Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Apple and Google have agreed to drop all lawsuits between the two tech giants. According to a joint statement, there is no cross-licensing agreement as part of the truce, but the companies would work in “some areas of patent reform.” The announcement effectively ends about 20 lawsuits and covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit, which started four years ago and Google later inherited when it purchased Motorola Mobility. However, the deal does not affect Apple’s patent litigation against Samsung. Continue reading Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Google Glass Available to All, IHS Breaks Down Materials Cost

Google announced Tuesday evening that its Google Glass product, although still in beta, is now available to anyone in the U.S. while supplies last. IHS released a product breakdown of Glass, and says that the cost of hardware and manufacturing is approximately $152, a small fraction of the product’s $1500 selling price. While IHS did note nonmaterial expenses such as software development, engineering and tooling, Google claims that the IHS cost estimate is “wildly off.” Continue reading Google Glass Available to All, IHS Breaks Down Materials Cost

Professor Develops Free DIY Online Image Verification Service

With the recent growth in citizen journalism via the Internet, questions have arisen regarding the authenticity of photographs, and whether there are ways to verify if an image is accurate or not. The rise of Photoshop and other digital tools has made it easy for people to edit images prior to sharing them on Facebook or Twitter. However, a computer science professor at Dartmouth College has developed a free online image verification service that quickly confirms whether an image is authentic or not. Continue reading Professor Develops Free DIY Online Image Verification Service

F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

During Facebook’s F8 developer conference this week, an Oculus VR spokesperson said the company would likely release its Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets commercially next year. While there is no official word yet on a price tag or release date for the consumer version of Oculus Rift, the headset will require an ecosystem of games and entertainment. The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 is presently on sale for $350, and is scheduled to begin shipping in July. Continue reading F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

Carriers and Smartphone Makers Commit to Anti-Theft Tech

Last week, the five largest U.S. cellular carriers and leading smartphone makers announced a voluntary commitment to add new anti-theft tech to devices being released next year. Supporting companies include Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung. The commitment means that devices sold after July 2015 will have the ability to allow users to wipe data remotely, and prevent the device from being reactivated without permission from the owner. Continue reading Carriers and Smartphone Makers Commit to Anti-Theft Tech

Google Sells Motorola Handset Biz to Lenovo for $2.9 Billion

After purchasing Motorola Mobility 22 months ago for $12.5 billion, Google has decided to sell the handset business to China’s Lenovo Group for $2.91 billion. Although this is a loss for Google, the company did retain numerous Motorola patents. Google had been struggling to compete in the smartphone hardware business. The deal also signifies Lenovo’s attempt to break into the smartphone market, and create a bigger presence in the technology market worldwide. Continue reading Google Sells Motorola Handset Biz to Lenovo for $2.9 Billion

OnCue: Verizon to Acquire Intel’s Cloud-Based TV Platform

Verizon Communications has completed a long-awaited deal to acquire Intel’s cloud-based TV platform. Terms have yet to be released, but people familiar with the matter put the price around $200 million. The acquisition is expected to help Verizon FiOS customers search for content on TVs and Verizon smartphones and tablets. It could also help Verizon establish a foundation for offering an Internet-based version of pay TV, which several companies such as Amazon, Apple and Sony are also said to be pursuing. Continue reading OnCue: Verizon to Acquire Intel’s Cloud-Based TV Platform

FCC Scheduled to Begin Wireless Airwaves Auctions This Week

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to conduct its first major auction of wireless airwaves in six years today. Telecom analysts at New Street Research estimate that national wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile — along with satellite TV operator Dish Network — will spend at least $46 billion on spectrum over the next two years in a series of auctions. Next year, the government plans to sell coveted spectrum in the 600 megahertz band, used by TV stations, to be resold for wireless use. Continue reading FCC Scheduled to Begin Wireless Airwaves Auctions This Week

Charter Continues Pursuit of Time Warner Cable with New Bid

Charter Communications went public on Monday with its latest bid for Time Warner Cable. The $37.4 billion cash-and-stock proposal, submitted via letter from Charter CEO Tom Rutledge to TWC Chief Rob Marcus, follows three private offers submitted since June that have all been turned down by the nation’s second-largest cable company. TWC rejected the bid as “grossly inadequate.” Rutledge said Charter, the fourth largest cable operator, has no plans to increase the offer. Continue reading Charter Continues Pursuit of Time Warner Cable with New Bid

A Conversation with Fitbit CEO and Co-Founder James Park

On the heels of an announcement that Fitbit has partnered with fashion designer Tory Burch for a range of high-fashion wearables, Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park spoke to CES attendees about what else is new for the pioneering fitness activity tracker. “Android compatibility is important for us,” said Park. “We’ve worked with Samsung and expanded to 12 more devices. Motion Tracker is a new feature of our iPhone app that gives people an introductory experience to fitness tracking.” Continue reading A Conversation with Fitbit CEO and Co-Founder James Park

Sony Agrees to Sell Gracenote to Tribune Co. for $170 Million

We recently reported that Gracenote would introduce ad targeting to terrestrial radio consumers in an effort to make radio ads in vehicles more relevant through personalization (the company is expected to promote its next-gen automotive platform at CES). Sony, which acquired Gracenote in 2008, recently agreed to sell the audio-recognition software business to focus on fewer products. In a deal that highlights the growing importance of metadata, the Tribune Company will pay Sony $170 million for the subsidiary. Continue reading Sony Agrees to Sell Gracenote to Tribune Co. for $170 Million

BlackBerry Calls Off Company Sale, CEO Heins to Step Down

BlackBerry announced yesterday that it will abandon a sale of the company, following two months of talks with potential buyers including Facebook, Lenovo and private equity firms. Instead, the struggling smartphone maker plans to raise $1 billion by issuing convertible notes to long-term investors including Fairfax Financial Holdings, the company’s largest shareholder. Additionally, BlackBerry said CEO Thorsten Heins will step down. The news resulted in a 16 percent drop in share price. Continue reading BlackBerry Calls Off Company Sale, CEO Heins to Step Down

Nintendo: Handheld Gaming Strong, Losing Money with Wii U

Gaming company Nintendo released its financial results for the last three months, and the numbers are not promising. Although hardware sales have increased and handheld gaming is experiencing growth, the company has still recorded a loss. As a result of price cuts in the middle of the year, 300,000 more Wii U users have been added, but the company is still far from its goal of 9 million consoles by March 2014. At present, 3.91 million units have been sold total. Continue reading Nintendo: Handheld Gaming Strong, Losing Money with Wii U

Do Movie Fans Turn to Piracy Due to a Lack of Legal Options?

A new website is building a dataset to help determine whether consumers are increasingly turning to piracy when movies are not made available legally via streaming, digital rental or digital purchase. The site — PiracyData.org — lists the top 10 most pirated movies on BitTorrent as reported by TorrentFreak each week, and researches the Can I Stream It? service to determine whether each title is available legally. The authors suggest that shorter windows would help counter piracy. Continue reading Do Movie Fans Turn to Piracy Due to a Lack of Legal Options?

Losing Ground to Apple and Google, BlackBerry Is Up For Sale

BlackBerry announced on Monday that its board of directors has formed a special committee and has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to explore strategic alternatives that could include joint ventures, strategic partnerships or an outright sale of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company. The news follows declining stock value in the wake of disappointing sales of new devices running BlackBerry 10 and a shrinking customer base for the company that helped pioneer the smartphone market. Continue reading Losing Ground to Apple and Google, BlackBerry Is Up For Sale

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