Toon Boom Animation has released Toon Boom Storyboard, its digital storyboarding software aimed at creators who need to map out story boards and associated elements for video games, cartoons, films and other presentations. The tool features support for industry standard bitmap and vector files, a customizable and searchable captions field and the ability to reuse assets from built-in image template library, and carries a price of $250. Other features include access true multi-layers vector drawing tools with pressure sensitivity and the ability to export storyboards to PDF using predefined pages or custom layouts. The software will be on display during InfoComm 2007 at booth 11001 and the National Education Computing Conference at booth 2416.
AT&T said it would expand the number of stores carrying Apple's much anticipated iPhone sometime after the initial launch and that consumer device only will be sold at retail stores owned by Apple Inc. and AT&T as well as the online Apple Store. The iPhone goes on sale starting at 6 p.m. local time on June 29th; however, the AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook told the Associated Press that the the limited availability will only be for the initial launch and that the company plans on selling the iPhone through AT&T's Web site and through its other channel outlets and partners. AT&T, which owns 1,800 retail stores, said that some of its other franchise outlets that carry the AT&T or Cingular name will also sell the iPhone sometime after the launch.
One New York City retailer is offering the iPhone for pre-order, a product page says. MobileCityOnline claims to be selling the 8GB version for $700 -- a $100 premium above the official $599 pricing. The 4GB version will carry a similar added cost, the store says. Unlike the recent Pure Mobile offering, however, the store so far declines to mention whether the device will be unlocked or how it will buy the phones, which are currently limited to official Apple and AT&T stores.
Nokia's luxury label Vertu has expanded its defining Signature line with a new, limited-run phone. The Colored Diamonds Edition includes two versions of the handset with rose gold for the bezel and keypad, but with diamonds and other precious gems in floral patterns around the edges. Where the relatively modest White Diamonds model includes 385 white diamonds and pink sapphires, the Colored Diamonds version is more elaborate still with 923 combined pink and white diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.
Apple's first Bluetooth headset has been approved just two weeks before its parent iPhone's launch, according to a new FCC filing made public today. The document confirms that the 2.4GHz device won't cause significant interference and can be legally sold in the country. No new information accompanies the text, though the device shown briefly at Macworld in January is known to have an extremely simplified, one-button control for accepting incoming calls.
MPIO today expanded the crowd of flash-based video players with a new version of its MG100. The new version offers 4GB of storage with the ability to play videos converted to the specialized MTV video format; although small at 0.36 inches thick, the device has enough battery life to play clips uninterrupted for 6 hours. Music lasts for a considerably longer 20 hours and supports the virtually standard MP3 and WMA formats, including protected WMA from Napster and similar shops. Line-in and voice recording, however, are mixed in for capturing directly from the radio or in a lecture. FM radio and photo viewing complete the feature set.
AT&T is considering skipping Intel's WiMAX technology altogether in favor of continuing with refinements to existing cellular mobile Internet, according to carrier VP Chris Hill. The executive says that his company can't see the "value proposition" behind WiMAX, as it delivers virtually the same speed as upcoming cellular technology dubbed Long Term Evolution (LTE), also known as Super 3G. WiMAX would more likely see its way into AT&T's network to support the network rather than become the network itself, Hill says.
In brief: OWC is shipping 4GB upgrade kits for the new MacBook Pros, Apple's ranks 11th in terms of traffic, we've posted reviews of both the iMage webcam and V-Moda earbuds, New Zealand's only Mac magazine is ceasing publication, and FIleMaker is being touted as a tool for eBay sellers.
AT&T hopes to make the launch of the iPhone a special event at its stores, according to a source in touch with the cell provider's plans. Similar to some of Apple's own launch events for Mac OS X in past years, AT&T will reportedly close all of the company-run stores at 4:30PM, giving staff the opportunity to prepare the store for the iPhone's launch at 6PM. All the stores in question would also stay open until 12AM to handle demand. The timing of the close is significant, according to the claims. Apple is said to be timing the phone shipments to arrive within the two hours preceding the launch to prevent uninformed or overly eager store employees from selling the iPhone in advance.
British demand for the iPhone is very high despite its limitations, new research published by M:Metrics shows. The company's study points to about 56 percent of the over 5,200 respondents being aware of the device; approximately 28 percent of those have "strong" interest in buying the handset as is, the analysts say. An extrapolation by the firm estimates that the figure would amount to almost 7 million of all cellphone users in the country, or almost 16 percent of the entire field.
USB Fever has introduced two new products that act as charging/synchronization stations for the iPod and also deliver AV output to play music through stereos and photos/video through television sets and other external monitors with appropriate inputs. The iPod AV, Sync and Charging Dock is priced at $40 and can play video from the fifth-generation iPod, photos from the 4th generation iPod, and charge/synchronize all other iPod models. The package includes a USB2.0 Dock Cable, an RCA cable, and an S-Video cable x 1. Another version of this product, the iPod AV, Sync and Charging Dock, includes a remote but lacks the USB 2.0 cable and video cables included with the former model. It is priced at $35.
Fujitsu has just recently begun shipping the full range of its new LifeBooks based on Intel's recent Santa Rosa technology, both confirming prices and elaborating on full specs. The A6030 is now known to ship with 2GB of RAM and has options for a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, a brighter (450-nit versus 300) 1280x800 display, and installing a 1GB Turbo Memory cache to boost load times; it also includes a Fujitsu staple of a touchpad with handwriting recognition for a stylus. The base 1.8GHz version now ships for $1,299 and is supported by a 2GHz version at $1,449.
While Apple has been able to dominate market spaces in which it controls the device from top to bottom (iPhone, iPod, the Macintosh), the company may be taking a huge gamble with Safari 3.0 for Windows by entering a market space where it is on a level playing field. A Mike Elgan piece opines that Apple has essentially picked a fight it cannot win, having "uncharacteristically entered a mature market not created or controlled by Apple." Noting that security experts published information about some 18 security holes found in the new browser, Elgan says that Apple was chastised harshly by bloggers and other vocal Windows users.
"Sideloading" rather "downloading" may be the key feature of newer smartphones, such as the iPhone. While much has been made of other iPhone features, Nokia's board member Daniel Hesse says that the iPhone's "sideloading" feature -- downloading music to computer and then syncing it to a smartphone -- may be one of the keys to its success. The much-anticipated consumer device is being criticized because users can’t access the iTunes store "over-the-air" and download music directly to their phones, but Nokia's Hesse says that "over-the-air" downloads may not be as desirable to consumers. Hesse told The Browser that, for transferring music and multimedia files to mobile phones, “sideloading will be absolutely crucial and that "no matter how fast the wireless networks get here, the computer is always faster."
Settling a patent dispute that was brewing in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas with respect to certain, unnamed Apple products, Acacia Research has announced that Apple will now license specific GUI technology from its IP Innovation subsidiary. Though neither Acacia nor Apple is disclosing precisely what technology was licensed, Acacia controls 71 patent portfolios covering technologies in varying areas like audio/video enhancement and synchronization, broadcast data retrieval, data encryption and product activation, digital media transmission (DMT), digital video production, interactive data sharing, interactive television and more.
As part of its major phone introductions, Sony-Ericsson has also revealed a large suite of accessories all made for music listening. Topping the list, the MDS-65 is one of the company's few full-sized speaker docks and centers around a new type of dock connector that rotates, letting virtually any Walkman phone and several of the company's standard phones play music while they charge from either the stand's disposable batteries or a wall outlet when the speaker set is plugged in. It ships to several regions in summer with a price to be set later.
Bookeen's upcoming Cybook device should be flexible, according to sources familiar with its development. Although the eBook reader should support copy-protected formats like Mobipocket, additional support should come for more universal standards such as HTML, PDF, and RTF; it will also run the Open eBook format and even play MP3 files for some audiobooks or background music, the contacts say. The 6-inch e-ink screen should be useful for about 8000 pages on a single charge despite a reader only a third of an inch thick.
Apple has launched yet another iTunes ad (scroll down and click 'play') on US television -- this time featuring former Beatle Paul McCartney. 'Macca' appears in the advertisement to sing Dance Tonight, the title track from his latest album Memory Almost Full and features pastel backgrounds with a non-silhouetted McCartney singing and dancing along a traditional English street, according to Macworld UK. While reports have surfaced that indicated that bringing the Beatles music to iTunes was "virtually settled," fans may have to wait until 2008, according to Olivia Harrison, the widow of late guitarist/singer/songwriter George Harrison. Despite the landmark settlement of a trademark dispute that dates back to Apple Inc. (then Apple Computer Inc.'s) inception, Harrison said that a few things still needed to be worked out elsewhere before the music will be available for digital download and purchase.
byd:design broke out from the pack on Friday through its LF4201DAB. The company hopes to offer features in its new 42-inch LCD TV that have been rare or even non-existent in other sets. The set matches the 1080p resolution of many sets but includes a total of four HDMI inputs. This is more than virtually any other TV set in the class and can be essential for some: those who use a PlayStation 3, an HD video recorder, and a media center PC would overburden just about any other set by themselves, the company says. The LF4201DAB also rolls out a new two-way HDTV tuner that includes a programming guide for over-the-air broadcasts and the ability to send data back during interactive shows.
Sony is all but certain to cut the PlayStation 3's price in the near future, the company's CEO Sir Howard Stringer has revealed in an interview published today. The executive observes that the main question at the current stage in the PS3's life is the extent of the price cut. The company is "trying to refine" the cut to achieve its maximum effect, he says. Although Stringer declined to provide a target range for the cuts, researchers expect that Sony may trim the price by as much as $100 before the holiday season, hoping to spur a fresh wave of sales. A combination of a cut and "break-out" games would revitalize the console, Stringer says.
Adobe today released Adobe Stock Photos 1.5, an update to its solution for downloading images from the web from within its Creative Suite of applications. The update enables Adobe Bridge CS3 users to access the Adobe Stock Photos service. Adobe Stock Photos provides quick access to over one million royalty-free images from 24 of the world's top collections: users can search, download, manage, and buy from a single source. The company notes that the Adobe Stock Photos service must be installed on the computer in the same directory or folder as Adobe Bridge CS3.
NEC wrapped up its week today with the release of two new large-format LCDs designed as much for PC use as for TVs. The 40-inch LCD4020 and 46-inch LCD4620 each feature a new pixel technology that helps in their sometimes specialized roles. Called CV12, the technique uses chevron-shaped pixels instead of rectangles; the change not only doubles the contrast compared to other full-color large LCDs at 1,200:1 but reduces the off-angle color shifts that can be especially problematic at that size. Bezels are about five times thinner than for many equivalent displays and make them ideal for video walls or other multi-display setups, NEC says.
Garmin on Friday ramped up its nuvi line with the 200W mapping units. The two models set for launch, the 200W and 250W, each use the same high-sensitivity antenna that slims down their profile compared to other GPS receivers, but adds a 4.3-inch wide touchscreen that helps readability and control in the car. Each also includes six million points of interest and some of the unique software features from the navigation company, including a Garmin Lock that can use either a combination or driving to a safe location. The platform is also open and lets third-party companies add their own details to the map.
Macgametore.com has announced the availability of Escape From Paradise , newly ported to to Mac OS X. The game's story-line follows the events occurring after a luxury cruise ship crashes on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Six islands, each with a mini game, surround the main island. Players must built a rescue device to leave. The developer says "While exploring the main island, you can find items; participate in activities like fishing, gathering wood, and look for hidden treasures. Alliance can be made with other castaways to help you in your quest." Escape From Paradise was originally developed by Toybox Games/Gogii Games and published by Big Fish Games. The game is priced at $20 and requires only a Mac OS X system.
HDMI Group has announced a buyout of Miglia, a company that makes various Mac-specific peripherals including devices for viewing television on Macs, storage solutions and iChat/Skype-compatible phones. Post-buyout, HDMI plans to expand Miglia's product line beyond Macs to Windows and perhaps other platforms. HDMI says it will continue to provide Miglia customers with sales, pre-sales, technical support, as well as honor any warranties on products purchased prior to this change. Pocket-Lint reports that Avent Bezuidenhoudt, Investment Manager at SEGF (the capital firm backing the buyout), said: "We have high expectations for the growth of HDMI Group and Miglia and we are looking forward to our involvement in the business. Not only does Miglia have an impressive range of innovative products, but the HDMI Group management team has also demonstrated excellent credentials. We look forward to a successful partnership for the future."
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Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ
Spotify deploys new $15 family plan
Spotify has today launched a new family program. Up to six family members can have individual accounts for $15 per month for the group. All current "Premium for Family" members will be migrated to the new program. The new plan is available today globally, minus Canada. http://spoti.fi/1OSJrCK
Speck CandyShell Clear with Glitter case
Speck today announced CandyShell Clear with Glitter. Thousands of tiny pieces of glitter are embedded within the case, with what the company calls "military-grade drop protection in a slim profile." CandyShell Clear with Glitter is available now on Speck's website for $40 and up. http://bit.ly/1OSHIgM
Three UK nudges MMS users toward apps
British carrier Three has suggested its users take advantage of messaging apps, as part of an announcement regarding multimedia messaging (MMS) price rises. While the price of a message will increase on June 13 from 17.4p ($0.25) to 40p ($0.58) per MMS, Three notes that customers can avoid the hefty fees by using Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other services. http://bit.ly/1Rk0TKM
Belight Soft launches Art Text 3
Belight Soft has launched the latest version of its graphic design software, Art Text 3. The new version sticks with the goals of the previous iterations in developing a creative art text tool that is easy to use for beginners, but produces powerful results that will also appeal to pros. Among its key features are over 70 customizable templates to assist with logo design, word art, web elements and picture captions. Users can customize 3D materials using over 200 textures, over 140 bump map surfaces and over 80 environment map textures. Users of either of the two previous versions can upgrade to the new version for $30, a $20 savings. New users can also enjoy the $30 price as an introductory offer through the Mac App Store until May 31. http://bit.ly/1U6jFqu
KnowRoaming network now extends to 86 countries
KnowRoaming customers can now use its global SIM sticker to take advantage of its unlimited data plans when travelling in 86 countries. The SIM sticker is, as its name suggests, a special sticker that is applied to the back of an existing SIM card for use outside the US in supported countries. It works in conjunction with the KnowRoaming smartphone app. The latest expansion of its network came with the addition of 12 Latin American countries where travelers can now also enjoy its unlimited data plans, which are available for $8 per day. http://bit.ly/27KkXli
BMW to start supporting CarPlay this fall
BMW will add CarPlay support as one of the entertainment add-on for its X5M and X6M models, the first BWM models to do so, starting from this summer. A German-language catalog for the manufacturer spotted by Bimmerpost advises the option will arrive in August. It is unclear if the support will only be included in European versions of the car, or for further afield. The display in the vehicles will be among the largest thus far seen for CarPlay, at 10.25 inches, and hinted at possible wireless CarPlay support. The X5M currently sells for â‚¬96,470 (US$108, 275), while the X6M retails for â‚¬99,327 ($111, 453). http://bit.ly/1XnZ4DJ