Tag Archives | HTC

Apple’s Lawsuit Against HTC: Bad for Consumers?

Apple’s lawsuit against Taiwanese handset manufacturer HTC is meant to prevent smartphones that resemble the iPhone from competing in the U.S. market, limiting consumer choice, but protecting Apple’s incentive to innovate, legal experts say.

Yesterday, news broke that Apple had filed suit against HTC with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and U.S. District Court in Delaware for allegedly violating a slew of iPhone related patents. HTC derives nearly half of its annual smartphone sales from the U.S. market, and the majority sold are Android phones, including Google’s Nexus One, according to UBS.

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Apple-HTC: The Grim, Dystopian Scenario

I promise I’ll stop talking about Apple’s suit against smartphone rival HTC until further developments warrant. But the more I think about it, the more I’m struck by the parallels to Apple’s 1988 suit against Microsoft and HP over Windows and HP’s New Wave interface.

Here’s a good story over at Low End Mac on the case, as well as Apple’s earlier threats to take Microsoft to court and the agreement between the two companies that postponed the courtroom battle for a few years. In the 1988 case, the role of the iPhone was played, of course, by the Mac. And Android phones like the models mentioned in Apple’s filing are played by Windows PCs.

(Actually, the parallels between Windows a couple of decades ago and Android right now are uncanny: Windows was nowhere near as slick and well-designed as the Mac, but it was good enough that Microsoft’s licensing strategy paid off hugely. Android is nowhere near as slick and well-designed as the iPhone, but it’s good enough that Google’s licensing strategy seems to be on the cusp of paying off hugely.)

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5Words: Being Sued is a Drag

HTC won’t enjoy Apple lawsuit.

A Palm Pre-like BlackBerry slider?

Daily Show, Colbert depart Hulu.

Twitter and Microsoft: crazy idea?

Analyst: Microsoft Palm buyout unlikely.

Twitter employee quits his blog.

Western Digital’s Solid State Drives.

Apple and Amazon’s music squabble.

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Apple Sues HTC

I’m not a patent lawyer. So I don’t know what to make of the news that Apple is suing Taiwanese phone kingpin HTC over iPhone-related patents from a legal standpoint. It seems obvious, though, that the suit–which mentions the Nexus One and other HTC phones that run Google’s Android OS by name–is meant in part to put a chill down the spine of Google any company that makes Android phones, and maybe any company involved in the making of vaguely iPhone-esque phones, period. It’s not surprising given that Steve Jobs started bragging about Apple’s phone patents the moment he introduced the iPhone, and the company has specifically talked about suing infringing competitors.

The lawsuit follows Nokia’s suit against Apple and Apple’s countersuit against Nokia, and the more I think about it, the more I wish that everyone involve would just concentrate on making cool smartphones.

Back in 1988, Apple sued Microsoft and HP, claiming that Windows and HP’s New Wave user interface violated the Mac’s copyrights. Thatlawsuit didn’t seem to do much other than distract Apple from its real work: doing well in the market by making better products.

After the jump, for no other reason than that I like patent drawings, a few sketches from the Apple patents in question in its suit against HTC.

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Googlephone. Plus a Contract. No Big Whoop?

Latest Googlephone rumor: Reuters is now reporting that Google’s Nexus One will be sold at a subsidized price on T-Mobile, possibly starting as soon as January 5th. Even if it’s also available unlocked and without a discount, a Googlephone that’s sold primarily through a carrier using the current contract-price business model sounds like it’s a lot less likely to be a game-changer. It might not amount to that much more than an HTC phone sold through T-Mobile, with a heavier quotient of Google in its its DNA (is that a mixed metaphor?) than usual…


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HTC Comes to Its Senses on Audio Jacks

HTC JackHTC makes some nice phones, several of which I’ve owned and enjoyed using, but I’ve never understood the rationale behind its use of an odd, semi-proprietary MiniUSB connector that doubles as a USB connector and a headphone jack. The non-standard connector means that you’re stuck with HTC’s bundled headphones unless you track down, buy, and use a rather chunky adapter that lets you turn the HTC connector into the 3.5mm one used by the rest of the smartphone world.

Until now, that is–MobileCrunch is reporting that HTC’s upcoming Hero will use a standard 3.5mm jack, as will most of its other new phones. If you’ve ever owned an HTC phone, you’ll know what I mean when I say I breathed a sigh of relief at the news.


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Finally, a Second Android Phone. And a Good One.

myTouchIt’s finally official: T-Mobile has announced it’ll ship the myTouch 3G in early August. It’s the phone that’s also known as the HTC Magic–the second phone based on Google’s Android OS, and the first one that looks to be an impressive handset rather than an intriguing proof of concept. (The G1, the first Android phone is pretty clunky from a hardware standpoint, with battery life that’s iffy at best.)

T-Mobile is playing up the idea that the myTouch will be more customizable than the iPhone, via skins, widgets, and other interface tweaks. I haven’t seen any of these features, but they sound like a logical enough to the question “So remind me again why I should buy this instead of an iPhone?” Which is a query which every non-Apple smartphone must answer explicitly or implicitly. Palm’s Pre does so in part through having a strikingly different form factor than the iPhone; the myTouch looks a bit like a chunkier iPhone (it has a removable battery) with a smaller screen and more buttons and a trackball.

Like TechCrunch’s M.G. Siegler, I’ve been playing with a phone that’s essentially identical to the myTouch from a hardware standpoint–the Google Ion, which Google distributed at its I/O developer conference last month. It’s a pleasing phone that looks good and fits well in the hand–one of HTC’s nicest industrial designs. I still think that Android is a promising platform that’s still in search of major unique benefits to consumers, but perhaps T-Mobile’s customization options will help. In any event, it’s good to see a second Android device come out, even though the OS will only live up to its potential once there are lots of Android phones.

The myTouch will sell for $199 with a two-year T-Mobile contract; that’s the same price as the Pre and the 16GB iPhone 3G S.

Here’s a quick photo of the iPhone 3G S and the Ion–the Ion is black, but the myTouch will come in black, white, or “Merlot.”

iPhone vs. Ion


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5Words for March 17th, 2009

5wordsHappy Saint Paddy’s day, everybody!

Sneak peek: Dell’s Adamo notebook.

Macworld’s iPhone 3.0 wish list.

Three More HTC Android phones.

Nine-hour MSI Wind netbook.

Comcast passwords exposed on Web.

Super-fast game download service.

Boxee does an iPhone remote control.

Best Buy takes on Walmart.

Rough February for Macs, iPods.

HP adds long-life batteries.

Nintendo victorious in remote lawsuit.

Vatican: Serious about the Internet.


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Finally, Another Android Phone

Technologizer @ Mobile World CongressPart of the big news from day one at Mobile World Congress was that there was no big news involving Google’s Android mobile operating system: None of the scads of phones that made their debut ran it. On day two…Android news! Maybe not earth-shattering Android news, but significant enough: HTC, the company that made the first Android phone, T-Mobile’s G1, launched its second one, the Magic.

The Magic looks like a slimmer, sexier cousin of the G1: The latter phone tucks a slide-out physical keyboard under its touchscreen, but the Magic is all-touch. Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo tried one today and was mostly impressed, although he had his issues with the Magic’s on-screen keyboard.

HTC Magic

The Magic, like most new phones at Mobile World Congress, will arrive in Europe first, sometime this spring: Vodafone will sell it in the UK, Spain, Germany, and France, and it’ll also be available in Italy. No word on availability in the U.S., although you’d think T-Mobile might want to add it to the lineup.

The phone’s announcement eliminates the possibility of an Androidless Mobile World Congress, but I think the lack of much tangible advancement for the platform is still one of the show’s major stories. Multiple manufacturers have talked about unveiling Android handsets, but only HTC has managed to pull it off. The whole notion behind the OS is that it’s open and customizable and therefore well-suited to powering a variety of types of devices. We know what HTC thinks an Android phone should look like, and the Magic looks to be precisely what you’d guess a no-keyboard HTC Android model would be. I’m hoping we’ll hear from other quarters soon…


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Mobile World Congress: One Day, Sixteen New Phones

cheatsheetPhones. More phones. Phones that look a lot like iPhones, except for the ones that don’t. Phones that may never show up in the good old US of A. Phones that are full of style, and ones that seem to be devoid of discernible personality. That, in short, was my Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where I spent the entire day bopping from press conference to press conference, learning about new handsets from most of the major manufacturers (as well as laptop titan Acer, which announced today that it’s getting into the phone biz).

I wrote about some of the day’s debutantes as I encountered them, but missed others. And while the show is teeming with journalists who are cranking out a surging sea of stories on all the announcements, I’m not sure if anyone’s trying to put as much as possible in one place.

So here’s a stab at a convenient, concise guide to nearly every new phone I encountered as of Monday evening (I left off a couple of far-off models which Acer mentioned only fleetingly and cryptically). Most of these phones have been announced only in GSM models, except for the two HTCs. Nobody revealed anything about American carriers today, although in some cases you might be able to make educated guesses.

The fact that a spec isn’t mentioned doesn’t indicate a phone doesn’t have it–in some cases, the manufacturers provided something less than full information, and I’m not trying to provide all the ones they did mention (all these phones have basic stuff like Bluetooth, and I stopped short of listing info like their dimensions and the media formats they support). If you know more about any of these models than I do, please speak up.

And one last note: Yes, I know that it’s increasingly tough to judge phones by their hardware specs. In the post-iPhone era, it’s the software that gives a handset much of its functionality and character. I didn’t get to touch most of these phones at all today, and certainly didn’t spend enough time with any of them to come to conclusions about the quality of their interfaces. But even today, specs and other basic facts mean something–and after the jump, I’ll give you plenty of ’em to chew on…

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