Sharp cuts exFAT deal with Microsoft for Android mobes
Licensed to swap files with your PC
Sharp has succumbed to the charms of a Microsoft licensing deal for the filing system exFAT.
Microsoft will license its Extended File Allocation Table technology to Sharp in a deal covering the consumer electronic giant’s Android-based smartphones.
Sharp joins Panasonic, SANYO, Sony and Canon in coughing up for exFAT from Microsoft.
ExFAT is Redmond's patented file allocation system for flash drives used to exchange files between a device and desktop PCs. The new system has increased the size of files that flash memory devices can support by up to five times the amount supported by other implementations of FAT systems.
Back in 2009, Microsoft sued car navigation system maker TomTom for violation of several patents in Linux, two of which covered Microsoft’s FAT32 file system.
The pair reached a settlement, with TomTom agreeing to remove functionality from its products related to two file management system patents and paying Microsoft for use of eight navigation and file management system patents.
Microsoft started its intellectual property licensing programme in December 2003, and the company now reckons it has signed more than 1,100 agreements with various companies.
The recent push from Microsoft has been on Android, with the company signing deals granting use of its technology portfolio by makers of Android-powered tablets and smartphones. Neither details of the patents nor the financial terms are ever disclosed. ®
Most people aer too stupid to think of that and wil just cry that the product isn't compatible with windows, rather than the fact windows isn't compatible with the product.
Still Using FAT ??!
Why can't Sharp and these others use a different file system, not necessarily Ext4, but anything to get away from paying MS tax?
If users want to exchange data with a Windows PC, Sharp could provide a driver for the alternative file system. Any gadget these days comes with a DVD full of crap that you are supposed to put in your Windows PC and let it install, why not such a file system driver with it?
Whenever any exFAT patent story comes up I'm obliged to post that any fairly modern OS (WinXP/MacOS X/Linux) can read and write UDF and anyone with an older OS could download the drivers from the SD Card Association website or the card manufacturer could perhaps even pre-load the card with an installer in a small FAT partition which uses 8.3 filenames.
But because the SD Card Association didn't figure this one out years ago, everyone's got to queue up to pay up at the Microsoft till for the privilege of using FAT with long filenames or exFAT. The likes of SanDisk would rather push some zany media manager software instead.