Nokia to Layoff 4,000 Workers, Apple Sued for iPad Trademark

Nokia, the Finnish-mobile manufacturer, will be laying off approximately 4,000 workers from three factories as they move manufacturing to Asia.

The factories in Komarom, Hungary, Reynosa, Mexico, and Salo, Finland, have a total of 8,900 employees and Nokia wants to cut it in half as they move manufacturing to Asia. Nokia wants to concentrate on Asia to regain competitive market value.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop wants Windows Phone-based devices to be quickly reproduced and introduced to new markets, as they wean from their Symbian-based phones.  Elop also wants to pick up the pace at which new models are launched.

And according to a Nokia spokewoman, the employees who will not be terminated will work on “smartphone product customization,” which could include tailoring the software of smaller batches of phones for specific operators.

“With the planned changes, our factories at Komarom, Reynosa and Salo will continue to play an important role serving our smartphone customers. They give us a unique ability to both provide customization and be more responsive to customer needs,” said Niklas Savander, Nokia executive vice president, Markets.

Google’s Plan For MoMo Patent-licensing, Chrome for Android

According to unnamed sources, Google is going to send a letter to standards organizations such as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, a nonprofit recognized by the European Union, to assure them that their acquisition of Motorola Mobility will not affect licensing patents of the said company.

“Having the blessing of wireless standards committees could help Google’s position,” Maulin Shah, managing director of patent research firm Envision IP Inc. in New York said in an interview. “The regulators might see that as a sign that this is not going to lead to a monopoly position.”

The European Commission is still scrutinizing the Google-MoMo deal, with concerns that it will violate the fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms, or FRAND.

“Since we announced our agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility last August, we’ve heard questions about whether Motorola Mobility’s standard-essential patents will continue to be licensed on FRAND terms once we’ve closed this transaction,” Niki Fenwick, a spokeswoman for Google said. “The answer is simple: They will.”

Google’s been steadily updating its software offerings for its mobile devices while waiting for the MoMo acquisition to go through.  Yesterday they released the Chrome for Android, which is seen as a move to accelerate browser update since Chrome for desktop rolls out faster and more stable.

“Right now, our focus is on making Chrome for Android Beta available to Android 4.0 phone/tablet users to gather initial feedback…. [But] our long-term plan is for Chrome to become the standard browser on Android 4.0 and above,” said a Google spokeswoman in an email to ComputerWorld.

Chrome for Android is available only for devices with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Apple Sued By Chinese Company Over “iPad”

The Chinese company Proview Technology (Shenzhen), a subsidiary of Proview International in Hong Kong, is suing Apple for $38 million, and demands an apology for the illegal use of the iPad trademark.

Apple bought the iPad trademark from Proview Electronics (Taiwan) for $55,000 in 2006 by way of a front company called IP Application Development.  But the Taiwanese company claims that the deal did not include the rights to the trademark in China.

Proview sued Apple, seeking a total of 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in damages, but Apple countersued, claiming that they are the rightful owner of the trademark.  A Chinese court sided with Proview, so Apple appealed the case.  Proview is said to be ready to slap Apple with a $38 million legal fine, but Apple has managed to delay the hearing.

Aside from that, Proview Shenzhen’s lawyer Xie Xianghui claims an apology from Apple is more important for them.

“We ask the court to stop selling and marketing for Apple’s iPad in China. We also demand an apology,” Xie said.

Other Mobile News

When Hewlett-Packard’s TouchPad went on a fire-sale, some tablets shipped were allegedly running on the Android platform and not webOS.  The people from HP were dumbfounded as to how that happened, and the incident created quite a frenzy because companies shipping Android devices are required to make the kernel open source. Since HP didn’t officially release the tablets running Android, it was not required to make the kernel of its internal build open-source.  But, since HP is such a good sport, they now offer the internal Android build to the open-source movement.

Ahead of the upcoming Mobile World Congress, LG is teasing consumers with the ad for the LG Optimus Vu, a smartphone believed to measure at 5 inches, having a 4:3 aspect ratio display, 1.5GHz Qualcomm WPQ8060 dual-core paired with 1GB of RAM, 8-megapixel main camera,  front-facing camera, 8GB of ROM space and NFC-capable.

GreenSimian, the brainchild of two Seattle veterans from Microsoft and Texas Instruments, will be launching SolMate, a smartphone power casing packing solar electricity, inductive charging, battery storage and energy management software that ups the ante on smartphone battery life, by Spring 2012.

“SolMate is not another iPhone casing. It’s a seductive combination of software, microelectronics and power-generating semi-conductors that take mobile power to a new level,” said Jamie Wojcik, GreenSimian CTO and co-founder.