Facebook to buy mobile chat app WhatsApp?

If reports are to be believed, Facebook is looking to buy multi-platform instant messaging application WhatsApp in a bid to improve its mobile services.

Citing sources close to the matter, TechCrunchreports the social networking giant has shown keen interest in acquiring WhatsApp. The site, however, could not provide more information about the possible price range or the talks are in which stage right now. Facebook and WhatsApp are yet to comment on the reports.

Buying WhatsApp would make a lot of sense for Facebook, which has of late looked to tap its mobile services to up revenues. WhatsApp, launched in 2009, announced in October last year that it had more than 100 millioni daily users across the world, sending and receiving 1 billion messages per day. These impressive figures might have prompted Facebook to bring in such features to its social network. It’s notable WhatsApp has users base across multiple mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone.

Facebook to buy mobile chat app WhatsApp?

“Just how much is 1 billion messages? That is 41,666,667 messages an hour, 694,444 messages a minute, and 11,574 messages a second,” WhatsApp boasted in a blog post.  “Unlike Facebook, Whatsapp is a paid app. And obviously, having a paid, ad-free service is an expansion of Facebook’s business model beyond advertising. We’ve already seen Facebook launch another service that diversifies it — Gifts — and the positive impact that has had with investors,” says the report.

Right now it’s not clear exactly what Facebook would do with WhatsApp if it bought. But it is believed that the move would help deeper integration of the IM with the social networking site.

Reports of Facebook-WhatsApp deal come days after the messenger app drew harsh criticism from security and mobile researchers over the alleged security risks based on its authentication process. According to CNET, various bloggers dubbed the process a “security nightmare”, alleging the app leaked data collected off the device when it’s being relayed to services.

Recently, WhatsApp suffered a glitch that showed “error:uknown” as contact status. According to reports, the glitch had affected thousands of users worldwide. The bug was followed by a hoax message urging people who use the app to forward a message to all their contacts or face having their accounts deleted. Read more about the WhatsApp glitch here.

BlackBerry maker RIM loses patent dispute with Nokia!!

Canada’s Research In Motion (RIM) has lost a contract dispute over the use of Nokia patents in a case which could halt sales of its BlackBerry phones if it does not reach a deal to pay royalties to the Finnish company.

Nokia said on Wednesday a Swedish arbitrator had ruled that “RIM was in breach of contract and is not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia.”

Wireless local access network (WLAN) technologies, usually marketed under the WiFi brand, are used across BlackBerry devices and by most other smartphones.

Nokia, which is trying to boost its royalty income as its phone business slides, said it had filed cases in the United States, Britain and Canada to enforce the arbitrator’s ruling.

“This could have a significant financial impact to RIM, as all BlackBerry devices support WLAN,”IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo said.

The (job)hunt begins...

Nokia wins.

 
RIM declined to comment. At 6 a.m. EDT its Frankfurt-listed shares were down 5 percent at 8.245 euros. Nokia shares were down 1.6 percent at 2.526 euros.

“If a sales ban was imposed it would be a massive blow for RIM as it manages its transition to the new BlackBerry 10 software platform,” said Canalys analyst Pete Cunningham.

However, analysts think it is much more likely that RIM will reach a royalty agreement with Nokia to avert such an outcome.

RIM, a smartphone pioneer, hopes new devices using BlackBerry 10 software, due early 2013, will rescue it from a prolonged slump in the face of competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung.

RIM promises its new devices will be faster than previous smartphones, and will have a large catalogue of applications, which are crucial to the success of any new line of smartphones.

Nokia said it signed a cross-license agreement with RIM covering standards-essential cellular patents in 2003, a deal that was amended in 2008.

RIM sought arbitration in March 2011 with the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, arguing the license should be extended to cover WLAN patents.

The arbitration tribunal concluded a nine day hearing in September 2012 and it issued a decision on November 6, Nokia said in a U.S. court filing seeking to enforce the ruling.

During arbitration RIM did not contest it manufactures and sells products using WLAN technology in accordance with Nokia’s WLAN products, Nokia said, quoting the tribunal decision.

Nokia, along with Ericsson and Qualcomm, is among the leading patent holders in the wireless industry. Patent royalties generate annual revenue of about 500 million euros ($646 million) for Nokia.

Based on a Nortel patent sale and Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, some investors and analysts say Nokia’s patent portfolio alone merits its current share price of around 2.50 euros.

However, the patent market has cooled since those deals were made and industry experts say that fair value of patents in large portfolios is $100,000 to $200,000, pricing Nokia’s portfolio at up to 0.50 euros per share.

Source: Reuters

New images of the BlackBerry 10 L-Series handset leak online

With the official launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system scheduled for January 31, 2013, the leaks of the devices that are set to be launched with it are continuing to pour in. After appearing a few days ago, an upcoming L-Series handset from BlackBerry has surfaced once again, and this time around, leaked images of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone had surfaced on Twitter and then it was swiftly removed.

The upcoming BlackBerry 10 device gets caught on cam again

The upcoming BlackBerry 10 device gets caught on cam again
Prior to the images being taken down, a website called Tech Suplex had managed to acquire the images and from the images, we can see some of the features of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 interface as well as the battery housed in the handset, with the back panel removed.

The images do not show us anything new from what we had seen earlier. However, one image does shed some light on the connectivity features that will be found on the handset when it is launched. The handset features connections such as NFC, VPN, Mobile Hotspot, Bluetooth, Internet Tethering and Wi-Fi.

New icons featured here

New icons featured here
The report also notes that the handset has an incredibly fast boot up time of just 8 seconds. From the images, we can see all the different angles of the handset giving us a fair idea of what to expect once it goes official in early next year.

Previously, a few images surfaced online, which showed a BlackBerry L-Series handset, giving us a glimpse of what we can expect to see once the first BlackBerry 10 handsets arrive.

The battery bay of the device

The battery bay of the device
According to a post by CrackBerry.com, one of its readers has posted images on its site of an evaluation unit of an L-Series BlackBerry 10 smartphone. This handset is placed alongside a BlackBerry Bold 9700. From the images we can see that this is a sleek-looking device and in comparison it is a lot thinner than the Bold 9700. This is a good direction Research in Motion is going in, and hopefully for the brand, this handset, along with the new OS, should succeed.

Research In Motion (RIM) had announced that it will hold its BlackBerry 10 launch event on January 30, 2013. The event will happen simultaneously in multiple countries around the world. This day will mark the official launch of its new platform, BlackBerry 10, as well as the unveiling of the first two BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Details on the smartphones and their availability will be announced at the event.

BlackBerry 10 will offer a large catalogue of the leading applications from across the globe and across all categories, including Games, Productivity, Social, Lifestyle and Leisure, Multimedia and Published Content, as well as applications designed for business and enterprise use.

The BlackBerry 10 platform has recently achieved FIPS 140-2 certification, which means that government agencies will be able to deploy BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 as soon as it is available. The company claims that this marks the first time BlackBerry products have been certified ahead of their launch.  In addition, RIM recently announced that BlackBerry 10 smartphones have now entered more than 50 carrier labs with many more entries expected in the coming weeks.