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7
Oct

Samsung Owes Apple $120 Million in Longstanding Slide-to-Unlock Lawsuit


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reinstated Apple’s $119.6 million award in a longstanding patent lawsuit with Samsung, after eight of twelve judges ruled it was wrong to throw out the verdict in February.

The bulk of the award, $98.7 million, was for the detection patent that the earlier panel said wasn’t infringed. The February decision also said the other two patents were invalid. […] That was a wrong decision, the court ruled Friday, because it relied on issues that were never raised on appeal or on information that was beyond the trial record.

The long-running lawsuit dates back to 2011, when Apple accused Samsung of infringing upon its now-retired slide-to-unlock feature, autocorrect, and a method of detecting phone numbers so they can be tapped to make phone calls, according to Bloomberg. The case is not to be confused with a similar Apple v. Samsung lawsuit related to accusations of older Galaxy smartphones infringing upon the iPhone’s design.

The appeals court will argue that second case, also dating back to 2011, on Tuesday to determine how much Samsung should pay for copying the look and feel of the iPhone, according to the report. Samsung was originally ordered to pay Apple damages of $548 million, but it appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in December as a last-ditch effort to avoid paying the settlement.

In August, over 100 world-renowned designers, including Calvin Klein, Dieter Rams, and Norman Foster, filed an amicus brief in support of Apple in the lawsuit. The designers argued that a product’s visual design has “powerful effects on the human mind and decision making processes,” citing a 1949 study that showed more than 99% of Americans could identify a bottle of Coca-Cola by shape alone.

Tags: Samsung, lawsuit, patent trials
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7
Oct

Huawei Honor 8 review – CNET


Liquid. That’s the best way we can describe the smooth, sensuous lines of Huawei’s new Honor 8 phone, which the company unveiled at a press event in San Francisco tonight in dark blue, black and white shades.

Honor is the Chinese company’s sub-brand, one that tends to — but doesn’t necessarily always — sell phones at lower prices than other Huawei lines. (One good example: the Honor 5X came in cheaper than the similar Huawei-branded GX8 at launch.)

The Honor 8, whose glossy, reflective coating channels Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S7 phone design, is essentially a rebranded Huawei P9, a phone released last spring with two rear cameras. While the Honor 8 shares the dual camera and some unique gestures you can initiate with your knuckles, it does’t have the same Leica branding that the P9 does.

Huawei’s Honor 8 has liquid-smooth looks
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We’ll soon take the two 12-megapixel rear shooters on a head-to-head bout with the P9 to see just how the Huawei camera compares to P9’s lofted lenses.

Where and when to get it

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The Honor 8’s glossy finish attracts the light, and also icky fingerprints.

Josh Miller/CNET

As of now now, the Honor 8 has been announced for China, the US and Europe.

In the US, you can pick up the 32GB variant for $400 and the 64GB version for $450. Pre-orders run from August 17 through September 3 and you get a $50 gift card for your efforts. You can pick up the phone at HiHonor.com, Amazon, Best Buy, B&H and Newegg. If you want that bright blue color, though — and it’s a nice one — you’ll have to get it from Best Buy for the first two months. After that, it’s fair game.

Only the 32GB version is available in the UK, where it costs £370 direct from Huawei, or from Amazon, where it’s bundled with a free Amazon Fire TV Stick worth £30. If you want to buy it as part of a phone contract, Three has the exclusive.

Prices are yet to be announced for Australia, but the US prices convert to roughly AU$525 and AU$590.

Glossy, pocket-friendly design

We can tell you that the 5.2-inch Honor 8 is comfortable to hold and pockets well, although its shiny surface smudged up fast. While we do like the size, the 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution is bright and detailed but not as sharp as the 2,560×1,440-pixel screens found in top Samsung, LG and Motorola phones. However, that matters less if you aren’t using a phone for VR, and resolution also matches up with our favorite midprice phone of the year, the OnePlus 3.

Huawei phones keep a fingerprint sensor on the back. Since this is a smaller device than the much larger Nexus 6P, it’s an easier target for those of us with smaller hands to reach.

Hidden perks: Knuckles and custom launcher

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Wild! Drag your knuckle on the screen to launch apps.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Even better, the fingerprint reader includes a “smart button” feature that turns it into a programmable button you can use to launch specific apps. You can map it to launch three different apps when you tap, double-tap or long press the sensor. It’s a really nice perk the Honor 8 has that the brushed-metal P9 did not.

However, this Honor 8 does carry over a previous feature to knuckle down on the screen. Really. Double tap the display with your knuckle to snap a quick screenshot, or double tap it with two knuckles to begin recording the screen. (Knock, knock!)

You can also use your knuckle to draw a “C” to launch the camera app, an “E” for email and “M” for music — though the latter are sometimes more trouble than they’re worth. We’ve seen it previously on the Mate 8 phone, but it’s the first time their knuckle actions will come to the US.

Double the camera lenses, double the fun?

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Two lenses working better together could add depth to your photography.

Josh Miller/CNET

Let’s get back to those dual cameras, shall we? One lens is monochrome and the other is RGB. Huawei says the two work together to make photos more vivid and detailed. AKA, you become more of a photo genius and the envy of your peers. Both cameras together can also change the depth of field to give your shots more of the professional look usually associated with DSLR cameras. For a black-and-white effect, you can switch to a monochrome mode.

So far, we know that the Honor 8 uses the same Sony IMX286 sensors as the P9. We’re trying to confirm if the Honor 8 also uses the P9’s lenses.

Meanwhile, an 8-megapixel camera sits on the front with a flash that doubles as a notification light. So far, our test shots looked pretty good — but we’ll be taking many, many more.

Full specs

  • 5.2-inch display with a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution (423ppi)
  • Octa-core Huawei-made HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor
  • Two 12-megapixel rear cameras with flash
  • 8-megapixel front camera with flash
  • 32GB of internal storage with 4GB of RAM
  • MicroSD card slot up to 256GB of space
  • 3,000mAh battery with fast charging
  • USB-C charger port
  • Android 6.0 with Emotion 4.1 UI
  • IR Blaster, NFC, USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack

Update, August 24: Added UK pricing and availability.

7
Oct

Should you get Device Protection insurance for your Pixel?


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Should you buy Pixel Protect with your new Google phone? For an extra $100, you’re paying for peace of mind.

You might not think you need that device protection add-on for your shiny new device, but with Google’s new Pixel smartphones, you might consider springing for it in the case of an emergency.

Google’s new device insurance program is simply called Device Protection for your Pixel. For a flat fee or $99 ($129 in Canada) for either the Pixel or Pixel XL, Google will cover accidental damage from a drop or water ingress, as well as any general malfunctions for two years.

If in the event that you do need to file a claim, Google will hook you up with a new device after you pay a deductible—$79 for the Pixel and $99 for the Pixel XL. Take heed that you can only make a maximum of two claims during the two years you have the device in hand. Because honestly, if you have a bad habit of throwing your phone at the wall in fits of anger…well, that’s not something Google can help you with.

So, is the extra $100 worth it for Pixel device protection? Absolutely. You’ll still get one year of manufacturer’s warranty even if you don’t opt for it, but try not to live life too dangerously—especially since the new Pixel smartphones already cost a pretty penny.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

  • Google Pixel and Pixel XL hands-on preview
  • In pictures: Google Pixel and Pixel XL
  • Pixel + Pixel XL specs
  • Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Verizon is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the Google Pixels
  • Join the discussion in the forums!

Google Store
Verizon

7
Oct

Digital Offers: Learn everything you need to know about web development for only $65!


So you’ve decided on a new career in web development, but you’re unsure where’s the best place to start. You could enroll yourself in a computer sciences course at a local college, but that means putting your life on hold to go back to school, and who has the time or money for that?

The fact is if you want to be a programmer who’s in demand, you need to be proficient in a multitude of different coding languages. The more varied your experience and knowledge, the more valuable you are to prospective employers. The problem, of course, is building and maintaining your knowledge of all the latest programming languages.

Maybe you’ve seen ads for intensive coding boot camps, but thought that might be a bit overwhelming. You’d be much better off learning at your own pace via online courses.

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Android Central is here to help, with this amazing deal. You can get lifetime access to The Complete 2016 Learn to Code Bundle for just $65.

This bundle includes 12 distinct courses on all the most valuable languages and web development frameworks used by programmers today — including HTML, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and much more. Each course is broken down into digestible lessons, which have been put together by qualified and experienced experts.

All told you get access to over 100 hours of online course material, that you can always come back to when you need a refresher. This also makes it a valuable resources for those already working as a web developer, as you’ll have this well of knowledge to go back to throughout your career.

So what are you waiting for? To sign up for all these courses individually would cost over $1,000, but for a limited time you can enjoy a 94% discount with this bundle.

But again, this is only available for a limited time, so you’ll want to jump on it now and then enjoy the freedom to build out your coding skill set at your own pace.

See at Android Central Offers

7
Oct

RIGS: Mechanized Combat League is a bona fide PlayStation VR adrenaline rush!


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In the loosest sense of the word, RIGS is a sports title destined for the grand launch of PlayStation VR. It’s set in a futuristic arena where you pilot your mechanized warrior and try to score more goals than the opposing team. Sounds simple, right?

Throw in an innovative control system for a console title and the small matter of folks shooting at you, and you’ve got a challenge that’s both enormous fun and incredibly rewarding.

Read more at VR Heads!

7
Oct

HTC Bolt the first to taste Android Nougat


HTC Rom developer LlabTooFeR has said the HTC Bolt, currently codenamed Acadia, will be the first HTC branded phone to come running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.

You may think that the Google Pixel and Pixel XL actually claim that title since they’re probably being made by HTC too. However there’s no actual HTC branding on those phones, so they don’t count. And, in fact, they go one better anyway, with Android 7.1.

LlabTooFeR says the Bolt will have Nougat 7.0 with HTC’s Sense 8 UI, the very same that can be found on the HTC 10, a phone that the Bolt appears to share much of the same DNA with. Leaked renders of the Bolt show a similar metal body, front-mounted fingerprint scanner and a rear-facing camera with dual LED flash.

It was also reported for some time that the Bolt would be a US-bound phone only, but that appears to have changed, as it should now arrive in Europe, Asia and Africa. The US will still get the phone first though, as it’s due to go on sale there in a few weeks, with Sprint appearing to bag exclusive rights to sell it.

  • When is Android 7.1 Nougat coming to my phone?

While no other specs have been leaked, the HTC Bolt is shaping up to be an exciting phone. Hopefully we’ll have more details soon.

7
Oct

The ‘Final Fantasy XV’ soundtrack was a decade in the making


What were you doing 10 years ago? Try to think back. Maybe you had a different job or lived in another apartment. I was still a college student, waiting tables at a pub in my spare time. It feels like a lifetime ago. Now, consider this: Back then, Japanese composer Yoko Shimomura had just been asked to work on Final Fantasy XV. She wrote the first track in 2006, while it was still called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Ever since, she’s been waiting. Waiting and working through 10 years of tumultuous development, for the moment that fans could hear her work as it was intended — as part of the full game.

“The basic scenario and story concepts haven’t changed that much,” she explains, speaking through a translator. “They’re quite similar to what they were originally. There have been some changes, small scenario tweaks and the game’s functionality itself has changed. But overall, from a musical perspective, the concepts that we wanted to use from the start, they’re pretty much as they were. It’s kept on the same theme, basically.”

I’m meeting Shimomura at London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios. We’re in a room overlooking Studio One, where the London Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing the game’s tracks later that evening. It’s a cramped, gloomy space — a typical refuge, I suspect, for sound engineers — filled with squishy chairs, mixing desks and other high-end recording equipment. The downbeat atmosphere has had little effect on Shimomura’s mood, however. She’s a calm, dignified bundle of sunshine. Always cheerful, always smiling.

“I’ve been a fan of Final Fantasy for a long time, and I never thought that I would get the chance to do it,” she says. Shimomura is an industry veteran, having worked with Capcom, Square Enix and Nintendo for almost 30 years. Final Fight. Street Fighter II. Super Mario RPG. Breath of Fire. Kingdom Hearts. The list goes on and on. During that time, she never once considered what her own Final Fantasy score would sound like. Not until Square Enix called, anyway. “It wasn’t, not having a desire to want to do it professionally,” she offers. “It was just such a surprise.”

The franchise is steeped in history. Whether it’s the “Theme of Love” from Final Fantasy IV, or “One-Winged Angel” from Final Fantasy VII, every game has its share of memorable, distinctive tracks. Sweeping scores that underscore tense, mystical battles. Delicate melodies that reinforce a party member’s sadness, confusion or unrequited love. The tracks stand on their own but take new meaning when you know the characters, locales and events they were originally paired with. Many are the work of Nobuo Uematsu, one of the most respected video game composers of all time.

Nobuo Uematsu in Concert At Cigale.

Nobuo Uematsu performs at La Cigale in 2012. Credit: Redferns via Getty Images

No pressure for Shimomura, then. Final Fantasy XV, which comes out at last on November 29th, is a slight departure from previous games. The combat is faster and more “active” than before. The universe is a curious blend of high fantasy and contemporary technology; modern skyscrapers and sleek sedans surround individuals who can teleport, cast spells and wield magical weapons. Smartphones and pinball machines exist alongside colossal, lumbering monsters. Similar contrasts can be found in other Final Fantasy games — Final Fantasy VII and its depiction of Midgar, for instance — but here, it’s a new take.

Shimomura loves this idea. She points to the steampunk elements of earlier Final Fantasy games and how they were paired with traditional fantasy tropes. Final Fantasy XV, she says, is “not quite as different as some people say.” It’s edgy and experimental but also respectful of the franchise’s long-held traditions. (Crystals! Chocobos! Summons!) That same philosophy can be applied to the new game’s soundtrack. “That’s how I approach, personally, the making of the music,” she says, “and I think that’s what makes the franchise. That attempt to keep a universal fantasy style of music but mix in new themes and influences each time.”

Final Fantasy XV is no exception. American blues, for instance, can be heard in some of the game’s locations. Bossa nova, a Brazilian style of music combining samba and jazz, plays jubilantly while Noctis and his friends set up camp. Both of these genres are new for Final Fantasy, adding another dimension to the world and your actions within it. As Shimomura explains all of this, her voice starts to quicken. Maybe it’s excitement, or pride. After 10 years of waiting, I would have both in abundance.

Each new track is a collaboration between Shimomura and the studio. Most started as a request from the writers — a song that was needed for a particular cutscene, battle or locale. Shimomura would go away, work on a demo, and then send it to the team for review. Some songs were given the okay immediately while others required a little extra work. The specifics were debated “quite late at night” on conference calls. “A lot of back and forth was done by email as well,” she says. “But I certainly did discuss with them. What went in and what small changes needed to be made.”

Her involvement extended to the recordings too. Some of Final Fantasy XV’s music was performed in Boston; Shimomura traveled there twice to listen and provide feedback in person. “Obviously, it’s quite difficult to get into every single session from there, so we set up a remote video satellite link, and I’ve been listening in real time from Japan. But generally I do like to participate and take part in all of the recordings,” she says.

Soon, Shimomura will hear those tracks once more. Only this time, the public will be able to listen to them, too. A small audience has been invited to Abbey Road Studios while thousands, possibly millions, watch a livestream at home. After a decade of toil, of suspense, I can think of no better tribute to Shimomura and her contributions to the game.

Who knows if Final Fantasy XV will live up to fans’ expectations. Final Fantasy XIII and its direct sequels were, for many, a low point for the franchise, with a story that made little sense and characters that were difficult to care about. Square Enix is aware that it needs to bounce back — this time, there’s no room for mistakes. And while the quality of the game is a mystery, there’s one statement I can make with absolute confidence: With Shimomura at the helm, the music is in capable hands.

7
Oct

The Engadget Podcast Ep 9: What’s he building in there


Managing editor Dana Wollman and senior editor Devindra Hardawar join host Terrence O’Brien to dig through all the big Google news from the week, including the launch of the Pixel phones. Plus they take a brief detour to talk about what makes the PlayStation VR better than its competitors.

The Flame Wars Leaderboard

Wins

Loses

Winning %

Chris Velazco
3
1
.750
Christopher Trout
2
1
.666
Devindra Hardawar
9
7
.563
Dana Wollman
5
4
.555
Cherlynn Low
6
7
.461
Nathan Ingraham
4
6
.400
Michael Gorman
1
2
.333

Relevant links:

  • With Assistant, Google is becoming a lot more like Apple
  • Google’s ‘Assistant’ is at the core of its new hardware
  • Google baked its AI ‘Assistant’ into the new Pixel phones
  • A look back at Google’s Android flagships: the Nexus family
  • Google’s play for the living room starts with Home
  • Google’s AI-powered ‘Home’ hub ships next month for $129
  • PlayStation VR review: Great games outweigh limited specs
  • With the Pixel line, Google finally takes control of its phones

You can check out every episode on The Engadget Podcast page in audio, video and text form for the hearing impaired.

Watch on YouTube

Subscribe on Google Play Music

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on Pocket Casts

7
Oct

Amazon makes food delivery cheaper for Prime members


Amazon has cut the price of an AmazonFresh membership down to just $14.99 a month as long as you also subscribe to Prime. For that, you’ll be entitled to unlimited grocery deliveries in the locations where the service operates, including Boston, Seattle and San Francisco. It makes the business effectively a bolt-on for Amazon’s paid tier which has developed substantially in the last few years. Users will be able to save almost $120 with the new charges compared to its predecessor, which was a $299 flat rate for a whole year. That should help beat back competition from traditional retailers like Walmart and Target, who are trying to catch up on this whole tech-based delivery lark from a standing start.

Unlimited grocery delivery just got even easier! #AmazonFresh is now $14.99/month, exclusively for Prime members: https://t.co/D00Pf3qaxy pic.twitter.com/BygThOn2IG

— Amazon (@amazon) October 5, 2016

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Amazon

7
Oct

Google’s tech lab for teens sows the seeds of diversity


One of the best ways to solve the tech sector’s lack of diversity is to start ’em young. New York City’s mayor, Melinda Gates, and tech titans like Microsoft and Google all know that. In fact, the big G has just opened a computer science lab in Oakland called Code Next that was built specifically to teach black and Latino teens how to code.

According to a Google study from 2015, one of the reasons why tech corporations have very few minority employees is that half of black and Latino kids in the country don’t have access to computer science classes. As a result, Facebook’s, Apple’s, Microsoft’s and Google’s workforces are overwhelmingly white (and male). This program will bring the classes to them, and Oakland is an ideal location as one of the most diverse cities in the US.

Besides coding classes, participants will also do hands-on activities during their weekend and after-school programs. Topper Carew from MIT’s Media Lab, which helped develop Code Next’s curriculum, told TechCrunch that they “want to get [the students] to a point where they are competent, comfortable and champions in the coding space” and to ultimately get them ready for college.

While participants won’t have to pay a single cent, only those recommended by their schools and local non-profits like Black Girls Code will be able to get in. They have a better grasp of their own communities, after all, and Google decided to build with (and not for) the community from the start. Code Next is currently working with 70 eighth-grade students in Oakland, half of which are girls, and will work with 70 more in Harlem when that location opens in 2017.

As you can guess, the kids who get in already have one foot in the door. April Alvarez, Google Student Experience Program Manager, told TC that “these kids will definitely be set up to work at Google and will be highly competitive applicants. They will also be set up to start their own companies — to start their own next Facebook or Apple.”

Source: TechCrunch, Wired

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