Although lacking product releases, the month of May saw a series of significant events for the mobile technology world. We had Google’s annual conference, where certain additions to mobile features and services were presented. For the Cupertino-based company, Apple, May brought both good news and some bad news.
Meanwhile, the race for the first commercially viable foldable mobile phone continues with a new phase, launched by a manufacturer that is not at its first attempt in this respect. However, before we reach that moment, we have to deal with an issue concerning bending phones which should not bend. Fresh developments show that there is some substance behind Apple’s “Bendgate” scandal.
However, let us take the top news and events for the mobile technology world one by one and go into detail:
Apple Wins Court Case Against Samsung and Will Receive $539 Million in Compensations
The seven-year old Apple-Samsung courtroom saga has reached its end. In an unanimous ruling given on May 24, the US District Court in San Jose, CA, has decided that Samsung must pay $539 million to Apple in compensation for infringing on five patents. These patents were unlawfully used in Android phones sold in the period 2010 – 2011. The largest part of the compensation, over $533 million, was granted for infringing on three design patents, the rest of $5 million for infringing two utility patents.
This amount is actually only half of what Apple originally sought in its lawsuit – the requested compensation being of one billion US dollars. Beyond the prominent names and the amount of compensations involved, this lawsuit will create a powerful precedent for infringement of mobile phone design patents.
Samsung has already announced that it would appeal the ruling, stating, through its attorney John Quinn that "Obviously, we have some issues that will be addressed in post-trial motions. We don't think it's supported by the evidence."
Google Unveils New Android Features at I/O 2018 Event
Google’s annual event, I/O, took place between May 8 and May 10 at Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA and focused on new features which will be soon added to Android mobile operating system and Google Assistant.
Android P beta, the next in-progress mobile OS version, will be soon available to more devices including:
- The Google Pixel range
- Nokia 7 Plus
- Sony Xperia XZ2
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 25
- One Plus 6 (when it is launched)
This is a new philosophy for Google, since it used to limit beta releases to its own branded phones.
The new features for Android P unveiled during the I/O 2018 event include:
- New navigation design which facilitates multi-tasking
- Fixes and improvements for the media volume slider and screen rotation
- A dashboard showing how much time the user spends on each app and allowing them to set timers in order to reduce mobile usage time
- Adaptive battery – reducing battery use by up to 30% as the OS predicts apps which will not be used for the rest of the day and stops them.
Apple’s “Bendgate” Has Documentary Proof
The issues with Apple iPhone 6 series – a tendency to bend – are not accidental, but a result of the engineering design. This is not just a claim by disgruntled iPhone owners anymore, but supported by an internal document filed under seal with a US District Court in a class-action suit. Judge Lucy Koh released some information contained in this document for the public and they indicate that Apple knew from the internal tests performed prior to launch that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were significantly more prone to bending that the iPhone 5S model, used as benchmark.
The relevant paragraph was posted by Motherboard and it states that: “(..) one of the major concerns Apple identified prior to launching the iPhones was that they were ‘likely to bend more easily when compared to previous generations’”.
However, Apple continues to publicly claim that they did not identify any engineering problems in the iPhone 6 series, but declined making any statements on the new data made public by judge Koh.
Huawei Partners With BOE Display Manufacturers in a New Attempt to Create a Foldable Phone
Huawei has announced a partnership with Chinese display manufacturer BOE. This comes as a further move after registering a patent for a flexible mobile phone. In its turn, BOE is already working on four different flexible display mobile phones with two phone manufacturers.
According to information obtained by a Korean news service, ETNews, cited by GSMArena, the Huawei – BOE collaboration may result in the first commercially viable mobile phone in November. Rumors state that it will have an 8-inch flexible display, larger than the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
Apple Increases Production for Its 7nm Chips
iPhone 8 ; Source: Apple
The next generation of iPhones, to be launched this autumn, may be equipped with Apple’s new 7nm chip. At least, this is what mobile technology specialists assume, in view of the increased manufacturing rate ordered by the Cupertino-based company.
The new chip will be smaller in size, but faster and more efficient. It is produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, one of Apple’s partners for parts and components. If the new iPhone models are actually to feature this innovative chip, this will mean another major victory for Apple over Samsung, which is set to start mass production of 7nm chips next year.
The 7nm chips will truly make a difference for high-end phone models. Users will experience longer battery life and better experience in using complex apps and games. Also, given their smaller size, the chips will allow phone manufacturers to make their devices thinner, or to add more hardware components for improved performance.