Samsung Calls For Jury Misconduct To Overthrow $1B Fine

In today’s mobile news roundup: Apple-Samsung judge may reconsider $1B verdict; AT&T gives in to consumer demand on FaceTime via cellular; Google offers free services to pseudo-smartphones; and Canada sharpens its fangs on mobile theft.

Apple-Samsung judge may reconsider $1B verdict

Samsung is to pay Apple $1 billion in damages after the court sided with the fruity company in a patent infringement case.  The South Korean giant is not pleased with the verdict, and they are doing everything they can to get the verdict thrown out.  Samsung is calling for a mistrial, stating that the trial was unfair due to juror misconduct.

According to Samsung, Vel Hogan, the jury foreman in the case, concealed vital information that may have affected the outcome of the case.  Hogan has a previous altercation with Seagate, a company that has a “substantial strategic relationship” with Samsung, that led to Hogan filing for bankruptcy.  Samsung stated that Hogan should have informed the court of his history with Seagate.  Judge Lucy Koh set a hearing on December 6 to “consider the questions” as to whether Hogan did conceal vital information.  Experts believe that it will be hard to overturn a ruling, especially on claims of misconduct, and they doubt that Hogan or any member of the jury had any outside influence regarding their verdict.  Samsung must provide concrete evidence of their claims to prove that Hogan’s history with Seagate did affect the outcome of the trial.

AT&T gives in to consumer demand on FaceTime via cellular

When Apple first launched FaceTime, the chat tool could only be used on WiFi networks.  When iOS 6 was released, it enabled consumers to use FaceTime via their network carrier.  But even before iOS 6 was released, developers discovered that AT&T charges consumers when they use FaceTime over their cellular network.  Other carriers stated that FaceTime use over their network will be included in their data plans, but AT&T was the only one to require consumers to sign up for their data-sharing plans to be able to use FaceTime via cellular.

Free Press, Public Knowledge and the New American Foundation’s Open Technology Institute filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission claiming that AT&T was in violation of net-neutrality rules by restricting the way customers can use FaceTime.  AT&T finally gave in to consumer demands and included FaceTime use in their tiered plan, meaning consumers won’t have to pay extra when they use FaceTime via cellular – unless they exceed their monthly limit.

“As part of its commitment to serving customers with disabilities, AT&T is also making FaceTime over Cellular available to deaf and hard of hearing customers who qualify for special text and data-only packages,” AT&T said in a statement.

Google offers free internet access to pseudo-smartphones

In partnership with Globe Telecoms, one of the Philippine’s leading network providers, Google offers free internet access to pseudo-smartphones or feature phones that have internet capabilities, via Free Zone.

Free Zone will let users access their Gmail, search via Google and post/update on Google+ for free.  All a user needs is a Google account, and of course they have to be a subscriber of Globe or its subsidiary, Touch Mobile to start using Free Zone.

Canada sharpens fangs on mobile theft

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, an industry group representing carriers, announced plans of crafting a stricter reactivation process on mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, to combat mobile device theft.

Like any other country, Canada is plagued by the growing incidents of mobile theft by blacklisting identified stolen devices.  By September 30, 2013, carriers will make it standard practice to verify whether a device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity number is listed as stolen in Canada and internationally before it is cleared for reactivation.