Facebook Beats Twitter to the Punch, Adds Instagram Filters to Mobile App

In today’s mobile news roundup: Facebook adds Instagram filter to mobile app; Court slams Apple case against Motorola;  Unlocked iPhone 5 prices revealed; and Samsung to reinvent brand.

Facebook adds Instagram filter to mobile app

At the height of rumors regarding Twitter developing an Instagram-like tool, Facebook adds Instagram filters to their mobile iOS app.  At least now their Instagram acquisition finally makes sense.  Facebook released version 5.1 on Monday, but the new version doesn’t mention any Instagram integration in the app’s description on iTunes.

When you upload a photo using the Facebook app, you can now add filters to images such as Neon, B+W or Golden, and you also have the option of cropping an image before uploading.  And I know this is what Facebook iOS users are waiting for – uploading multiple images at once.

Aside from the photo editing features, Facebook also added new gestures.  So now when you swipe to the left, you can access the Chat panel, and swiping to the right lets you access the Options menu.

For analysis on Instagram’s race for independence is Senior Editor Kristen Nicole, who offers commentary during this morning’s NewsDesk segment with Kristin Feledy.

Court slams Apple case against Motorola

Apple filed a case against Motorola Mobility accusing the latter of overpricing their patent licenses.  Motorola was asking 2.25 percent of the price of any products that included its patented technology, but Apple offered to pay $1 per device, which was declined.  The patents in question are now Google-owned, thanks to a $12.5 billion acquisition earlier this year.  Western District of Wisconsin District Judge Barbara B. Crabb dismissed the case, stating that Apple’s interest in licensing was “qualified.”

“I think Apple missed an opportunity to make important headway against Motorola Mobility. I don’t know Judge Crabb and I didn’t attend any of the hearings, but I read her orders and I really thought she was very solution-oriented. In fact, I thought she would have been a great judge to preside over a FRAND rate-setting trial – a judge that I think an implementer of FRAND standards could really have trusted to arrive at a fair decision,” says patent expert Florian Mueller.

“As long as she considered Apple to be genuinely interested in a solution, as opposed to protracted litigation, she was definitely willing to help put an end to Motorola’s wireless [standards-essential patent] SEP assertions against Apple. But when she started to doubt Apple’s intentions, the case fell apart.”

Unlocked iPhone 5 prices revealed

Browsing Apple’s site for an iPhone 5 will present you with options from their partner carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, but what if you want an iPhone 5 without a carrier contract?    You can always have it unlocked, though that would probably void the warranty.  The next best thing is to buy it directly from Apple, unlocked.  But is there an unlocked iPhone 5 being sold on Apple’s site?  At the moment, no, but it looks like later this year, they will be offering unlocked iPhone 5s.

According to Apple Insider’s Dhaval Dinani, who was the first to discover this, doing a quick search for “iPhone 5 factory unlocked” reveals the pricing of the devices.  The 16GB Black & Slate or White & Silver GSM version costs $649, the 32GB Black & Slate CDMA version will cost $749, and $849 for the 64GB Black & Slate or White & Silver GSM version.

Samsung to reinvent brand

According to reports, Samsung is allegedly reinventing their brand come CES 2013.  Though it’s not clear yet as to how exactly they will reinvent their brand, some are saying that the South Korean company may finally stop using plastics on their devices to make them more aesthetically pleasing.  But almost always, when a brand reinvents itself, it usually just unveils a new logo that comes with a lot of splash.