Following a similar statement from Griffin Technology, Belkin has provided iLounge with its official stance on the patent infringement complaint filed against the company by Netalog/Digital Lifestyle Outfitters. Belkin’s attorney denied that any of the company’s iPod products violated a DLO patent and said Belkin is confident it will not be penalized in court.
“It is Belkin’s firm belief that such complaint has no merit and Belkin has specified a number of defenses to the complaint, including but not limited to invalidity of the ‘085 patent,” Chris Flower, general counsel for Belkin, said in a statement. “Belkin is confident that a verdict will be rendered in its favor with regard to this matter.”
XtremeMac today announced an updated version of its SportWrap armband for the fifth-generation iPod. The new SportWrap features the same basic design as the original, according to the company, with additional features that make it compatible with the new iPod, as well as all 3G and 4G iPods. The $30 armband features a neoprene body with a special moisture barrier, a clear plastic play-through protector, an adjustable velcro strap, and an elastic loop that stows excess headphone cord. The new SportWrap will ship later this month.
Time Warner’s HBO is interested in making a deal with Apple to offer programing for the video iPod, the cable network’s chief executive said on Thursday. “I’m very excited by the video iPod,” said HBO’s Chris Albrecht. “At some point, I think we would have some arrangement with them.”
Albrecht’s comments came as HBO and Cingular Wireless announced a multi-year agreement to deliver video clips of hit television shows, including The Sopranos, to mobile phones via Cingular’s new high-speed wireless network.
As reported last week, HBO recently added several podcasts to the iTunes Music Store, including special content from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, Rome, Entourage, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
Griffin Technology has responded to the Netalog/Digital Lifestyle Outfitters patent infringement lawsuit, claiming that its RoadTrip iPod accessory in no way infringes upon the patent relating to the DLO TransPod. Griffin also said that it has countersued DLO and filed motions to dismiss the case.
“We do not believe that the DLO patent is valid, nor that any of our products infringes the patent,” Griffin’s Jason Litchford told iLounge. “In 2004 we sued Netalog for a declaration to that effect; that their patent is invalid and not infringed upon. We have filed motions asking that the case be dismissed on those grounds and the Court is currently considering those motions.”
In addition, Litchford noted that Griffin is also in a separate legal dispute with DLO over the recruitment of Andrew Green, former vice president of marketing at Griffin. Green is now DLO’s creative director and marketing VP. “DLO filed the [patent] lawsuit against us during a period when DLO was secretly recruiting one of our senior managers, which is currently under separate litigation,” Litchford said.
iLounge has contacted Belkin, the other iPod accessory maker being sued by Netalog, and is expecting a statement shortly.
Google has launched a new service that allows users to quickly find song lyrics, musical artists and CD titles. The company is also providing links to purchase music from iTunes, RealNetworks Rhapsody, eMusic and Amazon.com.
In a recent interview, NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker said that he sees no limit in the number of shows that can be offered via iTunes. “We see it as a brand-new business, and it will be run like any television network, with new material refreshed and replenished all the time,” Zucker said. “I don’t think there’s a limit as to how many shows we can have available.”
A group calling themselves the Music Video Directors Alliance says the music industry is not properly compensating directors over sales of their videos at the iTunes Music Store. It has posted a petition to gather support.
A new survey by marketing research firm Ipsos Insight reveals that “the battle for mass market consumer awareness remains essentially a two-horse race between Apple’s iTunes and Napster 2.0.”
ezGear has announced the clearCase Sport for the iPod nano. Made of ultra-clear acrylic, the clearCase Sport features a removable neckstrap and a removable elastic armband. The case offers access to all ports and the click wheel, and flips open for easy installation and removal of your iPod. The clearCase Sport is available immediately for $35.
Netalog, which develops and sells iPod accessories under the Digital Lifestyle Outfitters name, announced today that it has filed lawsuits against Belkin and Griffin Technology alleging patent infringement. Both complaints are over a Netalog patent relating to its DLO TransPod FM transmitter and car charger.
The lawsuit against Belkin, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, alleges that the company has willfully infringed U.S. patent No. 6,591,085, entitled “FM Transmitter and Power Supply/Charging Assembly for MP3 Player,
Speck Products has announced that it is now shipping its two FunSkins for the fifth-generation iPod. The Cloud FunSkin is a white rubberized “fluffy cloud of protection and fun,” while the Grass FunSkin offers a spiky grass-themed design in either green or black. The cases, which fit both the 30GB and 60GB iPod, come with a screen protector and a removable belt clip. The FunSkins retail for $35 each.
Ingenico says it has developed the world’s first terminal accepting a payment on an iPod. The invention, which was demonstrated last month at the Cartes 2005 exhibition, uses the company’s i5100 terminal, Atlantic Radio System’s FM data extraction module and Griffin’s iTrip FM transmitter to “communicate with the iPod via the FM band while enabling users to pay for goods using their MP3 player,” according to Ingenico.
“At this past Cartes exhibition, Ingenico demonstrated how, in a hypothetical future, travellers could book plane tickets and receive them via MP3 format by e-mail,” the company explains. “He or she would then just need to store the MP3 receipt on an iPod before going to the airport. When preparing to board, the traveller would simply play the MP3 ticket on the iPod to send all ticket information securely and in real time to the boarding gate. Ticket information might include passport, itinerary and price data as well as pre-encoded biometric features for passenger verification at the gate. The same intuitive, user friendly payment system can also be used for gift vouchers, tickets and virtually all other forms of prepaid transaction.”
ezGear today announced the ezSound 2.1 speaker system for the iPod. The portable all-in-one system features two 1-inch tweeters, a built-in 2.5-inch subwoofer, and a docking cradle that charges your iPod and lets you sync it with your computer via FireWire or USB. The ezSound 2.1 works with 3G/4G/5G iPods, iPod minis and iPod nanos. Using the audio-in port, the speakers can also be used with the iPod shuffle or other audio players. The ezSound 2.1 sells for $110.
PayPal is offering free songs from the iTunes Music Store when you buy an iTunes gift certificate using the online payment service. You’ll receive 10 free song downloads when you use PayPal to buy a $20 iTunes gift certificate, and 25 free songs when you use PayPal to purchase a $50 gift certificate. “This holiday season, give the gift of music with gift certificates from iTunes,” says PayPal. “For a limited time, you’ll also get free songs for yourself when you pay with PayPal.” [via Infinite Loop]
XtremeMac has announced its new MicroGlove case for the fifth-generation iPod. Available in one size to fit both the 30GB and 60GB iPod, the case features a neoprene and colored microsuede exterior, screen and click wheel protectors, carabiner clip, access to all controls and ports, and is secured with a velcro and strap closure. The MicroGlove is available in five different color combinations, consisting of a black body and a colored mask in black, red, gray, plum, or green. The case sells for $25 and will begin shipping in one to two weeks.
ezGear is now shipping the ezTrip FM TransCharger, its combination iPod FM transmitter and car charger. The device features an LCD display, access to all FM frequencies between 97.7 to 107.9, and a coiled dock connector cable. The product works with all dockable iPods, including 3G/4G/5G iPods, the iPod mini and iPod nano. The ezTrip FM TransCharger is priced at $50.
The iStore has announced the iCandy cases for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano. The silicone cases offer an anti-dust coating, play-through click wheel protection, a lanyard, and two invisible films for the front and back of your iPod. The iCandy cases, priced at $25 each, are available in 10 colors—black, white, light pink, purple, green, yellow, orange, and glow in the dark pink, blue and light blue.
Contour Design has announced its iSee-video case for fifth-generation iPods. Made from impact-resistant polycarbonate, the crystal clear iPod case offers all-around protection and access to all controls and ports. It sports a slim and secure snap-on design and comes with a detachable horizontal belt clip. “In addition to being the ultimate in protection, the new iSee-video features unobstructed viewing in a slim-line snap-on design case,” says the company. “The iSee-video cases bring the beauty and simplicity of Contour’s iSee line to the iPod with video.” The iSee-video comes in two models—one for the 30GB iPod and one for the 60GB version. It sells for $26. We are awaiting photos of the product, as Contour’s website has yet to be updated.
The combination of price and design will keep the iPod in the lead for years to come, according to one Wall Street analyst. After comparing competing MP3 players, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster said he believes that other companies simply cannot compete with Apple because they can’t match the iPod’s pricing or its “cool” factor.
“While non-iPod devices often have similar, if not broader, feature sets than the iPod, none of these devices have shown that they can compete in two key areas: 1) user interface and 2) ‘cool’ factor,” Munster wrote in a research note obtained by iLounge. “We believe that non-iPod devices must compete on price to gain adoption, but Apple has such massive relative shipment volume with the iPod that other MP3 player manufacturers are not able to replicate the economies of scale achieved by Apple. We believe this reality will allow Apple to sell iPods at the lowest prices in the market, thus retaining the iPod’s pole position for years.”
HandStands has announced the iSnug Nano Armband, a new armband/case specifically designed for the iPod nano. The $20 accessory features a black leather case and a neoprene and elastic armband with velcro closure. “The new armband was created for iPod nano owners seeking the ultimate in protection while exercising,” according to the company.
In what could be the stiffest competition yet for the iTunes Music Store, MTV Networks and Microsoft announced today that they have joined forces to develop a new digital music service called URGE. Set to launch next year, the service will be integrated into a forthcoming version of Microsoft Windows Media Player. Music pricing was not announced.
“The collaboration unites MTV Networks’ music DNA, marketing strengths and powerful MTV, VH1 and CMT brands with the technology leadership and consumer reach of Microsoft,” the companies said. “URGE will offer rich entertainment programming and innovative tools designed to guide musical discovery and connect fans to the artists and music they love. Offering more than 2 million songs from the major labels and thousands of independents, URGE will encompass all musical genres, from alt-country to zydeco. In addition to a broad catalogue of music choices, URGE will deliver a deep well of exclusive MTV Networks programming and original, hand-crafted content.”
Edmunds.com today announced that 21 of its automotive videos are now offered as free podcasts on the iTunes Music Store. Sponsored by Nissan, the video podcasts feature road test reports on vehicles such as the Lexus IS350, the Honda Civic Si, the Nissan Titan and the Porsche Boxster S. In addition, vehicle comparisons include the BMW 330i vs. the Audi A4 and the Mazda MX-5 vs. the Pontiac Solstice.
SwitchEasy has introduced its “Capsule Accessory System” for the iPod nano. The duo-toned polycarbonate case, made from ultra tough GE LEXAN plastic resin, features a color tinted screen protector, a color coordinated lanyard, and a custom printed reusable click wheel protector made from static cling plastic. The Capsule line comes in five colors—black, white/clear, red, orange, and green/yellow. Each sells for $20.