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Averatec Voya 4473, 6494
Averatec today unveiled two semi-ruggedized laptops, the Voya 4473 14.1 inch model, and Voya 6494 15.4 inch widescreen version, both of which offer users a drop- and vibration-resistant design, with a spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad. The laptops are constructed from magnesium alloy, with corner bumpers and an anti-shock mounted hard drive. Specific pricing for the two models was not readily available, but Averatec says the Voya lineup starts at $1300.
3K Longitude 400 Mini
3K Computers today unveiled the Longitude 400 Mini Notebook, an ultraportable that features a 7 inch LCD and full size keyboard in a 2 pound design. The Longitude features a 400Mhz single-core processor, with 512MB of RAM and a 4GB internal flash drive for data storage. 3K also provides 802.11b/g wireless connectivity, and a 10/100 Ethernet port for networking. The Longitude 400 is available directly from 3K Computers for $400.
Dell bamboo PC
Dell today unveiled a "never before seen" environmentally conscious computer clad in bamboo, which occupies 81 percent of the space typically taken by a traditional PC tower. While specifications were sparse, Earth2Tech reveals that the computer is made of 70 percent recycled materials, such as old bottles, milk jugs, and detergent cases, and that it would be available later this year for between $500 and $700.
SplashMoney, SplashID 4
SplashData has announced Mac OS X versions of its SplashMoney personal finance application and SplashID 4 secure password manager. Both applications synchronize with their respective mobile applications. The company also announced a standalone version of SplashMoney for Mac OS X for users that do not have a compatible mobile device. SplashMoney is personal financial manager that can securely record transactions, track account balances, generate reports and budgets, and manage finances. The tool supports most account types, including checking, savings, credit card, cash, asset, liability, and money market accounts.
Sony Corporation of America has signed a merger agreement with Gracenote, Inc, and will pay approximately $260 million plus other contingent consideration for the digital media information warehouse. Formerly known as CDDB, Gracenote delivers information -- including lyrics -- on music to various services including Apple iTunes and Yahoo! Music Jukebox. The companies say that Gracenote's existing business will continue to operate separately as a wholly owned Sony subsidiary, and that the senior management team will remain with the company.
Patents for collaboration
The US Patent and Trademark Office today published three patents that it approved for Apple, relating to real-time collaboration, time-based user interface object interaction, and element number tables. The first patent, Method and Apparatus for Supporting Real-Time Collaboration, demonstrates synchronicity on a single application between multiple remote users. The patent illustrates users operating a local software application over the internet or a network, with the goal of sharing a common workflow between users.
ASUS Eee PC batteries
Consumers who bought ASUS' Eee PC 900 in Hong Kong are accusing the company of misleading them. Review copies of the highly anticipated mini-laptop featured a higher-spec battery which is not yet available to the public and ASUS claims it shipped by mistake. The company is now giving a free battery upgrade to buyers who purchased the Eee PC 900 on its launch date.
ScreenFlow 1.1 update
Vara Software today unveiled ScreenFlow 1.1, a sizable update to its screencasting application, adding audio waveforms, markers, and several other optimizations and improvements. The inclusion of audio waveforms allows users to find and remove unnecessary pauses, coughs, and other audio anomalies in recordings, as well as in any imported QuickTime Media. The update is free for existing users, and costs $100 for a new license.
Yahoo Beats Expectations
Yahoo on Tuesday afternoon set the groundwork for its resistance to Microsoft's proposed takeover by posting its fiscal results for the first quarter of 2008. The search engine firm says it that its revenues for the period ended March were just over $1.8 billion, a nine percent increase over the same period a year ago; the company also claimed just over $1 billion in profit, an 11 percent jump versus the same period in 2007.
Apple's Web traffic
According to new data from Nielsen Online, Web traffic to the Apple Inc's sites collectivly grew 13 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2008, from a three-month average monthly unique audience of 42.9 million to 48.4 million. Total minutes spent on the site grew 12 percent year over year, from 9.4 billion in Q1 2007 to 10.5 billion in Q1 2008, while total purchases at The Apple Store grew 32 percent month over month, from 322,000 purchases in January 2008 to 424,000 purchases in February 2008. iTunes, Apple Store and QuickTime were the top three fastest growing Apple Computer Web channels year over year in Q1 2008
Apple Japan iPod cases
For one week only, Apple's Japan stores are selling limited-edition cases for the iPod touch and nano, a Japanese site writes. Each case is made of hardened polycarbonate and coated in black rubber, featuring a special golden etching on the back, belonging to the shopping district it was bought from. People can buy Ginza, Shibuya, Nagoya, Sendai, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Shinsaibashi models of the cases.
Archos TV Plus Upgrade
In addition to its 605 GPS upgrade, Archos today has also upgraded its TV+ media hub with both preloaded content and a new Internet streaming feature. The French company has signed a deal with Paramount that will see the movie studio offer movies both preloaded on the device's built-in 250GB hard drive as well as available through Archos' media store. For the latter content, users will have the option of downloading videos either to a Mac or Windows PC for sideloading on to the TV+ or directly to the device itself.
Archos 605 GPS
Archos this afternoon launched the 605 GPS, a combination of both its staple 605 Wi-Fi media player and a navigation add-on. The attachment provides a SiRF III GPS receiver that integrates tightly with the media player; when docked in a special car cradle, the 605 and its module supply driving directions as well as features normally available only in dedicated mapping units. The device can subscribe to either free or paid traffic warning systems and includes a one-year free subscription to an accident notification service. Archos' system is intelligent enough to recognize a signal drop and will simulate position changes until a satellite lock returns.
Fairfax, Shanghai retail
Apple is expanding its retail presence in two drastically different locations. China Tech News states that the company has partnered with Best Buy to open its first Chinese store-within-a-store, located in a shop in the Xuhui district of Shanghai. Apple's section occupies 538 square feet, and contains a typical assortment of products, excluding only a few notable items such as the iPhone. Though Apple has expressed its desire to sell the device in Asia, it has yet to announce any formal deals with carriers.
Court Rejects Vista Appeal
A US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a Microsoft appeal that would have barred the ongoing Vista Capable lawsuit from entering class action status. The court's decision lends support to arguments by the plaintiffs that a large group of users have been hurt by allegedly misleading system requirements for the Vista Capable logo, leading many to buy systems that are ultimately unable to run the Windows variant smoothly.
iPhone clone crackdown
Apple is coming down hard on UK vendors of iPhone clones, reports say. Most such clones are produced in China, where copyright law is less restrictive and an imported iPhone is too expensive for all but the upper classes; the clones nevertheless attempt to reproduce superficial features of the iPhone, in some cases including Apple's own logo. As a result of these problems Apple is said to be pursuing legal action against a variety of UK importers, such as Digital Playworld.
LaCie 500GB Rugged HDs
LaCie on Tuesday announced its newest Rugged Hard Disk with a 500GB capacity. To protect the generous amount of mobile data, the drive is encased in a scratch-resistant aluminum shell which is then surrounded by a shock-resistant rubber bumper. That disk is Hitachi's 2.5-inch Travelstar 5K500, available with either a standard USB 2.0 or an optional USB 2.0/FireWire 400/800 interface for faster transfer speeds.
IK Multimedia has announced the release of SampleTron, the second virtual instrument to be released from the Sonik Instruments range. SampleTron is a virtual instrument workstation featuring the a complete collection of authentic 'Tron' and other vintage keyboards instrument samples. The library includes 17 rare instrument sounds, together with a "Powered by SampleTank" engine, offering sample-based virtual instrument plug-in for every popular DAW and also as a standalone application for Macs The Tron anthology includes 2 GB of sounds, 640 presets and 260 multi-samples from 17 Mellotrons, Chamberlins , and their derivatives like the Optigan , Rhythmaster and more.
Sony E 3LCD Projectors
Sony on Tuesday introduced four E series projectors that it says can alternately suit both home theaters and users presenting from notebooks. The VPL-EW5 (shown) is Sony's first-ever budget projector to support a native widescreen output, letting it natively display 720p HD footage and exactly match the display resolution of most newer portables. It and the rest of the line also use the company's newer BrightEra 3LCD chipsets to produce a relatively bright 2,000 lumens and a 700:1 contrast ratio.
Sony Ericsson G502 leaked
Specs and an image of Sony Ericsson's newest phone, the G502, made it out a day early. The EDGE-enabled G502 features a 2-inch LCD with 320x240-pixel resolution. Software-wise, the G has the ability to display Google Maps for Mobile and supports Exchange ActiveSync for synchronizing Outlook contacts and e-mail. Sony Ericsson's NetFront browser can access the internet and download RSS feeds on the A2-based device. Unlike the company's G700 and G900 announced earlier this year, it doesn't have the 3G support, making do with three-band GSM.
iRiver Mplayer Season 1
iRiver today brought one of its more unusual iPod shuffle rivals to the US. Already available in Japan and Korea, the Mplayer Season 1 goes screenless but uses its resemblance to Mickey Mouse to its advantage for control: listeners skip tracks and adjust volume by twisting the Mplayer's ears. The small and light design also lets iRiver use lanyard headphones that spare the need for clips.
Ballmer on Yahoo profits
Microsoft's acquisition offer for Yahoo -- now valued at $43.2 billion -- will not rise, regardless of how well the latter company has done in its latest quarter, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Yahoo will announce its first-quarter results later today, and is expected to show signs of pulling out of a two-year decline, a factor which may increase investor confidence in the company's management. Similarly, Reuters notes that Yahoo executives may use this to protest Microsoft's $31-per-share offer as undervalued.
Mainstream AMOLED in 2009?
Production of AMOLED panels should finally reach mainstream levels in 2009, according to Woo-Jong Lee, the VP of Samsung's mobile display marketing group. AMOLED is one of several display technologies that may replace stalwarts like plasma or LCD; in particular, AMOLED is said to provide higher contrast and response, as well as wider viewing angles and longer battery life. The difficulty so far, according to Lee, has been production costs -- at present, AMOLED is only economical for smaller products such as cellphones, and continues to be rare regardless.
Netflix on More Media Hubs
Netflix is cooperating with four other device makers beyond LG to develop network set-top boxes, the company has said while discussing its latest financial results. The movie rental agency had originally announced just its LG partnership in January but now says that three "major" companies are also developing media hubs that will bring the Netflix Internet movie streaming service to HDTVs. A smaller fourth company is also involved.
New TV at iTunes Can., UK
Programming from several TV networks has been added to iTunes Stores in Canada and the UK. ITV has signed a deal to bring a variety of "classic" TV shows to the UK iTunes Store, among them international hits such as The Prisoner and The Saint, along with more locally famous series such as Captain Scarlet and Brideshead Revisited. Downloads are priced at an average of £1.89 per episode, but not all shows and seasons are currently available.
Sony delays Home for PS3
Sony on Tuesday announced it will once again delay the launch of its Home virtual online world for its PlayStation 3 gaming console, with the new date slated for sometime in the fall. Last September, Sony said Home will launch early in 2008. If Sony holds to the new date, this latest announcement would mean the interactive online service will arrive about a year after its intended launch date. The company did promise a limited-test service is planned to start this summer.
AmTech downgrades AAPL
American Technology Research is downgrading its rating of Apple's stock from "buy" to "neutral," according to firm analyst Shaw Wu. Wu notes that while Apple may well beat consensus estimates and its own guidance, there are several mitigating factors. Apple's stock has rebounded some 45 percent in weeks, which may be creating unrealistic expectations for investors; as such, they may not react well if Apple posts what would otherwise be reasonable figures. A related problem is that shares are now fairly expensive to trade, at 32x CY08 and 28x CY09, producing a situation with considerable risk compared to the profits to be had.
ZEN X-Fi Internet Music
Creative's upcoming ZEN X-Fi media player may hinge on Internet-based storage as a selling point, says a new tip sent to epiZENter. While the player is already anticipated to offer local sharing between users, a "reliable" source indicates that Creative wants to use the device's Wi-Fi for accessing a remote collection; users would subscribe to a service that offers a multi-gigabyte Internet storage space for holding music; users could then access songs they can't fit on the player simply by streaming them wirelessly.
Toshiba Satellite Pro 2008
Toshiba this morning gave the same attention to its Satellite Pro notebooks that it did for its new Satellites. Hoping to jumpstart interest in students and pro users, the company has launched five new models with both a redesigned look and new internals. The L300 and L300D serve as Toshiba's baseline with either Intel Core 2 Duo (L300) or AMD Turion 64 X2 (L300D) dual-core processors and a 15.4-inch screen while offering just the essentials; systems start at $699 for an L300D with a 1.9GHz AMD chip as well as 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive, scaling up to a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and a 160GB disk in the $799 L300.
Piper: Macs push margins
It is Macs that will help Apple most when it announces the results of its latest quarter tomorrow, argues research firm Piper Jaffray. While it is believed that NPD is overestimating Mac growth at 48 percent year-over-year, The Street's prediction of 32 percent is also said to be too low; Piper is anticipating 38 percent, equivalent to 2.1 million computers. Typically, Apple has averaged 26 percent growth in this quarter for the past three years.
Ricoh G600 outdoor camera
Ricoh on Tuesday announced its newest digital camera, the G600, which is water- and dust-resistant. The camera is meant for outdoor sports use and as such, is rugged enough to withstand a near five-foot drop. To earn a MIL Standard 810F rating, the 5x optical zoom lens is all internal so it never protrudes from the body, making it invulnerable to damage when dropped. The 10-megapixel G600 is otherwise optimized for harsh conditions, with big buttons that can be operated with gloved hands and a rating for use in temperatures ranging from 14F to 104F. The new camera is also able to shoot movies and take photos at under up to 3.3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
ATT Q1 2008 Results
AT&T today said it had generated "strong" results for the first quarter of 2008 that it says are owed primarily to its cellphone business. The American telecoms firm earned a total of $30.7 billion over the three-month span, up 4.6 percent from the same quarter in 2007 after adjusting for marketing income related to the past BellSouth acquisition (otherwise at 6.1 percent); however, wireless income grew by about 18.3 percent over the same period and was helped by an increase in the amount spent on data features for these plans: spending on Internet access, over-the-air downloads, and messaging spiked by 57.3 percent, AT&T says. Data in various forms now accounts for as much as 21.5 percent of AT&T's cellphone income, up from 16 percent a year ago.
Aperture SDK, plug-ins
Apple has released the final version of the SDK for Aperture, its professional photo workflow program. The SDK allows developers to create a variety of custom plug-ins for Aperture 2.1, which introduced an open architecture and came with Apple's own Dodge & Burn plug-in. Already available are a handful of third-party plug-ins; among these are Tiffen's Dfx Digital Filter Suite, which simulates a variety of optical filter effects.
LG KF700 Official
Expanding on an early look at the Mobile World Congress show, LG on Tuesday officially launched the KF700. An enhanced cousin of the Venus (KF600), the phone provides a larger, 3-inch touchscreen and aims to fix some of the control limits of these phones; aside from including a slider keypad, a dial on the back lets users quickly jump to music or other functions at different points in the touch interface. The interface mixes and matches, letting users zoom in or out of websites with the dial and supplementing typing on the keypad with touchscreen input for special characters.
Sony Joins CWM + 2 Nokia
Sony BMG today said it would join Nokia's Comes With Music unlimited music service, adding support beyond the initial Universal Music Group catalog. The announcement confirms recent rumors of talks and will let anyone purchasing a Comes With Music-based phone download unlimited music over the course of a year-long subscription. At the end of the term, phone owners can keep any downloaded tracks and either pay for a Nokia Music Store subscription or buy music a la carte.
Macs work well in IT
Apple's growing marketshare among end-users is helping push the Mac's acceptance in corporate America. InfoWorld notes the Macs are spilling out of its traditional areas of marketing departments and media companies and into wider array of business environments, thanks to, what it calls, "the confluence of a number of computing trends, not the least among them a rising tide of end-user affinity for the Apple experience." The trends, the column says, are "making it easier for tech departments to say yes to the Mac by facilitating IT's ability to provide enterprise-grade Mac management and support." In particular, the article cites growing browser competition, a move toward universal Web-based computing, virtualization, more standard connectivity, advanced enterprise management software, and more, but concludes that Macs are "close, not equal."
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