* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Apple's profits fetish could spell its DOOM

DougS Silver badge
Facepalm

Only a moron thinks SMARTPHONE market share trends matter

The primary growth in the smartphone market at this point forward is feature phone replacement - i.e., at the LOW end of the market. Both the share of iPhones (all priced on the higher end of the market) and high end Android phones (priced in the same range) are shrinking as a share of smartphones sold, because while both iPhones and GS3s (to take one example) are continuing to grow in absolute numbers, they are both growing more slowly than the smartphone market as a whole is.

If you look as you should at the ENTIRE mobile market, you'll see that Apple was just a few percent three years ago but has grown nicely into a profitable but far from dominant ~10% share of the overall mobile market. Android is probably north of 50% of the overall mobile market by this point and will continue to grow to perhaps 80% or so as the feature phone market disappears over the next few years (assuming Apple grows a few more percent and WP8 and BB10 take the remaining few percent)

Not sure why making a profit is seen as a "fetish". It is, after all, the primary function of a corporation. It is funny that he's slagging on the company making the most money of any in the world, with the exception of state owned oil giants Petrochina and Aramco. Will that still be the case in five years? Who knows. Things can change fast in the tech market. But cutting prices in pursuit of market share doesn't guarantee they'll be there in five years either, but does guarantee they'll make a lot less money in the meantime.

Apple falls as rivals shake green tech tree

DougS Silver badge

Story left out the worst thing

Apple was rated at '0' in gthe category of advocacy for "environmental protection advocacy". In other words, for not donating to Greenpeace.

Sad when an organization becomes so messed up it's founder now speaks out against it!

World Bank says world likely to warm by four degrees

DougS Silver badge
Trollface

Reducing poverty and fighting global warming go hand in hand for the World Bank

One favored solution of the AGW crowd is for those living an energy hogging Western lifestyle to reduce their energy consumption by reducing their standard of living. This automatically reduces the gap between the haves and have nots. If you take enough away from the haves that they become indistinguishable from the have nots, then you can't claim the have nots are still living in poverty because they are no worse off than everyone else. Thus poverty is eliminated!

Bah humbug! Google cancels Christmas

DougS Silver badge

I shudder to think how much abuse Apple would have taken if they had done this

N/T

Google fine-tuning iOS mapping app for Apple submission

DougS Silver badge

If Apple was going to jump, better sooner than later

From what I have read, Apple could have continued to use the google bundled apps for another year under the current agreement anyway, but they cut their nose off to spite google's face.

----

What could they have gained by keeping the crappy version of Google's maps on iOS for another year? Google Maps on other platforms would have further improved, while iOS maps would be the same as before. Apple Maps, released in 2013, would be of pretty much the same quality as what was released a couple months ago.

The reason for that is because you need MANY MANY users who are widely distributed to identify the problems so they can be fixed. Just as Google has had to allow them to turn the original Google Maps into what it is today. Google Maps, when introduced, was way worse than Apple Maps was when introduced, at least where I live, so even though Mapquest's interface was horrible, the data was better so I sometimes had to turn to it when Google Maps proved inadequate. Over a few years that happened less and less often, to the point that I haven't used Mapquest in years, and couldn't even tell you if it still exists.

Think of this way - If I looked at maps of Belgrade, and it was full of problems, I wouldn't have any idea about misnamed streets, misplaced landmarks, etc. because I've never been there. If I went there and couldn't find what I was looking for, then I might realize something is wrong. If maps of my hometown had similar problems, I will know right away just from looking at it. Short of duplicated locations (which is inevitable when you combine data sources) Apple engineers couldn't identify and fix most of the issues because no matter how many they hire there could never be enough of them to be familiar with everywhere in the world.

You HAVE to put it out for the public to use to truly make it better, but the longer you wait the worse you look compared to the competition. Apple's problem wasn't that they did this in 2012 when they could have in 2013. They did this in 2012 when they should have done it in 2009 or 2010. If they had done it in 2009, it would probably be pretty difficult to tell Apple Maps and Google Maps apart for map data quality. Apple's would far better, and Google's would perhaps be slightly worse (i.e. the corrections I and other iOS users have supplied as a result of errors we've run into on the old iOS map app)

DougS Silver badge

Ads

I've seen reports elsewhere that this app is supposed to be heavily laden with ads. Answers both your questions about "why didn't they do this before?" (contract with Apple probably limited advertising) and why they're all of a sudden desperate to give it away ($$$)

I don't personally have any issues with the "crap map app" - I guess it's a function of where you live and travel. I think I'll wait to see what Nokia's app looks like as from all accounts Nokia's mapping is superior to Google's.

WiGig crew to cut DisplayPort cables

DougS Silver badge

How will this work in a smartphone?

Curious about the power requirements. The killer app for this seems to me to be dropping your phone down near a display and keyboard/mouse after running a "dock" app, and then it displays on the monitor and you interact with it using the keyboard/mouse.

It would need to have either another OS on it or another personality for the OS. Microsoft thinks they can train everyone to use a touchscreen OS on PCs, I'm skeptical, I think you'd need iPhones to run something pretty OS X like interface wise, along with appropriate updates to the apps to realize they're now being driven by mice. Likewise for Androids running some sort of Linux GUI that isn't GNOME 3.

I don't really see a big market for this otherwise (failing wearable displays becoming the next big thing, which I think is more than a few years away) It's not worth doing it just to get rid of the HDMI/DP cable, when you still have the power cable. And the tiny market for "people who have video on their phone and want to play it on their TV" is already being killed by the rise of smart TVs that can hook up to the Internet on their own. If you have to do that, cheaper for the TV to just use existing Wifi capability to contact the phone and stream the video off it.

Google to devs: Fragmenting Android is AGAINST THE RULES

DougS Silver badge

Re: Just an excuse for more Google lock-in

That's a fine idea in theory, but what is the motivation for, say, Samsung to take part in this? If there's no one in control of the software and apps, and thus no one can make much profit from that, the hardware is the only way you can differentiate. Ask HP and Dell how the "differentiate based on hardware only" thing is working out for them in the PC market these days. I think they make money at it, but nothing remotely close to what Apple and Samsung are making selling phones.

Sure, today, Samsung is winning the hardware battle and dominating in the Android market, but there aren't Samsung fanboys, just as there aren't Dell fanboys. There are Android fanboys, but they are fickle, and have no reason to choose Samsung for their next phone just because they did with their last one. Ask Motorola how sticky their Droid customers were who went with the Samsung GS3 this time around. No reason they wouldn't go with HTC next time around if they've got the best hardware, or maybe some Chinese company no one has heard of.

The problem is that at some point the hardware design innovation stagnates, as has happened with the PC market. We're nearing the point where you can't make screens any bigger, adding more cores is pointless, screens have a high enough dpi, phones can't be made much thinner, there are no more questionable gimmicks like wireless charging to add, so everyone is doing pretty much the same variations on basic themes just like in the PC market. Once the innovation becomes mostly about the software and everyone's hardware is "good enough", no one pays the kind of premiums Samsung is getting on the Galaxy series today in a competitive market.

Samsung wants to avoid this, which is why they're trying to differentiate on the software and ecosystem where possible, to make their customer base stickier. Their Touchwiz or whatever its called layer, S Voice instead of Google's offering, proprietary stuff like S Beam that works only with their hardware, working on developing their own music service, and probably their own app store at some point.

If they forked Android tomorrow, how many people would notice, or care? The type of people who read the Reg and other tech sites and hate Apple for its lock-in (among other things) would probably be up arms, but that's only a few percent of people. The average person doesn't know what "Android" is, they buy whatever phone looks the best to them, is a good deal, their friends are using, they see advertised, etc. They don't know what "forking" is, and their eyes would glaze over if you tried to explain it to them and why they should care and let it influence their decision whether or not to buy a Samsung phone.

The larger Samsung can grow their customer base, the greater the chance of them doing this - because why give revenue to Google that they could take for themselves? Why risk HTC or Motorola coming out with the next must-have Android phone and Samsung's market share plummeting? This change by Google might make them decide to fork sooner rather than later.

DougS Silver badge

This is all about Chinese OEMs cutting Google out of the revenue pie

There are more and more very low end Android-based phones sold in China that don't have any Google search, maps, or other advertising/revenue producing bits included. Google makes no money from them, they don't like that. Google wants these guys to do their own development if they aren't going to share in the revenue.

So now these Chinese OEMs will have to design their own software from scratch, though perhaps more likely they'll just fork Android 4.1 since it had the old license. They'll probably all be greedy and do their own forks so they can collect the revenue, so these will eventually be incompatible with each other, as well as incompatible with Android.

Vodafone will rent you an iPhone 5 for 69p* a day

DougS Silver badge

If they offered daily/weekly rentals I could see this being a good deal for tourists

Coming from the US many will have phones that aren't unlocked, or that aren't compatible with UK networks. If I was visiting for a week and could rent one for 10 or 20 pounds + a SIM with a decent data allowance, I'd bite. I'm going to have to rent a phone anyway, or borrow something old from a friend because my is SIM locked. Might as well have something I'm used to, and is from this decade.

Just update it to all your own stuff using iCloud and you're good to go. When the week's up just do a factory reset before handing back and all your stuff is removed. I'm sure they'd want a credit card and to buy some extra insurance in case of damage, but that's pretty much how it is when you rent a car already.

No reason to restrict this to iPhone, of course, they could offer a few popular Android phones like a GS3 as well.

Be a good way for a carrier to deal with phones that are bought and get returned, rather than selling them at a discount as open box or refurbished or whatever they do.

Samsung readies bendy smarties for 2013

DougS Silver badge

Picture shows a bendy screen with a metal side - FAIL

Clearly the pictures are showing something they won't actually be selling, but even if the screens are as bendy as a transparency sheet, what exactly is the rest of the phone going to be made out of that will bend? How is the case going to bend like that? How about all the delicate electronics and antennas? I highly doubt it'll fold over like a flip phone - that requires a screen that does just bend it folds like a sheet of paper, without damaging the electronics within.

So there are two possibilities for why this might matter:

1) it is lighter than glass (good deal, so long as it's scratchproof like glass)

2) the flexibility of the screen can allow the touchscreen to be pressure sensitive, and react differently depending on how hard you press. I'm sure there are some useful things that could be done with that.

Humans becoming steadily STUPIDER, says brainiac boffin

DougS Silver badge

He seems to assume that intelligence is the only trait that helps reproduction

Being clever didn't help early man all that much individually, but it did help collectively. i.e., if your environment changed and you risked starvation, the clever guy might have an idea for the group to go somewhere else or do something different that got them out of their jam.

But the strongest guy(s) in that group still got most of the women and had most of the offspring, so his intelligence was not always passed along.

Apple to settle with Samsung? Korean honcho: 'Fuggedaboutit'

DougS Silver badge

Re: 'I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this' - S. Jobs @ AC 19:50 GMT

Actually you'll find that about half of Samsung's phones (including some GS3s) are made in China. Assembled by some other outsourced manufacturer - not Foxconn, which someone else who does the same thing whose name I can't remember off the top of my head.

The labor rates in Korea are far higher than the labor rates in China, and Samsung isn't stupid.

New flexible lens works like the one in your eye - and could replace it

DougS Silver badge

I'll take three.

One for each eye so I won't need reading glasses in another five years, and the third for my smartphone, so I can have a decent optical zoom.

Those who are saying "if this is so great why are photographers lugging around 20 kilos of lenses" all I can say is:

1) because these aren't available yet

2) the problems you need to solve for either eye implants or smartphone lenses are quite different from the problems you need to solve for 500mm ultra zoom lenses for paparazzi

Apple 'less innovative' at laptops than Lenovo

DougS Silver badge

Re: In the end

You understand wrong. Apple worked with Intel to design a special version of the CPU that would allow them to fit the thin form factor they were wanting. Originally it was an Apple only SKU, it was only after Apple saw some success selling the Air and PC OEMs started asking Intel about it that they added the SKU to their general price list.

Apple didn't invent the idea of "a laptop, just thinner", but they did a better job of it than any PC OEM had done before, because they were willing to make compromises to make it as thin as possible, such as dumping the DVD drive.

Once it became successful Intel apparently decided that it would be a winning formula in the PC world and defined the "Ultrabook", but in defining it to be of similar thinness and build quality as Apple was using, it has proved a bit too expensive to be as successful in the PC market as Intel hoped. Apple's Macbook Air doesn't have to compete against low end $300 Mac laptops, but PC ultrabooks do, which limits their potential market share.

'iPhone 5S' said to begin trial production next month

DougS Silver badge

Re: I don't buy it

They've already got it. But having a chip that supports all the bands is only part of the picture. You need multiple antennas to support multiple bands, and multiple power amplifiers for multiple bands. It's impossible to support all the worldwide LTE bands in a single phone and keep it anywhere near as thin as the iPhone 5 is. Probably not even possible in a GS3 form factor.

Originally Apple had only one model, when they added CDMA they had two temporarily but merged them again with the 4S. But with the 5 doing LTE, they had to give up and do like everyone else is doing, and have different models for different parts of the world. There were a semi-reasonable number of GSM/HSPA bands, but LTE is all over the place, and most of the world hasn't even begun deploying it. It is going to be a gigantic mess in a few years. There will never be such a thing as an LTE "world phone", though there may be some LTE "most of the world you probably care about if you don't travel too widely" phones.

DougS Silver badge

I don't buy it

What is Apple going to do differently with the 5S that would make them want to release it within a few months of the 5? Is it going to have a 5" screen? Add a pointless gimmick like wireless charging?

If they are getting ready to crank up production of something, I would bet on the A1442 SKU - that's the iPhone 5 model that's rumored to be designed for China Mobile's network

Oz lays plans to cover possible US met sat gap

DougS Silver badge

Wasn't it the European models that called it a week out?

I thought I read this somewhere, but I can't speak to it's accuracy.

I think I've heard that Europe invests in their weather service a bit better than we do in the US - meteorology is a rather easy target when one is looking cut the budget, even if the savings are tiny politicians prefer to brag about savings that few will see any immediate danger in cutting, rather than something where it actually makes a difference like defense or medicare but will get people up in arms.

If European meteorologists did in fact make the call well before the Americans did, perhaps that will serve as a wakeup call to congress that when they want millions for a new supercomputer every couple years it isn't for nothing.

On the other hand, maybe we can continue to save money and let the Europeans forecast our weather, in exchange for us keeping them safe from the USSR, or whatever the hell it is we need to spend a half trillion a year on defense for.

Samsung turns screws on Apple, hikes A6 processor price 20%

DougS Silver badge

@bazza

The 3gs is the last that used a Samsung SoC. For the A4 and A5 Apple designed their own SoC, using a standard ARM core just like Samsung does. It is quite possible or even likely there was some Samsung IP in those, especially since they were designed to be fabbed on Samsung's process and thus would have had tweaking from Samsung's fab guys as is done by all foundries.

However, the A6 uses a fully custom Apple-designed core, not a standard ARM designed core like all of Samsung's SoCs use. It would not have been designed specifically for Samsung's process since it would have been started after the Apple/Samsung legal battle heated up. If there are some other components in the SoC such as memory controllers that are Samsung IP, it's not that difficult to replace them with licensed bits from others (much like Apple licenses the Imagination GPU in the A4/5/6) or design their own.

There were rumors a few months ago about Apple doing some test runs with TSMC, so they are probably already working with them on the next generation A7 - though they may be hedging their bets by working with someone else like Global Foundries as well. I'd be willing to bet big money that Apple will not be using Samsung to fab their SoC on the next generation of any of their products. Samsung's 20% cost increase might even make it cost effective for Apple to spend the money on the engineering effort required to ditch Samsung even on the older products where Apple would typically not want to change anything.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Wonder how much that price hike brought in?

TSMC, Global Foundries and IBM could all do it. Apple will probably have TSMC making them next year. TSMC and GF work on half nodes, so Apple will be able to get a 28nm process from them they can't from Samsung.

Intel could make them also, far better than anyone else, though they are only just now dipping their toes into foundry services and probably don't want to take on a customer as large as Apple just yet, if ever.

Apple retail stores most productive in US – by far

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Capital gains? No.

It isn't comparing capital gains at all, only you are. If you buy an adding machine and a gold ring on the same day, obviously the gold ring is worth more 50 years later. However, if you were an accountant, and got 50 years of use and income out of it, that adding machine paid for itself many times over, while you got no use or income out of that gold ring.

The value of Tiffany's and Apple products years after purchase is irrelevant to the sales per square foot at the time they are bought. People make purchases based on whether they believe the use or satisfaction they'll get out of the product is worth the price. Most people aren't buying laptops or jewelry with the idea that they'll sell it for a profit. If you buy something with the aim of selling it for a profit, it is called an investment, and you typically don't buy them in stores at all - certainly not Apple, Tiffany's or Lulumon!

Steady Antarctic ice growth 'limits confidence in climate predictions'

DougS Silver badge

Based on what?

So you're a climate expert, and have decided that this particular error will turn out to be negligible? You should call up the scientists and dazzle them with your wisdom, to save them the tedious business of actually trying to figure out why the model is wrong and correcting it.

The problem with making corrections to this model is that now most of the climate scientists have committed to the view that the Earth will continue to get warmer. Thus, as they discover problems and adjust the model, if the adjusted model was to conflict with the message they've been giving the past 20 years or so, they'll probably just bin that and continue adjusting until it says what they've been saying all along.

If the models can miss something as basic as the largest store of ice in the world growing, even if it correctly predicts the reductions in ice seen most everywhere else, that isn't a "negligible" error. That's a HUGE problem, one that throws even the most basic assumptions about the model into doubt.

There's a tremendous amount of groupthink in science; if almost everyone believes something, little attention will be paid to those who dispute it. While science does have it over religion and politics in that eventually if enough proof is amassed that the prevailing view is wrong everyone will come around to the new viewpoint, it isn't immune. Look at paleontology - when I was a kid, I was taught that dinosaurs were cold blooded creatures with crocodiles as one of their closest living relatives. It took a lot of discoveries of fossils with evidence of feathers and various other clues suggesting they had to be warm blooded to overturn the orthodoxy and come around to the modern view that they were warm blooded creatures with birds as the closest living relatives.

I'm not arguing that global warming theories are wrong, just arguing that basic errors like this in models show that they are far from accurate, and I fear that in today's climate (no pun intended) scientists who adjust their models to account for this and end up showing little or no warming will be shouted by down by the large majority of climate scientists, who want to present a united front against a very real conspiracy that denies their conclusions for various non-scientific reasons. If it turns out there is no global warming, science will eventually come to that viewpoint, but in the meantime we might waste a lot of money preparing for floods that will never come, or worse, attempt some climate engineering based on faulty models that could theoretically lead to a far worse outcome.

Star Wars VII: The Disney Movie signs Toy Story III script genius

DougS Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Emperor in a clone body

If I looked like the Emperor did, had clone bodies laying around, and had the ability to enter one if I died, I'd have had Vader kill me well before he did at the end of the 3rd episode so I could quit looking like the victim of an acid spill. Seriously, how are you going to get girls looking like that? I mean, c'mon, what's the point of being a Galactic Emperor if it doesn't get you laid?

Paris, because even she wouldn't hookup with someone looking like that.

Surface sales 'modest' so far, Ballmer modestly admits

DougS Silver badge

This bodes very badly for Surface

Given how much he usually bloviates on about how such-and-such a product launch is the most successful ever.

EU proposed emergency alert system won't work on iPhone

DougS Silver badge

Re: iPhone doesn't support Cell Broadcasts?

You answered your own question, when you said "all it does is push useless info like the current cell tower name and ID number".

The article says iPhone has "some support" for it, presumably it isn't really turned on because no one is using it for anything useful. If that changes, it can be turned on with a software update. Given that "half the phones" won't sound an audible alert (which seems a prerequisite to be useful in emergency situations) it isn't exactly a problem unique to Apple. It's actually more of a problem for the phones are forgotten by the vendor once they have your money and may never get an update.

Apple, HTC kiss and make up

DougS Silver badge

Re: Payment of License fees?

HTC must have said it, otherwise they wouldn't have said the fees won't materially impact their balance sheet. Either that, or the Reg author made the whole thing up, which I find hard to believe.

Facebook's IPO was a disaster? RUBBISH, you FOOLS

DougS Silver badge

Re: DougS

I'm not saying Facebook's share price will grow, I'm just saying it is more likely it will grow now from $20/share than from $40/share. Bernard is correct that its P/E is ridiculous, but at twice the share price the P/E ratio would be twice as ridiculous. I thought Facebook was a bad investment pre-IPO, and still think it's a bad investment now. But at half the price, it is twice as good of an investment as it was in May :)

And I'd caution people from assuming that its P/E ratio must collapse in the near future. Amazon has had a ridiculous P/E ratio for over a decade. I'm not sure why its investors have this silly hope that someday it will start making 20x the profit it does today, but they do, while many people who believe "this can't last" have shorted it and lost a bundle. It's the old "the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent" problem. But eventually the shorters will be right, and the guys who are lucky enough to be right on the timing will make a fortune.

DougS Silver badge

@Bernard

You're wrong. Facebook waited to IPO until its growth phase was almost done, unlike most tech companies that IPO as quickly as possible and still have lots of growth ahead of them. It's hard to argue Facebook believed they had a lot of growth potential when they had nearly a billion users at IPO. They might figure out how to make more money per user but even a doubling of their userbase at the time of IPO was extremely unlikely.

Facebook IPO'ed at a price that valued the company at $100 billion. They didn't have much room for future stock price appreciation. The fact the stock price has dropped by half is actually a benefit because it leaves more room for future growth than there would be if the price had stayed near the IPO level.

If you're an employee who has been there a while you don't want to see the stock price drop if you have shares you haven't sold or options you haven't exercised. But if you're relatively new, as most of their employees are, you like it, because it means the stock or options you get this year are priced based the current price being ~$20 rather than ~$40 which means there is more potential upside.

i.e., if the company wanted to give you a $50,000 bonus in stock that vests in three years, at the IPO price you'd get 1250 shares, at today's price you'd get 2500 shares. And those 2500 shares are more likely to be priced over $20/share than the 1250 shares would be to be priced over $40/share

Asus offers compensation to pre-price drop Nexus 7 buyers

DougS Silver badge

Off topic, but...

Why the hell do companies use both 0's and O's in serial numbers? If they're going through the alphabet can't they skip O the same way hotels go from the 12th to the 14th floor?

Fedora 'Spherical Cow' delayed by bugs, Secure Boot

DougS Silver badge

This crappy release will become RHEL 7

RHEL 7 is scheduled for the second half of next year, so presumably the reason they keep delaying it instead of kicking these features to Fedora 19 is because they want them in RHEL 7.

If I were deploying RHEL, this wouldn't make me eager to push out RHEL 7.0 anytime soon, as one wonders what other lower profile features are being crammed into Fedora 18 when under normal circumstances they'd be pushed back to Fedora 19, simply because they "must" be part of the next release of RHEL.

Worried dad invents pepper-spray iPhone case

DougS Silver badge

She's more likely to spray herself

Some drunken night fumbling for it in her purse.

Analyst: There are LOADS of iPhone 5s, Apple is keeping them back

DougS Silver badge

This would be a stupid thing to do

While there may be some benefit to withholding supply when a product is newly introduced, allowing it to get news coverage (and even that is questionable for iPhone, as it was going to get news coverage regardless) it would be pretty stupid to continue to withhold supply six weeks after release.

People are going to be understanding if a product is in shortage for a few weeks after release, but at this point Apple is probably losing customers who would rather have a new phone today than wait a month. Only a fool would deliberately create this situation.

Apple kicked out of China smartphone top 5 by, er, Yulong and pals

DougS Silver badge

The lack of a TD-SCDMA phone for China Mobile is a big factor

But beyond that, Apple is never going to have a large share in China because of its price. The GS3 isn't going to have a large share there either for the same reason (but the various low end phones Samsung makes in China may)

Consider that China's smartphone market has a ways to grow because today even the cheapest smartphone is more expensive than feature phones, but eventually the feature phone market will disappear as they can make smartphones cheaper and cheaper to where the price difference between smart and feature becomes insignificant.

Who is going to sell all those smartphones that displace feature phones? Certainly not Apple with it's high end pricing. Nor Samsung, at least not with the GS3/Note2 class of phones. Almost all of them will be Chinese companies we never heard of, who make the salaries paid to the iPhone assemblers seem like millionaire wages. They'll run Android, but have all the Google bits hacked out of it, using various Chinese services (this is already being done on almost all the Android phones sold in China by Chinese companies)

So Apple's share will continue to drop, but it won't mean they are selling fewer phones in China, just that they are selling a smaller percentage of a much larger market.

Wave of the Future? Smartphone NFC used to buy stuff ONLINE

DougS Silver badge

Not only is NFC "pay by bonk" a solution looking for a problem

It will never see widespread use in phones because there are too many people interested in making sure that they take a piece of the transaction (plus the payee's desire to get rewards as is often the case with credit/debit purchases today)

1) the phone OEM

2) the maker of the phone's software when different from hardware (i.e. Google for Android, Microsoft for WP)

3) the carrier

4) the payment processor

5) the account holder's bank

Phone OEMs want a solution dependent on the hardware in the phone so they collect the fee, the maker of the phone's software wants it as part of the OS so they collect the fee, the payment process and bank want things just the way they are today and won't willingly give up anything to the phone OEM/OS vendor/carrier unless things start looking like they'll get cut out of it entirely.

The carriers in particular used to view this as a huge future revenue stream, seeing it much like how people billed ringtones and the few apps that primitive smartphones used to have to their phone bill, except now they'd have thousands of dollars a month passing through them each month. Not only could they take a cut, they'd gain access to all that valuable market intel.

They're probably really pissed a few of them made a deal with Steve Jobs and let the phone OEMs eventually take back the ironclad control carriers used to have over all the phones on their network, so now that future revenue stream has vanished in a puff of smoke. But they're going to fight like hell to prevent someone else from taking what they viewed as "their" future. Even the biggest Apple haters ought to thank them for that, because say what you will about Steve Jobs, he was good as getting companies to do things that were against their long term interest for short term gain (i.e. breaking the "album" concept and selling almost all music as singles today)

The biggest problem is giving consumers a reason to want to pay via NFC, beyond "hey look what my phone can do". Unless they bribe them with bigger rewards than they can otherwise get, without alienating shop owners by demanding higher interchange fees, I don't see why this will ever be anything but a niche market for geeks who care more about technology than practicality.

Judge denies move to ban ad-skipping DVR

DougS Silver badge

Does it show the interstitials?

Now that Fox (at least during Fringe) has taken to showing little 20-30 second segments of the program smack in the middle of a four minute block of ads. I never did use the 30 second skip on my Tivo, preferring the fast forward, I think this is to screw with people using 30 second skip.

Even with the FF I have to pay attention that I don't miss it, since they're so short. They aren't necessarily anything crucial to the program so if you miss it it's not a big deal. But that's today, tomorrow I'm sure they'll reserve the most important plot twists for those moments.

Or maybe just start showing two minute segments of show followed by one 30 second ad instead of grouping the ads, hoping that it is so short most people with DVRs don't even bother trying to skip the ads.

ALIEN DETECTION was SUPPRESSED by the BBC - top boffin

DougS Silver badge

I suppose it could give people heart attacks

Especially the type who has watched too much sci-fi and will immediately leap from "they're out there" to the conclusion "and they're going to attack us by Christmas" (thus fulfilling the Mayan prophecy of doom)

Japan Display cranks up ultra low power colour LCD panels

DougS Silver badge

Re: Resolution and size

Reflected light tires the eyes less than direct light, so even if there were no power savings this would be the preferred technology for everything if the quality was in the same ballpark and a backlight could still be used to add light where there isn't enough ambient light.

The quality would have to match that of current LCD IPS technology to start replacing displays on high end smartphones and tablets.

'iPhone 5 is so easily scratched we just can't get them out the door'

DougS Silver badge

iPhone cases

I've owned a 3gs, a 4S and now a 5, and never used a case. I did send the 3gs flying across the sidewalk a few months before parting with it thanks to a drunk falling into me from behind, which scuffed the corner and back a bit but only caused about a $40 difference in selling price less than what I would have received if it was in perfect condition.

My 4S got the highest price when I sold it last month on Amazon and had nary a mark. My girlfriend has a 4S with no case and has dropped it on concrete several times over the past year which has left it nicely scuffed on the sides and corners but so far no glass damage. She finally learned her lesson and no longer tries to talk on the phone, carry a cup of coffee and walk the dog all at once :)

Now its true most iPhone owners I see have them in cases, but that's true for any phone as I see cases on most Androids too. The funniest thing is seeing phones that have shattered (but still functioning) screens that are in cases that are themselves damaged to the point of hardly staying on the phone. I wonder what the hell these people are doing to their poor phones!

Boffins splash fluids on special soggy biscuits in anti-flood demo

DougS Silver badge

Re: Rain + city = problem

As mentioned by others, this has been around for a while in the form of permeable concrete, but it didn't work well in freeze/thaw cycles. If they've licked that in these bricks its nice, but they really need to lick it in concrete to be generally applicable outside of China and other low wage places.

Building your roads, sidewalks and parking lots out of bricks is quite expensive due to the labor cost. Many recently built "brick" surfaces (at least in the US) are concrete covered by a layer of sand with bricks on top.

Office for Android, Apple iOS: 'REALLY REAL this time' - report

DougS Silver badge

I hope no one uses it

We're just starting to see people emailing office docs as PDF attachments due to the people reading emails on their phones, it'd be nice for that to continue to where it becomes socially unacceptable to send .doc or .xls stuff except in the rare cases where you actually expect the other person to make revisions and send it on.

Apple screen maker preps 'retina' iPad Mini panel, pants reporter

DougS Silver badge

497 dpi would be totally stupid

Going much beyond the iPhone/GS3/Lumia 920 level of around ~330 dpi is pointless. You just waste power by needing more light and more importantly waste GPU power pushing all the unnecessary pixels around, without improving the visuals at all.

It will be interesting to see what Apple does with the Mini's resolution. Obviously they want to do Retina on it, the problem is it'll then have a higher resolution than the iPad. They can't double that one again, it would be over 500 dpi and no one needs 4K resolution on a 10" screen. Hell, there's no reason to have it on my 50" TV unless I decide I'm going to sit four feet away from it from now on.

Now, on the other hand, on my 27" monitor that is less than 18" from my face, yes please!

Bald? Looking old before your time? Don't panic, but you might DIE

DougS Silver badge

Correlation or causation?

Is it the "looking old" that makes you more susceptible, or does having a body that ages faster in appearance also have internal organs that age faster?

WTF is... RF-MEMS?

DougS Silver badge

This will make phones a bit more upgradeable

If your carrier buys spectrum and adds new LTE bands after your phone was designed, you may be able to add them via a software upgrade. Today you're just SOL, and may struggle to get signal in a spot where you could have 5 bars if your phone handled the new band.

With all the chopping up of retired TV frequencies and demand for mobile bandwidth skyrocketing, this is something that will become a real issue in some areas in a few years.

Cover your 4G LTE legal arse for just 79p per mobe

DougS Silver badge

Re: Joseph Lord

The expectations of a "FRAND rate" should be that everyone using the patents pay the same rate. Google/Motorola aren't doing that - certainly not with Apple where Apple used to be buying Qualcomm chips that had the 3G license already paid, until Motorola pulled Qualcomm's license only for chips purchased by Apple, and then hopes to collect far more per phone than Apple was previously paying (or any other Qualcomm customers pay) when paying per chip.

This isn't a matter of Apple refusing to pay - they had that cost built in until Motorola (before Google bought it) pulled the license specifically to try to screw Apple over and get more money from them. That's against the very basis of FRAND. Apple does a lot of bad things, but this is patent abuse that if it were upheld would have grave repercussions far beyond any damage it would do to Apple. Patent trolls everywhere would rejoice that they can suddenly get 10x more than that for the pooled patents they held that previously were previously never regarded as something they could use offensively.

Imagine holders of patents required for GPS suing automakers wanted 2.25% of the sales price of the car, rather than the (as an example) 2.25% of the sales price of the $5 GPS chip installed in the car. Think about how many other patents subject to FRAND might be used when building a car.

Apple's anti-Googorola patent lawsuit tossed by US court

DougS Silver badge

You're wrong on a couple of counts here

They are offering a VERY different rate to Apple. Everyone else is apparently paying 2.25% of the cost of the chip implementing 3G, or something close to that figure. Certainly no one else is paying a percentage of the device's sales price. No one has ever licensed standard telecom patents in such a manner before. Motorola specifically cancelled their license with Qualcomm (who was/is providing Apple chips that implement 3G) for any chips sold to Apple. Then they came to Apple demanding 2.25% of the sales price of the phone itself. As others have pointed out, if you implemented 3G in a Boeing 787, similar logic would try to claim 2.25% of the sales of each airplane. This is neither fair (the 'F' in FRAND) and while some may consider it reasonable (the 'R') it is most definitely not non-discriminatory (the 'ND') They didn't do this for others who use Qualcomm chips, such as Samsung, who uses them in some of it's phones (mostly those sold in the US)

Also, Apple would not only be paying out. People seem to forget that Apple bought up Nortel's patent portfolio a while back, and while I'm not sure how many 3G patents it includes, it must include some. More importantly, it includes 5% of the ENTIRE patent pool for LTE. So if Google wants to try to screw Apple over this, as they seem to want to do, Apple could do the same to all the Android vendors and pull the LTE licenses to Qualcomm and anyone else producing chips implementing LTE, and make them pay Apple 2.25% of the phone's cost for the LTE patents, without which they cannot offer LTE. Even with Android phones selling for less on average, their 5x greater sales would end up with more money going Apple's way than Google's. If it ever comes to that, it would be a terrible outcome for everyone, because plenty of patent trolls who produce no products own FRAND licenses, and this would mean open season for them to charge crazy prices for a single patent that's required to implement a standard such as 3G, LTE, h.264 or whatever.

Apple's poisonous Touch silently kills the GNOMEs of Linux Forest

DougS Silver badge

GNOME 3 is fine in "fallback mode"

If you set that option you basically get the old Gnome 2.x. If it weren't for that I would have started looking at KDE or whatever else is available on Fedora. I know that won't be an option forever, but hopefully sanity will prevail at Redhat and they'll abandon the turd that is Gnome 3 before that day comes. There's no way I'll use Gnome 3, if push comes to shove I'll switch to KDE or even switch distros off Fedora if I have to.

When I first saw Windows 8 earlier this year I thought it was rather ironic that Gnome got it's start by copying Windows, and now Microsoft is copying Gnome. Too bad Gnome didn't copy NeXTStep, and Microsoft surely picked the worst possible thing to target (I know, they probably didn't so much copy Gnome as followed the Gnome developers down the same stupid rathole)

US gov advised to SUE GOOGLE by FTC over patent trade wars

DougS Silver badge

Re: There's that word again

The important part of FRAND is not "reasonable", but "non-discriminatory". They have to charge the same rates to everyone. They can't try to get $10/phone from one company and charge 20 cents to another. That's what Motorola is trying to do here, and why the FTC is rightly cracking down on them.

Now if Motorola had always been licensing these patents out for $10/phone, and everyone else had been paying it for years, then it wouldn't matter whether Apple or Microsoft thought it was fair or reasonable, it would be considered to be so based on everyone else paying it without complainted, and would also be non-discriminatory because they'd be only be asked to pay exactly what everyone else was paying.

If Apple patented using green for the SMS icon and such a stupid patent was upheld, they could charge whatever they wanted for someone else to use it, or refuse to license it out any price. That's because there was no standards body that decided on icon standards where Apple submitted their green SMS patent to become a standard that everyone must follow.

Free Android apps often secretly make calls, use the camera

DougS Silver badge

Uninformed users

The problem isn't people like you and other Reg readers who are smart enough to know whether the permissions being asked for are reasonable for what the app does. It is the much larger portion of fairly clueless users who just say "yes" to everything because they don't really understand what is being asked anyway.

Reg readers don't need to care about this because they are going to wonder why an app that plays checkers needs access to the camera or the ability to send texts.

FaceTime now on patent troll list

DougS Silver badge

God will you morons never learn?

Patents aren't "found" to be standards-essential, patents become FRAND one and one way ONLY - when the owner of the patent submits it to a standards organization that specifies the new standard. No one can ever be surprised if their patent is FRAND, there is no process by which a patent can become FRAND without the full knowledge and prior consent of its owner.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Oh the Irony!

Please, do you really think that the trolls would have left Apple alone if Apple only ever used its patents defensively? The reason there are more patent trolls going after Apple today than five years ago isn't because Apple has damaged its corporate karma by using patents offensively, it's because they've added over $100 billion to their cash hoard and thus have a target on their backs the size of Jupiter. It's a wonder some troll doesn't sue them for violating their patent on a 12 digit bank balance.

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