Noted patent troll Unwired Planet made news last year when it filed patent infringement complaints against Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Research in Motion (RIMM). In an effort to beef up its portfolio, the company has now purchased more than 2,000 patents from Ericsson (ERIC) that will help it continue to pursue legal actions against a number of smartphone and tablet manufacturers. Ericsson will transfer 2,185 U.S and international patents and patent applications to Unwired Planet, a majority of which relate to 2G, 3G and LTE technologies. Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson will also contribute 100 additional patents to the company annually beginning in 2014 and continuing through 2018. In return, Ericsson will have access to Unwired Planet’s patent portfolio and has also received an undisclosed compensation fee. Mike Mulica, chief executive of Unwired Planet, said the company looks “forward to leveraging a strong, multi-dimensional patent portfolio and furthering discussions with key industry players who are interested in licensing these inventions to protect and further build their product strategies.”
Samsung (005930) has filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission requesting an import and sales ban on a variety of Ericsson (ERIC) products. The company’s move comes after Ericsson filed a similar request with the agency last week. Samsung previously accused Ericsson of asking for “prohibitively higher royalty rates to renew the same patent portfolio” and that it will defend itself against a lawsuit. More →
Ericsson (ERIC) on Monday filed a request with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to ban Samsung’s (005930) smartphones and tablets from the market. The Swedish company claims that Samsung’s products infringe upon its patents, Reuters reported. The two companies attempted to settle their disagreements, however they failed to reach a licensing agreement. Samsung said the company had asked for “prohibitively higher royalty rates to renew the same patent portfolio” and that it will defend itself against a lawsuit. Ericsson claims that an import ban is not the company’s goal, although it is part of the process of getting the South Korean manufacturer to sign a new licensing agreement.
The mobile phone industry is used to vendors flaming out, sometimes just a couple of years after companies peak. Yet few handset companies have self-destructed as spectacularly as Ericsson — particularly considering its pedigree in telephony. More →
Sony on Thursday announced the transaction to acquire Ericsson’s 50% stake in Sony Ericsson has been completed. Sony and Ericsson announced the deal last October, which was worth €1.05 billion in cash and made Sony Ericsson a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The company will be renamed to Sony Mobile Communications and will “further integrate the mobile phone business as a vital element of its electronics business, with the aim of accelerating convergence between Sony’s lineup of network enabled consumer electronics products, including smart phones, tablets, TVs and PCs.” Read on for Sony’s press release. More →
Verizon, AT&T and any other LTE providers currently rely on 3G networks to carry voice phone calls. In the future, carriers hope to use voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) technology, and Qualcomm recently reached an important milestone on the road to making VoLTE a reality. Qualcomm announced on Thursday that the company had successfully completed the “first voice call handover from an LTE mobile network to a WCDMA network using Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC).” The company, while working with Ericsson, used its own MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 chipset to power the test hardware, and the technology will be demonstrated live at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Read on for Qualcomm’s press release. More →
Earlier this week, an image of Sony’s upcoming ST25i “Kumquat” smartphone leaked onto the Internet. The Android-powered device is rumored to feature a 3.5-inch qHD display with a 1GHZ dual-core processor and 5-megapixel rear camera. It is also rumored that the handset will debut at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Spain. According to a document found on the website of Indonesia’s telecom authority (similar to our FCC), the ST25i Kumquat is listed as the “Sony Ericsson Xperia U” — although by the time it is officially unveiled, it will likely drop the Ericsson label and be known simply as the Sony Xperia U. More →
Ericsson on Thursday announced that it has agreed to sell its stake in Sony Ericsson to Sony Corporation for €1.05 billion in cash. The deal is in line with earlier reports. Sony will become the sole owner of the mobile company, and it will integrate Sony Ericsson devices into its “broad platform of network-connected consumer electronics products.” The deal also includes a cross-licensing and ownership agreement agreement whereby Sony will have access to a number of related patents. “This acquisition makes sense for Sony and Ericsson, and it will make the difference for consumers, who want to connect with content wherever they are, whenever they want. With a vibrant smartphone business and by gaining access to important strategic IP, notably a broad cross-license agreement, our four-screen strategy is in place. We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment.” Ericsson’s full press release follows below. More →
Rumors of Sony’s plan to purchase Ericsson’s stake in the companies’ joint Sony Ericsson venture have come and gone over the years, but a new report claims the deed is nearly done. Sony is nearing a deal to take complete control of the cell phone vendor according to The Wall Street Journal, and analysts estimate that Ericsson’s 50% share of the JV could be worth between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion. The report states that Sony intends to integrate the Sony Ericsson smartphone business with its tablet, gaming and computer operations in order to save on costs and create more complementary devices. Sony Ericsson reported a net loss of €50 million in the second quarter of 2011. More →
Earlier today we gave you a glimpse at Sprint’s Overland Park campus, its Usability Lab, the Sprint Technology Integration Center and the carrier’s Mobile Technology Lab. Within that Mobile Technology Lab is a huge amount of fascinating equipment that we were not allowed to photograph. One box Sprint was happy to let us snap, however, was the Ericsson E-Node Base Transceiver System (BTS) pictured above. These devices find themselves at the center of Sprint’s forward-looking network efforts. Dubbed “Network Vision,” Sprint is in the process of upgrading and future-proofing its network — at least, to the extent a network can be future-proofed at this point. The E-Node BTS you see above and in the gallery below is an amazing advancement that will enable Sprint to realize this vision. The vertical “cards” you see pictured can be inserted and removed as easily as servers in a rack. Each one of these cards enables a network technology and is connected to an antenna cluster. So, for example, if Sprint was to reach a deal that would allow a partner to build out 4G LTE on Sprint’s network, Sprint engineers could simply add the appropriate LTE card to the BTS and off we go. Of course this is a bit oversimplified as there is plenty of intensive testing involved, but this is a monumental leap forward, and one that we hope will be adopted by other major carriers in the U.S. Sprint’s Network Vision program really is the future of the carrier’s network, and the technology and facilities behind it are incredible. Check out the gallery below for a closer look at the E-Node BTS.
A group of companies including Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Sony, EMC and Ericsson offered the winning bid in an auction that will net them Nortel’s extensive portfolio of patents. The bankrupt telecommunications company held roughly 6,000 patents, and the six-company consortium’s winning bid came in at $4.5 billion. Among the big losers were Google, which opened the bidding at $900 million, and Intel. Patents within the massive cache cover a wide range of technologies including wireless, voice, networking, optical data transmission and 4G LTE. RIM said it would be responsible for $77o million of the winning bid, and Ericsson separately stated it would pay $340 million. The rest of the companies in the consortium did not disclose their contributions.
Nokia will launch 12 Windows Phone devices in 2012 — and a few of them will offer dual-core processors. Speaking to Forbes during STMicroelectronics’ analyst day, STMicroelectronics’ CEO Carlo Bozotti confirmed that his company still has “very close relations” with Nokia and that it will be “an important supplier” in Nokia’s future Windows Phone products. A few of Nokia’s phones will be powered by ST-Ericsson’s U8500 system-on-a-chip (SoC) package, which offers support ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processors. Nokia is said to already have a Windows Phone in the works, and while the company has set a 2012 target date for its debut, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop has expressed interest in shipping it before the end of 2011. More →
According to a report by CVG, Android Market downloads of games specifically designed to run on Sony Ericsson’s Xperia PLAY handset have been extremely low. As evidence in its case, the report hones in on five Play titles that all have under 1,000 total Market downloads: Cool Boarders 2, 100–500; Destruction Derby, 500–1,000; Jumping Flash, 50–100; MediEvil, 100–500; and Syphon Filter, 100–500. Despite this, the handset’s creator is undeterred. “There’s no concerns, it’s a revolutionary device, it’s shaking up the market, we’re very pleased with it,” said Dominic Heil-Dwyer, head of market development at Sony Ericsson. “In terms of getting the PlayStation Certified program out, generally, we’re very happy. I think we’ll make a full assessment of if it has achieved our expectations fully, further down the line, so we’re very happy.” Launched in early April, the device pairs classic gaming controls with the now familiar large-touchscreen smartphone form factor. The Xperia PLAY is scheduled to make its Stateside debut on Verizon Wireless in the coming months. More →