Seattle-based Cequint Inc. filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of infringing on two patents related to its caller ID technology. “Cequint has been damaged by Apple’s infringement,” the company said in its complaint, filed in a federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. The firm argues that it “will be irreparably harmed” should Apple continue to use its patents without permission. Apple is locked in a number of patent lawsuits around the globe with other companies such as Samsung and HTC, as well. Apple is currently seeking to ban the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N in Germany and, until recently, had successfully banned the Korea-based company from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. More →
Look, we’re pretty sure most of you out there have tried this a couple times or are at least familiar with the concept — you use a VoIP service which routes your call through a server that’s usually using Asterisk — you can have any number show up on the outgoing caller ID. Unfortunately for you malicious and deceiving individuals out there, Congress has just passed the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010, and it makes it 100% illegal to use a service like this. Here’s the breakdown:
To cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud and deceive.
There are exceptions for blocking your own caller ID and for law enforcement usage. In the past, as we’ve understood, this was a grey area, but it was still considered against the law to spoof someone else’s number. Though, we had heard that if you spoofed your own number, it wasn’t illegal (say you’re at the beach drinking a Mojito and need to call a client, you can spoof your office phone number from your cell phone), so we’ll have to see how this pans out. Sorry, SpoofCard.
For our non-Canadian readers, it might be pretty hard to understand why there’s been so much hype about WIND Mobile finally launching. It is just a cell phone carrier after all, right? Kind of. It is a business at the end of the day, and a business hopes to be profitable (they want to make as much money possible), but the reason WIND is so brilliant is because they’re capitalizing on years of pillaging by Canada’s big three mobile providers: Rogers, TELUS and Bell. We’re not going to get into why Canada’s cellular options are so bad and expensive — Canada is a huge country, 90% of the people live within a certain amount of miles to the U.S. border, people expect coverage everywhere, it’s expensive to maintain — because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how revolutionary WIND is to the average Canadian cellular subscriber and how much money that person will save. Here’s an example of a standard Rogers phone bill for a BlackBerry:
- $45/month for 400 minutes, unlimited calling after 9PM, and a choice of either unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling, my5, unlimited SMS, or an extra $100 minutes. Let’s assume you chose unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling.
- $25/month for a 500MB data plan for your BlackBerry (BIS not BES)
- $20/mo for unlimited SMS, caller ID and voicemail for a smartphone
- Total with fees of around $93/month (excluding taxes).
Over the life of your cell phone contract of three years (yes, it’s three years in Canada), you’ll have paid approximately $3348 to Rogers, and you’d have a brand new BlackBerry 9700 for which you paid $249.99 for. All in all, $3597 before tax. Here’s a WIND plan:
- $45/month for unlimited minutes, unlimited SMS to U.S. and Canada, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding
- $35/month for unlimited BlackBerry data
We’re at $80/month with unlimited everything, no contract, and no fees to change plans or features.
Sure, a difference of only plus or minus $13/month might not get everyone excited, but think of it this way… you don’t have to pay $500 to cancel your contract, you can elect to pre or post-pay, and never have to ever worry about overages unless you’ve got a lot of pals overseas. The option of unlimited anything is a downright comforting thought for consumers. As long as you can get over the $200 additional entry fee for an unsubsidized but very fairly-priced handset (note: Rogers charges $599.99 for a contract-free Bold 9700 as opposed to WIND’s $450), WIND looks incredibly attractive. Plus, you won’t get tied to the tree and spanked. Metaphorically, of course.
It isn’t all rainbows and ponies, however, as we have to take coverage (when you roam on Rogers, for instance, you’ll only get EDGE as WIND uses the same AWS 3G spectrum T-Mobile uses and is incompatible with Rogers, TELUS, and Bell), customer service, and profitability into consideration. The bet is that WIND makes so much that they can continue to save you money. Funny, isn’t it? Again, they’re a brand, brand new network, but with a boatload of cash behind them, some very smart and attractive pricing, plans, devices, and services, we think they have an amazing shot. They’ve also permanently disrupted the Canadian wireless landscape for the better, and within days or weeks, you’ll start to see better pricing from red, green, and blue. Thus giving our Canadian friends something they’ve long hoped for — competition.