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Investors torn over MSFT
Yahoo investors are reportedly torn on the looming Microsoft buyout bid, with around 90-percent holding shares in Microsoft, most of which have significantly more invested in the latter. According to eWeek, this could mean that investors would be more likely to urge Yahoo to take a tangible incentive in addition to the bid, rather than potentially devaluing shares of Microsoft. Analysts expect that Microsoft may make its offer more interesting, potentially increasing the bid to $35 per share, over the initial $31.
Apple stores in casinos
Apple's stores are surfacing internationally, both as stand-alone stores, and as mall boutiques, but new reports suggest that casino resorts are also on the list for Apple store destinations. According to ifoAppleStore, two new locations are in progress, one in the Forum Shops at Ceaser's Palace in Nevada, and the other at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Connecticut. Las Vegas residents have spotted a large barricade, titled with the words "Apple, Coming Summer 2008" in large print in the far west side of the Strip.
BBC content for iTunes
The BBC today confirmed earlier reports that it would distribute its televised content on the UK iTunes store, offering an initial selection of episodes from seven different series. The selection includes several episodes from the raunchy, but popular Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood, and MI5 spy drama Spooks, as well as the offbeat crime series, Life On Mars. Most of the unveiled content goes for £1.89, with a few exceptions.
PTHPasteboard Pro 4.4
PTH Consulting today announced PTHPasteboard Pro 4.4, a new version to its copy/paste management program, introducing a new filter and several other improvements. The new Match Lines filter brigs grep functionality to the app, allowing users to filter lines by plain or regular expression strings. PTH also improved the Line Unwrap filter, making it smarter and providing expected behavior. Existing users can upgrade for free, while new users can pay $25 for the full version.
Current State for iPhone
As part of Kaleidoscope's private eco-friendly venture, The Greener Grass, the Ohio-based organization has unveiled Current State, a system designed to help iPhone users monitor power usage in their house. The system consists of a series of pass-through plugs that sit between the power outlet and appliance plugs, taking readings of power usage, and sending them to a software front-end on the iPhone. Pricing and availability for the system were not mentioned.
Tiny Code apologizes
In response to a large influx of feedback regarding Tiny Code's announcement last week, developer for the app KellyTM revealed that the statement was false. Last week, Tiny Code announced that they were officially working with Apple on making legit iPhone and iPod touch apps, using a copy of the yet-to-be-released software developer's kit. KellyTM had also said that Tiny Code was waiting on the release of firmware version 1.1.4 before releasing any more updates, which he led others to believe was the first implementation of custom apps for the devices.
Handango CDA Controversy
Handango may be putting excess pressure on developers of mobile software to supply more of their revenues, according to a leaked rate card allegedly supplied to BGR. Known as the primary portal for purchasable software for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile smartphones, the store operator is purportedly set to significantly increase the amount of revenue collected from developers hoping to use the distribution system. Small developers who sell less than $250,000 in gross revenue will see exactly half of their income stripped from each sale -- up from 40 percent, Handango reportedly says. More profitable firms will see even more money siphoned away, with all businesses selling between $250,000 and $1 million supplying 60 percent of their revenue and all larger outlets conceding 70 percent.
MacSpeech today announced that its three-stage rollout of MacSpeech Dictate has begun, saying that pre-orders have shipped to iListen Founding Customers. MacSpeech's next objective is to ship crossgrades from customers who pre-ordered the product at MacWorld Expo, and then finally to various retail stores and resellers. In addition, MacSpeech also said that the application is available for pre-order from MacMall for customers in the US. MacSpeech Dictate is available for $200, featuring a choice of headsets.
Orange iPod touch bonus
French cellular carrier Orange has devised a unique incentive to lure people into its business plans. Customers signing up for the 18-month Solo, Venture or Momentum plans during February will receive an 8GB iPod touch, so long as the player remains in stock. Plans must also be valued at 46 or higher though, and can only be accepted by single subscribers or leaders on sharer plans. Existing Orange customers must talk with an in-store representative about eligibility.
HP May Launch 1st UMPC
Hewlett Packard is believed to be breaking into the Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) market with an entry due by the spring of this year, a recent report from CNET proposes. The news reportedly stems from a conversation with HP management over an informal dinner. No specs or hard numbers were gleaned, but a low price of entry is likely; battery life and other gripes associated with such devices will be above average or otherwise near the top of the class, according to the claim.
HD on Web and YouTube
DailyMotion on Monday added HD content to its web video service, becoming one of the first general-purpose web video sites to do so in the more universal Flash format. The France-based service now allows users to both upload and play back up to 720p video without the downsampling that often occurs at these sites. While the feature will generally require a fast single-core or average dual-core processor, a site algorithm can automatically determine whether a video can play at the full resolution or will scale back to standard definition. A 1.6Mbps Internet connection or faster is also required for steady playback regardless of the system's speed, DailyMotion says.
Quazal networking for Mac
Quazal, a developer of network gaming code used in titles like Rock Band and Company of Heroes, has announced the shipping of Mac versions of some of its key software, in some cases enabling cross-platform play between Macs and PCs with "very little" extra programming. Net-Z provides a low-level multiplayer core, and handles authoring and integration; mechanics are defined through an object layer, saving developers from the need to define packets, sockets, and client-server messaging.
Conjure 2.3 desktop
Conjurebunny today unveiled Conjure 2.3, an update for its replacement desktop front-end, bringing a number of changes related to contacts, Clusters, and Clothesline. Contacts within Conjure are now considered desktop entities, just like applications, folders and files, allowing them to be viewed directly from the desktop level. The upgrade is free for existing v2.x users, while new users can purchase the full version of Conjure 2.3 for $25.
QRecall 1.0 backup tool
Dawn to Dusk Software has released the first version of QRecall, a backup and archival utility. The software records information incrementally, keeping previous versions of files intact; through a timeline, users can view the history of updates and retrieve older files as necessary. Archives can further be saved on any kind of non-optical media, including everything from USB flash drives to networked storage. This is partly because the program records data instead of merely files, allowing users to be extremely selective and avoid duplicating files in their entirety.
HD DVD Stopped by March
Toshiba is readying a quick end to HD DVD that may come as early as March, according to a report by Japan's Nikkei BP (subscription needed for full access). The business publication claims that Toshiba chief Atsutoshi Nishida will announce the end of Toshiba's contribution to the format as early as tomorrow, all but ending HD DVD's viability as a disc standard. In the reported plan, Toshiba will cease sales of all its own hardware by March, including its stand-alone movie players as well as optical drives for desktop PCs and notebooks. Optical disks made by Toshiba itself will also be discontinued.
XPlay 3 released
Mediafour has released XPlay 3, the latest edition of its iPod management software for Windows. The program lets users manage both Mac- and Windows-formatted iPods on a PC, bypassing iTunes through a simple drag-and-drop interface. The new program can also sync content with Windows Media Player 11, and through new Windows Vista compatibility, the Vista Media Center. A right-click option in Windows Explorer lets users send files to either WMP or their iTunes library, the latter of which becomes Mac-compatible.
NAB Fight Sirius XM Local
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) today urged the the Federal Communications Commission to block satellite radio providers Sirius and XM from offering local broadcasting, hoping to claim an edge for terrestrial radio in the event that the proposed merger between Sirius and XM is completed. A recent filing by NAB to the FCC points out that both Sirius and XM have an alleged record of 'misbehavior' in adopting the FCC's rules and should be prevented from taking this abuse to local stations: both Sirius and XM have admitted to unauthorized or misused antennas and repeaters, according to the NAB's claims.
Inspiron 1526 and Ubuntu
Dell today tackled two new versions of its mainstream Inspiron notebooks with models aimed at both retail and at Linux users. Quietly slipping into its retail offerings, the Inspiron 1526 opts for an AMD platform in place of the Intel-only 1525 but otherwise leaves the slimmer 15.4-inch design unchanged: a 2GHz Turion 64 X2 dual-core processor and an ATI-branded Radeon X1270 integrated graphics chipset replace the Core 2 Duo and Intel X3100 options of the earlier system. A 2-megapixel webcam, 2GB of memory, and 250GB of storage come with the stock system, which normally ships for $900 at Best Buy and should drop to $750 after immediate discounts.
RIM vs Moto Patent Lawsuit
Research in Motion today filed a lawsuit against rival cellphone designer Motorola, claiming both infringement on patents relating to its handset technology as well abusive licensing practices for its own licenses. Responsible for creating the BlackBerry smartphone line, RIM filed the complaint this weekend in a Northern District of Texas court and argues that Motorola is attempting to exclude competition both by refusing to license certains patents in its phones and by charging "extortionate" licensing fees for those patents it owns, penalizing RIM for using similar technology.
Musical 'Hulu' on MySpace?
News Corporation is planning a musical equivalent of its Hulu video venture with NBC, a new report claims. News is allegedly after a deal with the four major music labels -- EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG -- who would each provide equity for a new opeartion. It would be carried and controlled by News' MySpace division, but the intent is to create a shared portal, where people would be able to listen to DRM-free music in exchange for subjecting themselves to advertising.
Sprint, Clearwire & Intel
Having just confirmed new negotiations last month, Sprint and Clearwire may already be nearing a deal to merge the companies' WiMAX networks. Market publication The Street quotes anonymous sources, who say that the two are planning to start a spin-off firm with licenses for both Sprint and Clearwire's spectrums. An announcement could come as soon as this week, the sources suggest.
Kenwood IP300 iPod dock
Sound specialist Kenwood has developed a new iPod audio dock with an unusual shape. The speakers for the AS-IP300 are built into a special "wing," separate from the main body; though this is mostly an aesthetic choice, the spread of the satellites aids in the delivery of simulated 3D sound. Two channels are present, powered by a 1.9W amplifier. A remote controls major playback functions, and the dock should fit all full-sized iPods from the fourth generation onwards, as well as Minis and third-generation Nanos. Non-Apple players are supported through an auxiliary stereo input.
Fake iPhone from China
Numerous illegal businessmen in Shenzhen, China are said to be producing counterfeit iPhones and other hot mobile devices alongside alleged 'new model' iPhones at ever increasing rates. Apple's iPhone swept onto the smartphone market after its launch in June of last year, surprising many analysts and rival phone makers alike. Chinese factories counterfeit famous and non-famous brands alike, according to the Epoch Times, and even suffer from software piracy.
Alibaba Stake in Yahoo
Any potential Microsoft takeover of Yahoo is likely to require dealing with Chinese mega-reseller AliBaba before it can go ahead, says a source purportedly close to the latter company. As Yahoo owns nearly a 40 percent controlling stake in AliBaba, the Chinese firm is said to be pressing for greater influence from its management in any potential deal between Yahoo and an interested buyer, particularly in managing the transfer of shares.
400,000+ iPhones in China
As many as 400,000 or more iPhones are already operating in China, according to a report issued by In-Stat. The research firm cites figures from China Mobile, the country's largest cellular carrier, which claims that the 400,000 figure was reached by the end of 2007, representing a full tenth of all iPhone shipments confirmed by Apple. In-Stat notes that this is four times what it had expected to find.
Samsung to Drop HD DVD
Samsung will de-emphasize HD DVD support in the near future, the company said today. The Korean electronics firm has currently been developing dual-format Blu-ray and HD DVD movie players such as the UP5000 but has now said it will show "more interests" in Blu-ray devices above the HD format's rival. No plans have been announced to phase out dual-format players, though the gradual end to the HD DVD format is likely to reduce the chances of any HD DVD-capable players in the future.
MS No Plans to Drop HD DVD
Microsoft will not make any decisions about the fate of its Xbox 360 HD DVD player until it hears from Toshiba, the former company said today. Although rumors have pointed to the Xbox creator developing a Blu-ray add-on for the spring, its official stance will hinge on whether Toshiba continues its own hardware, which is believed to rest inside the Microsoft-branded drive. Microsoft has often followed Toshiba's moves closely and recently dropped its Xbox 360 HD DVD price to match similar discounts for Toshiba's line.
MS Blu-ray in May
Microsoft could offer a Blu-ray attachment for the Xbox 360 as early as May, according to a claim by company insiders. The game console maker has reportedly fast-tracked an external drive for the Xbox that could clear marketing and sales hurdles by May. No pricing or features have been suggested for the device, though whether it will be capable of full 1080p output is uncertain and will likely depend on whether the main console is equipped with HDMI video output.
American Idol on iTunes
Apple has announced a new iTunes deal with Fox, permitting quick turnaround sales of American Idol content. The company says that starting with this week's top 24 semi-finalists on show, people will be able to buy individual music performances from the iTunes Store for 99 cents each, on the day immediately following each new episode. Additionally, March 11th will see the debut of a video covering the top 12 finalists, costing $1.99. American Idol will be given its own section in iTunes (iTunes link), to which links on americanidol.com will point from free streaming videos.
BBC on iTunes this week?
TV shows from the BBC may soon appear on the iTunes Store, reports claim. Cited is an anonymous source in the TV industry, who claims that BBC Worldwide will announce its plans on Tuesday. The source further suggests that Worldwide's digital media director, Simon Danker, has already contacted a number of third-party production companies to let them know of the new sales market. It is unclear whether shows would be available solely in the UK, or also on iTunes sites in Canada and the US; BBC Worldwide is said to be under pressure, however, to send more income from selling shows to the core of the BBC, given a dwindling benefit from TV license fees.
Mtron 128GB SSD
Korean firm Mtron today said it has readied significant upgrade to its SSD line. The company has developed a new, 1.8-inch hard drive that should supply 128GB of storage without compromising on either size or speed. As it uses faster Single Level Cell (SLC) storage in place of denser but slower Multi Level Cell (MLC) technology, the drive can read at 120MB per second and write at 100MB per second -- about six times faster than a same-size rotating hard drive and faster than many desktops, Mtron estimates. Like with most SSD storage, the lack of moving parts also results in less than half the power consumption and a completely skip-proof design.
Intel Centrino 2 in June
Intel's next large update to its mobile platform will bring a name change and significantly higher clock speeds, notebook makers claim. While Intel has largely used the original Centrino name for its combination processor, mainboard chipset, and wireless platform since it was first introduced in 2003, the company now intends to formally introduce its Montevina platform as Centrino 2 to more clearly illustrate the technology differences between this and today's Santa Rosa design. The new design is already known to ramp up system bus speed from 800MHz to 1,066MHz and will offer new wireless chipsets, including the option of WiMAX for long-range wireless.
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