Kodak announced on Wednesday it has successfully sold its digital imaging patents to “12 intellectual property licensees organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation” for $525 million. As Engadget notes, Intellectual Ventures is working on behalf of Apple (AAPL) and RPX Corporation is representing Google (GOOG). The new deal is “one of Kodak’s key restructuring objectives” that will see it emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and end its battle with Apple over patent disputes. Kodak’s press release follows below.
Research In Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry 10 is shaping up to be quite the contender, but does it have what it takes to knock iOS 6 off its podium and prevent Windows Phone 8 from gaining momentum to become the third-most popular mobile operating system? The Gadget Masters recently performed Web browser rendering speed test comparisons between a Dev Alpha B smartphone running BB10, an iPhone 5 on iOS 6 and an HTC (2498) Windows Phone 8X with Windows Phone 8 and was impressed at how fast RIM’s new Webkit-based browser was. And that’s not even a final BB10 phone; only a developer kit. Oddly missing is a comparison with Android’s stock Internet browser and Chrome. RIM will launch BlackBerry 10 on January 30th in New York City. TGM’s Web browser comparison videos can be found below. More →
Samsung’s (005930) Galaxy Camera and Nikon’s (NINOY) Coolpix S800c are just the beginning of a swath of Android-powered cameras. Newly leaked images and specs point to Polaroid reviving its camera business with what could be the world’s first Android camera with interchangeable lenses. With no official name yet, the tentatively named IM1836 camera will reportedly feature a 18.1-megapixel sensor, 3.5-inch touchscreen, pop-up flash, Wi-Fi, HDMI and Android 4.0. More →
It’s no secret Sony (SNE) is preparing to announce a 5-inch Android-powered smartphone to compete with Samsung’s (005930) successful Galaxy Note lineup. As is the case with all of the latest smartphones, Sony’s 5-inch phablet code-named “Yuga” has been extensively handled and benchmarked before the company even acknowledges its existence. According to Russian site Mobile-Review, specs for the Yuga include a display with a 1920 x 1080 pixel-resolution and a pixel density of 440 pixels per inch, a quad-core processor, a 12-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, 4G LTE and a plethora of ports including a microSD card slot, Micro HDMI, Micro USB. On the software end, the prototype phone was tested running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. More →
Your Facebook (FB) News Feed is about to get more annoying. The social network is getting ready to populate feeds with video ads according to AdAge. Why now? To “attract big swaths of ad dollars from TV advertisers.” By April, Facebook will reportedly have video ads airing on its desktop site and smartphone and tablet apps. Each ad will likely be around 15 seconds and will automatically play, although whether audio will be auto-triggered is uncertain at this point. AdAge’s Facebook sources say that advertisers can display their ads up to three times to a single user across any platform in a day and on the desktop ads will “grab a user’s attention by expanding out of the news feed into webpage real estate in both the left and right columns — or rails — of the screen.” Facebook’s foray into video ads will look to “grab big chunks of money … millions of dollars” according to the Facebook sources.
Google (GOOG) updated its Google Music service on Tuesday with a “music matching feature” that is sure to make streaming music from the cloud more convenient. Google Music can now scan your entire library of music from your computer and match up to 20,000 songs in your cloud library so that there’s no need to upload songs anymore. Matched music will be streamed at 320 kbps and won’t cost a single penny, unlike Apple’s (AAPL) $25 iTunes Match service which streams music at 256 kbps AAC and Amazon’s (AMZN) $25 Cloud Player which streams at 256 kbps MP3. Google Music’s new song matching feature is Android-only for now, as the service isn’t available on any other mobile platform.
As the underdog, Microsoft (MSFT) is putting its weight behind educating consumers on the advantages of Windows Phone. The company’s Windows Phone Blog announced that its new “Meet Your Match” challenge, similar to its “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenges, has been a huge success in increasing Windows Phone awareness. More →
It was only nine months ago that Twitter announced it had reached 140 million monthly active users serving a total of 340 million tweets per day. But on Tuesday, the social network announced via a tweet on its official account that “There are now more than 200M monthly active @twitter users. You are the pulse of the planet. We’re grateful for your ongoing support!” In recent years, Twitter has played a major role from breaking news to helping rally voters for presidential campaigns. Tweeting is now as common as sending a text message or making a phone call and as the company continues its push to become a media company with photos and videos, its importance as a means of communication will continue to grow and evolve.
Have an old Kindle Fire lying around? Don’t trade it in just yet because with a little bit of tinkering, you can turn it into what amounts to a Google (GOOG) Nexus 7. XDA-Developers user “Hashcode” has written up instructions on how to install Android 4.2.1 on an original Kindle Fire with almost every feature intact. If you can live without the microphone (sound still works), deep sleep mode, Swype keyboard, multi-user profiles and USB camera support, then you’re good to go. All of the major tablet features including hardware-accelerated HD video for YouTube and Netflix (NFLX) work smoothly, and Liliputing’s hands-on video suggests the transformation works really well for browsing and games. The only downside is the battery life is not very good. True, you won’t get the Nexus 7’s higher-resolution display or sleeker design either, but it’s still a handy way to repurpose an old tablet. More →
Little by little, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox SmartGlass app is becoming more useful. Microsoft Director of Programming for Xbox LIVE Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb announced on Monday the release of the Sports Picks app, which allows users to “make picks, compete with your Xbox LIVE friends and fight for domination of the leaderboard.” Xbox SmartGlass also has new ESPN and NBA Game Time experiences that provide second-screen information and navigation to “thousands of live events, highlights and replays” during a game. Xbox SmartGlass is compatible with dozens of existing Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 smartphones and tablets as well as Windows 8-compatible mobile devices. The new update to Xbox SmartGlass is the latest in Microsoft’s attempts to position the Xbox 360 as the ultimate living room device.
DIY developers adore the $35 Raspberry Pi and huge communities have enabled the Linux-powered computer to do cool things like emulate Super Nintendo games and run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. What’s next for the cheap computer? The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced it’s launching the “Pi Store” – an app store created in partnership with IndieCity and Velocix. Anyone will be able to download and upload their own apps to the Pi Store for consideration according to Raspberry Pi’s website. The Pi Store will have 23 free apps at launch as well as paid content. As with the success of the Raspberry Pi itself, the Pi Store’s success hinges on the community’s support. The Pi Store can be accessed here.
Ready for another standalone Facebook (FB) app? AllThingsD is reporting the 1 billion users-strong social network is testing its own version of Snapchat, a messaging app that lets users send messages that self-destruct after a set time. Snapchat is now commonly known as the “sexting app” because it ensures there’s no digital paper trail left behind. According to AllThingsD’s report, Facebook’s Snapchat competitor will be very simple to use. Once the app is open, users will see a list of current messages between friends and holding down a finger on a thread will activate a timer for a specific message. The app will reportedly launch “sometime before the end of the year.” As with all of Facebook’s apps, the new Snapchat clone will likely be available for free on iOS and Android.
As just about every major smartphone maker gears up to introduce their own 1080p-resolution Android “phablets,” one platform that apparently won’t be getting larger screens with higher resolutions is Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8. According to Bloomberg, HTC (2498) canceled plans to build a large-screened smartphone with Windows Phone 8 “because the screen resolution would have been lower than competing models” – 720 horizontal lines instead of 1080. The company recently released the Android-powered DROID DNA with 5-inch 1080p-resolution display in a svelte chassis and had plans to “claw back share from Samsung Electronics Co.,” with a large-screened WP8 smartphone. But Bloomberg reports HTC concluded large-screened WP8 phones “wouldn’t be competitive against Android devices from HTC, Samsung and others.” More →