Oracle loses massive fair use case against Google, Android

Java-Android

For the past six years, Oracle has pursued copyright and patent infringement claims against Google over the use of Java APIs within Android. The case has bounced around through multiple courts — the patent issues were resolved with zero damages, but the copyright claims were dismissed in favor of Google before a federal court reversed that verdict. Over the last few weeks, Oracle and Google have been tied up in court over whether or not Google’s use of the Java API could be considered fair use or not.

The trial has now concluded with a jury verdict in favor of Google, meaning that Google’s specific use of APIs in Android is considered fair use. Oracle, never formally declared how much money it would seek from Google if the verdict had gone the other way, but an expert report prepared for the case claimed $9.3 billion in damages.

The central issue of the trial was whether or not Google was legally required to license Java in order to use certain Java APIs — 37 in all — as part of Android. Google had initially argued that API’s weren’t copyrightable at all, since they represented functional code that’s often critical to ensuring interoperability between system components. Over the course of the trial, Google presented evidence showing that Sun, which created Java, had no problem with Google’s using it in Android, including testimony from Sun’s ex-CEO, Jonathan Schwartz. Oracle concentrated on the idea that Google’s use of Android had crippled Oracle’s ability to launch smartphones based on its own Java-based operating system, and that the search giant had unjustly enriched itself by not licensing Java.

GoogleJava

Unfortunately, while this is a win for Google, it doesn’t answer the question of when exactly using an API is or isn’t fair use. The problem with fair use doctrine in the United States is that infringement is often in the eye of the beholder. Fair use is determined by the purpose and character of the use, including whether or not the use is transformative (parody and satire are typically found to be transformative). Fair use is also measured according to the nature of the original work, how much of the copyrighted work has been excerpted and used, and whether or not the use of the material impacts the ability of the original creator to profit from their work. To use a simple example, one cannot borrow the vast majority of material from one work, stuff it into a different book or film, and claim that this is protected under fair use doctrine.

While these rules create a useful framework for evaluating fair use, they don’t define how much of a work can be used for fair use to apply, or specify exact circumstances in which a usage is or is not fair. If Oracle had won its case against Google, it would have set a dangerous precedent. While the 37 APIs that Google used are critical to the overall function of Android, they represent a tiny fraction of Android’s total code base.

Oracle has, of course, already vowed to appeal the verdict, which means this case will still be winding its way through the court system several years from now. Google, meanwhile, is already planning to move away from Oracle’s Java and will use a new implementation based on OpenJDK.

Best Multitasking apps and shortcuts for Android

androidpit best multi tasking apps 5

Omni Swipe

After more than 100 million installs, Omni Swipe has a rating of 4.5/5 stars in the Play Store and for good reason: this app is awesome. Part of the appeal of Omni Swipe is its strong design: the rotating wheel which acts as the centre-point for all its interactions looks attractive and feels good to use.

With an inward swipe from the right of left of your screen, you reveal the fan-shaped Omni Swipe toolbar. This gives access to your favorite apps, recent places, settings toggles and more, providing a fast and appealing way to navigate your device.

If you’re interested, be sure to go with the paid version or you’ll be bombarded by annoying ads.

androidpit best multi tasking apps

Shortcuts

The simplicity of Shortcuts is what really sells it: open the app, tick the apps you wish to make shortcuts to and enable it. Shortcuts to these apps will now appear in your notification shade.

The reason that Shortcuts is so effective is that the notification shade is accessible from any menu or area on Android. Whether you’re watching a video, playing a game, or taking part in an ongoing call, you can pull down the notification shade and see your favorite apps right there. I can’t see a reason why this option isn’t put into stock Android as standard.

androidpit best multi tasking apps 4

Power Toggles

Power Toggles is as old as the hills but it’s still going strong. This brilliant free app gives you better settings toggles and makes them easier to access. If, say, you find yourself frequently traveling to your display settings to change the screen timeout time, then you can use power toggles to put that switch right alongside your screen brightness.

You can even add a whole second row of toggles, if you wish. It’s subtle, smart, and useful.

androidpit best multi tasking apps 3

Swipeup Utility

Swipeup Utility simply allows you to reconfigure what your Home button does. Want to swipe up to launch one of your apps? You can do that. Or perhaps you want it to take you straight to a contact? Swipeup Utility lets you do that too.

There are a few bugs in the more advanced features, and it’s quite limited, but if you’ve ever wanted to use your home button to launch your camera app straight into video mode (hey, you might), this is the way to do it.

androidpit best multi tasking apps 8

EAS: Easy app switcher

I wrote about EAS just last week but I wanted to include it in this list because it’s gorgeous. Not aesthetically gorgeous, as such, but gorgeous in mechanics. EAS is a shortcut app which lets you swap between your two last visited places or apps, and also acts as a favorites bar.

It’s another floating icon / swipe-in style app switcher, but the addition of a customizable “excluded apps” list means if you can make sure that it always does what you want it to. Read more about it at the link above.

androidpit best multi tasking apps 6

Honorable mention: If by IFTTT

If by IFTTT gets an honorable mention because it doesn’t exactly offer a dedicated shortcut, but you can speed up your workflow by using it. IFTTT stands for “if this then that”, which essentially explains how the app works: you create a list of commands which work using that formula.

For example, you could create a statement like “if I change my Facebook photo, then change my Twitter photo too” and, once configured, If would automate this process for you.

The best music streaming apps for Android

Spotify, Google, Amazon and Apple at a glance

APPLE MUSIC AMAZON PRIME MUSIC SPOTIFY GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC
FREE TRIAL PERIOD Three months 30 days 30 days 30 days
PRICE US$9.99 per month / US$14.99 for family membership (up to six people) $US99 per year US$9.99 per month US$9.99 per month US$14.99 for family membership (up to six people)
CHROMECAST SUPPORT No No Yes Yes
NUMBER OF SONGS More than 30 million More than one million At least 20 million More than 35 million
OFFLINE MODE FOR ANDROID Yes Yes Yes Yes
WEBSITE Apple Music Amazon Prime Music Spotify Google Play Music

Apple Music

Apple Music is a recent competitor in the music streaming sphere, released on June 30, 2015. But Apple already had a great pedigree with regards to music services, with the iTunes store having been successful for more than a decade. Though the iTunes store offers in excess of 43 million songs (everything but The Beatles, apparently), its streaming service offers a little less, at around 30 million.

Apple Music isn’t just for Apple users, with a Play Store App currently in beta. It allows Android users to stream its immense catalog and comes with some unique extras such as Connect, a blogging feature that seeks to bring artists closer to their fans, allowing them to share music, videos and photos with followers. Apple Music also includes the Beats 1 internet radio station, which plays continuously in more than 100 countries.

It might be too early to tell if Apple Music will be a big hit, but with a huge catalog, three-month trial period and all of the major features nailed, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be.

androidpit apple music android app 3

Amazon Prime Music

Amazon’s Prime Music streaming service provides ad-free listening for more than a million songs, including hundreds of playlists and a number of radio stations. Amazon Prime Music’s catalog is smaller than most of its competitors’, but then Prime Music is only a small part of the overall Amazon Prime service, which the US$99 yearly subscription also covers.

This means that you also get access to more than 800,000 eBooks, free two-day shipping, thousands of movies and TV shows, and early access to its lightning deals. Amazon Prime Music songs can also be downloaded for offline listening and it has a dedicated Android app, which can be found at the link below.

prime music playback de

Spotify

Spotify offers a free, ad-supported streaming service in addition to its paid subscription. A great aspect of this is that you (currently) get access to the same content whether you pay a subscription fee or not. The main downside to the free service in comparison to the paid is the audio quality, the ads, and the ability to use it offline.

The Spotify Android app is perfect for mobile because it allows you to download any song in the catalog for offline listening on your device. There is also a web-player and desktop app, and all your content and playlists are synced between them.

  • Spotify for Android update news
  • Spotify for Android problems and solutions

 

Google Play Music

What began as a simple music player app is now a full, commercial streaming package with more than 35 million songs available.

Unlimited access to Google Music costs the same as a monthly Spotify subscription, but the key benefit is that it also includes access to YouTube Red, so you also get access to Google’s YouTube video content ad-free, as well as offline and background playback, and original films and TV series.

  • How to set up the Google Play Music app
  • Apple Music vs Google Play Music vs Spotify comparison
androidpit google play music screen 10

Conclusion

So which music streaming service is best? Let’s quickly wrap them up. Amazon is possibly the worst as a pure music streaming service because its catalog is limited, but it arguably has the best extras: no other service offers access to movies, books and free shipping from an online store.

Google Play Music also offers valuable extras. Everybody makes use of YouTube, and the opportunity to get even greater access to it, in addition to a 35 million-song library, is mighty tempting.

Apple Music is all about the music. You won’t get any TV or video streaming benefits here, but you will get one of the biggest music databases and an intuitive interface to discover new music.

Then there’s Spotify. Spotify just works. It provides high-quality audio playback, it seamlessly syncs between devices, and it’s perfect for parties and sharing, because everybody knows how it works.

How to shoot time-lapse videos on your Android phone

Lapse It

Lapse It is now up to version 4.7 and is one of the best time-lapse apps on the Android platform. It comes with manual controls and a background mode that lets you access other apps while you’re recording your footage. You can import existing videos as well as capturing new footage from scratch.

androidpit lapse it

With a plethora of options — from photo interval times to white balance settings — you can get your videos looking exactly as you want them to. Sign up for a Pro account and you can capture video at a higher definition, resume captures and add sound and special effects to your clips.

TimeLapse

For good quality time-lapses with minimum fuss, the aptly named TimeLapse is worth a look. You simply set the photo interval and the image resolution, and you’re good to go — the capture screen has just three buttons for start, pause and stop, and shows a small status bar too.

androidpit timelapse

After the capture part of the process has been completed, you’re taken to an equally sparse encoding page where you can choose the frame rate and get your finished video out the other end. If you prefer simplicity to an abundance of features, you’ll feel right at home with TimeLapse.

Framelapse

For a free(mium) app, Framelapse has a lot going for it — you can set all of the key parameters for your time-lapse video before you get started, and there are some nice additional features such as a self-timer, white balance and exposure adjustments (although some of these are in-app purchases).

androidpit framelapse

The capture screen is the main app screen, and all of the various settings and modes appear as extensions from there. If you like the feel of the app, then the upgrade to the Pro version is probably worth it considering for the extra features you get (such as a sleep timer function).

Overlapse

Overlapse promises “time-lapse made easy”, although the idea never seemed all that complicated to begin with. Overlapse works slightly differently to the other apps on this list, in that you take one photo at a time manually — it’s designed more for recording objects or buildings over many months or years.

androidpit overlapse

To that end, there’s a helpful overlay feature that helps you frame up your shots accurately when you come back to the spot you were standing in before. Pictures are neatly arranged into sets, and the app might work well for you if you have a specific long-term scenario in mind.

Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile

Microsoft has its own powerful time-lapse software in the form of Hyperlapse Mobile. The app is fun and straightforward to use and allows you to import existing video as well as shooting new.

Other useful features include ‘selfie lapses’ (for when you want to show your reactions to a skydive or zipline run) and the ability to share time-lapse videos to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter quickly and easily.

androidpit microsoft hyperlapse

[CONTEST] Win your very own BB-8 remote control Star Wars mini droid from Android

[CONTEST] Win your very own BB-8 remote control Star Wars mini droid from Android Central!-bb8-hero_0.jpgYou might have noticed that a new Star Wars movie was released in theaters this past weekend, complete with a new droid called BB-8. I’m a sucker for cute droids, and decided we should definitely give away the super awesome little BB-8 droid from Sphero to one of our readers! If you haven’t already read Russell’s review of the droid, you’ll definitely want to check it out, right after you enter to win one for yourself!

The contest

One lucky winner will receive a BB-8 droid by Sphero. You have two ways to enter. Just log in and leave a comment below, then head over to the blog post and leave a comment there too, and you’ve earned two entries! No spoilers please, if you’ve seen the movie!

The rules

The contest is open worldwide so anyone can enter. Please remember that the prize will ship from the U.S. and any charges incurred at customs are the responsibility of the winner. One entry per person please. If we catch you spamming you will be eliminated from the competition. We’ll keep this open until the end of the month and announce the winner on the blog the first week of January. May the force be with you.

7 Tips to Protect your Privacy on Android

Besides IOS, android is the other single most popular and efficient operating system and is preferred by most of the smartphone users.

Android is the official name of the operating system that basically runs the smartphone and without it, there’s practically no smartphone in existence.

But, despite all its strengths and power, android is not invincible after all. What it means is that even android systems are also vulnerable unless the system is being well protected from online threats.

But, before getting into protecting privacy on android operated devices, let us have a glance on the android operating system itself.

To start with android is a type of operating system that mainly runs the smartphones. It is a popular mobile operating systems which has been developed by Google. Android offers its users an array of features staring from hardware management to memory management of your phone, user interface and mobile apps. Among all these features, it’s the apps or applications that are the most crucial part and also an interesting one when it comes to android system’s various aspects and it is through this window that threats come in most of the cases. Also, the question of maintaining the user’s privacy and security on the android system while using it looms in the background.

Hence, in this article, we will look into various tips and ways which can help you to protect your privacy while using android devices.

1.    Always be very careful and cautious while downloading and installing any sort of mobile apps for whatever reasons. Hence, it is usually advised to the users to download the mobile apps only from Google play.

One of the most vulnerable aspects of android operating system is the ease and access to apps in sharp contrast to the IOS. And it is through these mobile apps that the privacy on androids gets jeopardized. Downloading apps through Google play and other reliable service providers like Leomaster are only reliable and it is usually not recommended to download and install apps from other third parties.

2.    Another way to protect your privacy on android is to look and watch out for the mobile apps permission on your android. Usually if some minor mobile apps like wallpaper, images or small games asks for your personal information like location, email, contact number, sim number, etc. then it usually safe to stay out from downloading those mobile apps.

3.    It is also highly advised and recommended to use very strong and unique passwords which are usually hard to guess for your android and related accounts to protect your privacy while browsing and using your device. Also, you should change and alter your android account passwords quite often if not frequently to avoid virus attacks and to keep hacking attempts at bay.

4.    You should also be sure to encrypt your mobile data. By doing so, you protect all your mobile data, apps and other information in your mobile even if you’re mobile gets lost. Encryption on android is based on PIN/Password though in the upcoming versions, android devices will only operate on a data encryption password only. To encrypt your mobile is actually quite easy. You just need to go to the settings of your mobile and turn on the encrypt button.

5.    Another useful tip to protect your privacy on android is to watch out for Wi-Fi connections that you use or might use. Never use public or shared Wi-Fi connections for browsing the internet over your android device unless absolutely necessary.

6.    Always use a VPN and deleting unnecessary apps is another smart tip towards protecting your privacy in android.

7.    Seeking two factor/step authentication for all google services and mobile apps ensures further enhanced privacy and security on android.

Tag Heuer Is Ramping Up Smartwatch Production From 1,200 To 2,000 Pieces Per Week

Tag Heuer’s chairman Jean-Claude Biver announced that the company is ramping up weekly production of their Carrera Connected Smart Watch from 1,200 to 2,000 pieces.

The watch costs $1,500 and features a nice steel case and Android Wear. Buyers get the option to upgrade to a limited edition mechanical watch for another $1,500. Biver is also trying to move sales away from the web to brick and mortar stores, an effort that attests to the true market for the watch: folks who still buy watches at retailers.

The fact that this is seeing demand at all is a fairly interesting story.

The watch world suffers from a tough dichotomy. Watch sales have traditionally happened at brick and mortar stores all around the world with stratified pricing for “destination” stores like Bermuda and lower prices and specially targeted lower-end brands for less developed regions (Rolex vs. Tudor, for example.) Watch manufacturers would crow about the low number number of “doors” they had – a sign of exclusivity – and they were quite stingy when working with retailers, allowing only certain shops to carry certain items.

With the web, however, manufacturers began to lose control over the sales process. For a while they were railing against “grey market” sales – namely watches sold by jewelers who took advantage of the massive disparity between wholesale price and MSRP – and now they are realizing that the high touch watch experience still moves merchandise even if the web is the real money-maker. Selling watches at retail stores is wildly expensive but it’s clear that demand for the watch – at least for rich watch lovers who might want to try the Connect on a whim – is focused on stores.

So what is happening here? First, remember that $1,500 is small potatoes in the watch world. Watch lovers routinely spend more than that on branded watch bracelets. Price, in this case, is no real object and the Connect allows them to feel fancy while still trying the latest technology. Second, there is a dedicated group of collectors who will buy anything Tag offers and see this as an opportunity to buy a limited edition mechanical while messing around with an Android Wear. Collectors are obviously a subset of the world at large, but we can assume that Biver will manufacture about 20,000 of these or so in the next few months in order to raise perceived scarcity and reduce their chances of having to scrap these things when the hardware becomes obsolete. In short, they are selling smartwatches to their old customers who are primarily interested in the Tag Heuer brand rather than the technology.

So it’s nice that Biver is admitting that he is ramping up production but the fact that he announced it at all, even in passing, means even he didn’t expect things to go very well. His statement sounds like he is pleasantly surprised rather than all-in in the digital space, a fact that should help you understand just what the Apple Watch and Android Wear will do to his shrinking customer list.

Dragon Anywhere Advanced Dictation App Launches on Android

Nuance, a known name in speech recognition technologies, has announced that it is releasing itsDragon Anywhere app on Android. The app was announced in August this year for iOS as well asAndroid. To make the deal enticing, the company is giving Android users the option to try out the app for free for a week.

Dragon Anywhere offers a range of handy features. It is able to create documents and fill out forms. It also allows users to use voice commands to navigate through a document and edit transcribed texts.

In addition, you can expect the Android client of the service to learn your voice and automatically improve accuracy. “The more Dragon Anywhere is used, the more accurate it becomes,” the company says. The app supports custom words and also allows importing and exporting to and from popular cloud document-sharing tools such as Dropbox and note-taking apps such as Evernote.

“For years, professionals across industries have relied on Dragon on their PCs and Macs for completing the documentation and paperwork requirements that are critical to their businesses, and we are excited to extend that experience to mobile devices with Dragon Anywhere,” said Peter Mahoney, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Dragon.

“By leveraging the cloud, Dragon Anywhere provides sophisticated dictation, editing, and formatting capabilities not offered by any other mobile voice dictation application, ensuring that professionals can stay productive wherever their work takes them.”

The Android app is a paid service. Users will have to pay $15 (roughly Rs. 1,000) per month, or $40 (roughly Rs. 2,600) every three months, or $150 (roughly Rs. 9,800) per year. The company is offering a 7-day free trial, but one needs to provide their credit card information anyway. The service is available for purchase through company’s website.

To recall, Nuance is best known for powering the dictation feature on Apple’s stock keyboard app, as well as originally providing the backend for Siri, the voice-based virtual assistant on iOS devices.

Skype Apps for Android and iOS Updated With Video Filters and More

Microsoft has rolled out an update to Skype’s Android, iPhone, and iPad apps to add a shiny new feature. Users with any of the said clients will be able to add video message filters. In case you’re wondering, yes, it is indeed similar to Snapchat’s recently rolled out video filters.

Users will now be able to add filters such as balloons and ghosts to their video messages. The option appears at the bottom left of the video message window. “Add balloons to your video message to celebrate any occasion. If you’re feeling goofy, change the appearance of your face to make it look rounder or longer – we love this one!” Skype team wrote in a blog post.

The feature is similar to the additions Snapchat introduced in its app last month. The video-centred ephemeral messenger added lenses, trophies, and paid replays to its app. Using these features, users were able to take a selfie and then choose face filters, and add awards icons to the images.

Additionally, the team has also added support for 3D Touch in its Skype app for iPhone. Users with aniPhone 6s or an iPhone 6s Plus will now be able to force touch the Skype icon and see search and calling options in the contextual menu without having to open the app. In addition, inside the app, users can get a peek into conversations and video chats.

Separately, at an event in New Delhi, the company announced that it will be adding Bollywood content to Skype Mojis. For those unfamiliar, Mojis is a feature that the company introduced in Skype last month. Using this, users are able to add short clips of their favourite movies and TV shows right into a Skype chat. The company said that it has partnered with Yash Raj Films and Eros Now to get content. The company says that it will also add several India-centric emoticons.

Skype is in an interesting spot right now. On one hand, it is seemingly losing relevance in the aggressively growing instant messaging market, but on another, it holds the tentpole position in the enterprise space. In the recent months, it has ostensibly grown interest to make its instant messaging client appealing to the younger audience. A recent example of it is the upcoming Dialer app, an India-optimised Skype app we exclusively reported about earlier this month.

Yu Yureka Plus With Android – Not Cyanogen OS – Available via Amazon

There have been a few murmurs that the partnership between Micromax and Cyanogen is near end-of-life, and here’s a clear sign that Micromax’s Yu might be looking at life beyond its software partner. Yu’s popular Yureka Plus smartphone – that originally launched with Cyanogen OS 12 – has been listed on Amazon India with Android v4.4.4 and is available via an open sale at Rs. 8,999. The listing says the Yureka Plus is upgradable to Androi v5.0.2.

Rest of the specifications seem identical to the Yu Yureka Plus (Review) that launched with Cyanogen OS in July, with the smartphone featuring a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) IPS display and a 64-bit oct-core Snapdragon 615 SoC (MSM8939) clocked at 1.5GHz, coupled with Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The Yu Yureka Plus sports a 13-megapixel autofocus camera with an LED flash, and a front-facing 5-megapixel fixed-focus camera is also on board. The Yureka Plus comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage with microSD card support (up to 32GB), and packs a 2500mAh battery.

The Yu Yureka Plus is a dual SIM (GSM+GSM) smartphone that comes with connectivity options like Bluetooth 4.0, Micro-USB, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The Yu Yureka Plus include sensors such as accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and gyroscope.

To recall, the Yu Yureka Plus was launched carrying a price tag of Rs. 9,999 but the price was slashed to Rs. 8,999 within a couple of weeks of launch. The Yureka Plus with Android is available at the new price of Rs. 8,999, albeit in only the Mooniest Grey colour. The Yu Yureka Plus is limited to one unit per customer, Amazon India notes.