It seems like Google will be getting the nod from European and U.S. regulators this week for the Google-Motorola merger. The acquisition was announced August last year and cost Google $12.5 billion. Despite the impending approval, it highly likely that they would continue to face scrutiny due to licensing problems with smartphone patents.
Mobile phone developers are battling it out in courts all over the world over who owns what over patent technologies. It has reached the point wherein phones from certain companies have been barred from selling in some countries due to infringement issues.
According to American Antitrust Institute President Bert Foer, “It’s kind of a Cold War being played out here. We’re watching a form of warfare play out in which the system makes no sense but leads the players to mutually arm themselves with these missiles that they can utilize in order to achieve mutually assured destruction.”
Motorola currently has patents over online video and Wi-Fi.
According to Robert Barr, executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, “Google needs those patents because it is fighting a war. They have to get approval.”
Microsoft and Apple have agreed that no use of injunctions without exception for standards essential patents they own. “Standard essential” means that they view it as a core to the interoperability of a technology and are licensed under fair and reasonable terms.
The DROID RAZR MAXX is Motorola’s ticket to this year’s Consumer Electronic Show. And a few lucky individuals were fortunate enough to get their hands on it and test the new device.
Mobilerun.com provides a review of the latest Droid.
The tech site say that it is good to note that Motorola’s newest device is thicker than its predecessor which is quite rare in today’s standards. The DROID RAZR MAXX is 8.99mm thick. But with its bulk comes a much larger battery which improves its battery life. According to Motorola, the DROID RAZR can last 21 hours of talk time before the need to recharge it arises.
There are no other big differences to note after that since the DROID RAZR still has a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED display and run on a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with a 1GB RAM. It currently runs on the old Android OS, the Gingerbread. But Verizon has said that they will be upgrading the OS to the Ice Cream Sandwich sometime in the future.
According to the Mobileburn.com, “the overall fell and sex appeal of the origianl DROID RAZR are lessened as a result. I can certainly get behind the huge battery that the MAXX offers, but it certainly turns the RAZR MAXX into a far more pedestrian looking device than the original.”
According to a report from app market analysts Flurry, downloads from the new Droid phones on Christmas day were almost equal to the number of downloads from all other Android phones combined.
When asked whether it was just a one-off scenario, Peter Farago, Flurry’s head of marketing, told Venturebeat that the trend will probably continue.
“In our estimation, Droid numbers will continue to drive a larger share of downloads for the foreseable future until another Android handset can displace its position as the fastest-selling Android phone. Also, we have to remember that this is the most marketed Android phone to date, and on Verizon, which has 70 million subscribers.”
But although the Droid’s numbers are high, it’s still a very long run for them to beat Apple’s iPhone app sales. According to Flurry, the Android Market downloads increased only 22 percent from November to December while Apple’s apps downloads was calculated to increase by 51 percent higher than last month.
In a survey conducted by research firm comScore, Apple’s iPhone is now in second place when it comes to having the largest user base in the U.S. smartphone market.
Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry still takes the top spot while Windows Mobile-based models came in the third place.
According to Mark Donovan, a comScore senior analyst, Apple’s iPhone are being used by almost 9 million Americans as their primary phone. RIM’s Blackberry have almost 6 million greater user base with 15 million Americans saying RIM is their primary handset maker. Microsoft’s Windows Mobile are being used by an estimated 7.1 million people in the U.S.
“The surveys aren’t a measurement of sales velocity in the last quarter, but of the installed base using the phone as their primary,” said Donovan, acknowledging that the iPhone has been outselling Windows Mobile phones for some time.
“But there has been a large installed base of Windows Mobile phones out there, which accounts for its strength until recently.”
According to comScore’s result however, more and more people are leaning toward purchasing iPhones (20%) and Google Android-based phones (17% – 8% of that said they’re buying Verizon’s Droid) in the next 90 days.
“There’s some serious momentum behind Android,” Donovan said. “The iPhone and Android have set the bar at a new high for smartphones.”
The much-anticipated challenger of the iPhone is set to be available on the market on November 6 for $199.99 after a rebate with a two-year contract with Verizon.
Although very much different from the iPhone in terms of appearance – it’s thicker and lacks iPhone’s curves, the Droid is shaking up a storm in the smartphone arena.
Along with its virtual keyboard with tactile feedback, the Droid also features a full slide-out keyboard. It also features a 5-megapixal camera, a tiny flash and a voice-activated search that brings up both contacts and location-based Google search results (pretty cool huh?). Motorola also claims a 6.4-hour talk time on a single battery charge – longer than the iPhone’s five hours.
The Droid will run on Google’s Android 2.0, the latest version of the system. The search giant also introduced in this smartphone its new mapping software that that calls out turn-by-turn directions while providing a variety of visual guides.
Throwing its largest marketing campaign ever behind the Droid, Verizon is indeed serious in challenging the iPhone and AT&T’s position in the smartphone market.
“Apple revolutionized the industry,” and the smart phone industry needed time to collect itself and figure out its next move, John Stratton, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, said at a launch event in New York.