Archive for the ‘ Handhelds ’ Category

Official: Apple now offering iPhones contract free (updated: not unlocked)

We heard from 9 to 5 Mac that Apple was due to begin selling a contract-free variant of the iPhone in the near future “at list price.” And guess what happened when we inquired to an Apple store? That’s right folks — you can now pick one up for $499 (3G), $599, or $699 (3GS). We’ve confirmed this info at no less than five stores, so you should be hearing the same message at your local Appletorium. Given the current unfriendly climate between Apple and Google, this could be seen as nasty jab, though the devices are still carrier-locked to AT&T, so you’re not being given much freedom… and it’s certainly not much of a statement. In many parts of Europe (France and Poland, for example) you can pick up the carrier-unattached device (and we mean totally unlocked), but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

These devices are still locked to AT&T — so you’re just looking at an off contract pricing scheme. Which is also totally lame.

Source:9 to 5 Mac

Apple sues HTC for infringing 20 iPhone patents

Looks like Apple’s going on the warpath, kids. Just a few months after Cupertino got into it with Nokia over phone patents, Apple’s filed suit against HTC, alleging that the company is infringing 20 patents “related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture, and hardware.” Steve, you have something to say?

“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

Okay then. We’re pulling the complaint filing now, we’ll let you know the exact details as soon as we learn them.

Update: HTC just gave us a statement — this is apparently coming totally out of the blue for them, since Apple hasn’t even served the complaint yet.

We only learned of Apple’s actions based on your stories and Apple’s press release. We have not been served yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims. We respect and value patent rights but we are committed to defending our own innovations. We have been innovating and patenting our own technology for 13 years.

Update 2: We mean it when we say this was all just filed in the past few hours — it’s not yet in the court’s systems. We just got the PDFs and put the full list of claims from the federal lawsuit below, but remember not to take the names of the patents literally or directly, since they don’t mean much. We’ll poke each one apart and tease out what’s really at stake as we go along.

Update 3: We’ve just learned that Apple submitted over 700 pages of exhibits to the District Court, which is a little nuts. In addition, the ITC complaint lists a number of specific HTC handsets as exhibits, including the Nexus One, Touch Pro, Touch Diamond, Touch Pro2, Tilt II, Pure, Imagio, Dream / G1, myTouch 3G, Hero, HD2, and Droid Eris. That’s really a full range of HTC phones, running both Android and Windows Mobile, with and without Sense / TouchFLO. Interestingly, the Android sets are specifically included because they run Android, while the WinMo sets are called out specifically for including DSP chips, not anything to do with Windows Mobile.

Apple, Complaint (PDF), ITC Complaint (PDF)

Google Buzz Explained

Google today announced a new service, Google Buzz, that automatically brings social networking into Gmail and the rest of the Google-sphere. Whether or not you’re big on social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, Buzz offers a somewhat new and intriguing approach.

What’s Buzz All About?

Read more

Nokia, Nintendo, Netflix and E-Ink respond to the iPad

We’re sure just about every company on the map has an opinion on Apple’s new device, but a few big wigs have taken time out of their busy schedules to weigh in on the device. These are their stories.

  • Nokia’s Mark Squires, Head of Social Media, was mainly confused by Apple’s statement that it’s the biggest mobile device manufacturer, surpassing Nokia in combined revenue on media players, phones and laptops. Mark argues that the accepted definition for “mobile devices” excludes laptops, and goes on to mention the undisputed fact that Nokia’s still number one when it comes to number of devices sold.
  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, meanwhile, says that mobile devices aren’t a priority for his company yet. They’re fighting the good fight of the large screen, and once they feel comfortable in their various efforts there, then they’ll move on to small screens. Netflix hasn’t done or submitted an iPhone application, but Hastings did mention that he was optimistic that if Netflix did get into the game, the app would be approved for the App Store, and that it would run on both the iPhone and iPad.
  • Satura Iwata, president and CEO of Nintendo, took a much more directly critical approach to the device, calling it a “bigger iPod Touch,” and that Apple delivered “no surprises.” In the same interview he expressed skepticism as to the value of bringing a high definition Wii on the market, as well as expressing doubts about 3D glasses-based gaming. Iwata is clearly a tough man to please.
  • Perhaps most threatened by the iPad is Russ Wilcox, CEO of E-Ink. He says dedicated e-readers will outsell iPads due to “simple economics,” and that the iPad is “great entertainment device,” but it’s “not the world’s best reading device.” His criticisms, mostly in juxtaposition to Kindle-style devices, abound, including price, weight, backlight and so on. He’s right on the money about the shortfalls of a straightforward comparison, but we wonder if consumers will feel the same?

Nothing too salacious, unfortunately, and most of the points raised are pretty spot-on — though we do wish Reed Hastings would rethink his priorities just a smidgen and get Netflix onto mobile devices sooner than later. We’re needy like that. 

WSJ: Apple wants e-books to be $12.99 or $14.99 for hardcover best sellers

Here’s a little price snippet on Apple’s e-book plans, care of an eleventh hour Wall Street Journal piece. According to the article, the gang in Cupertino is asking book publishers (HarperCollins was specifically cited) to set the price point for digital versions of hardcover bestsellers at either $12.99 or $14.00, “with fewer titles offered at $9.99.” The publisher apparently has the option to set its own price, but at any rate, Apple’s taking the usual 30% cut from each sale — a $14.99 novel would thus leave about $10.49 for the publisher. Nothing else to glean from this other than a rather strongly-phrased assertion that tomorrow’s tablet has a 10-inch touchscreen, but no indication on where that’s coming from. These prices would put Apple’s selection at a premium compared with Amazon and its Kindle store, but perhaps it’ll also be bypassing any rumored digital delay on new works — question is, if Apple really is entering the e-book business and bringing with it higher prices, will it let us import our digital books purchased from other stores?

source The Wall Street Journal

PSP Go disassembled in awesome stop motion video

Oh sure, we’ve seen Sony’s UMD-hatin’ PSP Go splayed before, but never like this. Call us crazy, but we’re calling stop motion video the future of unboxings and tear downs. Seriously — this is one wild two minute ride that you simply have to take. Read more

Android dual-boot could make Nokia N900 jack of two trades

Maemo’s already pretty open as open platforms go, but what’s better than a single open platform on your open phone? Two open platforms, of course, creating a vortex of pure, unadulterated openness the likes of which the world has never seen. Hacking is par for the course with Nokia’s N900, so it comes as no surprise to see that a motivated individual has managed to get his unit set up in a trick dual-boot configuration with Maemo on internal storage and Android on a separate partition loaded from the microSD card. He says it’s “proof of concept” for the moment — but to steal his words, “its [sic] real and it could be spectacular.” We couldn’t agree more, and as much as Nokia loves its own code, we can’t help but think this precisely the sort of tinkering the N900 was made for. Read more

ASUS DR-950 touchscreen e-reader spotted in the ‘wilds’ of ASUS UK’s office

Sure, we’d love to be hanging out with this device in person, but we suppose this is second best. ASUS UK has some shots of the upcoming DR-950 e-reader, sporting 9-inches of grayscale SiPix e-paper. It admittedly looks pretty great under these idealized lighting conditions, and the homescreen interface looks simple and oh-so-touchable. Hopefully we get to put the device through its text-to-speech, 3G and ePub paces soon enough.

New York Times to begin charging for access… something something, Apple Tablet


Is it a stretch of logic, or purely logical? You be the one to judge. New York Magazine is reporting from what seems to be pretty solid word that the New York Times will starting charging online readers for its content. That’s all well and interesting for a media hound, but there’s additional word that the announcement of this in “a matter of weeks” might coincide with the rumored January 27th Apple launch. You know, the tablet thing. We already know (or are pretty sure) that Apple has shopped around a theoretical device to content providers, including almost assuredly the New York Times, so it makes “sense.” Still, we aren’t putting solid money down on a single thing until Steve Jobs pulls this device out of a largish pocket of his and shows it to our face.

ASUS DR-570 e-reader to sport 6-inch OLED color screen, 122 hours of battery life

Well, isn’t this a doozy. ASUS was a bit of a no-show in the e-reader arena at CES, but has dropped some knowledge on the Times Online’s InGear: it’s building a 6-inch color OLED e-reader, which flies in the face of previous rumors about an ASUS e-reader entry. The device, currently dubbed the DR-570 and pictured to the left, will play back Flash video, includes WiFi and 3G, and supposedly can last for 122 hours on one charge under “real world conditions.” It’s supposed to be released by the end of the year, and while from anybody else we’d assume this would cost an arm and a leg, the ASUS brand gives us some hope that we might actually be able to afford one when it hits.