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Google Internet glasses on the way
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) June 27, 2012

US court bars Samsung tablet after Apple complaint
San Francisco (AFP) June 27, 2012 - A US federal court has barred the sale of Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer, siding with Apple in a bitter dispute between the two tech giants over alleged patent infringement.

The US district court in northern California Tuesday ruled that there was "evidence that Samsung altered its design to make its product look more like Apple's" and that Apple had "presented a strong case" for the injunction.

Samsung said it was "disappointed" with the decision, which the South Korean firm said would "ultimately reduce the availability of superior technological features to consumers in the United States."

Samsung said the preliminary injunction pending further litigation was "based on a single design patent that addressed just one aspect of the product's overall design."

"Should Apple continue to make legal claims based on such a generic design patent, design innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted," it said, adding that it would "take necessary legal steps" without elaborating.

The court said it was "unpersuaded by Samsung's arguments."

As a condition of the preliminary injunction, Apple was ordered to post a $2.6 million bond to secure payment of any damages should it be found later that the Samsung product did not infringe on the patent.

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment, but in its initial complaint filed in April 2011 it had accused Samsung of having chosen to "slavishly copy" Apple technology in the design of its Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets, which run on Google's Android operating system.

Google glasses that overlay the Internet on daily lives should hit the market within two years -- technology the tech giant hopes will someday make fumbling with smartphones obsolete.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin offered the estimated timeline after a project update that included sky divers dropping in with a new version of "Glass" wearable computers.

"I'm so glad that worked," Brin quipped after sky divers wearing the glasses streamed live video during their jump from an airplane to the roof of the San Francisco convention center. "I wasn't really expecting it to."

The sky divers handed off a package to cyclists, who performed stunts as they rode to the edge of the Moscone Center where they handed it off to a man who rappelled down the outside of the building to the third floor.

Another cyclist whisked the cargo the final length of its trip to a stage where Brin and other Google executives were kicking off the California-based company's annual developers conference.

Brin opened the package to show an "Explorer" edition of the glasses that developers could buy for $1,500 to become the first people outside the company to shape the revolutionary eyewear before it gets to market.

Explorer edition glasses should ship early next year, and a version should be ready for the consumer market within a year after that, Brin said.

"Google Glass Explorer edition will be rough around the edges; you have to be into being on the bleeding edge," Brin said of the effort to build a community of developers passionate about taking part in the project.

"This is really new technology and we really want all of you to help shape it."

The eyewear features built-in camera, microphone and speaker technology and can synch to the Internet using wireless connections.

As with the sky divers, cyclists, and wall-walkers who took part in the keynote stunt, video through the eyes of wearers can be streamed live on Google's social network.

Mini-screens in the glasses can display text messages, email or other digitized information from the Internet or mobile gadgets.

"It was kind of a nutty idea that somehow became real," Brin said while discussing Glass after the keynote presentation.

"The notion that you could jump out of an air ship with it and still communicate your experience makes holding a smartphone or laptop seem pretty damn awkward," he continued. "It's about you being less of a slave to your device; it has been really liberating."

Brin said that he wears a prototype pair of Google glasses much of the time as he and other members of the team he heads at the company's X Lab refine the technology.

Google has been speaking with eyeglass frame companies about ideas for a consumer version of the glasses, which he expected would cost "significantly" less than the Explorer prototypes.

"I expect that in three or four years watching people hold a mobile phone in their hands and look down at it will start to be unusual and that this will be normal," Google product manager Steve Lee said, pointing to his Glass eyewear.

The Glass team focused on frequent mobile Internet tasks such as messaging and sharing pictures and not on capabilities such as adding facial or object recognition, according to Brin.

"We definitely experimented with things like facial recognition; it is what a lot of people think about when you talk about a wearable computer," Brin said.

"But it is not the most compelling," he continued. "We have not been quite as excited about it as science fiction movies might be."

The Glass team also figured that the devices wouldn't be primary tools for surfing the Internet or reading digital books.

"But, if you want to see a text message or catch a quick picture, these things are really easy and hands-free," Brin said.

Glass team head Babak Parviz said that along with communicating, the eyewear was crafted to find information so fast that you thought you already knew it.

"It allows you to walk downtown Paris and have other people experience this with you live," Parviz said.

"But even though we have this social camera showing the world through your eyes, the quick access to information is also a critical thing."


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Google ramps up competition in hot tablet market
Washington (AFP) June 27, 2012
The Google Nexus 7 heightens competition in the red-hot market for tablet computers, which is dominated by the Apple iPad but has a number of other players. An ABI Research survey showed overall global sales of media tablets amounted to 18.2 million in the first three months of the year, up 185 percent from a year earlier, but down 33 percent from the fourth quarter gift-giving season. H ... read more

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