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Samsung's semiconductor branch tonight helped launch Barcelona's Mobile World Congress with a new mobile platform destined for smartphones and other high-end handhelds. The S3C6410 merges both a 667MHz ARM processor as well as a hardware Multi Format Codec decoder/encoder block that offloads much of the work that would normally be given to the main CPU. In addition to driving playback of video formats such as H.264, MPEG-4, and VC-1, it can also record standard-definition (640x480) video at full speed -- including while playing back video at the same time, Samsung says. The feature explicitly opens the door to two-way video calling at TV resolutions while simultaneously improving battery life versus older processors.
Sony-Ericsson has finished up its announcements in Barcelona with word of a 3G ExpressCard line and a stereo headset. The EC400 and its GPS-equipped counterpart the EC400g are Sony-Ericsson's first mobile Internet cards to provide HSPA while using the ExpressCard format; both plug into the EC/34 slot of Mac OS X and Windows PCs to provide up to 7.2Mbps downstream in peak conditions as well as up to 2Mbps for uploads. An auto-configuring process ensures a near pain-free setup process, the company explains.
Rounding out Sony-Ericsson's phone releases at Mobile World Congress are the C702 and C902, both entries in the company's Cyber-shot cameraphone lineup. The 3.2- and 5-megapixel respective phones are each designed for frequent photography, each with their own unique twists. The C702 equips assisted GPS and will geotag photos with their positions; its body is also sealed against dust and splashes and is shaped to snap photos easily with one hand.
Sony-Ericsson this afternoon claimed to have some of the best music and web phones yet with the announcement of two more devices in its Mobile World Congress lineup. The W980 clamshell is the device maker's new flagship Walkman phone and includes 8GB of built-in flash memory to hold most users' whole collections without needing an external card. Audio-enhancing functions as well as premium earbuds also provide better listening than most devices in the class, the company touts. In an unusual spin for Sony-Ericsson phones, an FM transmitter is built in along with a receiver, allowing the W980 to beam music to nearby stereos or even other phones with FM radios.
Continuing a succession of announcements for the Mobile World Congress show, Sony-Ericsson today launched two touchscreen cameraphones it says are the first truly aimed at the mainstream. The 3.2-megapixel G700 and 5-megapixel G900 [both links active soon] make the unusual choice of offering both a touchscreen and a full number pad. The 2.4-inch LCD can be used to browse music, edit photos, surf the web, and call contacts with fingers as well as to draw or write notes with a stylus; in turn, the traditional controls allow quick dialing, menu-hopping, and shortcuts to common tasks.
Sony-Ericsson opened the Mobile World Congress today by unveiling the XPERIA X1, its first true touchscreen-focused cellphone. Following a deal with Microsoft, the handset is Sony-Ericsson's first device to use Windows Mobile for its OS but also uses a custom interface of "XPERIA panels" rather than the default Microsoft front-end: users simply tap panels with their fingers to access calling, media, and other functions, according to the phone designer. Though dominated by its 3-inch, 800x480 touchscreen, the device also includes both optical and physical navigation pads at the bottom as well as a unique arc-slider QWERTY keyboard that tilts outward for more comfortable typing.
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TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF
CBS: No recent streaming conversations with Apple
CBS CEO Les Moonves has made remarks, casting doubt on a launch of Apple's live streaming television service. In interviews this week, the executive said regarding negotiations with Apple that "we had conversations awhile back, and we haven't had recent conversations with them," adding that "the phone is always ringing" regarding similar services, but not with Apple on the line. http://cnnmon.ie/1PptJM6
Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS
Weber buys iDevices' iGrill, Kitchen Thermometer
Cooking gear manufacturer Weber is purchasing iOS accessory manufacturer iDevices iGrill and Kitchen Thermometer lines. As part of the purchase, Weber is working in parallel with iDevices to roll out a new version of the products, and associated apps, this spring. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. CEO of iDevices Chris Allen said that the transition will allow the company to "focus even more heavily on becoming a leader in the home automation market." http://bit.ly/1PFk3uZ
Vevo music video app launched for Apple TV
Vevo today announced its new native tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. The new app allows users Siri Remote navigation for discovery of top videos by genre, or to search for individual artists and videos. Playlists generated on another device sync between all the iterations of the app. http://apple.co/1PFhxEU
HydraDock team unveils USB 3.1 Type C Roadie
KickShark, the team that brought the HydraDock desktop USB-C dock to market, has launched a Kickstarter project for The Roadie -- a USB 3.1 Type C standard-compliant pocket hub for the 12 inch Apple MacBook and other compatible devices. The Roadie occupies the same footprint on a desk as a credit card, with a short USB-C male cable on one end for connecting to a 12 inch MacBook, and a female USB-C port on the other end for plugging in a MacBook power adapter. One side has an RJ45 jack for gigabit Ethernet, and an HDCP-compliant HDMI jack that handles up to 4K displays. KickShark promises shipment of all products within four weeks of campaign completion. The "early bird" offer for the hub is a $69 commitment, with a $79 commitment for a Roadie after 500 backers have pledged. http://kck.st/1o6knw5
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe