Oracle Claims APIs are Copyrightable in Android Case, RIM Clarifies Sideloading Kerfuffle

Today’s mobile news roundup features Oracle stating that APIs are copyrightable, RIM clearing up sideloading ban, Nokia launches another NFC phone, and Toshiba’s huge tablet.

Oracle: APIs are copyrightable

Oracle and Google will be facing each other in court next when the eight-week trial starts on April 16.  Oracle’s attorneys will be convincing the jury that Google infringed their Java patents and used it for the Android platform.  They also stated that “the arrangement and structure of 37 application programming interfaces, or APIs – tools used for building software applications – that Google used are original expressions that are copyrightable.”

Tech experts stated that APIs being copyrightable would be catastrophic for the industry, as developers use APIs to write software.  Copyrightable APIs would mean more lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who will be presiding over the case, is quite excited about this and even referred to it as “the World Series of IP cases” where there will be only one winner.

Apple could get sued today – e-publisher battle lives on

In another legal brawl, Apple could face a lawsuit as early as today from the Department of Justice over alleged e-book price fixing.  Apple’s been accused of price-fixing in tandem with five major publishers, including Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hatchette Book Group and Pearson and Macmillan.

According to a report from Reuters, “a lawsuit against Apple, one of the parties not in negotiations with the Justice Department for a potential settlement, could come as early as Wednesday but no final decision has been made, the people said.”

RIM clears up tweet kerfuffle

On Monday’s mobile news roundup, we noted Research in Motion’s decision that their PlayBook tablet’s sideloading feature will be removed in the next update to address the problem of app piracy.

As it turns out, per Alec Saunders’, VP of Developer Relations, tweet: “Piracy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android market,” was just a huge misunderstanding.

In a blog post, Saunders stated that “140 characters doesn’t allow for nuance,” pertaining to the above tweet which started this whole kerfuffle.  He further stated that sideloading will not be removed, but they will be adding a new feature that will encrypt apps so they can only be run by the user who purchased the app, preventing piracy.  He also reiterated that sideloading is a developer-feature to help them test their apps, and not for people to use them to spread pirated apps.

Nokia’s NFC-capable Lumia 610

Finnish phone maker Nokia launched an NFC version of the Nokia Lumia 610.  The Lumia 610 is the most affordable handset in the Lumia line and is the perfect device to introduce Windows Phone and NFC to a broader and younger crowd.  French telecom company, Orange, will be the first to offer the Lumia 610 NFC.

The NFC-capable Lumia 610  can pair with NFC accessories such as the Nokia BH-310, an NFC Bluetooth headset, and read NFC tags with a single tap.  Aside from that, the Lumia 610 NFC has been is certified for MasterCard for their PayPass solution and the Visa payWave.

Intel targets students with new tablet

Intel’s new studybook, a 7-inch tablet, isn’t choosing favorites as far as the OS goes.  It’s capable of running either Windows 7 or Android.

With a multitouch LCD screen, front and rear cameras, light sensor and, of course, an Intel Atom processor, the studybook also features 1GB of memory and up to 32GB of solid-state storage.

And, since it’s aimed at students, it’s designed to be dust and water resistent and able to withstand a pretty good-sized drop.

Intel’s been anxious to grow its presence in the mobile market, even if that means making its own devices for its own chips.  ARM’s been winning the race in the mobile device sector for the past couple of years, and targeting the education niche is probably a smart entry point for Intel, which is running a similar program with PCs.  Others like Cisco have been working on tablets for the enterprise, sticking to a niche of their own.

Toshiba goes for bigger tablets

On Tuesday, Toshiba’s Digital Products Division announced the expansion of their Excite family of Android-powered tablets with three new display sizes: 13.3-inch, 10.1-inch and 7.7-inch. The new Excite tablets boast thin-and-light designs, brilliant displays, quad-core performance as well as a full range of essential ports and smart features.

Nothing’s really new with the 10.1 and 7.7-inch tablets, but a 13.3-inch tablet?  Would people want to carry a huge tablet everyday?  Well, apparently, the Excite 13 is meant for home use.

“The Excite 13 is what we see as a home tablet,” Jared Leavitt, a Toshiba spokesman, said in an interview. “The larger size makes it an ideal kitchen tablet. You can watch how-to videos while you’re cooking, or look up recipes. And then later, you can bring it into the living room to watch videos with the kids, or to look at family photos with friends.”

Still, the tablet seems too big even for home use.  On the bright side, at least it will be shipped with the latest Android version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.