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China Mobile backs LTE
In what seems to be an enormous shift in the race for a 4G wireless standard, China Mobile on Wednesday is expected to show its support for the LTE, or Long Term Evolution, 4G wireless technology. Should this prove to be true, LTE will have accrued support from China Mobile, Vodafone, Verizon, and, peripherally, AT&T, according to Yahoo News. Arun Sarin, CEO for Vodafone, expects that WiMax – one of LTE's competing standards – will be rolled in to the LTE standard, as the UK-based company deploys its 4G networks in 2010.
Investor urges MS, Yahoo
After an ongoing civilized dispute between the two companies [1|2|3], a major Yahoo investor pleaded with Microsoft to raise its bid of $42 billion in an effort to stay the deal. In addition, the second-largest investor scorned Yahoo's pride, saying that they have few options left for a satisfactory buyout. According to Reuters, Bill Miller, the lead stock-picker for Legg Mason, assessed in a quarterly letter to investors Yahoo's true worth to be $40 per share, $9 more than Microsoft's original bid.
Firefox 3.0 Beta 3
Firefox 3.0 Beta 3 is available for download from Mozilla's developer FTP site, according to Brazilian enthusiast site Blog.MacMagazine. Blogger Rafael Fischmann reports that a casual browse of Mozilla's public FTP server revealed the latest beta, which sports a very Mail-inspired, but slender interface. The popular browser takes a few design cues from other Apple applications as well, with the URL field resembling that of iPhoto's search field.
First Look: SplashMoney
When it seems like you're broke no matter how much money you bring in, it might be a good idea to start tracking your financial transactions. Unfortunately, this simple task can appear needlessly complicated by many financial managing programs that overwhelm you with too many features. To make it easy to control your finances, SplashData made SplashMoney, a simple financial management program that helps you record your income and expenses, create budgets, while making reports and charts of your spending habits.
iPhone 1.1.3 jailbreak
iPhone users who have upgraded to firmware version 1.1.3 now have a viable jailbreak option with iJailbreak 0.5.1, an update to iJailbreak 0.5 that was released this morning. This iPhone-only jailbreak allows users to open up an iPhone with v1.1.3 installed in order to implement custom applications and services. The jailbreak requires users to implement bootloader 4.6, and will not function with any other version.
iTunes Live, London
Apple is hosting a series of concerts for Londoners at AIR Studios starting February 21st, featuring artists such as KT Tunstall, José González, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, and many more. Rather than purchasing tickets, those interested in seeing any of the 25-plus artists must win the tickets through a free draw in order to attend the events. The event, called iTunes Live: London Sessions, will span over 11 nights, with each night featuring two to four performance artists.
FileMaker 9 Cert.
In brief: A review of the Considerable Embarrassment laptop bag has been posted, FileMaker 9 Certification is now available, 32GB RAM upgrades for the Xserve have been announced, a PDFpen tutorial has been posted and Woz will headline a Solar plant dedication ... We have posted a review of the Considerable Embarrassment laptop bag. The case has casual curves, and comes in professional looking black, gray, and brown, or whimsical red, green, or blue. The stitching that holds the 900D nylon shell and 420D ripstop nylon lining is excellent. We have not found a loose thread or separating seam since I started using it six months ago. Two clasps keep the bag lid shut, and are backed up by two large Velcro pads. This efficient design thwarts sneaky hands because the clasps make a clicking and sliding sound when released, and the Velcro produces a loud pseudo-tearing sound when opened. At the same time, the two mechanisms allow you easy access to the large inside pockets.
iWeb Publisher 2.0.1 (free) allows the quick and easy uploading of iWeb sites to your web host. It will quickly upload a file or the contents of a folder to a web site via FTP. Once configured, uploading a web site created in iWeb is as easy as dragging a folder on to the Easy iWeb Publisher icon in the dock. Version 2.0.1 adds Leopard support as resolves issues dealing with multiple configurations. [Download - 250KB]
Subversion 1.4.6 (donationware) Versioning and repository software. The package of the binary has changed. The 1.4.4 release installed everything in /usr/local which made the package difficult to uninstall. The 1.4.6+ package installs Subversion into /opt/subversion for easy management and coexistence with other installations. The 1.4.4 packaging also included unnecessary files like header file. [Download - form]
TimeLog 4.2 ($25) time tracking software. TimeLog 4.2 adds direct export to iWork (Pages and Numbers), an Export option for the Application Tracker, printing of detailed Expenses and a Norwegian localization. In addition the user interface is improved and a lot of issues have been fixed. Available in English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Polish and Norwegian. [Download - 5.4MB]
Bin-it 1.5.2 ($30) a free update to the desktop trash can utility for Mac OS X. It provides quick and easy access to the Mac OS X Trash. It includes a floating trash can on your desktop (instead of the Trash being hidden in the Dock), a Trash Level Display and many adjustable options for trash themes, sounds, sizes, opacity and more. The update adds sounds to the OS 8 and OS X themes, and adds an option in the Preferences to switch built-in and custom sounds on or off. [Download - 1.7MB]
Revolution 2.9 ($1000) application design and programming tool. The new release has overhauled support for Linux, a new graphics architecture, support for complex Unicode scripts, improved font rendering, native open and save dialogs and native print dialogs [Download - form]
Apple TV gallery
After a small delay, Apple has unveiled Apple TV Take 2, a software update that adds many features to the set top box. MacNN today had a chance to explore the update fully, examining the new iTunes movie rentals and store interface, as well as the addition of photo streaming from .Mac and Flickr. Below is a gallery of the new interface and features.
Attache and Envoy stands
LapWorks today unveiled two new laptop stands, the Attaché and the Envoy, both of which feature integrated cooling and USB 2.0 hardware. The stands feature two securely integrated cooling fans, and a four-port USB 2.0 hub, and can be elevated to four different levels. The lowest setting provides an ergonomic setting for the keyboard, while the three higher settings raises the screen to be on par with a monitor found in a typical desktop setup. The Attaché and Envoy are both available directly from LapWorks, for $70 and $50, respectively.
MS Vista Capable Misled
Microsoft was aware during Windows Vista's development that its "Vista Capable" certification and logo would mislead customers into buying inadequate computers, say new documents revealed as evidence in bringing an upcoming class-action lawsuit against the software producer. Internal e-mail obtained by the plaintiffs in the complaint reveal that workers at Microsoft had doubts about the specifications needed to receive the "Vista Capable" logo, which the plaintiffs themselves say were made deceptively low to encourage purchases that would otherwise have waited until Vista's release or never taken place at all. Many of these messages were exchanged while the logo promotion was underway and affected senior staffers, a courtroom hearing has shown.
'Unlimited music' phones
LG will be the first cellphone maker to offer a phone pre-authorized for unlimited music, partner Omnifone has announced. Under the latter's MusicStation Max program, phones such as LG's will allow owners to begin downloading, playing and even sharing music immediately after subscribing, at no extra cost per track. The key is that buyers will have to pay for a special MusicStation-oriented cellular plan, which will initially run 12 to 18 months. Only at the end of this timeframe will people be able to migrate to another phone, which will also have to be a MusicStation device if they intend to keep using the service. Tracks will not be deleted if a person keeps to their original phone.
Drive Genius 2 released
Prosoft Engineering today released Drive Genius 2, an update to the hard drive maintenance utility that improves speed as well as overall performance. Drive Genius 2 is built upon the same foundation as the original version, and adds support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The software allows users to maintain, manage, and optimize hard drives via disk de-fragmentation, directory repair, and repartition support. Drive Genius 2 is priced at $100, while upgrades for current owners are available at $60 each.
Speed Download 5
Yazsoft today unveiled Speed Download 5, a major update to its download and bandwidth manager, introducing a number of new features. Sporting a brand new interface, Speed Download also features several engine and component optimizations, increasing speed and compatibility. Users can download in simplified or advanced modes, and the minimized mode resembles the iTunes mini player. New users can purchase Speed Download 5 for $25, while users who bought v.4.x between January 1st, 2008 and February 12th, 2008 may upgrade for free.
SmartBackup 2.2 released
Freeridecoding has released SmartBackup 2.2, adding support for full bootable backups and interface improvements to the data backup utility. Users can use Spotlight 'saved searches' as backup items, or define exclusion to simplify creating dynamic backups. The latest release improves performance as well as Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard support, and includes various bug fixes. SmartBackup 2.2 is priced at $22 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Netflix PS3 and Xbox Rumor
Netflix may consider extending its Watch Instantly movie streaming feature to game consoles, says one customer presented with a survey by the company. Polling its subscriber base, the rental outlet asks households if they would like to watch both movies and TV shows through either the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360 and suggests a custom software implementation that would allow the feature. Xbox owners would be able to use their Xbox Live account to obtain an upgrade for free that allows Internet streaming; without a paid, unified Internet service, the PlayStation 3 would need a CD to install an update that enables the feature.
iPhone gray market swells
Comprising an estimated 1 million total units, the iPhone gray market has become a major force in the worldwide mobile phone sales community, stretching from China to Prague to South America. Claiming confirmation of the fact that 800,000 to 1 million iPhones, or about one-fourth of the total sold, have been sold as "unlocked" devices in countries outside Apple's official carrier domain, BusinessWeek profiles some of the more aggressive gray market peddlers who have made a killing on selling the device for unauthorized wireless service providers.
WiMAX on 700MHz spectrum?
WiMAX mobile broadband may have even greater reach than expected, an announcement by the standard's organizers indicates. While devices are currently being certified only for the 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5GHz wireless frequencies, the WiMAX Forum says it will be eventually begin testing products on the 700MHz band, formerly the home of over-the-air analog TV, now the subject of an FCC auction. The 700MHz spectrum as a whole offers great advantages to any wireless technology, since it not only penetrates through walls, it has a greater reach that makes networks more cost-effective.
AMD Imageon Feb 2008
AMD today rolled out a set of upgrades to its Imageon graphics and processor chips that it says should help drive newer handhelds, especially advanced devices such as smartphones or personal navigators. The company's new Z460 is one of the few phone-sized graphics chipsets to include the same kind of visual technology as the Xbox 360; the device is capable of handling custom visual shaders and should produce graphics more closely resembling what has been seen on game consoles in the past, AMD touts. A simpler chipset, the Z180, will also be available for 2D video and the vector graphics often found in GPS systems.
GeForce 9800 GX2 in March
NVIDIA's GeForce 9800 GX2 has had its launch pushed back by weeks, according to a message allegedly sent by the company to partners producing video cards. While originally poised to launch later this month, the new dual-GPU card is now set to launch on March 11th and is believed to be caught in a late pre-production stage, with both final clock speeds as well as functioning models still out of partners' hands. Initial plans have pointed to a 650MHz clock speed for each core and an effective 1.8GHz for memory.
Apple TV "Take 2" update
Apple today released its Apple TV "Take 2" software update, which was delayed roughly two weeks ago because it was "not quite finished." The update adds a new on-screen interface that allows users to rent high definition movies directly from a widescreen TV. The update is available for free via automatic update for all existing Apple TV owners, and will ship with all newly manufactured Apple TV devices.
MS Danger Deal Worth 500M
Microsoft's acquisition of Danger is worth approximately a half billion dollars, according to a source speaking with Om Malik about the deal. While Microsoft has remained secretive about the financial terms of the buyout, the company is now believed to have spent as much as $500 million to purchase the designer behind the Sidekick and its software. The tipster does not explain why Microsoft had been willing to make the high offer, which is unusual for acquiring a firm that does not manufacture its own hardware.
Panasonic 32GB SDHC card
Panasonic has announced the first 32GB SDHC card in its Pro High Speed series, currently consisting of memory ranging from 1 to 16GB. Though the company inaccurately claims to have the "world's first" 32GB Class 6 (6MB/s) card -- SanDisk having announced a new Ultra II in late January -- it is faster than most known to be in development, beating the Ultra II with a 20MB/s transfer rate versus 15MB/s.
3G for T-Mobile by summer
T-Mobile's long-delayed 3G broadband network will finally arrive by summer 2008, says CEO Hamid Akhavan. T-Mobile is currently the only US carrier without a high-speed data network, a fact that is likely hurting the company's finances. Speaking at a conference staged for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Akhavan explained that the problem has mainly been with spectrum, and simply took longer than expected to resolve. Government approval issues have also posed a dilemma, adds T-Mobile USA's Peter Dobrow.
Vodafone on Mobile OS Biz
The market for mobile operating systems must shrink if the cellphone industry is going to expand, Vodafone chief Arun Sarin said today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The carrier head notes that the sheer number of operating systems available for phones is preventing many developers from creating programs that would genuinely help users. Many teams are forced to choose just a handful of operating systems to write for when there are as many as 30 to 40 different platforms to choose from. A much smaller market of between three to five operating systems "would be better" and help focus efforts, according to Sarin.
NBC: Apple hurting albums
Album sales have declined rapidly in recent years, and Apple bears a large responsibility, NBC claims. The TV network notes that although R&B singer Alicia Keys debuted her new album at the top of the Billboard album charts last week, this amounted to only 61,000 or so discs, nearly the lowest amount for a number-one album in Billboard history. Album sales fell 15 percent as a whole in 2007, the sixth annual decrease since 2000; artists who were once able to sell 10 to 15 million copies of an album may now be fortunate to reach 1 million.
iPhone coming to Austria
The next country to receive the iPhone will be Austria, says the chief executive of T-Mobile. Hamid Akhavan announced the news on Tuesday, according to Reuters, explaining that iPhones would go on sale sometime within the first half of 2008. The release will be notable for two reasons: first by making Austria only the fourth country in Europe to officially adopt the Apple device, but secondly for giving the same carrier control in two separate regions. T-Mobile was the original non-American vendor of the iPhone, launching in Germany on November 9th. Over 70,000 units have been sold there to date. T-Mobile is owned by Deutsche Telekom.
PowerBlue 08 released
KeynoteUser.com has released its PowerBlue 08 theme set for Apple's Keynote 08 software. The upgrade adds all the standard HD sizes alongside an iPod/DVD and 1920x1200 layout to accommodate Apple HD screen resolution for a total of seven available sizes. The theme is completely rebuilt using the Keynote 08 Media Placeholder system, allowing users to easily move as well as resize and crop photos. PowerBlue is available for $38, and the company has sent an email message to registered owners with an upgrade discount code.
EU Raids on Intel
European Commission officials announced today that they had launched unannounced raids on Intel and multiple major resellers of the company's systems. Both the semiconductor firm's Munich, Germany office as well as those of UK-based DSG International (which runs the Dixons and Currys chains) and Germany's Media Markt-Saturn were given the surprise visits this morning to collect information about possible antitrust violations committed by Intel and its partners. The raids have been acknowledged by Intel, which is "cooperating" with the Commission, according to spokesman Chuck Mulloy.
Yahoo today used Mobile World Congress as the platform for the release of oneConnect, a new service both for its mobile website and for its Yahoo Go 3.0 mobile portal. The front-end is designed to eliminate the isolation that often exists between most forms of communication on cellphones and online services: a widget interface provides access to multiple common webmail services such as Gmail or Yahoo's own service, while both instant messaging and SMS text messaging across multiple networks can be merged into a single, iChat-like interface that boasts threaded conversations.
Flash for iPhone soon?
Flash for the iPhone and the iPod touch may be "just around the corner," a new report suggests. The web technology has been in high demand since the iPhone was released in June, not simply for its use in video and animation on many pages, but also for the potential in developing applications and games. Apple has yet to make much public comment on the matter; it is typically said that the obstacle has been battery life, since high activity in the display and processor rapidly consumes energy.
RIM Hints at Touch BBerry
Research in Motion is developing HSDPA-based 3G BlackBerries and may be developing a touchscreen model, company chief Jim Balsillie said today at the Mobile World Congress show. While stopping short of product details, the official explained that versions of the smartphone with the faster cellular Internet connection should be available in the "near term," giving GSM networks such as AT&T in the US or Rogers Wireless in Canada an opportunity to offer 3G BlackBerries for the first time. Previous 3G versions have been limited to CDMA phone services such as Verizon or Bell Canada, which use the EVDO standard for their 3G access.
i-mate Ultimate 9502 8502
Cellphone designer i-mate today included itself in the round of announcements at Mobile World Congress by finally launching its two highest-end Ultimate smartphones. Originally announced for the end of last year, the range-topping Ultimate 9502 is now set to launch with HSUPA Internet access rather than the original HSDPA; on supporting networks, the new technology will allow it to upload videos and other data much faster than possible with the older format. The Windows Mobile 6 phone is dominated by its touchscreen and continues to support GPS navigation, Wi-Fi, and a rare video-out feature for presentations or other large-screen functions.
Piper on MacBook Air
The arrival of the MacBook Air has produced mixed, if generally positive reseller results, say analysts at Piper Jaffray. A group of 20 third-party Apple vendors report that Air interest is "high," with 30 percent of them saying demand is similar to that when the original MacBook was released in 2006. Another 60 percent though say that demand is smaller, with people often expressing curiosity about the notebook, but tending towards the basic MacBook if choosing to buy.
Apple Aperture 2
Apple on Tuesday released Aperture 2.0, a major revision of the company's professional photo editing and management application. The upgrade brings in a new, sleeker user interface that allows users to flip between Browser and Viewer modes with a single key press and a heads-up display that makes the most of the screen area while still allowing quick access to editing or navigation controls. A completely new RAW image processing engine is also said to bring out more detail and more faithful color accuracy for imported shots. Performance has likewise been improved with faster loading times and a Quick Preview mode that lets users browse their libraries at speed without loading each entire image.
Nokia Google Search
Finnish cellphone maker Nokia this morning added to its announcements for Barcelona's Mobile World Congress by revealing that it has improved its relationship with Google by adding Google search to its phones. Previously only found on Internet tablets such as the N810, the Google component of Nokia's Mobile Search app lets users find web results as quickly as they would find content from the device itself or through local web searches. The experience will also be familiar to those used to searching from a computer desktop, Google claims.
QPict 7.1 for Leopard
Malmö, Sweden-based RL Development today unveiled QPict Digital Asset Manager 7.1, an update to its media organization software, bringing with it compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and a number of additions. QPict can now recognize over 250 different RAW file formats, supporting both auto-rotation and improved EXIF support for the format. RL Development is currently selling the standard QPict Digital Asset Manager for $35, with a professional version available at a current discount of $100.
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