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Android Cellphones Handhelds Open Source Patents Your Rights Online

Why You Can't Build Your Own Smartphone: Patents 179

Posted by timothy
from the hard-to-count-'em-all dept.
jfruh writes "In the mid-00s, more and more people started learning about Android, a Linux-based smartphone OS. Open source advocates in particular thought they could be seeing the mobile equivalent of Linux — something you could download, tinker with, and sell. Today, though, the Android market is dominated by Google and the usual suspects in the handset business. The reason nobody's been able to launch an Android empire from the garage is fairly straightforward: the average smartphone is covered by over 250,000 patents."
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Why You Can't Build Your Own Smartphone: Patents

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  • Mid-00's?!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by imroy (755) <imroykun@gmail.com> on Saturday November 10, 2012 @07:13AM (#41941425) Homepage Journal

    In the mid-00s, more and more people started learning about Android...

    Android was announced in 2007 and the first Android phone wasn't sold until late 2008. Even the Neo1970 was from 2007/08, so I don't know what the submitter is referring to.

  • Re:False (Score:4, Informative)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @07:20AM (#41941441)
    Nonsense. Patents apply to everybody. There's no exception for people who "only" make 1-10 units. Patents literally forbid you to tinker in your own home and then sell the item you just invented, if someone paid a fee and lodged a vague sounding description about something roughly similar already.

    It can't get more thoughtcrimeywimey than that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10, 2012 @08:28AM (#41941669)

    What you want is CoreBoot http://www.coreboot.org/. The big difficulty in porting to a new platform is the lack of documentation in order to do the low level bit twiddling to bring the hardware up to a known good state (especially the memory controller if I remember correctly). I have been meaning to have a go once I get a few items off my plate...

  • by pnot (96038) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @08:35AM (#41941717)

    GeeksPhone [wikipedia.org] are doing pretty much what TFA claims is impossible. Why haven't they been sued? Too small to be worth the trouble? Jolla [wikipedia.org] (50 employees) aren't exactly a behemoth either. OK, so Jolla haven't released anything yet and thus can't be sued, but the fact that the company was formed implies that they don't consider the 250,000 patents a problem. (Yeah, I know, not Android, but the same principles apply.)

  • by queazocotal (915608) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @08:52AM (#41941811)

    FPGAs are essentially not used in mobile phones, for power efficiency and other reasons.
    Nor is opening up the code for any hardware you can get source for (nothing) useful, as making your own chips from them will cost at best many tens of thousands.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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