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Mobile Weekly Wrap: Google’s gift and the patent war is won

One never knows what the whirlwind world of mobile phones will bring over the course of a week. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s a pretty safe bet that someone will mention patents. But there’s no patent claiming that the rest of the news isn’t just as worthwhile. If you were too busy downloading all the major app updates that rolled out this week to keep up on other stories, here’s a collection of all the most interesting tidbits you missed from August 19-24, 2012.

Update all the things

Android users were barely able to keep up with all the updates that were released this week. From Pandora (read our impressions of it here) to Facebook to Flickr and everything in between, it seemed like all the essential apps on Google’s mobile OS got a revamp, relaunch, or redesign this week. It was a virtual gift for owners of the OS, but a physical gift if on its way as well. Google Play gift cards are now available, making it that much easier to purchase those tempting little apps.

Microsoft gets hip by being square

While Android apps were getting new features and looks, Microsoft performed the biggest makeover of all by redesigning its logo. The new image that will represent the iconic company is a square with four other colored squares inside it, a clear representation of the new tile-style OS that will appear with Windows 8 Phones later this year. This news of a new look came around the same time that they also revealed a new carrier of Windows Phone: Verizon. The mobile provider will take on Nokia-made Windows phones later this year.

Apple and Samsung are both losers in Korea

In the never-ending patent war between Samsung and Apple, at least one battle has been decided. The winner: No one. A South Korean court has determined that both companies have infringed upon the other’s patents. The judge on the case also concluded that there was little evidence that anyone would confuse Apple and Samsung devices. Given the seriousness of violating patents, the judge dropped his gavel with full force, leveling Apple and Samsung with fines. The amounts? $35,500 for Apple and $22,000 for Samsung. We beleive both companies paid the money from spare change they found between the seats of their flying cars.

Samsung wasn’t so lucky on this side of the Pacific, where American courts were a little less lenient on patent infringements. Samsung lost the lawsuit against Apple, leading to $1.05 billion being owed to the fruit-based tech company. The case is sure to head to appeals court, which will no doubt keep the story in the news for weeks to come.

Apps and Games of the Week

This was the week of the update for mobile apps. On the new release front, things were a little slow. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some solid applications that deserve a space on your mobile device of choice, though. Here is our collection of the best apps of the week.

Evertale (Free, iPhone) – This app takes all the photos that you and your friends take at a certain location the stores them in a folder shared amongst only your circle. Relive the moments without the embarrassment of untagging those shame-inducing images from last night.

The Daily Hundred (Free, iPhone) – Make money just by being in the right place at the right time. This app indicates a daily challenge and encourages you to send in your best offering. The winner gets $100 for doing what you’d do anyway.

Purl (Free, iPhone) – The world’s first location-based search engine, Purl delivers on the most relevant information to you based on your current location.

eHighlighter (Free, iPhone) – Using your camera, you can turn your paper books into a searchable, highlightable eBook. Transcribe full excerpts from books, mark them up and add notes that are available on your iOS device without ruining the integrity of the physical copy.

VOTE!!! (Free, iOS) – We’ve all thought about how badly we’d like to punch a politician. Now you can do it without getting arrested or drug away by secret service. 

Karaoke by PureSolo (Free, Android) – Sometimes you just get the urge to break out in song. Make sure you’ve got the lyrics right with Karaoke by PureSolo. If only there was an app that told you when you were too drunk to perform acceptable karaoke.

ShuckRelay (Free, Android) – There’s so many podcasts out there these days. It can be hard to keep up with all your subscriptions. ShuckRelay keeps all your feeds in one place and allows you to check out single episodes.

Mikey Shorts ($0.99, iOS) – It’s hard to invoke the old school appeal of platform titles, but Mikey Shorts nails it. With simplistic, flawless controls and great level design, it’s a game you can’t miss.

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