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Samsung Head Quits
Samsung chief Lee Kun-hee on Tuesday criminal indictment over allegations of breach of trust and tax evasion in his native Korea. The move fulfills claims made by Lee that he would consider stepping down to assume responsibility for financial irregularities at Samsung, though to date the executive has so far denied personal connection to the claims, which have also accused him of practicing nepotism to ensure his son takes over the company.
Sprint 800w in testing?
Palm maybe looking to test its rumored WiFi-equipped Treo 800w, according to new reports. An email, sent to select individuals calling for Sprint customers who will use Bluetooth devices and have access to WiFi, was sent to potential beta testers, Engadget reports. The email sought "seasoned business professionals" who "commute and spend a ton of time working on email and on the phone." The report suggests that Palm may be looking to roadtest the Treo device ahead of its expected Sprint launch this summer. Preliminary specs indicate that the device will include Sprint's latest 3G EVDO Rev A network as well as integrated Wi-Fi and GPS functions; it is expected to replace Palm's current 700w in the Sprint range when it arrives sometime in July.
Windows XP SP3
Microsoft has announced that Windows XP SP3 has been released to manufacturing and will be released for download on April 29th as a standalone installer. It will be available in early Summer as an automatic update. Windows XP SP3 includes all previously released Windows XP updates, including security updates and hotfixes, and select out-of-band releases. Microsoft says it's not adding significant Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP through SP3. However, SP3 does include Network Access Protection (NAP) to" help organizations that use Windows XP to take advantage of new features in the Windows Server 2008 operating system."
MacBook Pro 1.5.1 update
Apple today released its MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5.1, which it says provides fixes several issues to improve the stability of MacBook Pro computers. The update revises a recently-issued MBP firmware update that came alongside similar updates for most of its other Mac families, including the MacBook, MacBook Air, and iMac computers -- as well as a specific MacBook Air Bluetooth update -- and also comes with updated version of the Firmware Restoration CD 1.7. "After the firmware is successfully applied to your Mac, your Boot ROM Version will be: MBP21.00A5.B08 or MBP31.0070.B07," the company notes.
Promate ProBattery backup
Promate on Monday unveiled a universal laptop back-up battery it calls the ProBattery as well as solar-powered Bluetooth car kit. The company, which makes electronics accessories that range from protective screen films for PDAs to external media drives, promises to keep laptops running for up to eight hours. To make it compatible with a wide variety of laptops, the 6600mAh Lithium Polymer battery uses a selectable 5V, 16V or 19V power output and 15 modular notebook connectors.
In brief: Apple will broadcast its second quarter results conference call on Wednesday, Odysseus, the Eudora clone/successor, is available for pre-order, O'Reilly has published a new edition of the big book of Apple Hacks, and Carbon fiber cases for the iPhone are once again shipping ... Apple will broadcast its 2008 second quarter results conference call on Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 2:00 p.m. PDT/5:00 p.m. EDT. The conference call will be available as a continuous rebroadcast utilizing QuickTime. The live audio webcast will be accessible through Apple's website. Viewers need a copy of QuickTime 6 or QuickTime 7 to listen to the conference call.
HTC coming to US market
Mobile device manufacturer HTC will launch a brand campaign later on this week in the US, as the company looks to sell its own phones the country. The campaign should coincide with HTC's announcement earlier this month, which will bring the unlocked Touch DUAL -- a "first" in the US for the company -- to Best Buy megaretailer this Spring. The campaign will not focus on a specific model, but rather the features its devices have come to be known for, including touch-screens and tilting QWERTY keyboards.
Belkin intros Zune cases
Belkin has released a range of new cases for the Zune portable media players. Each cases is made with a specific use in mind, but all aim to protect the player and its screen while making controls and connections easily accessible. Designed for use during activities (e.g. exercise) is the Sports Armband for the Zune 80GB, it is made of lightweight and stretchable neoprene material with a Velcro closure and is hand-washable. In addition, the armband case features a key pocket as well as reflective material strips for safety at night or in dim lighting conditions. A new water-resistant case is also offered for the 4GB or 8GB version of the Zune.
Fujitsu ultra-secure HDDs
Fujitsu on Monday announced the "first ever" hard disk drive line-up using the hardware-based AES-256 bit encryption standard. The company's mobile HDDs are joined by the MHZ2 CJ-series laptop drives, consisting of full disk encryption, 2.5-inch, 7,200RPM SATA drives with capacities up to 320GB. Fujitsu claims not only improved data security, but also improved system performance for its newest offerings. The hard drives themselves encrypt and decrypt the password, leaving system performance minimally affected; the passwords are not accessible in system memory when powered off, the company claims.
UK iPhones sell out
Sales of iPhones jumped rapidly throughout England last week, according to reports. O2 stores in London, Newcastle and Birmingham are said to have sold out entirely on April 16th, and only recently replenished their stocks. Meanwhile, a staffer from Carphone Warehouse's Oxford Street store in London says the location received a one-time doubling of daily sales from 30 to 60.
USBfever stand, IR remote
Aside from its PPS2, USBfever has added two other products to its lineup for Apple portables. The first of these is an infrared remote (right), which operates at distances of up to 32.8 feet, and controls basic iPhone/iPod functions such as play/pause, skipping forward and backward, and adjusting volume. To work, users must plug the remote's included dongle into a player's dock connector; supported devices include everything from the third generation iPod onwards, with the exception of Shuffles and the first-generation Nano. The remote package costs $20.
IssueTrak 8.0 released
IssueTrak has released a major revision of its self-titled call center/help desk software, bringing it to v8.0. A number of changes have been made, among these the ability to divide issues into categories, such as "incident and "change request." Issue types, subtypes and quick picks can similarly be filtered, directed to particular groups as necessary; tasks can be canceled after a defined response, and a new pop-up can identify a caller and their relevant issue information.
Agenda, Magic Dice
Yenco.com has updated two of its flagship products, Agenda and Magic Dice. Agenda is a calendaring and event/take management tool. The new release, version 4.0, features multiple calendar view, repeating events, task management, a reminder application, journal editor, built-in iEvents to create calendar or journal websites, quick searching, monthly scenes, multiple window sizes, iCal import and export, and more. For a limited time users who purchase Agenda 4 will get a free Magic Dice registration code. The tool is priced at $40. Registered Agenda 3 and iEvents 2 users can also enter their existing code into the registration window for a discount.
Linux Mobile OS to grow
Market research company ABI Research says in a new report that a Linux-based mobile operating system will find its way into in almost one out of every five mid- to high-end cellular phones by 2013. The study cites efforts by the LiMo Foundation, Google's marketing of its Android OS, as well as Nokia's Maemo and Trolltech purchases as some of the reasons the open-source OS system will grow. ABI's findings also conclude that despite the added cost of hardware necessary to support open-source operating systems, the move will offer better value because of the greater number of supported applications.
HTC Dream Leak
Two of HTC's more anticipated phones are likely to have been spotted today courtesy of a photo displayed in a forum post. Asking if viewers can identify all the devices, a user shows a large, QWERTY slider device (left) that appears to closely resemble the Dream; the device is large enough to match the description and includes both the large screen and hardware controls previously suggested before. The phone interface also appears different than normal and may hint at the Dream's use of Google Android for its operating system.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimates that Apple sold 10 to 10.5 million iPods in its fiscal second quater (January, February and March). Munster views this data point as a "slight positive, given recent Street chatter of a very weak iPod number for the quarter." The Piper Jaffray analysis looks at the percentage contribution in NPD data from each month of the quarter in past March quarters. The analyst says that the cheaper iPod shuffle drove sales in February and March. Munster previously said that the iPod will be a slower growing segment than the Mac or iPhone, and expects iPod unit growth to be flat in the calendar year 2008, but also thinks that Apple can maintain iPod unit growth and slightly exceed street expectations. Munster believes that the iPhone will replace the iPod as a driver of significant growth for the company.
Kindle Finally In Stock
Amazon has without fanfare begun carrying regular stock of its self-made Kindle e-book reader. The device now reportedly ships immediately from the online store and appears to at least temporarily end the continued shortage of the reader, which Amazon has attributed to demand outstripping supply. The company's e-paper screen supplier, PVI, has recently said it would double its output in part to handle Amazon's order load.
Google brand beats Apple
Google remains the number one company in the world in terms of estimated brand value, says the research group Millward Brown Optimor. Google has held its spot for a third consecutive year, with a recent valuation of $86.1 billion, an increase of 30 percent over earlier results. General Electric holds second place in the current survey at $71.4 billion, while Microsoft is valued at $70.9 billion. The results are based on interviews with over a million people worldwide.
Sony PS3 Videos in Summer
Sony's anticipated PlayStation 3 video store could be available as soon as this summer and with wide support, sources tell the LA Times. The console maker is allegedly in talks with multiple major studios and would open the store with a mixture of full-length movies and TV shows. No information has yet been supplied as to which companies are likely to be onboard or whether Sony will offer any videos in HD.
Skype's unlimited world
Skype on Monday announced it will offer unlimited international calling to land lines in 34 countries for $10 a month under its Unlimited World plan. In a few countries, including US, Canada, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, the VoIP company's newest plan includes calling to cell phones as well. With the plan, subscribers will also be able to use their cell phones or traditional land lines to call a local number, which then forwards their call to one of the 34 countries and does not incur long distance charges.
Pioneer AVIC F900 and F700
Pioneer has started the week today with introductions for three high-end AVIC navigators. The DVD-equipped F900BT and Premier F90BT, as well as the CD-only F700BT, all offer in-dash mapping on a 5.8-inch wide touchscreen and support comparatively advanced GPS features such as Traffic Message Channel and support, an advanced voice command system, and text-to-speech to read out street names. Each, however, is built just as much for media playback: any can read discs with DivX, and MPEG-4 video as well as AAC, MP3, and WMA audio, while 2GB of built-in memory as well as slots for both SD cards and USB that provide both audio and video support from flash storage. Both connect to most iPods and support not just playback but also direct control of the Apple players.
iTunes trademark expands
Apple is working to greatly expand the reach of its iTunes trademark, a filing at the European Trademark Office reveals. While Apple already owns multiple trademarks related to its combination music and video software, the new application would see the number of applicable categories jump from four to 19, making it extremely difficult for other companies to poach the name. Apple has in the past encountered conflicts with names such as "iPhone" or "iTV," due to other companies laying early claim. Problems with the latter resulted in the Apple TV.
Dell XP Until 2012
Dell will keep using Windows XP until as late as 2012, a company representative has reportedly told users. Although Microsoft has said it would discontinue the option for XP this year in all but very low-cost notebooks, the claimed Dell message says the PC creator will continue offering XP Professional until 2012 on all its higher-end business offerings, including the Latitude, Optiplex, and Precision lineups.
GizMac unveils Studio rack
GizMac has announced the newest addition to its line-up of XRackPro2 low-noise server racks with a Studio version. The designer and manufacturer adapted its server racks for use in recording or music studios, home theater and other applications that do not require a computer server, noting that customers who previously bought the racks for such applications found them too deep. The racks are acoustically engineered to reduce fan and mechanical noise emitted by modern recording, computer or other digital equipment by as much as 75 percent. To keep their contents cool, the racks feature four ultra-quiet fans along with a user-customizable air intake system.
First Look: Freeway 5
US Smartphone Shortage
Three of the most dominant smartphone makers in the US are all suffering from low supply of their devices at the same time, Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt says in a new investor's note. In addition to the still ongoing iPhone shortage, McCourt also observes that Research in Motion's standard BlackBerry Pearl has not been reliably available at retail at AT&T since March and may only begin to offer the Pearl 8120 to home users by April 24th at the earliest.
Iogear's USB video card
California-based Iogear on Monday announced a new connectivity solution, the USB 2.0 External DVI Video Card. The product allows users to quickly and painlessly add up to six monitors to their existing Windows desktop or laptop for multitasking. The external device supports resolutions up to 1600x1200 pixels and 32-bit color. The DVI port allows a DVI monitor to be integrated via a computer's USB 2.0 port, or a VGA screen thanks to an adapter.
Portable Power Station 2
Generic dealer USBfever has released a second Portable Power Station intended for the iPhone. The device serves as a backup battery, temporarily recharging the internal one when connecting to wall socket is impractical; it attaches directly to an iPhone's dock connector, and starts the recharge process immediately. A second port at the base of the PPS2 lets users charge both the internal and external batteries simultaneously, or alternately sync with a computer as usual.
iStyles Nano Crystal Cases
iStyles has begun shipping the latest version of its Crystal Case iPod protectors, now tailored for the third-generation iPod nano. The cases conform specifically to the dimensions of Apple's latest Nano, and are made of translucent polycarbonate, with colors tinted to the shade of each different Nano model. Exposed areas of a player include the clickwheel and the headphone jack; the screen, Hold switch and dock connector remain covered most of the time, but a door allows access to the latter two components as needed.
BBerry Curve 8330 Alltel
Alltel this morning became the third carrier to pick up the BlackBerry Curve 8330. Following quickly in the steps of Sprint and Verizon, the carrier can now lay claim to its own variant of the previously GSM-only Curve and gains 3G Internet access with EVDO as well as native GPS support. Like Sprint's version, Alltel is opting for a more unique titanium color than the silver of the Verizon model but adds support for its own MyCircle calling plans.
Lenovo ThinkPad T All Wide
Lenovo today signaled a change in its philosophy by pulling the last notebook in its signature T series with a standard ratio display from its lineup. The PC builder has withdrawn the 4:3 ratio, 14-inch ThinkPad T61 from its store and now offers all its mid-size notebooks, including the 3000 and IdeaPad series, only in a widescreen ratio. Lenovo hasn't explained the decision but is considered one of the few computer vendors in North America to continue selling standard-ratio designs.
TimeDrawer 2.0 released
Japan's Oneriver has released the second version of TimeDrawer, its special file versioning software. The program operates similarly to Time Machine, in that it automatically makes incremental backups of documents such as text or code files; unlike Apple's application, however, TimeDrawer backs up the instant it detects changes, instead of waiting until an upcoming scheduled interval. This allows users to recover information from as little as a few minutes ago.
Intel 2GHz 2-core Celeron
Intel late yesterday refreshed its processor line with a combination of new chips and price cuts. Among the new lineup, the Celeron E1400 is unique as the semiconductor firm's first budget processor to crack 2GHz while also offering dual cores; the refinement is a significant boost from its 1.6GHz predecessor but occupies the same $53 price point as the earlier design, making it feasible for budget desktops. It should be available today and will see the price of the older chip drop to $43. A single-core, 2.66GHz Celeron 570 ships for $134 and contributes to a price drop on the 1.8GHz Celeron 430 to $34.
Italian iPhone in weeks?
An Italian iPhone will be released "in weeks," according to one of the country's newspapers. Repubblica claims that a contract was signed last week in Apple's home city of Cupertino, California, after a visit from the CEO of Telecom Italia. The first version of the phone in Italy should be the highly-anticipated 3G model, rather than the current 2.5G edition; more importantly however, Apple is said to be experimenting with a completely new pricing scheme in the country.
WD VelociRaptor 300GB
Western Digital says it has blurred the lines between drive classes with the release of the VelociRaptor, the latest generation of its Raptor high-speed hard disks. The 300GB drive is targeted as much at enthusiasts as professionals and holds twice as much as the most recent Raptor while outperforming it: while spinning at the same 10,000RPM, the VelociRaptor benchmarks about 35 percent faster, the company claims.
PayPal: Safari to stay
Users of Apple's Safari browser will be able to continue making PayPal transactions, according to a representative from the latter company. PayPal has been critical of Safari, noting that it lacks direct anti-phishing safeguards, or EV SSL certificates. News emerged last week, however, of a internal security white paper, which suggested that the company might block such "unsafe" web browsers entirely as a means of protecting its customers. Permitting access through unsecure browsers is "equal to a car manufacturer allowing drivers to buy one of their vehicles without seat belts," the paper argued.
ATI Radeon HD 4800 Leak
AMD is moving up the launch of its next-generation video processors, say sources aware of the hardware at TGDaily. The company's Canada-based graphics division has reportedly seen breakthroughs in its development process and now plans to replace some of its Radeon HD 3800 cards with the 4800 series. Manufacturing improvements will give these higher clock speeds: the mid-range 4850 will jump from a 670MHz core (in the 3850) to more than 800MHz, while the 4870 should be the first mainstream graphics chipset ever to top 1GHz, the leak suggests.
Acer Aspire 5920 w WiMAX
Acer started its week today by announcing a special version of its Aspire 5920 notebook for Intel's WiMAX technology. The modified 15.4-inch system will let the computer connect at broadband speeds within a few miles of an access point rather than the 300 feet or less of the best Wi-Fi hotspots. Other changes are unavailable, though the current model runs on a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo and includes a 320GB hard disk, a Blu-ray drive, and GeForce 8600M GS video.
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