Pentax on Monday evening debuted two new compact digital cameras, including the Optio A40, the ultra-slim Optio V10, as well as its DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] ultra zoom lens for digital SLRs. As the latest model in the Optio A series, the Optio A40 offers 12 megapixels of optical resolution and three different types of Shake Reduction including mechanical, digital and movie -- all of which help users take sharp, blur-free shots when taking action shots or in low-light conditions. The Optio A model also features the newest Face Recognition technology including a Natural Skin Tone mode and a Half-length Portrait mode, which automatically takes a head and shoulder photograph of subjects.
G-Tech has released its new G-Speed eS line of storage solutions, which sport a 3 Gb/s eSATA interface, RAID 5 data protection when used in conjunction with the optional G-Tech PCIe RAID controller, and specialized support for multi-stream video workflows. Configurable as RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 or JBOD (with optional PCIe RAID controller), the eSATA solutions are based on 7200 RPM Hitachi SATA II drives each with up to 32 MB/cache, and use a Web-based GUI for configuration and management. The solutions are capable of single-stream 8-bit, 1080/60i HD playback in RAID 0 mode. The G-Speed eS is available now with prices starting at $1000.
Palm, Inc. reported a net loss for its fiscal first quarter of 2008, ended Aug. 31, losing $0.8 million, or $0.01 per diluted share on $360.8 million in revenue. The loss represents a significant turnaround from the first quarter of 2007 when the company posted net income of $16.5 million, or $0.16 per diluted share. On a non-GAAP basis, however, the company posted a $9.7 profit. GAAP accounts for stock-based compensation expense, amortization of intangible assets and more. For the second quarter, Palm is expecting to post higher revenue between $370 million and $380 million, but to still lose between $.03 and $.01 per share on a GAAP basis. Last quarter, Palm posted net income of $15.4 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, on revenue of $401.3 million.
Taking on Microsoft's traditional Office productivity suite and Google's online apps, Adobe on Monday announced the company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Virtual Ubiquity and its online word processor, Buzzword as well as added a new file sharing service to its current online document services. Codenamed “Share,” the beta service for people to share, publish and organize documents online. Built with Adobe Flex software, Buzzword enables greater document quality, advanced typography, page layout controls, and robust support for integrated graphics -- regardless of the browser or device.
At the Adobe MAX 2007 developer and designer event, Adobe offered the first pre-release of its Adobe Media Player technology and a pre-release update to its Flash Player 9 as well as debuted new Adobe AIR software (formerly called Apollo) initiatives with partners such as AOL, eBay, NASDAQ, Nickelodeon, and Yahoo. Leveraging Adobe AIR to create the next generation desktop experiences, dozens of companies showcased new Adobe AIR applications at Adobe MAX 2007. In addition, major television broadcasters and content publishers including CBS, PBS, Yahoo! Video, Blip.tv, and others said that they will distribute video content via the new Adobe Media Player. [updated]
In brief: Safari has broken the 5 percent marketshare threshold, Nokia is making fun of the iPhone lock-down situation, A Cocoa Open Xdrive framework has debuted, Daystar Technology is offering an "anydrive" to USB 2.0 adapter ... Apple's Web browser, Safari, has achieved 5 percent marketshare according to a new chart based on data from NetApplications. That makes Safari the third most popular Web browser behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer with 78 percent of the market and Firefox with 15 percent of the market. Opera is pegged at a distant fourth with less than 1 percent of the market. A recent study pegged global Mac marketshare at 6.6 percent.
As part of its notebook updates, Toshiba on Monday also refreshed two of its more portable Satellite models. The 13.3-inch U305 now has faster 802.11n Wi-Fi across most systems and also boasts slightly improved performance across the range: the top S7477 runs a 2GHz Core 2 Duo as well as 2GB of memory and a 200GB hard drive, while the mid-tier S7467 offers nearly identical features save for a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo. Even the economical S7448 has a 1.46GHz Pentium dual-core and a 160GB hard drive, Toshiba says. All three U305 upgrades have a webcam, Bluetooth, and a fingerprint reader and should ship today at prices ranging from $950 for the basic version to $1,300 for the fastest system.
The MIND Research Institute has released a new courseware package, ST Math: Algebra Readiness Supplemental. The software targets teachers of middle-schoolers, helping them prepare students for algebra through a series of visually-oriented game modules. These concentrate on a variety of basic, underlying concepts, such as variables, long division, fractions and exponents, and are geared towards meeting both state and national government standards. Students playing the modules only advance at their own rate, as they must master each module before moving on.
Subaru on Monday debuted its integrated iPod interface for the 2008 Subaru Impreza. The seamless integration technology, available as an accessory on select models of the 2008 Subaru Impreza, allows customers to control most iPod functions through the dashboard "head unit" (and steering wheel controls if so equipped) -- including text display of playlist, artist, album and song information, fast forward and rewind, and browsing by playlist, artist, album, Podcast, and Audiobook. The system also charges the music player's battery. According to the company, the new Subaru Impreza iPod interface also manages the digital music player's power by turning the unit off when the vehicle's ignition is turned off, and resuming playback when the vehicle's ignition is turned back on.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a surprise guest appearance during a gathering of top Yahoo! executives at the company's Sunnyvale, California headquarters last Friday. With Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang calling the Apple co-founder "one of his heroes," Jobs spoke about how he turned Apple around on the merits of its worthy assets -- which he claimed Yahoo! also has -- by simply executing properly. Reporting for the Wall Street Journal, Kara Swisher wrote "Thanks, Steve! (Although easy for him to say, given Yang does not exactly have the kind of emperor thing going for him in this regard as Jobs does)," adding that "it was a brilliant choice on the part of Yahoo leadership to use the halo effect of Jobs–whose story of struggle over adversity is well known–in focusing their execs toward the new direction for the company."
Microsoft is gearing up to launch its expected Zune sequel tomorrow, say inside sources. The tips echo earlier rumors and claim that the Redmond-based company is readying both hard disk and flash-based players for the launch; the new flash device would have similar overall dimensions to the second-generation iPod nano at 3 inches by 1.25 inches but would support video, Wi-Fi, and higher storage than at least some rivals. The hard disk version would be slightly thinner and hold more than the 30GB version but otherwise be very similar in terms of hardware. A beta Zune community site and a suite of first-party accessories would accompany the devices, the sources say.
Avvenu, a company specializing in file sharing services, has announced that its Access 'n Share service is now compatible with the iPhone. AnS allows users to remotely tap into files hosted on their desktop computers, browsing, viewing and sharing them; despite the limitations of the iPhone, some formats viewable on the device include Word, Excel and Acrobat documents, as well Photoshop Album and Elements collections, complete with images and tags. Using the service is free with the download of a Windows-only client, but users can also pay prices starting at $4 per month for Anytime Files, a hosting service that permits file access when a desktop computer is shut off.
Sony is planning a special event for October 12th that could overhaul the company's PlayStation 3 lineup, according to reported tips from specialty game retailers close to Sony. An event relating to the console is allegedly planned for that day and is known to Sony employees as the "big bang" for the hopes of sparking new life in the company's beleaguered game system. No details have been released as to what the event might involve, but a price drop for the system is the most likely candidate, GamePro France says. The magazine nonetheless claims that Europeans in particular would receive a special €449 ($639) bundle with Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, reducing the price significantly even compared to previous versions that came without software.
Formerly available only through a limited, Gmail-like system of invitations, Joost has been made a public download, available for free. Joost is an Internet TV service based on a local client, which allows full-screen viewing of channels including A&E, Raindance, and Ministry of Sound; to alleviate bandwidth problems, video is distributed across a peer-to-peer network. Companies make their profit through advertising and licensing deals.
Though Intuit launched QuickBooks 2008 as a Windows-only product last week, the company is also working on a Mac version that will be released at an undisclosed date next year. In a statement to MacNN, QuickBooks officials said "(We are) currently focused on developing the next generation Mac platform and plans to deliver a new QuickBooks Mac offering in 2008. This decision will result in an offering designed to delight and meet the evolving needs of our new and existing Mac customers." Officials added: "We are committed to delivering the Mac community the best business and personal finance solutions in the market. More details will be shared as appropriate when they become available."
Cricket today provided a challenge to Verizon's enV with the launch of the Kyocera Lingo. Like its rival, the Lingo operates like a traditional bar-shaped phone with a number pad but opens lengthwise to reveal a second display and a QWERTY keyboard. Combined with Cricket's standard unlimited messaging, the design lets users quickly send out SMS texts without carrying a much larger device, according to the provider. Kyocera also delivers 1.3-megapixel camera and Bluetooth features similar to its LG-made opponent and offers web access, though no mention is made of EV-DO access.
Capitalizing on the halo effects of the iPhone and iPod, Apple's strong Mac sales are continuing to help the company take away valuable market share from other PC makers. Ahead of the imminent release of Mac OS X 10.5, research firm Net Applications said that Apple's global share of the personal computer market rose to 6.6 percent in September, up from 4.7 percent in the same month last year -- representing a year-over-year gain of more than 40 percent. In addition, the company's market share grew from 6.15 percent in the previous month or a sequential gain of more 7 percent, according to a report by TheStreet.com.
Toshiba today launched multiple notebooks that it hopes drive down the cost of watching HD video on its systems, including its first ever notebook of the kind below the $1,200 mark. The $1,150 Satellite A205-S7468 makes an HD DVD combo drive standard and gives users the ability to watch video at 720p on the 15.4-inch display. Toshiba also promises unusually fast 802.11n Wi-Fi and a 200GB hard disk for the price. A relatively modest 1.5GHz Core 2 Duo is helped by 2GB of RAM for smooth performance in Vista Home Premium, Toshiba says. The S7468 ships today along with the $1,000 S7458, which drops HD DVD for a conventional DVD drive, as well as the $880 S7443 which comes with a slower 1.46GHz Pentium dual-core and a 160GB hard disk.
JamanTV is the name of a soon-to-debut service that will make it possible to rent movies for playback through the Apple TV. The service will consist of two components: the first is the Jaman Player for your PC/Mac and JamanTV player for your Apple TV. The computer-based player is akin to iTunes -- it manages downloaded movies and syncs with external devices. The second is the JamanTV player for the Apple TV, which allows the device to sync with the host computer. AppleTVHacks has a walk-through of the installation process, which is extremely simple on the Mac/PC side, and a little more involved on the Apple TV side. [link updated]
Although the deal has yet to be approved by government regulators or even all shareholders, Nokia says that it has made an agreement to buy NAVTEQ, a prominent producer of maps and map technology for GPS systems. The acquisition will cost Nokia approximately $8.1 billion, or $78 for each NAVTEQ share including outstanding options; this is valued at $7.7 billion of the company's existing cash balance. NAVTEQ will continue to be "operationally independent," Nokia claims, but it will fall within the Nokia Group of businesses, and CEO Judson Green will be obliged to report to Nokia's chief, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. If finalized the deal may be completed in the first quarter of 2008.
The use of Feist's song "1, 2, 3, 4" in an iPod Nano television commercial that's saturating the airwaves has resulted in a major sales boost for the Canadian singer's track. In the early part of September, Feist's single was moving about 2,000 downloads per week, and the album was selling at a rate of about 6,000 per week based on figures from Nielsen SoundScan. Most recently, however, the track is moving more than 73,000, hitting number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. Nielsen's BuzzMetrics, which monitored the number of searches for terms like "1234," "iPod," and "Nano" found that after Labor Day weekend, when the ad was played repeatedly, discussion of the iPod Nano ad was boosted 402 percent, according to Reuters.
Maxon today released an enhanced version of its Cinema 4D 10.5 software. Sporting a wealth of new features, the update includes nearly a 100 enhancements that have been made to Cinema 4D's optional modules as well as its core engine. Maxon said that the update offers new tools for MOCCA and MoGraph as well as major enhancements to HAIR. Using the new DWG import filter, Cinema 4D users now have access to one of the most widely used CAD exchange formats on the market. it supports AutoCAD versions 13 to 2008, including layers, blocks and references. Architects can also enjoy the new connection to Allplan 2008, which guarantees loss-free transfer from Cinema 4D R10.5.
Adobe on Monday revealed Flash Lite 3, an important update to its animation suite for cellphones and other handhelds. The new version is the first to play back video in Adobe's own FLV video format and is the first mobile edition to support animations written in Flash 8, significantly widening the number of sites that devices can view properly. Performance has also improved by about 20 percent overall, the software developer says. Streaming video and progressive downloads also handle more elegantly than before.
Anger over the hack-breaking v1.1.1 iPhone update is fueling talk of a possible lawsuit, accounts say. A poster by the name of "myndex" has used multiple forum posts to seek interest in a possible class action suit against Apple, arguing that the company should be required to service iPhones under warranty, even if they have been modified or used in tandem with unofficial software. Currently, Apple may refuse to handle such products.
HTC on Monday morning let out details of its new smartphone line for the rest of 2007, beginning with the Touch DUAL. The handset includes the same controversial TouchFLO interface as the original Touch but adds a slide-out keypad, allowing users to make a call or perform SureType-style typing without having to use the on-screen interface. It drops Wi-Fi but gains 3G over HSDPA and UMTS on Europe's 2,100MHz frequency and offers a more responsive 400MHz main processor. The device should come with 128MB of RAM, 256MB of permanent storage, and the earlier microSD slot. It should be available first in Europe through Orange as of this month and may spread to other regions in coming months.
Following days after the crippling v1.1.1 update, a number of iPhone owners may at last be able to return hacked units to partial or full functionality, according to reports. Full use of an iPhone is currently limited to people using the paid unlock by iPhoneSIMFree; while the company had only managed to help customers with AT&T SIM cards as of Friday, the company can now purportedly get phones functioning with any carrier, a given example being Vodafone.
Research in Motion today at last unveiled the BlackBerry Pearl 8130, its first version of the slimmer smartphone for CDMA phone networks. The new version is the first to support 3G Internet access over EV-DO and includes streaming 3GPP support for online video from YouTube Mobile or other sites. The Pearl now also supports real GPS with BlackBerry Maps providing driving directions and local searches. Music support is likewise improved with a full-size 3.5mm headphone jack, an external microSDHC slot that supports more than 4GB of music, and the latest version of Roxio's music ripping and transfer software to load songs onto the phone.
T-Mobile today officially released its anticipated Samsung Beat music phone. Also referred to as the t539, the flip design's outer shell brings a relatively large number of dedicated music controls including a full stop button (rather than just pause) and a repeat mode. Its green ring is also more than just a cosmetic light, T-Mobile adds: the shape conceals a built-in speaker that provides relatively strong audio without the need for headphones.
Through its Developer Connection site, Apple has released a new design document, the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines. Also available as a PDF file, the document explains key concepts behind creating applications for the iPhone, which are only officially intended to be run via the Safari web browser. Designers must for instance adjust to the lack of multi-layered windows or a client-side file system, and instead operate solely through AJAX, HTML, CSS and built-in media player functions.
Danish home theater designer Bang & Olufsen and its partner Samsung today made the promised release of the Serenata. The new version greatly expands on the almost exclusively calling-oriented Serene with a much stronger emphasis on music: a dedicated music key brings up a music player and an iPod-like, touch-sensitive scroll wheel is used to pick tracks as well as place calls. The phone stores a relatively large 4GB of music through built-in flash and plays AAC, MP3, and the rare WMA Lossless format.
BenQ this morning released the X735, the latest iteration of its thinner point-and-shoot camera series. The 7.2-megapixel camera is 0.49 inches deep but shares the same features as most of the company's newer models, including nine-point face detection and support for SD cards up to 4GB. Designed for beginners, the camera includes 29 different scene presets; normal light sensitivity peaks at ISO 1000 but jumps to ISO 2000 for an anti-shake mode and ISO 6400 for shooting VGA-resolution movies in a computer-friendly MPEG-4 format.
Apple has begun warning users that its beta Boot Camp software for running Windows on an Intel-based Mac will expire at the end of October. Unlike VMWare and Parallels virtualization solutions that run from within Mac OS X, Boot Camp allows users to start up their Mac using Microsoft's Windows operating system. The Cupertino-based company last week posted a technical support document indicating that some versions of the beta software have already expired and that the latest version will expire when Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard ships in October. Apple's next-generation Leopard operating system was delayed earlier this year so the company could focus its development resources on the iPhone.
Sony on Monday revealed the true nature of its Drive teaser image. Now known as the XEL-1, the device is the finished version of the company's OLED TV prototype and will represent the first OLED TV to be released to stores. The finished version is less bulky than the original and weighs just two kilograms, but maintains the exceptional quality of the display: although just 3mm thick, the OLED panel lets it shut off pixels entirely to produce true blacks. Its contrast ratio is an unprecedented 1,000,000:1, Sony says.
Paradigma Software last week introduced an update to its database technology: the Valentina 3.4 update incorporates new tracking and monitoring features for Valentina databases - locally and remotely on a network -- and is available across the product line, including Valentina Office Server, Valentina Developer Network and the free, Linux based Valentina Community Server. The company said that users can now show the current status of Valentina objects, servers, databases, tables and links, allowing highly granular monitoring, such as numbers of records added in a set amount of time, how many temp tables are created or how many SQL queries are in the query pool.
WiebeTech on Monday added another enclosure to its popular ToughTech desktop line. The new ToughTech FS uses the triple interface Oxford 934 chipset and includes two FireWire 400 ports and single USB2.0 port and eSATA ports. Supporting both SATA 1 and SATA 2 hard drives, it is economically priced starting at $80 and is available now. The company's ToughTech models feature FlexMount anti-shock protection -- a shock absorber that mounts between the drive and the enclosure and protects the data against bumps and vibrations. The product line also includes the advanced ToughTech XE, which features one USB port, two FireWire 800 (1394b) connectors and one eSATA port and the entry-level ToughTech 400, which features one USB mini-B receptacle and two 6-pin FireWire 400 (1394a) connectors. The new ToughTech FS drive enclosure is available in case-only ($80), 250GB ($185), 500GB ($318), 750GB ($416), and 1TB ($611) models.
Native Instruments on Monday announced a new, simplified pricing structure for its software instrument products as well as the availability of Guitar Rig 3, Kontakt 3, Komplete Synths, Komplete Classics and Komplete 5 in stores worldwide. The new Komplete bundles combine Native Instruments software instruments and effects into affordable collections for musicians and producers of all styles and genres. This includes the fifth revision of the Komplete package -- which contains new product versions -- as well as the new Komplete Synths and Komplete Classics bundles that combine the software synthesizers and vintage emulations from Native Instruments.
QuickerTek today announced a new wireless antenna booster for AppleTV. The company said that users can increase the range between AppleTV and wireless devices using the new AppleTV Antenna Upgrade. It uses tri-band external antenna technology that not only improves range and signal strength, but also cuts the wireless interference that plagues many AppleTV home users. QuickerTek's AppleTV Antenna Upgrade comes with a 3-foot cable that allows the external tri-band antenna to be placed up higher -- away from common wireless obstacles in the home or office (e.g. furniture, desks, etc.). The upgrade is completely compatible with 802.11/b/g/n WiFi equipment including Apple's AirPort, AirPort Extreme and the latest 802.11n version of AirPort Extreme. It is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor and is available now for $130.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for â‚¬30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives