Microsoft's secret 7" gaming tablet, 1080p Android phones, Apple's legal woes: This week's headlines
Good evening, good giffgaffers all. Today we're going to have a look at the top tech headlines of the week, Apple's latest legal wranglings, Microsoft's secret 7" Xbox Surface gaming tablet, and three 1080p Android smartphones that have been leaked this week. Let's get right into it, shall we?
Three 1080p Android devices revealed this week
It looks like just like 4.7" 720p before it, the 5" 1080p form factor is becoming a new standard for Android manufacturers. Three Android devices from three manufacturers were revealed this week, including entrants from HTC, Sony and Sharp. HTC's device is expected to be called the Droid DNA in the US where it'll be sold by Verizon Wireless - expect a full reveal next Monday. Meanwhile, Sony's Yuga 1080p Android phone was leaked in photos with a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2 GB of RAM and a 12 megapixel rear camera. Sharp have also announced the Aquos Phone SH930W, which is less exciting as it only has a dual-core Snapdragon S4 and should perform much worse than its competitors.
Acer Iconia Tab A220 leaked
According to benchmarking site GLBenchmark, we may soon see an upgraded 7" tablet from Acer. The company launched its A110 tablet recently, but it only features a 1024 x 600 display - much lower resolution than competing tablets including the Google Nexus 7 (1280 x 800). It appears that Acer are looking to redress the issue, with an A220 tablet that includes a 1280 x 800 display and a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
Google Play will provide music, movies and magazines to EU this Tuesday
On Tuesday, Google will be rolling out a wide range of services to customers in the UK and other European nations. The headlining feature will be access to the company's Google Play music, movie and magazine online stores, via Android devices, Google TV or the Google website. These releases will coincide with Google's introduction of the Nexus 10 tablet and Nexus 4 smartphone, which will also be available for pre-order on the same date - Tuesday, the 13th of November.
Galaxy S III outsells iPhone 4S in Q3
According to Strategy Analytics, the Samsung Galaxy S III has purloined the long-standing 'best-selling' crown from Apple's iPhone 4S in the third quarter of 2012. Apple were said to have sold 16.2 million iPhone 4S devices in the quarter, while the Galaxy S III sold 18 million units. Apple are expected to regain the advantage in the fourth quarter with their iPhone 5, but it's still an impressive result for Samsung.
Apple agrees to $21 million usage fee for Swiss clock design
Apple has agreed to pay Swiss Rail, known as SBB, $21 million for use of their iconic clock design in iOS 6. The use of the copyrighted design, which is licensed by Swiss Rail to a number of other corporations, wasn't agreed with SBB beforehand and was only noticed after the latest iOS update was released with the iPhone 5. The $21 million works out to about 10 cents per device sold, if you consider 210 million devices were issued or upgraded to iOS 6.
Apple and HTC agree to 10 year global settlement
Apple and HTC have settled their differences out of court with an unexpected 'global settlement' that dismisses all of the two company's complaints with a 10 year license agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, HTC will be allowed to use several key features patented by Apple, including slide to unlock, universal search and others.
The agreement is a big deal for both companies - HTC will be able to offer features forbidden to their competitors (including Samsung), while Apple will be able to prove that it is willing to license its features fairly to Android manufacturers. According to a source close to the deal, the actual pecuniary details weren't too crucial to Apple, and the deal should not have cost HTC a significant amount of money. If anything Apple will want to help HTC just to make things slightly more difficult for their major rivals, Samsung.
Apple ordered to pay Samsung's legal fees in UK case
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has ordered that Apple pay for all of Samsung's legal fees in their latest wrangle, after Apple reneged on their agreement to provide details of the court's statement on their website. Instead, Apple bookended the judgement with 'confusing' details about their victories elsewhere, including the United States. The move is apparently designed to humiliate Apple, and indicates that any further chapters in this particular case are likely to fall Samsung's way.
Judge agrees to hear Samsung accusations of juror misconduct in $1.049 billion Apple case
Judge Lucy Koh has agreed to hear further arguments from Samsung after the company's $1.049 billion loss against Apple in US courts earlier this year. According to the Korean company, the ruling the court's jury delivered was improperly influenced by the jury foreman Velvin Hogan. Samsung claim that Hogan concealed information about his previous legal entanglements, which may provide evidence for a bias against Samsung. The hearing will take place on December 6th.
Apple ordered to pay $368 million to patent troll
In a decision in the US this week, patent troll firm VirnetX has won a judgement for $368 million. The four patents in the case, which loosely related to Apple's Facetime video calling service, were all found to be infringed upon by Apple. The case was brought to federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, which is reportedly notoriously good for patent owners on the attack - the same company won $200 million from Microsoft over VPN-related patents. Of course, the case isn't over yet - Apple has filed a motion questioning the evidence in the case and asked the US Patent Office to re-examine the patents in question.
Xbox Surface 7" gaming tablet 'confirmed'
According to 'multiple sources familiar with plans within Redmond' speaking to The Verge, Microsoft are planning the initial hardware for a 7" 'mini-Xbox' gaming tablet. The Xbox will likely include a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM in order to achieve enough performance to handle Xbox 360 level titles in a handheld device. As well as serving as a portable console, the device should also include connectivity options similar to a standard Xbox console, allowing it to be plugged into an HDTV and sound system with resolution support of up to 2560 x 1440p. The portable console will apparently run a custom Windows kernel and be announced before Microsoft's next generation Xbox console.
Microsoft and its partners heavily relying on celebrity endorsements of Windows
Microsoft and Nokia have continued to use celebrities endorsements in their efforts to promote Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Jessica Alba was on stage for the launch of Windows Phone 8 with Steve Ballmer using a Nokia 920, and Acer tapped Transformers star Megan Fox for a commercial for their Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook. Nokia and AT&T are used Will Arnett to promote the Lumia 920 in commercials in the US. Holly Willoughby is starring in commercials here in the UK for Windows Phone 8, specifically its Kids Corner functionality. Nokia has even paid for Ke$ha to use a Nokia Lumia 920 in her latest music video. The Sun is also reporting that Microsoft will use Jay Z, Gwen Stefani and James Corden in upcoming ads for the UK market.
It all speaks to the do-or-die nature of Nokia and Microsoft's involvement... if the first generation of Windows Phone 8 devices fail to impress, then Microsoft and Nokia particularly will not be sitting pretty. Even HTC and Acer, who are less invested in Microsoft solutions as a whole, have really splashed out. While Microsoft is said to be planning to deploy their own Surface Phone as a Plan B, if they fail this holiday season it will be incredibly bad news for everyone involved.
Surface users report issues with Touch Cover
One of the biggest features of Microsoft's Surface for Windows RT tablet is its included Touch Cover, which allows the tablet to be used in a manner very similar to a traditional Windows laptop. The Touch Cover was lauded by Microsoft for its clever touch typing technology and extremely thin proportions, but according to several consumers there are a few issues with the device. Surface owners are reporting that the Surface is afflicted with random muting and audio stuttering when the Touch cover is attached. The actual physical hardware itself is also said to be having issues, with many reports that the cover tends to split apart after a few days. Microsoft is said to be investigating the issues, and will replace affected units free of charge.
So there we have it - it's definitely be an interesting week for Android and Windows fans - I'm personally quite excited about the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 being released in the UK on Tuesday next week and the prospect of an Xbox tablet sometime in the future. For Apple it was more of a mixed bag - if you are interesting in their legal fights this week was one of the biggest in a while, but there was little news of new products.
I hope you found the article interesting regardless. Thanks for reading as always, and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below. Have a good evening!
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