A short update this week, here's a rundown of what's been drawing attention and making headlines.
Patents, patents, patents
I should start by wishing the iPhone a happy birthday, I suppose, because in many ways it's what got us into this mess in the first place. Technolgy patents long been a contested issue, but there's little doubt in my mind that the iPhone ushered in a new era of mobile technology that really took it all to the next level. Early this week, in reaction to some European action in the Samsung, Justin Paulsen summed it up and examined the economics early this week:
Apple and Samsung have consistently been going back and forth with claims of IP infringement, to the point where who is accusing who of what is exhausting to follow. The question I would like to ask and try to answer is what the opportunity costs are of pursuing litigation versus just toughing it out? Would it be more economic for both companies to live and let live, or is there value to be captured in legal finger pointing? My best guess would be that this isn’t about stopping sales this quarter or next, nor is it about defending the small-scale tech features that merely mildly differentiate. It’s instead about momentum and branding. Winning these cases is PR that says, ‘we are the leaders in smartphone technology, we are the innovators.’
His analysis was timely, to say the least, as later this week we heard that Apple won a small battle: district Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Samsung is banned from bringing its Galaxy Tab 10.1 into the country. Ultimately, though, I imagine Samsung will re-release the product, with slightly modified features, and the wars will wage on. In an interesting sub-plot, RIM is looking worse and worse all the time -- the ship is sinking, and a delayed product release is just another hole in the hull. They seem poised to stick it out, but when (if?) they do go under, I imagine there will be a whole bunch of juicy patents up for grabs, providing more Patent Wars ammo to the highest bidder.
The in crowd, hanging out with Google
I sometimes wonder if Google planned their I/O developers conference to celebrate the release of the iPhone. If so, they have certainly gone out of their way to make sure they get all the attention at this birthday celebration -- I don't see Apple throwing iPhones out of airplanes (there's something slightly appealing about the thought, though). There was action, intrigue, suspense -- everything a developer's conference should have. James Lee Phillips summed the whole thing up nicely in an article earlier today:
What do we have to show for it all? We have a very nice little tablet, some kooky glasses, a mystifying media streamer, and the usual suspects of enterprise-courting and OS updates.
When did the future happen?
Three stories made me ask myself this question this week. The first, from contributor G. Taylor, questioned the validity of advertisers watching us to target ads -- I didn't quite know how to feel about this, until I remember how the internet is always watching me, and that's at least as bad in my case. Next, from new writer Brennan Coulter, an article outlining how researchers are looking to overcome our increasingly crowded airways with some clever physics. Finally, a story that slipped under most people's radar: Ada Genavia told us about spray-painted batteries. I wonder if these coule be layered, creating this, very energy-dense coatings for our increasingly hungry mobile devices? Combined with wireless charging, I look forward to a future where I don't need to worry about power cords...