Apple-Samsung “Thermonuclear” US Court Battle Begins Today

Today’s mobile news roundup features: the much awaited Apple-Samsung trial in the US; Apple’s acquisition of AuthenTec; Microsoft Hardware’s team readying for Windows 8 tablets;  HTC closing offices in South Korea; and KT Corp. hackers arrested.

Apple-Samsung trial set for today

The much awaited court battle between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. is to begin today in the US.  Apple sued Samsung last year for patent infringement, stating that the design of the South Korean company’s smartphones and tablets greatly resembles that of Apple’s iDevices.  But Samsung filed a countersuit stating that Apple was using technologies on their devices for which they hold a patent.

Earlier this month, UK Judge Colin Birss ruled that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 did not copy Apple’s iPad, saying it was “not as cool” as the iPad, and consumers could not possibly mistaken a Galaxy Tab 10.1 for an Apple tablet.  The judge also ordered Apple to publish an ad on their UK website for six months, along with publishing ads of the same accord in magazines and newspapers, that Samsung did not copy the iPad.  Though this is favorable for Samsung, they cannot mention the UK ruling in US court battle handled by US District Judge Lucy Koh.

The late Steve Jobs’ dying wish was to destroy the Android platform, which is being used by a lot of OEMs these days.  Samsung is just one of the companies Apple is going after.

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong, I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product,” Jobs stated in his authorized biography by Walter Isaacson. “I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Apple beefs up security with AuthenTec buy

For $356 million, Apple will acquire fingerprint sensor technology developer AuthenTec Inc.  The chips manufactured by AuthenTec can be used on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as computers and laptops.  This acquisition is intended to tighten the security features of iDevices.  Samsung is one of AuthenTec’s biggest clients and this acquisition would surely take its toll on the South Korean company.

In other Apple news, a Japanese blog site released photos of a Franken iPhone 5, which was built using scraps from factories building the iPhone 5.  The photos features a device that looks like the iPhone 4/4S but features a smaller dock port, redesigned speaker grills, the front camera has been relocated at the top of the earpiece, and the phone jack is at the bottom and the back cover appears to be aluminum or metallic in nature.  As for the other aspects, it all looks the same as the 4/4S.

Windows 8 tablet accessories


Image courtesy Microsoft

According to Microsoft’s annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Windows 8 operating system “will be generally available on October 26” and at the same time, the Microsoft Surface will be available for purchase.

Since everyone’s getting excited, the Microsoft Hardware team is also getting ready for the tablet with their own Windows 8 tablet accessories.  Though the Surface tablet has a kickstand and attachable keyboard, there’s no assurance that all Windows 8 tablets will have a compatible accessory.  So the Microsoft Hardware team unveiled their Windows 8 keyboards and mice.  You can choose between the Wedge Mobile Keyboard, priced at $79.95, that has a cover that doubles as a tablet stand, or the Sculpt Travel Keyboard, $49.95, that’s shaped to deliver a comfortable typing experience.  As for the mice, you can choose between the Wedge Tough Mouse or the Sculpt Mouse.  The Wedge Touch Mouse features a Blue Track sensor that can be used on any surface, even denim and linoleum, and has a 4-way touch-surface for $69.95, while the Sculpt Touch Mouse for 49.95 features a 4-way scroll strip but lacks the Blue Track sensor.

HTC closes South Korean office

The strong demand for Samsung and Apple devices finally took its toll on HTC as they closed their office in South Korea, where demand for their smartphones is low.

According to HTC’s official statement, the closing of their South Korean office was to”streamline operations” and improve efficiency across the whole company. “This is a hard decision that has direct impact on people who have contributed to the growth HTC has experienced the past several years,” the company said in a statement.  Though redundancies in the company wasn’t mentioned, HTC employees are encouraged to apply for other vacancies in the company.

KT Corp. hackers arrested

Two men suspected of hacking KT Corp.’s database were arrested for allegedly stealing subscribers’ names, phone and personal identification numbers, and then sold the data to telemarketers.  The suspects allegedly acquired 8.7 million user information of KT.

“It took nearly seven months to develop the hacking program and [the suspects] had very sophisticated hacking skills,” the company told the Yonhap News agency.