patent

Facebook patent reveals modular smartphone plans

Facebook patent reveals modular smartphone plans

The idea of a modular smartphone — where a number of components can be swapped out for replacements or allow users to focus on a key feature, such as a larger battery — has been widely pursued by the tech industry over the last few years, with Google going as far as developing a prototype for its Project Ara concept (seen above). But while most companies have given up on the idea, like Google did last year, it appears Facebook is still pursuing it.

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Amazon robot plan almost too good to be true

Amazon robot plan almost too good to be true

Amazon had an idea for a robot that would live its life charging up other devices. This robot would call when bidden, and would be able to follow the user around when there's a need to walk. This robot - or army of robots - would address a problem that many citizens have at airports every single day of the year. It'd do a lot more good than those confounded outlet stickers, anyway.

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Qualcomm under fire: Patent battles up, profits down

Qualcomm under fire: Patent battles up, profits down

Qualcomm recorded a hefty 40-percent drop in quarterly profit for its fiscal Q3 2017, with the chip-maker blaming its ongoing legal spat with Apple for biting into revenues. The news comes as four new companies - all closely tied to Apple's supply chain - have filed new antitrust complaints against Qualcomm, while it itself has expanded its demands for an iPhone import ban to Europe. Still, Qualcomm warned that, until the royalty war is over, the financial horizon is still looking unsettled.

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iPhone 8 Touch ID panic button tipped in new Apple patent

iPhone 8 Touch ID panic button tipped in new Apple patent

Apple is working on turning its biometric sensor into a secret panic button, with Touch ID potentially being used to send out a cry for help if you're getting mugged. Detailed in a freshly published patent, granted to Apple earlier this week, the so-called "Biometric Initiated Communication" method relies on the ability of the fingerprint sensor to differentiate not only between different fingertips but how they make contact. It could potentially mean the iPhone 8 is able to use Touch ID as another input option.

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iPhone selfies may look better in the future thanks to this patent

iPhone selfies may look better in the future thanks to this patent

Imagine taking selfies using an iPhone, only to notice one day that your self-portraits are consistently higher quality than they used to be. Perhaps you won't know why, assuming your skills have improved. Per a newly published patent, it may in fact be Apple's own software improving your selfies by subtly forcing you to take better shots.

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Waymo is down to one patent in its self-driving Uber lawsuit

Waymo is down to one patent in its self-driving Uber lawsuit

Waymo has dropped all but one of the patent infringement claims it's challenging Uber over in court, as the two companies fight over self-driving car tech. The Alphabet-owned company had accused Uber of infringing on four different patents related to autonomous driving, filing a lawsuit back in February. According to Waymo, its former employee Anthony Levandowski had stolen a cache of technical documents about the company's developments and taken them to set up Otto, a self-driving vehicle startup later acquired by Uber.

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Qualcomm demands US iPhone imports be blocked

Qualcomm demands US iPhone imports be blocked

The iPhone is under attack, with Qualcomm demanding that Apple be blocked from bringing the best-selling smartphone into the US while a patent battle is waged. Qualcomm has filed a request with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to not only investigate its claims of intellectual property infringement, but bar their import into the country. Of course, those versions of the iPhone that use Qualcomm's cellular systems wouldn't be on that list.

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Samsung wants to patent magnetic VR controllers that track hand position

Samsung wants to patent magnetic VR controllers that track hand position

A newly surfaced patent indicates that Samsung could be working on new magnetic VR controllers for its Gear VR headset. The patent was filed back in December and published earlier this week, and in it we see details about controllers that utilize a magnetic field to determine the position of the user's hands. Virtual reality usage scenarios are specifically discussed in the patent, though the details mention using the controllers for multiple devices and not any single one in particular.

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Gear VR may soon identify you based on your head and face shape

Gear VR may soon identify you based on your head and face shape

Imagine putting on a virtual reality headset, only for it to personally recognize you, no interaction necessary. Such functionality may be making its way to Samsung's Gear VR headset, at least according to a patent that recently surfaced. This new patent details a means by which the Gear VR headset could know who is wearing it by analyzing the pressure points on the surfaces in contact with the wearer's face and head.

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Amazon plans to stop in-store shoppers from online price checking

Amazon plans to stop in-store shoppers from online price checking

For years, we've walked into retail stores only to pull out our phones and compare the prices we see to those online, generally using a website like Amazon to see if we're getting a good deal. Now that Amazon is beginning to expand into retail spaces of its own, it has to worry about those same pricing comparisons. In a fantastic bit of irony, Amazon could use a new patent to outright prevent people from comparing prices in its own stores.

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The big iPhone 8 Touch ID question may just have been answered

The big iPhone 8 Touch ID question may just have been answered

It's already a given that Apple wants to give the iPhone 8 the biggest possible display for 2017, but the jury is still out on where that leaves its fingerprint sensor. Getting rid of the home button has obvious benefits, but a rear-mounted Touch ID scanner is ergonomically questionable, while integrating it into the Retina display is technologically tricky. Now, another way for Apple to slim the new iPhone's bezels and maximize screen real-estate without sacrificing Touch ID has emerged, an alternative to baking the sensor into the display itself.

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Intel just put Qualcomm’s Windows 10 plans on notice

Intel just put Qualcomm’s Windows 10 plans on notice

Intel was never going to be pleased at Microsoft and Qualcomm's plans to run Windows 10 on Snapdragon processors, and now it's dropping heavy hints that it could all end up in court. The latest attempt to squeeze Windows on ARM into the mainstream, the announcement between the software giant and the mobile chipmaker will eventually see processors like the Snapdragon 835 running Windows 10 on models from ASUS, HP, Lenovo, and more. For consumers, that's only going to be a good thing. For Intel, not so much.

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