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Samsung, Sony invest in 8G
Samsung and Sony are paying 1.8 trillion South Korean won (~$1.9 billion) to upgrade the S-LCD Corporation joint venture, allowing the two companies to produce enough 8G LCD panels to meet global demand. The Wall Street Journal reports that the new manufacturing line will be located in the Tangjeong complex southeast of Seoul, where production will start in 2009. Monthly output is initially expected to reach 60,000 units, versus 50,000 sheets currently.
iSkin antimicrobial covers
iSkin today announced its ProTouch silicone keyboard covers are now using Microban antimicrobial protection, which helps to inhibit odor and stains from surfacing on the products from sweat and dust. The Protouch line of protectors for the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, as well as for the aluminum and older model Apple keyboards all contain the protective substance. ProTouch skins are available ranging from $25 to $35, depending on the model.
Common Criteria Tools
Apple this week posted Common Criteria Tools for 10.5, an internationally approved set of security standards which it says "provides a clear and reliable evaluation of the security capabilities of Information Technology products. By providing an independent assessment of a products ability to meet security standards, Common Criteria gives customers more confidence in the security of Information Technology products and leads to more informed decisions." Apple says that security-conscious customers, such as the U.S. Federal Government, are requiring Common Criteria certification as a determining factor in purchasing decisions and that the clearly established standards help vendors target very specific security needs.
Tennessee mulls iPod tax
The Tennessee State government is reviewing the possibility of implementing a tax on digital media downloads, which would include music videos, movies, news and entertainment programs, music, ringtones, and electronic books, among others. Law firm Waller Landsen notes that standard software downloads would not be taxable, and while the proposition has not been shown to lawmakers, it is predictably drawing negative criticism.
New touchscreen technology
Wacom today unveiled a new touch-screen technology, dubbed Reversing Ramped Field Capacitive touch - or RRFC - which uses low-power circuitry and reversing ramped electro-static fields to offer precise performance. The technology supposedly prevents cursor drifting, and can be used as a touch display or as a simple touch surface. Wacom states that the surface used for the technology is tougher than glass, allowing for increased durability, while also being able to recognize softer touches.
KORE 2 Workshop dates
In brief: We have a review of FileMaker's Bento, dates for the KORE 2 workshop tour have been announced, Zerofractal Studios has debuted Tree3D, European Country Keynote themes are available, and 1 million copies of Parallels have been sold ... We have posted a review of FileMaker's Bento. In Bento, you choose customizable forms and a number of containers, each with a specific use. Bento veers away from the more technical database jargon and refers to its databases as Collections in a library and compares them with iTunes playlists. Text entry boxes still use the term fields, like its big brother FileMaker, but Bento includes templates so that you can skip the frustrating design process completely.
Philips M600 Music Phone
Philips on Friday unveiled its latest cellular phone, the dual-band GSM M600. The M600 is meant to appeal to music fans, as it offers SRS Labs' WOW equalizer technology to enhance sound quality and simulate 3D surround sound in the MP3, WAV and AAC format files it supports. Otherwise, the phone is optimized for music listening with dedicated navigation hotkeys, and an included set of in-ear headphones as well as up to 40 hours of music playback.
SDK beta opens BG process
Apple's newly released SDK build could potentially support background processes to allow for a richer user experience, and allow intricate applications to run properly. The Unofficial Apple Weblog reveals that the SDK supports the UIApplication delegate class, which includes methods that apply to gaining and resigning "active" status. While not officially confirmed in any documentation, the revelation could indicate support for background tasks.
Sirius Starmate 5 Leaked
Sirius sent a prototype Starmate 5 satellite radio receiver to the FCC for testing, revealing some images as well as specs. Other than the color difference of an otherwise identical body, it's not clear how the Starmate 5 differs from the current Starmate 4. One hint as to a unique feature is mention of either an XM or Sirius radio signal used in testing in a memo between a member of the testing firm and FCC authorization staff.
TV for Mac HD Stick
Almost every computer can play movies and TV shows stored on DVD, and with an Internet connection, every computer can download and play digital video files as well. However, what's missing is the ability to watch live TV on your computer and record your favorite shows. In the past, watching and recording TV shows meant buying a digital video recorder (DVR) and connecting it to your TV, ignoring your computer altogether. Nowadays, you can turn your computer into a TV and digital recorder by using Pinnacle's TV for Mac HD Stick instead.
Liquid Ledger 2.2 ships
Modeless has released v2.2 of Liquid Ledger, its personal finance application. The new version is said to introduce over 35 changes, among these being transaction groups, which let users cluster various transactions together and collapse them. In this way the transactions only occupy a single row, making it simpler to browse through an account history.
3G iPhone Detail Leak
Apple's increasingly anticipated 3G-capable iPhone will add more than just the speed when it launches in the summer, according to a tip allegedly passed on to Engadget. The rumor appears to validate firmware references and other clues that the device will include native GPS for live map tracking but also confirms another that the device will undergo a conspicuous outer change: the anodized aluminum back is being replaced by an all-black glossy shell with a chromed volume rocker. The change also remedies complaints about the headphone jack by making it flush with the rest of the phone body, according to the claim.
French fiber-optics law
On Thursday, the French government announced its plans to pass a law that would require all new apartment buildings to be pre-wired with fiber-optic cable for Internet access. A proposal that would include such a requirement is reported to go in front of the Parliament this spring, and will involve all buildings of at least 25 units. The government is trying to speed along adoption of fast broadband access with this law, as the country's three biggest Internet providers have committed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on fiber-optic networks in the near future.
Jobs on Intel, PA Semi
Intel has nothing to fear from Apple's acquisition this week of chip designer PA Semi, says Steve Jobs. The Apple CEO has dismissed rumors that the company is looking to distance itself from Intel, a view based primarily on the fact that Intel is also involved in the kind of mobile processor technology PA specializes in. Apple depends heavily on Intel technology for its desktop and notebook computers.
Zune 80 Red at Retail
Microsoft Zune marketer Cesar Menendez today confirmed that the red Zune 80 will now be a regular option at retail. The color was previously available only in the special color first as a Valentine's Day special edition model but will now be a permanent fixture both at the Zune Originals website and at physical stores. The addition gives the second-generation hard drive Zune its first color choice at retail after coming only in black since its November launch.
GF 9900 Bumped Up
NVIDIA has decided to accelerate the launch of its GeForce 9900 series flagship cards to beat out AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4800, VR-Zone hints in a new leak. The very top-end GeForce 9900 GTX and its close counterpart the GeForce 9900 GTS are now reportedly due as soon as July, replacing the 9800 GTX after the earlier card has spent just three months on store shelves. The revised 8800 GTS is also expected to disappear.
Apple blocks iPod sales
Apple is reportedly blocking sales of the iPod to 11 UK-based e-business firms that are purchasing the device from suppliers in the US in order to sell it at a £15 discount. According to The Register, the "grey iPods" breach the sales agreement between Apple and the e-stores, which normally states that companies selling Apple products either get supply direct from Apple or through legitimate third-party supply chains.
Salesforce going Mac?
Salesforce, a major corporation responsible for developing CRM software and related products, may be on the verge of a switching all of its computers from PCs to the Mac platform, an unidentified source claims. The company is currently said to have an agreement with Dell, but as licenses expire, its IT department is allegedly planning to replace each PC with a new Mac. The reason for this is security, as the company is said to favor the extra expense of buying Macs over the even greater costs it is paying to safeguard Windows systems. Some 4,000 computers would have to be replaced.
JVC Losses in Q1 2008
JVC today announced a major turnaround effort as an attempt to recover its ailing HDTV business. The Japanese electronics maker reported a dramatic year-over-year increase in losses from roughly $75 million to $455 million and says that the drops will require the company move its production to factories in less expensive locations. Plants in Scotland and JVC's home country will be switched off in favor of less expensive production in Poland and Thailand respectively, the company says.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is launching the "Digital Backpack," which will allow visitors at the Freedom Center to utilize social networking technology, digital media production, and wireless computing in ways that empower them to create, "distribute and access a shared vision for freedom." The company has chosen Apple products to power the project: each pack contains an Apple MacBook Pro notebook computer, iPod classic with voice recorder, digital camera, HD digital camcorder and tripod. These perspectives are then captured as a digital movie, archived at the Freedom Center, and published to an iTunes channel that the Center is launching in May.
HTC Touch Diamond Pro Leak
HTC's still-mysterious Diamond and Raphael touchscreen phones already have formal names and may be the devices announced at next month's press event, according to an investigation by MoDaCo. The Raphael is now set to be called the Touch Pro and will replace the button-driven Kaiser (AT&T Tilt and Sprint Mogul) in the company's high-end smartphone line. Its keyboard slides out flat rather than at an angle and is likely deisgned this way to reduce the thickness of the design.
AT&T and Starbucks have announced that they are finally beginning to deploy their joint Wi-Fi service, which lets existing AT&T customers go online from a cafe for free. To qualify, users must have one of AT&T's home or small business broadband packages, or a U-verse IPTV subscription; starting on May 1st, these people will need only login to "ATTWiFI" inside a Starbucks outlet. Some 7,000 locations should have Wi-Fi in May, though customers may already be able to login from San Antonio.
Nike+iPod gear patent
A Nike patent application, recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, appears to detail some of the company's plans for new Nike+iPod gear. Key to the technology is an expansion beyond the single sensor offered today, which slips into a person's shoe and only tracks pacing and distance. Future sensors may monitor many different factors, including EKG, heartrate, body temperature and even hydration. GPS data may also be present, enabling users to track exactly which routes they have taken.
LG Prada 3G Leaked
LG is gearing up for a direct sequel to its popular Prada designer phone, if an advance listing at a Taiwan shop proves authentic. The retailer claims to have a preview of the simply-titled Prada II that appears to improve several shortcomings of the early 2007 original. Still dominated by a 3-inch touchscreen, the phone will purportedly gain a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and heavily requested support for 3G Internet access over HSDPA (up to 7.2Mbps). Wi-Fi will also be added to fill in gaps in cellular data.
Pioneer HD KURO projector
At the High End trade show today in Munich, Pioneer announced its return to the projector market with the KURO KRF-9000FD home theater projector. The Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) KRF-9000FD is capable of displaying 1920x1080 pixel progressive video at sizes up to 14.5 by just over 8 feet. This translates to a TV screen size of 200 inches, with the minimum projected image equivalent to a 60-inch TV screen. A 2x motorized zoom lens allows a large image to be displayed in smaller rooms. The contrast ratio, at 30,000:1, is one of the best in the industry.
MS Results and Vista
Microsoft's latest quarterly report might couch a more substantial problem with the sales performance of Windows Vista, the Wall Street Journal finds in a closer examination of the results. The Windows developer fared better in absolute terms after discounting a European fine in the past quarter but has yet to explain the relatively sluggish performance of the Client division that produces Windows and Office, which grew by only four percent from 2007 to 2008 after factoring out revenue set aside last year for advance sales.
European iPhone efforts
Apple's general manager of operations in Europe, Pascal Cagni, has vowed that the company will improve sales of the iPhone on the continent. "We can incontestably do better in Europe," Cagni tells French newspaper Les Echos. While not completely disastrous, sales of the iPhone have been lower than expected in Europe, with France having only recently passed the 100,000 unit mark. Both Germany and the UK have slashed prices in order to boost sales, although this is likely to clear stock in advance of a 3G iPhone.
Lost Phone Share in Q1 08
Apple joins Motorola and Sony Ericsson as the firms losing cellphone marketshare in early 2008, according to a new study by research group Strategy Analytics. Sales of 1.7 million iPhones during the first calendar quarter of 2008 are said to have resulted in an actual drop in the iPhone's effect despite its young status, reducing the newcomer's marketshare from 0.7 to 0.6 percent from quarter to quarter. The drop is directly attributed to a combination of shortages as well as a glut of unsold units in Europe at the time. The phone is simply "overpriced" for the continent at its normal cost, Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawson says.
O2, CW out of 8GB iPhones
Two of the three vendors of the UK iPhone report they are out or nearly out of 8GB stock, according to multiple sources. The most deeply affected is Carphone Warehouse, which has confirmed a message from the Tradedoubler ad network, asking websites to stop promoting the £100 discount on 8GB phones as Carphone is out of stock. People can still technically order an the model from the vendor's website, but it is said that Carphone does not "expect to receive any additional stock at this time."
MS May Withdraw Yahoo Bid
Microsoft is more seriously considering the possibility of withdrawing its bid for Yahoo if it can't come to a mutual agreement by this weekend, the company's finance chief Chris Liddell said late yesterday during a conference call discussing the company's latest quarterly results. Liddell reiterates that Microsoft will change its plans by this weekend but echoes recent statements by CEO Steve Ballmer that a proxy war to oust anti-takeover members of Yahoo's board is no longer the only option. Microsoft is ready to retract its bid and "focus on other opportunities," Liddell explains, including either acquisitions of other companies or else building up Microsoft's existing web ad and search businesses.
Citi: 3G iPhone June 9th?
Apple's long-anticipated 3G iPhone will be announced on June 9th, analysts at Citi have declared. Richard Gardner and Yeechang Lee say they believe Apple CEO Steve Jobs will reveal the product as a part of his keynote for WWDC, scheduled for June 9th to the 13th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. A number of analysts have suggested that the new iPhone will be released in June or July, particularly as shortages of the 2.5G model are said to be evidence of deliberate inventory draining. This view has been bolstered European price cuts on the 8GB capacity, which have been timed to end in June.
Moto Movie Store Rumor
Motorola is developing a movie store for its phones, claims UK trade magazine New Media Age (registration required for full article). An alleged source at partner studio Paramount says that Motorola is in the "late stages" of offering a service that would offer full-length movies pre-formatted for Motorola's more media-friendly devices. Paramount is currently the only studio known to be involved, though others are allegedly in talks to add their own catalogs.
GRASS 6.3.0b adds features
The GRASS Development Team today unveiled GRASS GIS 6.3.0, a beta update to its popular geographic information system, adding hundreds of new module features, among other inclusions. The developers say that the version is merely the first step to a stable v6.4, and the impending v7.0. GRASS 6.3.0 introduces the wxPython user interface, the first change from the VAX 11/780 interface used since 1983. GRASS is open source, and is available from the project website.
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