HTC One escapes UK ban despite infringing Nokia patent, HTC One Mini banned

The Verge reports that HTC One has escaped from a sales ban in the UK, despite being found to infringe on a Nokia patent.

HTC appealed against a ban on the HTC One and succeeded.

Arguing against a sales ban, HTC had insisted that an injunction — especially during the holidays — would be “catastrophic” for business.

However, the HTC One Mini did not escape the ban.

“In this case the potential harm is more evenly weighted, but importantly the phone was launched much more recently and HTC designed and launched it at a time when HTC knew it was facing a claim for infringement of the patent.”

Epson takes on Google Glass with the Moverio BT-100

Epson has released the Moverio BT-100, a pair of goggles that brings you immersive video playback and information overlays.

The Moverio connects to an Android device so you get the full Android experience instead of the stripped down operating system used by Google Glass. To make it more enticing, Epson is making the Moverio available now and cheaper than the Glass.

Future USB connector to be reversible

If you’ve used a USB device before, you’ll definitely have encountered that frustrating occasion where you tried to plug the connector in the other way around. It’s not a big deal, since you just need to flip the cable over and you’ve solved the jigsaw, but it is irritating. The good news is that the next generation of USB connectors will feature a reversible design, so such incidents should disappear.

While the details haven’t been finalized, nor is a picture of it available, we do know that the new connector will be called Type-C. It should be around the size of a micro USB connector, and be added to the existing USB 3.1 specification, which is expected to be finalized around the middle of 2014. For the average consumer, it should seem to function similarly to Apple’s Lightning connector, which is also reversible, and thus more user friendly than the current USB connector.

While progress is good, hopefully some kind of backwards compatibility with current USB ports will be possible, so it won’t make existing USB ports in devices obsolete. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group is already working to include a specification for adapters and cables to safeguard the functionality of existing ports. After all, one of the strongest benefits of USB ports is that they’re ubiquitous.

The next USB plug will finally be reversible

Work has begun on a new generation of USB that will break compatibility with existing connectors in order to improve ease of use and allow for thinner devices. The new connector, called Type-C, is an addition to the existing USB 3.1 specification and is expected to be finalized by the middle of 2014. There aren’t any images available yet, but Type-C will be around the size of a Micro USB plug and, like Apple’s Lightning connector, will finally be reversible — in other words, no more frustrated attempts to charge your phone with an upside-down cable.

Chrome apps for Android and iOS possibly on the way

Google’s release of Chrome packaged apps was undoubtedly a trojan horse into the Windows and Mac OS platforms. The feature allows Chrome web-based apps to look as if they’re running without the Chrome browser, and also offer better offline support and connection with hardware. Such a move allowed Windows and Mac users a taste of what life would be like on a Chromebook.

Now the search giant could be looking to repeat the feature on Android and iOS, if the recent discovery of some code on the GitHub repository is any indication. So far Google has declined to comment on the subject, and it could well be just another test project that Google is working on, but you never know. Google’s strategy has always been to get its products and services on as many platforms and devices as it can.

Google is building Chrome apps support for Android and iOS, beta release coming as soon as January 2014

The toolkit will help developers create Android and iOS hybrid native apps with Chrome app polyfills, through Apache Cordova. The steps include modifying for mobile design, fixing bugs, working around limitations, and of course, testing.

After all the work is done, Google says the apps will be good enough to publish to both Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The requirements suggest Android 4.x will be supported initially, although Cordova could work with Android 2.2 and 2.3 as well. iOS support is still marked as “TBA” but development has already started.

Apple provides better support for older devices than Android

TUAW reports on a chart by Fidlee that demonstrates iOS and Android support for older devices.

The chart shows that most older Android devices are a few verions of Android behind the latest release.

Even more jarring is that some Android models, just two years after their initial release, are two major versions of Android behind. Three years out, you’d be hard-pressed to find an Android device that isn’t three or four major versions of Android behind.

Apple provides better support for older devices, with the iPhone 4 supporting the latest version despite being in its fourth year after release. The iPhone 3GS was supported into its fifth year after release, up until Apple’s release of iOS 7 earlier this year.

Things look a whole lot different on the iPhone side of the equation. An iPhone 3GS for example, a device which first launched in June of 2009, was compatible with all iOS updates up until Apple released iOS 7 this past summer. The takeaway is that when you purchase an iPhone, you can be confident that you will be able to take advantage of future iOS features and enhancements many years down the line. The value proposition provided by the iPhone in this aspect is simply unmatched by Android.

Many Android users complain that Apple forces users of older devices to upgrade their iPhones. This chart proves the contrary. Android users with older devices are the ones who are forced to upgrade to a newer device to be able to enjoy the latest Android version.

Hobbit prop’s blueprint available for 3D printing

The Verge reports that fans can download the 3D blueprint of the Key of Erebor, an artefact from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and make a replica using a 3D printer.

While the ads offer standard fare like links to buy tickets and check out movie trailers, there’s one particularly clever component to the campaign — viewers will be able to download 3D-printing blueprints for the Key of Erebor, a prop that should feature prominently in the second part of the Hobbit film trilogy.

Instagram blocks competitor Mobli from its API

Mobli, which is similar to Instagram, got on everybody’s radar thanks to its interesting partnership with Latin America’s largest wireless carrier, America Movil. If you aren’t familiar with America Movil, it’s controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, who regularly trades places with Bill Gates as the richest person in the world.

With about 5 million active users and the America Movil partnership, Instagram might begin to view the app as a threat, which explains why it cut Mobli off from the Instagram API. Before this, Mobli users were able to easily share their content from Instagram to their feeds. Such a move shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as we’ve previously seen Facebook cut Vine (owned by Twitter) off from its API. Twitter has also cut Instagram off from its API too.

The API access that was revoked by Facebook and Twitter are all related to finding friends, which could be viewed as a way to lure users off the platform. While the current issue between Mobli and Instagram isn’t related to finding your friends, it could still be viewed as a tool to lure users away. So Instagram’s response isn’t surprising.

In Instagram’s own words

Instagram’s API guidelines make it clear that an application that replicates or attempts to replace the essential user experience violates our terms of use. We have a team dedicated to reviewing apps and enforcing our policies.

It’s also worth noting that Mobli is no saint either, as the company has previously run a campaign with the specific goal of having Instagram users move to it’s platform, along with monetary incentives.

Snapchat snags Instagram business lead as its COO

If turning down the previous acquisition offers of $3 billion (or $4 billion, depending on the source) didn’t convince you that Snapchat is becoming a force to be reckoned with, this next move will. It wasn’t too long ago that Emily White moved from Facebook to Instagram, and now she’s heading over to Snapchat to be second-in-command to CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel. Considering that Mark Zuckerberg tried to buy Snapchat recently, it’s going to sting to have a key person from Instagram (owned by Facebook) make such a move.

White has a lot of experience in the online advertising space, initially at Google, then at Facebook and Instagram, being instrumental in bringing ads to the latter.

Without a doubt, she’ll help Snapchat continue on it’s path taking on the mobile messaging scene. It’ll also be interesting to see if she grows into a high-profile COO like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.

Instagram Business Lead Emily White to Be Named COO of Snapchat

“It happened really quickly, but to have an actual COO role in one of many companies that is disrupting the communications arena is one I could not pass up,” she said. “I have always been captivated by the creativity that has gone into the product … and I think that Evan has been looking for someone who can help him grow and scale what is already something that has changed a lot of the way people think about the mobile experience.”

“Instagram has great leadership in place and this is not me walking away from anything but an A+ management team,” said White. “But I am about to learn a lot about the way communication is happening right now and am excited to help grow it into a big business.”

The good news is that she seems to have left Instagram on good terms.

Said Systrom of her departure in a statement: “I cannot thank Emily enough for her contributions to Instagram. She was tasked with getting the first ads products out the door — and she did that beautifully. Instagram is in an even better place today because of her efforts and we thank her.”

Apple bought Topsy for search?

Business Insider reports that Apple has bought Topsy, a Twitter analytics company.

Topsy is one of the companies paying for access to Twitter’s firehose of data. It analyzes tweets looking for trends.

It is possible that Apple is looking to use Topsy to improve its services to make them more suitable for social engagements. It could also help Apple to provide better, more social search results.

Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch speculates Apple could use it to improve App Store recommendations/rankings.

UPS looking into using delivery drones

The Verge reports that UPS is testing and evaluating using drones to delivery parcels.

UPS has a number of different ways it might utilize drones. It could offer something similar to Amazon’s Prime Air, or it might use them to help move packages around its own warehouses. Calo was skeptical of the video offered up by Amazon, where a drone drops off a package in a family’s suburban driveway. “I think from both a tech and a policy perspective, delivering to consumers in residential areas is going to be tough thing to accomplish any time soon,” says Calo. “But a company like UPS could use drones to bring packages quickly and cheaply from a major airport or city to pick-up centers in more remote locations, speeding up delivery for a lot of customers.”

Should we expect FedEx and DHL to jump on the bandwagon soon?