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News Archive for 07/08/07

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Apple posts August Mac event video

08/07, 9:25pm

August Mac event video

In addition our live feed, Apple has posted a QuickTime streaming video of its August 2007 Special Mac Event that showcased a new iMac lineup, a suite of iLife '08 applications, new iWork '08 productivity suite with its Numbers spreadsheet program, improved .Mac features, new wired/wireless keyboards, and more. The company also quietly updated its Mac mini line with new Core 2 Duo processors and added a new Xserve storage connectivity option. Although the company's store remained off-line for more than 90 minutes following the event, several of its retail locations are stocking the new Macs and software.

New iMacs, iLife '08 appear at Apple Stores [photos]

08/07, 8:10pm

New iMacs, iLife '08

On heels of its announcements this morning, Apple began showcasing the new iMac lineup at its California store locations, including its flagship San Francisco store -- which received both the low-end 20-inch iMac and the 2.4GHz 24-inch offering, but there was no sign of the overclocked 24-inch iMac running at 2.8GHz. The store also continued to showcase its older white/previous-generation iMacs. When we arrived, employees had roped off the new iMac area and were busy setting up the new iMacs, shining and testing them, and installing the demo software while a crowd began forming around the area.

Briefly: iMac ads, iLife edu price increase

08/07, 7:25pm

"iShirt" ships

In brief: An online version of the new television commercial for Apple's newly refreshed iMacs has been posted, iLife and iWork education prices have been increased, 3DConnexion has announced a beta release of plug-ins for Blender support ... Apple has posted an online version of the new television commercial for its newly revised iMac line. The ad features a series of spinning iMacs, passing by. At the end of the spot, the new keyboard and a mouse appear under the unit, followed by the text "The New iMac.

Apple updates Aperture, iPhoto, Front Row

08/07, 6:00pm

Apple updates released

Apple today released three minor updates to its Aperture, iPhoto, and Front Row applications to improve general compatibility amongst all of the programs. The updates include Aperture 1.5.4 to improve compatibility with iLife '08, iPhoto 7.0.1 to address issues associated with publishing photos from an upgraded library to a .Mac Web Gallery, and Front Row 1.3.1 to provide for improved iPhoto compatibility. All three updates are available for free from Apple's website. Aperture 1.5.4 requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later, while iPhoto 7.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 and Front Row requires Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later.

WireTap Pro 1.3.0 comes to Intel Macs

08/07, 5:40pm

WireTap Pro 1.3.0

Ambrosia Software today released WireTap Pro 1.3.0, an update to the all-purpose digital recording software that runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. WireTap Pro 1.3.0 is a free upgrade for registered users of WireTap Pro 1.x.x, and is compatible with the WWDC release version of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. WireTap allows users to record any audio on a Mac from any running application, a built-in or third-party microphone, the line-in port, and more. The application saves recorded files to the hard drive in MP3, AAC, QuickTime, and AIFF file formats for later use. The update also provides various bug fixes and enhancements, according to Ambrosia. WireTap Pro is available for $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later with QuickTime 6.5 or later.

LISTSERV Maestro adds visual analysis tool

08/07, 5:30pm

LISTSERV Maestro 3.1

L-Soft today released LISTSERV Maestro 3.1, an update to its email marketing software that offers visual email analytics to provide immediate within-the-message visualization of click-rate data. The update enables email marketers to boost conversion rates and increase sales by tailoring messages based on real-time recipient responses. The click-rate visualization function in LISTSERV Maestro provides marketers with instant results for all tracked links. Senders can see the percentage of recipients who clicked on each link as pie charts at the individual link locations within the message, resulting in an eyemap-driven analytical tool. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.2 or later, and pricing is available to interested parties by contacting L-Soft's sales department.

Magellan intros Triton GPS handhelds

08/07, 4:50pm

Magellan Triton handhelds

GPS specialist Magellan has announced an upcoming series of handheld receivers, the Tritons. Each has a full-color touchscreen, but other highlights are distributed throughout the series, such as barometers, two-megapixel cameras and LED flashlights. Maps of the United States, meanwhile, are being supplied by National Geographic, marking the first time the company has sold its data for handheld use.

There are six models in total: the highest-end version is the Triton 2000, which includes all of the possible options as well a 2.7-inch QVGA screen, plus an SD slot and a speaker and microphone combo. The price for the 2000 will be set at $499.

.Mac enhancements: 10GB storage, gallery

08/07, 4:25pm

.Mac enhancements

Apple released more details regarding significant upgrades to .Mac that were announced today. The new .Mac Web Gallery allows users to share photos and movies directly from iLife '08 with anyone on a Mac, PC or iPhone. Visitors to galleries can also download high quality images for printing and even contribute photos using a standard web browser or email. Mac Web Gallery is also designed to work with the iPhone, enabling users to view albums or upload directly from the device. There is also a tenfold increase in .Mac storage to 10GB (20GB for Family Pack customers; members can choose to purchase an additional 10GB of storage.), as well as support for personal domains for iWeb websites. Enhancements to .Mac Mail include the ability to send and receive larger email attachments up to a maximum size of 20MB and improved webmail spam filtering.

Mio preps C620 GPS with radical new interface

08/07, 4:10pm

Mio C620 GPS Leak

Mio is set to offer a major overhaul to its GPS units that focuses on software, according to new information and a lone screenshot. The C620 (not yet shown) will run the company's in-house MioMap 2008 interface and will provide more data, and more dynamic data, about the route ahead. In full-screen mode, a large-scale 3D mode will show a detailed representation of the map with a more natural perspective and 3D style cues, including color-coded parks and major landmarks. A split-screen technique adds to the output with either the choice of displaying detailed information about upcoming checkpoints or controls for media tools, such as an MP3 player. Drivers can also plot out multiple steps in their route before the drive.

Apple details iLife upgrade program

08/07, 4:05pm

iLife '08 upgrade program

To coincide with the announcement of iLife '08, Apple has detailed upgrade plans for those have purchased a Mac too recently to have '08 preloaded. The software upgrade is now available to customers in Canada and the United States for $10 US, but there are two main conditions: the computer must have been purchased on or after August 7th, 2007, and only model numbers officially listed by Apple are eligible.

Apple's new keyboards: thin, wired/wireless

08/07, 4:00pm

New Mac keyboards

The ultra-thin keyboard accompanying Apple's new iMacs is also available for purchase separately, as is the new Bluetooth wireless keyboard that offers a similarly thin form factor, but lacks the full size and two USB 2.0 ports of its wired cousin. Both keyboards are about .33" thick and feature a sleek anodized aluminum enclosure. They also both feature labeled function keys that control Expose, Dashboard, volume and can play/pause, fast-forward or rewind media. The wired keyboard requires a Mac with an available USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 port, Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later and a Keyboard software update. It's priced at $50. The wireless keyboard requires a Mac with Bluetooth, Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later, the Keyboard software update, and existing keyboard and mouse for initial setup and three AA batteries (included). It's priced at $79. Both new models are available from the online Apple Store.

Skype 3.5 adds video sharing, still shots, transfers

08/07, 3:45pm

Skype 3.5

Skype today launched its self-titled Skype 3.5, the latest version of its VoIP software that shifts attention to video. The new version allows users to share videos either as a discussion point or simply as a mood-setter that runs in the background. Clips can be linked directly from more popular sites such as Dailymotion or MetaCafe that have struck deals with Skype, the phone provider says. Any owner with a webcam can also take still photos in the middle of a video chat to keep them for posterity.

Mac minis: 1.83/2.0GHz Core 2 Duo

08/07, 3:25pm

Mac minis refreshed

Negating rumors of the machine's imminent death, Apple today announced new processor upgrades for the Mac mini. The tiny Mac now sports 1.83 or 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, updated from 1.66 GHz or 1.83 GHz Core Duo processors in the older models, respectively. Apple claims the processor upgrades make the new minis run 39% faster than previously. Otherwise, the Mac mini's specs are similar to older models. The units still ship with an Apple Remote with Front Row, support up to 2GB of memory, use the Intel GMA 950 graphics processor and offer 802.11 b/g wireless networking. However, the new models do ship with the newly released iLife '08 suite rather than iLife '06, which was included with the previous models. The new Mac minis are still priced from $599, and available from the online Apple Store.

Buffalo releases Turbo USB drives

08/07, 3:20pm

Buffalo Turbo USB Drives

Buffalo hoped to overcome the bottlenecks associated with USB today by releasing its new Turbo USB line of drives. An improvement in the bridge chip that powers the drives' interface lets storage operate closer to the theoretical peak of the USB connection; hard drives can transfer data at least 20 percent faster even with notebook-sized disks, the company boasts. The DriveStation is the company's desktop offering and can transfer at about 40MB per second with capacities ranging between 320GB and 1TB; it should include SecureLockWare software to password-protect the drive and will sell in September for prices between $110 and $500 in both Japan and North America.

Vodafone to hold on to Verizon stake?

08/07, 3:05pm

Vodafone to keep Verizon?

The cellular carrier Vodafone is likely to decide, later this week, to keep its investments in America's Verizon Wireless, says an anonymous source cited by Reuters. Vodafone had been considering selling as much as $10 billion of its stake in Verizon, the total of which amounts to $45 billion. This is due to pressure from Vodafone shareholders, who have noted that the value of Verizon is not reflected in the former's share price, and that dividend payments will not be reinstated until 2009.

At one stage a shareholder called Efficient Capital Structures had been pressuring Vodafone to create a new company based on the Verizon stake, and the Financial Times had once suggested that Vodafone would expand its stake to total control. Both of these possibilites have been discounted.

iWork '08 introduces "Numbers" spreadsheet

08/07, 2:50pm

iWork '08 released

Apple today released iWork '08, the latest revision of its productivity application suite that introduces a brand new member to the family: "Numbers." Apple's "Numbers" is a spreadsheet application designed "for the rest of us" that features intelligent tables, and accompanies updates to its Keynote presentation software and Pages word processing/layout application. iWork '08 includes new text effects and features in Keynote, with new transitions and an "Instant Alpha" feature that lets users take out backgrounds to add to a presentation. Apple also added new "Smart Builds" to Keynote, serving as small animations "for mere mortals." Pages now offers two modes to accommodate word processing and page layout. Distinct modes for each usage complement a contextual bar and change tracking functionality in Pages documents. The update also adds 140 new Apple-designed templates to speed up document creation. iWork '08 is available for $79, and comes free with any new Mac purchased from Apple.

iWeb '08 gets Google Maps, AdSense, more

08/07, 2:50pm

iWeb '08 released

Apple's bevy of announcements during today's special media event included a significant update to iWeb as part of the iLife '08 suite. The new release of iWeb includes web widgets, which allow you to add live content from other sites, like video, stock tickers, and headline news. There is also the ability to add Google Mpas directly into iWeb-created Web pages, as well as easy AdSense sign-up. Apple says "Just complete the simple Google registration process, choose from a variety of ad formats and colors to match your site, designate areas on your pages, and ads will magically appear. You'll be earning credits immediately." A new "My Album pages" function lets you index all your photo and movie sections on one page. As such, visitors will get an overview of all the media on your site. There are also eight brand-new themes for iWeb '08. Each theme contains templates for all the pages you're likely to need: welcome, blog, photo albums, podcasts, about me, and a blank page. iLife '08 is priced at $79, and available from the Apple Store.

International iPhones spotted online?

08/07, 2:45pm

International iPhone Seen

Administrators keeping track of web traffic today have detected a new, officially-sanctioned version of the iPhone browsing websites, according to reports. Found in the user IDs of visitors that represents their browser and operating system, a new device reports itself as "Apple iPhone International - Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone-International; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en-n)." This varies sharply from the normal ID which simply describes the handset as an iPhone and points to a separate, more universal version which may feature subtler hardware or software changes.

Sony ships 80GB PlayStation 3

08/07, 2:30pm

Sony Ships 80GB PS3

Sony today announced that its 80GB PlayStation 3 is shipping, returning the company's game console lineup to two models. As promised, the new version both adds the extra 20GB of storage and bundles a copy of MotorStorm, marking the 80GB model as one of the first standard-issue Sony consoles to ship with a full game since the original PlayStation. Features remain unchanged from the 60GB model except for the removal of direct hardware compatibility with PS1 and PS2 games in order to save cost on the system, which should be available this week for $599.

US soldiers to get exclusive Halo 3 Zune

08/07, 2:15pm

Military-only Halo 3 Zune

Microsoft employee Cesar Menendez has revealed that soldiers in the US military, and their families, will soon be receiving an exclusive version of the Halo 3 Zune originally aimed at civilians. 300 units of the new Zune have already been given away in care packages, distributed through the USO at a recent event at the Baltimore Washington International Airport. Though the only new design aspects of the player are a tan color and new packaging, the remaining units should have the advantage of price, since they will be sold at an unspecified discount and only through military outlets. [via Zune Insider]

HP readying first iPAQ phone with 3G, iPod-like wheel

08/07, 2:05pm

HP iPAQ 600 Leak

HP's introduction of the iPAQ 500 will soon be accompanied by a new range-topping series that signals a full return to the smartphone business, according to unverified but credible reports. The simply-titled iPAQ 600 line would add a 3G Internet connection through HSDPA and would also offer assisted GPS through supporting carriers. HP also hopes to overcome the control limits of most slim phones with both a 2.8-inch touchscreen and an iPod-like touch wheel that would quickly speed through websites or long documents, the tip claims.

iMovie '08 is "a whole new application"

08/07, 2:05pm

iMovie '08 released

Apple today released iMovie '08 as part of its revamped iLife suite during a special event in Cupetino, CA. iMovie '08 features a brand new interface similar to iPhoto, allowing users to preview by "skimming" and select video the same way text is selected. Users can share movies anywhere -- via iTunes or a .Mac Web gallery -- and encode the movie in multiple resolutions. The latest iMovie release also allows users to upload movies directly to YouTube. Apple's chief told the tale of how iMovie '08 became a reality, with one video engineer designing the software after finding he couldn't make a short clip five minutes long from some HD video he had shot while vacationing in the Cayman islands. "No more sending DVDs to Grandma," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs to his captivated audience.

Complete Verizon summer lineup leaked?

08/07, 1:30pm

Verizon Summer Line Leaked

Virtually all of Verizon's planned phone releases have been leaked, according to a source with access to the company's internal corporate website. The leaked information confirms a company presentation and indicates that the carrier will lead off with HTC's XV6800 (also known as the Mogul) on the 15th of this month as well as an unknown phone labeled only as the VWZ 8905 a day later; the company also plans to release the expected Motorola phones such as the RAZR2 V9m, the V CAST TV-ready ROKR Z6tv, and a CDMA-based version of the Q 9 known as the Q 9m will also appear in coming weeks, Verizon notes.

iLife '08 "biggest jump" since iLife debut

08/07, 1:30pm

Apple releases iLife '08

Apple on Tuesday also released iLife '08, saying that the latest release of its software suite is the "biggest jump" in the software's history since its initial debut. The company has added a new feature to iPhoto called "events," which can automatically organize photographs based on actual events. "Events" center around the fact that most users take photos to remember various events -- like birthdays and holiday gatherings -- which are usually organized in the same fashion. Events in iPhoto allow users to group photos intuitively, and separates photos automatically by the day they were taken. Users can split multiple event photos on a single day, and can view photos in two separate ways or hide photos via a new similarly-titled option.

Apple chief Steve Jobs unveils new iMac

08/07, 1:20pm

Apple unveils new iMac

Apple's chief executive officer Steve Jobs on Tuesday morning unveiled a new iMac constructed from high quality plastic, aluminum, and glass at the company's special event in Cupertino, CA. "We are going to make iMac better," Jobs said from the event stage, explaining that the new system was thought through from a recycling perspective. Apple's newest Macs come in two sizes with 20-inch and 24-inch glossy displays. Both systems make use of Intel Core 2 Duo processors, with the 24-inch model running at up to 2.4GHz. The Macs support up to 4GB of memory and include a faster ATI Radeon graphics card. The new iMacs also support up to 1TB of storage (1,000GB) and feature 802.11n wireless networking capability. Each iMac includes FireWire 800, 400, and USB 2.0 connectivity. The new Mac features a SuperDrive DVD/CD burner, and allows users to add memory by removing just one screw. The latest iMac also ships with a new, thinner keyboard that looks and feels like the company's MacBook keyboard. The new keyboard works via Bluetooth 2.0 and offers dedicated keys to utilize various Mac OS X features like Expose, Dashboard, Dimmer, and media keys. Apple's new iMac begins shipping today, with a 2GHz model offering 250GB of storage for $1,199.

Motorola rolls out next-gen Linux phone OS

08/07, 1:00pm

MOTOMAGX Phone OS

Motorola today officially unveiled MOTOMAGX, the Linux-based operating system for its phones that launches with the RAZR2 V8 and ROKR Z6 and will take over from the Synergy software found in the RAZR and older models. In addition to letting Motorola itself improve browsing, media playback, and other features that were not always easy to implement before, the open nature of the code gives the option of third-party apps that would have previously been impractical. MAGX runs both the Java apps common to many phones but will also support native Linux programs with a future update and a custom web interface dubbed WebUI that should allow widgets and similar mini-apps with little effort.

Apple Store offline ahead of special event

08/07, 12:45pm

Apple Store offline

Apple's online store is down with the company's usual image of a yellow sticky note reading "We'll be back soon." The store went offline just minutes before Apple's special event is scheduled to take place where industry watchers expect new iMacs to surface alongside a revamped edition of iLife and an overhauled .Mac service. Apple historically brings its online store down for maintenance when updating its product or service offerings. The company is well known for taking its store offline just before special events like the one scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. PT today so that technicians can update the store's website to reflect new products.

'White space' prototypes fail FCC tests

08/07, 12:35pm

'White space' devices fail

The White Spaces Coalition, a group formed by corporations such as Google, Philips and Microsoft, has suffered a setback in tests administered by the Federal Communications Commission, says InfoWorld. The Coalition was invited last year to build prototype devices that would broadcast in its namesake "white spaces," the bands of the TV spectrum that are unused by broadcasters.

The difficulty is that these bands vary from city to city, and the Coalition took the approach of building devices that would scan before broadcasting on their chosen frequency. The FCC notes that when evaluated, the prototypes often failed to detect existing broadcasts, and would interfere with them by transmitting regardless.

"Revolutionized" Command and Conquer

08/07, 12:35pm

Command and Conquer

Electronic Arts is asking visitors of its Command & Conquer website to check back today, when it says the game will be "revolutionized." The date coincides with Apple's special event which also takes place today, and follows EA's promise to bring the popular game to Mac systems alongside several other hit titles. EA co-founder and chief creative officer Bing Gordon in January took the stage with Apple CEO Steve Jobs during the Macworld Expo keynote speech in San Francisco, announcing that the game maker was moving staff members over to the Mac platform to once again release gaming titles for Mac users. Gordon promised that the first titles to ship for Macs would include Command & Conquer 3, Battlefield 2142, Need for Speed Carbon, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Analyst: iPhone to get OTA downloads

08/07, 11:40am

Analyst on iPhone OTA

The iPhone will have no choice but to embrace an over-the-air iTunes Store within the year, according to a new report from analyst group Pike & Fischer. The researchers argue that the growing independence of users from their computers and tethered Internet connections will lead many of them to expect the same level of features on their phone. This will leave Apple all but "forced" to open iTunes access through the iPhone just to remain on par with competitors that already offer online stores, says senior analyst Tim Deal. The report points out that even the iPhone's exclusive carrier, AT&T, has just opened its eMusic Mobile online store but that the iPhone has no way of interacting with it while several other phones already can.

Briefly: Flashforward award voting; UK sale

08/07, 11:35am

Flashforward; UK sale

In brief: Flashforward announces awards finalists and voting, Wrappers cuts prices on laptop accessories, a DVD teaches color correction, and teachers collect their scores faster. The Flashforward Conference and Film Festival has announced 60 finalists from a dozen countries for its Big Orange Rubber Arrow award, which promotes the work of designers who use Adobe Flash. Categories include the likes of Art, Cartoon, Narrative and Technical Merit. At the same time, Flashforward has opened up voting on its People's Choice Award, where the public can voice its opinion on the same finalists. Winners will be announced at the Flashforward Film Festival in Boston, at a ceremony scheduled for September 19th.

Keyspan ships RF Remote for Vista media centers

08/07, 11:05am

Keyspan Vista RF Remote

Keyspan today launched the RF Remote for Windows Vista, a simple add-on that turns PCs with Vista Home Premium or Ultimate into impromptu home theater systems. In place of infrared, the use of an RF adapter through USB frequencies lets the remote switch on the Windows Media Center front-end in situations that would otherwise be impossible: the remote works through cabinets and walls that would trip up an IR system, Keyspan says. Its system independence also means that owners can buy the remote while building a homebrew media PC.

MacNN to offer live Apple event coverage

08/07, 11:05am

Live Apple event coverage

MacNN will be offering live coverage of today's special Apple event, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. PT. Industry watchers are hoping that Apple's chief will unveil new iMac models, and expect an overhaul of its .Mac service following the company's announcement of a planned maintenance window scheduled to take place during today's special event. The live coverage is brought to you in conjunction with GigaOM.com, and may also bring an update to Apple's iLife software suite.

Lenovo declares intent to buy Packard Bell

08/07, 10:35am

Lenovo to Buy Packard Bell

Lenovo on Tuesday declared its intent to acquire long-time PC builder Packard Bell, revealing that it was in talks with a third-party company that would help research the takeover and government bodies both in its Chinese home and in Packard Bell's European territory to smooth out the acquisition process. Lenovo did not explain whether the takeover bid was friendly or provide an estimate for the financial terms of the buyout. Packard Bell also has yet to comment on the prospect of the deal, which is still uncertain.

USBfever begins shipping 5-in-1 cable

08/07, 10:30am

USBfever 5-in-1 iPod cable

Accessory vendor USBfever has begun selling the 5-in-1 USB Cable with iPod Dock Connector, which as its description implies, is a cable that allows nanos and full-size iPods to charge and sync. What distinguishes the cable is its four other attachments, which allows owners to use a single cable to connect additional devices such as a PSP and a DS Lite. Because it uses a single path, however, only one device can be charged at a time. USBfever is pricing the 5-in-1 at $14.

Dynamic NAC access control comes to Mac

08/07, 10:30am

Dynamic NAC for Mac

InfoExpress today released the latest version of its Dynamic NAC network access control software with support for Mac OS X as well as Linux and Windows Vista. The software aims to provide deeper endpoint visibility, enforcement, compliance, and security for companies running Macs, Linux systems, and Windows installations. Dynamic NAC also offers advanced authentication options, including redundancy and machine authentication as well as improved reporting to provide greater detail on endpoint visibility across every supported platform. The company also released new versions of its CyberGatekeeper software designed to control access to the network by auditing all devices before granting them access.

President quashes hopes of stay on Qualcomm phone ban

08/07, 10:15am

Qualcomm Loses Appeal

President Bush late yesterday denied Qualcomm's motion to put a hold on a 3G chipset ban relating to its patents, leaving an upcoming block on imports by the International Trade Commission to take effect in the near future. The denial follows a previous rejection by a US federal appeals court of an attempt to overturn the ban, which argued that Qualcomm needed to wait for the mandatory presidential review process before an appeal could begin. Qualcomm said it was "disappointed" with the ruling and would turn to the appeals court again to try and reverse the ban, which would effectively shut down most new imports of Qualcomm-based cellphones using EVDO cellular Internet access.

Renewed Vision updates to ProPresenter 3.1

08/07, 10:05am

ProPresenter 3.1 released

Renewed Vision has launched v3.1 of ProPresenter, its software aimed at megachurch services, as well as concerts and other general events that require multimedia presentations. The program enables users to mesh audio and video clips together with slides and lyrics, and can further enhance shows with processing effects such as dissolves and crossfading. The v3.1 upgrade introduces features such as the "Add Audio Track to Presentation" option, which allows users to quickly introduce tracks and sync them with background material. The program now also has its own Media Browser, and an Audio Clips Bin for generating effect and music playlists. License costs start at $400 for a single user, and the software is intended only for Intel/G5 Macs with dual-video support and a CoreImage-compatible graphics card.

Alltel launches on-demand mobile TV

08/07, 9:40am

Alltel Axcess TV On Demand

Alltel on Tuesday morning released its TV on Demand service, bringing its service up to par with offerings from Sprint and other carriers. Any subscriber with an EVDO data plan and certain video-capable phones can add an extra plan that opens download TV shows and other clips from Comedy Central, NBC, and several other major networks, letting them catch up on shows and show highlights anywhere they might be within range.

Sony ships 20X desktop, 8X mobile DVD burners

08/07, 9:20am

Sony 20X DVD Burners

Sony today quietly introduced a trio of new add-on DVD burners, including its first 20X drives. The external DRX-840U (shown) and internal DRU-840A both write single-layer DVD-Rs at the benchmark speed and can fill a disc in five minutes even while using 16X discs. Both drives are also fast enough to write either dual-layer, write-once DVDs or single-layer rewritable versions at 12X. For Windows users, each comes with Nero 7 Express for authoring special discs. The drives attach to any computer with a free USB 2.0 port (840U) or parallel ATA connector (840A) and begin shipping first with the 840A, which is available now for $70. The external drive will be ready next month for $110.

3ivx codec updated to 5.0.1

08/07, 9:10am

3ivx codec at 5.0.1

3ivx has updated its self-named MPEG-4 audio/video codec to v5.0.1, bringing with it several enhancements. Most important is a rearrangement of the internal architecture, reducing memory usage by 76 percent, and enhancing overall performance. MPEG-4v1 and v2 syntax should enable better device interoperability, and CPU controls allow faster-than-real-time encoding. 3ivx in fact promises results that are faster and higher-quality than QuickTime's encoder, and has implemented an MP4 Export component, which makes 3ivx an option in programs such as iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Output files are compatible with devices such as the iPhone and AppleTV. A trial codec is free for 30 days, but full versions range in cost from $7 for a basic decoder to $100 for maximum commercial applications.

Microsoft confirms Xbox 360 price cuts

08/07, 8:45am

MS Confirms X360 Price Cut

Microsoft today officially validated its Xbox 360 price cuts with word of price drops across all three models. The central Xbox 360 Pro -- now just labeled the Xbox 360 -- sees the largest drop, shrinking in price from its original $400 launch price to $350. The high-end Xbox 360 Elite receives a more modest cut from $480 to $450, Microsoft says. A small price cut will also apply to the Core model, which drops by $20 to $280. Pricing has also been revealed for the limited-run Halo 3 Edition console, which adds a custom look as well as a play-and-charge kit and specialized Halo 3 content for $400.

Nokia launches 7500, 7900 Prism phones

08/07, 8:30am

Nokia Prism Launches

Following an early look at the phones in China, Nokia today officially launched its Prism Collection handsets. Each of the angular black cellphones focuses style with changing color themes; while the basic 7500 Prism (pictured) sports interchangeable border plates, the 7900 Prism includes an active lighting system that produces any one of 49 different colors and a display with a "living" background that changes subtly with the time of day. The 7900 is also one of the very first cellphones to have a 16.7 million color OLED display that guarantees a vivid picture without cutting into performance.

$1.5b judgment against Microsoft reversed

08/07, 12:35am

MP3 patent suit denied

Apple, RealNetworks and other companies who license MP3 encoding technology from Fraunhofer Gesellschaft breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as U.S. District Court Judge Rudi M. Brewster ruled against an earlier jury decision that would hold Microsoft accountable for $1.53 billion in damages payable to Alcatel-Lucent SA, a co-owner of the Fraunhofer patents. In a San Diego courtroom, Brewester said that Microsoft's Windows Media Player software does not infringe upon one of two patents, which cover the encoding and decoding of audio into the MP3 format. The decision allays fears on the part of Apple, RealNetworks and others that they would be future targets of Alcatel-Lucent litigation.

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