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Mobile Technology News, December 8, 2012

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Thefts a Concern as Holiday Deliveries Increase
    As more consumers order gifts online, they are being advised to be proactive against thefts, by tracking packages and requiring signatures upon delivery.

  • European Panel Is Pressuring Google on Privacy Rules
    European data protection officials are drafting plans to censure Google over its online privacy policy if the company does not eventually meet regulators’ demands to revise it.

  • Apple and Google making joint bid for Kodak patents, report says
    An Apple-Google joint effort to procure Kodak’s patents could auger a somewhat less litigious atmosphere in the future.
  • Apple’s Initial Investment in U.S. Mac Production Estimated to Create 200 Jobs
    Bloomberg reports that Apple’s $100 million plan to bring some Mac production back to the United States is likely to be a very modest operation at the outset, with some economists and industry experts projecting that the effort will create approximately 200 jobs.

    The investment “sounds like a 200-job operation with about a million-unit output,” said Dan Luria, a labor economist at Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth, Michigan, who studies factory operations. Apple will probably rely on tax breaks and other incentives for the facility, he said. […]

    While Apple’s commitment could set a precedent for electronics suppliers, it probably doesn’t presage a large or rapid shift of production back to the U.S., said Michael Marks, the former CEO of Flextronics International Ltd., which was the largest contract manufacturer in the world before the rise of Foxconn. He also estimates $100 million may create about 200 jobs.

    Apple is presumed to be working with its primary manufacturing partner Foxconn on the project, as Foxconn has also expressed interest in building operations in the United States.

    Workers at Quanta Computer in Shanghai assembling MacBook Pro display enclosures
    Apple’s efforts to bring Mac production back to the United States come just as Lenovo, which purchased IBM’s personal computer business in 2005, has announced plans to begin PC production in North Carolina. Lenovo’s effort is also a modest one, projected to employ roughly 100 workers to produce several hundred thousand units per year.

  • Apple and Google Teaming Up on $500 Million Bid for Kodak Patents
    Bloomberg reports that Apple and Google have joined forces to put forward a bid of more than $500 million to purchase the patent portfolio of bankrupt imaging pioneer Eastman Kodak.

    The two companies, competing for dominance of the smartphone market, have partnered after leading two separate consortia this summer to buy Kodak’s 1,100 imaging patents, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.

    Unlikely partnerships are typical in patent sales because they allow competitors to neutralize potential infringement litigation.

    Sources indicate that Apple had originally teamed up with Microsoft and patent holding company Intellectual Ventures, while Google had aligned with its hardware partners and patent holding firm RPX.

    The report does not indicate why Apple and Google ultimately decided to abandon their separate bids and team up on an offer for Kodak’s patents, although a previous report had indicated that the two sides were likely cooperating in order to prevent a bidding war that would drive up the cost of the patents.

    Kodak’s bankruptcy financing is contingent upon the company receiving at least $500 million for its patent portfolio, and the joint bid by Apple and Google seems to meet that requirement.

    Apple and Kodak have a bit of an interesting history, having worked together on a mid-1990s project for Apple’s QuickTake line of digital cameras. The intellectual property from that collaboration has been the subject of some dispute, with Apple claiming that Kodak is not the rightful owner of patents related to that work.

  • Bits Blog: Why Apple Got a ‘Made In U.S.A.’ Bug
    Apple’s decision to make some of its computers in the United States shows how little assembly costs matter in the global computer market.

  • ‘Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition’ Arrives for iPad [iOS Blog]
    Legendary role-playing game Baldur’s Gate has arrived for iPad tonight. It’s a port of the beloved 1998 game by BioWare, but updated and enhanced with touchscreen controls and extra content like in-app purchases.

    Sister-site TouchArcade notes that Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition requires iOS 6 to play, which rules out the original iPad as a compatible device.

    This classic saga of mystery, intrigue, and adventure has set the standard for Dungeons & Dragons™ computer role-playing games ever since.

    Now, upgraded and enhanced, it comes to your iPad.

    * 80 hours of Epic RPG adventure
    * Over 40 classes and kits
    * Over 100 spells
    * over 150 magical items
    * New adventure: The Black Pits, a thrilling combat adventure
    * New character: Rasaad yn Bashir, a Calishite Monk searching for answers.
    * New character: Dorn Il-Khan, a half-orc blackguard with a history of violence.
    * New character: Neera the Wild Mage, a half-elf on a quest to control her powerful magic.

    Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition for iPad is available in the App Store for $9.99. [Direct Link]

  • Bits Blog: Eggnog Cinnamon Chip Scones and Other Tech Recipes
    A new cookbook, The Start-Up Chef, collects recipes from people in the tech world, with the proceeds going to charities that fight hunger.
  • HP to Apple: Hey, we already make PCs in the U.S.
    Hewlett-Packard says it’s way ahead of Apple in the race to bring more computer assembly back to the U.S.
  • Is Samsung’s iSheep Ad The Best Of 2012?
    Samsung’s "Next Big Thing" television advertisement — in which Apple fanboys wait in line for the launch of the next iPhone, only to be enthralled…
  • VIDEO: ‘Electric Avenue’: Shenzhen shopping
    The Shenzhen street where the Chinese go electronics shopping
  • Vala Afshar: The Future of Customer Support is Social, Mobile, Video and Insourced
    Summary of fact: people are more mobile and social and spending more of their time connected that ever before. And yet so many businesses, notably in the B2B space, have customer service and support organizations that are not ready for the mobile, social, and hyper-connected era.
  • Mug Shots On Pinterest: Creepy Or Clever?
    Pinterest, the virtual pinboard widely known for its users’ celebration of lavish nail art and mouth-watering food, is now reportedly being used for a far…
  • Government Secrecy ‘Fraught With Problems’
    The federal government is classifying information at a rapidly increasing pace, and every time the CIA, FBI or National Security Agency stamps a document "Top…
  • iPhone 5 Now ‘In Stock’ in Apple’s Online Stores for Several Countries
    Just days after shipping estimates for new iPhone 5 orders improved to 2-4 business days, they are taking the final step with Apple now listing the device as “in stock” in many of its online stores.

    We’ve noticed the new “in stock” quotes in Apple’s online stores for the U.S, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand, while a number of other countries are still seeing estimates of 1-3 business days for the time being. Unlocked iPhone 5 models in the U.S. are also still seeing 1-3 business day estimates.

    Apple has achieved supply-demand balance for the iPhone 5 just ahead of the holidays and even as the company is working to bring the device to more than 50 additional countries this month.

    Apple’s deadlines for other holiday delivery of other products are also approaching, with U.S. customers having until December 12 to place their iPad mini orders with guaranteed delivery before Christmas. Other products are already unavailable for the holidays, with the new 27-inch iMac now seeing January shipping estimates as Apple works to deliver the first units to customers.

  • Discussing Android, iOS, and other operating systems on Twitter
    Archive from the December 5, 2012 tweet chat on mobile operating systems.
  • Peter Navarro and Greg Autry: China Bashing Bears Fruit: Apple Moves Bring Manufacturing Home
    You just can’t stay in a deal where only one side is required to follow rules or behave in a civilized manner. It is time for Washington to take off the gloves and fight for American jobs like the 700,000 other ones Apple has left in China.
  • What Happens To Your Facebook Profile After You Die?
    Sometime in mid-July, Anthony Dowdell put on his favorite plaid shirt, drove his Dodge pickup to the parking lot of a Sam’s Club in Linden,…
  • U.S. Patent Office Preliminarily Invalidates Apple’s ‘Steve Jobs Patent’ on the iPhone
    FOSS Patents reports that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice preliminarily ruling that Apple’s massive iPhone patent popularly referred to as “the Steve Jobs patent” invalid in its entirety upon reexamination.

    The patent, issued as Patent No. 7,479,949, had been granted in January 2009 and incorporated several prior patent applications dating back to September 2006 before the company publicly unveiled the device. Steve Jobs is listed as the first inventor on the patent, and FOSS Patents notes that it is probably the most famous of the over 300 patents credited at least in part to Jobs.

    Some people say that first Office actions are partial because they are based only on submissions made by those challenging the patent, and many examiners like to take a tough position early on in order to enable and require the patentee to present the strongest arguments in favor of validity. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of a first Office action. Also, a complete rejection of all claims of a given patent is potentially more devastating than one affecting only some claims.

    Apple has asserted the patent against a number of its competitors, including Samsung and Motorola, and an ultimate finding of invalidity in the reexamination process would substantially weaken Apple’s cases against those companies, although it is far from the only weapon in Apple’s patent arsenal.

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