This is exactly the type of information that Microsoft does not need in the public eye or the developer community. Microsoft you ate spending a lot of money on advertising and people are beginning to actually get curious about windows phone. The problem you face, the problem you’ve always faced is with your market and if a company like Rubicon which makes fun and addicting games is complaining about not making money in your store and not getting the support from you then that is a huge problem. If a large profitable company on other platforms can’t get footing on windows then what hope does a independent developer have?

 

> Steven Dent, Engadget :: <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/07/gaming-company-derides-microsoft-rt-marketplace-/”>Gaming Company Derides Microsoft Store:  ‘We’ve made the princely sum of $83′</a>

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Who still reads newspaper?  Like seriously **reads** a newspaper? A newspaper is clunky tool for trying to absorb information. Tablets and smartphones, even Kindles are windows into the modern world in which news is currently happening, giving you unprecedented instant access.  Newspapers as a form are antiquated, much like scrolls and papyrus. Newspapers are looking to hold on to revenue by paywalls.  However the problem with paywalls is the incredible amount of other sources of the same information available elsewhere for free.  This isn’t to say that the writers at newspapers like the Washington Post aren’t talented, it’s just to say that to bring in new readers there needs to be something more creative there that can’t be replicated else where.

 

> Neha Prakash, Mashable :: <a href=”http://mashable.com/2012/12/06/wapo-daily-beast-paywall/”>Daily Beast, ‘Washington Post’ Consider Paywalls</a>

This is bad news for Rdio. Rdio’s discovery and collection features made them stand out from Spotify.  The fact that if you wanted to keep an album on Spotify you had to save it as a playlist was idiotic. That is no longer the case. Rdio was already struggling because of its lacking user base, but it previously could boast about better services and features. Now Spotify has those same services AND people actually using the service.  #BadNewsForTheUnderdog

> Ellis Hamburger, The Verge :: Spotify Debuts New Collection, Discovery, and Follow Features…

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This past week Amazon announced the refresh to the Kindle line. Amazon introduced the Kindle Purewhite, and 2 Kindle Fire HDs. What was interesting during the announcement was the operating system that was running on the Fires. Last year when Amazon debuted the original Kindle Fire Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, stated that the Fire was running a custom version of the Android OS. Some Android fans have stated that what Amazon, among other manufacturers are doing, is creating one of the main issues with Android: having a fragmented OS that is slow to receive timely updates. Bezos has this to say about the matter:

Android is accomplishing everything that Amazon needs it to and, at the same time, giving the company flexibility to customize things. We treat Android like Linux, and so it’s a base OS layer. We have a large dedicated team that customizes Android and that’s what you see on the Kindle Fire.

I don’t see a problem with what Amazon is doing to the Android OS because they are not attempting to pawn this off as Android. The Fire is going after a different market of consumers. Amazon is marketting the Fire as a consumption device of Amazon content. When the original Kindle Fire came out, Matias Duarte, Chief Android UX Designer, stated that he liked what Amazon did with Android because it was completely different than just a skin. So if you’re going to change Android, do more than just change some icons and adding a few apps: completely change the way we look and interact with it. Otherwise, just leave it alone.

Samsung Galaxy S (Vibrant) & iPod Touch

Patents that have been awarded to various tech companies are not bringing forth innovation, they are stiffing innovation. Manufactures are more concerned with getting ridiculous and vague patents that they use to sue another company instead of really creating something revolutionary. Software patents, like the ones that have been issued to Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and LG are entirely to vague. The patents are issued so late that by the time a patent is awarded to a company various devices are already using similar technology and that’s just the way a smartphone works at that point.

Samsung has a patent for playing an mp3 in the background while conducting other phone operations {1} . This patent was awarded in 2010. In 2010, about every phone that is sold plays mp3s while it can do other things. If this patent was awarded, which it shouldn’t have been because that is how cell phones operated at that time, then it should not be able to be a part in a court case. That patent should be thought of like a Nobel Prize, “good job for inventing this…here’s your award”.

Is the patent system broken or just severely flawed? Because it is one of those two options. Patents shouldn’t be awarded so many years later for a vague idea such as “front speaker slot, uncluttered front face, display borders and the edge-to-edge glass of a smartphone” {2} If by the time the patent is to be awarded the market of smartphones are already practicing said patent as a market standard, then it should be looked at as a market standard and the way business is run. Don’t award a patent at that point only to have the company go back and file lawsuits retroactively for products. It ties up the legal system and wastes people’s time, money, and is detrimental to moving an industry forward.

The Apple v. Samsung case has been a major case in showing the frailties of the patent system. Did Samsung develop products that look eerily similar to the iPhone? Yes. Should Samsung have to pay for riding off of the marketing success of the iPhone? Yes. Should Apple be allowed to have a patent on a black rectangle with rounded corners? No. If a company develops a truly innovative idea they should be allowed to patent that, but a company should not be allowed to patent a market standard.

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{1} US Patent 7698711, Mult-tasking Apparatus and method in a portable terminal, Samsung Electronics Co., LTD.

{2} US Patent D618677, Electronic Device, Apple Inc.

{*} I am not an expert on patents nor am I claiming to be. I am only a citizen of the United States who has a vested interest in technology using my common sense to generate an opinion on the precedent set by this court case

Follow me on Twitter: [at]fortyoneacres

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Our phones have gotten smarter, why haven’t our watches? A few guys have taken that question and answered it with the Pebble watch. While previous smartwatches have been available before none of them have had the simple beauty of Pebble with its e-paper display (the same that’s found on Kindles). Also the watch faces are only apps so they are easy to change with your mood. As long as you’re using an Android or iOS device then this watch is capable of linking up with your phone. Check out the video below{2} to learn more.

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{1} – Kickstarter, “Pebble E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android
{2} – Vimeo Video on Pebble Watch, “Kickstarter Video about Pebble Watch
{3} – Now I just need a Kickstarter project to fund me so I can fund other projects…

Facebook has announced a new feature that will make it easier to stay up to date what is going on with your school based on your school email address…wait…that seems kinda familiar.

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{1} – Nate Garun, “ Um, Wasn’t This The Original Purpose Of Facebook?