Google on a mission to stock up its patents war chest

Google looks to be filling its patents war chest further, if rumours of a bid for bankrupt Israeli device manufacturer Modu are accurate. With the Android platform under increasing threat from patent challenges, Google is reported to have offered $2m for the patent portfolio of the company, which was founded by USB-Flash drive inventor Dov Moran and which made what it claimed to be the world’s lightest modular mobile phone.

Android app downloads top 3 bil. as Google profits climb

Web giant Google turned in a decent set of results for the first quarter of 2011, yet with the company still in growth mode and hiring staff at an incredible rate, there were some concerns over the company’s high spend. Net income for the quarter came in at $2.3bn, compared to $1.95bn last year, against revenues of $8.6bn, up from $6.7bn last year.

Sprint joins the Google carrier billing club

Sprint has joined T-Mobile USA and AT&T on the Google carrier billing wagon, offering support for Android users who want to charge app purchases to their monthly bills. In a phased roll-out over the next few days, Sprint users will be offered a drop-down menu when purchasing apps, allowing them to choose between charging their credit card or “Bill my Sprint account.”

Google acquires mobile music synch platform PushLife

Rumours that Google is planning to launch an iTunes rival optimised for Android will no doubt be further fuelled by its acquisition of Canadian start-up PushLife. Founded by former Research in Motion employee, Ray Reddy, in 2008, PushLife offers software that allows users to synch non-Apple devices with the iTunes platform.

Google responds to allegations of Android lock-down

Google has responded to reports of growing tension between it and device manufacturers over what many view as Mountain View’s efforts to lock down the Android operating system. With Google requiring that manufacturers gain permission before making alterations or partnerships based on Android, some commentators are claiming that this represents a move towards Apple’s walled garden approach.

Google offers $900m for Nortel patents portfolio

Nortel Networks is to continue its post-bankruptcy asset sell-off, announcing the sale of its remaining patent portfolio to Google. The search giant is said to have offered $900m in cash in a “stalking horse” arrangement that could yet see another bidder come in with a higher offer. The patents in question are said to include both granted and pending applications covering wireless, 4G/LTE, data networking, optical, voice, social networking and internet, among others

Google ultra-high speed network destined for Kansas City

Google has announced the location in which it will build its ultra high-speed network. Following its request for applications from US cities that wished to be considered to host the project, Kansas City was chosen out of almost 1100 respondents.Making the announcement on its official blog yesterday, Google said that it had signed an agreement with the city and that, pending approval from the city’s Board of Commissioners, “we plan to offer services beginning in 2012.

Google to launch NFC payments trial?

Google is rumoured to be planning NFC mobile payments trials in New York and San Francisco. Bloomberg has reported that sources familiar with the project say the trials will begin in the next four months and that Google will pay for the installation of “thousands” of custom-built NFC-enabled Verifone terminals at merchants across both cities.

Android developers get shirty with Google

A group calling itself The Android Developers Union has formed to demand changes in the Android Market’s terms and conditions. The so-far anonymous group has issued a list of seven demands which Google can implement “to improve the market,” stating that they are “tired of being treated like sharecroppers on Google’s digital plantation.”

GSMA backs NFC as UK MNOs flag collaboration

Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile have announced their intention to launch NFC mobile payment services in the UK by 2012. Near-field communications (NFC) has been building a head of steam in recent months, with the likes of Google, RIM and Visa announcing their support.

Schmidt calls time on the PC

Outgoing Google chief Eric Schmidt has called time on the PC, telling delegates at the Mobile World Congress that smartphones are set to dominate the online market and that “it’s already over” for the PC. “People have moved on to new devices for their games and other interactions,” said the Google CEO.

Google leaves the Android door open for Nokia

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that “extensive confidential negotiations with Nokia” were held prior to the Finnish handset giant opting for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 mobile platform. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Schmidt told delegates “We would have loved if they’d chosen Android but they chose the other guys, that other competitor, Microsoft.”

Android users the most data-hungry says Arieso

Users of Android handsets place the greatest up- and downlink demands on mobile data networks according to a study carried out by location-based network management firm Arieso. The study used the data usage profile of iPhone3G owners as a benchmark and looked at usage patterns for a range of handsets, including the Blackberry Bold, the Google Nexus One, the HTC Desire, the Sony Ericsson Xperia and the iPhone4.

Google satellites to reach orbit in 2013

Google-backed satellite operator O3b Networks, which stands for “the Other 3 billion”, is set to launch services in 2013 after this week securing its final round of funding. The company has raised a total of $1.2bn from a group of investors and banks.

Google taps up Blind Type for smartphone input

Web giant Google has acquired Californian start up Blind Type for an undisclosed sum, boosting the attractiveness of Android as a smartphone platform for discovering content.

Google enables phone calls from Gmail

Google has upped its game in the telephony space this week, by introducing new functionality to its Gmail service that allows users to make calls to phones.

Oracle sues Google for patent infringement

US software firm Oracle has issued a lawsuit against Google, alleging that the Android operating system backed by the internet services player infringes a number of patents that relate to the Oracle-owned Java software. Java was developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in a deal that was completed early this year.

Google and Verizon try to decide future of internet

Turns out Google and Verizon were up to something after all. Behind the scenes the two companies have been doing what the FCC failed to do – forge a compromise agreement on net neutrality. The only thing is that the wording of the agreement raises some of the same concerns that emerged last week when word of the deal was first heard.

Concern grows over net neutrality compromise

The internet was humming on Thursday night and Friday morning with rampant speculation over a supposed deal between web giant Google and US carrier Verizon that many industry watchers fear as the end of the internet as we know it.

Google buries Nexus One

Last week, Google received its last shipment of the ill fated Nexus One device. When this batch sells out, the device will no longer be available from Google.

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Following comments from the European Data Protection Supervisor, do you feel the internet giants are taking advantage of the digital economy?

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