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Samsung debuts G400 phone
Samsung today announced the launch of its G400 (site not updated), the latest dual screen clamshell at CeBIT in Hanover, Germany. The G400 inherits the look and feel of Samsung's 'Soul' with a unique premium exterior and graphical user interface design identity, boasting a high gloss metallic finish with a hairline texture. The G400 also offers a new series of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that provide three different options for users: GUI skin allows users to personalize the user interface with various options like background images, fonts, and colors. The G400 is slated for shipment in European countries starting in June (pricing was unavailable).
Apple fails to deliver
Apple promised the world in mid-January that 1,000 iTunes movie rentals would arrive at the company's iTunes Store by the end of February, but those rentals were still missing in action on the last day of last month. Macworld quotes Apple's statement during the Macworld Expo in San Francisco earlier this year: "iTunes Movie Rentals launches today and will offer over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in stunning high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound which users can rent directly from their widescreen TV using Apple TV."
Time Machine: "no-fuss"
Apple's Time Machine software, which serves as part of the company's recently-shipped Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' operating system, is a "no-fuss backup system" according to one review. Glenn Fleishman in the Seattle Times says Time Machine's "no-click solution" is key for average consumers who don't want to spend hours setting up a complicated backup system. "Time Machine doesn't have a button and doesn't occupy your attention while operating," Fleishman said. "It just backs up."
CheckUp 1.0.1 ($50) is a tool designed to check the health and monitor the behavior of a Mac, either locally or remotely. The latest release features better communication between CheckUp and CheckUpAgent, improved compatibility with Intego products as well as Parallels and Fusion virtualization software, enhanced network management, and increased stability.
[Download - 12.6MB]
TaskTime4 4.4 ($20) brings a new Leopard-style interface to the time tracking software. The update exports projects as Excel workbooks as well as plain text, adds a 'Copy Project' item to the Edit menu, and fixes several bugs. The latest release also brings an updated User's Guide, and ensures travel expenses are shown as separate expense items in invoices. [Download - 7.4MB]
TimeLog 4.3 ($25) keeps track of time spent on projects, offering integration with Apple's iCal and Address Book software alongside .Mac Sync and iSync. The software stores recordings in iCal calendars, and allows for sharing of time sheets over network services like .Mac. TimeLog 4.3 adds a backup option, custom address book formatting, and includes enhancements in the application tracker. The update also fixes several bugs. [Download - 5.8MB]
Play MPE 3.5 (free) is the latest version of Destiny Media Technologies' application for securely distributing pre-release music to radio stations. The update is configured to allow continuous streaming for full albums or bundles, and the process of obtaining releases from email announcements or via Mediabase 24/7 is streamlined to one mouse click. Clicking on the desired track automatically launches the Play MPE Player and shows the specific release. [Download - 1.6MB]
My Money Minder 1.9.8 ($13) updates the personal finance management application with numerous bug fixes. The latest revision fixes a bug in qif importing, ensures that 'All Year' menus display correctly for Financial Years that start in January, and repairs a printing-related bug where incorrect characters were displayed. The update also allows users to deselect rows correctly, and importing no longer creates duplicate Payments. [Download - 7.9MB]
iFuntastic 5.0 for iPhone and iPod touch (unknown) enhances the iPhone and iPod touch customization software by adding support for iPhone firmware 1.1.3. The software provides free 'unshackling,' includes an 'iFundex' feature with file/folder/full text search for the device's filesystem, and allows users to quickly locate graphics from a screenshot. The update also allows users to create custom themes via 'Theme Park,' with a utility to install as well as uninstall themes. [Download - 70.5MB]
Apple updates GarageBand
Apple today issued an update to GarageBand, its personal music creation software for Mac users. The latest release improves overall stability, according to the company. The update also addresses issues with the automation of software instrument parameters, FireWire as well as USB based audio devices, and Magic GarageBand. Users can update to GarageBand 4.1.2 by choosing the Software Update feature under the Apple Menu in Mac OS X, or can manually download the latest release from Apple's updates page (19.1MB)
Aperture 2.0.1 released
Apple today released Aperture 2.0.1, an update to its post production photography software designed for professionals. The latest revision of Aperture addresses issues related to the performance and overall stability of Aperture 2, and includes fixes that impact various areas of the software. Fixes cover upgrading libraries from earlier versions of Aperture, publishing .Mac Web Gallery albums, Preview generation as well as deletion, and creating as well as ordering books. Aperture users can upgrade via Apple's 'Software Update' feature located under the Apple Menu, or can download the update manually from Apple's updates page (43.9MB).
Canon MX7600 printer
Canon today released the MX7600, an office AIO printer claimed to bring Pigment Reaction (PgR) technology downmarket. PgR is touted to make text and images more vivid on plain copy paper. The technology works by coating paper with a clear layer of ink from its own cartridge before spraying on the actual content, turning it into coated media, which produces superior quality and durability, according to Canon.
ATT Billing Suit Settled
AT&T and Florida's state government today revealed that they had settled a lawsuit over alleged billing fraud for $2.6 million. The agreement brings an early end to a complaint which accused the carrier of misleading customers by promising free ringtones and other downloadable content but masking charges for the download itself. In addition to the fine, the company says it will more closely monitor its own marketing to ensure that any download fees or other costs are clearly marked.
Themed iTunes cards
Apple is expanding its iTunes compilation card collection, offering themed collections through Best Buy, and supposedly other locations as well. iLounge reports that the cards are available in 15- and 30-song versions, offering bundles such as "Classic Rock Hits", "80's Super Hits", "Love Song Classics", and "R&B Hits", among others. The compilation cards are available from $10 to $20 for the 15- and 30-song versions, at a price of 67¢ per track.
Sigma DP2, DP3, SD15
In an interview with the British publication Amateur Photographer, Sigma founder Michihiro Yamaki has revealed that his company is already working on successors to its yet-to-be-released DP1 compact camera (pictured right). Although no specifications have been published, the DP2 and DP3 are expected to be announced by the end of the year, and will presumably share in common the same sort of full-frame sensor that reduces noise while still increasing sensitivity. Most compacts and even DSLRs use cropped technology, which also artificially shifts the focal length of lenses.
Mitsubishi quitting cells
Mitsubishi Electric is calling it quits after 25 years in the mobile phone field due to a competitive market and discriminating and demanding consumers, and will focus instead on more general communication-related business, according to the company. Mitsubishi is taking immediate steps, stopping launches of newly developed models and cutting off its supply -- about 2 million phones in fiscal 2008 -- to NTTDoCoMo, Japan's mobile communications giant and the primary cellular carrier in the country.
ASUS Ares, notebooks
In addition to having announced a new Eee PC, ASUS has revealed several other computers at CeBIT. Among these is the Ares, a desktop system meant for high-end gaming. It operates on a Core 2 Extreme processor, and supports up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, as opposed to the more conventional DDR2. It can further be configured with up to 4TB of hard drive space, while graphics support includes NVIDIA's recent three-way SLI technology. The system's case, finally, features built-in liquid cooling. No prices or release dates have been published.
3G iPhone delayed, testing
Industry analysts expect Apple's heavily rumored 3G iPhone to be delayed, according to a note from RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky. The Wall Street Journal reports that the delay will occur due to testing and fine-tuning on partner networks. Both RBC and Banc of America Securities lowered price targets for the Cupertino-based computer manufacturer, which caused shares to lose 3.4-percent, or $4.26, settling at $120.76.
Google's primary video site YouTube is quietly increasing the quality of its videos, viewers have found over the weekend. The Flash-based site has begun re-encoding the web versions of its videos when possible, increasing their resolution from 320x240 to 480x360. Audio quality has also improved to include stereo AAC audio versus the lower bitrate mono sound of before, users note. The improvement primarily applies to newly uploaded videos, which are automatically produced in both the regular and high-quality versions, but is also being applied to older videos. The extra quality currently remains optional and must be activated by adding a tag to the address of the improved videos.
Woman upset at treatment
Apple stores are not immune to one of the most common retail woes, after the Genius at the Bellevue Square store in Washington State alienated at least one female customer. Electronics retail locations typically exhibit a trend of believing women to be less technically competent than males. A woman identified as Anjela went into the location with the intent of buying a MacBook Air, but was received poorly when the Genius, Bill, chose to neglect her and speak with her husband.
UK Rules QComm Nokia Suit
Qualcomm was dealt a second blow in its lawsuits against Nokia today by the UK High Court, rendering invalid some of the company's accusations of patent infringement against the cellphone maker. Following a similar defeat in the US through the International Trade Commission, Qualcomm was informed that its power control and savings management techniques were not infringed by any chipsets inside Nokia's GSM-based cellphones. Qualcomm says it is "actively considering" appealing the decision and receiving permission to change its patent to eliminate the technical disputes that led to the new ruling.
ASUS Eee PC 900
ASUS' rumored 8.9-inch version of the Eee PC has been formally unveiled, say reports from this week's CeBIT expo in Germany. While there is no evidence of WiMAX support, the notebook should be enhanced in a number of other respects, such as a larger trackpad and support for resolutions up to 1024x600. Despite theoretically consuming more power, the new Eee's battery life is said to range between 2.5 to 3 hours.
Nokia 6124 classic
Finland's Nokia has announced a new mid-level phone, the 6124 classic. The phone's primary feature is 3G broadband, which can be tethered to a computer to act as a modem. The classic also has a two-inch display though, and can expand its internal memory up to 8GB, using an unspecified type of memory slot.
The most unusual component for a mid-level phone may be its camera, which while having a standard two-megapixel resolution, is also equipped with flash and a built-in panorama mode. The 6124 classic is an S60-based phone and should ship in the second quarter of next year; it will only, however, be carried on Vodafone networks at that time.
IOGEAR's digital pen ships
IOGEAR today unveiled its Mobile Digital Scribe, a functional pen with a digital receiver that stores up to 50 pages of notes and images which users can upload to a computer. The pen works on any paper and uses standard ink refills, while an ultrasonic transmitter and infrared sensor capture hand movements and a receiver attached to a notepad stores up to 50 pages of data. The Mobile Digital Scribe is compatible with 12 languages and works with Windows Vista as well as Microsoft Office 2000 and newer. The pen is priced at $130.
Wozniak on Apple TV, MBA
Steve Wozniak today hosted a keynote at an Australian broadband conference, and offered his mixed opinions on the Apple TV and the MacBook Air. Wozniak said that although he believes the Apple TV to be a "really good indication of the future of the world", the platform does have a few flaws. Primarily, he says that the 24-hour rental period is too limited for his busy schedule. Wozniak also said it feels as if he is being restricted by the tiny, simplified remote control, indicating it makes him feel less human.
MacBook Early 2008 Unbox
Electronista has received its example of Apple's new Penryn-based MacBook and is putting the system through its early paces. In the meantime, we've collected a series of initial impressions as well well as a gallery of photos. Unpacking the system is, if anything, even more of an exercise in minimalism than with the model just released in the fall. The most conspicuous change is what's absent: without the once-standard Apple Remote, the box feels almost empty, with a conspicuous gap where the controller would have been. Space was clearly not a concern with the decision to abandon the now $19 option.
RAGE SEKeyword 1.1
RAGE Software today released RAGE SEKeyword 1.1, a free application for website owners designed to discover niche keywords among Web searches. The software uses Yahoo! Search technology to find the most relevant keywords for a particular website, according to RAGE, and suggests the most popular searched keywords based on site content. RAGE SEKeyword 1.1 informs users about what search engine keywords competitors are targeting by reading the meta keywords of competing sites. The software is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
TomTom GO 730 & 930
Navigation mainstay TomTom has announced two new GPS units, the GO 730 and 930. Successors to previous models, one upgrade comes in the form of graphics, which have alpha blending and a more elegant user interface; the software will now also display lanes for upcoming turns, and even sign posts or 3D renderings for potentially confusing intersections.
Each unit has further been enhanced with a technology called "IQ Routes," which takes into account the average speeds of a road at different times, and will thus give a more realistic sense of driving time. This is likewise used to find alternate routes which are nevertheless faster than linear ones.
Baton Rouge Apple Store
Apple has officially announced the grand opening of its newest retail store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Thursday, March 6th (different store interior shown at right). A media event begins at 9:00 a.m. CST, and the store will officially open to the public at 10:00 a.m. The Apple Store in the Mall of Louisiana at 6401 Bluebonnet Boulevard offers all the standard amenities customers expect, like personal training through the company's One to One program and face-to-face support via a Genius Bar.
Mac and iPhone share
Apple's collective market share is rising, according to a web traffic report posted by Net Applications, citing that Mac computers have about 7.46-percent share, and iPhones claim 0.14-percent. Windows sits on top of the list at 91.58-percent, which has slowly eroded from 92.91-percent in the year prior. The iPhone was listed as having a higher marketshare than that of the Playstation 3, Sun OS, Nintendo Wii, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and several other platforms.
Amazon Unbox Changes
Amazon is contemplating major changes to its Unbox service to compete against rivals like iTunes and Netflix, say Unbox users sent a new survey. The online reseller is reportedly gauging customer interest in letting Unbox customers purchase HD versions of both movies and TV shows, providing an edge in content quality over most alternatives; most services such as the Apple TV's iTunes access and the Xbox 360's Video Marketplace currently allow only either rentals in HD or purchases in standard definition. The service may also allow users to download the documentaries and other special features normally stripped out of online purchases and rentals, Amazon hints.
Wozniak criticizes iPhone
The iPhone is still a flawed device in spite of achievements, according to Steve Wozniak. The Apple co-founder made his comments at the Broadband and Beyond conference in Sydney, Australia, where he specifically took his former company to task for not incorporating 3G broadband into the iPhone at launch. The device instead uses EDGE technology, often described as "2.5G" or "2.75G," and even by Apple CEO Steve Jobs as too slow.
Apple Admired by Fortune
Apple is the "most admired" company in the United States, according to the business publication Fortune. In tandem with Hay Group the magazine says it has surveyed some 3,700 people in "dozens" of industries, and asked them to name the 10 American companies they most respect. Apple's prominence on the list is attributed in no small part to its $24 billion worth, but also to its influence on a multitude of industries, including music, movies and cellphones.
Acer Buys E-TEN
Acer today said it would acquire E-TEN, best known for its relatively successful Glofiish line of smartphones. The deal is described as worth more than $290 million and is primarily intended to help Acer explore "entirely new solutions" in the mobile world, according to the purchasing company. Both companies' executive teams have approved the deal and say they expect the necessary government approval to clear by the summer of this year.
MultiClutch gesture app
Developer Will Henderson recently unveiled a beta of MultiClutch
Sony 5X HDD Storage Boost
Sony has revealed a new technology it says will make large hard drives possible even with notebooks. Rather than use a traditional magnetic read/write head, the new development uses a hybrid of magnetic and optical technology to greatly increase the density: while the storage itself is similar, media is written to disk using a laser. The extremely small, precise nature allows it to fit far more bits of data on any given area. A full terabit (125GB) can fit on a single square inch -- five times the space of conventional hard disks, Sony says.
China Mobile on iPhone
Interest in the iPhone continues to exist at China Mobile, despite no progress with Apple, according to the former company's CEO. The two parties broke off negotiations in January, at least temporarily denying Apple access to the Chinese market; although no official explanations were given, it is believed that China Mobile is refusing to submit to revenue sharing, a practice common with other iPhone carriers but unprecedented in China. Businesses in the country are in fact hostile to the concept, some reports have suggested.
Expanding its P-series notebook series, Samsung today launched an early wave of CeBIT announcements with the P200. The thin, 12-inch notebook competes in the increasingly heated ultraportable field and promises an unusually tough case that can handle day-to-day use without the fragility of some small computers. The small size also does not preclude respectable battery life, according to Samsung: the standard battery provides just over 3 hours of real-world use, thanks in part to the use of more recent (though unspecified) Core 2 Duo processors.
Nokia 6650 T-Mobile
Nokia on Monday sought to democratize some of its higher-end technology by releasing its 6650 clamshell. Though a relatively basic flip phone on the surface, the device both supplies 3G Internet access over HSDPA as well as live, data-assisted GPS for route finding. The phone also stresses media playback with external touch controls for music, microSD for storage, and an FM radio for listening when digital content runs low. A 2-megapixel camera with flash also supplies better photography than most phones in the class.
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