Jul 07 2012

Patent Wins and Losses for Apple

Category: Mobile Computing,PatentsTeknovis @ 10:02 am

It has been a busy week for Apple regarding its patents in court!

Firstly,it had a win in the US where it has (temporarily) blocked sales of some Samsung devices! I think that Google will quickly implement a work-around, so I do not expect consumers to notice the ban in practice! For more details on this story see Apple enforces Galaxy Nexus smartphone ban in the US.

Meanwhile, on the same day, a court in the UK ruled in favour of HTC by finding that some of Apple’s patents were in fact invalid! See HTC defeats Apple in swipe-to-unlock patent dispute for more details. I love the word “obvious” – it is so powerful ;)

It will be interesting to see what happens next, given that the two rulings are somewhat contradictory!

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Jun 13 2012

HTC Not Allowed To Sue Apple

Category: Mobile Computing,PatentsTeknovis @ 11:32 am

A US judge has ruled that HTC is not allowed to use some of the patents that it recently acquired from Google, as part of its efforts to sue Apple! For the full story see Apple blocks HTC’s use of Google patents in US lawsuit.

This ruling could have significant effects on the values associated with patent rights, portfolios, and transfers!

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Jan 16 2012

Patent Infringement

Category: Mobile Computing,PatentsTeknovis @ 7:57 pm

After reading Apple granted patent for using apps during calls over the weekend, I realise that I have been infringing this patent for years :)

Actually the article seems misguided:

At present, smartphone users can either make calls or use apps – they can’t do both.

And

… for example, being able to take part in a conference call over your smartphone and interacting with information or data contained within a specific business app.

I have actually been doing both of these examples for years on my HTC P3600 (with the help of a hands-free kit)!

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Aug 12 2011

The Week in Patents

Category: Mobile Computing,PatentsTeknovis @ 6:11 pm

It has been a really interesting week in terms of patents! Probably the biggest news has been Apple‘s attempts to block the selling of superior Android based tablet devices made by Motorola and Samsung. For example, see Samsung delays Australian Tab launch, Apple prevents Galaxy sales in EU, Will Apple block the Motorola Xoom in Europe next?, and Apple patent disputes Xoom towards Motorola. HTC should be in the mix there also as another infringer. However, the fight back in the EU has started according to The Battle Continues: Samsung To Appeal Apple’s European Injunction.

Apple have reasons to be concerned with the rise of the Android based tablets according to Android tablets peel away 20% of iPad’s mega market share.

Yes – I am annoyed by Apple for its behaviour. Although I imagine Google must be more annoyed! See Google Patent Woes for more details.

There has also been considerable interest in some of Apple’s patent applications that become public this week. For example see Apple Patents Hint At Multi-Part Gestures, Touchable OS X and Patent application: Apple wants to put projectors in its iPhones. The first of these is very interesting, and it makes me wonder if there is more to gestures on touch devices than we are currently considering. I do not think that I would be interested in the second idea, due to the extra hardware requirements it would impose on the device. Anyway, we will know if these applications are successful in about 5 years time.

Finally, Google had some success this week with one of its patents – US7996328. It is probably best described in Google lands patent for, um, estimating shipment time. That should help dissuade Amazon from taking patent infringement cases against Google anyway! Amazon is also in the patent news this week for its mobile device airbag idea – Amazon’s Bezos Dreams Up Protective Airbag for Smartphones.

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Feb 17 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Category: Android,Hardware,iPadTeknovis @ 10:19 pm

It certainly has been an interesting week from a tablet point-of-view. Firstly, I borrowed an iPad, and I have been giving it a good testing. The user interface is very nice, and the browsing experience has been excellent. I only encountered one website where the Javascript driven menus would not work for some reason. My only complaint with the device is that it starts to feel rather heavy when resting on your stomach :o

I also got to play with a Motorola Xoom (see Motorola Xoom for more details). During my brief encounter the device seemed to be as desirable as I had imagined ;)

The other big development (from the 10″ tablet point-of-view) was that Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab 10.1. For more details see the images or the features.

Galaxy Tab 10.1

Galaxy Tab 10.1

I spent some time playing with it also, and I cannot say that I noticed any significant difference between this and the Motorola Xoom. Perhaps this is not surprising given that they are both based on the same chipset, and they both have the same operating system.

I did read some complaints about the plastic build, but I did not find this problematic. Indeed, I liked the circular recessed area on the back because it made holding the device from any angle very comfortable.

Perhaps the only disappointment this week was that HTC did not launch a 10″ tablet :|

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Sep 02 2009

HTC Hero

Category: AndroidTeknovis @ 5:25 pm

I read about the latest PDA from HTC today – my favourite PDA manufacturer :o Its latest offering is the HTC Hero. Probably the best review that I read was HTC Hero review.

HTC Hero

HTC Hero

This PDA appears to be very nice, although its “chin” (the bent piece at the bottom) seems strange!

I have not actually handled an Android based PDA yet, so I am not sure that I would be happy to move away from Windows Mobile!

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Feb 03 2009

MP3 ID3 Cover Art on Windows Mobile

Category: Windows MobileTeknovis @ 11:10 pm

Like many people, I have a very large collection of MP3s on my computer. I diligently ripped most of them from the original CDs, and I ensured that the ID3 tags were set correctly. My ripping software automatically gets this information from a database on the Internet, and I am really only interested in the artist name, album name, song title, track number, genre, and cover art.

I share my MP3s with my family, so the MP3s get played on several different computers using different MP3 players, and they also get played on several different types of mobile devices. Everything works really sweetly because all of these MP3 players can read the ID3 tags.

When I bought my HTC P3600 PDA, which runs Windows Mobile 5.0, I also bought a large miniSD card to hold a selection of my MP3s. I was really annoyed the first time that I played an MP3 on it, because the default MP3 player does not use the cover art contained in the ID3 tags! This is another sad instance of Microsoft ignoring a well established standard!

After doing some searching on the Internet I found a simple hack that works if all of the MP3s that share a cover art are in the same directory.

  1. Extract the cover art image from the MP3. This is easy to do using the MP3 player on my computer.
  2. Save the image as Folder.jpg in the directory containing the MP3s that share this cover art. The image will usually be approximately 300px by 300px.

Unfortunately, this does require some effort every time that I want to add new MP3s to my PDA :(

I have since discovered that the MP3 player in Windows Mobile 6.0 does not use the cover art in the ID3 tags, but the same workaround described here enables it to display the cover art!

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Nov 17 2008

HTC Max

Category: Mobile ComputingTeknovis @ 11:49 pm

HTC has unveiled its latest PDA – the HTC Max. Most of the features are similar to its latest PDAs, but the HTC Max has one significant additional feature – it supports WiMax!

I have heard lots about the data capabilities of WiMax, but I have not heard of any details of any live networks. I did hear that the telcos are quite concerned about WiMax, and the “over-the-top” possibilities it offers to users.

The full details of the HTC Max are described in HTC unwraps ‘world’s first’ WiMax, Wi-Fi phone in Russia.

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Nov 14 2008

Notebook to HTC P3600

Category: Windows MobileTeknovis @ 11:19 am

I have always been a very organised person for most aspects of my life, regardless of whether these aspects are real-world or digital. Unfortunately, I am also quite a forgetful person :( So notebooks and diaries were always a big part of my life! These ingenious tools enabled me to know where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there, and what I was supposed to be doing there!

So it made perfect sense for me to buy a PDA when they first became available. That was so long ago that I cannot even remember what make and model it was! I am probably one of the few people who had a PDA before I had a mobile phone! Since then I have had several, but I usually use each one for a few years. I normally wait until there is a significant technological advantage to me in having a new one. So the technological advantages that have caused me to upgrade to date are:

  • The introduction of a colour screen (even if it was only 256 colours!)
  • The ability to use the PDA as a mobile phone (and carry one less device)
  • The ability to use WiFi (I cannot live without it now!)

Finally, I suspect the next technological advantage that will cause me to upgrade will be a touch-screen, mainly because it will only require one of my hands. The fact that they look so slick is an added bonus :)

So what do I currently use? A black HTC P3600 (otherwise known as the Trinity) running Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. HTC actually make a lot of the branded PDAs for other well known manufacturers. This is what it looks like:

HTC P3600

HTC P3600

I am not going to write a full review here, because there are already plenty of reviews online. Also, I do not think that it is still available to buy! Instead, what I will do is write about the features that I use most often, the useful applications that I have installed, and the bugs I have found in it that are not well documented anywhere else on the Internet!

Perhaps the single questions that I am asked most frequently about it is “Should I get one?“. My answer to this is always “Yes, if you are the sort of person that currently makes lists on paper and keeps a diary“.

In general, mobile phones and PDAs are devices that I have a strong personal interest in, and I have worked with them in the past in a professional capacity. So I expect to write about them a lot on this blog!

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