2011年7月31日 星期日

A Google Alert

A Patent Fever Over Smartphones
New York Times
With Apple, Google and Microsoft jostling for control of the mobile market, each needs or desires more and better patents for supremacy. Without them, their devices are vulnerable to shakedowns for royalties or, worse, demands to stop using the ...
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Google+ could be another arrow in job search quiver
In comes Google with its own social networking site Google+ to make your life even more complicated. But it may be worth considering, especially if you're in technology, marketing, social media or anything to do with the Internet. ...
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Google Chrome becomes UK's second most popular web browser
The Guardian
Google Chrome has overtaken Firefox to become the UK's second most popular web browser. Photograph: Walter Bieri/AP Google's Chrome is Britain's second most popular browser, a sign of the internet giant's increasing grip on the UK search market. ...
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Logitech Drops Google TV Revue to $99, Clarifies Returns Comments
PC Magazine
The company also issued a clarification to deny that more customers are returning Google TV Revue boxes than buying them. Starting Sunday, the Logitech Revue with Google TV is available for $99, down from $249. The company also said it will roll out an ...
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Google to deliver faster site speeds for free
The Tech Herald
by Steven Mostyn - Aug 1 2011, 03:03 In yet more Google-related news, everyone's favourite online search specialist has said it intends to dramatically increase the load times of Web sites with appropriately focused DNS entry points—for free. ...
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The Tech Herald
Google Search, Ads Jazzed Up for Tablets
Google bolsters both its search user interface and search ads for Google.com on the iPad and Android 3.1 "Honeycomb" tablets. Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) search experience on tablets has been pretty good to date. Google search on the immensely successful ...
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Microsoft to Google: Float like a butterfly, sting like a ... Bing?
Microsoft's efforts to knock down Google from its perch as king of search is playing out as an epic -- and expensive -- endeavor. Under the headline, "Can Microsoft make you 'Bing?'" The New York Times goes inside Microsoft's local offices and inside ...
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'Gmail Man', 'Email Intervention' Revives Spoof Videos of the Past
Christian Post
By Simon Saavedra | Christian Post Correspondent An e-mail battle seems to be raging between tech giants Google and Microsoft with the airing of two videos earlier this week that hinted us about other battle grounds where tech companies are currently ...
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Data Centers' Power Use Less Than Was Expected
New York Times
The study suggests that Google's centers are more efficient than most. The report, by Jonathan G. Koomey, a consulting professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at Stanford University, found that the actual number of computer ...
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Google Moves Deeper Into Hotel Meta-Search
Travel Trends
Google has just launched a second hotel search product, Google Hotel Finder, which supplements Google Maps hotel search. There are shared elements, primarily price checking via a drop down box linking to paid advertisers like Expedia, Booking.com, ...
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2011年7月24日 星期日

Taiwan hardware: Android alert


2011-07 Web only 作者:經濟學人




7月15日,美國國際貿易委員會作出初步裁決,判定HTC侵害了二項蘋果的專利;本月稍早,蘋果提出另一項訴訟,加拿大企業MOSAID也表示會控告HTC和Sony Ericsson侵害其專利權。






Taiwan hardware: Android alert

Taiwan's HTC has become one of the major players in the smartphone market, but patent troubles could curtail its growth.

Until a few years ago HTC was pretty small and relatively obscure. But the Taiwanese company's recent growth has been remarkable. In the second quarter it sold 11m smartphones, more than doubling its revenues compared with a year earlier. HTC's main rivals, Nokia, Samsung and Apple, still sell around twice as many smartphones. But HTC's rapid growth, especially in Apple's American home turf, has made it a competitor worth worrying about.

One reason for HTC's surging sales is the relentless pace of its innovation: in the past quarter, in which Apple had no new iPhone to launch, HTC introduced ten new models. Another is Google Android operating system, on which most of HTC smartphones are now based. Android phones have proved a hit among consumers, and their combined sales overtook those of iPhones last summer.

Apple has not taken the challenge from HTC lightly. On July 15th the US International Trade Commission made a preliminary ruling upholding two claims in a far larger patent suit Apple had filed against its rival. Earlier in the month, Apple had filed additional claims and MOSAID, a Canadian company, said it would sue HTC and Sony Ericsson for allegedly infringing its patent for transmitting a mobile handset location when its user makes an emergency call.

The outcome of these cases will be of keen interest not just for HTC but for all other handset-makers using Android: promoted as a free, open-source system, it is proving increasingly expensive. This is because it relies on a whole host of basic features that are, or may be, subject to patent: how a screen is swiped with a finger, how a phone number embedded in an e-mail can be called by tapping it, and so on.

Apple, having recently settled a patent case brought against it by Nokia, is suing Samsung and Motorola as well as HTC. Last year HTC settled another lawsuit over Android, from Microsoft, agreeing to pay it significant royalties. More such suits may yet emerge (from Nokia for example), and prove costly. HTC shares, which had surged in reaction to the strong growth of its smartphone sales, have dropped by a third since early June.

HTC will appeal against the trade commission ruling. It will also fight back in other ways. Earlier this month it bought a lossmaking software firm, S3, for $300m. S3 is believed to own valuable patents, which might be used to launch a counter-suit against Apple, or at least persuade it to agree a truce. Pierre Ferragu, an analyst with BernsteinResearch, believes the takeover will provide HTC with some winning cards in its legal poker game. It also shows, says Mr Ferragu, that the next phase of mobile-phone development will be driven at least as much by the courts as by consumers.

A shaky start

HTC has been sucked into this American legal battle as a result of it following a course that most of its Asian peers have not pursued, at least not successfully. Founded in 1997 out of the embers of the Taiwanese operations of Digital Equipment, HTC initially took the conventional approach of building gadgets for others to sell. It tried to launch a laptop but the product never came to market. Then an introduction from Microsoft led to its design of an early PDA for Compaq. It subsequently built similar products for Palm and others.

In 2001, just as many of the Taiwanese manufacturers were shifting operations to China, it bucked the trend again and built a factory next to its headquarters. Most of its production capacity remains in Taiwan. In the past five years or so it has steadily risen up mobile operators?lists of the handsets they promote to their subscribers. In April HTC market capitalisation overtook that of Nokia.

The firm success has pushed Cher Wang, its chairwoman and largest shareholder, to the top of Forbes Taiwan rich list, passing Terry Gou, the boss of Hon Hai, a company (also known as Foxconn) that reflects a radically different, and more traditional, model of Taiwanese business. Hon Hai has moved most of its production to mainland China and continues to make products for other companies, a business that inevitably emphasises cost-trimming and low value-added.

HTC has distinguished itself through its speed in building new products irst, ones that ran on Microsoft operating software, now Android ones. It has also been impressively quick in adapting to changing telecoms standards ost recently 4G nd in developing its own applications software. And its manufacturing quality has been remarkably high. Unlike rivals HTC has not suffered unpleasant headlines about shoddy products or suicides at its factories.

The company has continued to produce a string of subtle but clever features: phones that ring louder when placed in a handbag; ones that stop ringing when flipped over in a meeting; ones designed to work smoothly with Facebook and other social-networking sites, and so on. It has made progress in building a brand that reflects innovation and trust, allowing it to escape from the low-cost treadmill on which some of its peers remain stuck.

But there is a risk that Android, one of the key elements in this successful strategy, is turning into a point of vulnerability. HTC most fearsome competitor, Apple, sees its patents as a weapon to undermine Android cost advantage. Others are seeking their pound of flesh too. The more time HTC has to spend fighting lawsuits, and the greater the share of its revenues it has to pay out in software royalties, the harder it will be to keep up its remarkable run of innovation and sales success. If that proves to be the case, what can HTC do? Switch to using Microsoft's operating software for most of its smartphones, maybe?

©The Economist Newspaper Limited 2011

2011年7月1日 星期五

Android activations now total 500,000 a day: Google

Android activations now total 500,000 a day: Google

Android phones are selling by the bucketload – no surprise to Android watchers.

Android figurines are displayed at Google headquarters in Beijing, China. Today Google announced it was activated a half million Android phones every day.


By Matthew Shaer / June 28, 2011

Way back in December – gazillions of years in Tech Time – Google announced that it was activating 300,000 Android phones a day, a boost from the 200,000 activations it had logged a few months before. Android, in other words, was ascendant. And guess what? Android ain't done climbing.

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In a message posted to his Twitter account today, Google's Andy Rubin said a whopping half million Android devices were now being activated every day.

Mull that figure over for a moment: 500,000 Android phones. A half-million Xoom tablets, EVO 4G handsets, or Nexus S phones. Every single day.

Of course, all those activations do not mean that everyone else can go home now. As Sam Oliver points out over at Apple Insider, "while Android has grown in market share, Apple's profit share has eclipsed the rest of the mobile industry. In fact, one recent analysis showed that Apple could buy rivals Nokia, Research in Motion, HTC and Motorola Mobility all at once with its estimated $70 billion in cash," Oliver added.

Still, the latest figure from Google does cement something that we've known for a while now: Android is still the operating system to beat. Horizons readers will remember that back in January, the the British research firm Canalys published data showing that Android had become the most popular mobile operating system in the world, surpassing even Nokia's Symbian OS, long the king of the smart phone heap.

Nokia has since struggled – although the partnership with Microsoft could help, especially if handsets like the Sea Ray and the N9 are any indication – and Apple has focused its energy mostly on the higher end of the market. Which is something else to consider: Part of the reason Google can activate so many Android phones is because Android phones come at a whole lot of price points, while Apple phones stray toward the higher end of the spectrum.

In order to catch up with Android, Apple will probably have to release a lower-priced iPhone – an idea that's already being bandied around the blogosphere. More when we know it.

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