Yesterday, Microsoft announced its latest Android licensing deal with Taiwanese manufacturer Compal, marking the company's tenth such agreement to date. While such a small manufacturer in terms of market share makes little overall difference in Microsoft's profits derived from Android, its deals with HTC and Samsung, combined with various smaller manufacturers like Compal, means it now receives royalties from over half of all Android smartphones sold in the US (the figure may be even larger on a global scale). Read More
It certainly seems like it. Yesterday, Microsoft announced via blog that it had concluded negotiations with Samsung and reached a licensing deal for the same seven patents it previously licensed to HTC for Android (along with other, smaller Android manufacturers). There were rumblings about just what royalty rate Samsung is paying, but the guess is anywhere from $5 to $15 per handset (it's likely on a percentage-of-MSRP basis - so think about 1-3% per $500 MSRP phone). Read More
Android's latest indirect legal tussle to come to a head, a patent suit between HTC and Apple, was ruled on last week by the US ITC (Court of International Trade) - finding the Taiwanese manufacture liable for two counts of patent infringement. This news has spread like wildfire through every corner of the tech blog world. But is there really anything that's changed right now (or even in the near future) because of the outcome of this suit? Read More
You've all probably heard bits and pieces of news about a company called Lodsys in the last couple of weeks, (they've been "patent trolling" iOS app developers) even if you don't really keep up on all things fruit-related. If you're not familiar with the story, let me give you a quick rundown.
Lodsys is what we affectionately refer to as a "patent troll" - a company that buys up promising and often vague or [overly] broad patents in a hope of using them to threaten to sue the pants off people that they know might be infringing on them. Read More
Last month, Microsoft took bookseller Barnes & Noble, the company responsible for the Nook and Nook Color, to court over some patents infringed because B&N used the Android operating system in the Nook and Nook Color. This is definitely nothing new in the world of mobile devices. It happens all the time, especially with companies like Apple and Microsoft trying to take complete dominance of every arena they enter. That's not the big story here. Read More
Update: Linux devs are not happy about this.
Update #2: And just like that, only a few hours after this article, HTC released the Thunderbolt kernel source.
If you've been following the "drama" around Android kernel source release timelines and device manufacturers (such as HTC), you should be already aware of 2 forces pushing in opposite directions:
- On one side, we have the Android community, which maintains that according to GPLv2, Android kernel sources need to be published together with a given device release.
An interesting little tidbit came across to us in an otherwise ordinary posting on Amazon's app developers' blog. While developers will have the option to use DRM or not in their apps, those that do use the digital licensing service may present problems for those users who are temporarily without an internet connection.
Comparing it to the way Amazon currently handles the storing of Kindle books, the curious part of the post reads:
"Any app that has Amazon DRM applied to it will require users to have installed and signed-in to the Amazon Appstore client to access the app.
Have you ever seen one of those annoying comments on the Android Market promising the riches and all the Android apps in the world for a low-low monthly price of $10? Sites like that pirate paid games and apps off the Market and then distribute them illegally, pocketing all the revenue. That's modern day warez at its finest.
Whether it was because of Android's openness or Google's notoriously poor focus on the Market, no DRM or licensing protection was available in the SDK for developers to utilize; so unless you rolled your own licensing scheme from within the app (which had a side effect of circumventing Google's payment system and therefore netted developers a whole lot more than 70% rev share), your app was easily "piratable". Read More