Today Apple made it abundantly clear that they have noticed all those iPhone-esque smartphones, and filed a patent-infringement suit against HTC claiming the company has cribbed 20 of their iPhone-related technologies in their own Android and Windows Mobile phones.
The theme among these 20 patents (see them all here in a gallery, via Gizmodo) isn't 100 percent about hardware; it's more about user interface, like flick-scrolling, pop-up calendar and message alerts, and swipe-call-answering. Elements that, in fact, are not specific to HTC. Problems that, in fact, are about the operating system HTC uses.
Bottom line: Apple's got a problem with Google's Android, its strongest smartphone rival. While Windows Mobile phones are included in the suit, the majority of the disputed infringements are found in HTC's numerous Android phones, from the original G1 to their current offerings.
Should Apple have a problem with Android? Of course, they should. The widening adoption of Google's platform is a threat, and a real one--especially if companies like HTC keep creating attractive and highly customizable user interfaces like their Sense setup. Sure, Apple may have "reinvented the mobile phone," as the press release announcing the suit boldly claims. But if one insists on being a trend setter, other companies are going to follow suit.
But the problem just isn't with little ol' HTC. Why not Motorola? Why not Google? Because when you want to make a point without picking a fight with the big kid, you aim your first shot as his scrawny friend to get the big kid to turn his head. "Watch out, pal; 'cause the next one's comin' at you!"
Smart money is that this is only the tip of the iceberg--that Apple is sharpening its claws for an eventual showdown with Google. Will future versions of Android borrow less from Apple? Or is The Goog ready for a fight? It may seem like legal trivializing, but the future landscape of the most important computing platform--smartphones--is most certainly at stake.
The gallery portion of this article is reposted from Gizmodo, the world’s most fun technology website, focused on gadgets and how they make our lives better, worse, and more absurd.
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