Nexus 5 with a graffiti wallpaper

Google isn't about to remain idle while the Apple- and Microsoft-led "Rockstar" patent group sues numerous Android partners. The search giant has quietly filed a declaratory judgment complaint asking a San Jose court to rule that the company (and therefore, the Android ecosystem) doesn't infringe seven of Rockstar's patents. As GigaOM notes, Google isn't mincing words -- the firm accuses Rockstar of "placing a cloud" over Android and harassing a large part of the technology industry. The legal action doesn't necessarily amount to fighting fire with fire, though. Declaratory judgment complaints frequently represent attempts to score an early victory, rather than the first line of defense; Google likely has more up its sleeve if this tactic doesn't work.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Android users don't have to look blankly at their iPad- and Xbox-using friends whenever they talk about Catfish anymore, now that the MTV app has arrived on Google Play. It offers on-demand streaming of recent episodes from select series, but only for subscribers of participating cable providers. The list of cable companies is quite lengthy (it includes AT&T U-Verse, Time Warner and Verizon FiOS, among others) but it's missing some notable ones like DISH, at least for now. Unlucky folks who can't access full episodes can always watch trailers and look at companion content for MTV Shows, including polls and behind-the-scene tidbits. Or, you know, they can look for their video fix elsewhere instead -- some of those other sources even come with actual music videos.

0 Comments

Cydia on iOS 7

The availability of an iOS 7 jailbreak may have caught the Cydia team off-guard, but not for long. Jay Freeman and fellow developers have just updated their unofficial app platform to match Apple's minimalist look. It's more than just a cosmetic upgrade, too, as it includes iOS 7's swipe-based navigation and appears to run faster. Individual app writers will still have to update their code for everything to run smoothly, but jailbreak users who've just been waiting for an OS-native Cydia will want to check for the update today.

[Image credit: iOS Hacker]

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Watch out, AT&T and Verizon: Japanese telecom SoftBank could soon a close deal to buy T-Mobile, according to the Nikkei news service. SoftBank apparently hopes to acquire a majority of T-Mobile's shares via its own US subsidiary, Sprint, as soon as next spring. The estimated price tag? More than two trillion yen, or some $19 billion. Of course, there will be several legal hoops to jump through, including approval from the FCC and the Department of Justice. If the deal gets the green light, though, the top four mobile carriers in the US will shrink to three, with the combined might of Sprint and T-Mobile posing a bigger threat to heavyweights AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Stay tuned!

0 Comments

Sony's second-generation SmartWatch may not have impressed the critics, but those lukewarm feelings haven't deterred the company from making another wearable. The FCC has revealed that Sony is testing a "BT Wrist Notifier" with the model number SWR10, which sounds like a step beyond the SW2 code used for the current model. Beyond that, however, the documents just show that the device packs NFC and Bluetooth -- but if it's passed through the commission, it can't be too far away from a real announcement. You never know, maybe we'll see it at that big trade show in less than a fortnight.

0 Comments

End-of-the-year festivities are just around the corner, so here's hoping your holiday shopping is squared away. If not, our guides are here for some last-minute reference, and in any case you owe it to yourself to enter the giveaways. Sony's supplied some pretty awesome gear, from its acclaimed RX100 II camera to the convertible VAIO Flip PC. Simply head to the bottom of each of our 11 guides and enter the raffle -- we're accepting entries until 11:59PM, EST on December 31st. Good luck!

0 Comments

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

The Quirky Nimbus

The last Switched On discussed the contrast between the $100 laptop concept of 2006 and the $100 tablet reality of 2013. In that case, an idea that didn't bear fruit was succeeded years later by a different approach. However, what's even more rare is to see a failed idea by one small company tried many years later by another small company.

This recently occurred with the introduction of the Quirky Nimbus, a physical desktop dashboard that offers four customizable displays that keep track of your digital information, like the weather, commuter traffic, email and calendar updates. The product concept is very similar to the Ambient Executive Dashboard that a yearling Switched On addressed way back in 2005 with two columns focusing on the device and its content. Contrasting that product to the Nimbus reveals that much has changed about technology in the past eight years, but there are still a few things that plague this particular niche product.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

A quote by Terry Pratchett displayed on the YotaPhone

Much as we admired the potential of the YotaPhone in our recent review, we just couldn't overlook its lack of support for popular e-reading platforms like Amazon Kindle and Google Books. That problem hasn't been solved just yet, but things are starting to move in the right direction: the dual-display handset has now been made to work with an alternative (and relatively popular) e-reading app called FBReader. This app will let you display and swipe through Word and .rtf documents on the E Ink panel, as well as unencrypted .epub and .mobi e-book formats of the sort that are traded in smaller e-book stores and some shadier, copyright-dodging parts of the web. PDF files should also be supported by the next version of FBReader, which is currently in beta. Meanwhile, Yota Devices tells us that it's "discussing potential collaboration" with Amazon in order to bring about Kindle support, which, if it happens, would be nothing short of a breakthrough.

0 Comments

The US government, the CEA (you know, the group that runs CES) and pay-TV providers want to save consumers $1 billion annually with a new voluntary standard for set-top box (STB) energy-efficiency. By curtailing phantom power usage and implementing a pair of sleep modes for periods of device inactivity, these non-regulatory guidelines could save enough energy each year to power some 700,000 homes. According to the industry announcement, many cable and satellite providers are already on-board, with Verizon implementing a light-sleep option in certain FiOS boxes sold starting January 1st, 2014. Still, the group expressed some concern that scaling back an STB's power might negatively impact the user experience. What good is a lower electric bill when your DVR takes forever to resume from standby?

[Image credit: quinn.anya/Flickr]

0 Comments

The Raspberry Pi single-board computer may have started as a simple educational tool, but over the past year users have revealed it's capable of much more. From drones to smart TV hacks to supercomputers, the $35 PC can be manipulated for almost any task, and now the team behind it is working on a better web browser. Developed over the last few months with the help of open source consultants Collabora, the unimaginatively named "Web" is promising an up-to-date experience designed for the hardware's limitations and strengths alike. Future Raspbian releases will come standard with this HTML5-capable browser, promising ARMv6-optimized 2D rendering, a smooth tab experience and accelerated image and video decoding. At this point it takes some technical savvy to get online and cranking, but if you know your way around a command line then just follow these instructions.

0 Comments

Must Reads