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November 21, 2012

Technology News Briefs — Nov. 21, 2012

HTC Boss Calls Settlement Estimates ‘Outrageous’

HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou is calling the estimates and rumors about the settlement reached with Apple “outrageous.”

The companies ended their two-year patent war Nov. 10 with a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits as well as a 10-year license agreement. The license covers current and future patents held by both firms.

Although the companies did not reveal the terms of the settlement, analysts concluded HTC drew the short end of the stick, paying $6 to $8 per Android phone.

Chou called the estimates “baseless” while speaking to reporters at an event in Japan, but declined to divulge further information.

At the time the deal was announced, Chou said HTC was “pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation.”

NY Replacing Phone Booths With Touch Screens

New York City is doing away with traditional phone booths in favor of something a little more high-tech.

The city has unveiled a plan to install giant touch screens across the city to  provide city information, emergency broadcasts and local business deals in place of old phone booths.

New York City is working in partnership with Cisco and City 24/7 to offer the new platform.

According to a GigaOm report, the smart screens were tested in a pilot project before officially going live across the city. The devices, so far, are situated at 13th and Broadway and Third Avenue and 10th Street.

The GigaOm story indicated 250 of the “newfangled devices” will be installed in all five city boroughs.

“We’ll average a couple of installs per day. With the holidays approaching, they won’t all be in for a couple of months,” said City 24/7 via e-mail to GigaOm.

Kindle Fire 8.9 Is Bigger, But Is It Better?

Amazon has launched its Kindle Fire 8.9 ahead of its scheduled release date in a bid to cash in on the holiday shopping season.

With a $299 price tag, the 8.9-inch device, is a larger and improved, albeit more expensive, version of the Kindle Fire HD released earlier this fall, according to various reviews of the product.

The device has a better display, more processing power, a front facing HD camera and a 4G LTE option, positioning it to compete against Google’s Nexus 10, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Apple’s iPad.

According to a CNet review, while the tablet has “zippier navigation, incredibly fast 4G LTE speeds, seamless streaming performance, and access to one of the best media eco systems available,” its “Web performance is lacking compared with that of other tablets.”

The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is perfect for those looking for a “pure media consumption experience,” according to CNet, but those seeking something “more utilitarian … will want to look elsewhere.”

Google to Offer Alternative to Apple’s AirPlay

Google is expanding on its existing technologies to offer an alternative to Apple’s AirPlay.

Google product manager Timbo Drayson told GigaOm the technology titan is not only hard at work on an alternative to Apple’s wireless feature, the company is aiming to pique the interest of device and software retailers.

The launch last week of Google’s new feature for YouTube, which enables easy streaming to the TV, is a glimpse of what is coming, Drayson said.  The updated Android app allows users with a single tap to send YouTube videos to Google TV. The new system replaces a lengthy seven-step procedure.

Drayson implied more functionality is on the way with the new feature.

“We really want to move the whole industry forward,” he said to GigaOm.