Boot up: patents bonanza, iPhone 5S sensors examined, Nokia's mistake, and more
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A burst of 8 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
EFF files challenge with US Patent Office against troll's podcasting patent >> Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today filed a formal challenge to the so-called "podcasting patent" used by a patent troll to shake down podcasters big and small for licensing fees. The petition for inter partes review, presented today to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is the first legal filing in EFF's "Save Podcasting" campaign launched in May.
In January 2013, Personal Audio, LLC, began suing a number of podcasters, including comedian Adam Carolla (The Adam Carolla Show) and three major television networks, claiming they infringe U.S. Patent No. 8,112,504. In addition to filing these lawsuits, Personal Audio has sent demand letters to a variety of podcasters demanding that they pay a license fee. Because Personal Audio's business model is entirely based on leveraging its patents and it does not do any podcasting itself, the company fits the definition of a "non-practicing entity," or—as everyone from EFF to the White House calls these entities—a "patent troll."
US patent office confirmed all 20 claims of the Steve Jobs patent: bad for Samsung, Google >> FOSS Patents
Last December, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a first Office action tentatively rejecting all claims of the "Steve Jobs patent", U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 on a "touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics", which has been referred to by many people, including Apple's own lawyers, as "the Steve Jobs patent". First Office actions are of some, but actually rather limited, relevance.
As we speak, the Steve Jobs patent is even stronger than it was before someone (presumably Samsung and Google) challenged it anonymously. On September 4, 2013, the USPTO issued a reexamination certificate confirming the patentability of all 20 claims because the prior art neither anticipated this invention nor renders it obvious.
As patents go, it's pretty fundamental (but not, note, standards-essential) to touchscreen operation: detecting one or more finger contacts, determining commands for the device, processing the demand.
This is one of the patents asserted against Samsung as part of the US import ban on some of its devices which came in last week. (Via Carl Howe, vice-president at Yankee Group)
Toward a solution for the iPhone 5S accelerometer problem >> Mobile Spatial Sensing
Accelerometers have two key numbers that tell you the quality of their outputs. Note: in the spec sheets, and the next couple paragraphs, the abbreviation mg refers to milli-g, or one one thousandth of standard gravity, not milligram. The first key spec is the noise density (ST) or output noise (Bosch). This tells you how much random jitter you will see in measurements. At first it looks like the spec for the Bosch part is much worse, but this is deceiving as these numbers are reported for a specific measurement rate (bandwidth), and the ST datasheet doesn't specify that rate. In our measurements, the noise output of the accelerometer in the iPhone 5S is reasonably similar to that of previous iOS devices.
The second key spec for accelerometers is the zero-g offset, or bias. This indicates the range for a roughly constant offset that will be added to every output sample of data due to manufacturing variance. This can also change over time due to mechanical stress or temperature variation. This is where we find the problem: the typical bias for the ST part is +/- 20mg, while the Bosch part lists +/-95mg. This almost 5x greater offset range is confirmed by our measurements, and is absolutely consistent with the failures being reported by users and the media. Specifically, a +/- 20mg offset range would translate to around a +/-1 degree accuracy range in tilt detection, and a +/-95mg offset translates to +/-5 degrees in tilt.
Jorma Ollila feels grief over sale of Nokia phones – admits to mistakes >> Helsingin Sanomat
Ollila is now speaking publicly for the first time since the events. What exactly went wrong?
Ollila sighs. The coffee cup on his table shakes.
In his view there is no single cause, event, or culprit behind the problems of the company's mobile phone business. Many things link up with each other.
But if some ultimate cause needed to be named, Ollila says that it would be the problems that Nokia experienced in software know-how. The problem was recognised already in the 1990s. There were plans to fix them, but they were not implemented.
"The Mobile Phones Unit once had 1000 people in Silicon Valley, with the task of picking up on new trends of software development. But we were not successful in the way that Google and Apple were later. This is the key failure for Nokia."
A prisoner of the carriers, and its own software failings.
Windows 8 finally starts to reconcile its two worlds >> NYTimes.com
David Pogue has praise for the improvements in what he calls "TileWorld" - formerly Metro. Then..
These are all wonderful and welcome changes. What you may have noticed, however, is that virtually all of them are changes in TileWorld. All of them are designed for touch screens. These changes are solely for the benefit of people who've bought Windows 8 tablets and touch-screen laptops — all nine of them.
On the other hand, almost nothing has changed for people who use the real Windows, the desktop Windows.
And none of the changes listed above address the elephant in the room: the jarring juxtaposition of TileWorld and the traditional Windows behind it.
Fortunately, Microsoft has taken a few steps toward reconciling these two wildly different worlds.
The big news is that the Start button is back at the desktop, in the lower-left corner. Yet incredibly, despite the wails of the masses, clicking it still doesn't open the Start menu. Instead, it just takes you back to TileWorld.
Unfortunately, all of it is a giant exercise in rearranging crackers on plates on deck chairs on the Titanic.
His suggestion: split it into separate desktop and a tablet OSs. But who would dream of having different OSs for desktop and tablet?
Signs your Android device is infected with malware (and what to do about it) >> CITEworld
The easiest way is to run a scan using one of many free or paid anti-malware programs. However, before we get to those, let's look at some of the signs that your Android device is infected.
As with infected PCs, mobile devices that have downloaded malware can develop noticeable performance issues. Is everything taking longer than usual? Are you using up data at a faster rate than before? Does your battery seem to be running down much faster than previously? Are calls being dropped or interrupted with weird noises?
We heard the other day of someone who got their first smartphone, and whose first question was which antivirus they needed for it.
Budget electronics firm Coby went bust over the summer, kiss your warranties goodbye >> Android Police
The company had been pushing its budget slates on consumers since the end of 2010, reliably introducing more and more (... and more) tablets, until it finally settled on the "Google Play + 7" + $150" formula many of its competitors continue to seek success through today. The company's last press release was published on February 7th, announcing that said $150 tablet had shipped.
It now seems likely that this device was the last, dying effort to get Coby turned around, though, as for the last eight months the company has gone utterly silent. Lo and behold, about six weeks ago, a press release was quietly published by an investment firm known as the Gordon Brothers Group indicating it had acquired Coby and all of its assets for an undisclosed amount, presumably from sole proprietor Young Dong Lee.
Samsung's Galaxy Round is a prototype device; will be available in limited quantities >> Android Beat
it looks like even in Korea, the Galaxy Round will be available in limited quantities. According to one of the insiders of SamMobile, Samsung will only be producing limited quantities of the Galaxy Round. The Round is apparently a prototype device for Samsung to test its curved screens and gain some public feedback.
Samsung had earlier taken the same route with the Galaxy S II HD LTE and the SCH-W850. This reason also explains the extremely high retail price of the device in Korea.
Except the curved display, the Galaxy Round packs the same internals as the Galaxy Note 3 minus the S-Pen and its software tricks. It might very well be possible that we can see Samsung employ its flexible display technology in the Galaxy S5 or the Note 3's successor.
Do any other phone companies do this?
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