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NBC goes to Amazon Unbox
NBC Universal has announced that it will sell episodes of its new fall television shows using Amazon's Unbox digital download service, a quick rebound after ties were severed with Apple last week. Shows like "The Office" and "Heroes" are currently available for $1.99 on Unbox (the same price at which they were offered through Apple's iTunes Store) and new episodes will be added to the site they day after they air. Last Friday, NBC Universal said it would no longer offer episodes of its TV shows through the iTunes Store. Apple countered by terminating NBC's iTunes Contract, announcing that it would not sell NBC television shows for the upcoming television season.
Palm kills Foleo
Palm has put an end to the much-maligned Foleo, a "smartphone companion," that resembles a standard laptop and includes a Linux-based operating system, a 416MHz Intel/Marvell processor, and also has a dedicated graphics processor. In a blog message, Palm CEO Ed Colligan said that though the company is "nearly at the point for shipping Foleo," the product was canceleed due to a desire to "offer a single, consistent user experience around this new platform design and a single focus for our platform development efforts." Colligan also admitted that the company would need to enact "a number of improvements to make Foleo a world-class product," and could not afford to make those improvements without losing focus of core products.
Q4: High Mac, iPhone sales
Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, is predicting that Apple will likely hit its goal of selling 730,000 iPhones in the September quarter. His channel checks, in fact, reveal that the company is likely to sell 804,000 phones in the quarter. Munster also estimates that Apple will sell 2,000,000 Macs in the quarter, ahead of his earlier estimate of 1,900,000. According to a report in Forbes, Munster's checks also indicate that the average Apple retail store sells 55 Macs per day, meaning that 866,000 units in the quarter will have been sold from retail outlets alone. Munster maintains an "Outperform" rating on Apple with a price target of $211.
ConceptDraw, Italy store
In brief: Google Desktop for the Mac gains support for 9 new languages, there's more criticism for the revised Dock in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), CS Odessa plans to ship ConceptDraw 7.3 later this month, the fourth Apple Shop in Italy has opened, and Showtime selects Adobe's Creative Suite 3 for its in-house creative agency ... Google Desktop for the Mac now supports 9 new languages: Chinese Simplified and Traditional, Dutch, UK English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. Going beyond localization, the new version of the software also enhances international searching. This includes improving search and indexing support for non-Roman languages such as Chinese and Japanese, as well as fixing bugs for English users. Google says "This update will most likely require a reboot and will create a new index of the information on your computer, to improve the quality of searches across all languages."
Epson on Tuesday afternoon launched a pair of photo printers skewed towards speed. The PictureMate Dash and PictureMate Zoom incorporate new processing and printing tricks that generate a 4-by-6 inch, full-quality print in 37 seconds, significantly less than the prior models and better than any rival, according to Epson. Either is also claimed as ideal for editing photos taken directly from the camera with a 3.6-inch LCD that takes on cropping, minor color or red-eye corrections, and slideshows. The Zoom also adds a rare DVD/CD-RW combo drive to the mix that can archive photos directly to CDs or print from a CD or DVD with an existing photo library.
Verizon U700, U900 photos
New photos have emerged of the Samsung U700 and U900, showing rebranding of the phones for Verizon Wireless. The U700 is expected to be released for the network in September or October, and should have features such as a two-megapixel camera and microSD storage, as well as front-side, touch-sensitive music controls. There is no suggestion yet that the Verizon phone will carry 7.2Mbps HSDPA, like its Korean equivalent.
"Accounted" financial app
Oranged Software today released Accounted, an application that supports double entry accounting as well as accounts receivable/payable. The software allows users to work with split transactions or print checks, and displays several totals at the bottom of the program via a "Totals Ticker" that scrolls across the screen. Accounted supports transactions, tracks payees, automatically generates charts, tracks recurring transactions, and allows users to pay bills from Accounts Payable items. Accounted beta is available and open for testing to the public as a digital download, and is priced at $60. [Download - 8.8MB]
New Moto ROKR U9 Leak
Motorola's elusive ROKR U9 has been confirmed today in a new photo accompanied by fresh details, according to a leak from the Czech news site Idnes. True to its original leak, the U9 will share design cues with the earlier PEBL but switch to a stealth LCD display with the same vibration-feedback touch controls on the outside as the RAZR2. The phone will also store 25MB of internal memory to support the microSD card slot, though unlike previous suggestions, the U9 is no longer expected to support more than EDGE for Internet access.
JBL On Stage 3 for iPod
JBL has announced the next major iteration of its iPod speaker docks, the On Stage 3. Its primary feature is the use of four separate speakers, each producing 6W of power. The dock also comes with a universal dock adapter, allowing any model of iPod to be attached. Other audio sources can be connected through a 3.5mm jack and cable. Finally, an IR remote allows full iPod control up to 33 feet away, and optional trim rings can be used to match the dock to the color of an iPod nano. The On Stage 3 will go on sale in October in black or white, at an unknown price. [via Pocket-lint]
Samsung Beat for T-Mobile
T-Mobile is planning to carry a second media-savvy Samsung phone just weeks after the launch of the Blast, says a newly leaked spec sheet. The Beat would drop the slider form and keys in favor of a flip-phone design with a conspicuous music control scheme; users could scroll through and skip tracks on the outside color display without having to open the device. A 1.3-megapixel camera is also certain to be onboard, as would be a microSD slot for music storage.
MS exec: Zune a 'B-'
A Microsoft executive has gone on record about several topics, mainly the health of the Zune media player. Mindy Mount, the corporate vice president and CFO of Microsoft’s entertainment and device division, says that she grades the Zune a "B-" in its current state. She argues that the player is doing well, saleswise, for “a product out in less than a year and a half," but that the company is still developing the brand and trying to expand its identity. Apple's iPod is described as a motivational competitor, forcing the Zune team to evolve. No specific successors have been mentioned.
The Sims 2 Holiday Pack
Aspyr Media, has announced that The Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff has begun shipping. The package contains an updated collection of seasonal items, outfits, and décor, including mistletoe, reindeer lawn ornaments, and an all-new European-style Father Christmas. Among the features: Holiday Home Décor "light up candles to add a warm holiday glow with this traditional European candle arch," the Holiday Lumberjack Statuette: "spice up your Sim¹ holidays with this traditional German holiday gnome, complete with sturdy boots and trusty hiking staff,"; Huge Tree Extravaganza, Holiday PJs, Cheongsam and an Arctic Santa. The Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff is now available through Aspyr's website for $25.
Three store openings
Apple is planning to open three new retail stores this week, helping the company make good on its promise of providing customers with 35-40 new brick-and-mortar outlets in fiscal 2007. This triple grand opening week will include two openings during the middle of the week at 6:00 p.m. -- both on a highly unusual day of the week and time of day when compared to prior store launches, according to ifoAppleStore. Apple has already announced a special event that will take place on Wednesday, September 5th -- just one day before the two stores open their doors for business. Industry watchers speculate that Apple will unveil a new line of iPods during the special event, and that the company could sell The Beatles music in a digital format online for the first time in history via its iTunes Store.
Eudora 8 beta 1
The Mozilla-Eudora partnership has debuted Eudora 8.0 beta 1, a new release of the Thunderbird-based email client that incorporates the "Penelope" add-on. Whereas Eudora is a Thunderbird-based client with extra features added by the Eudora developers, Penelope is an add-on that adds additional functionality to both Eudora and Thunderbird, but is built into the former. According to the development team, most features in Penelope can be accessed when used with Thunderbird, but there are a few that require Eudora in order to work correctly.
Olympus E-3 in October
Olympus is readying itself to launch a long-awaited sequel to its E-1 high-end digital SLR next month, the company revealed today. While details remain uncertain, the unnamed camera is said to maintain the Four Thirds sensor system of the E-1 while almost doubling the resolution to 10 megapixels; it should also make off-angle photography easier with a live preview LCD and internal image stabilization that doesn't require a self-correcting lens. Newer image processing should handle five frames per second and 11 primary autofocus points.
NEC LaVie LC950/KG
NEC today unveiled a new flagship model in its LaVie notebook series that brings features new to its own line and any notebook. The LC950/KG's lid-mounted webcam is one of the first to use face detection for security; its new Face Pass feature lets users authenticate by recognizing the user's appearance rather than using a fingerprint reader or a password. For NEC, the LC950 is also one of the first systems to ship with Blu-Ray and will play movies either on its own 15.4-inch display or through a TV courtesy of HDMI output. NEC promises faster storage as well: the top-spec system sports a 160GB hybrid hard drive with 256MB of flash memory that speeds up access and boot times.
Sony-Ericsson today revealed that its president Miles Flint was stepping down from his role as president, marking the end of 17 years at the company and three years in the top position. The departure was reportedly on a positive note to take a career break and explore new "personal and business opportunities," Flint said. Sony US chairman and Japanese executive VP of marketing and sales Hideki Komiyama is set to take the presidency when the handover begins November 1st and will be complete by the end of the year.
RAM slot for subnotebook?
Apple has patented a low-profile memory slot that could find its way into a tiny subnotebook computer from the Cupertino-based company. Apple's latest patent, titled "Method and apparatus for linear insertion and removal of a memory module in a computer system," describes a means of inserting memory using much less space than existing methods. The patent describes an "access door" that users can open to insert new memory modules into a computer, presumably sliding the memory chip in lengthwise through the door rather than opening the computer's case altogether to insert the memory in a traditional "top-down" style. The invention would greatly ease the process of upgrading memory in a small, compact computer -- such as the rumored subnotebook that industry watchers expect to debut some time this year.
JBL iPod headphones
Harman brand JBL has released two new sets of headphones in its Reference series. Foremost are the 610s, which come with a dongle that allows volume and track adjustment on iPods, using controls located on the headphones themselves. iPods from the fourth generation onward are supported. The 610s also benefit from a Bluetooth receiver, which allows wireless interaction with devices that support A2DP stereo and/or AVRCP controls. An over-the-ear design features leather lining and a choice of black or white colors. Harman is selling the set online for $200.
MetroPCS and Leap Merger
MetroPCS today announced that it had proposed a merger with Leap Wireless, aiming to create what it says would be the fifth major cellular provider in the US after AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The deal would include a stock deal where each share in Leap would be swapped for 2.75 shares of MetroPCS worth roughly $5 billion; an additional $2 billion would go towards canceling Leap's outstanding debts, MetroPCS said. The timing of the proposal was not clarified, though the potential buyer noted that a combined provider would span almost all of the top 200 cities, giving the merged entity much more access to smaller markets.
AKVIS Enhancer 7.0 ships
AKVIS is shipping Enhancer 7.0, the latest version of its photo adjustment utility. The program restores detail to images either through HDR (high dynamic range) compositing, or by increasing the contrast of color transitions, bringing out detail in midtones as well as highlights and underexposed areas. Users can tweak highlights and shadows specfically, or adjust the overall level of detail and brightness. Version 7.0 of Enhancer comes in two forms: the standalone edition, which is the only one with HDR, or as a plug-in, which supports batch processing of photos.
Posterino 1.2 ($25) adds localization for English, French, and German to the "life poster" composing software. The latest revision enables users to purchase coupons for its "real postcards" feature directly from within the application, and features overall usability improvements as well as bug fixes. Posterino 1.2 also includes new navigation buttons in the Postcard Details dialog that provide for easy navigation between the postcard interface and PayPal.
[Download - 8.1MB]
Colorate 1.0 (donationware) is a utility for creating harmonic color palettes by fully automating palette generation from a particular color swatch. Users select a swatch from the standard Color Panel by dragging a color from an application or by obtaining a color from an image through an integrated Image Analyze feature. A palette is generated that users can add to the Library, and Colorate allows users to save selected palettes as standard ".clr" system palette files. [Download - 712KB]
SecuritySpy 1.5 ($60-$600) updates the multi-camera video surveillance software for Mac OS X by enabling users to capture video from several DV video devices simultaneously. The update also adds support for audio capture from DV video sources, and supports frame rate display in camera info overlay on video images. Further improvements include a new option to display text overlay on video broadcasts, Web server access control settings available via the Web server, and the availability of the software's error log via a Web browser. [Download - 2.3MB]
Cha-Ching 1.1 ($40) adds an "untagged" section to the library of the money manager with a slick user interface. The update also improves QIF/QFX import functionality, enhances the user interface, includes a new Info panel to accounts and folders, enhances auto-complete, and adds a new "Due Today" badge to bills. Cha-Ching offers users a bills manager, a budget manager, and accounts for managing checking as well as savings and credit card accounts. [Download - 7.3MB]
iStat menus 1.1 (free) is a menubar-based system monitoring tool for Mac OS X that offers eight separate menu extras for monitoring statistics like CPU usage and memory. The update adds 32 new features, including network graphs, and an entirely redesigned preference pane interface alongside a new calendar and world clocks design. iStat menus monitors CPU, memory, and disk usage as well as current and total network bandwidth. Other monitoring options include temperatures, fan speeds, Bluetooth status, and the date/time for locations around the world. [Download - 2.8MB]
My Journal 1.0 ($10) is an application designed to help users keep notes on any number of topics. The software supports variable font sizes and styles, as well as printing journal entries. Users can simply double-click on the name of a topic or "section" to access its text. My Journal 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and a separate version is available that works with Microsoft Windows XP. [Download - 2.6MB]
iPhone Outsells in July
The iPhone managed to outperform all other smartphones on the market in its first full month on sale, according to a new study published today by iSuppli. The market researchers used a survey of 2 million people which estimated that about 1.8 percent of all cellphones sold in the US during July were iPhones, regardless of class. This figure gave it an edge over all other previous smartphone champions, including Research in Motion and its BlackBerry line, Palm's Treo series, and less prevalent phones from Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung, according to the analyst group. The number also tied sales of the best-selling feature phone on the market, the LG Chocolate, though iSuppli would not say whether this applied to the original model on sale with Verizon or its recent upgrade.
MarsEdit 2 released
Red Sweater has released MarsEdit 2, a substantial update to its weblog publishing software. Some supported blog formats include Blogger, LiveJournal, WordPress and more. The interface of v2.0 has been redesigned, based around an e-mail archetype, and now incorporates a Flickr tab for browsing and selecting images. Users can also insert HTML markup macros, creating their own by transforming editor or pasteboard text. Finally, text and HTML previews can be printed out, and the post editor can be tweaked to hide unnecessary fields, or publish new categories and slugs. MarsEdit is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4, and costs $30.
Xtend SAN, iPBridge revamp
ATTO Technology today unveiled new versions of its Xtend SAN iSCSI Initiator software for Mac OS X and iPBridge hardware. ATTO Xtend SAN software allows Mac OS X users to use iSCSI with existing technology, negating the need for expensive Fibre Channel equipment. The iPBridge device allows Mac users to easily incorporate iSCSI and Fibre Channel storage -- including existing Apple XServe RAID storage -- into an existing network. A new "one-click" setup for iPBridges allows users to initially configure any storage connected to the iPBridge to maximize application needs, according to ATTO, including both IT and digital audio/video environments. The latest release of Xtend SAN provides an updated GUI that is easier to use. The company's iSCSI iPBridges are priced between $800 and $5,000, while Xtend SAN software is available for $200.
Epson MovieMate 50 and 72
Epson for the first time expanded its MovieMate line of all-in-one projectors to include multiple models, including the first-ever HD projector in the range. The MovieMate 72 (pictured) is the first of the series to produce a greater-than-DVD picture and displays 720p footage from any HDMI or VGA source, such as consoles, Macs, and PCs. Both it and the 480p-only MovieMate 50 incorporate a DVD player and even generate simulated Dolby 5.1 and DTS surround through built-in speakers. A USB port, however, adds the option of playing music and video directly from most capable sources, such as the iPod as well as many USB flash drives.
Picnic 1.0.1 released
Objectpark Software has released the first version of Picnic, a program that allows file sync between two or more Macs in a local network, or even when on separate networks. It accomplishes this through a peer-to-peer system, in which the latest version of a file, folder or application is automatically distributed to every participant it can detect. Aside from keeping files current, this acts as a form of quick file backup, and it can run on traditional LAN/WLAN setups or via direct Ethernet connections. Users and folders on Picnic are located through Apple's Bonjour software. Picnic requires Mac OS X 10.4, and costs $28 per copy for two users, or $21 per copy for ten users.
Euro BMW iPhone support
BMW has promised to add iPhone support to its European vehicles ahead of Apple's forthcoming handset launch overseas. The automaker will offer support for Apple's cellular device -- which is scheduled to launch in select European markets later this month -- in all Mini models, the X5, and BMW 1, 3, 5, and 6-series vehicles. BMW already offers iPhone support in its U.S. cars, and was the first vehicle manufacturer to announce a fully integrated system for the iPhone. The automaker is planning to launch its European iPhone-ready vehicles at the Frankfurt Auto Show on September 13th.
Contributing to its expected summer lineup, Verizon today unveiled the Coupe, a simple flip phone with unique shortcuts for troubled situations. Three programmable ICE (In Case of Emergency) buttons just below the 2-inch display can each automatically dial a familiar number such as a family member, a friend, or a towing service. No matter what the ICE buttons use, a separate button will always dial 911, Verizon notes. Voice recognition also lets users dial by speaking a contact name or a phone number.
Target preparing for iPods
An internal memo circulated amongst employees at Target stores may be a sign of an impending Apple hardware announcement, according to reports. Leaked to the public, the memo says that one or several "high retail" and "high theft" items will arrive at Target electronics deparments after a formal announcement on September 5th. This date happens to coincide with Apple's planned special event in San Francisco, which is widely expected to herald the release of new iPods, including a possible widescreen nano.
Dell Precision M6300
(Updated with base price) Dell on Tuesday quietly introduced the Precision M6300, its first high-end workstation portable based on Intel's Santa Rosa platform. The new 17-inch desktop replacement is one of the first notebooks to sport the new 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme mobile processor previously found only in the iMac. It also comes with a 256MB Quadro FX 1600M graphics chip to provide advanced 3D modeling and Windows Vista support even in stock trim, Dell says. Storage is suitably enhanced with the choice of solid-state drives as well as up to a 200GB conventional hard disk spinning at 7200RPM.
OpenOSX Office 2.0 debut
OpenOSX has released v2.0 of OpenOSX Office, a Mac OS X equivalent of the GNOME Office suite for Linux systems. All of GNOME Office's applications are bundled together, among them AbiWord, the Gnumeric spreadsheet, and the Gimp image processor. The second edition is native to both Intel and PowerPC Macs, but most importantly introduces Gnucash, a financial program that tracks accouns, stocks, incomes and expenses. SodiPodi, meanwhile, hs been replaced with the Inkscape vector graphics software. Existing programs have all had their versions updated to the latest available, with a particular emphasis on Gnumeric, which now has database support. Prices for Office start at $30, and Mac OS X 10.4 with X11 is required.
Sony Considers Movie Store
Sony is contemplating creating its own direct-download movie store, the company remarked today in comments to the press. Spokesman Shigenori Yoshida explained that the firm was "looking into the area" of video downloads as a possible business venture, pointing to its practical reality in the market. The representative made no mention of how likely the service was to come into existence or what formats it would support, though a future development might require unprotected H.264 or MPEG-4 movies to support Sony's new video Walkman players as well as the PlayStation 3 and PSP, none of which currently play copy-protected video formats.
Toshiba this morning released the TLP-WX2200U, targeting everyone from home theater enthusiasts to office users. The 3LCD-based unit projects at a 1280x800 resolution that matches the native sharpness of many widescreen notebooks and is also sharp enough to drive 720p HD video from modern game consoles, Blu-Ray, or HD DVD. Regardless of the exact setting, the projector is said to be bright for its class at 2,200 lumens and clear with a 600:1 contrast ratio. This is also one of the few projectors with explicit digital video out, Toshiba says; a VGA output relays the feed to a computer monitor or HDTV for help in presentations.
Logitech this morning began the month with the MX5500, its new premium keyboard and mouse set. The pair is the first to include the MX Revolution ergonomic laser mouse with its signature metal scroll wheel that can freely spin through very large documents. Its keyboard is unique to the set and revolves around a built-in LCD that displays and controls music, messages, and even the calculator; the zero-degree keyboard as well as the sloped mouse are said to provide a comfortable fit over hours of use.
Dell is readying the SP2008WFP, a new 20-inch display that packs a 2 megapixel still / VGA video webcam (fixed focus) with a built-in array microphone, similar in form and function to the iSight displays built into Apple's iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pro. The monitor also sports a 1680 x 1050 pixel resolution with a 2ms response time, 300cd/m2 brightness, and a 2000:1 contrast ratio. Connectivity includes DVI with HDCP, VGA, (4) USB 2.0. There's also an optional soundbar. The display will be released on September 12th, but pricing information has not been disclosed. [via Engadget]
Vlogsnapz has changed the name of vmovie -- an application that allows users to record video live with effects -- to vlogsnapz.producer, and shipped it. The tool can post-process movies to add titles, and then upload them to almost a dozen services from within the application. Supported services include YouTube, vimeo, blip.tv, and dailymotion. Uploading to .Mac, FTP and re-encoding for transmission to iPod, iPhone, and the Apple TV are also included. Background encoding and upload of multiple clips simultaneously is supported. vlogsnapz.producer is priced at $30, and a 15-day trial period is available. The program requires an Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X Tiger, and QuickTime 7.x.
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