HTC Shipping US Devices With Tweaked Build Of Android, Sidesteps Apple’s Legal Team

As you know, the AT&T HTC One X and the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE have been blocked from being imported by US Customs for a patent infringement, all thanks to Apple. But did you know that neither phone actually infringes on the patents? HTC ships both phones with a custom version of their Sense 4 in the US to get around the patents. Yet they were blocked anyway, despite being specifically modified to not be blocked by Customs.

The new system in US versions of Sense 4 gets rid of the association menu that pops up when pressing some elements, like links, phone numbers, and emails. On other Android phones, when pressed, a menu pops up asking which app you’d like to use to open whatever you pressed with. HTC’s new system completely rids the phone of this popup, and includes a new section in the settings that lets you choose what apps open what. No longer do you have the choice to choose between a few apps, you have to use one. When checking existing US HTC One models, these modifications are already present (though seem to have gone widely unnoticed).

Personally, I’m upset about this decision. I use that menu every day on my Galaxy SII. I have 3 browsers installed, and I choose which browser I would like to use depending on the link. Chrome Beta doesn’t like some sites, while the stock browser is often preferable in sheer fluidity. Also, I like deciding which email to use when pressing an email address. I mostly use my Gmail, but sometimes I like using my Yahoo that’s set up in the Email app. And one of the most important ones is YouTube links. I don’t much like the YouTube app for some purposes, and use stock browser with Flash. This modification would get rid of all those choices for me, and would force people to default to one app for each purpose. And there is no easy way to share links between browsers, and you can forget about YouTube links in the app. We buy Android to use our phones the way we choose, not let it choose for us. Otherwise we’d be buying iPhones.

I find it unfair that Apple can sue for such a patent. Their phone doesn’t use this patent. If you have multiple browsers installed, links always open in Safari anyway. I also find it horribly unfair that the phones were modified by HTC to get around the patent dispute, yet they were still banned. AT&T One X stock may run out in many locations, and the EVO 4G LTE will miss its release date. So why doesn’t Apple have to pay damages, if it’s their fault Customs blocked these phones from shipping for absolutely no reason?

So now we can see that Apple is no longer just affecting physical design. Sure, it’s their fault Samsung Galaxy phones don’t have physical home buttons in the US, they’ve caused the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to be redesigned in Germany, and the Galaxy SIII probably looks like it does because of lawyers not wanting trouble. But now it’s actually affecting device usability. This causes the HTC One series to be a lot less usable to a big crowd of people who will be affected by this. Apple is making these products do LESS. They iare once again hurting every consumer just to make more money and attempt to create a phone monopoly by getting rid of every other phone manufacturer. It’s a really bad time for consumers everywhere. What do you think? Does Apple have the right to change how a device works, especially when their patent isn’t even being used by them? Will this affect your decision to buy a One X? Tell us in the comments!

Source: The Verge

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