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Air Force does an about-face with iPad order

Two months ago, the U.S. Air Force was planning to buy Apple’s iPads to use as flight books, but now it has canceled its plans. The Verge reports:

The plan posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website has been updated with a note indicating its cancellation. Though the Air Force is yet to provide any explanation, Nextgov thinks it has the answer. The site had previously questioned the Air Force about its decision to use the document viewing application GoodReader with the iPads, because of security fears raised by the developer Yuri Selukoff's Russian nationality.

The US Army is also exploring the possibility of integrating mobile software via custom Android phones, and director of the project Michael McCarthy expressed his concerns over the iPad plan, saying "I would not use encryption software developed in Russia... I don't want to put users at risk." If these really are the grounds for canceling the iPad order, it would be a pretty left-field decision for the Air Force — GoodReader is a very well-regarded app, and even if it weren't, there are countless other document viewers on the App Store that could perform largely the same tasks. Selukoff, for his part, made it clear to Nextgov what he thought of the whole affair, emailing to say"Ha, someone's still living in 1970, aren't they?"

In other iPad news, a trademark dispute is showing the troubles of doing business in China. The Post’s Sarah Halzack and Hayley Tsukayama report:

To most global consumers, the iPad is practically synonymous with American electronics titan Apple.

But one debt-ridden company in China, Proview, is alleging that it is the rightful owner of the trademark for the name of one of Apple’s signature devices. The claim has resulted in government officials yanking the tablet from store shelves in some Chinese cities, despite high demand for the product.

It’s a strange twist on a pervasive problem: American and other global firms often accuse Chinese entities of unfairly copying their intellectual property, but now a Chinese company is pointing a finger at a U.S. corporation in a copyright dispute. And a lower Chinese court has ruled in Proview’s favor, although Apple produced documents that it claims prove the company legally bought the iPad trademark in 2009.

The legal clash illustrates why it can be difficult for U.S. companies to do business in China.

Adam Segal, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the trademark dispute is “symbolic of kind of a set of problems. I think it’s an issue of how laws are interpreted and how they’re implemented and what you can expect from different level courts.” But, he added, “I don’t think it’s a larger part of the Chinese strategy” to have an electronics market that is dominated by Chinese producers.

It’s not just intellectual property laws that may give businesses headaches when they come to court consumers in China.

Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said that when U.S. companies do business abroad, they want a sense that the host government has a transparent way of resolving commercial disputes. “They don’t have to win every time, but they want to know they have a fighting chance,” Reinsch said, adding that “they don’t have that in China.”

Meanwhile, it looks like a super-fast browser is coming to the iPad thanks to OnLive. reports:

OnLive promised that it would one day run Windows desktop computer apps on an Apple iPad, and today it is delivering on that promise. As an added benefit, it is also launching the world’s fastest web browser on the iPad.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based OnLive Desktop Plus app is finally available for users to download today, after years of development. The app uses OnLive’s cloud service — which the company also uses to deliver high-end games to low-end computers — to stream desktop apps such as Microsoft Word to the iPad. The paid service is also packaged with an Internet Explorer web browser that can transfer data at 1 gigabit per second, and it can handle Adobe Flash applications, which normally don’t run on an iPad.

A 50-megabyte file from cloud storage can be downloaded in less than a second. I watched that happen today and witnessed Flash games running on the iPad. All of that is due to the technology enabled by OnLive’s breakthroughs in cloud streaming services. The browser connection had a download speed of 459 megabits per second and an upload speed of 204 megabits per second. The ping time (roundtrip time for an internet packet) was 4 milliseconds. That translates into instantaneous web browsing.



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