A new version of Allo hit this morning, but that's not nearly as important as the features that were remotely activated by Google in the last day or two. Two features we've been expecting have gone live: Web Stickers and @mentions in group chats. But just as those teardown topics make the transition into live features, the latest update does bring some new things to look out for in the future, including group management and permanent bans, plus a new way to record selfies. Read More
Honest companies are expected to retain their users by offering the best service they can provide and not by actively locking them in and making it hard to switch to a competitor. Google, for example, lets users easily download all their contacts, bookmarks, photos, emails, and other personal data though Google Takeout. From there, anyone is free to close their account and move to a competing service, no questions asked. Read More
In case you've been living under a rock for these past few weeks, several units of the Galaxy Note7 have exploded. Not only was this enough to prompt Samsung to initiate a global recall of the Note7, but it also prompted several Australian airlines (Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia) to ban the latest S Pen-equipped phablets. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration, more commonly known as the FAA, has issued an official statement. Read More
Oh Brazil, you magnificent country of beautiful landscapes, sexy women, excellent football players, and silly judges and judicial system. For the third time since 2015, a Brazilian state judge has ordered a complete shut down on WhatsApp by forcing operators to block the service nationwide for 72 hours, and thus killing the main means of communication of 91% of the country's mobile users.
The main question is why. Due to legal secrecy in the country, the details aren't released, but it appears that this isn't related to the first two bans in February of 2015 (issued by judge Luiz de Moura Correia from the state of Piauí) and December of 2015 (issued by a São Paulo judge). Read More
Most of the time, major corporations like to cushion their words so that, in the event of a PR disaster, it's easier to walk back its statements. Today, an AT&T exec in charge of public policy decided to throw that caution to the wind and announce in no uncertain terms 'the Librarian’s ruling will not negatively impact any of AT&T’s customers.' Well. That sure is blunt.
We're not apt to take any AT&T rep at their word, and there are certainly some things to raise eyebrows over. For starters, at one point in the post, the author says the following:
As we make clear on our website, if we have the unlock code or can reasonably get it from the manufacturer, AT&T currently will unlock a device for any customer whose account has been active for at least sixty days; whose account is in good standing and has no unpaid balance; and who has fulfilled his or her service agreement commitment.
Justice may be sweet, but when it comes to patents, it's not usually swift. In the case of Apple's multiple, far-reaching patent disputes with Samsung, it took them a few weeks to get an injunction on the Galaxy Nexus based on the controversial results of the billion-dollar patent infringement suit. After Samsung took its case to the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals, the higher judiciary power has sided with the Korean manufacturer. The judge in the case accepted their claims that the relatively low sales numbers of the Galaxy Nexus didn't pose a threat to Apple's business, and that sales of the device couldn't be directly connected to the offending patent feature (universal search). Read More
According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung isn't wasting time on keeping the eight smartphones Apple is demanding injunctions against on store shelves. And no, I'm not talking about an appeal.
Samsung is currently working with the carriers selling at least five of those phones in order to strip them of the features described in the software patents they were deemed to infringe as part of Friday's verdict in Apple v. Samsung. This includes things like scroll bounceback, tap-to-zoom, and multitouch scrolling.
The problem? It may not help at all. Apple is just as (if not more so) entitled to injunctive relief under the design patents Samsung was deemed to infringe, so these efforts may be for naught. Read More
The Galaxy Tab 7.7 has been banned in Germany for a while. Now, though, the 7.7" tablet is officially banned throughout the whole of the EU. Previously Apple was able to enforce a ban on the smaller of the Tabs because it has proven in German courts that it owns the design IP for black rectangles in reference to the Galaxy Tab 10.1. In Germany, Apple can enforce this injunction against the Tab 7.7 due to a principle known as "kerngleicher Verstoß", or "violation sharing the same core". Now, thanks to an appeals court, the decision can be applied to the whole of the EU. Read More
Just a few days after the Galaxy Nexus was removed from the Play Store following an injunction in Apple's suit against Samsung. However, as of today, the flagship Android phone is available from the Play Store again. While customers can purchase the device, the site says it won't ship for 2-3 weeks. This is in contrast to the immediate availability the device had prior to the injunction.
Update: And now the site says that the Galaxy Nexus will ship in 1-2 weeks. We're unsure what caused the change, but the net effect is still largely the same: you can't get it immediately, but soon. Read More