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Palm recently announced the availability of unlocked Treo 750 smartphones, shipping with Windows Mobile 6. Previously available only through AT&T, the unlocked smartphone can be used through any GSM service provider. The Treo 750 features a Palm handheld PDA in the same package as a five-band world phone. With Windows Mobile 6 built-in, the device can sync with Exchange Server 2007. Palm is selling the unlocked unit through its retail and online stores for $550.
Nokia today hosted its annual investor day, and announced that it is raising its operating margin forecasts, while seeking to gain market share in mobile devices. Shares dropped 3.3-percent on the NYSE, as investors deemed Nokia's 16- to 17-percent group operating margin too conservative, leaving the company to finish at $38.92 per share. CEO Olli Pekka Kallasvuo continue on to the mobile division, pointing out the potential operating margin at 20-percent within two years, and 10-percent for its Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture by the end of 2009.
SilverStack v1.4 has been released, adding a new 10-bit color depth pipeline for QuickTime media creation to the tool for handling image sequences in film and video production workflows. The software includes tools for viewing, managing and exporting of image sequences of various formats including DPX and Cineon. The current update offers additional features for Mac OS X Leopard users. Codecs include Apple's ProRes, Uncompressed 10bit 4:2:2, CineformHD as well as codecs from AJA and Blackmagic. For Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard users SilverStack v1.4 introduces improved handling of image sequences in everyday's production work: A genuine DPX QuickLook plugin shows DPX files including metadata without the need of opening any application, image sequences can be browsed in the CoverFlow view of Finder.
Adobe has taken wraps off the Flash Media Server 3 series of products, consisting of two offerings: Adobe Flash Media Streaming Server 3 for live and on-demand video streaming and Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server 3 for scalable video streaming services and social media applications. The new releases support nearly double the amount of streams per server; support for industry standard H.264 video and HE-AAC audio in Adobe Flash Player 9 ; upgrades to Adobe’s patented protocol for delivering protected content; and enhanced live video support. In addition, Adobe Flash Media Server 3 supports both prerecorded and live streaming to Adobe Flash Lite 3.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters today unveiled an improved version of the TuneStik, turning it into somewhat of a multipurpose dongle. In addition to being able to transmit to FM radio stations, the TuneStik can control the iPod through the included remote. The remote features a small but bright LCD display so that users can tell what station they are tuning in to. On the bottom of the unit is a dock connector pass-through, allowing users to connect whatever devices they please to the underside of the TuneStik. DLO is selling the new TuneStik for $60, and is said to be compatible with all new iPod models.
The internet telephony firm Skype released a new beta of its next generation VOIP software. First released in August, the new Skype 2.7 beta adds support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple latest operating system, and also brings better video resolution. The company said that video conversations are now set at 640 x 480 pixels by default and offer up to 25 frames per second. The free software offers the ability to make free Skype-to-Skype (worldwide) calls, make calls to ordinary phones and mobiles at low rates, video-conferencing with others, group chats of up to 100, and standard conference-calling with up to 10 people.
Fastforward has launched the second edition of Meander, an advanced mapping application. In addition to planning routes, the software can be used to plot points and measure distances, using scanned maps as well as those pulled from websites such as Google. Version 2.0 updates the interface to better suit Mac OS X Leopard, and further allows users to export routes for posting on the web. Another major change is the ability to draw multiple lines on the same map, made possible by saving customized lines for each route rather than across Meander.
The Department of Justice has come out in support of damages awarded to the RIAA, a brief from the government body suggests. Jammie Thomas, a single mother who was successfully sued by the RIAA for sharing music on Kazaa, and was initially fined $9,250 per song for a total of $220,000. As a part of her appeal though, she challenged the constitutionality of the judgment, noting that the Copyright Act only allows statutory damages between $750 and $150,000. This, Thomas claimed, meant her punishment violated the Due Process clause of the Constitution, particularly since record labels only earn an average of 70¢ on the dollar for each track.
Microsoft is deliberately feeding into the HD disc format wars to ensure that its own downloads succeed where physical copies fail, says movie director Michael Bay in a response to a question posed through his official forums. The producer contends that Microsoft is writing "$100 million dollar checks" to movie studios to ensure HD DVD exclusives that hurt the overall market regardless of the format's actual merit or its popularity, preventing any one format from gaining a clear upper hand. Bay's own Transformers is available on disc only in the less popular HD DVD format despite his stated preference for Blu-ray. To the director, this is primarily a stalling tactic while Microsoft refines its own online-only technology.
A vulnerability in the QuickTime media player discovered late last month has been exploited to steal virtual currency in the game Second Life (called "Linden Dollars"), a significant problem since Linden Dollars can be converted into US dollars, with an exchange rate of about 250 Linden to one US dollar. The capability was discovered by Charlie Miller and Dino Dai Zovi, who said "Second Life allows players to embed media files in Second Life objects, and uses QuickTime to handle all video rendering. Furthermore, it is possible to have these media elements constantly playing. If a Second Life avatar walks onto a piece of land that contains an embedded malicious QuickTime File, they can be exploited. Once the malicious file has been viewed by the victim, the attacker has complete control over the victim's computer - and Second Life avatar. At this point the exploit could make the avatar do anything they like. This particular exploit freezes the avatar and makes them send the attacker's avatar twelve Linden dollars and shout "I got hacked."
AT&T has announced the full acquisition of Edge Wireless, a carrier operating mainly in the Pacific northwest, with extended coverage in Idaho and Wyoming. Though AT&T already had a minority ownership in Edge, it has decided to buy the remaining 64.3 percent, giving it access to an existing subscriber base of approximately 172,000. If approved by the government the purchase will also let AT&T absorb Edge's GSM network, and open up new markets for handsets such as the iPhone.
Dell is about to update its budget notebook lines to capitalize on end-of-year sales, a pair of leaks from Les Delliens. The Intel-based Inspiron 1525 and its AMD equivalent, the 1526, are expected to provide minor speed upgrades to the current 1520 and 1521 models. Both 15.4-inch systems will be close in spirit to the existing design but are likely to reflect the introduction of new processors and storage options since the original release. HDMI output will still be an option for at least dedicated video chipsets.
V-MODA today released special colors for its earbud lines to add extra style to the iPhone and new iPods. The VIBE Duo now includes Gunmetal Rouge and polished chrome versions to satisfy iPhone users looking for an earbud and headset combo more conspicuously stylish than either the black Duos or Apple's stock headset. The standard VIBE receives a similar treatment with a Midnight Blue tint for iPhone and iPod owners who can go without an in-line microphone.
A lawsuit filed by the owners of the LimeWire file-sharing service has been thrown out of a New York court, writes the Associated Press. The Lime Group had earlier entered a case against a group of major record labels, charging that they were harming Lime through unfair business practices. Specifically, said Lime's lawyers, the labels were refusing to license out music, which Lime had hoped to implement into an above-board pay service. Instead the labels would only deal with Lime if it used an approved filtering system, or if it struck an agreement with the industry-sanctioned iMesh service.
SAP today announced that its sales-force automation software will be compatible with Apple's iPhone. The software -- which SAP touts as one of the most user-friendly products to date, according to Reuters -- will transfer business contacts, information on prospective sales, and account data onto the iPhone.
Adobe today launched one of its most significant updates to its web tools for video creation and playback. Flash 9 Update 3 is the first public version of the player to support video in the H.264 format, significantly improving video quality. With a fast-enough connection, viewers can watch HD-quality clips in the same format used by many Blu-ray and HD DVD movies, Adobe boasts. Videos can also use the High Efficiency AAC standard to provide backing audio at higher quality without affecting bandwidth.
Quark today launched QuarkCopyDesk 7, the latest revision of its text and picture editing software designed to streamline content editiing. Built on QuarkXPress 7 code, QuarkCopyDesk 7 integrates with QuarkXPress 7 and Quark Publishing System 7, as well as with third party workflow systems. The software is priced at $250, with upgrades available for $90.
PDO today announced the availability of its Flipp leather case for the iPod classic and Touch. The Flipp for the Classic features black leather, and is rigidly constructed, offering full protection, even to the edges and bottom. Cutouts allow quick access to the wheel and dock connector, while the screen is protected by built-in clear plastic. A sturdy metal belt-clip is securely fastened to each model, and the front flap is held shut by magnets. Users can purchase the Flipp for either 80GB or 160GB models, and both are selling for $30.
NEC on Tuesday rolled out Lui, a new platform that it believes can replace the conventional integration of a home theater PC. Rather than depend solely on a media extender hub, the new concept relies on remotely controlling a home Lui Server and streaming music and videos directly from its hard drive: remote control would be handled by a lightly-equipped computer or handheld that only needs enough power and storage to make the connection, NEC says. The server could use WiMAX to establish a connection between all the devices at ranges longer than for Wi-Fi.
Enhance Technology has unveiled 3Gb SAS/SATA desktop RAID disk arrays that work with Mac OS X systems. The company's EnhanceRAID SAS Series T5 SS and T8 SS are host card dependent RAID storage systems with support for both SAS and SATA I/II 3Gbps hard drives. Enhance Technology's T8 SS 5-drive SAS RAID desktop storage device is priced at $1,600, while the T8 SS-IS 5-drive SAS RAID with eSATA-out is available for $1,700.
Booq today announced the availability of the Folee 2, a new version of itse full-fetured travel bag, and is currently offering an introductory promotion on the bag. Users who buy a Folee 2 from now unti December 31st can save 15-percent, by entering the promotional code "F2X" when making their purchase. The bag is constructed from ballistic nylon and features all-metal hardware – zippers, clasps, and hinges. Booq advertises the Folee 2 as offering the practicallity of a messenger bag with the architectural advantages of a traditional briefcase. A 13- to 15-inch model is selling for $215, with the model for 17" MacBook Pros goes for $225.
As part of a mutual marketing push, Microsoft and the Seattle-based Goods clothing store have produced the first limited-edition Zunes of the second generation. Co-branded, gold-colored players are being made in quantities of just 10 each for the 8GB and 80GB sizes, and will be sold only in Seattle next Saturday. The gold is limited to the rear of the player, which also features screen-printed logos and patterning. No prices have been mentioned, but the players are liable to be expensive given their special production.
Bowing to pressure, Microsoft will soon remove an anti-piracy measure from Windows Vista that cripples the software, say Reuters and BBC News. Vista Service Pack 1, which should be available in the first quarter of 2008, will strip away software that renders Vista all but unusable if the Windows Genuine Advantage tool deems an OS illegal. The difficulty, Microsoft has admitted, is that it in numerous cases the tool has misreported copies of Vista, locking legitimate users out of their own purchases.
In tandem with the formal availability of the fall 2007 update for its Xbox 360 game system, Microsoft today announced that its Xbox Video Marketplace will open to users of the console outside of the US. Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK will now have access to rentals of full-length movies from major studios, including high-profile titles such as 300 and Ocean's 13. More will come in the next few months, Microsoft says. Country-specific studios will also be available, Microsoft says. Like the American store, videos will be available to rent either in standard-definition at DVD quality or at HD quality for HDTV sets.
Creative Manager Pro has released Creative Manager Pro 8.5, an update to its ad agency software and project management groupware for creative design firms. The latest release adds flash features, improvements for financial reporting, and updates for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. This month's update gives clients of Creative Manager Pro increases in speed and usability, offering a more intuitive user interface via flash technology (pricing was unavailable).
atebits has released the first version of Scribbles, an illustration program meant to ease drawing on a Mac; where most such applications are meant for professionals and semi-professionals, Scribbles uses a simplified interface that is suitable for kids as well as adults. It nevertheless replicates some more complex options, such as naturalistic stroke rendering, and a 3D layering interface. Tablet controllers are supported, and there is no need for a fixed canvas size, as a scaling technology will resize as necessary without pixellation.
Macgamestore.com today announced the release of Babysitting Mania for Mac. "Can you get the kids to bed and the house clean before the parents get home?" The game features 20 different houses, as well as dozens of different children to care for. Babysitting Mania is priced at $20, and requires mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to play.
In a partly unexpected move Cox Communications today revealed that it intends to bid in the FCC's upcoming auction for the 700MHz band, becoming the first company outside of Google confirmed as making an attempt at the valuable wireless frequency. The announcement will have the company place at least $4.6 billion for a portion of the network and is geared towards improving the "convergence and mobility" of Cox's services, according to the company. The phrasing points to Cox establishing a wireless network of its own, though whether this will include calling or just data is uncertain. Cox is best known for its cable Internet and TV services and may be seeking to offer a third business.Cox
A German court has overturned a temporary injunction that was granted just two weeks ago, which forced Apple's wireless carrier partner -- T-Mobile -- to sell unlocked handsets to German consumers, according to BBC News. T-Mobile, complying with the temporary injunction, sold 'unlocked' iPhones for a whopping £1,000 each. That price compares to iPhones which come tied to T-Mobile with a 2-year contract, selling for £400 each.
Apple guidance formerly thought to be too optimistic has been proven to be conservative, says analyst Shaw Wu of American Technology Research. iPod sales are ahead of expectations, with accelerated sales of the iPod touch and third-generation Nano compensating for slowdowns with the Classic and Shuffle; an ASP of $164 is being modeled, up from $162, compared to the typical decline in ASPs this time of year. Mac sales are meanwhile expected to reach 2.3 million, instead of the consensus 2.2.
Apple has launched a new 'Get a Mac' ad highlighting recent test results, which found that a Mac laptop ran Windows Vista faster than all other portables. The commercial begins with the usual introduction of 'Mac' starring Justin Long and 'PC,' played by John Hodgman. 'PC' immediately notions for Mac to wait as he begins a telephone conversation with PCWorld to report a misprint.
Both Apple and Dell are already set to receive large quantities of small LCDs with LED backlights for imminent notebooks, according to a new report from Taiwan manufacturers. Local firms Kenmos and Nano-Op are said to be producing the thinner, more power-efficient backlights for LCD display makers AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei respectively that will be used for compact notebooks by both of the American notebook designers. Although details of Kenmos' production plans are unclear and may include existing systems such as the 15-inch MacBook Pro or the XPS M1330, AUO and Nano-Op are allegedly producing a 13.3-inch screen for Apple and a 12.1-inch screen for Dell, the report's industry sources claim.
Troll Touch today announced the immediate availability of its internally integrated touchscreen product for Apple's current "Aluminum" 20- and 24-inch iMac systems. Both systems feature the company’s high resolution, analog resistive touchscreen technology which supports input via fingertip, gloved hand or stylus. The touchscreen is internally connected utilizing one of the machines USB ports. Troll Touch says its innovative component integration technique does not alter the machine’s form factor in any way: To the casual observer, the system does not appear to have been modified."
Gameloft SA has debuted a new game for iPods, Brain Challenge (iTunes link). Similar to the Nintendo DS game Brain Age, Brain Challenge attempts to be fun while also stimulating reasoning through practical mental activities. The title is comprised mainly of 20 mini-games, divided into five categories: Visual, Memory, Logic, Math and Focus. These can be played in either the normal mode or a quick, fifteen-minute Brain Daily Test.
Dell on Tuesday offered a late present to gamers with the XPS M1730 World of Warcraft Edition. The system is restyled to fit the theme of the online role-playing game while also providing many extras: the lid is given either Alliance or Horde artwork and is matched by a logo for the game on the inside. The 17-inch desktop replacement comes preloaded with the core game, the Burning Crusade expansion pack, and customized screen savers and background images; it also comes with the full Warcraft III and its expansion pack.
Parallels has released a new Premium Edition of Parallels Desktop 3.0, its popular virtualization software. Introduced with the program is the latest Leopard-compatible build of Desktop, which is now also a free, automatic update for owners of the regular package. The Premium Edition bundles three applications for users' Windows virtual machines: Acronis Disk Director Suite lets users move, merge and recover partitions, while Acronis True Image Home lets users backup all Windows data, including the OS and settings.
Verizon today made a surprise move today and joined the recently established Open Handset Alliance, Google's organization for promoting open software development for cellphones and other handhelds. The move will see Verizon use Google's Linux-based, open-source Android operating system on some phones. The software is an "enabler" that will let Verizon move towards an open platform, says company chief Lowell McAdam.
Nokia today kicked off its own Nokia World event with a controversial plan to offer free music to its phone owners. Known as Comes With Music, the service is based on Universal's proposed Total Music concept: buying a supporting device grants a year's worth of unlimited access to music from the Universal catalog subsidized by part of the phone's cost. Unlike pure subscription models, however, users can keep any of the music they have downloaded, Nokia says. The cellphone maker does not say when Comes With Music will be available but notes that talks are still under way to convince other labels to come onboard.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k