TechSummit Rewind #033: June 19th, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Xiaomi building patent ‘war chest’ to prepare for U.S. launch

Xiaomi-headquarters-Beijing-reception-desk

Xiaomi is looking to file more patents and strike more deals ahead of its U.S. launch, according to company international head Hugo Barra.

Xiaomi has already filed for 2,000 patents, according to Barra.

“Think of it as, like, a war chest of sorts.

“Basically, there’s two things that we’re doing – and which take time. One is systematically taking patent licenses – around the world. You know, if it’s a patent and it’s an essential patent then, of course, it needs to be licensed. Secondly, we’re building our own portfolio of patents … for defensive purposes because you kind of have to have that.

“[The notion that the Beijing-based company is an Apple copycat] all boils down to one chamfered edge on one particular phone model, which was Mi 4, which people said looked like the iPhone 5. And I’ve been the first to admit it. Yes, it does look like the iPhone 5. And that chamfered edge, by the way, is present in so many other devices.”

-Hugo Barra, Xiaomi international head

Sling Media announces $199 Slingbox M2 set-top box; makes mobile apps free; intros pre-roll video ads

slingbox-m2-980x420

Sling Media has launched the Slingbox M2, a set-top box that won’t require users to buy the company’s mobile apps, but expands the company’s use of advertising.

The M2 runs on the same hardware as the Slingbox M1, its $149 predecessor, but M2 buyers will no longer need to pay extra for the company’s SlingPlayer app for iOS and Android, which typically runs at $15 each. There’s no recurring monthly fees, and M2 users can also stream content from their mobile device to their Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Chromecast.

The device features WiFi and the ability to shift 1080p content that goes for $199.99, Sling Media will try to make up for that by selling ads for its standalone apps, and the company’s web clients.

Those users will see pre-roll ads when firing those apps up, and ads will also appear in the ad viewing window. Display ads will completely disappear when users use the apps in full-screen mode, according to Sling Media worldwide vice president of marketing Mark Vena.

“We think that’s a great tradeoff.”

-Mark Vena, Sling Media worldwide vice president of marketing

M2 owners can also avoid mobile ads by purchasing the apps separately.

Spam falls below 50% of all email for first time since 2003: Symantec

Junk messages now account for just 49.7% of all emails, according to Symantec’s June 2015 Intelligence Report.

The Mountain View, CA-based company saw 704 billion email messages sent in June, of which 353 billion being classified as spam.

HTC cancels Grip fitness band

HTC-Grip

The HTC Grip fitness tracker that was announced at MWC 2015 in Barcelona has been cancelled. The company “decided to align Grip with the entire product portfolio for health and fitness launching later this year [after] extensive wear testing and user feedback,” according to a company spokesperson.

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