It’s all over the (technology-focused) news! The jury in San Jose, California has passed the verdict for the Apple vs. Samsung case, with a ruling that goes completely in Apple’s favor: Samsung is guilty of multiple patent infringements in most of its smartphone lineup and is to pay over 1 billion dollars to Apple in damages; Apple is to pay absolutely nothing to Samsung because they are innocent (at least in thee eyes of the courts).
The question on the mind of technology enthusiasts now is: how does this affect me as a consumer?
The first thing you should know is that while the court’s verdict is final, it will still take time to be implemented. Samsung will appeal to the court to have another look at its decision, and then other legal procedures will follow. It will take months, maybe even years before Samsung transfers the money to Apple’s account.
The answer, then, is: there’s nothing too much to be worried about. Whatever current Android devices you own will not have their functionality effected by means of an OTA update or any other method; at least for now. You can pinch-to-zoom, scroll lists with one finger until the day your device gives up on you.
However, your next Android smartphone may have a different look and feel, both hardware and software wise.
Samsung has been noted to be infringing on – among others – Apple’s pinch-to-zoom multi-touch gesture, tap to zoom, one finger scrolling, and the bounce back scrolling effect. The TouchWiz UI also copies many of the design elements of iOS as well. Many of these features are also found on other Android smartphones.
In order to save themselves from being sued by Apple, Google and other Android smartphone manufacturers will have to come up with new ways to offer the same functionality. Samsung will introduce a new version of TouchWiz that looks and works differently, other manufacturers may follow suit.
So that’s essentially it. The bottom line is: you won’t be effected by the ruling in the near future. A few months and a year or so down the lane, Android smartphones / tablets may have a different look and feel compared to today.
The Samsung vs. Apple case in US hasn’t ended yet, by the way. An injunction hearing is set for September 20th when we’ll find out the list of Samsung products that will be banned from sale in the US, and now, based on this verdict, it is very likely that most of them will be banned in the US.
I have little to no remorse for Samsung because, let’s face it, until its very latest line of products, they have been pretty shameful in copying iPhone’s hardware / software design. The era of the original Galaxy S was the pinnacle of Samsung’s “slavish” copying, with a device that looked like a slightly larger iPhone 3GS and an operating system skin that had a launcher very similar to the home screen on iOS. Things have improved a lot since, and now Samsung’s high end devices – the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – look nowhere near an Apple product.
But yes, before I end this post, I would really like to share a part of this Steve Jobs’ interview from 1995:
“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” – Steve Jobs.