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Despite the general popularity of iTunes and the iTunes Store, competitors are moving in to draw away Apple's userbase. A Redmond start-up called NexTune is offering its namesake music software which is aesthetically similar to iTunes, but can play both Apple's FairPlay as well as Microsoft's PlaysForSure files. NexTune also taps into a database with extensive file information that can include details down to mood, tempo, and what instruments were used. The company is further offering users 10 cents of credit for each song profile they submit, which is usable to purchase CDs from the NexTune Music Store. Digital purchases are said to be coming in the future.
Interactive MS PowerPoint
Turning Technologies has announced a new Mac-compatible version of its interactive Microsoft PowerPoint software: TurningPoint for Mac offers users an audience response system that creates a fully interactive experience--in the classroom, the lecture hall, the meeting room or even the conference auditorium. With seamless PowerPoint integration and detailed reporting via Excel, TurningPoint transforms any PowerPoint presentation into "an engaging hands-on discussion and assessment tool." Users can collect real-time data from students or meeting participants through the easy-to-use TurningPoint software and ResponseCard keypads. Using TurningPoint, users can immediately evaluate participant comprehension and alter presentation material to meet particular needs and/or integrate additional feedback into their presentations. TurningPoint for Mac works with Microsoft PowerPoint, offering plug-and-play hardware recognition and a "virtually non-existent" learning curve. It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or higher and PowerPoint 2004 or newer.
Ballmer silhouette mashup
In brief: One iPod enthusiast has created a video mashup of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's famous "monkeyboy" dance coupled with Apple's silhouette iPod ads.... Font technology developer Linotype has introduced a new classic font and a new light font, as well as five new font families in the OpenType format.... Adobe has released the full PDF specification to AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management.... BLU:SENS today said that it hopes to improve on the limitations of newer music players with its G14, a portable media player that comes with built-in Wi-Fi functionality enabling users to permanently trade songs amongst each other....
Connect Four Cities debuts
PlayFirst has released Connect Four Cities, a revision of the well-known older title that offers some 'grown-up twists.' Players are challenged to connect four-in-a-row before an opponent does, and can watch cities grow as the game progresses. The game features more than 20 checkers to keep players entertained, and supports game play for all 60 buildings with the keys to six cities. Players drill, float, and blast their way to victory. Connect Four Cities is available for $20 via Macgamestore.com, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
iPhone margin questioned
Analysts are questioning Bill of Materials costs on Apple's iPhone that surfaced earlier this month, suggesting that Apple's true gross margins may prove to be far lower than predicted. A previous cost analysis of the iPhone predicted a margin of up to 50 percent on every model sold, but other analysts believe actual margins may land nearer to the 20 percent mark. Additionally, analysts are debating the cost of the iPhone's integrated display and related touch-screen technology, according to EE Times Europe. Texas-based firm DisplaySearch suggests that Apple's cost to manufacture the iPhone display nears $60 -- nearly double the amount previously predicted -- as a result of the 3.5-inch 320x480 display as well as the nature of the company's touch-screen technology.
Mustek PF-T150 photo frame
In contrast to the small size and resolution of many digital photo frames, the new Ality PF-T150 from Mustek measures 15 inches diagonally, and can display 4:3 images at resolutions up to 1280x1024. Audio content can be loaded as well, which is played from a pair of 3W stereo speakers. Files for the frame are stored on 512MB of internal memory and transferred via USB 2.0. Images can be controlled from a distance with a remote, and owners who want a grander showcase can make use of the RCA output to connect to a television. The cost of the frame is not insignificant, however: it should retail for approximately $500.
Verizon Valentine KRZR
Verizon is planning special Valentine's edition colors of its most popular phones, according to the company's test pages. Both the bright red KRZR Fire and a pink variant of the Chocolate, known as the Strawberry Chocolate [link removed], are expected to launch within the next few days to accomodate the yearly holiday. Pricing will remain unchanged and should see the newer KRZR available for $150 before rebates with a two-year contract, while its Chocolate parallel will be available for $180.
The Verizon introduction will also represent the first instance in which the distinctive red version of Motorola's KRZR clamshell is available in the US, as the phone has so far only seen a Korean release as of last month.
iLuv video recording dock
iPod accessory creator iLuv today unveiled the i182 recording dock, according to Electronista. Rather than play back content, the i182 records video through its RCA or S-video input and transfers the footage to a storage device, including Apple's fifth-generation iPod. The videos themselves are not immediately playable on the iPod, the company is quick to note; instead, custom software on a host Mac or PC recognizes clips stored on the iPod's drive and converts them to files that synchronize through iTunes. An adapter is also included (shown at left) that plugs into the Dock Connector on the iLuv dock and records directly to SD/MMC cards or any USB external drives.
Recording can be left unattended, the developer says: a button on the dock sets recording time in 30-minute intervals, up to 180 minutes, while the video resolution can be formatted specifically for an iPod's 640x480 resolution or the full 720x480 widescreen resolution of DVDs. The i182 is due to ship in March at a price of $230.
Vista DRM Crack
The protective code that controls media in Windows Vista has been cracked just days before its official release, according to programmer and researcher Alex Ionescu. The analyst said that he has successfully defeated the Protected Media Path inherent to Vista, which is meant to refuse the playback of audio or video from certain copy-protected videos if the system is not using approved hardware and drivers.
While exact details of the exploit remained vague for fear of legal reprisals, Ionescu noted that the successful code does not require any special drivers and bypasses Microsoft's anti-modification PatchGuard technology, potentially convincing any playback software that it can play content at full quality regardless of any actual protection. The hack is currently a proof-of-concept alone and is unlikely to be available as-is, but points to the likely defeat of Vista's stringent DRM despite Microsoft's efforts. Blu-Ray and HD DVD security have already seen partial breaches in recent weeks.
Samsung VLUU i7 Camera
Continuing with its recent history of camera announcements, Samsung has unveiled the i7. The 7.2-megapixel device's centerpiece is a rotating 3-inch LCD that adjusts based on its purpose: it can be used in standard landscape mode for standard-ratio photography or MPEG-4 videos, but also rotates 90 degrees for reviewing portrait shots or a more comfortable hold while watching movie clips. An SRS sound enhancer is even built-in to simulate 3D audio during movie playback, Samsung says.
The i7 matches up to the latest generation of cameras as well, with a 3X optical zoom lens, sensitivity up to ISO 1600, and anti-shake compensation. Launch details remain unknown, but the new Samsung camera should launch first in its producer's native Korea with an American launch to follow by the end of 2007. Click through for high-quality images of the front and back.
Contactizer Pro, Cameleon
Contactizer Pro 3.1 ($120) handles personal and business contacts, managing as well as sharing them in real-time with others. Version 3.1 adds a variety of new features which include iSync support, enabling users to send tasks tasks as well as events to .Mac or iCal. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.8.
[Download - 20MB]
Cameleon 1.0 ($20) helps modify themes and templates for Web pages, altering any text or graphical element. Users can change text files with a built-in editor or swap images around with a simple drag-and-drop motion. All modifications are visible in real-time using the program's own Web browser, and the application runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 4.9MB]
iTunes Catalog 2.2 ($25) creates web catalogs of iTunes music that visitors can browse and play. The latest edition produces catalogs that look and function like iTunes 7, complete with the traditional iTunes column browser. Users can alternately choose an iPod motif, which is updated to include all five versions of the iPod nano. iTunes Catalog 2.2 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 3.2MB]
MacPoker Pro 1.3 ($40) tracks and analyzes online Texas Hold 'Em games, identifying weaknesses in the play strategy of players and opponents. Players are ranked based on betting patterns as well as other criteria, and the latest revision supports Full Tilt Poker while allowing more customization of ranking categories. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 and Java 1.4. [Download - 3.4MB]
DarkAdapted 2.1 (free) adjusts screen gamma on the fly, helping users achieve the best combination of brightness and color. Users can create an unlimited number of presets, and version 2.1 functions as a system-wide menu with support for global hotkeys. The program is configurable to start at login for one or all users, and optionally shares preferences in a similar manner. [Download - 8.1MB]
TwitterPost 1.1 (free) is a tool for reading and posting on Twitter.com, a site where users share their current thoughts and activities. Version 1.1 submits iTunes tracks to the site, and posts to a running chat program such as Adium, iChat or Skype. TwitterPost 1.1 also improves stability. [Download - 3.8MB]
Vista dubbed "imitator"
Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system boasts translucent images and "groovy" 3D effects, but is a "shameless Mac OS X imitator," according to one columnist. "After waiting five years -- as in half a decade -- for this thing, I think I should get something revolutionary, a PC operating system so astonishing it makes the competition look laughably primitive," wrote Pioneer Press columnist Julio Ojeda-Zapata. "Vista hardly rocked my world during weeks of testing. It's a fine Windows upgrade, but it's also a shameless rip-off (and not quite the equal) of another major operating system, [Apple Inc's] Mac OS X." Ojeda-Zapata asks why users wouldn't consider Mac OS X as an alternative to upgrading from Windows XP since Windows Vista won't work properly on most older hardware anyway.
Moto RAZRmaxx at FCC
Motorola's upcoming RAZRmaxx is headed to the US as a GSM device, according to a recently discovered FCC approval. While initially unveiled as a tri-band GSM phone that would have limited its presence to Europe and some parts of Asia, the RAZRmaxx has recently been certified in the US for use with the fourth, 850MHz band critical to its use by cell service providers in the country.
Notably, however, the phone is currently approved for 3G wireless broadband only on a single frequency for HSDPA, suggesting a likely appearance with the predominant GSM carrier AT&T. Other features remain the same from the 2-megapixel, Bluetooth 2.0-equipped version available in Europe. The discovery indicates an upcoming competition between AT&T and Verizon, the latter of which is already planning a CDMA version of the phone for as soon as next month. [via Phone Arena]
Harvard Ext joins iTunes U
The Harvard Extension School today announced the release of select course content for free through Apple's iTunes U service. The school is providing free public access to video previews of 15 of the 50 Harvard Extension School distance education courses that are available this spring covering the fields of computer science, management, environmental science, history, and the liberal arts. Each 10-15 minute video introduction gives viewers a virtual taste of the Harvard classroom and the opportunity to experience Harvard Extension School distance education, according to the school. Audio of each complete two-hour introductory lecture is also available for via digital download, and courses are taught by distinguished faculty from Harvard and other universities as well as working professionals who bring their expertise to the classroom. The Harvard Extension School is offering online registration for complete courses through February 4th.
Century on Monday updated its popular Tera-Box with the EX35TR4, a drive enclosure for computer owners who regularly add or swap out new storage. In place of a metal or plastic shell, the EX35 has only a small base to connect its drive array through USB. The remainder is based around rubber sheaths that insulate hard disks against shocks and vibrations while leaving the drive exposed for a quick replacement as well as better cooling. Unique feet built into the design let up to four drives stack on one enough without threatening to fall over.
The enclosure works with any Parallel ATA hard drive and can stripe drives in a RAID or leave them alone as individual disks, supporting as much as 2TB of storage spread across four 500GB drives. Compatibility is provided for most modern operating systems and includes Mac OS X as well as Windows Vista. Century is already delivering the barebones enclosure without storage for $105.
SOHO Labels & Envelopes
Chronos today released SOHO Labels & Envelopes 2.0, a Universal application designed to ease the process of printing professional labels and envelopes. The latest release includes an entirely revamped interface alongside more than 14 new features whicih include a 'Smart Inspector,' 'Project Wizard,' and a 'Favorites Bin.' The Smart Inspector appears only when needed as a context-sensitive filter to present only the tools currently required to work on a project. Chronos' Project Wizard helps users choose which kind of project to create, and offers detailed previews of blank label stocks as well as optional ready-made designs. The Favorites Bin stores designer graphics and shape artwork for re-use, allowing users to organize collected graphics into collections for quick retrieval. SOHO Labels & Envelopes 2.0 is available for $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
ASUS U1F Ultraportable
ASUS on Monday demonstrated a new model in its notebook range named the U1F. The 11.1-inch widescreen system achieves a record-setting 1.8-pound weight through a combination of parts, according to ASUS: LED backlighting on the display sheds the need for a thicker casing while improving the color uniformity of the screen, and the use of a 1.8-inch hard drive similar to those found in the iPod reduces the overall bulk. An external DVD/CD-RW combo or DVD-RW drive is similarly included to save space.
The U1F will be of the more capable ultraportables available, ASUS claims: the PC is one of the first to use an ultra-low voltage 1.06GHz Core 2 Duo and will run for up to 2 hours on a standard battery despite its thin profile. Configurations are expected to vary by country and store but will start with 512MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, and a VGA webcam. Up to 80GB of storage will be included. ASUS hopes to ship the U1F in March. A full photo is available after the jump.
While companies like Canon and Nikon are racing to add millions of pixels to their sensors, scientists at Houston's Rice University have taken the opposite approach, developing a camera that needs only a single pixel to record an image. This is accomplished with an array of a million or more "micromirrors," each about the size of a bacterium, which focus light on a part of one sensor rather than omnidirectionally at a whole field of sensors. The mirrors switch on and off in rapid succession so that a processor can accurately interpret the incoming data.
The advantage of this technology is efficiency. While current sensor arrays can record tremendous amounts of detail, much of it is wasted -- pixels often contain duplicate information, and compression techniques can throw away as much as 90 percent of the recorded information. Cameras must nevertheless power all of the pixels for each shot, worsening the battery drain already presented by LCD displays. If the single-pixel technique comes to fruition as the Rice scientists are hoping for, the result could be cameras that take hundreds more shots before needing a recharge. It may futhermore be easier to implement alternate sensor types, such as UV, infrared, or night-vision. [Via BBC News]
UK 'Get a Mac' ads, review
In brief: Apple has posted its UK 'Get a Mac' ads that cover viruses, spyware, restarting, office work vs. home computing, and more.... MacNN has reviewed the Boxlight BumbleBee Projector ($800, shown at right), a small low-power projector designed for tabletop use.... A Microsoft executive in Norway decided to demonstrate Windows Vista on an iMac during an interview.... Call Box today began shipping its new training DVD, 24P Digital Post Production with Final Cut Pro, created by Apple Certified Pro instructor Noah Kadner.... ATEN Technology today unveiled two new rack mount CAT5 KVM switches designed to eliminate traditional cable management problems while supporting extended distances of up to 130 feet from the single-user KVM switch.
Apple pays legal fees
Bloggers and online journalists have completed their final victory lap in a protracted fight against Apple. Earlier this month, a Santa Clara County Court ordered Apple to pay the legal fees associated with the defense of subpoenas issued to online journalists (and other related entities) in response to online reports about a confidential audio/video product -- code-named "Asteroid" -- under development at the Cupertino-based company. The "Asteroid" product was never released, but Apple claimed the news reports violated California state trade secret law and that the journalists were not entitled to First Amendment protections. However, following an appeals decision last year that strongly sided with the journalists, the Court ordered Apple to pay all legal costs associated with the defense, including a 2.2 times multiplier of the actual fees. [updated]
iLuv i182 iPod Dock
iPod accessory creator iLuv today unveiled the i182 recording dock. Rather than play back content, the i182 records video through its RCA or S-video input and transfers the footage to a storage device, including Apple's fifth-generation iPod. The videos themselves are not immediately playable on the iPod, the company is quick to note; instead, custom software on a host Mac or PC recognizes clips stored on the iPod's drive and converts them to files that synchronize through iTunes. An adapter is also included (shown at left) that plugs into the Dock Connector on the iLuv dock and records directly to SD/MMC cards or any USB external drives.
Recording can be left unattended, the developer says: a button on the dock sets recording time in 30-minute intervals, up to 180 minutes, while the video resolution can be formatted specifically for an iPod's 640x480 resolution or the full 720x480 widescreen resolution of DVDs. The i182 is due to ship in March at a price of $230. [via iLounge]
Apple to surpass MS?
Apple may have shot at outgrowing Microsoft within the next five years if it continues its phenomenal growth. An analysis at 10Layers.com indicates that the Cupertino-based company may indeed generate more revenue than Microsoft as a result of its exponential growth patterns. Apple's revenue has dramatically jumped since 2002 -- from just under $6 billion to just under $21 billion in 2006. While Microsoft has posted significant growth during the same period, its growth has been linear -- more modest than Apple's -- the report says.
iPhone clone surfaces?
A chinese company has apparently announced a new cellular phone that looks remarkably similar to Apple's iPhone, according to one report. The new phone called M8 -- which is said to be designed by Chinese firm Meizu -- features touch-screen functionality and boasts a smaller footprint than Apple's iPhone with an accompanying smaller screen, but offers a higher 720x480 resolution than Apple's 320x480 iPhone. The M8 is driven by an ARM11 processor with video codec support, according to VR-Zone.com, and offers a built-in 3.0-megapixel digital camera on the back side with a 0.3-megapixel camera facing forward. The M8 runs Windows CE 6.0 and offers both Bluetooth as well as TV-out connectivity, catering to GSM+TD-SCMA for mobile communication. Pricing and storage capacity for the new phone are unknown, according to the source, though Apple's iPhone will initially sell for $499 and $599 in 4GB and 8GB capacities, respectively. [updated]
BLU SENS G14 Media Player
Spain-based BLU:SENS said today that it hopes to improve on the limitations of newer music players with the G14. Unlike the Sansa Connect and Zune, the new player comes equipped with Wi-Fi that can be used to trade songs permanently between users. It can even make its 1GB or 2GB of flash memory available on the network, the company says. Bluetooth is also onboard and will link with A2DP-ready headphones or speakers.
The jukebox is similarly a full-fledged media player and supports JPEG photos as well as MPEG-4 video and music. Recording is an option for voice through a microphone as well as for the built-in FM tuner. Playback is estimated at 20 hours of audio, according to the Spanish firm. The company has not committed to a release date but expects to price the G14 at prices beginning at 180 Euros for the 1GB version. [via OhGizmo]
Samsung online music store
Coinciding with the launch of the K3 and Y9 music players in the United Kingdom, Samsung is opening up its own online music store in that country. Accessible from custom software much like Apple's iTunes, the Samsung Media Studio currently has over 2.6 million songs, from both mainstream and independent labels. The price of albums varies, but individual tracks sell for 79 pence each, and an unlimited download subscription costs £15 per month. The purchase of a Samsung player nets a free seven-day trial. Files from Media Studio can be legally burned to a CD, as well as transferred to any third-party player. [Via Pocket-lint]
Sharp Pantone 812SH phone
A new Sharp cellphone will soon be released in Japan in 20 different colors, more than any other cellphone on the market. Branded by Pantone, the 812SH will be available in everything from black, silver and white to red, blue, cyan and brown. The phone will not be lacking in performance either, with full 3G support, a two-megapixel camera, and a 2.4-inch LCD that can display 260,000 colors. A 0.8-inch OLED displays simple information on the back, and a microSD card can store audio and video content. Though Sharp does produce phones for the North American market, the 812SH is unlikely to come to the US in the same color array as Japan's. [Via Impress Watch]
OpenOffice.org seeks aid
OpenOffice.org has put out a call to testers and developers, asking for help in fixing the top 10 issues currently faced by the development team before the group produces a public alpha release. An OpenOffice.org member says it's not a question of a final version, but rather a testable version not ready for production. The organization hopes to recruit users who can contribute to the code, send donations, and help build an Aqua version by reviewing the code as well as building the software and presenting patches or fixes. Users can also perform quality assurance for localized versions of OpenOffice, translate documentation, contribute to the OpenOffice.org wiki, and test the X11 version of OpenOffice.org. Once all 10 issues are fixed, the group promises to provide a publicly available build that will run natively on Mac OS X without X11.
Athlon 64 X2 6000 Released
AMD today began shipping the Athlon 64 X2 6000+, its first true 3GHz processor. Although still unannounced by the chip producer, the dual-core CPU leapfrogs the earlier 2.8GHz, 5600+ model to reach the equivalent speed of a 6GHz single-core Pentium 4, according to the company. The chip sports the same 2MB of level two cache used by its highest-end Athlon 64 X2 and Opteron processors. Online retailer Newegg ships the processor today for $599 as an OEM model without a presupplied cooling fan.
The launch reflects the newly accelerated pace of upgrades to AMD's processor line, which has struggled in recent months in the wake of Intel's Core 2 Duo, which is said to outperform much of AMD's line while just short of the 3GHz marker.
PowerBlue theme released
KeynoteUser.com has released PowerBlue, a new theme set for Apple's Keynote 3 presentation software that includes 32 master slides in both Palatino and HelveticaNeue. The new theme set includes a set of alternate masters with different title treatments for a total of four theme files, and offers numerous extras such as a mini button creation system and a full demo presentation file. The new set comes with several detailed tutorials, as well as an advanced tutorial explaining the process of replacing the entire color scheme of the theme for creating new themes based on current layouts. The full package adds a PowerBlue Lecture theme with editable running headers and footers on each master slide. PowerBlue Lecture also includes special slide layouts geared toward classroom lecture style presentations with timeline extras, a file full of alternate header and footer treatments, and a detailed tutorial on how to use the Lecture theme. PowerBlue is available for download in basic ($20) or full ($27) editions.
New Panasonic LCD TVs
Six new Viera LCDs have been announced by Panasonic, ranging in size from 15 inches to 32. At the high end are the TH-32LX75 and the TH-32LX75S (pictured), which have a 7,000:1 contrast ratio, and are only really distinguished by a different exterior design. The TH-26LX75S is limited to 6,000:1 contrast, but like the 32-inch sets, is HD-ready and has an HDMI port. HD and HDMI are also featured on the new 23- (TH-23LX70) and 20-inch (TH-20LX70) sets. At the low end is the TH-15LD70, which is barely HD compatible, in that it should support 480p. All the new sets do however use Panasonic's VieraLink technology, which allows control of both TV and audio equipment from the same remote. Prices are only available for the LX75 sets: the 26-inch should cost $1,652, while the 32s are $1,898 and $1,982. [Via Akihabara News]
Sony SRS-DZ10 PC Speakers
Sony this morning boosted its PC speaker line with the SRS-DZ10. In contrast to most computer audio systems, the 2.1-channel DZ10 depends on a unique, tube-shaped subwoofer that changes position based on the listener's tastes; an adjustable stand allows the unit to sit either horizontally on the floor or vertically on a desk, either of which can potentially save space. The design also prevents either of the two woofer ports from being blocked, Sony said. Dual audio inputs are a hallmark of the design and let the system quickly switch between the PC and a secondary source, such as a notebook or digital audio player. A headphone jack is built-in for private listening.
Pricing and availability were not announced, though the DZ10 should arrive first in Europe. A North American release is possible but has yet to be confirmed.
Xserve RAID monitor beta
LithiumCorp has released the first public beta of its Xserve RAID monitoring plug-in, a third-party monitoring option for Apple's Xserve RAID solution. The plug-in monitors controllers, drivers, arrays, blowers, power supplies, and more. Monitoring drive status reports whether the drive is online or offline, its RAID membership, SMART status, rebuild status, the drive vendor, SMART firmware, bad-block counts, and re-map counts. Watching array status reveals drive membership, capacity, slices, RAID level/type, stripe size, and initialization as well as expansion, verification, and add-member progress. Controller status reveals power-on and buzzer state, UPS status, ambient temperature, and more. Controller setup displays cache memory size, stripe size, write buffer state, and access mode. The public beta is available for free to for customers who hold a Lithium NMP license and who enroll in the company's beta program.
Gateway DX430 and NX270S
Gateway continued the succession of Vista-related PC announcements today by releasing two new systems, including a completely new desktop. The DX430 marks a fresh tower design from the American company that caters to both everyday users as well as the more performance-minded. Starting with a Pentium 4, 15-in-1 card reader, and a standard 160GB drive, the system is also configurable with as much as a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo and exotic drive options such as 750GB or high-speed Raptor drives. An HD video tuner and a new portable hard drive (due in February) with up to 160GB are also options, according to the system builder. Style is also a new element: the case is one of the few to ship with removable faceplates, which help the tower match its surroundings. The DX430B ships with a 2.8GHz Pentium 4, 512MB of RAM, and Vista Home Basic at a price of $500; the higher-end DX430S ($850) and DX430X ($1,100) jump to 1.8GHz and 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processors respectively as well as 1GB of RAM, Vista Home Premium, and a 19- or 22-inch widescreen LCD. All three should ship by Vista's release tomorrow.
Mirroring the launch in portables is the NX270S, a 14-inch starter notebook built for those unused to the relatively easy abuse of portables. The NX270S sports a scratchproof, toughened outer shell and is inexpensive enough to be more easily replaced, starting with a 1.73GHz Celeron M, 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive. The updated notebook ships in early February for $700.
Needham bumps price target
Despite likely slow initial iPhone sales due to its high price point, Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf believes the new gadget's price will fall at a 20 percent rate annually due to declining component costs and rising carrier subsidies. "The decline in price should accelerate demand as the iPhone invades the sweet spot of the mobile phone market," Wolf wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "With carrier subsidies, the iPhone should sell for around $75 in the final year of our forecast." Wolf is predicting sales of 135 million iPhones in 2016, equating to a 7 percent market share for an increase of $20 net to Apple's target price. Wolf raised the research firm's target price on Apple shares from $115 to $135.
Lenovo A55 Small Form PC
Lenovo today added a fourth model to its A-series ThinkCenter desktops, timed just as Microsoft's Windows Vista makes its official debut. The A55 Small Form Factor PC is only as large as a briefcase and is nearly 64 percent smaller than its tower counterpart, Lenovo said. The desktop also sees added performance and is the first of the A-series to have the choice of more than the 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo found in the current tower, though the company did not mention specific models. The A55 should be ready in early February with a base configuration shipping for $579.
Also announced was an upgrade to Windows Vista for much of the company's ThinkPad and ThinkCenter lines, which will all receive the new OS upgrade as of tomorrow while maintaining their current components and shapes.
New Intel chip technology
Intel has introduced new chip technology that it claims could increase computing performance as well as reduce power consumption and said the technology that could make its way into Macs as early as the end of 2007. The world's biggest chip manufacturer said that it is using two "dramatically new" materials to build its next-generation 45 nanometer (nm) transistors, which will be used in the next versions of the the company's Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad and Xeon families of multi-core processors. It also said it has five early-version products up and running -- the first of fifteen 45nm processor products expected from Intel. Codenamed "Penryn," the early versions of the technology are targeted at five different computer market segments, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems and the company said it remains on track to deliver to shipments of its first 45nm products in the second half of this year.
JVC 120Hz LCD Televisions
JVC on Monday released a trio of new LCD TVs designed for fast video response without a cost premium. The 42-inch LT-42LC95, 37-inch LT-37LC95, and 32-inch LT-32LC95 all use a new processing engine that refreshes the screen at 120Hz, double the minimum for HDTV sets. The extra speed helps with fast motion -- especially 1080i scenes, JVC said. Each TV is equipped with only one HDMI port but also ships with three of Japan's D4 digital inputs and comes with a hybrid analog and digital TV tuner for receiving over-the-air broadcasts. Individual component and VGA inputs are available for high-resolution analog sources, and a 20-watt speaker system are common for every set.
The smaller 32- and 37-inch sets are due to launch in Japan as of February for prices of $2,247 and $2,395 respectively; the higher-end 42-inch is due last in March for $3,060. All three are likely for a North American launch soon afterwards with component and HDMI connectors expected to replace the D4 ports.
LG LC-3200 World Phone
LG this morning unveiled the LC-3200. A compact slider, the 3200 is built for callers who frequently leave their home country, particularly in LG's home territory of southeast Asia. A multi-band CDMA radio lets the LG device automatically connect to the cellular networks of countries as exotic as Thailand and Vietnam. An English dictionary with a pronounciation guide is also present for visitors to Western countries.
Media features are said to be just as important and involve a 1.3-megapixel camera, quick access to MP3 playback, and five preloaded games; talk time is rated at over 2 hours while standby lasts for 120 hours. The phone should be available today through LG Telecom in Korea and may appear in North America for regular travelers.
iPhone rejected by Verizon
Apple's "rich financial terms" and other demands were the primary reasons that Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 cellphone carrier in the US, passed on the chance to be the exclusive distributor of the iPhone almost two years ago. The USA Today on Monday reported that Apple wanted a percentage of the monthly cellphone fees as well as a say over how and where iPhones could be sold. The Cupertino-based company, who eventually announced an exclusive agreement with Cingular, demanded control of the relationship with iPhone customers, according to Jim Gerace, a Verizon Wireless vice president. "We said no. We have nothing bad to say about the Apple iPhone. We just couldn't reach a deal that was mutually beneficial." According to the report, collapse in the talks with Verizon led directly to Apple's deal with Cingular, which is reportedly a five-year exclusive agreement for US distribution.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Adobe on Monday announced that Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 software is now available for pre-order from its website and is expected to ship in mid-February 2007. Photoshop Lightroom enables professional photographers to import, manage and present large volumes of digital photographs, helping photographers spend more time behind the lens and less time at the computer. The company also announced that more than 500,000 photographers participated in the public beta program over the last 12 months, officially ending the beta program. Users of Lightroom beta will have access to the program until its expiration on February 28, 2007. Adobe also announced that it is offering Photoshop Lightroom at a special introductory price of $200 through April 30, 2007 (from its online Web store only). Photoshop Lightroom will later sell for an estimated street price of $300. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 and a 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a Universal Binary application that will run natively on both PowerPC- and new Intel-based Macs.
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Despite being very familiar with Blue Microphones' lower-end products -- we've long recommended the company's Snowball line of mics ...ZTE Spro 2 Smart Projector
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