Court Case Between Apple and Samsung : An Analysis

apple vs google

In California, yesterday Apple won the lawsuit against Samsung as the court ordered Samsung to pay 1.05 billion US dollars in damages. This is another reason to enjoy for Apple, which has become the most valued company in the history of all businesses recently. This lawsuit is very significant in the cell phone market today. This court case is something that we have been looking forward to for a long time.

Android-based Samsung devices (tablets and smartphones) have been competing severely with iPhone and iPad. Consumers know the quality and features available in the devices by both of these companies. However, the future may be significantly different for Samsung with this verdict.

The Beginning of the Lawsuit

 

Last year (2011 April) Apple started its legal battle against Samsung with a demand for 2.5 billion dollars toward reparation. The spat between these two stalwarts in the mobile market was regarding infringement of Apple’s design patents. Look at the image below, published by BBC, aptly describing the issue:

apple iphone vs samsung

 

It looks as if Samsung was woken up abruptly from a slumber (by iPhone) and started developing products conforming to the latest, hot design standards.

Two quotes made by Samsung should be mentioned here at this point:

It (the verdict) will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices.

This decision should not be allowed to stand because it would discourage innovation and limit the rights of consumers to make choices for themselves. : by Samsung lawyer, John Quinn.

I would like to note here that Samsung didn’t innovate in the design front; it was Apple that came up with a new design first and Samsung merely followed that trend.

Technology Theft

 

The Galaxy series of tablets and phones look not so different from iPad and iPhone. Almost two dozen models from Samsung were found to be guilty of design theft. The specific models hit include Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S series, Mesmerize, Fascinate, Infuse, etc., which look suspiciously similar to iPhone. Also, from a distance, who can identify between the popular iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab?

Other user interface options that Apple claims Samsung copied include ‘bounce back’ feature that makes menus and icons bounce back when you tap through them.

Apple also claims Samsung copied the tap-to-zoom feature from iPhone.

Other Lawsuits

 

If you look at the array of lawsuits between these firms, you know that each has in fact stolen from the other. Recent verdict in a Seoul court made Samsung pay Apple 25 million won and Apple, 40 million won in return. The Seoul court had found out that Apple had violated two patents by Samsung while Samsung had violated one.

In another lawsuit in the UK, the British court had invalidated Apple’s claims of violation of their patents by Samsung.

In Australia, it was Samsung’s victory over Apple, and Galaxy tab had thrived there over iPad.

Strategies & Thoughts

 

Apple began the battle back in 2011, showing the obvious design theft done by Samsung. In return, Samsung had filed a case against Apple claiming around 400 million. Now, it’s clear that to a bystander it would seem that Apple had the genuine cause. Looking at the evidence too (the devices by Samsung that look a lot like the popular iPhone), anyone would be compelled to support Apple rather than Samsung. The return lawsuit by Samsung might have given it a suspiciously offensive outlook. They probably thought offense is the best defense. Probably that lawsuit made Samsung less favorable to the current jury.

Samsung’s latest addition to the Galaxy S series, Galaxy S3, has a predominantly different design among the entire line of smartphones by the company. Also, Samsung marketed it with the tagline ‘designed for humans’, and tried to send a blow to Apple by saying ‘there are no straight lines in real life’. These gimmicks are obviously the direct reverberation of the continuing lawsuit.

Now, Apple has the upper hand, and it can demand removal of over two dozen models by Samsung from the US market of smartphones. Google Android will get a hit if this happens as most of the popular devices in this operating system are manufactured by Samsung.

In terms of other hardware specific details, Samsung phones have always excelled over the iPhone. They come with impressively large displays mostly based on AMOLED technology; some phones have mobile payment technology based on NFC (what is this?) and Google Wallet; high-speed multicore processors; and they are remarkably cheaper than iPhone.

In this legal win for Apple, one of the most important opinions was made by Christopher Marlett, CEO of MDB Capital Group that specializes in intellectual property:

I don’t know if $1 billion is hugely significant to Apple or Samsung. But there is a social cost here. As a company, you don’t want to be known as someone who steals from someone else. I am sure Samsung wants to be known as an innovator, especially since a lot of Asian companies have become known for copying the designs of innovators.

legal pleading

Apple had an impressive strategy to win this case. They established facts and convinced the jury that they believed in a product like iPhone to invest a billion and four years for its design and marketing. They were able to prove without doubt that their product designs have been copied. Even one of the witnesses by Samsung was made to concede to the supremacy of Apple in the design front.

On the other hand, Samsung’s arguments centered on their ‘pressure’ in the market after the launch of an innovative product like iPhone; it looked like Samsung was clueless in its pleadings. The lawyers probably didn’t focus on the obvious necessity for a design similar to Apple’s for bringing out devices with large displays. They probably also didn’t discuss other areas of innovation that Samsung has an upper hand on, such as the display technology and hardware superiority.


[Update: ]

The district court judge, Lucy Koh presiding over the Apple Samsung lawsuit has ordered that the penalty Samsung needs to pay to Apple be reduced by 450,514,650 dollars. Hence, now Samsung needs to pay only 598,908,892 dollars. There is a detailed analysis done by FOSS Parents blog.


 

Conclusion

 

This particular win for Apple will create awareness among cellphone designers out there. We will probably be seeing innovative designs and user interfaces from other companies. Google will also probably make radical changes to Android to ward off any other possible lawsuits based on technology. Although at present there is no danger to Google or Android, the future is difficult.

Apple’s lawyers, led by Harold McElhinny, have requested a pullout of infringing Samsung devices from the market, and increased damages closer to 4 billion. On the other hand, lawyer, John Quinn of Samsung has requested the verdict to be nullified. Hearing for Apple’s move for sales injunction will be held on September 20.

Five Great Alternatives for iGoogle Home Page Portal Obtained via Five Great Alternatives for iGoogle Home Page Portal

Google’s popular home page service, iGoogle will be retired on November 1st, 2013. That’s a little over a year of managing your home page through this service. It came as a great disappointment to me since I had been using the service for a long time. I have a nice home page set up in iGoogle with news from BBC, CNN, and others; my calendar; a widget for time management; topic-specific news on technology, stock quotes, weather; and some other interesting stuff. It was a page that I woke up to for many days.

It seems obvious that the popularity of home page services has been coming down in the recent years; another popular service in this arena, Netvibes has turned into something else entirely. I could have turned my attention to Netvibes after they retire iGoogle, but that won’t happen now.

I will miss Google’s home page, and before that I want to find out another portal service that I could love as I do iGoogle. In search for one, I found these great services which can replace iGoogle.

1. Protopage

Protopage

is almost exactly the same as iGoogle. It has widgets gallery containing games, sports widgets, news, stock quotes, celebrity gossip, arts, etc. The widgets can be added to your home page and you can build tabs on the top to group multiple widgets together. The support for browsers is also diverse.

protopage

Protopage can be set up on your mobile phone – support available for Apple iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, etc. Protopage provides you with a Sticky Notes feature that gives you a notepad right inside your home page. Other featured widgets include To-do list, Calendar, Comment box, analog and digital clocks. You can also import Outline Processor Markup (OPML) code if you want custom widgets.

2. WebWag Portal

This portal

gives you a neat home page with widget selections already made – for sports enthusiasts, tech geeks, news, stocks, etc. The interface is not dissimilar to iGoogle too. With Ajax technology, the content addition is simple and fast. It has got a widget gallery arranged in categories like Essentials, Actualities, Finance & bus, Fun & Games, etc. In addition, you can import your own RSS feeds and widgets through user code.

webwag

 

3. Ustart.org

Ustart

has a very elegant interface and gives you a wizard that will help you configure your home page for the first time. Social media activities of your friends can also be tracked from the home page through Twitter and Facebook widgets. The news and RSS widgets are well optimized for viewing a larger number of news stories. Also with an assortment of customizable widgets, the home page would look very nice.

ustart

Ustart has a number of themes that you can use to design your home page. Alternatively, you can choose your own background and colors.

4. Gritwire

Gritwire

gives your browser quick setup links at the bottom. The interface Gritwire gives is radically different from other services we have seen. The features that you can add to your start page are categorized into seven – Speed feeds, Quick links, Friends, Wikis, Podcasts, Inbox, Weather. Other than RSS feeds and others, Gritwire doesn’t give you many options.

gritwire

 

5. Favoor

Favoor

start page has the capability of adding RSS feeds. It gives the feature to add and manage RSS feeds and links only. Widgets and such other interactive stuff are not available in this service. For a generally simple start page, you can use this one.

favoor

 

Conclusion

The number of portal services available out there is dwindling fast. Services that used to be popular like Netvibes, Pageflakes, etc., are no longer available. The only heavyweights still standing are Yahoo and MSN. I suppose you already know the capabilities of these applications. If you are looking for news stories alone, you can still use Google News service. For the time being, you may want to try one of these home page services that are still there.

Microsoft Outlook.com Vs. Google Gmail

outlook.com vs gmail

Microsoft has rebranded their popular Hotmail service to Outlook.com. As you know, for several years Yahoo.com and Hotmail were extremely popular email services. Along came then, Gmail, and with huge free online storage it swept up the users from both of the other email services. Strong fan following of Gmail also washed away other smaller email services.

Even Facebook’s email service was not a match to the mighty Gmail. An important thing to note here is that ironically enough, Hotmail still has the highest number of users followed by Gmail and Yahoo mail, although the user base of Hotmail contains a lot of inactive and secondary email accounts.

Now, everybody is talking about Outlook.com and whether it will be a sizable competitor to Gmail. In this article, let’s do a rematch between Microsoft and Google email services.

Security

 

security

One of the most important aspects of an email service is its security. You don’t want snooping eyes on your email conversations. As far as security goes, you know already how robust Gmail is. Gmail is the only service that offers two-factor authentication. That is, after you sign in with your password, you have to also enter a text verification code that you can receive through an SMS or a voice call.

On Outlook, however, you have a feature known as ‘single-use codes’. This is available on request when you are on an untrusted computer. You can ask Microsoft to send you an SMS code that you can use only once to sign into the account. This way, you will secure your actual password. In the same way, Outlook helps you prevent account thefts by incorporating your cell phone into your email account. This feature is already available in Gmail.

Winner: Gmail

Message Composition

There are a few differences in message composition on these email services. The reply-to fields are auto-suggested by both Gmail and Outlook. On Outlook, however, you have tiny buttons next to each email address to edit or remove the particular email address.

gmail compose
outlook.com compose

The compose-message window on Gmail has the same look as the entire email interface, while Outlook has come up with a new message window with no sidebar with contacts or folders. The message editor that Microsoft has come up with is simpler with fewer options than Google’s. Copy-pasting text with rich formatting is easier on Gmail’s editor.

Adding attachments to the email is easier on Outlook.com. It gives an option to upload the files you attach to your SkyDrive online storage. Attaching images on Outlook gives an attractive thumbnail list on your message. Also, you can search for images with Bing search and add them directly to the email message. On the other hand, Gmail uses the popular Picasa Web for image management.

Winner: Tie

Social Media Updates

When it comes to Gmail, the only social media site that you can work with is Google+. Don’t worry about others as Google won’t give you any updates from them! No integration to Twitter or Facebook makes Gmail less favored in terms of social media integration. Also, G+ hasn’t yet become anywhere close to Twitter or Facebook in terms of popularity.

On the other hand, Microsoft has made its email service tightly integrated to Facebook and Twitter; hence, you will be able to notice Facebook and Twitter updates of a recognized sender on the sidebar, instead of ads (yes, that’s correct!)

Winner: Outlook

Voice & Video Chat

You may know already that Gmail is the first email service to integrate chatting features through Google Talk. Later on, Google incorporated voice and video chat right from inside the email interface making the service a complete communication solution.

Outlook.com is the property of Microsoft, and so is Skype. Skype will manage voice and chat on Outlook.com. On the top of that, it's a popular service that provides free VoIP.

skype on outlook

Winner: Tie

Organization

The radical innovations created by Gmail in terms of organizing the mail include labels and folders and different colors that can be applied to the labels to archive email messages. Besides the regular email folders, you can create new labels within Gmail and have an email message tagged under multiple labels. The labels can be nested too.

However, the most important and widely used feature of Gmail is probably the ‘starring of messages’. With Google Labs enabled, you can have stars in different colors and designs so that you have a colorful inbox that will give you great organization.

Also, recently Gmail has come up with features like ‘Priority Inbox’, and you can view email according to its importance.

Organization settings on Outlook.com are also comparable. In this area, it’s more or less about personal preferences. Some people want to create folders and others want to use labels.

Winner: Tie

Email Search

You know Google as a search engine rather than an email service. Hence, when the best email service comes from Google, you expect it to have the best search feature as well. Google search within Gmail is spot-on. It will give you the email message that you are looking for quickly. Outlook uses Bing search engine for looking up messages and it’s not as great as Google.

Winner: Gmail (or Google search specifically)

Mobile Features

Gmail is the native email program for Android. It has seamless support on all Android phones and all versions of the operating system. Since Android is the most widely used email platform today, this is a default win for Gmail. Besides this, Google has apps for all the other mobile operating systems for better integration to the Gmail service.

Outlook.com has impressive mobile connectivity with Windows Phone and Apple iOS. However, it’s not a competition to Gmail on mobile.

Winner: Gmail

Other features

Gmail has the Labs feature integrated to the email service. This will enable the email service have extra features—apps running from within email, sidebar gadgets, colorful stars, multiple inboxes, and several others.

spam on gmail and outlook.com

Spam filtering features on Gmail and Outlook are comparable. So far, we had excellent spam filter only on Gmail, but Microsoft has done an impressive job in their email service. Microsoft calls their spam filter ‘SmartScreen’. It also uses the input from users to generate an effective spam filter. You can interact with the spam filter by blocking unwanted email addresses. The advantage with Gmail is that it does all of this automatically and gives you a really intelligent spam filter.

Outlook integrates with MS Office pretty well, while Google Docs manages office documents on Gmail. In terms of features, you will reach a tie here. Both services are great.

Outlook gives you a feature called Active View (similar to ActiveX controls that can be used to embed executable code on a web page). With this feature, you can play videos from YouTube and images from image sharing sites like Flickr, from within a message.

Winner: Tie

Conclusion

In the war between email services, Gmail was a clear winner. Now, however, Outlook.com has come and made it difficult for Google to maintain the upper hand. Yahoo, on the other hand, has probably accepted defeat already. The future will tell us how Outlook progresses in terms of popularity.

How to Install Incompatible Android Apps on Your Phone?

android unlock

In Google Play store, there are about half a million applications, paid and free. As the owner of an Android phone, you may have a number of preinstalled apps and some apps that you installed. Some of these preinstalled apps are collectively known as bloatware.

I don’t know about you, but on my Android phone I would want to remove unnecessary bloatware and install some advanced apps most of which are incompatible with the phone. This is a procedure that requires root level access to your Android device as well as editing some of the important system files. In this article, let’s see how this is done.

In order to make your Android device compatible with all the apps out there, you should have your device ‘rooted’. This is a process that could void its warranty and render it inoperable. If you are an advanced user, you may already know the side effects of rooting and flashing new firmware to your device—you could brick it! (that is turning it into a glittering black brick, literally).

What Is Rooting?

 

Android runs on Linux kernel; if you know or have used Linux, you know the administrator account is known as ‘root’. Linux, unlike Windows, doesn’t provide you with system level access. This is one of the reasons that make Linux highly secure.

When you get root access on Linux or Android, it essentially renders the device insecure. This is one of the reasons why Google Wallet gives you an alert when you try to use it on a rooted device.

Also, you should know if your phone is capable of handling rooting process. Phones like HTC One X, One S, Desire, Inspire 4G, Evo 4G, Samsung Galaxy Note, Galaxy S2, S3, Galaxy Nexus, etc., have all been found to root successfully. For specific information about rooting and to see if your device supports it, go to XDA-Developers forum, CynogenMod Wiki, or RootzWiki. It goes without saying that you should back up your phone’s important data before proceeding.

After rooting has been done, install an app to explore and edit files on Android (similar to Explorer on Windows)—ES File Explorer is the popular one used by power users.

ES explorer

 

You have to edit the bulild.prop file in order to make your device compatible with incompatible apps. Build.prop as you know is like a registry to Android, and editing it without proper knowledge is not going to do anything good to your device. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and research on Android support forums and blogs before attempting it on your phone.

Edit Build.prop and Set Device Name

 

Within the ES File Explorer Settings, put a check to ‘Root Explorer’ and ‘Mount File System’.

Browse to build.prop file, located within the System directory. This file identifies your device to Google Play store. Hence, editing it and changing the device name would actually fool the app store thus enabling your device to download the necessary app. Back it up first and then open it within ES Explorer. If it doesn’t open properly, press on the icon longer and select ‘Open As’; select text and open with ES Note Editor.

editing build.prop

Within this text file, you will see ‘ro.product.model’ field and ‘ro.product.manufacturer’ fields. Change them to whatever you would like to use in order to change the identity of the phone. For example:

If you have Nexus S and want to change to HTC One X, then change it in this way:

Ro.product.model=One X
Ro.product.manufacturer=HTC

Save the file and you are done!

In order to actually test the app, however, you have to restart the device. Sometimes, you have to also clear the cached information stored by Google Play store on your device—go to Google Play app ‘Manage Applications’ page and clear the offline storage from here.

Although this is a workaround to get apps running on your device, the system doesn’t impart an actual compatibility, does it? So, you can’t expect any app to run on your device. If the app is literally not compatible, there is no way you can get it to work.

Upgrading Your Samsung Galaxy S3 to the Latest Firmware

galaxy s3 and jelly bean

Samsung Galaxy S3 is the latest addition to a famous line of smartphones. They run on Google Android mobile operating system, the latest version being v.4.1, Jelly Bean. However, S3 comes with the previous version, Ice Cream Sandwich. You may be anxious to update the operating system to the latest version.

Jelly Bean official update for Galaxy S3 should be available in the near future.

You can either get the official updates from Samsung directly or you can go for an available custom firmware. Here are the things you need to know.

Before any sort of software update, you have to back up all the important data on your phone. Otherwise, an erroneous update will render your phone useless. Samsung software, Kies could help in backing up all your data. This is the in-house solution. Also, you can go for third party backup tools such as Backup Master, Titanium Backup, etc. Also, you need to have enough battery power to complete the flashing process. At least 80 per cent of battery power is required.

After backing up the device data, connect it to the computer using the provided USB connector.

samsung kies

At this point of time, you should be running the Samsung Kies software that is used to download and update the phone with the Samsung official firmware. Kies is available for Windows (XP and later) and Mac (10.5 or later). Make sure you have faster than 2 GHz Intel processor and at least 512 MB RAM. Kies can be downloaded from here.

Kies not only helps in firmware update, but also for syncing contacts, wireless connection to the mobile phone, and transferring multimedia content.

Installing the Official Firmware

 

As the newer versions of Android get released, Samsung may develop device-specific firmware that will update your device. The demo video below shows how to update to ICS using Kies software:

After connecting the Galaxy phone to your computer, start Samsung Kies. Once your phone has been connected to the software, Kies will show you the available software update. All you need to do is device backup and download the firmware through Kies. Make sure you don’t disconnect the device during the update. You only have to follow the on screen instructions.

Custom Firmware for Galaxy S3

 

You can get the latest custom firmware for Galaxy S3 from Androidfirmwares.net. Of course downloading custom firmware and updating your new device should be done with extreme caution. It will obviously void the warranty of your phone and may cause little or no improvement from the factory setting. However, people continue to update to custom firmware and customize their devices for optimum performance.

As a first step, find out the firmware version you are using on your Galaxy S3. On the keypad of the phone, type ‘*#1234#’ (this code will work with other phones too). It will give the phone’s firmware in this format: ‘I9300AABB5’ (AA indicates the region of the firmware and BB indicates the release date; the number indicates the version).

Here’s the list of region codes:

BD: Cyprus, Greece
BH: Central Europe
CE: Belgium, the Netherlands
CP: Finland
DB: Vietnam
DC: Thailand
DD:  India
DT: Australia
DX: Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam
DZ: Malaysia and Singapore
JA: South Africa
JC: Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia
JP: South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Morocco
MT: Switzerland
PO: France
XA: Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK
XE: Denmark, Sweden, Norway
XC: Portugal and Spain
XD: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
XE: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine
XF: Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania
XG: Germany
XX: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, the UK
XP: Several European countries
XW: Australia, UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands
ZC: China
ZH: Hong Kong
ZT: Taiwan

In order to download and update the Galaxy S3 using custom firmware, you need a tool known as Odin. After installing Odin, download the required custom firmware and extract the contents to a folder (it will give you a file with ‘.tar’ extension).

galaxy s3 odin

 

Here are the steps to install custom firmware, as detailed at RootGalaxy S3iii.com (This is completely unofficial information and Samsung or publishers of either of these websites will not take any responsibility for errors):

1. Enable USB Debugging option on your phone (Go to Settings->Developers)

2. Turn off the phone and turn it back on with Volume Down key, Power button, and the Home button pressed simultaneously. Keep them pressed until you get to the Downloading Mode.

cellphone connected to pc

3. Now connect the phone to the computer through USB cord and open Odin. Wait till it detects the phone (indicated by a COM port number on the top left-hand side).

4. Now, point the PDA part of Odin to the firmware file downloaded earlier (.tar file).

5. Click on Start on Odin, and it will install the firmware to your phone.

Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy family in general are great smartphones available today. Google Android is a developer’s operating system with loads of features. Advanced users would love to take advantage of the features offered by this operating system through custom firmware. It is also important that you download stable firmware with good reviews.