Friday Blowout 2.1

Featured: Android Headlines Friday News Blowout.. AT&T, PopCap, Oracle and Samsung

May 11, 2012 - Written By Randy Arrowood

A lot of the news stories thru the week pass me by during the day because of my schedule, but I usually have a couple of thoughts on many of the news stories that we publish. Thankfully, we have the opportunity here to write any story that we like after our assignments are complete, so I’m going to start a Friday series that lets me say the things that I want to about news stories of the past week.

Sometimes I’ll rant a bit. Other times I might rave a bit. Either way, this weekly blowout will let me say some things that just wouldn’t be appropriate for a news story.

All that said, here we go.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says that Google is responsible for slow phone updates.

So, AT&T can’t get updates out for the phones quicker than they do because it’s all Google’s fault? Here is Mr Stephenson’s quote that I take issue with:

“Google kind of determines what platform gets the newest releases and when. Often times that’s a negotiated arrangement, and so that’s something we work at hard. We know that it’s important to our customers.”

That reminds me a lot of Baghdad Bob. Do you remember that guy? The Iraqi Minister of Disinformation during the Iraq war that stood with his back to the river and said that the Americans were nowhere near Baghdad, but you could see the Abrams tanks right over his shoulder.

Mr Stephenson, the vibrant community of hackers somehow manages to get updates out for your phones months and months before you do. There, over your shoulder, that’s the Android hackers marching right past you on their way to getting ICS running on phones that you’ve all but forgotten about. Everyone can see it. Can you?

I’m certain that the hacker community didn’t need to negotiate with Google to get access to ICS. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they just went to “source” and downloaded it the day it the day that Google released the code.

You go ahead and blame your woes on Google. Everyone believes your story. Right?

Of course, if Google had maintained some level of control over Android instead of allowing its wild, wild west open source availability, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. Allowing OEM’s and carriers to have total control over the look and feel as well as the bloatware that gets installed was bad enough. Giving them the option of forgetting about last month’s devices is inexcusable.

Google should reign in Android, now.

PopCap hates that there are so damn many Android app stores

Wait. What?

I read the IT World story about PopCap CEO David Roberts and this quote right here caught my eye:

“Without a single storefront like Apple has, (Android is) even less appealing.”

Somebody needs to remind Dave that there wouldn’t be so many places to buy Android apps if developers like PopCap games would stop enabling them to exist by publishing their titles in those alternate storefronts.

As an example, long before the Amazon Appstore was anything, PopCap games Plants vs Zombies title was available for sale there. In fact, Zombies was one of the first free Amazon App of the Day giveaways.

Here’s my question: If alternative app stores are the problem Mr Roberts, why was PopCap one of the first developers to jump into the water with Amazon? Back in the earliest days of Amazon Appstore it was a virtual ghost town. There wasn’t anything of interest available there. Well, there was Plants vs Zombies. But whose fault was that? Google? Amazon? Nah. That would be PopCap games that is at fault for that.

Mr Roberts, don’t piss in the wind and then cry about your pants getting wet. Sack up and admit that publishing your stuff on Amazon was a mistake. Fragmented app stores exists for lots of reasons, not the least of which is developers like PopCap filling those stores with apps to sell.

When you are a part of the problem Mr Roberts, keep your mouth shut about what it’s going to take to make things better and do something positive instead. Pull your game from Amazon.

Fair use has new meaning thanks to the Oracle v Google jury

I could not believe that the one issue that the jury in the Oracle v Google dustup got hung on was the issue of fair use. What’s even more perplexing is that Judge Alsup made comments in court that Google has made a strong case for fair use exemption.

That is unbelievable.

I was a photojournalism major for a while and in Journalism 101 we learned all about fair use. I don’t recall the exact words that Professor Crowe used to describe fair use and what courts have held to be permissible, but this explanation from the United State Copyright Office makes it pretty clear:

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Nowhere in there do I see a single word about lifting copyrighted work from Company A (Oracle) and using it in the product of Company B (Google) as an accepted fair use exemption to US Copyright law.

If you want to argue about API’s and whether or not they are eligible for copyright protection that’s fine, but that’s not what the jury was deciding. The jury was to decide the issue of fair use. There was no issue of fair use.

That’s all on Judge Alsup. He is responsible for instructing the jury and ensuring that they understand the law as it relates to the issues that they have to deliberate on. Fair use was on the jury form because he put it there.

It isn’t that I’m all pro-Oracle on this topic, thats not it at all. Google can’t move Android past all of these issues of copyright and patent infringement until all of these issues are settled. Partial verdicts and mistrials don’t help to accomplish that goal at all.

One of three things are going to happen here. Judge Alsup declares a mistrial and this whole mess starts all over again in a few months, Judge Alsup rules in favor of Google’s fair use exception and Oracle appeals, or Oracle gets lunch money from Alsup or the jury and the dust off more patents to come back for another bite at the apple.

I’d prefer to see the two sides come up with a number that both can live with and settle. Royalty payments are a standard part of business in the tech world. Google should have bought Sun instead of sniffing around Groupon.

Samsung isn’t all bad

I’ve picked on pretty much everything that Samsung does with their mobile device business. I don’t like their stuff and I’ve written about it enough to be considered a hater, but Samsung makes a lot more than just Android devices.

I’ve had a lot of issues with the SanDisk micro SD card that came with my Thunderbolt. For the last six months I’ve had read/write issues with it, but yesterday the stupid thing went into meltdown mode. I could read from the card but nothing would write to it.

I went to Microcenter today and got three of the Samsung Class 10 32GB SD cards on sale for $29 each. My what a difference.

The package said that they are water, dust and shock proof, but I don’t really care about all of that. These things are lightning fast. My entire phone feels faster now that I have this card in it. I can’t wait to get the cards in my A100 and A200 changed over to these.




Android Headlines now has a Google Currents Edition

We are focusing on the unique content that our own writers produce so you’ll find sections for our Featured Articles, our YouTube channel and our Google+ posts. In addition there are sections for our Top 10 lists and app reviews as well.

Our Currents Edition isn’t listed in the Google Currents catalog yet, so to subscribe you need to click on the link below from your mobile device, or scan the QR code below that.

We’ll constantly enhance our Currents Edition in an effort to make our content easier to access. We’re always open to your feedback if you have any ideas or suggestions for us.

You can subscribe to our Google Currents Edition by clicking on this link.