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News Archive for 07/03/02

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Digital Foci to debut Image Moments 6 at PMA

03/02, 5:40pm

Image Moments 6 at PMA

Digital Foci today promised to introduce its Image Moments 6 IMT-062 (site not updated) high-resolution digital photo frame at next week's Photo Marketing Association Conference (PMA) in Las Vegas. The new frame displays photos on its 5.7-inch digital LCD screen with what Digital Foci claims is the highest pixel resolution on the market. The Image Moments 6 IMT-062 is a smaller, lower cost version of the Image Moments IMT-081 8-inch digital frame that features a contemporary brushed chrome design with polished chrome highlights. The Image Moments 6 enables owners to display photos directly from virtually any digital camera memory card without a computer, and includes a USB port to support external storage devices. The new frame is priced at $160, and is slated for shipment in June of this year.

Vodafone: iPhone to benefit mobile carriers

03/02, 5:35pm

Vodafone chief on iPhone

German-based Vodafone chief Friedrich Joussen expressed his approval of Apple's iPhone, saying that the device will have a positive effect on his company's business because it will set new trends for the downloadable mobile music market. Those new trends, Joussen said, will bring greater revenues for mobile carriers, according to iPhone World. The executive believes that Vodafone itself will benefit from its investment in UMTS-enabled network development, and several Vodafone executives have publicly expressed interest in becoming the exclusive iPhone distributor in Europe.

Kitchen concept keeps stock, suggests meals

03/02, 5:30pm

Yummy Kitchen Connect

One of the entries in the current Next-Gen PC Design Competition (held by Microsoft and the Industrial Designers of America) is the Yummy Kitchen Connect, which would use a touchscreen, a barcode scanner and Internet access to to handle everything related to meal planning. The Yummy would be given your diet and favorite recipes, and from there make recommendations based on current pantry stock, which would be scanned in when it was brought home. Shopping lists could be created automatically, and new guides and recipes could be located online. Public voting in the competition is now underway; browse the site to see rival devices.

Briefly: review; Apple hiring in Sydney

03/02, 5:10pm

Review, Apple hiring

In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Sony DRX-803UL-T DVD Rewriteable drive, Apple has posted job offerings on its website to hire staff for its forthcoming retail store in Sydney, iLuv offered an early look at its i185 video dock for Apple's video iPod, and Microsoft still faces looming fines for failing to comply with demands to give third-party software developers fair access to Windows code. Sony's DRX-803UL-T DVD Rewriteable drive ($120-150, shown at right) boasts 18x DVD+R burning capability within an elegantly designed enclosure designed to complement pro Mac systems. The device offers one B-style USB 2.0 interface alongside two FireWire 400 jacks. Users can orient the drive horizontally with four rubber feet pre-installed on one side or vertically with an included clear plastic stand to minimize desk space usage.

ABS laptop balances gaming, cost, weight

03/02, 4:55pm

ABS Mayhem Blackhawk

ABS' Mayhem Blackhawk may not be the most powerful gaming laptop, but at 3.8 pounds, it is lighter than many. It uses a 14.1-inch screen, and by default comes with a DVD burner, Vista Home Premium, and a 256MB GeForce Go 7600. Stock memory is low, but the system can be customized to have 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Likewise, the 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor can be upgraded to a 2.33GHz chip. Minor features include multiple card readers, 802.11a/b/g wireless, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and an optional Bluetooth module. A fully-equipped Blackhawk can be ordered today for just over $2,000.

Philips packs DVD, iPod viewing into one player

03/02, 4:50pm

Philips DVD iPod Player

Philips has begun offering the DCP850. The Dutch firm says its latest entry into portable DVD players adapts to the increasing shift towards hard drive and flash players by including more than just DVD storage. A slot next to the disc drive docks with any fifth-generation iPod to play its video on the much larger 8.5-inch LCD and stereo speakers, resting perfectly flush with the case to let the iPod stay inside the player for the entirety a trip. An SD reader on the side will load DivX and MPEG-4 movies. The optical reader is also intelligent enough to support MP3 CDs, VCDs, and SVCDs.

The handheld video player is just now reaching the market ahd should be available in the US for $250. [via Technabob]

Sanyo blends cassettes with digital media in boombox

03/02, 4:15pm

Sanyo MAJ-U02 Boombox

Sanyo has made the unusual decision of releasing the MAJ-U02, a boombox that merges old technology with new. The silver boombox is capable of playing media dating back to cassette tapes but also includes an SD card reader and a USB port for reading MP3s from flash drives, iPods, and other external storage. Formats in between are handled by a CD player and a digitally-controlled FM radio tuner. An optical audio output will also stream whatever might be playing to a larger home stereo.

Amazon UK lists the Sanyo portable as shipping now for $253 -- American availability, however, is unknown. [via Coolest Gadgets]

Best Buy admits to potentially deceptive website

03/02, 3:50pm

Best Buy website exposed

Facing a probe from the Connecticut Attorney General's office, Best Buy has admitted that the site customers see in the store is not the same as the Internet website. The issue has come to the fore due to the Hartford Courant's George Gombossy, who confirmed a tip that Best Buy uses an intranet made to resemble the real website, but with artificially higher prices. The company has allegedly used this intranet to deny discounts to in-store customers, though a representative disputes this, saying the intranet was never meant to deceive people. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has complained about the investigation's progress meanwhile, noting that "their [Best Buy's] responses seem to raise as many questions as they answer."

Microsoft wins partial victory in lawsuit battle

03/02, 3:40pm

MS Lawsuit Dismissed

US federal judge Rudi Brewster today dismissed a controversial Alcatel-Lucent patent claim against Microsoft regarding speech recognition. Issuing a summary judgment, Brewster said that Microsoft hadn't infringed on the French-American company's patents, saving the former from a potentially damaging court case. Alcatel-Lucent said it would appeal the decision.

The reprieve may offer a glimmer of hope to Microsoft. The company was handed a defeat in an MP3 lawsuit just a week before but could now point to today's win as a reason to overturn the earlier decision.

Freestyle player promises true waterproof music

03/02, 3:15pm

Freestyle Waterproof MP3

Freestyle Audio has introduced its simply-titled Digital Music Player, calling it the world's first truly waterproof MP3 device. The main unit and its custom in-canal earbuds can be submerged completely in depths of up to ten feet for as long as the listener can stay in the water. A locking synch on the cables keeps them close to the body, preventing tangles during a swim; appropriately, wearers can use the included armband or lanyard to hold the player steady. The internal battery lasts for up to 40 hours on a single charge.

Three models have been released, with either 256MB ($140), 512MB ($170), or 1GB ($200) of flash memory to store MP3 music. Freestyle says every version should be available today. [via CrunchGear]

Material bends physics with zero light distortion

03/02, 2:45pm

Light Absorbing Nanorods

Researchers have developed a breakthrough light-absorbing material, Rennselaer Polytechnic announced yesterday. The New York state school has successfully created a near perfect anti-reflective optical coating (shown at left) using angled silica nanorods on top of an aluminum nitride layer. The result all but stops light from refracting as it hits the surface: light either passes through unchanged or is completely absorbed.

Although too fragile to be used in the wet, the invention could result in much more efficient use of light, scientists say. Solar cells could receive much more light, while LEDs and other sources could become 'smarter' by having complete control over the amount of light that escapes. No production plans yet exist but should come within the next few years. [via ZDNet]

Highpoint debuts PCI-Express 4x RAID controller

03/02, 2:10pm

Highpoint RAID controller

Highpoint today revealed the RocketRAID 2314 PCI-Express 4x RAID controller, a 4-port device that supports RAID modes 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks). The controllers party-piece includes support for port multipliers, which allow users to connect up to five drives at once to each of the device's four ports for maximum array capacity (using 750GB drives) of 15TB. the RocketRAID 2314 supports Hotswapping and hot plugging, as well as S.M.A.R.T monitoring connected disks to track their status. The card also offers automatic array rebuilding alongside staggered drive spinup and boot capability from an array. the RocketRAID 2314 is priced at $145, and is expected to ship in mid-March.

TomTom ONE XL at the FCC

03/02, 2:10pm

TomTom ONE XL at FCC

While the current focus of attention may be the DUO and its iPod integration, another TomTom GPS receiver at the FCC is the ONE XL. Based on the current ONE, it should have fairly conventional features such as Bluetooth, and SD slot and 32MB of RAM, but will also have a much larger screen, possibly as big as five to seven inches versus the basic ONE's 3.5 inches. The screen ratio has also shifted to widescreen from a standard 4:3. Since the device is still waiting for approval from the FCC, no costs or timeframes have been published.

Refurb iMacs priced from $949, RED nanos

03/02, 2:05pm

Refurb iMacs, RED nanos

Apple is offering refurbished Intel Core Duo iMacs from $949, Core 2 Duo iMacs from $1049, and current generation (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition iPod nanos from $169. The Cupertino-based company's reconditioned iMacs include the 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo model for $949 with 512MB of memory and a 160GB hard drive; the 17-inch 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo model for $1,049 with 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive; the 20-inch 2GHz Intel Core Duo model for $1,199 with 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive; the 20-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo edition for $1,299 with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive; and the 24-inch 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo edition for $1,699 with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. Price-conscious customers are also able to purchase refurbished 4GB and 8GB current-generation iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition iPods for $169 and $209, respectively.

Toshiba tweaks Gigashot V10 with SDHC, Vista

03/02, 2:00pm

Toshiba Gigashot V10T

Toshiba today brought its handheld DV cameras into 2007 with the Gigashot V10(T). The new recorder combines an already unique 4GB, 0.85-inch micro hard drive with support for SDHC cards, letting the user add another 4GB or more of storage for extra-long clips. Software is also new in the update, Toshiba says. Beyond existing Mac and Windows XP support, the updated Gigashot is ready for Windows Vista and bundles with a custom program titled PowerProducer for editing movies and authoring DVDs.

Pricing is unavailable; however, the camera goes on sale in Japan by March 9th with a dark titanium color scheme and is likely to reach Toshiba's American division in coming months.

Speaker umbrella adds soundtrack for rainy days

03/02, 1:35pm

SDesignUnit Umbrella

Korean design firm SDesignUnit recently developed the Music in the Rain, an original concept for listening to music. Four wafer-thin speakers in its fabric will play songs as long as the umbrella is open. Navigating tracks is also simple, the creative outlet claims: spinning the umbrella will skip forward and backwards through tracks. The system will also work at home by hanging on a cradle with a built-in speaker.

The concept recently won the iF Design Award and will likely lead to production models from companies outside of SDesignUnit and its home country, but has yet to receive a definite commitment from a manufacturer. [via Popgadget]

Grundig B700 smartphone on the way

03/02, 1:30pm

Grundig B700 smartphone

Distributing primarily to Europe, German company Grundig has announced a new business-oriented smartphone, the Linux-based B700. It's a quad-band GSM phone with EDGE broadband, and has other modern features as well, such as a push e-mail client, a two-megapixel camera, and a 2.4-inch QVGA screen. It plays AAC and MP3 audio, and can also play and record video. Unusual for a business phone is the inclusion of an FM radio tuner. Internal storage amounts to 100MB, but can be expanded through a microSD slot. The phone does not yet have pricing or release dates attached, but it is unlikely to reach North America.

Apps: Peek-a-Boo, Alice, DasBoot, Xslimmer

03/02, 1:25pm

Peek-a-Boo, Alice, DasBoot

    Peek-a-Boo 2.6 ($20) is a utility designed to monitor and manage processes that focuses on clarity as well as flexibility. The update adds a new system information view as a small floating window that shows system-wide CPU usage, memory usage, and virtual memory status. Peek-a-Boo 2.6 also includes several minor updates and fixes. [Download - 1.2MB]
    Alice Patch 1.1.2 (from $12) updates the 3D game title challenging players to navigate a twisted version of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. Alice 1.1.2 runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and fixes an issue with garbled or sped up sound when altering sound settings. The update also repairs some miscellaneous sound panning issues, as well as potential crashes when loading a level or switching resolutions while playing. [Download - 6.22MB]
    DasBoot 1.0.2 (free) enables users to create a bootable diagnostic device that contains custom utility from any third party boot CD. The update includes new documentation, as well as a frequently asked questions document. The latest release also incorporates filtration to prevent the usage of an unsuitable boot disk, and includes several minor bug fixes. [Download - 11.1MB]
    Default Folder X 3.0.4 ($15) is a free update to the utility enabling users to enhance Open and Save dialogs. Default Folder X 3.0.4 improves compatibility and corrects issues reported since version 3.0.3, supporting unmodified function keys as hotkeys and hiding the toolbar while users resize a file dialog. The update no longer tries to mount servers or disk images that are offline, and correctly remembers recent folders that contains items opened by Spotlight. [Download - 6.4MB]
    Xslimmer 1.2.2 ($12) is a disk saving application that removes the version of code contained in Mac applications that isn't needed on the Mac running the software. When run on Intel Macs, Xslimmer removes the PowerPC version of the application in question. PowerPC-based Macs conversely removes the Intel-based code. The update adds the ability to strip architecture code as well as unwanted language localizations, providing more disk space than previous iterations. [Download - 1.7MB]

Immersion, Sony call truce over force feedback

03/02, 1:05pm

Immersion and Sony Truce

Ending a longstanding feud, Immersion and Sony together announced that they had reached a settlement over the alleged misuse of Immersion's vibration patent in Sony's Dual Shock controllers. While the exact level of compensation will remain secret, the companies revealed that Sony has agreed to accept Immersion's demands, which included paying the full amount granted to the force feedback device maker in 2004 as well as court costs and damages.

Buffalo mice replace wheel with D-pad

03/02, 12:40pm

Buffalo mice with D-pads

Japanese maker Buffalo has introduced a new USB 2.0 mouse with an atypical control scheme. In place of the scrollwheel, the BOMU-JK/M substitutes a direction pad, reminiscent of that on gamepad controllers for consoles. While it reduces the ability to scroll in any direction, users can simply hold an arrow down to keep scrolling in a single direction, which may reduce repeated strain on joints and muscles. The mouse is Vista compatible, and is being sold in silver or black for 3,320 yen ($28). Any custom configuration requires a Japanese operating system.

AKVIS Retoucher plug-in 2.5 improves installation

03/02, 12:25pm

Retoucher plug-in 2.5

AKVIS has released Retoucher plug-in 2.5, enhancing the software designed to restore damaged photographs with minimal effort. The plug-in removes surface defects such as scratches, water spots, flakes, and stains automatically, according to the company, and enables users to remove date stamps as well as logos or small irrelevant details. The latest revision of Retoucher plug-in feature a new installation and activation method on Mac OS X. Retoucher includes a feature to reconstruct the lacking parts of a photo using the information contained in the surrounding areas, enabling users to restore a torn photo or photos with parts missing in some cases. The update is available for free to registered users, and licenses are priced at $90. Retoucher plug-in 2.5 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

Meizu's iPhone clone to cost less than iPhone

03/02, 12:00pm

iPhone clone pricing

Meizu's miniOne will borrow even more directly from Apple's iPhone interface than expected, even as the company trims its pricing. The handset is to feature a contact list and text messaging virtually indistinguishable from the iPhone, including elements such as the side column of letters for faster navigation. Meizu unveiled the MiniOne in mid-February, which at the time was described one one MacNN reader as a "visual carbon copy" of Apple's iPhone. The company claims it has established pricing well below the iPhone: a standard edition with a camera and 4GB of storage will cost as little as $310, with an 8GB variant costing $400 (vs. Apple's $499 4GB model and top-end $599 8GB version). A basic version of the MiniOne without the camera will retail for even less -- $195 and $285 for 4GB and 8GB, respectively. Meizu said it may unveil an external camera attachment for the basic version, and the phone is due to ship by the end of the year.

Shadow 3 adds file-level selection

03/02, 11:45am

Shadow 3 released

NewTech Infosystems has released Shadow 3, updating the software that enables automatic, continuous backup of photos, music, data, and video files to nearly any attached storage device. The latest release offers file-level selection, support for file backup as well as sharing of backup devices, and an auto delete option. Shadow 3 also features an enhanced user interface, custom file type filtering with include/exclude options, and enhanced device support for USB flash drives as well as NAS devices. The Dragon Disc enabled version of Shadow adds support for all optical media types including DVD-RAM and Blu-ray (on Windows systems only). Shadow 3 requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and is priced at $30.

Briefly: DRM removal call backfires; DNA visualizer

03/02, 11:35am

DRM; DNA visualizer

In brief: A digital music gathering rejects Steve Jobs' views on DRM, DNA visualization software drops in price, and Disc Makers introduces Blu-Ray tower duplicators. Apple CEO Steve Jobs' attempt to call for the removal of DRM has backfired, according to panel members at a conference yesterday. Speaking at the Digital Music Forum East conference, multiple participants in the discussion specifically criticized Jobs' open letter, calling it a "red herring" that distracted from the real issue of Apple's FairPlay copy protection shutting out other stores and device makers. Pro-DRM panellists argued that at least some form of digital rights management was needed for online sales.

Uniden jumps into GPS with new mappers

03/02, 11:30am

Uniden GPS Units

Uniden on Friday made its initial foray into the GPS business by releasing a pair of GPS receivers. Both the 4-inch GPS402 (shown) and 3.5-inch GPS352 are built to be used immediately without a software sync and come preloaded with complete maps of Canada and the US -- including the sometimes neglected regions of Alaska and Hawaii, Uniden adds. The finer aspects of navigation are also addressed with an unusually large 4 million points of interest spread across both countries. Either model can work outside of a vehicle for up to three hours on a removable battery.

The GPS units are already shipping from Amazon today at prices of $316 for the GPS352 and $378 for the larger GPS402. [via NaviGadget]

VMWare Fusion beta supports 3D graphics, Leopard

03/02, 11:05am

VMWare Fusion Beta 2

VMware today released a second beta of its virtualization software that allows uses to run other operating systems, including Windows, from within Mac OS X. VMWare Fusion Beta 2 brings experimental 3D graphics support, snapshots to rollback virtual machines when recovering from bad software installs or viruses, and improved support for Windows Vista. The software, an alternative to the Bootcamp solution offered by Apple, enables users to both install and run operating systems while running Mac OS X; Bootcamp, on the other hand, requires users to choose a single OS on startup. Fusion offers support for Windows XP/Vista as well as Linux and Unix distributions.

Shiro preps three pocket-sized video players

03/02, 11:05am

Shiro Video Players

Relative unknown device maker Shiro said this week that it hopes to break into the rapidly expanding world of flash-based video players with three new models tailored to different sizes and tastes. The Shiro MK (pictured), ME, and VE will all have support for video in addition to the now universal support for MP3, WAV, and WMA songs. Significantly, however, all three will also have a card slot for extra storage. The thicker 2GB MK will have an SD slot for potentially doubling its available space, Shiro says; though slimmer, the 4GB ME and VE players will use cellphone-oriented miniSD and microSD cards respectively. Extra details and photos of the trio follow after the break.

Macs are 'the ideal platform' for SMB

03/02, 11:00am

Macs in SMB

Macs are the "ideal platform" for small businesses, according to a Computerworld column that says Apple appears to be targeting this new market with advanced but accessible features in its release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard as well as its marketing pitch. "In many ways, Mac OS X is an ideal platform for small businesses and offices," the publication says. "It is easy to install and set up, often requires little technical support to maintain, and remains free of many of the virus and malware problems that plague Windows PCs. All of this should be appealing for a business with anywhere from a handful to a few dozen employees that cannot afford full-time IT staff."

Aska Tripper V stores up to 160GB of photos

03/02, 10:45am

160GB of photo storage

Where once photo backup was limited to small drives with tiny LCDs, or none at all, products like the Aska Tripper V now rival competing media players. The 4.3-inch LCD supports resolutions up to 800x480, and there are four different drive capacities, ranging from 40 to 160GB. Slots are present for both CF and SD cards. When not being used on assignment or at home, the Tripper can also play MPEG-4 video, or AAC and MP3 audio files. The 80, 120 and 160GB models cost between 49,980 and and 79,800 yen ($425-679) and will ship March 12th; the 40GB drive is coming in early April for 39,900 yen ($340).

EA offers game tracks, music via iTunes

03/02, 10:30am

EA offers music on iTunes

Electronic Arts today announced that its music from its best-selling games will be available for purchase from the iTunes Store. Linked from a special section on the company's website, users can jump directly to an iMix of the music from their favorite EA game on iTunes. "From Madden NFL to Burnout to Need for Speed, every song that can be heard in the game can now be purchased on iTunes including exclusive mixes, non-album cuts and previously unavailable international tracks. Today marks the world debut of the unforgettable version of The Doors' Riders on the Storm that Snoop Dogg remixed exclusively for Need for Speed Underground. The songs are live in North America today and will be available soon throughout Europe," the company said. EA says it will continue add songs, scores, themes, beats and ringtones from EA game franchises past and present including NBA LIVE, FIFA Soccer, Command & Conquer, Medal of Honor, NASCAR, SSX, Battlefield and more.

Gizmac ships hard-shell iPod nano case

03/02, 10:25am

Titan Clear iPod nano case

GizMac today revealed its new Titan Clear iPod nano case for the second generation iPod nano, made from polycarbonate the case features a beveled opening for comfortable clickwheel access and a thin film covering over the clickwheel itself for protection. Gizmac claim that the Titan Clear doesn't interfere with oversized earphone and dock connector plugs due to the placement of the ipod within the case. Additionally the Titan Clear is supplied with a carabiner clip, armband, 360-degree belt clip and a lanyard. The Titan Clear iPod case is available now and is priced at $25.

Apple updates Backup, DVD Studio Pro

03/02, 10:20am

Backup, DVD Studio Pro

Apple has released Backup 3.1.1, an update to its backup software for members of its paid .Mac software. The update, highly recommended by Apple, addresses issues with backup and restore with external drives, memory management, and restoral of bundled file types. .Mac members can get the update by selecting the Backup icon on the .Mac website and via Automatic Software Update to .Mac members who have already installed a previous version of Backup. Apple has also released an update to DVD Studio Pro, its professional application for making DVDs. According to Apple, DVD Studio Pro 4.1.2 provides important bug fixes and addresses compatibility issues with DVD Studio Pro 4.1 HD DVD projects and Toshiba HD DVD players. DVD Studio Pro 4.1.2 also updates the Disc Description Protocol (DDP) 2.1 to DDP 3.0 and the Cutting Master Format (CMF) 1.0 to CMF 2.0, which is required for HD DVD replication. Apple says the update is recommended for all DVD Studio Pro 4.1 users.

YouTube nabs deal with BBC for Top Gear, more

03/02, 10:20am

YouTube Deal With BBC

The BBC today announced that it had struck a landmark deal with YouTube to put a large amount of its content on the video streaming site. The first such international agreement of its kind will see the Google-owned network host short segments of the British broadcaster's programming that vary by channel, the BBC says. The already launched BBC channel will host show commentary and behind the scenes footage; an upcoming channel, BBC News, will in turn give viewers outside the UK an opportunity to see news reports previously available only on the BBC's website.

Apps: SuperDuper, MacFamilyTree, Groupcal

03/02, 9:55am

SuperDuper, MacFamilyTree

    SuperDuper! 2.1.4 ($30) adds support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to the system recovery software. SuperDuper! 2.1.4 enables users to schedule backups, offers additional imaging options, provides more control over shutdowns, and immproves AppleScript support. The update also includes Growl support, as well as a readable complete task-based user's guide. [Download - 2.7MB]
    MacFamilyTree 4.4.0 ($50) is a modern genealogy application for Mac OS X that features a new major topic with report functionality. A kinship report lists all related persons to the currently selected family, and a kinship report shows all relatives and names them up to the sixth generation. The update also improves HTML export, and includes minor fixes as well as full support for Unicode. [Download - 11MB]
    Groupcal 3.80 ($55) brings Microsoft's Exchange calendars to iCal. The update adds the ability to capture Exchange-based file attachments, improves invitation panel behavior, and adds a warning to turn off iCal syncing in Entourage if that application is installed. The latest release also adds detection and instructions, and fixes a bug where the organizer of an event could be lost. [Download - [form]]
    Awaken 3.1 ($9) is a digital alarm clock for Mac OS X designed to wake up users by playing music or podcasts from an iTunes library, or via any of its built-in alarm sounds. Awaken 3.1 adds the ability to create alarms using more than a dozen built-in alarm sounds, and offers an entirely redesigned user interface with the ability to rate songs playing at alarm time. [Download - 3.8MB]
    SteamTRAIN 2.1.1 ($20) updates the Mac-only steam locomotive and train simulator, making the act of driving a train more challenging and perilous. A new railroad clock keeps track of schedules, and the simulation software supports day as well as night driving taking into account such concepts as fuuel consumption and changing grades. [Download - 2.9MB]
    Calcline 1.1.2 ($20) evaluates mathematical expressions with parentheses, nesteds function and variables. The latest release offers better management of calculation, ensuring that pressing return always recalculates the content of the input string. The update also improves management of new variable creation, and includes several bug fixes related to variable calculation. [Download - 344KB]

Meizu iPhone clone's UI, pricing revealed

03/02, 9:30am

Meizu Copies iPhone UI

Meizu's notorious miniOne will borrow even more directly from the iPhone's interface than expected while trimming prices, according to a forum post made by the company's president. The touchscreen handset will have both contact lists and text messages virtually inseparable from the Apple original, including minor elements such as the side column of letters for faster navigation. Click through for prices and interface images after the break.

KTF rolls out 3G phone with lip-sync privacy

03/02, 9:10am

EV-W100 Lip-Sync Phone

Seeking to separate its phone lineup from the crowd, KTF has announced the EV-W100. The slider connects to HSDPA networks and has the increasingly prevalent front camera for video calls, but uses the technology to give callers an edge in privacy. A special lip-sync program replaces the video footage with an avatar on the recipient's end, matching the movement of the character's lips to the caller's voice. Ordinary male and female characters can be chosen alongside 'fun' stand-ins such as pigs or gorillas.

Other touches of the half-inch thick phone include a 2-megapixel camera, a 330,000 word dictionary, and stereo Bluetooth audio. The phone sells in its home country for under $425. A profile shot follows after the jump.

Zune share burgeons in January

03/02, 8:20am

Zune Share Grows

The Zune is gaining traction in the US market, NPD results have revealed. The research firm's January 2007 marketshare figures put the Microsoft-designed player at 9.9 percent of all hard drive music players sold in the country, a sharp jump from the 9.0 percent reported in the player's first month. While the NPD study is said to be an incomplete survey of stores and covers only a portion of all music players, the data points to a stable foundation for the young device.

The analyst group also noted that the Zune Marketplace grew much more quickly than expected, with a 60 percent increase in subscriptions to the unlimited-access Zune Pass service and a 65 percent climb in the number of individual songs bought through Microsoft's music store. [via Zune Insider]

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