Apple is causing more mischief over in Germany today, having received an injunction from a Munich Regional Court against phone manufacturer Motorola for utilizing slide-to-unlock style lockscreen methods patented by Apple. Motorola intends to appeal the ruling. The basic point to take away is this: the court ruled that Apple's patent on the concept of moving a tracked image from left to right in order to unlock a phone is valid, and it seems likely that every slide-to-unlock implementation on Android would be infringing in their eyes.
The ridiculous and wasteful patent war continues, with a German court confirming that Apple has filed two new suits against Samsung. The first is against 10 phones including the SGSII, and the second against 5 tablets. Details are light at the moment, but evidently Apple is using these two (unsurprisingly very vague) patents in the smartphone suit:
Yes, seriously - their patents are basically for a shape. Readers familiar with the current lawsuit situation in the tech world know the situation is violently out of control, and close followers of AP have heard my thoughts on just how hypocritical and ridiculous Apple is.
If you haven't heard, Germany has pretty much become the hotspot for smartphone and tablet patent litigation. Most recently, HTC has been hitting headlines in its ongoing battle against IPCom, an intellectual property firm. IPCom claims that HTC's smartphones violate a number of its patents in the realm of 3G GSM technology. HTC says that the last time it made a phone which might have violated those patents was in 2009, and that it has since developed a workaround which does not infringe on IPCom's patents.
A court in Mannheim, Germany today held a preliminary hearing in a patent dispute between Motorola Mobility and Apple Sales International (a European Apple distribution subsidiary), and it seems like Apple's on the ropes.
While the hearing didn't discuss the particular merits of Motorola's patent infringement claim against Apple, the presiding judge issued substantial blows to Apple's defense by indicating that he believed the patent-in-suit was ripe for trial. The judge also seemed to agree with Motorola's reading of that patent (also known as "construction claims") in important ways that would allow it a broader scope of applicability at trial.
Now, this all based on one German online retailer (where imports of the Tab 10.1 were banned), but it's very interesting nonetheless. It appears that a new version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been launched in Germany, called the Tab 10.1N. The difference? So far, all we see is a re-designed bezel and the fact that it's now shipping with Android 3.2. Take a look at this comparison shot from Mobiflip:
The Tab 10.1N is above, and the old Tab 10.1 is below.
Google has made good on its promise to expand carrier billing for the Android Market internationally today, introducing the feature to customers on various carriers in three countries. This is great news for consumers, and even better news for developers.
South Korean users on SK Telecom and KT Corporation, UK users on Vodafone UK, and German users on Vodafone DE will all be receiving access to direct carrier billing in the coming weeks.
Despite the fact that German courts recently decided not to lift the ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, OSnews is reporting today that German retailers will technically still be allowed not only to sell remaining stock of the Tab, but to reorder from Samsung as well.
The catch here is that German retailers cannot restock by ordering from Samsung's German branch, but must instead order from other branches, Sammy's Korean branch, for example, can provide more stock to retailers in Germany.
Early last month, a German court halted the sale and distribution of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 due to a suit filled against Samsung by Apple. Naturally, Sammy appealed the injunction, but the court has upheld the ban on Tab 10.1 sales, citing that "Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible."
This comes as yet another blow against Samsung, as it has already had to halt sales of the Tab 10.1 in a few other countries, as well as pull its Galaxy Tab 7.7 showcase from the IFA conference last week.
This morning, as part of the ongoing Samsung v Apple patent litigation, the German court responsible for imposing a ban on Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales in the EU has backpedaled, temporarily lifting the injunction enjoining Samsung from distributing its flagship tablet in the European Union.
Why? It appears the German court decided that it may lack the authority to enjoin Samsung's Korean parent corporation under the EU's regulations regarding international jurisdiction.
Yesterday at Mobile World Congress, HTC lifted the veil on their first entry into the tablet market: The HTC Flyer. It's a 7 inch tablet, reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Tab released last fall. The Flyer runs Android 2.4 on a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor and comes with HSPA+ (4G/3G+) capabilities for high-speed data usage.
HTC reported that we should expect it to be available in Q2 2011 but had nothing to say about pricing.