and the electricity required to charge mobile devices. In light of this news, at least one Canadian news outlet is questioning the wisdom of scrapping payphones. Should we in North America make sure that public pay phones will always be widely available? (After all, it's not as though they don't have additional value-added uses). And, should their continued existence be dependent on corporations whose primary duty is to their shareholders, rather than to the average citizen?"
Communications

MIT Research Tweaks Smartphone Amplifier Voltage To Gain Battery Life 47

Posted by timothy
from the ok-there's-the-car-analogy dept.
hypnosec writes "Two MIT electrical engineering professors, Joel Dawson and David Perreault, have claimed that they have cracked the age old efficiency problem related to the power amplifier in smartphones by designing a new amplifier that consumes just half the power as compared to their current counterparts. Current transistor-based power amplifiers consume power in two modes – standby and output signal mode. The only way to reduce power consumption and increase battery life is to use the least possible power when in standby mode. The problem here is that if the power is kept very low when in standby mode, because of sudden jumps from low-power standby mode to high-power output mode, signals get distorted. This is why current technologies waste a lot of electricity as standby power levels are kept at a relatively higher level to avoid distortion. The new technology, dubbed asymmetric multilevel outphasing, is basically a blazingly fast electronic gearbox that would select the best possible voltage to send across to the transistors that would minimize power consumption."
Google

Google Wallet May End Up Inside Your Actual Wallet 190

Posted by timothy
from the one-neck-to-wring dept.
Several outlets are reporting, based on screenshots posted by Android Police that Google is (or "may be" — CNet calls the report "loosely sourced") about to introduce a lower-tech variant on its smartphone-based Google Wallet payment system. Instead of transferring payment information from an NFC-equipped phone, this would mean a physical payment card (like a conventional plastic credit or debit card), but one linked via Google's databanks to the user's existing bank or credit accounts. Upsides: less to carry, a simple way to suspend or cancel service on them (should the card be lost or stolen), and doesn't require you to carry your phone to make a credit or debit transaction — handy, since NFC readers are still thin on the ground. Downside: while perhaps no worse than putting the same information on your phone, it's one more step toward giving a third party all of your personal information in one place. A card that fits in a wallet probably makes a lot of sense: I live in a city with at least three pay-by-phone options in trials or fully available (CitiBank, Isis, and Google Wallet), but I can't buy ice cream or coffee with them yet. And there's no reason a card-shaped token couldn't use mag-stripes and NFC, too.
Cellphones

Verizon Worker Arrested For Copying Customer's Nude Pictures 282

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-start-punishing-this dept.
An anonymous reader writes "El Reg reports that two employees at a Verizon store in Florida are facing charges after making copies of a woman's naked pictures while helping her transfer data from an old phone to a new one. The two employees later offered to show the pictures to another customer, but the customer happened to be the woman's friend. The woman and her friend filed a police report. The police quickly got a warrant to search the store and found copies of the pictures on multiple devices there. One of the employees, Gregory Lampert, was arrested and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor. The other employee, Joshua Stuart, is no longer in Florida, but will face charges if he comes back."

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