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News Archive for 07/02/01

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Apps: MSN Messenger; NoLimits; SiteTagger

02/01, 7:00pm

Messenger; NoLimits

    Messsenger for Mac 6.0.2 (free) is the latest version of Microsoft's instant messaging program. New is the addition of a logging option, which can keep track of technical issues such as connection problems and status failures. Microsoft warns that since log files store personal information, logging is turned off by default. [Download - 8.6MB]
    No Limits 1.6 ($30) is a rollercoaster simulator, offering rides on both real-world and user-made tracks. Custom scenery can also be created using built-in tools and 3D Studio. The v1.6 patch has been available since September, but has just been integrated as the base version for the paid game. [Download - 19.1MB]
    SiteTagger 3.2 ($10) is a tag-based bookmarking application, operating outside of web browsers and capable of finding links by keyword. The v3.2 update synchronizes with online services, such as Furl, Ma.gnolia, and del.icio.us. Crash bugs relating to bookmark backup have also been fixed. [Download - 1.65MB]
    Export Address Book 1.4 ($16) claims to be the only program which can export all the contact information in Address Book to external file formats, such as TSV, HTML, and vCard. Changes to v1.4 include AppleScript support, which helps automate exports to formats other than TSV. Users can also specify a variety of Address Book fields as the default for new documents. [Download - 390KB]
    Simple Help Editor 2.0 ($30) is used to create HTML-based help menus, which can be viewed in either a web browser or in Apple's Help Viewer. The second edition introduces a Glossary that stores text fragments, and a Quick Styles feature that applies formatting throughout a document. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.2. [Download - 7.7MB]
    PageSpinner Wiki Plug-Ins 1.0 (free) is a group of plug-ins for PageSpinner that pre-formats content for wiki sites within the text editor. Wiki markups are present for various site styles, and users can search Wikipedia directly from within the software. PageSpinner itself costs $30 and needs only Mac OS 9.1 or later. [Download - 67KB]

Apple iPhone competitors "feign complacency"

02/01, 5:50pm

iPhone rivals hide concern

Apple's new opponents in the cellphone industry are only maintaining the illusion that the iPhone won't affect their plans, ThinkEquity Partners analyst Jonathan Hoopes observed today. Electronista writes that while he acknowledged the iPhone's success was far from certain, given its lack of 3G wireless and its expensive, Cingular-only price plan, the industry expert argued that apparent disinterest from competitors such as Nokia and Samsung was just a ruse, disguising their own uncertainty. The cellular mainstays face "an extremely savvy marketing competitor with a huge user base," Hoopes commented. "They better be nervous. But they are all trying to feign complacency."

Overcharged batteries cracking Zune screens?

02/01, 5:25pm

Cracking Zune screens?

A call center employee suggests that Microsoft may be dealing with an unusual number of cracked Zune screens, Electronista notes. According to the Engadget tip, a number of callers have been complaining about Zunes whose screens cracked after being left to charge overnight. The source believes that this could be due to the position of the lithium-ion battery in the player, which is directly behind the LCD, and may be expanding far enough to put pressure on the screen. This is unconfirmed however, and Microsoft does not consider the problem to be within warranty coverage. Other Zune owners have also disputed the claim, noting that their own Zunes have been charged for hours or days at a time without trouble.

Rivals "feign complacency" over iPhone: analyst

02/01, 5:20pm

Complacency over iPhone

Apple's new opponents in the cellphone industry are only maintaining the illusion that the iPhone won't affect their plans, ThinkEquity Partners analyst Jonathan Hoopes observed today. Though he acknowledged that the iPhone's success was far from certain given its lack of 3G wireless and expensive, Cingular-only price plan, the industry expert argued that apparent disinterest from competitors such as Nokia and Samsung was just a ruse, disguising their own uncertainty.

The cellular mainstays face "an extremely savvy marketing competitor with a huge user base," Hoopes commented. "They better be nervous. But they are all trying to feign complacency."

Apple supports new 802.11n Base Stations

02/01, 5:20pm

New Base Station support

Apple is offering support for its recently shipping AirPort Extreme 802.11n-enabled Base Stations by addressing several documented issues, listing supported USB storage formats/protocols, and providing an online discussion forum. Owners of the new AirPort Extreme Base Station can connect USB-based storage devices that have a block size of 512 bytes and are formatted as Mac OS Extended (HFS-plus), FAT16, or FAT32, according to Apple. The AirPort Extreme (802.11n) shares storage devices based on the format used to initialize the storage device, and owners can use AirPort Disk Utility to discover as well as amount AirPort Extreme-based volumes over the network. Apple warns that AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Stations which work with storage devices do not support USB devices that use removable media, such as a floppy disk drive or an optical drive.

Freeverse releases Big Bang Brain Games

02/01, 4:30pm

Big Bang Brain Games

Freeverse today released Big Bang Brain Games for Mac OS X. The six classic games include Reaction, Sudoku, NovaSweeper, Remembrance, Echo, and Fallacy. Reaction challenges players to pop all the molecules in the fewest number of clicks, requiring heavy planning. NovaSweeper is a revamped form of Minesweeper that tests deduction skills, and Remembrance trains short-term memory by encouraging players to memorize any number of cards. Echo is an auditory game where players must duplicate a series of sounds in-order, and Fallacy constitutes a series of "logical fallacy" quizzes. Big Bang Brain Games also integrates directly with .Mac accounts, enabling users to upload a page full of statistics from each game to share with others. Big Bang Brain Games is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

Everex ships sub-$500 Vista notebook with DVD burner

02/01, 4:30pm

Everex Vista Notebook

Everex today helped inaugurate this week's launch of Windows Vista by releasing the StepNote VA4101M. One of the most inexpensive notebooks yet to ship with Microsoft's new OS, the system achieves this by focusing on features over speed, using a 1.46GHz Celeron M but gaining a dual-layer DVD rewriter -- a feature rarely seen in its class. A 60GB, 5400RPM hard drive is also built-in and the system keeps the 512MB of RAM, 802.11g Wi-Fi, and VGA output offered by many of its rivals. Battery life is rated at an average of 1.5 to 2 hours of real-world use, according to its developer's estimates.

The notebook has already landed in stock at Wal-Mart for $498 without discounts when preloaded with Vista Home Basic. A slightly faster and potentially more expensive 1.6GHz Celeron M version of the computer is available at other resellers.

Sony-Ericsson preps J110i, J120i

02/01, 3:50pm

Sony-Ericsson J120i

Sony-Ericsson is developing a pair of new cellphones specifically for the entry-level market, an arena seldom explored by the company. The J110i and J120i will both be replacements for the current J100i and should see useful improvements in their displays. A brighter, higher-resolution display on the two editions will help with SMS text messages and using the phone in direct sunlight. The J120i in particular will also break away from the J100's strict focus on calling and will have an FM radio tuner for music. Minor changes such as a more stylish black shell and an improved keypad are equally anticipated.

Both phones should remain faithful to the original creation, but in doing so will keep the phone's record-setting battery life: active talk time will be rated for a full eight hours, with standby lasting for 300 hours. An official announcement for the J-series duo is set for Barcelona's 3GSM conference on the 12th, which should also confirm launch dates and prices. [via Terminal]

DV Monitor Pro captures video to hard drive

02/01, 3:40pm

DV Monitor Pro released

Red Lightning Software has released DV Monitor Pro, an application that captures live video directly to a hard drive. Users can quickly label, rate, name, or add comments to each clip after recording shots. The software supports saving out a Final Cut Pro file for instant access to all clips and notes to immediately start editing, and offers DV Monitor Pros shot matching as well as continuity checking. Users can quickly determine whether a camera has moved, zoomed, or refocused. Continuity checking enables users to see whether something has changed in a shot, such as a candle that has burned down. DV Monitor Pro supports Custom Image Overlays with full Alpha Channel support, enabling users to preview as well as compose special effect shots or easily create custom aspect ratio masks. DV Monitor Pro supports NTSC and PAL DV FireWire cameras, requires Mac OS X, and is priced at $200.

Canadian ISP to offer 100Mbps cable Internet

02/01, 2:50pm

Canadian 100Mbps Internet

Quebec-based cable provider Videotron revealed today that it will soon offer some of the fastest Internet access in North America. Using Cisco's pre-certification version of the faster DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem standard, the Canadian ISP says it will offer 100Mbps download speeds to its customers. The speed would open up previously impractical features on the Internet, Videotron boasts. A 50MB high-definition video takes only four seconds to load in ideal conditions; music would download almost instantly. The new DOCSIS format achieves this in part by bonding normally separate cable channels together, more than doubling the 40Mbps theoretical limit of DOCSIS 2.0.

A trial of the 100Mbps service is set to begin shortly in Montreal and will require a special Cisco modem to achieve the record bandwidth limit. Videotron has not committed to any definite plans but hopes to expand the service to regular customers across Quebec by the end of 2007. [via BBReports]

Fusionsoft debuts 80GB GPS unit/media player

02/01, 2:25pm

80GB GPS unit/media player

Though not scheduled for North America at the moment, Korean company Fusionsoft has premiered a combination GPS unit and media player, available with up to 80GB of internal memory. The 7star ODD-I uses a SiRFStar III GPS receiver, which feeds to a CPU running Windows CE 5.0. The QVGA display is an sizable seven inches long, which is ideal for the built-in DMB TV tuner, and other unspecified audio and video formats. Buyers can opt for a 40GB version should they not want to splurge on a full-featured system. The 80GB ODD-I should be out for approximately 697,850 won ($741); the 40GB model is 597,458 won ($634). [Via Akihabara News]

Microsoft to take on iPhone in December?

02/01, 2:20pm

MS to take on iPhone?

Microsoft has begun planning a Zune-based challenger to Apple's iPhone that recently debuted at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, according to one report. Citing a "sound" informant, CrungeGear indicates that strategists from Microsoft are already solidifying plans for the new phone, and are holding meetings today to plan its final release -- tentatively slated for December of 2007. The cellular handset is expected to mimic the music-only original, according to Electronista, and will forego Microsoft's existing Windows Mobile phone operating system for a custom control scheme. The source says tighter integration with Microsoft's existing hardware and software will be even more critical to the phone's design, and that the Redmond-based company plans to expand the limited Wi-Fi capability of the original Zune by linking the phone with its Xbox 360 game console.

Zune phone confirmed?

02/01, 2:15pm

Zune Phone

Microsoft has begun planning a Zune-based rival to the iPhone, according to a tip received by CrunchGear. A "sound" informant has indicated that strategists from the Redmond company are already solidifying plans for the device and are holding meetings today to plan its final release. While many elements of the design are still unknown, the cellphone is expected to mimic the music-only original and will dismiss Microsoft's existing Windows Mobile phone OS for a customized control scheme.

Tighter integration with Microsoft's existing hardware and software will be even more critical to the design, the source says. The company plans to expand the limited Wi-Fi options of the original Zune by linking the phone edition with the Xbox 360, allowing the phone to stream media -- including video -- directly from the game console when it forms part of a wireless network.

Launch details and ramifications follow after the jump.

Verizon ships USB720 USB wireless modem

02/01, 2:05pm

USB720 wireless modem

Verizon Wireless today announced that the USB720 -- its first CDMA 1x Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Revision A (Rev. A) USB wireless modem -- will go on sale tomorrow. The device measures 3.52 x 1.49 x .69-inches, weighs 1.6 ounces, and offers broad compatibility via USB connectivity. The USB720 works with the Enterprise edition of VZAccess Manager software with support for Mac OS X as well as Windows 2000/XP/Vista. The USB720 is priced at $150 with a new two-year agreement or $200 with a new one-year agreement, and will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores inclusive of those in Circuit City on February 20th.

V-MODA debuts colored VIBE earbuds

02/01, 1:35pm

Colored VIBE earbuds debut

V-MODA today debuted two special edition colors for its VIBE earbud line titled Red Roxx and La Mocha. The earpieces are aesthetically designed to match specific portable media players, and the former mixes red with black metal to complement Apple's PRODUCT (RED) iPod nano. The company's La Mocha features gold and brown colors to complement Microsoft's brown Zune player, according to Electronista, and either version is functionally equivalent previously-released black and chrome models. Red Roxx and La Mocha are available for $100, and are shipping from resellers as well as the Apple Store online.

Kensingston's wireless VoIP flip-phone

02/01, 1:30pm

Kensington VoIP flip-phone

Kensington has just launched the Vo200 Bluetooth Internet Phone. Designed to fit in the PC Card slot of a laptop, the phone connects to any computer via Bluetooth, and is compatible with all major VoIP networks, including Skype, MSN, Yahoo and Google. Unusually, the receiver mic flips out like a cellphone, and can even be rotated backwards to serve as a stand for a speakerphone mode. The phone charges constantly when it's in storage, providing up to three hours of talk time and 30 hours of standby. An LED light blinks when only 10 percent power is left. Call signals are enhanced by echo cancellation and noise suppression. The Vo200 is shipping today for $90, and requires Windows XP and a free PC Card slot.

Samsung demos LED-backlit displays: MacBook-bound?

02/01, 1:20pm

Samsung LEDs and MacBooks

Electronics giant Samsung on Thursday demonstrated three new LCD panels with LED backlighting, each of which takes advantage of the newer technology to improve the color accuracy and uniformity across even the often-neglected corners of the screen. Most advanced of these is the 40-inch panel, according to the company. Intended for 720p-capable TVs, the screen is bright at 500cd/m2 and is intelligent enough to selectively dim portions of the LED for dark scenes -- effectively generating a 100,000:1 contrast ratio by creating truer black levels. The technology of the 40-inch panel is expected to make its way into the rest of Samsung's LED-based LCD TVs when they launch later this year.

More significant, however, were public demonstrations of two displays that are likely to find their way into mainstream computer hardware. Samsung at its demonstration revaled a 15.4-inch widescreen panel with the new lighting technology (pictured), touting as an ideal choice for notebooks. The display's backlight reduces the overall thickness to 0.22 inches while consuming an average of only 3.1 watts. Although no companies were mentioned as using the new part, the screen's 1440x900 resolution appears to confirm earlier reports of LED-based MacBook Pros and similarly-equipped HP notebooks, many of which already use a similar screen size. A formal launch for the panel in finished hardware has not been revealed but is likely to occur in Spring.

Read through for details of Samsung's third panel.

Gefen unveils HD home theater scalers

02/01, 1:10pm

HD home theater scalers

Gefen today unveiled two new scalers -- the Home Theater Scaler and Home Theater Scaler Plus (shown at right) -- to support source switching, standard to high-definition (HD) scaling, and enhanced audio support. Both models support a variety of high quality video interfaces with each output in multiple, high definition resolutions up to 1080p. Users can view different video sources in HD on any digital display with support for HDMI (high bandwidth digital multimedia interface) connectors. Separate audio inputs and outputs enable users to select auditory options to enhance the HD viewing experience, while both the Home Theater Scaler and Home Theater Scaler Plus work with many electronic devices including digital video displays and projectors. Gefen's Home Theater Scaler is priced at $450 while the Home Theater Scaler Plus ships for $500.

NEC's bright and light NP60 projector

02/01, 12:50pm

NEC's light NP60 projector

NEC has announced the NP60, which the company is promoting as the brightest projector under four pounds. The 60 actually weighs 3.5 pounds, and has a brightness rating of 3,000 lumens, with a contrast ratio of 1,600:1. Supported resolutions top out at 1024x768 (XGA), though inputs can be running at 1600x1200 (UXGA). With the target audience of the projector being business travellers, the 60 starts up the moment it's plugged in, and will automatically detect and optimize signals within moments. It also corrects focus and image shape on the fly. The projector is shipping today for $1,299.

Apps: ReelBean, Valet, Inspector, MBS

02/01, 12:45pm

ReelBean, Valet, Inspector

    ReelBean 2.7 (free, $15 for Pro edition) updates the movie converter and player for Mac OS X Tiger. ReelBean 2.7 adds a video control panel that allows for adjustment of brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue of the playing video. The latest release also includes a new preference allowing users to display the movie timecode in the SMPTE format, and increases the size of the playspeed control slider. [Download - 4.4MB]
    Valet 1.0 ($25) is an application launcher for Mac OS X Tiger, recording the applications to provide quick and easy access to those same applications at a later date. The software supports several methods of launching applications including voice command, keyboard or mouse usage, via the Valet status menu on the global menu bar, and the Valet dock menu. Valet also supports launching Windows applications through Parallels Desktop for Mac 2.5. [Download - 1.1MB]
    Inspector 1.6 ($400) brings new customizable reporting capabilities to the FileMaker database analysis tool, allowing developers to modify and extend reports. The latest release is also a recommended maintenance release, and is available for free to currently registered Inspector users. Key Inspector features include online tutorials, customizable report layouts, and Universal Binary support. [Download - [form]]
    MBS REALbasic plug-ins 7.0 ($55 for private, $110 for commercial) comprises a collection of several plug-in parts that extend the REALbasic development environment with more than 500 classes and 3 controls featuring over 12,000 documented functions. The update adds CURL classes as well as a GrowlMBS class, and includes rewritten PortAudio plug-in alongside a rewritten PortMidi plug-in. The latest revision also improves compatibility with REALbasic 2007r1, and adds an CPUIDMBS class for x86 CPU detection. [Download - 37MB]
    MacBreakZ 4.2 ($30) enhances the break timer for Mac users, featuring a re-design implemented entirely in the Mac OS X native Cocoa environment. The update adds 10 more stretching routines which brings the total number to 40, and features other minor improvements. MacBreakZ 4.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 6.4MB]
    DVDpedia 3.4.1, Bookpedia 3.4.1, CDpedia 3.4.1, and Gamepedia 2.4.1 ($18 each, $50 for all) improves the media inventory applications for Mac OS X, adding internet search and iSight scanning capability. The update includes a new export user interface, several new HTML export templates, new HTML export tags, and an automated incremental collection ID feature. [Download - DVDpedia (6.4MB), Bookpedia (6.8MB), CDpedia (5.1MB), Gamepedia (5.5MB)]

Navigon Porsche P9611 GPS unit

02/01, 12:00pm

Navigon Porsche P9611 GPS

Recently announced by Navigon is the P9611, a GPS unit designed in tandem with Porsche, emulating the car company's famous aesthetics. The LCD is a widescreen, 4.3-inch touch display, and inside the unit is 520MHz Intel processor, running Navigon's MobileNavigator Premium software and Zagat's points-of-interest data. Other unusual software features include speed warnings, and an automatic volume increase to compensate for car noise. RAM and ROM are limited to 64MB each, but the device is still be capable of MP3 playback, as well as text-to-speech conversion. A Bluetooth receiver should allow cellphone owners to go hands-free. Navigon will ship the P9611 in the summer for $899. [Via Navigadget]

Onkyo debuts HD audio PC

02/01, 11:25am

Onyko HD Audio PC

Onkyo said today that it would buck tradition by releasing the HDC-1.0, billed as one of the few true HD audio PCs. Rather than focus on video playback as with a home theater PC, the Onkyo system is designed solely for audiophiles and revolves around an Onkyo-built, 24-bit/192KHz sound card with a 110dB signal-to-noise ratio for cleaner stereo music. Audio purists will further appreciate the external power supply and single 80mm fan, Onkyo claims, as they reduce the likelihood of electromagnetic interference or noise with the computer itself. A 1.66GHz mobile Core 2 Duo, 1GB of memory, a 120GB hard disk and audio output in both analog as well as optical form are part of the sole configuration.

The PC's software also reflects its musical focus: though based on Windows Vista Home Basic rather than the Media Center-equipped Home Premium, the HDC-1.0 comes preloaded with the stereo maker's CarryOnMusic 10 for managing music and has access to the e-onkyo music store, which is one of the few such services to sell music in WMA Lossless format. Onkyo sells the system by itself today for $1,739; an optional APX-1 digital amplifier raises the overall price to $2,054. [via New Launches]

Briefly: Beryl video; Maxwell plug-in update

02/01, 11:20am

Beryl video, Maxwell

In brief: The new video has surfaced demonstrating the latest features added to the Beryl Project, an OpenGL accelerated desktop designed to provide a free, open-source desktop experience to the community; The video reveals Expose-like features, a 3D rotatable "cube" to switch between virtual desktops, and more.... Next Limit Technologies has updated the Maxwell plug-in for Google SketchUp, as well as versions of its plug-ins for Maya and 3D Studio MAX; The SketchUp plug-in is compatible with SketchUp 6 for both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.... Polaroid has unveiled an upcoming portable printer that requires no ink of its own, instead using special Zink paper that contains dye crystals which only activate at the correct temperature; the paper is roughly the same size as an iPod, and the printer connects via USB or Bluetooth enabling cellular phones and other portable devices to print on-the-go without the need for a personal computer.... Aladdin Knowledge Systems has announced numerous new products for its Aladdin eToken family of authentication tokens, applications, and management system slated for launch throughout 2007.

FCC approves Sony Ericsson Z310a

02/01, 11:15am

Sony Ericsson Z310a

The Federal Communications Commission has given its seal of approval to a new Sony Ericsson phone, the Z310a. Judging by reports, the phone is essentially the same as the basic Z310 announced in December, complete with EDGE broadband, a camera and the same "mirror-finish" exterior. Newly revealed aspects include a web browser, an RSS reader and an e-mail client, which are normally unremarkable, but not always included on an entry-level phone. Music playback has been omitted, but the phone can still record sound snippets, and ringtones can be created with the MusicDJ application. Prices and ship dates have yet to be finalized.

V-MODA unveils luxury VIBE to match red iPod, Zune

02/01, 10:45am

V-MODA Red Roxx

V-MODA this morning revealed two special edition colors for its VIBE earbud line. Titled Red Roxx and La Mocha, the earpieces are aesthetically designed to match specific players. The former (shown) mixes red and black metal to accompany Apple's Product (RED) iPod nano; in turn, the gold and brown of La Mocha is tailored to suit the optional brown shade of Microsoft's Zune. Either version is functionally akin to the black and chrome models released earlier.

Red Roxx and La Mocha are available today for an official price of $100, and are said to be shipping now from both resellers and the online Apple Store.

Apple iPhone/iTMS, A/V control patents

02/01, 10:35am

New Apple patents

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published two new patent applications filed by Apple Inc. titled " Configuration of a computing device in a secure manner" and "Transmission of AV/C transactions over multiple transports method and apparatus." The former describes the ability of a future wireless iPod and/or iPhone (simply noted as a cellular phone) with the ability to access Apple's iTunes Music Store in a secure manner for the purposes of a device upgrade or commercial transaction. The latter patent relates to implementing Audio/Video Control (AV/C) device communication systems, as in the AV/C Digital Interface Command Set specified by IEEE 1394, and relates specifically to techniques for implementing the AV/C data packets over multiple transports.

Microsoft releases Windows Mobile Device Center beta

02/01, 10:30am

Mobile Device Center beta

Microsoft has launched Beta 3 of the Windows Mobile Device Center, the Vista replacement for ActiveSync. The program makes it easier to share data with portable devices running Windows Mobile 2003 or 5.0. Beyond using an interface reminiscent of Media Center, Device Center puts an increased emphasis on music and photo synchronization, shuffling the former while tagging and importing the latter. It should also be easier to set up a device and have Windows recognize it. The app is available in 32- and 64-bit versions, and requires Vista RC1 or later.

Toshiba launches new DVD/HDD media recorders

02/01, 10:15am

Toshiba Media Recorders

Toshiba on Thursday revealed a pair of new media recorders. The Vardia RD-S600 and RD-S300 let avid TV enthusiasts record their favorite programming both permanently and temporarily. Equipped with dual digital TV tuners, either model records scheduled analog cable and over-the-air broadcasts to an integrated hard disk, even while another show is playing. Shows can also be saved for posterity through the integrated DVD burner. Up to 78 hours of HDTV or 1071 hours of analog vido can be stored on the S600's combined 600GB of hard drive storage; as suggested by its name, the S300 holds half that amount. In either case the interface is simpler than for most of these devices, Toshiba claims. Only 24 easily-read buttons sit on the remote, and virtually every function is controlled through an easier on-screen menu system that visually labels clips for quicker access.

DVD playback is a standard feature, and all non-native sources are automatically upscaled to 720p or 1080i to match newer HDTV sets, the company adds. Both an HDMI port and Japan's native D4 connector are provided for connecting at full resolution; dual pairs of analog RCA and S-video inputs and outputs optionally give the Vardia recorders the option of recording or displaying to a conventional source. The Japanese electronics firm expects to ship both by February 28th in its native country and is likely to be converted for use in other countries in coming months.

Drops: The ultimate timewaster released

02/01, 10:10am

Derbrill releases Drops

Derbrill has released Drops, a "deceptively simple but captivating" game meant to help users pass the time. The casual game is designed to be addictive, challenging players to remove drops that are connected vertically and horizontally with a matching color via a mouse click. Higher scores are achieved when more drops are removed with one click, but more skill is required than is apparent at first sight, according to the game developer. Drops is priced at $9 (system requirements were unavailable).

Toybox releases Ouba: The Great Journey

02/01, 9:45am

Ouba: The Great Journey

Toybox Games has released its latest puzzle-arcade game for Mac users titled Ouba: The Great Journey. "Tragedy has befallen the tropical paradise village that has been home to generations of lovable Ouba's. Garouba's dark magic has turned it into a charred wasteland, and his relentless hunting of the Ouba's has scattered them across the lands. Your help is needed to rescue the fleeing Ouba's so that the village can be rebuilt." The new title features 200 levels, 10 power-ups, and an online high score board. Further highlights include a built-in MP3 player, story as well as survival modes, and thousands of Ouba's to interact with. Ouba: The Great Journey is available from Macgamestore.com for $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.

Verizon launches EVDO Rev. A broadband, adapters

02/01, 9:20am

Verizon EVDO Rev A

Verizon this morning officially unveiled the EVDO Revision A version of its BroadbandAccess mobile Internet service. The plan will initially beavailable in all of the carrier's Florida coverage areas as well as Boston, Chicago, and parts of Utah and Virginia. The upgrade dramatically improves real-world speeds, especially for uploads. Downloads average between 450 and 800Kbps, Verizon says; uploads, however, surge to between 300 and 400Kbps, well beyond the double-digit averages experienced in the field. A 1MB file is said to upload in roughly 25 seconds.

The provider has also announced its first adapters that will connect to the service. Newly announced is the USB720 (pictured), a Verizon equivalent to Sprint's U720 made by Novatel. The device plugs into the USB port of any compatible computer and will officially support both Mac OS X and Windows Vista, allowing the MacBook and computers without dedicated card slots to connect to Verizon's fastest network. The company additionally revealed that the already available AirCard 595 now officially supports the EVDO Rev. A service for older notebooks that use the PC Card format. The Internet access plan and both of the network adapters are ready today for business customers, according to Verizon, and should be available to the public starting tomorrow.

Nolobe acquires Stairways' Interarchy

02/01, 9:20am

Interarchy changes hands

Nolobe has acquired Stairways Software's Interarchy file transfer software. Described as an "employee buyout," lead developer Matthew Drayton has formed Nolobe Pty Ltd and acquired all rights to Interarchy. According to Stairways, Drayton has been "leading the development of Interarchy for some years now, so customers can expect the same level of quality software development and innovative features as Nolobe continues to develop and enhance Interarchy going forward." Nolobe will honor all existing licenses, and expects to release a new free upgrade (8.5) soon before continuing work on the next major release (9.0) due out later this year. "In general, users should not see any immediate change and can expect Interarchy to continue to lead the way in Internet clients. Price and availability remain the same," the company said in a statement. New customers can purchase Interarchy from Nolobe Store for $60.

Cisco gives Apple more time in iPhone suit

02/01, 8:35am

Cisco gives Apple reprieve

Apple and Cisco have both agreed to give Apple more time to respond to Cisco's lawsuit surrounding the iPhone moniker in order to discuss trademark rights and interoperability, the companies said late Wednesday. Networking giant Cisco earlier this month filed a lawsuit against Apple over the iPhone trademark, following unsuccessful negotiations leading up to the iPhone launch at Macworld Expo. On the day of the launch, Cisco seemed confident that an agreement was close, but Apple reportedly refused to capitulate to Cisco's demand for interoperability, resulting in a war of words between the companies and eventually a lawsuit against Apple. During a conference call with analysts earlier this month, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook called the Cisco lawsuit "silly," and said Cisco's trademark registration was "tenuous at best. If Cisco wants to challenge us," Cook said, "we're confident we'll prevail."

Sony-Ericsson W880 due for Europe next week?

02/01, 8:30am

S-E W880 Due Next Week

Sony Ericsson's much-anticipated W880 Walkman phone may be slated to arrive as soon as next week, according to news from Swedish site mobil. The slim designer handset should be available as of February 6th in its Swedish home territory, timed to reach stores just under a week before Barcelona's 3GSM World Congress cellphone event on the 12th of this month. Sony-Ericsson had originally promised a launch only in mid-2007, but appears to have confirmed an earlier source which claimed a February launch.

The news site has also posted new photos of the device's interface that verify its localization for the country as well as show new elements of the Cross Media Bar (XMB) interface, including what appears to be a music visualizer. Te phone has already been shown using English lanugage interfaces and is likely to be release in the US within a few months of its Swedish unveiling given recent FCC approval. Click through for a gallery.

Briefly: Dell returns, MS Zune exec departs

02/01, 12:30am

Dell returns to help Dell

Briefly: With a bleak outlook and facing a growing assault by rival Hewlett-Packard, Dell ex-CEO Michael Dell said he will retake control of the company he founded, following the resignation of his protégé Kevin Rollins as CEO and board member; the announcement pushed Dell shares up by 4 percent to $25.14 in after-hours trading, despite the announcement that it expects fourth-quarter results to be below average Wall Street consensus estimates of $0.32 EPS on $15.3 billion..... A key Microsoft senior executive who oversaw the release of the company's Zune media player project, which reached about 10 percent marketshare in December, has announced plans to leave to pursue personal interests: Bryan Lee, Microsoft's corporate vice president of its entertainment and devices division, also played a critical role in shaping the Xbox game console business and the introduction of its Internet Protocol television software.

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