Google announced plans to acquire mobile phone and tablet maker Motorola Mobility for about $12.5bn.
Motorola Mobility exclusively ships phones and its Xoom tablet with Google's Android operating system. The deal will mean that Google now has a hardware manufacturer to work closely with to develop Android. Google will also have control of Motorola's impressive patent portfolio of more than 24-thousand patents. We asked an analyst whether the deal strain the relationship Google has with other companies that ship Android devices.
CEO Larry Page confirmed that Motorola's patent portfolio is part of what made Google open its wallet saying "Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,"
Samsung is again free to sell its Android-based Galaxy Tab 10.1 in all European Union countries except for Germany. A court in Dusseldorf changed its injunction enacted last week because of uncertainties about jurisdiction. A spokesman at the Dusseldorf district court said that it wasn't clear whether the court can forbid a company based in Korea from selling its products in countries other than Germany. On Tuesday the court said that while Samsung G-m-b-H, the company's German affiliate, may not sell Galaxy Tabs outside Germany, Samsung Korea can. The injunction last week came as a result of Apple claiming that Samsung's table is a copy of its iPad.
The US Federal Communications Commission is looking into last week's shutdown of mobile phone services on a San Francisco commuter train line. The Bay Area Rapid Transit District or BART pulled the plug on mobile phone based stations in an attempt to disrupt a planned protest. The outage lasted about three hours. The planned protest last week didn't materialize, but this week it did. On Monday a group of 50 to 100 protesters forced BART to shut down station after station in San Francisco's downtown. This time though, BART didn't shut down the underground mobile base stations operated by 5 wireless carriers. Members of the hacking collective Anonymous joined up with Bay Area activists to protest last month's killing of a passenger who was shot by a BART policeman after throwing a knife at the officer.
In gaming news this week Microsoft said its XBox 360 outsold competing game consoles in the US for the seventh straight month in July.
The company said it sold more than 275 thousand units during the month, giving it a 45% share for the current generation of game boxes, which include Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii. The XBox 360 has been lifted by the success of its Kinect platform, a motion-sensing device that lets users control games with physical movements. Though the overall game market in the US was down 26 percent from a year earlier.
The forty percent price cut on Nintendo's 3DS has caused sales of the handheld game console to soar in Japan. The gaming device had its best seven-day run of sales since its launch in February, selling more than 200-thousand units.
In more gaming sales, the 50 dollar price cut for the PS3 also caused a sale spike. Sales on Amazon shot up almost 400% in 24 hours.
How adventurous of an app user are you? If you're using apps past the top ten in the Android Market, then you're bucking the trend according to a new Nielsen study. The top 10 Android apps claim about 43 percent of the average user's daily time. Android users also spend about an hour every day accessing the web and using apps on their handsets. Comparative data with iPhone users wasn't available.
A biped robot developed by DARPA and students at the University of Michigan has been programmed to sprint at varying speeds and move in the same way a human does. It can run at an average speed of 4.4 miles per hour with a top speed of 6.8, that's about 10 kilometers per hour. Called MABEL it's body weighs 65 kilograms or about 143 pounds and it could probably run faster if it slimmed down. It's also quite loud.
We've seen a number of biped robots included the famous Petman from Boston Dynamics. Like it's cousin big dog, Petman too can keep itself stable when push. With all of this research on biped robots, it's likely only a matter of time before we see a humanoid robot walking down the street with us.
MIT researchers are working on improving operations on aircraft carriers and taking an antiquated system into the 21st century. For decades the Navy has been using something they called the Ouija board to move aircraft and supplies around the deck of huge floating airports. Researchers at MIT are hoping they can digitize that system, make it more efficient and reduce any chance for error.
Jason C. Ryan, Ph.D. student, Humans & Automation Lab, MIT: "So the system we’re working with is called the deck operations course of action planner. It’s Navy funded research that is primarily investigating how humans and computers can work together and schedule operations on the aircraft carrier collaboratively. So rather than just a human or just a computer to do it it’s how we can get them to work together to use their own strengths in order to create better, more efficient and safer schedules of operation."
The DCAP system will keep track of equipment and people on a deck using RFID. Whoever is in charge of scheduling can move aircraft forward or backwards in the schedule and the entire system will adjust. It will also reschedule operations should one of the catapults that launches aircrafts stop working. The research team built a small scale model of an aircraft carrier with moving models, all controlled by the DCAP system. Ryan said he doesn’t imagine a system like DCAP going into operation for about a decade because it will need to be tested to work flawlessly under both a controlled environment and in wartime.