Nokia inks smartphone patent licensing deal with Huawei

Nokia has added one more smartphone manufacturer to its patent licensing kitty by inking a licensing deal with Huawei.

The deal with Huawei means that Nokia now has smartphone patent licesing deal with almost all major smartphone manufacturers out there including Apple, Samsung Electronics, LG, and Xiaomi. Neither Nokia nor Huawei revealed financial details about the deal, but Nokia said in its statement that they will start booking revenue, including and a one-off catch-up payment, from the fourth quarter.

Experts of patent licensing are of the opinion that the Huawei deal would be smaller than from Apple, which he estimated to be around EUR 250 million ($297 million) annually. Nokia could take home some EUR 100 million annually.

Analysts are of the opinion that the patent licensing deal with Huawei is going to be a huge positive for Nokia considering that it is facing tough competition in its network market. The revenue from patent licensing will help the company offset possible slump in the network business.

Nokia is currently taking home more than 90 percent of its revenue from telecoms network equipment, but the licensing payments are highly profitable.

Nokia built up its catalogue of patents in the days when the company dominated the mobile handset business. It covers technology that reduces the need for hardware components in a phone, conserves battery life and increases radio reception, among other features.

Apple could combine iPhone, Mac and iPad apps

Reports have emerged that Apple is mulling to combine apps on its three platforms – the iPhone, Mac and iPad in a bid to make it easier for users to access apps on all platforms without them having to purchase separate version for all three.

People familiar with the matter have revealed to Bloomberg that developers working on iPhone, iPad and Mac apps will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware.

As of now developers are required to develop two sets of apps – one for iOS and other for MacOS. This in effect is a lot of work and developers and customers have been complaining about Mac not getting as many apps as iOS. With a single app for all machines, Mac, iPad and iPhone users will get new features and updates at the same time.

Reports also suggest that the iPhone maker intends to roll out the changes as part of next fall’s major iOS and macOS updates. The roll out will be part of a secret project, codenamed “Marzipan”.

Theoretically, the plan could be announced as early as the summer at the company’s annual developers conference if the late 2018 release plan remains on track. Apple’s plans are still fluid, the people said, so the implementation could change or the project could still be cancelled.


German watchdog says Facebook data harvesting is ‘abusive’

Germany’s competition watchdog has slammed Facebook for its ‘abusive’ data harvesting practices and added that the social networking behemoth is abusing its dominant position to “limitlessly” harvest user data from outside websites and apps.

The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has released a preliminary assessment report wherein it has focused on Facebook’s use of third-party sites to track users’ browsing behaviour, often without their knowledge. The FCO said that they are of the view that Facebook is abusing this dominant position by keeping tabs on user activities without the users’ knowledge.

These third parties include Facebook-owned services such as WhatsApp and Instagram, but also sites and apps that are less obviously linked to Facebook, often through the “like” button at the bottom of a webpage.

The FCO said many users were unaware their movements on other sites were being shadowed by Facebook, and that it “can also not be assumed” that users consent to the data collection.

The data transmitted from third sources give Facebook a wealth of information about its users, from which the Silicon Valley titan benefits financially by offering targeted advertising on its website.

FCO president Andreas Mundt said the social network’s advertising space was “so valuable” precisely because it has “huge amounts of personalised data at its disposal”.

The anti-trust watchdog expects to finish its probe by mid-2018, some two years after it was launched. The FCO does not have the power to slap Facebook with a fine, but the company can be forced to alter or even cease some of its activities.

The German scrutiny marks another setback for Facebook in Europe at a time of heightened concerns over the tracking of personal data online.

On Monday, France’s data protection agency told WhatsApp it needed to obtain users’ permission to transfer some information to its parent company Facebook, and gave it a month to comply.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17063 released

Microsoft Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17063 has been released for members of Windows Insider program.

The new build contains some of the highly anticipated features such as Timeline, app-tabbing feature Sets, among other things. The Timeline feature was long overdue after it original announcement in May and released schedule for the Fall Creator Update. However, the feature is now released as a preview meaning that the public release will still take some time.

The Timeline feature provides users a way to resume your past activities. It comes as an enhanced version of Task View that can be accessed with Win+Tab key combination. By default, Timeline shows snapshots of the apps you were using at a particular time. But there is also a ‘See all’ button that opens all the apps you used on a given day. Moreover, the feature comes with a search bar that can be used to find any of the previous apps.

Alongside its presence on PCs, Timeline allows you to resume your past activities on other Windows 10 devices. The switching between apps will also eventually available for Android and iOS devices through cross-platform Cortana and Microsoft Edge apps.

It is worth noting here that not all apps will get the ability to let users resume their activities through Timeline. Therefore, in the latest Preview release of Windows 10, you will be able to see your Web browsing activities in Microsoft Edge, open your previous files in Microsoft Office or access your past work in the updated UWP (Universal Windows Platform) versions of Maps, News, Money, Sports, and Weather.

In addition to Timeline, Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17063 has brought Sets for some testers. This new feature will enable tabs for apps such as Microsoft Office and Edge to help you easily move from one task to another. Moreover, the addition is apparently inspired by the way Microsoft Edge browser handles different tabs.

The new Windows Insider build also includes tons of other new features. For instance, Microsoft Edge gets an updated dark theme with better contrast and dark blacks. Cortana’s Notebook has also received a new look. Additionally, Microsoft has improved gestures for precision touchpads. There are also several improvements to Windows Shell. Besides, the new Windows Insider build has a large number of bugs that could cause some conflicts with the new features as well as your overall experience.