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Bose Files Lawsuit Against Apple’s Beats Over Noise Canceling Tech

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beatsBose Corporation filed the complaint against Beats Electronics, LLC and Beats Electronics International Limited in a Delaware court, asserting that Beats has infringed on Bose’s “valuable patented technology for noise cancelling headphones.” The lawsuit is joined by a complaint that has been filed with the International Trade Commission seeking an injunction.

Specifically, Bose accuses the Beats “Studio” and “Studio Wireless,” which are advertised to feature “Adaptive Noise Cancellation,” of infringing on its patents. Bose asserts to the court that “Beats knows or is willfully blind to the fact that” its products are infringing on its patents.

In the complaint, Bose states that the company pioneered the technology behind active noise reduction, which reduces unwanted noise by introducing a second sound source that interferes with it. Headphones featuring active noise reduction usually rely on a microphone to reduce background noise.

Bose has been selling its “QuietComfort” branded headphones with this technology since 2000. For the latest “QuietComfort 20″ headphones, Bose says they are protected by U.S. Patent Nos. 6,717,537; 8,073,150; 8,073,151; 8,054,992; and 8,345,888. They are titled:

’537: “Method and Apparatus for Minimizing Latency in Digital Signal Processing Systems”
’150: “Dynamically Configurable ANR Signal Processing Topology”
’151: “Dynamically Configurable ANR Filter Block Technology”
’992: “High Frequency Compensating”
’888: “Digital High Frequency Phase Compensation”

If the lawsuit drags out, it could last until Beats officially becomes a part of Apple, which would make the lawsuit targeting Apple’s bottom line. Bose is seeking damages in the suit of an unspecified amount.

Apple announced in May that it will buy Beats Electronics, which makes premium headphones, as well as the Beats Audio on-demand music streaming service for a combined $3 billion. As part of the deal, company co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will become employees of Apple.

Apple expects the deal to close in its fiscal 4th quarter, which concludes in September, pending regulatory approval. To view the full complaint from Bose click HERE.

Amazon Will Spend $100M on New, Original Shows in Q3

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amazon_videoNetflix in the competition to create new, original, and web-only video content.

During an earnings call with analysts Thursday, Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak said his company plans to spend around $100 million on “many new pilots” during the third quarter of 2014.

Part of the reason for the original content spend might be Amazon’s Prime membership, which Szkutak said grew faster in the second quarter — than in Q2 of 2013.

Amazon has been trying to keep pace with Netflix in putting out original content. But Amazon Prime Video has so far failed to air shows with the kind of awards-garnering appeal of Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

Still, the fact that Szkutak let drop such a nugget might mean that Amazon is preparing to get its game on with regard to original video. Its rival Netflix has proved that original content can drive up subscriber count. Netflix just crossed the 50 million subscriber mark.

Now at RadioShack: Connect-Your-Stuff-to-the-Internet Kits

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Radio-ShackRadioShack said this spring that it would attempt to shore up its crumbling retail empire by providing shelf space to crafty inventors whose gadgets might lure people into the stores. The first items will show up in stores next month, but they aren’t exactly gadgets; rather, they’re kits designed to help people make their own Internet connected doorbells and toy houses with remote controlled lights.

The idea comes from New York startup LittleBits, which makes a series of brightly colored components that can be snapped together to create Rube Goldberg machines for the digital era. The company has already been selling sets that allow users to connect, say, a small sound detector to a LED light, allowing you to illuminate a small space every time you turn on the radio. Starting Wednesday, LittleBits is selling a kit that connects these things to the Internet. It will be available in a small number of RadioShack stores in August and in 2,000 of them by the fall.

Little-BitsLittleBits thinks this will allow anyone to turn the electronics in their homes into Internet-connected gadgets, rather than waiting for Google, Apple, or a startup to build the whole thing for them. Such companies as Bug Labs and Electric Imp have also created ways for hobbyists and manufacturers to create Internet-connected devices.

The LittleBits pitch is simplicity. It says its electronics strive to be as easy to play with as Legos. A starter kit costs $99 and is designed to be useful in the hands of complete novices but also offers more advanced tools, such as APIs, for those who want to write code for the gadgets. LittleBits also has an agreement with IFTTT, an online service that allows people to automate various aspects of their Web experiences. This is how a balloon can be inflated every time someone mentions you on Twitter.

The most basic actions actually can be set up in a few minutes, although anything requiring Internet connectivity requires a set-up process that resembles setting up a router for a Wi-Fi, which is fine so long as it works perfectly but completely maddening once the slightest thing goes wrong.

You can’t do a whole lot with the starter kit, but the company sells bigger libraries of gizmos that include hundreds of modules and cost thousands of dollars. The company sees these larger arrays of equipment as ways for small companies or inventors to prototype their own Internet-connected products. Maybe some of those would end up on RadioShack’s shelves as well.

Netflix Pushes Past 50 Million Subs

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NetflixDespite a recent price increase for new subscribers and the addition of a standard-definition-only streaming plan, Netflix had no trouble adding subscribers in the second quarter, signing on 1.69 million during the period, extending its total to 50.05 million, of which 47.99 million are paid subs.

Netflix added 1.12 million international streaming subs, giving it a total of 13.8 million in that category.

Looking ahead, the company expects to add 3.69 million subs worldwide in the third quarter, including 2.36 million in its international markets — enough to push its sub base past 53.74 million.

On the financial front, Netflix generated $1.14 billion in total streaming revenue, versus $837 million in the year-ago quarter, and expects to pull in $1.22 billion in the third quarter. Netflix posted net income of $71 million ($1.15 per share) in the second quarter, and expects to post net income of $55 million (89 cents per share) in the third quarter.

Its international business swung to a loss of $15 million in the second quarter, narrowed from a loss of $66 million in the year-ago quarter. Netflix anticipates a loss of $42 million from its international business as it pushes into new markets.

In its letter to shareholders, Netflix said it will launch in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg in September.

“This launch into markets with over 60 million broadband households will significantly increase our European presence and raise our current international addressable market to over 180 million broadband households, or 2x the number of current U.S. broadband households,” the company said. Netflix doesn’t release specific usage figures, but did note that the release of season two of Orange Is The New Black was the most-watched series in every Netflix territory during its first month of availability.

This fall, Netflix will introduce physical gift cards in select stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Germany, hopeful that they will extend its brand and accessibility in existing markets, and to provide an “easier alternative” for consumers in new Netflix markets “with developing online payments.”

Netflix added that its app for the coming Android TV platform will be offered on TVs from Sony, Sharp and others in the coming months.

Netflix said it’s shooting several original series in 4K, including Marco Polo, Sense8 and Narcos. Its currently, albeit limited 4K streaming library, offers House of Cards season two, all seasons of Breaking Bad, nature documentaries from Moving Art, and Ultra HD versions of a small set of movies, including the recent addition of Smurfs 2, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2.

Samsung to Join Forces With Under Armour For Wearables

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Under-Armor
South Korea’s tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. is expected to join hands with U.S.-based sports clothing maker Under Armour Inc., market sources said today, indicating the smartphone maker’s move to expand presence in the global wearable devices market.

The outlook came as Lee Jay-yong, the de facto heir of Samsung Group, reportedly met Kelvin Plank, the founder and chief executive officer of Under Armour here earlier this month.

During the meeting, they have reportedly discussed ways of countering impact from collaboration between Apple Inc. and Nike Inc. in the wearable devices sector.

Such speculations also rose as Lee was witnessed wearing an Under Armour shirt during his visit to the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference held last week at the U.S. state of Idaho.

Apple and Nike have been making efforts to seek convergence between sports wear and smart devices since 2006 by rolling out Nike + iPod Sport Kit, which came with a wireless sensor to be integrated into shoes to send data on time, distance, pace and calories burned to Apple’s products.

In 2012, Nike released FuelBand, a wearable device that only connects to Apple products. Industry watchers said Nike will eventually reduce its wearable business to focus on the U.S. tech giant’s first wearable device set to be released later this year, speculated to be called the “iWatch.”

While Apple is yet to release its first wearable smart device, Samsung jumped into the new market since September last year with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch that worked on Google Inc.’s Android platform.

This year, it rolled out the Galaxy Gear Fit, which works on real-time operating system, as well as the Tizen-powered Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Neo. Last month, it also debuted the Samsung Gear Live, the first member of lineup that works under U.S.-based Google Inc.’s Android Wear platform.

Samsung is estimated to have took up 71 percent of the global wearable market in the first quarter of this year by shipping some 500,000 units. The company’s dominance, however, is expected to be threatened by Apple’s first full-fledged wearable device set to be launched in October this year.

The global market for wearable devices is anticipated to reach US$6 billion by 2016, industry watchers said.

The wearable market has been one of the most focused on sectors in recent years, especially as the growth of the smartphone industry slowed due to market saturation.

Last week, Samsung, the world’s biggest technology firm by revenue, estimated its second-quarter operating profit at a sharply lower-than-expected 7.2 trillion won ($7.01 billion) amid a slowdown in its smartphone business.

The estimate represents a 24.4 percent fall from its operating profit of 9.53 trillion won last year. Analysts here attributed the sluggish earnings to slow sales of Samsung handsets, both at the low-end and high-end levels.

Axelle Despiegelaere

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Axelle-Despiegela

Belgium fan goes viral, earns modeling contract.

Snaps of Axelle Despiegelaere flooded the internet as hoards of social media users coveted her beauty – prompting French cosmetics company L’Oreal to make an approach for the 17-year-old during the summer transfer window.

Axelle_Despiegela

Axelle announced on her Facebook page that she had penned a deal with the company and revealed she had already filmed a promotional video for the brand.

Belgium crashed out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals, but it’s unlikely the model will be too disappointed given her new found fame.

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