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The annual Macworld Expo kicks off this week with Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivering his annual keynote on Tuesday. Show organizers say there was a 28 percent increase in pre-show registrations over last year's show and have added a new “Digital Lifestyle Experience”, expanding the show into the North Hall of the San Francisco Moscone center. Hundreds of new products are expected to debut, and the exhibit hall will feature almost 400 companies serving the Mac community. The Expo also includes five days of educational content for Mac users of varying levels and backgrounds. On-site registration for exhibit hall access is $45.
Electronics giant Samsung tonight kicked off its CES unveilings by formally announcing its YP-K3 media jukebox. Previously revealed in the CES honorees list, the K3 is a direct challenger to Apple's iPod nano in size and features: measuring only 0.27 inches thick, the flash-based player still finds room for a 1.8-inch color OLED screen an FM tuner, Samsung says. Format support extends to MP3 and WMA songs (including PlaysForSure subscriptions) as well as JPEG photos. As with the earlier YP-K5, all navigation is handled through LED-lit touch controls. Samsung hopes to ship 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB editions of the K3 in March for an as-yet undetermined price. Following the announcement of the K3 is news that Samsung will finally bring its YP-T9B player to US shores. While the company has already released the player in its basic YP-T9 form, the company revealed today that it will now sell the Bluetooth version of the player -- previously limited to Asia -- in North America. The transmitter lets the player relay sound to wireless headphones and speakers without needing a separate adapter. Launch and pricing details for the T9B have not been made public. Click through for larger photos of the K3 and T9B.
Samsung this evening officially revealed the second generations of its signature movie player and handheld PC. The BD-P1200 maintains the full 1080p resolution support and ability to upscale DVDs to 1080p of its P1000 ancestor but now adds HDMI 1.3 support for deeper colors and a quick 120Hz response time when linked to the newest HDTV sets. The price has dropped in spite of the added features, Samsung boasts: the P1200 will sell for $800 when it ships in March, a full $200 lower than its predecessor. The company has also refreshed its Q1 ultra-mobile PC. The new version, dubbed the Q1P SSD, adds a 32GB solid state flash drive in place of the mobile hard drives that predominate in UMPCs. The storage offers a major improvement in responsiveness, according to the Korean electronics maker: the Q1P SSD can read information nearly 300 times faster than challengers and can write it to the drive 150 percent faster as well, potentially cutting boot times in half. Samsung has not revealed pricing or ship dates, though the SSD model should command a premium over counterparts with hard disks.
Continuing its series of CES announcements, Samsung tonight revealed a large collection of new LCD TVs, all targeted at improving the oft-maligned color accuracy of flat-panel displays. At the head of the announcements is the company's 81 series. The company says the new LCDs, ranging between the 40-inch LN-T4081F and the 57-inch LN-T5781F, all mark the first LED-backlit TVs with local dimming. The new lighting technique dramatically improves the color gamut to 105% of the NTSC range, promising images that perfectly match the source material. Local dimming on the lights also boosts the contrast ratio to an exceptional 50,000:1 by selectively reducing light for pixels that display darker colors in a given scene. All the sets should be 1080p-capable and will include three HDMI ports when they go on sale in July for an unrevealed price. News of the company's HDMI 1.3-equipped LCD sets follows after the jump.
Continuing their announcements, Samsung is rolling out several new plasma and DLP sets for 2007. The plasma sets will come in 50 (HP-T5084) and 58-inch (HP-T5884, HP-T5894W) sizes and employ the company's FilterBright2 Plus technology, which absorbs external light without impeding the internal source. Samsung also claims 1080p support for all models, as well as a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, built-in ATSC/NTSC tuners, and three HDMI 1.3 inputs. USB 2.0 inputs can be used to display photos. The T5894W will expand on these features with RS-232, a 9-in-2 card reader and 802.11n wireless, enabling certain media sources to connect without cables. The T5084 will cost $4,199 and ship in May; the T5884 and T5894W will ship in September and cost $5,199 and $5,699 respectively.
Kodak this morning inaugurated its CES presence with two new EasyShare V-series cameras that it says bring added to the mid-range. Both the 8-megapixel V803 and 10-megapixel V1003 come in several colors ranging from conservative silver to gold or red. Each also features 32MB of internal memory alongside their SD card slots; the extra storage is useful for the Favorites feature that saves lower-resolution copies of photos for later viewing on the camera itself, according to the company. A 3X optical zoom lens, an anti-blur mode, and ISO 1600 sensitivity are standard across the two cameras as well. The V803 will be ready to ship in February for $200; its sharper V1003 counterpart follows in March for $250. As part of the launch, Kodak also unveiled its new Digital Picture Frame line. Every model arrives with abilities rarely seen in frames, Kodak says: owners can manage stored photos direcly from the frame itself, and customize the look of each frame with faceplates that match the look of the room. MP3 music and AVI, MPEG-1/4, or Quicktime video can also be played with sound courtesy of stereo speakers. Media is stored permanently on 128MB of internal flash memory or accessed from a multi-format card reader, USB port, or Wi-Fi on higher-end models. Kodak promises 8-inch and 10-inch models equipped with Wi-Fi in early March for $230 and $280 respectively, while 7-inch and 8-inch versions without the technology will ship at the same time for $130 and $180.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k