David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

19
Dec
unnamed

Hot on the heels of last week's announcement that it would be acquiring the music streaming company AudioGalaxy, Dropbox today was confirmed to have snapped up yet another cloud startup: photo locker service Snapjoy.

snap

As you may have noticed, Dropbox is really into the idea of you storing all your photos with them. That's why they offer you some free megabytes if you turn on the Instant Upload option on the smartphone app - clever, clever.

19
Dec
motorola-logo-big

Telecom equipment manufacturer Arris Group has just announced that it will acquire the Home division of Motorola from Google, for a total of $2.35 billion in cash and stock. The sale of the division had been predicted from basically the day Google announced its purchase of Moto, and in recent weeks was all but confirmed.

As part of the deal, Google will gain a 15.7% share of Arris Group. The Motorola Home division encompasses products like set top boxes, broadband modems, landline phones, and (apparently) baby monitors.

19
Dec
pinch-me

It seems Apple isn't making many friends over at the patent examiner's office lately - yet another high-profile patent used by the company in litigation has been deemed wholly invalid on a preliminary basis.

The patent in question is often called the "pinch-to-zoom" patent, because that's basically what it patents - a pinch gesture to zoom in on content on a display. This patent had been used successfully by Apple during the first Samsung lawsuit, with numerous (all but two) Samsung devices found to infringe it.

19
Dec
IMG_5197

The MA350

The MA350 is an earbud produced by RHA, subsidiary of the UK firm Reid Heath Ltd., based in Glasgow. RHA currently manufacture only two models earbud, both of which use the same audio guts - one of them just has inline controls. The MA350's are the model without them. They retail for $40 (buy here). A small carrying pouch and three sets of eartips are included.

IMG_5211

The Sound

For $40, the RHA MA350's produce sound that is - I would argue - far more comparable to headphones of the $80-100 range.

19
Dec
unnamed
Last Updated: December 22nd, 2012

The Yelp app for Android has been updated to version 3.7, and brings some much-needed action bar love to everyone's favorite restaurant and other place-finding service... thing. Except they sort of botched it a little bit - with a big, fat ugly gray bar at the bottom of the map and result list UI that decreases the amount of visible content. Lovely.

Screenshot_2012-12-19-12-00-40 Screenshot_2012-12-19-12-00-47 Screenshot_2012-12-19-12-00-54

On the upside, now you have a 3-dot menu button, and the standard action bar back button, too.

19
Dec
htc-one-x

The rollout of Android 4.1 to the One XL has begun in various Asian countries this morning, with confirmations specifically for the CID (carrier ID) associated with Singapore and Taiwan. The full firmware for the update is also available in RUU form over on XDA (direct link). Note that applying the update will only work if you have the correct CID - this won't work on any old One XL.

19
Dec
exynos-4-quad-processor-samsung-galaxy-s3-0

Say what you will about Samsung, but their catapulting into the number-one position among Android smartphone vendors hasn't made them feel "above" responding to various product foibles. Speaking to Android Central, a Samsung spokesperson confirmed that the company is aware of a fairly-serious kernel exploit affecting a number of its high-profile devices using the Exynos 4 chipset. This includes handsets like the Galaxy S III and Note II (in most forms), and tablets such as the Note 10.1 or Tab 7.7.

18
Dec
gplay_logo_g

Earlier today, while distracted by a YouTube video doing some article research, I started watching Stephen Colbert's interview at Google with Eric Schmidt. It's pretty great, and you should definitely watch the whole hour - seeing Colbert out of character (and talking about that character) on video for so long is a rarity. He's a really smart guy, and hilarious, to boot.

But during that interview, early on, I caught something that really resonated with me.

18
Dec
unnamed (1)

The Google Play Books update received an update this afternoon to version 2.7.25, expanding support for several features, as well implementing new functionality for others. Here's the changelog:

What's in this version:

You can now listen to most flowing text books using the "Read aloud" feature.
You can now pinch-zoom or double-tap-zoom in all books.
All text editing features are available for notes.
Personalized recommendations are shown at the end of your library and at the end of the books.

18
Dec
gavel

Samsung has officially sought to end all of its claims requesting bans of Apple products in Europe, according to a company official. The decision comes on continued probing by the European Union's anti-trust body, on allegations that Samsung is abusing its standards-essential patents by seeking product bans for their infringement. Note that this does not mean Samsung has dropped its lawsuits - merely the injunction demands involved in them.

Standards-essential patents have played a pretty important role in the mobile patent wars to date, though that role has been one which is increasingly under question.

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