According to this Reuters report, RIM is considering separating its messaging network business from its manufacture of handsets, and either listing the resulting new company separately, or selling it to another firm. According to the article, "Potential buyers would include Amazon and Facebook, it reported, adding that RIM's messaging network could also be sold, or opened up to rivals such as Apple and Google to generate income. An alternative option would be to keep the company together but sell a stake to a larger technology firm such as Microsoft."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
whisper_jeff writes "Judge Posner has dismissed the patent case between Apple and Motorola, with prejudice (meaning they can't refile), putting an end to this patent dispute between the two companies. Posner wrote, 'Both parties have deep pockets. And neither has acknowledged that damages for the infringement of its patents could not be estimated with tolerable certainty.' I know many on Slashdot will be happy to hear Apple's lawsuit failed; I am happier to hear that Motorola has been prevented from abusing FRAND patents, a situation I feel could set a very bad, very dangerous precedent for the entire industry."
waderoush writes "When you read a comic book or graphic novel on your tablet device, you're usually looking at a static reproduction of a print page, not a 'born digital' creation with serious interactivity. Madefire, a new startup in Emeryville, CA, is working to change that with the release today of its new iPad reader and comic-book authoring tool. Featuring seven original titles at launch — including one from Watchmen creator Dave Gibbons — the Madefire platform largely abandons traditional panel layouts in favor of 'sequences' in which the action progresses through the addition of image layers, as well as sound effects and music. 'We want to make people look at the fabric of storytelling—left to right, top to bottom—and break that fabric,' says Madefire founder Ben Wolstenholme. The company is also avoiding well-known superhero titles in favor of new characters and storylines. 'This century needs its new creations and its new myths and legacies,' says chief creative officer Liam Sharp, a veteran of X-Men, Spider-Man, Spawn, and other well-known traditional series."
Nerval's Lobster writes "A day after Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8, a company executive explained why the company never implemented native code in Windows Phone 7, declined to say whether Windows Phone 7.x would be upgraded beyond version 7.8, and said Microsoft has no plans to acquire an OEM to manufacture smartphones in-house. Of course, in theory that wouldn't stop Microsoft from building its own hardware in-house, similar to what Google did with the Nexus One. In any case, Microsoft's decision to construct its hardware and software in-house for the Surface tablet project has led to some chatter that it could do the same for smartphones."
YokimaSun writes "Following on from the news that RIM's partner was pulling the plug on its BlackBerry phones, RIM announced it was discontinuing the 16GB version of its playbook, PC Gaming News are reporting that the PlayBook is being discounted down by as much as 66% which is adding to the demise of RIM's attempt at the tablet market. Can anything stop the all conquering iPad?"
An anonymous reader writes "Sony has used the SID 2012 conference to demonstrate a brand new combination of conductive film and low-reflection film that promises to render screen reflection almost non-existent in devices like smartphones and tablets. Sony achieved such low reflections by combining its new conductive film with a moth-eye low reflection film. The key to the low reflectance is the formation of an uneven surface, which consists of both concave and convex structures (tiny bumps) that cover the entire film. The uneven surface means that light won't just bounce back off the screen creating a reflection, and therefore making the screen usable in a wider range of lighting conditions."
An anonymous reader writes "In a hearing in the US District Court today, it was determined that Google will pay a net total of nothing for Oracle's patent claims against them. In fact, Google is given 14 days to file an application for Oracle to pay legal fees to Google (in a similar manner to how things are done for frivolous lawsuits). However, it is not quite peaches and roses for Google, as Oracle is planning on appealing the decision in the case.'"
BogenDorpher writes with news that Microsoft has officially introduced Windows Phone 8. The new version of their mobile operating system will bring support for processors with up to 64 cores, as well as resolutions higher than 800x480 — up to 1280x768. It will also include better support for NFC and microSD cards. One important thing to note is that Windows Phone 8 won't be coming to current Windows Phone devices.
itwbennett writes "If you buy into the idea that tablets (and ultrabooks, and smartphones) in the enterprise are nothing more than glorified thin clients, then Microsoft's Surface presentation seemed more flashback than future. And if you're a fan of free software, the announcement might also have struck fear in your heart. While Microsoft has never locked out apps based on license, it's not impossible that they might chose a more locked-down Apple-esque approach for Surface, writes blogger Brian Proffitt. 'And that could put free software for end users very much at risk.'"
MojoKid writes "One of the most highly anticipated Android phones of the year is the Samsung Galaxy S III, and its official launch is today. This smartphone comes with a number of new features we haven't seen on many Android phones, including improved voice control functionality, new sharing features, and Near Field Communication features. Those include Samsung's new TecTiles, which are programmable NFC tags you can use to control the phone's many features and functions. For example, you can program a TecTile to automatically change phone settings for a particular location, send a text message, open apps, etc. Samsung's S Voice functionality works much the same way as Apple's Siri: you can use plain English to tell the phone what you want it to do. You can set alarms, update your social networks, get navigation instructions and ask basic questions. During tests with the Galaxy S III, the performance and accuracy with S Voice was comparable to Siri on an iPhone 4S. Performance-wise, the Galaxy S III handled well in the benchmarks, with Qualcomm's dual-core SnapDragon S4 offering a very fluid experience across Samsung's 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display."
snydeq writes "Microsoft's plan to build its own Windows 8 tablets puts longtime allies in peril — and it may be the right thing to do. 'In announcing the Surface tablets, due to be released this fall, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cited Apple's advantage (without mentioning Apple) of integrated software and hardware. "Things work better when hardware and software are considered together," he said. "We control it all, we design it all, and we manufacture it all ourselves." ... Like Apple, Microsoft will hire a few PC makers to do the actual production work. But the need for 20 brands of me-too laptops, tablets, and convertibles is low. Manufacturing sophisticated electronics is a skill requiring manufacturing innovation. But all those branded-but-otherwise-undifferentiated PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones just aren't needed in the vision Ballmer sketched out yesterday.'"
zacharye writes "Google chairman Eric Schmidt revealed in December that the company was working on its first own-brand tablet, and the 'Nexus 7' slate will finally be unveiled next week during the Google I/O developer conference, according to multiple reports. The latest reaffirmation comes from DigiTimes, which has reported a number of details surrounding Google's upcoming tablet that will seemingly prove accurate."
MrSeb was one of several submitters to write in about Microsoft's foray into the tablet hardware market. From the article: "At its much-discussed 'big unveil' this evening, Microsoft did indeed launch a tablet — but rumors that the device would showcase a Barnes & Noble partnership were misplaced. Instead, Microsoft showed a ... device that integrates a better keyboard option than typing on the screen without adding size or weight. That's where the new keyboard — which doubles as a screen cover — kicks in. At 3mm thick, it adds virtually nothing to the device's size, but it opens up a world of inputs. There are two covers available — the Touch Cover (very thin) and the Type Cover (with proper, tactile keys). Microsoft is touting the device's magnesium body, vapor-deposited construction, full PC functionality, and additional features like being the first tablet to showcase a 2×2 MIMO wireless antenna. Windows RT (ARM) and x86 versions are both in the works, with the x86 version apparently having a higher quality screen. No word on hardware specs yet; Microsoft is claiming it 'rivals the best ultrabooks' and uses less power than the Core i5." Microsoft has a launch site with a few pictures. There is a vague spec sheet: the x86 version is slightly thicker and has a larger battery (and comes with a pen) than the ARM tablet, but that's about all it reveals. Update: 06/19 16:06 GMT by T : Nick Kolakowski at GeekNet's SlashCloud says this may be Microsoft's best chance to compete in a cloud-centric mobile computing world.
judgecorp writes "Psion, the company which made the first handheld computers in the 1980s, invented the PDA, and launched the once-unstoppable Symbian OS, is to be bought by Motorola Solutions for $200 million. Following a merger with Teklogix ten years ago, Psion has just been making ruggedised business devices, a business where Motorola Solutions also plays — note, this is Motorola Solutions, not the phones division Motorola Mobility, which Google recently bought."
itwbennett writes "With the much-acclaimed Galaxy SIII in its pocket, don't think that Samsung is looking at Amazon's success with the Kindle and Apple's success with its iOS devices and saying to themselves, 'No, we'd rather not have that kind of diverse revenue, we'll stick to razor-thin hardware margins,' writes blogger Kevin Purdy. And that's not the only reason that Samsung might decide the time is right to maintain its own OS, or at least an Android fork: There's also the looming spectre of Google-Motorola."