28
Jan
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Mobile carriers like to play fast and loose with the word "unlimited" when it comes to data plans. They're often technically unlimited, but only fast enough to be useful until you hit a certain barrier. MVNOs operated by TracFone including Net10 and Straight Talk were a little more shady than most, and that led to today's FTC announcement of a $40 million fine against the company.

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21
Jan
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Users of the enhanced WhatsApp client, known fittingly as WhatsApp+ were quite rightly annoyed yesterday when the Facebook-owned company started temp-banning them from the service for using the third-party app. At the time it was unclear if WhatsApp+ would be able to find a way around the block or if it was curtains. Now we know—it's over.

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27
Nov
Print

Consider devices like the HTC One, or any of Sony's recent Xperia flagships, or the Moto X with its wood and leather options. These are gadgets with decades of engineering inside of them, but which have nonetheless been painstakingly designed to look gorgeous on the outside. And nothing spoils that quite like a big honkin' FCC-required ID and safety label hiding on the metal finish. Manufacturers can try to make it blend into the phone's default color, or hide it behind a battery cover or on a bezel.

22
Sep
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In a triumphant post to its blog today, Rackspace announced that Rotatable Technologies is now "an ex-patent troll." This new designation for Rotatable Technologies comes after the US Patent and Trademark Office declared its patent (6,326,978) unpatentable. Last year, Rotatable Technologies decided to go after Rackspace over the patent, demanding $75,000. Rackspace chose to fight not just the case but the patent itself.

What is patent 6,326,978? It was a patent covering "a display method for selectively rotating windows on a computer display including a window for a computer display having a frame and a display portion.

10
Sep
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There was an interesting little tidbit buried in the legal filings related to NVIDIA's patent suit against Qualcomm, which was just announced last week. The issue surrounds various GPU technologies that NVIDIA says Qualcomm is using without a license. More interesting than all that legal mumbo-jumbo is what NVIDIA had to say about an upcoming Tegra K1 device—the HTC Nexus 9. Yes, they actually said it.

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06
Aug
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It's not a complete truce, but Samsung and Apple are backing down slightly from their ongoing patent war. The companies have issued a joint statement announcing the agreement to end all patent litigation between the two outside the US. Cases in the US will continue, though.

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Apple first sued Samsung in 2011 for copying the look and feel of iOS in its TouchWiz Android skin. Samsung fired back, and the battle has raged on across the globe ever since.

16
Jul
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The devices you buy from US mobile carriers are almost always locked to a single network, and unlocking them has been a legal gray area for the last few years. Now Congress is finally taking action to remedy that. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act has been passed by the Senate, matching a House bill passed in February. As you can imagine, consumer rights groups are pretty jazzed.

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15
May
minnesota

California lawmakers have been working on a bill for some time that would require a so-called "smartphone kill switch" in every phone, but Minnesota has beaten California to the punch and become the first state to enact such a law. It mirrors the California law very closely, but goes a step further by banning some cash sales of used phones.

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The main provision of the bill covers how the proposed kill switch requirement would work.

20
Mar
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In an ideal world, a phone's SIM card would work with whichever carrier you choose. No having to sell a Verizon HTC One to switch to an identical one on Sprint. A device with a carrier-free SIM card could go wherever its owner wanted it to. The only problem is, such a product is currently illegal across most of the planet. Only in the Netherlands is the story starting to change.

28
Feb
Money

Google (and Apple) representatives are having a sit-down with members of European Commission member states and the Consumer Protection Cooperation today to talk about apps. Specifically, the commission is asking some hard questions about in-app purchases following complaints from consumer protection groups in Denmark, Britain, and several other EU nations.

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The issue revolves around the use of the term 'free' in the descriptions of games that push in-app purchases. The commission fears these listings could be misleading, especially to children.

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