Apple-backed patent consortium settles lawsuit with Google

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The patent-holding consortium Rockstar — which includes Apple among its members, alongside Microsoft, BlackBerry and others — has reached a settlement with Google.

In a lawsuit filed last October, Rockstar alleged that Google was infringing on 7 different search-related patents, which had been acquired by Rockstar in 2011 following the bankruptcy of networking products supplier Nortel.

Rockstar outbid Google to acquire the patents, for which it paid $4.5 billion. Some reports put Apple’s contribution as high as $2.6 billion.

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Take better photographs with The New Age Smartphone Photo Kit [Deals]

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The camera that is built into your smartphone is a powerful tool. Though powerful, it is really only capable of taking photographs in the same old boring way time and again.

Now you can turn your plain old smartphone camera into a photographic dynamo and save 65% with The New Age Smartphone Photo Kit, only $69 with free shipping for a limited time at Cult of Mac Deals.

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This bizarre drone decomposes upon impact

Photo: CNASA/Ames

This drone will decompose in T-minus 10, 9, 8 … Photo: NASA Ames Research Center

While we wait for Amazon to figure out how to drone-deliver our next order of energy drinks or iPhone cases, NASA has been busy coming up with a way to make sure when a quadcopter crash-lands somewhere there will no need to panic about the environmental impact.

That’s because they have made a drone from fungus.

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First trailer for Breaking Bad spinoff leaves us tingly with dread

AMC's 'Breaking Bad' spinoff is ready for the spotlight. Photo: AMC

AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ spinoff is ready for the spotlight. Photo: AMC

AMC’s highly anticipated prequel spinoff to ‘Breaking Bad’ is starting to come into focus this week, with news that the two-night premiere of ‘Better Call Saul’ is set for February 8th and 9th. AMC will broadcast back-to-back episodes starting at 10PM, and then settle into the Monday’s at 10PM slot for the rest of the series.

The show stars Robert Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, the crooked lawyer that helped Heisenberg build his Southwest meth empire, and is set six years before Saul met Walter White. To go with the premiere date announcement, AMC released a new 30-second trailer that’s hints of dark things to come.

Check it out below:

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‘Fake Steve Jobs’ lands new gig as Silicon Valley’s sharpest tongue

Dan Lyons, formerly known as 'Fake Steve Jobs'. Photo: Dan Lyons

Dan Lyons, formerly known as ‘Fake Steve Jobs’. Photo: Dan Lyons

Dan Lyons, the tech blogger who skewered Apple for years on the popular blog ‘Fake Steve Jobs‘, is making a return to tech blogging as editor-in-chief of Gawker’s anti-Silicon Valley site, Valleywag.

Current Valleywag EIC Nitasha Tiku is leaving the site next month, but after years in self-imposed exile, Lyons will take over the reigns to smatter the pending tech bubble implosion his sardonic wit. Lyons, who currently works as a ‘marketing fellow’ for Hubspot, also just helped write season 2 of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” He’ll make his return as Silicon Valley’s #1 critic in January.

Lyons wrote his new Gawker Media co-workers the following after news broke of his hiring:

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Award-winning task manager Things is free for a week

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Every week Apple selects a paid app to become its “Free App of the Week” in the App Store, and it usually makes for a decent deal. But this week is the best promotion so far.

Things by Cultured Code, an Apple Design Award-winning task manager, is completely free through next Friday. That’s a total discount of $30.

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Chevy ‘builds’ laser-powered car for Gran Turismo speed freaks

Chevrolet has “built” a laser-powered race car for Gran Turismo 6 fans to rip around the PlayStation track.

And they didn’t go the expected route by souping up a Corvette, Camaro or even a Chevette. Instead they partnered with their friends from yesteryear, Chaparral, and came up with the Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo (VGT) concept car.

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Apple schools Xiaomi in art of trash talk

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The Xiaomi M4 wants to take the #1 spot from iPhone. Photo: Xiaomi

Apple and Xiaomi executives got into a little trash talk fight at the World Internet Conference this week in China. Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun described his company as a “small miracle” that’s ready to dominate the smartphone world. But Apple’s general counsel, Bruce Sewell, who was also at the conference, wasn’t impressed with all of Xiaomi’s boasting.

Xiaomi’s sudden rise to being the world’s third largest smartphone maker has been nothing short of miraculous. Executives at the Apple copy-cat are bullish on the company’s future and hope to become the top smartphone maker in 5 to 10 years, but Sewell thinks that’s much easier said than done.

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Foxconn to spend $2.6 billion building a factory exclusively for Apple

Photo: Apple

Tim Cook has a go at assembling an iPhone. Photo: Apple

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Foxconn is set to spend $2.6 billion building a new factory in Taiwan exclusively to create displays for Apple.

Equipment installation for the factory is likely to begin next month, with the aim of starting mass production of panels by the end of 2015. The factory will require hiring an addition workforce of 2,300 people, and is going to be built at Innolux’s Kaohsiung Science Park campus in Southern Taiwan.

Foxconn currently has factories in China dedicated to assembling iPhones and iPads, but this will be the company’s first designed entirely with the goal of producing Apple components to go inside the devices.

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World of Warcraft isn’t the only video game celebrating an anniversary this year