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30 Dec 12 Apple Pulls Legal Crosshairs off Galaxy S III Mini

Riddle us this: Why file a patent claim against a device that isn’t actually going to be sold in the jurisdiction – let alone, the country – of where you’re filing the claim?

Such has been the peculiarity presented to Apple, which announced on Friday that it’s no longer pursuing patent claims against Samsung’s Galaxy S3 Mini smartphone. Samsung has said that it is not, “making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the Galaxy S III Mini in the United States,” and has maintained this stance ever since Apple asked a California court to add the device to Apple’s latest patent dispute last month.

Apple won its first round of patent litigation against Samsung this past August, but that hardly put an end to the two companies’ legal squabbles – which includes Samsung’s desire to lessen the approximately $1 billion in damages that it faces juxtaposed against Apple’s interest in amending a second round of patent claims to add as many recently released and allegedly infringing Samsung devices as it can.

In other words, Apple’s second patent infringement lawsuit includes devices (and claims) that the company didn’t address in its first round of patent litigation. And Apple has been zealous about amending its filling to include more Samsung devices as warranted. Samsung, in turn, has been granted permission to add Apple’s iPhone 5 to its own patent infringement claims. Both of these trials won’t kick off until 2014.

Apple initially argued that its ability to purchase a Galaxy S3 Mini smartphone from Amazon, and have it billed and shipped to a U.S. address, was enough to qualify that the device was being sold in the U.S. And, as such, Apple argued that it should be allowed to include the smartphone as part of the list of current devices that Apple claims infringe its patents.

As part of Apple’s withdrawal, the company indicated that it would do so, “so long as the current withdrawal will not prejudice Apple’s ability later to accuse the Galaxy S III Mini if the factual circumstances change,” as reported by Reuters.

Samsung launched the four-inch Galaxy S III Mini in Europe in November, which numerous pundits saw as a direct assault against Apple’s similarly sized iPhone 5. At the time of Apple’s request to add the Galaxy S III Mini to its lawsuit, there was plenty of talk that Samsung might bring the smartphone to U.S. markets – which explains Apple’s interest in bringing the full weight of its legal efforts to bear.


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29 Dec 12 Galaxy S3 Mini Dropped From Apple’s Patent Claims Against Samsung

By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Apple Inc has agreed to withdraw patent claims against a new Samsung phone with a high-end display after Samsung said it was not offering to sell the product in the crucial U.S. market.
Apple disclosed the agreement in a filing on Friday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California.
Last month Apple asked to add the Galaxy S III Mini and other Samsung products, including several tablet models, to its wide-ranging patent litigation against Samsung.
In response, Samsung said the Galaxy S III Mini was not available for sale in the United States and should not be included in the case.
Apple won a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung earlier this year, but has failed to secure a permanent sales ban against several, mostly older Samsung models. The patents Apple is asserting against the Galaxy S III Mini are separate from those that went to trial.
Samsung started selling the Mini in Europe in October, to compete with Apple’s iPhone 5. In its filing on Friday in U.S. District Court, for the Northern District of California, Apple said its lawyers were able to purchase “multiple units” of the Mini from Inc’s U.S. retail site and have them delivered within the country.
But Samsung represented that it is not “making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the Galaxy S III Mini in the United States.” Based on that, Apple said it agreed to withdraw its patent claims on the Mini, “so long as the current withdrawal will not prejudice Apple’s ability later to accuse the Galaxy S III Mini if the factual circumstances change.”
A Samsung official declined to comment. Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc. vs. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al., 12-630. (Reporting By Dan Levine; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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21 Dec 12 Redbox Instant app now available through Google Play

Redbox Instant

Last week we reported that Verizon and Redbox were preparing to launch their Netflix alternative, Redbox Instant. Now the app for the upcoming service has landed in the Google Play store.

At the moment, the service will require an invite access code before you can use it. You can request a code via their website, though that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to receive one. On top of needing the code, you will also have to pay $8 a month, though the first month is free.

So what’s included in that $8 subscription fee? You will get unlimited movie streaming and four monthly rentals from Redbox. You can also pay a dollar more to turn your Redbox rentals into Blu-ray discs. For now, gaming rentals aren’t included in the service, but here’s to hoping that this is added down the road.

While the price for the service might seem very low, it’s also worth noting that Redbox Instant will have a fairly limited selection when compared to more established streaming options like Hulu and Netflix. Redbox Instant is also only available in the United States.

For those wondering, while it is true that Verizon is Redbox’s partner for the new service, you are not required to have a Verizon phone or Internet subscription to use the service.

Outside of Android, the Redbox Instant will also support Samsung Blu-Ray players, Google TV, iOS, LG Smart TV and any TVs with SmartHub.

So what do you think, interested in giving Redbox Instant a try or will you stick with Netflix and/or Hulu for the time being?


SOURCES Google Play

Google Instant for Android going worldwide google-play-movie-rentals [Video] Google advertises movie rentals on Play Store, bananas and mirrors may be involved redbox Updated Redbox app for Android brings better browsing redbox instant coming soon Redbox Instant beta heading to Android and Google TV

Andrew Grush is a full-time freelance writer and blogger – primarily in the mobile tech industry. Andrew is very excited to be part of and is dedicated to providing the latest and greatest industry news possible.

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20 Dec 12 Zardes signs Homegrown Player deal with Galaxy

Gyasi Zardes, one of the premiere attacking prospects in the United States, has signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy as a Homegrown Player, the club announced on Thursday.

Zardes, 21, becomes the fourth Homegrown Player on the two-time defending MLS Cup champion’s roster, joining recent signing and right back Oscar Sorto and forwards Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal.

In his three seasons at Cal-State University Bakersfield, the Hawthorne, Calif., native enjoyed high levels of success. He scored 38 goals in three seasons, with 33 of those coming in the last two years. Zardes reportedly turned down overtures from the Galaxy to sign last year and was said to be in contention for offers from clubs overseas. He possesses a keen ability to finish, set up others and use his raw athleticism to beat defenders and will add a different dynamic to an already potent Galaxy attack.

“Gyasi has been one of the most exciting prospects in our academy for a number of years and was one of the best players in college soccer over the past few years, so we are excited to finally be able to sign him as a Homegrown Player,” Galaxy vice president Chris Klein said in a team statement. “He has grown and improved immeasurably as a result of his experiences with our academy and at Bakersfield, and we look forward to having him make his Galaxy debut in 2013.”

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19 Dec 12 Google Play Adds Music Matching Feature, 320k Cloud Streaming

Google Music LogoMusic junkies in the United States just received an early holiday gift from Google in the form of a music matching feature, and free 320kbps cloud streaming from Google Music’s online locker.

Google Music is a free service that allows users to upload a maximum of 20,000 songs to an online storage locker accessible via the web and Android devices. The software itself leaves a small footprint and runs in the background, automatically uploading new tracks from your library. The downside of the service is that for digital music packrats (self included), the initial upload process can literally take weeks (my personal music collection clocks in at 52GB).

Similar to Apple‘s iTunes Match, Google Music will now simply scan your local music library and instantly add those tracks to your locker, though don’t expect to see under-the-radar indie bands to populate just yet. Additionally, Google will provide enhanced 320kbps streaming of the matched files, even if your originals are encoded at a lower bitrate. The icing on the cake is that Google is offering this to users completely free of charge, unlike Apple and Amazon’s similar services which run $25/year.

Google’s 320kbps stream quality is also higher than Apple and Amazon’s 256kbps.

Of course, record labels still need compensation. AllThingsD reports that Google is essentially subsidizing the free music match service by paying labels directly. Though unconfirmed, anonymous insiders indicate that Google is paying these music labels a hefty sum upfront.

With the Nexus 7, Google’s strategy was selling the tablet at a compelling price (arguably at a loss if you take into account the bundled $25 Google Play coupon) to introduce new users into the Google Play ecosystem. This free music matching service is certainly another strong initiative to beckon consumers to the Android side of the fence.

The service launched last month in Europe.

I’ve been using Google Music since it launched and love how effortless it is to keep my music collection in sync across all my devices. This just sweetens the pot.

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16 Dec 12 Galaxy trades Buddle to Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) – The LA Galaxy traded forward Edson Buddle to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a first-round supplemental draft pick in 2013 and allocation money.

Buddle is a World Cup veteran with 93 career goals in Major League Soccer. He appeared in two matches for the U.S. at the FIFA World Cup in 2010, when he was the runner-up for the MLS Golden Boot

Buddle started his MLS career in 2001 in Columbus, where he played for five seasons. He also played for the New York Red Bulls in 2006, Toronto FC in 2007 and with the Galaxy from 2007-10 and in 2012. In 2011, he played for FC Ingolstadt of the German second division.

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13 Dec 12 CNET’s top pick of 2012: Samsung Galaxy S III

What’s the best smartphone of 2012? According to CNET, it’s not the iPhone 5.

Although the two phones scored neck-in-neck in terms of review scores, CNET picked the Samsung Galaxy S III over Apple’s iPhone 5 because it is the “first real iPhone competitor.”

The Samsung Galaxy S III runs on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and features a 4.8-inch screen, 4G LTE support, front- and rear-facing cameras, the S Beam file transfer feature and Tec Tiles.

“Samsung’s flagship smartphone successor burst forth this past summer with a surfeit of software features to wow and confound mass-market buyers of premium handsets,” CNET editors said.

Apple and Samsung have been fierce competitors, but the battle between the two companies reached new heights in 2012.

Apple sued Samsung for allegedly knocking off its popular iPhone and iPad. The computer giant sought $2.5 billion in damages. Samsung denied the charges and countersued Apple for $422 million. A nine-person federal jury in San Jose, Calif. ruled in favor of Apple on August 24 and awarded the company with $1.05 billion in damages.

The two companies met in court again Dec. 6. Samsung sought to overturn the verdict, while Apple wanted to add an additional $500 million in fines and ban older Samsung products from sale in the United States. CNET named court battle between the tech giants as the top tech story of the year.

Read the full list of CNET’s Top 100 at

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19 Jun 12 Samsung Makes Android SAFE for IT

Samsung’s forthcoming Galaxy S III smartphone will be the company’s first device to be officially branded and sold under its new SAFE program.

SAFE stands for “Samsung Approved for Enterprise.”

The Galaxy S III will be available in the U.S. from Verizon Wireless, ATT (NYSE: T), Sprint (NYSE: S), T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular in July.

Samsung also introduced Safe2Switch, a program that lets smartphone users of other makers’ products trade in their existing devices and purchase a new Samsung smartphone. People who currently own a Samsung smartphone can trade up.

Samsung first introduced the SAFE program in the United States in late 2011, and there are more than 20 Samsung SAFE devices on the market, company spokesperson Martha Thomas told LinuxInsider. However, the Galaxy S III will be the first one to bear the program’s brand. Introducing devices under the SAFE brand will make it easier for customers to see which products are enterprise-ready.

“With SAFE, Samsung is sending a message to IT departments — this phone is easy for you guys to sign off on,” James Robinson, lead Android developer and cofounder of OpenSignalMaps, told LinuxInsider. “The S III is going to be an extremely popular device.”

Playing IT Safe

SAFE was created as a way to defragment the Android operating system (OS) across multiple versions offered on handsets by carriers in the United States, Samsung said. Out of the box, the SAFE-branded Galaxy S III supports a suite of enterprise-ready features and capabilities as well as 338 IT policies. These policies include on-device AES 256-bit encryption, enhanced support for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange ActiveSync, and support for virtual private network (VPN) and mobile device management (MDM) solutions.

Galaxy S III features include AllShare Play, which lets users securely share PowerPoint presentations and PDFs with other S III owners; Share Shot, which enables photo compiling and sharing; S Beam One Touch Sharing, which lets Galaxy S III owners exchange information or documents by tapping these devices together; and Samsung TecTiles — programmable tags and mobile applications.

Partnering With Samsung

Samsung is working with mobile device management (MDM) providers, including AirWatch, Sybase (NYSE: SY) and Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR), to provide management and security on the Galaxy S III. It’s also working with VPN providers, including Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and F5 Networks, to enable IP-based encryption. Samsung’s security vendor partners include Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC).

One partner, Avaya, “has been enabling Samsung’s Android-based devices with our Avaya one-X Mobile client application,” Avaya spokesperson Deb Kline told LinuxInsider. This “securely connects an end user’s Samsung mobile device to his or her corporate communications system.” Voice streams are encrypted and businesses can continue to apply their typical security measures such as firewalls and session border control.

Samsung “has put in place a formal quality assurance testing and verification process to ensure the SAFE enterprise solutions work as needed and described,” the company’s Thomas said. “The QA process will be in place for all future Samsung SAFE devices.”

Taming the Android Defrag Bomb?

Samsung’s claim of defragmenting Android with SAFE may make some users’ ears perk up — either with anticipation or skepticism. OpenSignalMaps recently found there are close to 4,000 different types of devices running the OS.

“SAFE defragments Android by creating a single standard for IT administrators to test against,” Samsung’s Thomas explained. “This means the IT administers can test one SAFE device such as the Galaxy S III and know that all SAFE phones — from those running on Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich — will work the same on their network. It also allows VPN, MDM and application providers to leverage a single uniform software developer kit when creating solutions for SAFE devices.”

However, “Fragmentation in terms of security capabilities is what Samsung’s focusing on here, for that small sub-genre of fragmentation support for IT policies is what is needed,” OpenSignalMaps’ Robinson pointed out. “By introducing a new feature to its phones, Samsung is not providing a general cure to fragmentation. It’s not even providing a cure across all devices. But it is promising that … it’s going to be easier for IT departments to sign off on particular applications, particularly MDM and VPN apps, running on particular models.”

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09 Jun 12 Google Chrome Coming to Windows 8 Metro

Google’s Web browser, Chrome, is headed to rival Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8 Metro—sort of. Google began work on a Metro-style enabled desktop browser, a version of Chrome that will run in both the Metro and desktop environments of Windows 8 on x86, back in March. The company didn’t offer a specific release date for Chrome, only noting users will be able to test it out in the next Chrome Dev channel release by setting it as the default browser.

The company also pointed out Chrome won’t run in WinRT (Windows 8 on ARM processors), as Microsoft is not allowing browsers other than Internet Explorer (IE) on the platform. “The initial releases of Chrome in Metro mode will include integration with the basic Windows 8 system functionality, such as charms and snap view,” Google software engineer Carlos Pizano wrote in a blog post. “Over the next few months, we’ll be smoothing out the UI on Metro and improving touch support, so please feel free to file bugs. We’re committed to bringing the speed, simplicity, and security of Chrome into Windows 8, and we look forward to working with you on it.”

Microsoft has a lot riding on the latest version of its Windows 8 Metro operating system, which is expected to launch sometime this fall. The design aesthetic, user interface, currently found on Windows Phone and the latest Xbox dashboard, has profound influence on Windows 8: In place of the “traditional” desktop that defined previous editions of Windows, the newest operating system will open with a Metro start screen of colorful, touchable tiles linked to applications. In theory, this will help port Windows 8 onto tablets and other touch-happy form factors; users will have the ability to download Metro apps to their machine via an online storefront.

Google and Microsoft are locked in an escalating battle for browser market share. Google unseated Microsoft as global usage of the Chrome browser passed that of IE for the first time, according to a May report from StatCounter, an independent Website analytics company. Data from more than 15 billion page views (4 billion from the United States; 850 million from the United Kingdom) for the full month of May shows Chrome took 32.43 percent of the worldwide market, compared with 32.12 percent for IE. Microsoft still holds a comfortable lead in the United States with the IE browser, however, capturing 38.35 percent of the market in May, while Chrome trailed with 23.66 percent.

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07 Jun 12 At Best Buy, Lumia Is Selling OK but More Slowly Than Android

Nokia and ATT have aggressively promoted the new Lumia 900 smartphone with a big marketing campaign, but at Best Buy, Lumia sales still pale in comparison to the hottest Android phones, a company executive says.

Scott Anderson, vice president of Best Buy’s mobile group, said in a phone interview that the Lumia 900 was a “very decent seller.” He said, however, that it hadn’t sold nearly as well as Android phones like HTC’s Evo 4G LTE on Sprint or the new Samsung Galaxy S III, which will be available for all four major United States carriers.

The Lumia 900 features Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s mobile operating system, which is less well known than Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Mr. Anderson said  he thought a lot of customers were waiting for the release of Windows Phone 8, the next version of the Windows mobile software.

Best Buy, the nation’s biggest electronics chain, is in the unique position of selling flagship handsets for each cellular network — unlike the carriers, whose stores offer only phones that work on their own networks.

Mr. Anderson said he could not disclose specific sales numbers, but he said presales for the Galaxy S III, due out this month, exceeded expectations, and presales for the Evo 4G LTE made it the best-selling Sprint handset at Best Buy. He called the releases of those two phones “major iconic launches” because Best Buy employees across the country had received extensive training with those products and stirred up buzz about them, and because the Galaxy S III was the first phone the store has sold that is coming out on all four big American carriers.

Some recent statistics have shown that Android sales are slowing compared to years past, in part because the iPhone became available on multiple American carriers last year.  Mr. Anderson said he saw no such trend at Best Buy.  “We’re not seeing the decline in Android that I also read about online,” he said. “We continue to have a lot of great successes with the Android launches.”

The sales performance of the Lumia 900 is important for Nokia, as it could determine the struggling handset maker’s fate in the phone business. The company’s share of the phone market has been declining rapidly as Apple and the manufacturers of Android phones have dominated smartphone sales. In April, Samsung dethroned Nokia as the world’s No. 1 maker of mobile phones. Incidentally, Standard Poor’s downgraded Nokia’s bonds to junk status, because sales of its older phones had fallen so significantly.

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