Weekly - 26: The Patent Wars empire strikes back, Qualcomms new kid watch processor, Mi fit 3 sales goes wild and more.

The Weekly Roundup

In these posts I'll comment on the most interesting mobile- and smart tech news I've catched during the week. I'll input how I feel about these as well as facts. 

Apple vs. Samsung - Settled?

For too long - 7 years actually - Apple and Samsung have been known for their persistent patent battle. The ultimate goal has been for Apple to prove that the competitor copied the iPhone. The battle looked like it was about to escalate when the 2 companies announced that a settlement agreement had been reached this Wednesday. The court ruled in Apples favor previously and the verdict was at $539 milion. That's an outrageous amount of money that equals to peanuts in the grand scheme of both companies.

Credit: Image from The Verge

Both seemed to keep fighting for the honor of it all and there's no clear reason as to why, or how, the settlement was reached at this time. Apple also sued Samsung for patent infringement for using their swipe to unlock design (yes, you read that correctly).

I'm all for companies protecting their assets and innovation, but some of this feels like big guys flexing muscles rather than that. Although there's no denying that Samsung have taken some of its early work from the Apple workbench. 

Qualcomms new Smart Watch processor! - For kids?

The Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 have been around for over 2 years, it was actually announced on february 11th 2016. We know that there's a new chip coming sometime soon, hopefully this autumn. But here it is first, the new Snapdragon Wear 2500, announced for smart watches designed for children. Specifically 4G connected kid watches, as Qualcomm refers to them. The processor is not ment to run Wear OS either, but something called Android for Kids. It supports all the bells and whistles like Voice activation and voice assistants, NFC, Wi-Fi, LTE-connectivity, even 5MP cameras and of course: Location Tracking.

Now about that location tracking: I get why parents want to keep an eye on their children, it's a big scary world out there and sometimes you just need a little peace of mind. I have however been skeptical to constant GPS tracking for years now - especially since some child psychologists have been issuing warnings about what it does not only to the trustfull relationship but also how it impacts the child's healthily development of independence. (The Guardian)
Also, previous reports of them easily being hacked and used for evil doesn't help.

What do you think- GPS tracking for children, yes or no?

Youtube Picture in Picture for everyone! - Everyone in the US

On Wednesday Google announced that the previously premium locked feature picture in picture mode for Youtube will be made available to everyone starting right away. This is of course great news for all of us not yet paying for an ad-free Youtube. Is it just me or are there more ads being displayed on Youtube every day?

Anyway, here's the caveat - It's only available for US customers at this time.  That's right, the rest of us will have to get by without it for the foreseeable future. Here's hoping that the region limitations are temporary.

Google Home and Chromecasts down for millions of users

Now Wednesday was an interesting day. I wasn't at home so as far as I know I was never affected. But a lot of people, to put it mildly, reported that their Google Home speakers and Chromecast devices were unusable for up to 12 hours. Frustration grew of course and Google was unusually non-communicative about the issues.

Eventually the problem, or glitch, was patched and Google issued the following statement:


We’ve identified a fix for the issue impacting Google Home and Chromecast users and it will be automatically rolled out over the next 6 hours. If you would like an immediate fix please follow the directions to reboot your device. If you’re still experiencing an issue after rebooting, contact us at Google Home Support. We are really sorry for the inconvenience and are taking steps to prevent this issue from happening in the future.
— Google

It wasn't too long ago I read about Samsung Smart Things and Nest being down due to cloud issues. That is of course worse if you have locks etc. connected to the downed device. But in this case Google seemed to have sent out a patch including the problem. Software is tricky but it's a shame when so many people rely on the products. Luckily no one gets locked out of their home due to a Chromecast outage though.

Xiaomi ships 1 million Mi Band 3s in just 17 days!

Xiaomi is on a roll. Following the current 2018 success, the successor to the Mi Band 2 fitness tracker, creatively named the Mi Band 3 have sold 1 million units in just 17 days. The previous iteration took 2 months to reach those numbers and the 1 version took even longer at 4 months.

Mi Band 3 red variant - Image from Xiaomi

Mi Band 3 red variant - Image from Xiaomi

The Mi Band 3 features a 5 ATM rating for up to 50 meters water protection, a touch sensitive 0.78 inch oled display for viewing information and simple notifications and a heart rate monitor. It's also boasting 20 days battery life from its 110 MaH battery. There's also a version with NFC for contactless payments in Chinese markets.

This is offered at the price of $35 in china. At the moment international retailers are charging about $39.99(350 Sek).

It's an impressive feat for Xiaomi but it also shows that the interest in wearables might not be quite as dead as some would have you believe.
What do you think, are these sales due to price alone or is Xiaomi winning on fan fare?

The Mi band 3 is on sale from several international stores including Gearbest and Honorbuy (affiliate links).