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Microsoft responds to YHOO
In response to Yahoo's open rejection of Microsoft's proposed buyout, Microsoft issued a statement countering Yahoo's claim that the offer was undervalued. The software giant said that shareholders on both sides would benefit greatly from the merger, and that a timely transaction would be "in the best interests of all parties". Microsoft also urged investors to consider the positive side of having a combined company, highlighting an "exciting set of solutions for customers," as well as a stronger online front.
BlackBerry devices on Monday saw a major service outage over the US and Canada, that spread across all service providers. According to Yahoo News, RIM did not comment on the outage, which Yahoo says is predictable behavior, based on a similar incident from April of last year. In the past, RIM has remained quiet on service outages for quite some time, then finally providing a cryptic answer. It is unknown how many users were affected during the outage; some users were able to access their device later that afternoon.
iLuv unveils i80 series
iLuv today unveiled its i80 series of its shiny earphones, ear clips, and cases for Apple's iPhone and iPods. The i80 series is designed for women trend setters looking for accessories to enhance their latest gadgets, are fitted with crystal stones, and are available in pink as well as silver and gold. Prices for the new accessories range from $40 to $80, according to iLuv.
GFQ external drives debut
Fantom Drives today debuted G-Force GFQ Quad Interface, a new series of photo-ready external hard drives that support USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and eSATA connectivity. Boasting a maximum throughput of 300MB/sec, the enclosure features a compact fan-free heat-dissipating aluminum design for portability and near silent operation, according to the company. The G-Force GF1000Q (1TB capacity) is priced at $400, while the GF750Q (750GB) and GF500Q are available for $280 and $190, respectively.
Default Folder X 4.0.1
St. Clair Software today released Default Folder X 4.0.1, an update to the Open/Save dialog enhancement utility that boosts speed and improves compatibility. The latest release adds a new preview generator that improves performance as well as reliability -- especially under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger -- and includes an option to display the toolbar as a gray sidebar. Default Folder X 4.0.1 is priced at $35, though upgrades for users who purchased copies on or after June 1st of last year are available for free. Users who purchased Default Folder X prior to June 1st 2007 can upgrade for $15.
Apple Graphics, WebObjects
Accompanying the Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.2 and Tiger security updates earlier today, Apple also unveiled new versions of Leopard graphics drivers, and Web Objects 5.4.1. The new graphics update advertises that improves the stability and compatibility with the Mac OS. The update is available from Apple as a free download, both through Software Update and the company's website, and requires 10.5.2 to be installed.
SplashData is now offering a standalone computer version of SplashMoney, its financial tracking application originally designed to work in conjunction with a Palm handheld. SplashMoney offers users a simple interface, which supports most account types - checking, savings, credit card, cash, assets, liabilities, money markets, and lines of credit. Users can also connect to many different banking institutions, such as Bank of America, American National Bank, and Chase. New users can purchase SplashMoney for $20.
January security updates
Apple's latest Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.2 update and 2008-001 security update for 10.4 Tiger users fixes a number of different vulnerabilities that have existed in a number of different system resources. A stack buffer overflow in Directory Services could allow a local user to execute arbitrary code, while still maintaining system privileges. The issue is resolved by improved bounds checking, and is included with the update.
Mac OS X 10.5.2 Update
Apple today released Mac OS X 10.5.2 Update, which it says is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Leopard and includes "general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac." The 180MB update, available via Software Update, brings AirPort networking fixes, better Back to My Mac support, Dashboard performance improvements, iCal and iChat improvements, Finder and Mail fixes, Parental Control and printing fixes, and Time machine fixes.
Best Buy Picks Blu-ray
Large-scale retailer Best Buy this afternoon unsettled the HD video industry by announcing that it would promote Blu-ray over HD DVD. The chain had originally claimed to remain platform-neutral but now says Blu-ray will be its "preferred" format and will reflect this choice in its stores. Blu-ray movie players and titles will be given more prominent positions than HD DVD, while store staff are more likely to recommend the new format. The sudden shift is a reaction to customer demand, according to Best Buy president Brian Dunn.
Apple, Citigroup Top Picks
Apple stock was subject to slight gains as Citigroup added the Cupertino-based company to it Top Picks Live list, which allowed the computer manufacturer to maintain a Buy rating, with a target of $212 per share. According to AppleInsider, shares of the company have been on a slight rollercoaster ride since its December peak of $199.83, taking a total hit of 37-percent since that time. Citigroup expects Apple's earnings per share will beat consensus by 10 cents, possibly more, for its predicted March quarter.
BlackBerry Curve CDMA
Photos and details have leaked for the CDMA version of the BlackBerry Curve, the 8330. The most crucial revelation may be the confirmation of GPS functions, as found on the Pearl 8130; the hardware is listed in the 8330's options menu. The keyboard however is in keeping with other Curves, featuring a widely spaced QWERTY design backlit around areas such as the numberpad. A camera is located on the back, and while its sensor rating is unknown, it is likely to remain a consistent two megapixels. No prices, release dates or carriers have been announced. [via BB Geeks]
Dell Wireless USB
Dell today quietly slipped in one of the first widely available Wireless USB options into its portables. Both the Inspiron 1525 as well as the entire XPS gaming notebook line can now fit an internal adapter that supports the new standard. The technology uses ultra wideband to connect a system to a wireless USB hub or directly to the newest mix of external hard drives, printers, and other peripherals. The short-range technology is claimed to be as fast as wired USB 2.0.
More Samsung phones at SWC
Not content with its more style-oriented devices, Samsung has announced a host of other phones coming in the near future. Among these is the F400, which like the Serenata is based on Bang & Olufsen sound technology in the form of two stereo speakers, concealed within a dual-sliding design. Onboard is a FM radio, a three-megapixel camera with autofocus, and a microSD slot. The F400 should be out in late March, at a cost of €370-390 ($537-566).
Plantronics 370 and 360
Plantronics set out a new approach for its Explorer Bluetooth headsets today with the unveiling of one of the very few earpieces targeted at owners likely to use their phones in rough conditions. The Explorer 370 is guarded with rubber and sealed to meet military standards; the design is allegedly dust, shock, and water resistant in the same conditions experienced by US soldiers on the field. A virtual wind guard technique also filters out most of the background noise produced by these harsh environments.
Google Android on Show
Confirming earlier expectations, Texas Instruments and a handful of other chipset makers were the first to demonstrate working examples of Google's Android mobile operating system on functional hardware. Now confirmed to just be a test mule, the prototype device is said to prove the speed of the Linux-based software on even obsolete hardware. Despite its visual effects, Android is capable of running quickly on Texas Instruments ARM processors from two generations ago, according to tests by Pocket-lint.
SanDisk iNAND 16GB Drive
SanDisk at Mobile World Congress is kickstarting its iNAND embedded flash drive with a new 16GB model. Designed primarily for smartphones, media players, and other very space-limited handhelds, the new drive doubles the storage of the earlier model without taking up extra space. As a result, even slim phones and other devices can carry the new capacity, SanDisk says. Currently, most handsets such as the iPhone rely on more traditional flash memory chips that often consume more space.
Samsung fashion phones
Among a host of new phones unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, Samsung has announced several fashion-oriented models. The preeminent one is likely to be the F480, which uses a 2.8-inch, QVGA touchscreen with tactile feedback for each button press. It additionally features 3G, an FM tuner, and 240MB of internal storage, complemented by microSD cards. The still camera meanwhile is a five-megapixel autofocus model, complete with LED flash. It should ship to Europe in April or May for €350-400 ($508-580).
Disk Order 3.0 released
LikeMac Group has released Disk Order 3.0, an update to the double-pane file manager for Mac OS X that adds new plug-ins and a refined Editor/Viewer. New plug-ins include 'iPod Browse' that allows users to view as well as download music from an iPod's music library, a 'Rar Unpacker' to decompress files in the RAR format, and 'Send To' Mail/Application/Folder to help users quickly send emails or files to any application or folder with one mouse click. Disk Order 3.0 is priced at $30 for new users, and updates are free for registered owners.
REALbasic 2008 Release 1
REAL Software is now shipping REALbasic 2008 Release 1, its cross-platform development environment for Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows. Offering over 39 minor improvements, REALbasic 2008 Release 1 includes a new feature called Introspection, which allows programmers to access the type and characteristics of an object at runtime -- before compiling a program. The new feature makes object-oriented programming easier to use and understand while allowing more advanced dynamic programming techniques in creating REALbasic applications.
LG unveils KF700, 600, 510
Demonstrating at the GSMA World Congress in Barcelona, LG has revealed three new KF-series phones. The top of the line is the KF700, which combines both a three-inch touchscreen and a sliding keypad. The firmware, meanwhile, said to feature a "full" web browser, along with audio and video players. For faster control, a special "shortcut dial" on the back of the phone switches between applications.
The KF600 relies even more heavily on its touchscreen, omitting the keypad. The phone does however come with a three-megapixel camera and video recording, and is said to use an unusual trapezoidal design.
NVIDIA APX 2500 Mobile GPU
NVIDIA on Monday took the wraps from the APX 2500, a new chipset it describes as an application processor for smartphones and other handhelds. Though it has a GeForce graphics unit at its core that helps drive 3D games, the 2500 is said to excel at processing HD video: the hardware is the only mobile chipset capable of both decoding and capturing 720p HD video, NVIDIA claims. Moreover, power savings in the chipset reportedly make this a practical reality in real use, with as much as 10 hours of 720p playback or a full 100 hours of pure audio. This last figure is more than four times longer than for existing touchscreen phones, the company notes.
Starbucks ATT Free Wi-Fi
Starbucks today said it would begin offering free Wi-Fi access to AT&T subscribers as well as free two hours of Wi-Fi to those who make purchases at the world's largest coffee chain. The move marks a break from Starbucks' longstanding choice of T-Mobile and will see all of Starbucks' 7,000-plus existing Internet-capable coffee houses switch to AT&T for access. All customers of AT&T's DSL and U-verse Internet services will have free, unlimited access to the hotspots. AT&T's cellphone customers will also have the option in the near future, the coffee producers say. Starbucks Card holders will also have two hours of use per day on top of their existing benefits.
Yahoo turns to AOL
Yahoo is once again considering a merger with AOL in order to protect itself against a hostile bid from Microsoft, writes British newspaper The Times. Having formally rejected a bid worth nearly $45 billion, Yahoo is said to be in talks with advisers from Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, who have been helping the company search for a partnership that might block a Microsoft acquisition. One such partnership could be with the Time Warner-owned AOL, although Google -- which has a five-percent stake in AOL, and is Microsoft's main enemy -- has reportedly offered to support Yahoo.
HSPA broadband modems
Sierra Wireless has introduced two new HSPA mobile broadband modems -- the AirCard 885E ExpressCard and Compass 885 USB modem. Both devices boast a small form-factor and offer the latest high-speed mobile broadband technology for use worldwide. Both the AirCard 885E ExpressCard and the Compass 885 USB modem are slated for shipment in mid-2008, and are compatible with Mac as well as Windows systems.
Four new EU Apple Stores
(Updated with Belfast information) Apple is planning to open at least three new stores in Europe (Italian), according to one report citing an official Apple map. The Cupertino-based company is branching out with retail outlets in Monaco, Zurich, and Geneva. The stores are clearly marked on a company map that was recently updated, confirming rumors about a Monaco-based location. Apple has posted job listings for the three new stores, but has yet to specify opening dates or exact locations, according to Macitynet.it. [corrected]
Microsoft Buys Danger
Microsoft today revealed that it was acquiring Danger Inc., triggering a shift in the mobile phone business. The deal's terms have not been disclosed but will see the smaller firm, best known for the software powering Sidekick messaging phones, folded into the Entertainment and Services Division at Microsoft. The buyout will help Microsoft enter the "consumer space" for phones and will simultaneously let Danger expand its partnerships to other companies. Neither firm has said when they expect the deal to be approved by US officials.
Yahoo Rejects Microsoft
Yahoo today publicly dismissed Microsoft's $44.6 billion takeover bid, setting the groundwork for a long conflict between the firms. The search firm's Board of Directors says it has unanimously rejected Microsoft's offer after believing that the deal "substantially undervalues" Yahoo's worth. The reputation associated with Yahoo's name, its user base, ad investments and finances are all worth more than what Microsoft has proposed, according to the statement.
O2: Heavy iPhone data use
The iPhone is generating "unheard-of levels of mobile Internet usage," according to Vivek Dev, COO of Telefónica O2 Europe, the sole carrier of the device in the United Kingdom. Web browsing and e-mail are two of the primary purposes of the iPhone, and O2 customers have unlimited use under current plans. Traffic is said to be so high in fact that it is straining O2's network, and this is only expected to become worse as the company switches to flat data fees. Voice and SMS plans were recently upgraded.
Apple's gaming trademark
Apple has filed a trademark application that covers a wide array of video game and toy devices. The trademark lists "Toys, games and playthings, namely, hand-held units for playing electronic games; hand-held units for playing video games; stand alone video game machines; electronic games other than those adapted for use with television receivers only; LCD game machines; electronic educational game machines; toys, namely battery-powered computer games," according to Trademork.com.
Netflix Blu-ray Exclusive
Movie rental service Netflix this morning dealt an added blow to HD DVD by announcing that it would drop the format from its mail-based subscriptions, offering HD movies solely in Blu-ray. While the company will not immediately halt rentals of HD DVD tiles, it will no longer add HD DVD movies to its catalog and intends to phase out the format as discs finish their useful rental cycles. The move is claimed to end the confusion caused by dual formats and will let Netflix push HD video more clearly to its rental business, which is still dominated by DVDs.
HTC P3470 and Upgrades
HTC has taken its turn at Mobile World Congress to release one new phone and upgrade two of its crossover devices. Spotlighted in the show is the P3470; originally codenamed the Pharos, the touchscreen phone centers on GPS mapping and supports either TomTom or CoPilot software for its navigation. A navigation wheel also helps it navigate through large lists more quickly than possible with just a directional pad. HTC also delivers a 2-megapixel camera and microSD storage with the phone, which ships first to Europe later this month but will support quad-band GSM and EDGE data for a possible rollout in North America.
iPhone, Touch price cuts?
Prices on the iPhone and the iPod touch may drop substantially within the next two months, a report suggests. Citing an anonymous source, the report claims that by mid-April at the latest, a $100 price drop will reach the 16GB iPhone, as well as the 16 and 32GB Touches; this would put their costs at $399, $299 and $399, respectively. It is also said that sales of the 8GB Touch will stop completely, but the source does not mention a removal of the 8GB iPhone, which would have to happen if it did not also fall in price.
Novatel Ovation MC930D
Novatel today upgraded its Ovation USB adapters with the MC930D. A variant on the MC950D, the new modem exchanges the tri-band HSDPA of the earlier model for full-fledged HSPA access in Europe: on advanced portions of networks from Vodafone and other carriers, the device can download at rates up to 7.2Mbps and upload at a far faster 2.1Mbps than usual. Its design is less than half an inch thick and is built to be pocketable when not plugged into a notebook.
Moto Z6w and W-series
Motorola's contribution to phone announcements on Monday involves an upgrade to one of its more ubiquitous sliders and two world phones. The Z6w adds Wi-Fi to the original design of the GSM-based Z6 for faster browsing at hotspots; it also offers Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) that allows it to start a call either through GSM or through VoIP (when on Wi-Fi) and to automatically switch from one format to the other if the phone's owner wanders out of range of one of the signals. Internet browsing between EDGE and Wi-Fi is also gapless, Motorola says. The Z6w continues to include a 2-megapixel camera and use Motorola's Linux-based MOTOMAGX OS. The phone ships in the spring and may see service through T-Mobile USA's HotSpot@Home.
Nokia S60 Touch in 2008
Nokia at its press conference for the Mobile World Congress expo set a timeframe for unveiling the company's first-ever touchscreen phone as well as clarified its operating system plans. Although few details have been released for the device itself, Nokia now intends to release a touchscreen phone in the second half of 2008. The handset will use an enhanced version of the Symbian Series 60 OS dubbed S60 Touch and is likely to sport many of the iPhone-like features showcased a year ago, including a natural-gesture photo browser and music playback controls.
Nokia 6210 and 6220
Nokia this morning launched a pair of 6-series phones built alternately for mapping and photography. The 6210 Navigator (shown) replaces the 6110 and is the first phone from Nokia to sport its new Maps 2.0 software: using assisted GPS, the 6210 now has access to a Walk mode that plots routes while on foot in addition to a vehicle mode (Drive). It likewise improves on the earlier phone in hardware with an accelerometer that tracks speed and orientation as well as a compass that provides directions regardless of whether GPS is active. A 1GB microSD card is bundled with the phone that includes maps for use without needing Internet access or even a SIM card, Nokia says.
Nokia N96 and N78
Nokia this morning made an aggressive start to its launch at Mobile World Congress through two key Nseries smartphones. The N96 (pictured) is Nokia's long-anticipated sequel to the N95 8GB and doubles its built-in storage to 16GB; with a microSDHC slot and an 8GB card (including a new card of Nokia's own), the device can hold up to 24GB data by itself. Several design changes also improve its handling of media playback: in addition to a built-in kickstand for long video playback, the N96 adds a native 3.5mm headphone jack, simulated 3D sound speakers, and a DVB-H tuner for receiving over-the-air digital TV in Europe. An electronic programming guide allows the handset to record up to 40 hours of video.
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