NTSB Drops BlackBerry Devices for iPhone 5

In today’s mobile news roundup: NTSB drops BlackBerry for iPhone 5; First phase of Microsoft-Motorola case draws to a close; new version of Skype available for Android; and Samsung prepping for 8-core processor for next year.

NTSB drops BlackBerry for iPhone 5

Despite achieving FIPS certification for their soon-to-be-released BlackBerry 10, interest in using Research in Motion for government agencies have declined.  The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board dropped RIM’s devices for Apple’s iPhone 5.  The NTSB is responsible for plane crash investigation and requires devices that are reliable.

“The NTSB requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations,” the agency said in a Nov. 13 government filing about its smartphone service to justify the switch.

The NTSB isn’t the first government sector that shifted to using iPhones —  the Defense Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration, have all shifted.

First phase of Microsoft-Motorola case draws to a close

Microsoft Corp. filed a case against Motorola Mobility accusing the latter of overcharging in their patent licensing deal.  Motorola was asking $4 billion annually for the use of patents that include 802.11WiFi communication standard and the H.264 media- streaming standard.  But Microsoft stated that Motorola only deserved to get $1 million for the patents annually.

District Judge James Robart will decide what constitutes as a reasonable and nondiscriminatory settlement, or RAND license offer, and whether royalties should be paid on the value of the technology or the value of the device that uses the technology.

The second phase of the trial will involve determining whether Motorola breached their contract.

New version of Skype available for Android

Skype released a new version of their Android app, 3.0,  which is now utilized for tablets.  It has a restyled interface and added support for audio codec, SILK, which was designed to capture the richness of human speech.

“With our redesigned look and feel, Skype looks great no matter what screen size you have – either on a smaller Android phone or the more spacious display of your tablet,” said said Derek Snyder, head of Mobile Product Marketing, Skype.

Skype 3.0 is now available on Google Play.

Samsung prepping for 8-core processor

Analysts are suggesting that during the final months of 2012, Samsung will likely ship over 60 million smartphones because of the popularity of the Galaxy SIII and the Galaxy Note II.  Though the numbers are quite outstanding, Samsung has their eyes on the future.  They are prepping an 8-core processor that uses ARM’s big.LITTLE.architecture, which will be revealed on February 19,  at the International Solid State Circuits conference.  The unnamed 8-core processor combines a pair of quad-core clusters: the first, for power, running at 1.8GHz with Cortex A15 cores, and the second, for efficiency, running at 1.2GHz with Cortex A7 cores.  The chipset will be the answer to consumers’ demand for a device capable of running high-performance apps, that would last a day, on a single charge.