A German court has weighed in on Apple’s seemingly interminable patent battle against Samsung, and it isn’t looking good for Galaxy Tab users. In a ruling issued yesterday, a Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court upheld last month’s preliminary injunction, banning the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 within Germany.
Citing the slate’s “minimalist, modern form,” presiding judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffmann determined that Samsung’s tablet bears a “clear impression of similarity” with the iPad 2, thereby meriting a nationwide ban. “The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer,” Brueckner-Hoffmann explained, “other designs are possible.”
Earlier this week, as you may recall, Apple won a separate injunction against the Galaxy Tab 7.7 in Düsseldorf, though Samsung can still appeal that decision in a lower court. The court stopped short, however, of calling for an EU-wide injunction against the 10.1-inch slate, arguing that “it could only be competent to order a Europe-wide ban for a firm headquartered outside the European Union if this firm has a German subsidiary.”
Samsung, meanwhile, plans to appeal the ruling in a higher court, with a company spokesman issuing a now all-too familiar statement: “We are disappointed with this ruling and believe it severely limits consumer choice in Germany.”
Google is rolling out is Android 2.3.6 update for its Nexus S, but you may want to think twice about applying it. According to user reports, the tethering capability has been killed. The benefits of the update include upgrades for Android’s voice search feature as well as security updates. Google did not provide a detailed list of changes and we are still waiting for an update on the Google Mobile blog.
There are a considerable number of users who report that the update may break Wi-Fi and USB tethering, while also not fixing the voice bug. The removal of the feature has not been confirmed by Google, but it appears that users who depend on tethering may want to hold off updating their phones until it is clear whether it is just a bug or if the feature has been removed. It is not a secret that both T-Mobile and AT&T are not crazy about this feature and would rather sell customers a separate tethering package.
Everyone’s highly anticipating Google’s launching of their new Ice Cream Sandwich Android OS, and also Nexus Prime, the smartphone that’s said to come with the new updated OS. But we’ve got a new piece of rumor about Google’s Android OS, which is the next thing after Ice Cream Sandwich.
ThisIsMyNext has been tipped that the next update to Android after Ice Cream Sandwich will be known as “Jelly Bean”, continuing Google’s longstanding tradition of naming Android builds after sweet treats in alphabetical order. What we don’t yet know is the version number — in fact, Google has yet to say what Ice Cream Sandwich’s version number will be, much less Jelly Bean’s.
The source also mentioned that the “game-changing stuff” that had originally been scheduled for Ice Cream Sandwich is now being pushed to Jelly Bean, though we don’t know exactly what those big features are. Since its launch at Google I/O in May, the implication has been that Ice Cream Sandwich will help unify Android’s phone and tablet efforts — represented right now by Gingerbread and Honeycomb, respectively — into a single trunk, but beyond that, very little has been said about what ICS will bring to the table.
Another well-regarded source also mentioned that Jelly Bean is in the running for the name, but that the choice hasn’t yet been finalized by Google; for what it’s worth, the pickings are fairly slim for desserts with “J” names, so Jelly Bean seems like a solid choice. The source goes on to say that there are some fairly major architectural, functional, and design changes in Ice Cream Sandwich, so by all appearances, this is still going to be a big-time release. Of course, that doesn’t mean Jelly Bean (or whatever Google ultimately calls it) won’t have a big outing in its own right, but the indication is that ICS won’t just be a warmed-over Gingerbread or Honeycomb.
Nvidia president and chief executive officer Jen-Hsun Huang has confirmed to Forbes that Google tablets running its third-generation, quad-core Tegra 3 SoC (“Kal-El”) will indeed be available this year, perhaps before Christmas. This will reportedly put Nvidia ahead of rival Qualcomm who isn’t expected to ship a similar chip until the end of the year.
The confirmation took place after speaking to a roundtable of reporters on Tuesday. Huang wasn’t quite as definitive about Kal-El’s penetration into the smarphone market, indicating that tablets may be the only Tegra 3-based devices launching this year despite previous predictions of a 2011 release. Qualcomm and Texas Instruments expect products with their quad-core chips to be available on the market early next year.
The new Tegra 3-powered tablets were originally slated for a summer release, but according to Huang, manufacturers are taking their time “getting the industrial design as wonderful as possible, and some of it is related to tuning and performance.” The lackluster sales of non-Apple tablets is also partially to blame for the delay, as manufacturers are struggling to match the iPad’s battery life and overall price while using dual-core SoCs. Incorporating a more-expensive quad-core chip will only make things worse.
Reports circulating on Thursday revealed that Microsoft plans to showcase a Samsung tablet sporting Windows 8 next week during the BUILD developers’ conference. While the nature of the device’s processor is unknown, it’s speculated that the device will be powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 “Kal-El” processor. Huang already admitted that a number of Windows 8 tablets are slated to use the third-generation SoC, and that Microsoft’s new OS will be able to run applications developed for the Windows Phone 7 platform. This cross-platform feature may actually be demonstrated next week.
Huang said on Tuesday that Nvidia already claims 70-percent of the Android tablet market which makes up 30-percent of the overall tablet sector. The company’s Android smartphone share is lower, hovering around 50-percent. But that latter number should change in the years to come, as Nvidia is expected to ship 1 billion mobile processors a year by 2015.
“We’ll be very pleased if we can be a sizable player in the mainstream phone market,” Huang said.
We know that Ice Cream Sandwich is coming out in October or November, so surely the first Ice Cream Sandwich phones will follow soon after. Looking like it will be among the first out the gate is Samsung’s GT-I9250, which was today all but confirmed to be the next in Google’s flagship line of Nexus smartphones.
Pocket-Now reports that the phone’s user agent profile has just cropped up on wap.samsung.com with the Nexus Prime moniker in the URL and model number GT-I9250 in the text. The page doesn’t betray much about the Nexus Prime, aside from the fact that the display will be 480×800 WVGA.
However, previous rumors have pointed to a dual-core CPU (clocked to either 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz), 1GB of RAM, 1080p HD video capture and playback, 1-megapixel front-facing camera, and a rear-facing camera with an “advanced 5-megapixel sensor delivering class-leading image quality in addition to superior low-light performance.”
With Ice Cream Sandwich set to arrive in the next couple of months, we’re thinking it might be a safe bet to put the Nexus Prime on our wishlist for Christmas this year. Anyone care to join us?
Oh Acer, when will you ever learn? With the whole Ferrari branding thing in the Liquid E Android smartphone and some of their laptops, you’d think that the new Acer Liquid Mini would do justice to the badge on its back which it shares with some of the fastest, sexiest cars on this planet. Unfortunately, the red styling, badge, engine ringtone and racing themed wallpaper and apps are the only things that are remotely close to the Italian racing giants. The liquid mini Ferrari Edition is essentially the same, sloth like handset we’ve seen before. 512 RAM, 3.2MP camera and get this, 600MHz processor. That’s like saying a kancil painted red with a Ferrari logo stuck on is a Ferrari. No word on availability or price yet, but safe to say, if the specs are anything to go by, we’ll be waiting a long time.
Google’s South Korea offices have been raided once again — this time, over alleged antitrust violations. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) stormed Google’s Seoul offices on Tuesday, amid claims that the company unfairly stifles competition by making its search engine the default option on Android handsets.
South Korea’s largest mobile search operators, NHN and Daum Communications, filed a complaint with the KFTC in April, claiming that Android is “systematically designed” to discourage users from switching to different portals, and that Google excludes competitors by delaying OS certification for phone manufacturers that attempt to pre-load devices with other search engines. Similar charges, as you may recall, fueled an FTC investigation in the US, where anti-competitive allegations have been flying around for a few months, now.
Google neither confirmed nor denied that yesterday’s raid took place, but a spokesperson said the company would “work with the KFTC to address any questions they may have about our business,” adding that its OS does “not require carriers or manufacturers to include Google Search or Google applications on Android-powered devices.”
Got your sights set on the next version of Android, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich? Everyone knew it was coming near the end of the year, but we now at least have a slightly more specific time frame straight from the horse’s mouth. Google’s own Eric Schmidt revealed in an interview with Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff that ICS — the highly-anticipated update to Android that will merge elements of Honeycomb and Gingerbread into one universal OS — can be expected to arrive in October or November. This matches up with rumors saying the Nexus Prime will be released in the tenth month, but it’s the first time we’ve heard anything official from El Goog since I/O four months ago.
Wednesday Verizon Wireless said that the new DROID BIONIC smartphone by Motorola will arrive on Thursday, September 8 (tomorrow) for a meaty price of $299.99 USD with a two-year contract.
Also available at launch will be a $299.97 “Lapdock” for turning the phone into a netbook (11.6-inch screen, keyboard, integrated trackpad), a $99.99 HD Station accessory with USB ports allowing users to connect peripherals like a keyboard, a mouse and a printer, and the $29.99 Adapter for Webtop Application which allows BIONIC users to create, edit or share pictures, videos and PowerPoint presentations when connected to an HDTV or monitor. And for a limited time, customers who purchase a Lapdock with the DROID BIONIC will receive a $100 mail-in rebate when subscribing to a $50, 5 GB data plan or higher.
On the hardware level, the DROID BIONIC sports a 4.3-inch qHD screen using scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass with dual-layer anti-reflective coating, a dual-core 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, an 8MP autofocus camera with flash and 1080p HD video capture, a front-facing camera for video chat over 4G LTE, 3G or Wi-Fi, and 32 GB of storage (16 GB on board and 16 GB microSD card pre-installed).