Tag: Bluetooth

Sound systems face wireless revolution

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 14.24.31Home audio systems are undergoing a sea change because of the popularity of mobile phones, according to a report from IHS Technology.

The analysts said that shipments of connected audio products – that includes wireless speakers, wireless sounders and connected AV receivers will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 88 percent.

In unit terms, that’s a rise from 1.5 million units in 2010 to close to 66 million units in 2016.

Paul Erickson, a senior analyst at IHS, said that its penetration of tablets and smartphones and streaming services including Spotify that are creating a shift in peoples’ perception.

“Consumers are seeking ways to wireless play audio from their mobile devices on speakers in the room they’re in, in multiple rooms in a household, and on speakers carried with the. This need will drive strong global growth in wi-fi and Bluetoosh connected speakers over the next few years,” he said.

Major players in the market will include Samsung, LG, Sony, Bose, Denon, and DTS.

And while prices for connected multi-room speakers are high, they will still be adopted by many people. Sony, Samsung and LG are all expected to put serious marketing bucks into the equation.

Texas jury awards Bluetooth to patent troll

trollA Texas jury which was told by a patent troll that a plaintiff did not invent Bluetooth 2.0, has told him that he really did.

Gordon Bremer is connected to a patent trolling outfit called Rembrandt which takes on big companies with wide patents before East Texas juries.

East Texas juries are famous for handing down patent rulings in favour of plaintiffs.

Bremer told the court he didn’t invent Bluetooth 2.0. In fact he hadn’t even read the specification for it until it had been in the market for three years.

The jury found in Rembrandt’s favour after a week-long trial, finding that Samsung’s Bluetooth-enabled products, including its most popular mobile phones, tablets, and televisions, infringe Bremer’s patents, numbered 8,023,580 and 8,457,228. The patents relate to compatibility between different types of modems, and connect to a string of applications going back to 1997.

This means that without doing anything Bremer may be being paid a hefty royalty by Samsung, after a jury ruled that the Korean electronics company infringed Bremer’s patents. He stands to get 2.5 percent of the $15.7 million verdict.

The first version of Bluetooth was invented by Swedish cell phone company Ericsson in 1994 and Rembrandt made the same complaint against Blackberry .

Now Rembrandt’s lawyers have made clear they believe the Bremer patents apply to all products using Bluetooth 2.0.

Rembrandt lawyer Demetrios Anaipakos said that “justice had been done” and that  the Rembrandt inventions are at the heart of Samsung Bluetooth capabilities.

Bremer told Rembrandt higher-ups that his patents, originally applied to work he did on modems back in 1997, could be applied to Bluetooth products.

“I had a kind of ‘aha’ moment. I came up with an (eloquent) solution… I realised if I put an indicator at the beginning of each communication that said change the modulation, this communication could happen instantly.”

Bremer continues to create more patents for Rembrandt. He has more than 100 to his name. It’s a symbiotic relationship—he creates the patents, testifies and gets deposed, while Rembrandt provides the legal muscle

On cross-examination, he acknowledged that it was the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, or BSIG, that came up with the 2.0 version, including the Enhanced Data Rate or EDR technology and he made no contributions to the standards body.

Samsung lawyer Jeff Sherwood appeared to face an uphill battle focusing on the non-infringement argument. That was because the defence was heavily technical and the jury preferred that he talked about the wording in the patents.

Bremer had never created a product based on his patents, Sherwood noted. He tried to sell his patents to other parties, but “no one wanted them” until they were bought by Rembrandt.

Samsung hired as its expert a man who was deeply involved in the technology—Steven Hall, now a technical director of Broadcom, who was vice-chair of the Bluetooth SIG “Core Specification Working Group.”

Hall had never heard of Bremer.

It took the jury less than an hour before it returned a verdict that Samsung should pay up.


Hong Kong protestors use smartphone app

Open Garden's FirechatStudent protestors in Hong Kong are communicating with each other by using a smartphone app called FireChat.

FireChat by Open Garden is an app that lets people communicate with each other without needing a cell network.

It is able to do that because it can make use of Bluetooth, which has a range of about 200 feet of anyone else using the map.  It also works with phone networks and wi-fi.

There are versions for Android, Apple and Windows smartphones and tablets.

According to the Taipei Times, over 100,000 people in Hong Kong downloaded the app in 24 hours, last Sunday. One person said people are downloading the app because they were worried the authorities might shut down the networks.

FireChat is apparently popular in India because of poor connectivity.

Some analysts are speculating that the company could be the subject of acquisition because big players like Google and Facebook have the ability to scale such apps globally.

Wireless devices threaten factories

cheap-tabletsA report from a market research company said that security is becoming a key question for wireless networks used in industry.

IHS said that wireless network devices in factories worldwide will rise from 2.1 million in 2012 to 3.4 million by 2017.

Mark Watson, an associate director at IHS, said there’s a gorwing trend in the bring your own device (BYOD) in the manufacturing sectors, with people using both smartphones and tablets to monitor and control industrial equipment.

“Such devices may lack adequate security, offering hackers easy access to confidential data – or allowing them to spread malware through factory automation systems,” he said.

To counter the threat, some manufacturers are employing the so-called honeypot method – essentially a fake system that lets business monitor hacking threats.

He said that WirelessHAT and ISA 100.11a are the major industrial wireless technologies and used more in process industries, while WLAN and Bluetooth are more common in discreet industries.