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10
May

Apple Hit With $2.8 Billion Patent Lawsuit Over VoIP Technology


VoIP-Pal announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Apple in a U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada, seeking over $2.8 billion in damages for alleged infringement of its patented internet communication technologies.

The Bellevue-based company calculated its $2,836,710,031 figure using a 1.25-percent royalty rate based on an apportionment of Apple’s estimated historical profit from iPhone (55-percent), iPad (35-percent), and Mac (10-percent).

VoIP-Pal (VPLM) has over a dozen issued or pending patents, primarily related to VoIP technologies, a few of which it accuses Apple of infringing upon with services like FaceTime and iMessage on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Apple employs VPLM’s innovative technology and products, features, and designs, and has widely distributed infringing products that have undermined VPLM’s marketing efforts. Instead of pursuing independent product development, Apple employed VPLM’s innovative caller attribute classification and routing product design, in violation of VPLM’s valuable intellectual property rights.

The court filing cites multiple ways that Apple is allegedly infringing upon the patents, including the following iMessage claim:

In particular, devices running the iMessage application initiate a communication between a caller and a callee. The callee may be an Apple subscriber or a non-subscriber. In the case that the callee is an Apple subscriber, the communication is sent using iMessage. On the other hand, if the user is not an Apple subscriber or if iMessage is not available, the communication is sent using SMS/MMS. Apple’s messaging system directly and/or indirectly practices certain claims of the ‘815 patent in order to determine the classification of a user, and, subsequently, how the call should be routed.

The lawsuit was originally initiated on February 9, but VoIP-Pal delayed pursuing legal action until Monday as the company says it remains engaged in discussions with Apple outside the courtroom regarding an amicable resolution. The company appears to be open to a sale or licensing of its patent portfolio.

“We are confident the current good will on both sides will result in a favorable outcome for all parties involved,” said Emil Malak, CEO of VoIP-Pal.

VoIP-Pal, which acquired network operator Digifonica in 2013, describes itself as “a technical leader in the broadband VoIP market.” The company does not currently generate income, but insists it is “absolutely not” a patent troll, noting that Digifonica began designing its system back in 2004.

We designed, built and tested super-nodes and nodes in Canada, England, and Norway, spending more than $17 million on development and execution in the process. At one time, we had more than twenty (20) engineers working on the software design and implementation. […]

Due to the Great Recession in the mid 2000’s, Digifonica was unable to continue supporting the platform, while it was continuing its significant investment in protecting the intellectual property it had developed. […]

The infringing companies are making billions of dollars using technology that were conceived, designed, built, tested and patented by Digifonica.

VoIP-Pal has filed similar lawsuits against AT&T and Verizon in Las Vegas court.

Tags: lawsuit, patents, iMessage, FaceTime, Patent Trials, Apple-VoIP
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10
May

Apple Patents Advanced iPad Covers With Customizable Displays and Notification Widgets


The United States Patent and Trademark Office today granted Apple a patent that describes a collection of iPad-compatible Smart Covers that could integrate various display technologies to greatly enhance “the overall functionality of the tablet device.” The original patent application was published in August 2012 and dates back to August 2011, four years before Apple introduced the original iPad Pro and its Smart Connector. (via Patently Apple).

The first integration of a next-generation Smart Cover lies in video playback, where a user could watch a video with the cover folded up into a triangle like Apple’s current Smart Covers allow, but now supporting a set of touch-sensitive areas for play, pause, fast forward, and rewind controls. Although the user would not be able to directly see where they were pressing down, “the size and location of the touch sensitive areas can allow for a user to easily learn the locations after a short familiarization period,” according to the patent.

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Another suggestion for a Smart Connector-enabled cover has an internal display with “a completely customized control scheme,” which would let users change up the cover’s input to be anything from a traditional QWERTY keyboard to a sketchbook for artists. The addition of another screen of a size in comparison to the iPad’s would introduce an iOS experience “much closer to the one enjoyed by laptop users.”

ipad pro cover patent 3A Smart Cover with AMOLED display (left) and e-ink display (right)
One of the more basic and interesting applications lies in a Smart Cover that could show notifications and messages without needing to lift it to reveal the iPad’s screen underneath. This potential case could use AMOLED technology to power a minuscule number of pixels to generate the notification text widgets without burning battery life. An expansion on this idea suggests a cover with integrated e-ink screens to display traditional push notifications, as well as provide an area for users to jot down quick notes throughout the day.

There are a handful of other ideas in today’s patent descriptions, one of which includes a cover with solar panels that could charge the iPad with direct sunlight. Most of these applications mention technology that Apple has created in the years since the patent’s original filing, including both the Apple Pencil and Smart Connector, although neither are referenced directly by name. That being said, it’s still advised to take Apple’s newest patent application with a grain of salt, since it’s impossible to know whether the company will ever move forward with any of these iPad case designs.

Tag: Patent
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10
May

T-Mobile’s New Family Plan Offers 4 Lines With 6GB LTE Each for $120


T-Mobile has announced a new Family Match promotion that offers families four lines of unlimited talk, text, and 6GB of 4G LTE data per line for $120 per month starting May 11. Additional lines can be added for $20 per month.

As America gets set for summertime travel, summer camps, summer concerts and more fun in the summer sun, the Un-carrier’s got you covered. Starting tomorrow, families can get 4 lines with unlimited talk, text and data with 6GB of Un-carrier Data per line for just $30 a line – a savings of $20 per month for a family of four on T-Mobile Simple Choice with Family Match. Additional lines are just an extra $20 each per month with 6GB.

The deal is not quite as good as T-Mobile’s past Family Match promotions, including the same four-line deals with unlimited LTE per line for $150 per month or 10GB of LTE per line for $120 per month, but it does provide Simple Choice customers that missed out with another savings opportunity heading into the summer season.

The limited time offer is available for new and existing Simple Choice customers on approved credit, and the promotion can be combined with T-Mobile’s other offers, including Binge On, Data Stash, JUMP! On Demand, Mobile Without Borders, and Music Freedom. T-Mobile will also pay up to $650 of your early termination fees if you switch to their carrier from AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.

The new Family Match plans are available starting Wednesday at T-Mobile stores across the U.S. or by calling 844-222-1927.

Tags: T-Mobile, Simple Choice
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10
May

Withings Go review – CNET


The Good Months-long battery life; always-on e-ink display; comes with band and clip accessories; easy to use and set up. Water resistant for swimming.

The Bad Chunky design and unattractive band; no extra watch faces or ways to see health data on the Go screen; can’t be set to show the time as the always-on display.

The Bottom Line Long battery life, water resistance and an always-on screen are the best features of the Withings Go, but for its price you can find better overall fitness trackers.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

It’s hard to come up with a new spin on the basic fitness tracker. The Withings Go, with a few key changes, could have been a nearly perfect budget fitness band. Instead, the Go — available for $80 or £50 (equivalent to AU$100) — is a cute little fitness button that doesn’t quite add up to something I’d want wear. It’s got an e-ink display that’s always on. But it doesn’t make good use of it.

Withings, the French connected-wellness company that was just acquired by Nokia, makes a few fitness trackers — notably, the analog watch-like Activite Pop. That watch earned my love by being an easy-to-use everyday watch with long battery life and basic tracking. Imagine that watch but in a chunky plastic body with wrist and clip accessories plus a digital e-ink screen, and you have the Go. I wore one for about a week, and…it’s pretty bare-bones. And, unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as good a watch as the Activite.

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An e-ink screen stays on all the time, and can even be clicked (but doesn’t do much).


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Go is white, but comes with two packed-in accessories in one of five colors (black, blue, green, red or yellow): a rubbery wristband and a plastic belt clip that doubles as a keychain fob. It runs off a coin battery, lasting an estimated eight months. It can be worn while swimming, too. It feels durable, but also clunky.

10
May

Hands-on with the Withings Go: an $80 fitness tracker with an E-Ink display


As far back as I can remember, Withings has always been a company that’s focused on design. If the Activité taught us anything, it’s that Withings is capable of making a really nice looking fitness tracker. But what happens when the company scales back its efforts a bit and tries its hand at a budget-friendly fitness companion? That’s what you get with the Withings Go, a new $80 activity tracker with a few tricks up its sleeve.

If I didn’t tell you this was a Withings device, you probably wouldn’t have figured it out. It looks nothing like the Activité Steel or Pop, or really anything else the company has produced. It’s small, minimal, and comes in a few different form factors. The fitness tracker itself is actually the little white coin-like device. You can toss it in your pocket, clip it to your keys, on a belt, or wear it like a standard wrist-mounted fitness tracker.

Withings Activite Steel review AA 4See also: Withings Activité Steel review5

Withings Go AA 5

It also has an E-Ink display that helps it stand out from the crowd. Since the display just barely sips any power at all, Withings says the Go’s CR2032 button-cell battery will last up to 8 months. That means you don’t have to charge this thing… ever. Just go out and buy a new battery (a 25-pack is just under $5 on Amazon), and you’re good to go for another 8 months.

Withings Go AA 2

The Go comes with just about all the built-in features that are present on other Withings products

Although it does have a display, the Go doesn’t actually show you too much information at one time. One screen displays how far along you are with your daily step goal, and you can press on the middle of the device to switch to an analog watch. You can also invert the colors if you prefer a darker look.

Speaking of daily step goals, the Go comes with just about all the built-in features that are present on other Withings products. It can track whether you’re walking, running, swimming or sleeping, and it does so automatically. There’s no need to tap a start workout now button, which is really nice. There’s no silent alarm on here, though, which would have been a nice addition to the already long feature set.

See also: Fitbit Alta review

Withings Go AA 4

In terms of walking and running, the Go will keep track of your steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and session duration. It’s also 5 ATM water resistant so you can take it in the pool or wear it in the shower. Sleep tracking is also present here. The Go will record your light and deep sleep phases, and also any interruptions that you may experience in the middle of the night.

Withings Go AA 1

All of your workout info is recorded in the Withings Health Mate app

It records all of this detailed information in the Withings Health Mate app. While it’s not the most intuitive companion app out there, it is quite beautiful. The app also lets you record weight, heart rate (via your phone’s camera flash), blood pressure and food intake.
Withings Go AA 6

The jury is still out as to whether or not the Withings Go will be a good value. This thing has a lot of positives: 8-month battery life, multiple color options, sub-$100 price point, water resistance, and you can wear it on your belt or on your wrist. With that said, $80 does seem a tad pricey for a device that’s not necessarily breaking any boundaries. Fitbit and Jawbone have similar products on the market for less than $80, though their feature sets all differ quite a bit.

Withings Go AA 3

If you’re interested, the Withings Go is now available for purchase for $79.95 from Withings.com in Black, Blue, Green, Red and Yellow color options. It’s also coming to Amazon sometime in Q2 of this year, so be on the lookout for that.

What are your thoughts? Is the Withings Go something you’d be interested in picking up for yourself? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Show Press Release

Ready, Steady, Go! Withings Begins Sales of Its Advanced Affordable Activity Tracker

Withings GO brings activity tracking to a wider audience with automatic activity recognition, no charging and stylish “wear it your way” design

May 10, 2016 – BOSTON, MA – Ready, Steady, Go! Withings, a leader in the connected health revolution, has announced the availability of Withings Go, one of the most affordable, versatile and fully featured activity trackers available. Priced at just $79.95, it is an intuitive tracker designed to help everyone embrace activity tracking and achieve their personal health goals. With an award-winning design, groundbreaking E-Ink display and automatic activity recognition that seamlessly detects whether users are walking, running, swimming or sleeping, the Withings Go offers the advanced functionality normally associated with much higher price points.

“Withings Go compliments the existing portfolio of Withings trackers and expands the appeal of activity tracking to both consumer and Corporate Wellness customers thanks to its attractive features, style and price.” says Cédric Hutchings, CEO of Withings. “By ensuring Withings Go is affordable, packed with features and sporting a vibrant, stylish design, we have developed a device that people will want to wear and use on a daily basis.”

Automatic activity recognition

The Withings Go features highly advanced automatic activity recognition capabilities that can intelligently determine between a wide variety of movements, motions and speeds associated with various activities. Because Withings Go automatically recognizes a variety of daily activities, it allows users to wear it all day and track without having to push a button to change between different activities. For walking and running, the device analyzes number of steps, distance covered, calories burned as well as the duration of the running session. Withings Go is also water-resistant (5 ATM) and automatically recognizes when the user starts swimming, providing the time of the session and the calories burned. At night, Withings Go analyzes and can distinguish between light and deep sleep cycles to give users a full understanding of their sleep patterns.

Stylish design with dashing E-Ink display

The Withings Go is designed to expand the appeal of activity trackers to wider audiences, helping people of all fitness levels achieve their health goals. It perfectly marries functionality and style, packed full of features without compromising on design aesthetics. Winner of the coveted iF Design award, Withings Go is available in 5 vibrant colors (black, blue, green, red, yellow) and can be worn in multiple ways to suit individual styles or social settings. Whether placed on the wrist, clipped to a belt, carried on a keychain, or put in a pocket, it is with you wherever you go.

As well as great looks, the sophisticated, always-on E-Ink display constantly provides users with intuitive information – even in bright sunlight or in water. The main screen provides the user’s level of activity – shown as a dial depicting the percentage of progress achieved towards a specific day’s activity goal. Once this goal is met, the central icon changes to display a star in recognition of the day’s achievement. The Withings Go will also transform to tell the time by pressing on the center, creating an analog watch face. The very low power requirement of the E-Ink display means the Withings Go can operate continuously for up to 8 months. There is no charging required as the device uses a button cell battery (CR2032).

Withings Go connects to the free, award-winning Withings Health Mate iOS and Android application. Acting as a powerful resources to manage many aspects of everyday health, Health Mate provides detailed information about activity including a timeline of daily reports and contextual advice as well as help to manage nutritional information and advanced food logging capabilities, thanks to a proprietary integration with LoseIt. It will even allow users to share their data and challenge friends via “in app” interactive leaderboards and through social media channels. From running to nutrition coaching to food logging, Health Mate integrates with over 150 partner apps that further adds the to the 360° wellness experience.

Availability

The Withings Go is available for purchase at http://www.withings.com priced at $79.95 MSRP and will also be sold at Amazon.com in Q2 2016.

About Withings

Withings leads the connected-health revolution by inventing beautiful, smart products and services that help people become happier and healthier. Founded by visionary innovators Cédric Hutchings and Eric Carreel in 2009, Withings is committed to creating enjoyable, empowering experiences that easily fit into our daily lives.

10
May

Grab the new Chromecast and Peaky Blinders Season 2 for just £23


The Chromecast 2 is available through Wuaki.TV in the UK for just £22.99 (via Hot UK Deals), which includes Peaky Blinders Season 2. While season 1 of the series isn’t included and you’ll probably have to check that out separately, it’s a neat promotion for the Chromecast alone, setting you back just over £20 for the unit.

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As for Peaky Blinders, it’s a BBC crime drama series based around the Peaky Blinders gang, who operated in Birmingham during the aftermath of World War 1. Season 1 of the series is also available through Wuaki.TV for £9.99.

See at Wuaki.TV

10
May

Nova Launcher does Night mode the way all of Android should


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I love Night mode.

I’ve been known to walk out of my darkened edit bay and screech “THE LIGHT! IT BURNS!” Every time I talk to the Google Play Music team, I beg them to return the dark UI the app featured when I first joined Android. But not everyone wants everything to go back to the Dark HOLOYOLO ages, though, so if/when Night mode makes its grand return, it needs to do so in a way that can please both the dark-loving users and the light.

Nova Launcher gives me hope that we’re getting close to that.

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Night mode was hiding in the Developer Preview of Android Marshmallow, but never made it to the final release. This year, Night mode is back and while you have the option to use a dark mode for the Android OS, there is no such option for Night mode to trigger dark themes in other apps. Nova Launcher’s new night mode hasn’t let that omission stop them from tying their Night mode into the Android system.

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The Follow system option for Night mode will switch between dark and light themes just as the system does. If you’re on the Android N Developer Preview, Night mode will switch as your system does, if your system does. If you’re on any of the publicly released version of Android, from Marshmallow down, Follow system acts currently acts like Auto, meaning it will switch based on your time/location and the sunset time.

This isn’t a perfect system. The lack of a clear-cut off switch for this feature might run afoul of users who don’t care for the dark theme or find it harder to read. On that note, if you don’t want night mode on, you’ll need to set a Custom timing for it, such as from 3:00 to 3:05 AM when you’ll likely be asleep and never see it.

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The implementation of dark mode outside Nova Settings isn’t perfect quite yet, especially for people using custom color/tints for their app drawer, folders, and other elements. Night mode currently wipes out all those lovely translucent tones and replaces them with the same dark grey that’s used in Nova Settings. Thankfully, Night mode isn’t an all or nothing affair.

Night mode always applies a dark theme to Nova Settings when active, but you can turn it off for all or some of the visible home screen and app drawer features it can affect. Getting a dark search bar outside Action Launcher might be reason enough for some users to turn on Night mode, but you may not want it plastering dark grey over your app drawer – or even worse, changing your custom app drawer icon to a boring, standard (but dark) one.

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The control over individual features in an important one, and one not often found in apps that are gracious enough to feature a Night mode. Much as I love dark themes, they don’t work perfectly for all features and screens in all apps, so you’ll have to turn it off while using a particular feature or trying to use the app in particular situations. We need more granular controls for Night mode, and while that most certainly means more work for already hard-working developers, the dividends for users can be tremendous.

I will say that Night mode in Nova Launcher could still use a few more options, such as letting users switch from the more material dark grey to a pure black, especially for AMOLED devices. But it’s already three steps in the right direction, and I can only hope that more apps start following its lead.

10
May

LG G5, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge+ get updates from Verizon


The LG G5, Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ are all receiving small updates from Verizon. Each update brings a different set of features, and fixes. We’ve got security updates, Visual Voicemail enhancements and more.

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Verizon notes that the LG G5 update brings:

Verizon Wireless is pleased to announce a new software update for your LG G5. This update includes enhancements for Visual Voice Mail, Airplane Mode and reporting Microsoft Exchange Active Server data usage.

Visual Voice Mail Updates:

  • New, user friendly speaker and volume icons.

Airplane Mode security enhancement:

  • To enable Airplane Mode with a long press of the power button, you’ll have to unlock the screen if you used the follow methods to lock it: Pattern lock, PIN, Password, Knock code, Fingerprint.

Data Usage:

  • Your device will now display data usage attributed to Microsoft Exchange Active Server (EAS).

And the Note 5 update includes:

  • This software update brings the latest Android™ security patches, a fix to false “No SIM card detected” error messages and improves audio routing for incoming video and voice calls.
  • New SIM card detection software fixes false “No SIM card detected” pop-up notifications.
  • You can now answer video calls as just a voice call, and when you do, call audio is routed to the earpiece by default.
  • Video call audio will come from the speaker by default.

Finally, the Galaxy S6 edge+ gains:

  • This software update brings the latest Android™ security patches, and improvements to video and voice call audio.

Video call answering options:

  • You can now answer video calls as just a voice call, and when you do, call audio is routed to the earpiece by default.
  • Video call audio will come from the speaker by default.

These updates are just beginning to roll out, so it may be a day or two before you see them. To check manually, head into your Settings, About phone and finally check for the update.

10
May

Video Direct is Amazon’s new way to give content creators access to its millions of customers


Amazon has announced Video Direct, a new way for video providers to reach Amazon’s huge customer base. With this, content creators will have a number of new self-service ways to put their videos in front of Amazon’s millions of Prime customers. The company will be offering royalties based on the number of minutes streamed, and more.

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Amazon notes that some of the benefits include:

  • Access to Amazon’s most engaged streaming audience—video providers can distribute their content directly to tens of millions of Prime members and earn royalties based on minutes streamed
  • Choice of how to share titles—video providers can utilize the different options Amazon Video uses to share content to customers
  • Expanded customer reach—video providers can choose to make their titles available in any country where Amazon Video is available—the United States, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom and Japan; with support for all the devices Amazon Video is available on—Fire TV, Fire and other iOS and Android tablets, connected TVs, game consoles, iOS and Android phones, and laptops
  • Insightful performance metrics—video providers are given performance metrics, such as number of minutes a title was streamed, projected revenue, payment history, or number of subscribers, so they can optimize the way they offer and promote content to customers; video providers have full control and the flexibility to make changes based on these metrics

It appears as though Amazon is positioning itself to offer a competitive package for creators to sway them to move from YouTube to their platform. Amazon is also launching the Amazon Video Direct Stars program, which will give creators a share of one million dollars per month based on customer engagement on their title. Full details of the Amazon Video Direct announcement can be found here.

10
May

T-Mobile will offer families four lines with 6GB of data for $30 a month per line


T-Mobile’s latest promotion is offering families four lines, each with 6GB of data, for $30 a month per line. Additional lines can be added for $20 a month each.

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T-Mobile says their new plan offers a savings of $20 per month for a family of four on its Simple Choice with Family Match plan. The new plan begins on Wednesday, May 11 and will only be offered for a limited time.

In addition, T-Mobile is giving people who purchase a Samsung Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge a free Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime smartphone. The $189.99 phone will be offered to those buyers via a prepaid card. Again this offer begins on May 11 for a limited time.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 edge review
  • Here are all four Galaxy S7 colors
  • Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S7?
  • Learn about the Galaxy S7’s SD card slot
  • Join our Galaxy S7 forums

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