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Dell XPS gaming PCs EOL'd
Next month Dell will begin phasing out four of its popular XPS gaming systems, in favor of the high-end PCs that are part of its recently acquired Alienware PC line. The surprising move is part of its continued turnaround efforts--along with an expected design overhaul in its Inspiron line-- after slipping behind rival HP in overall PC sales and struggling to achieve profits in consumer PCs, the Wall Street Journal reports. With the focus on the Alienware line, Dell says that a combined gaming design and development unit will focus on the seven current Alienware models, which has lost some "mojo," according to one analyst. Dell also noted that the gaming market, which focuses machines with high-end processors and GPUs priced at nearly three times the price of the average consumer PC, is strategically important because gamers' purchasing decisions influence other PC buyers.
FL: Logitech ClearChat
Not every computer has a built-in microphone or speakers, and to fix this problem, you typically have to connect your own peripherals through multiple cables. Worse may be that if the cables aren't long enough, you'll still be tied to the computer if you want to make use of the hardware. To avoid these two problems, Logitech offers its ClearChat Wireless headset.
Google Reader for iPhone
Google on Monday released a new beta version of Google Reader designed for the iPhone and other mobile phones with advanced browsers. Google reader, first introduced 2006, is designed to quickly view and manage information and updates from multiple sources: "To make our (and your) Reader iPhone experience better, we wanted to really take advantage of the iPhone's capabilities," the company wrote in its official blog. "Today we're releasing a new beta version of Reader designed for the iPhone and other mobile phones with advanced browsers. You can use it by visiting http://www.google.com/reader/i/ on your phone."
Hydra 1.5 creates HDR
Creaceed on Monday delivered version 1.5 of Hydra as well as a beta Aperture plugin for easy HDR image creation on Mac OS X Leopard. Hydra 1.5, which features an updated imaging pipeline and Aperture integration, gives human eye perception to photographs by creating high dynamic range (HDR) images from a series of regular photographs, either from DSLRs or traditional point-and-shoot cameras. The created image compensates for the limited dynamic range of cameras, the company claims. "In addition, it more closely resembles what is actually seen. Unlike most HDR softwares, Hydra does not require images taken with a tripod." Hydra supports photo resolutions above 20 megapixels and adds support for new RAW and DNG file formats as well as provides OpenEXR export format to further edit the image in other applications.
iGet Mobile 2.0 released
iGet Mobile 2.0 is a new version of Nakahara Informatics' remote Mac access software for the iPhone, iPod touch and other web-capable devices. iGet Mobile offers Mac users a personal web interface to access their documents remotely, with a special emphasis on making various types of data more accessible on small-form-factor devices. Version 2.0 sports new iPhone-specific features in the web interface, an improved web server component, a completely redesigned user interface for the Mac application, and many other enhancements. The company also improved the automatic network configuration features, making it easy to make personal servers accessible from the internet without requiring networking expertise.
Picturesque 2.0 ships
Acqualia has announced the release of Picturesque 2.0, a major update to what it calls an "image beautifying application." Entirely rewritten for Leopard using Core Animation, Picturesque 2.0 features a redesigned single-window interface, tools for cropping, presets, and the 3D perspective effect. Using an animated "drag and drop"-style interface, Picturesque adds effects, such as 3D perspective, reflection, glow, shadow, curve, and stroke -- all "in less time than it takes to open Photoshop," the company claims. Picturesque can also beautify images in batch, including the ability to resize (i.e., make thumbnails) and apply effects on an entire folder of images, Picturesque 2.0 is available now as a free download and requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later. Registration is $35, with upgrades from v1.0 priced at $13.
Vaja iVolution Stripes
High-end leather accessory manufacturer Vaja has unveiled the iVolution Stripes case for the iPhone, offering users a striking, customizable quad-color design with a flip-down front flap. iLounge writes that the case potentially offers customers "more than one million possible color combinations", with the back side of the case being a solid color. Vaja is currently shipping the iVolution Stripes for $100, but notes that custom orders take an additional 20 days to process.
Microsoft Xbox Lips Rumor
Microsoft is launching a mystery device nicknamed "Lips" as part of a gaming event tomorrow, says a rumor reportedly confirmed by 8Bit Joystick. Nicknamed "Lips," the device is expected to be a voice communication add-on for the Xbox 360 but is unlikely to be a typical headset, which is either packed into higher-end Xbox models as a wired headset or sold separately for wireless versions. Speculation has the device offering some level of voice recognition or else a dedicated microphone for music games.
Maganvox 300 Dollar BluRay
The Magnavox and Sylvania brands are already selling a Blu-ray player that breaks past the $300 price range, according to tips passed along by Blu-ray.com forum members. Made by Japanese company Funai, the Magnavox NB500MG9 and Sylvania NB500SL9 have both been found selling at Wal-Mart stores for $298, or a full $100 less than Sony's PlayStation 3 and other more common players.
Apple inspires Wall-E
As IBM mainframes were the inspiration for one of the most famous digital villains - HAL 9000, of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame - so is Apple an influence upon the upcoming Disney Pixar release, Wall-E. CNN Money writes that when designing the movie's heroine, Eve, director Andrew Stanton described her as "high-end technology - no expense spared" and wanted it "to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous."
SK Denies Helio Virgin Buy
SK Telecom has no plans to merge Helio with Virgin Mobile to create a major new carrier, the Korean company says. SKT spokeswoman Mina Ryu rejects reports of discussions and claims there aren't "any sort of talks" to either merge its Helio brand with Virgin or else buy out Virgin directly. The rumors are "groundless," Ryu says.
AMD Opteron HE
AMD on Monday sought to push the limits of its high-end processors and launched new quad-core versions of the Opteron HE processor. All five new entries consume an average of just 55 watts, or much less than the 75 and 105 watts of power used by existing Opterons and less than some of their Intel Xeon equivalents. The cooler-running chips allow the system to run in both smaller workstation PCs as well as blades and rackmount servers, where many Opterons are often too hot for the tight spaces.
Thieves caught via Mac
Two thieves have been caught in White Plains, New York as a result of Mac hardware and software, the New York Times reports. Edmon Shahikian and Ian Frias are accused of having stolen thousands of dollars' worth of items from an apartment, including TVs, iPods, DVDs and car rims; their arrest however is tied to the theft of two notebooks, one of which belonged to Kait Duplaga, an employee at an Apple Store in Westchester. Clues to the suspects' identities developed when a friend told Duplaga her Mac notebook was online.
Sony Eric Geotagged Songs
Sony Ericsson is patenting a system that would tie songs to specific locations, says a new filing within the US. Proposed technology for a "location dependent music search" would use GPS or a similar mapping method to determine the phone's location and promptly find music associated with the area, whether on the device or on an Internet server. The feature would let users cue songs they associate with favorite areas or download songs from local artists.
Apple announcing 3G iPhone
Apple CEO Steve Jobs will most likely use the WWDC conference keynote on June 9th to unveil the much-anticipated 3G iPhone, with an expected launch date of Friday, June 27th. According to CNN Money, the combination of analysts predictions, AT&T's holiday restrictions, the SDK launch, and the global shortages of the device have all contributed to the estimate. As is typical of its style, Apple has remained silent on any details surrounding the release, save for some photos that could be a leaked glimpse of the device.
Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1
Creative expanded its lineup to the underserved notebook audience with the Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1. The USB device is claimed as the first to both boost audio quality and output in full 5.1-channel surround sound; Dolby and DTS movies, as well as games that support surround through DirectSound or OpenAL, automatically have their video processed and split across a speaker setup. Compressed audio is also cleaned up through the Crystalizer hardware that Creative says restores lost details.
Samsung BlackJack II
For anyone who needs a low-cost smartphone that still offers advanced features, take a look at the Samsung BlackJack II smartphone. The BlackJack II may lack fancy features found in more expensive smartphones, such as a touchscreen, but its still more than functional. Since the BlackJack II uses Windows Mobile, it's especially handy for synchronizing data with a Windows PC (but less desirable for Mac users).
Eurocom PHANTOM with Xeon
Catering to a niche of mobile pros, Eurocom today updated the PHANTOM-X to give the 17-inch desktop replacement its first quad-core workstation chip. The notebook is rebranded as a mobile server a 2.8GHz Xeon in place of its normal Core 2 Quad and Extreme processors to help handle professional-grade loads. The Canadian company also spins its multi-drive hard disk setup as a business option and lets users team up as many as three drives for up to 1.5TB of space in a RAID stripe or mirror. The larger bulk of the notebook also allows up to 8GB of memory.
MS limits low-cost Win PCs
Artificial limitations are being imposed on some forthcoming low-cost Windows PCs, according to documents Microsoft has sent to PC builders. Although the company plans to offer a sharp discount to ultra-low cost PC (ULPC) builders on the price of Windows XP Home, in order to foster the adoption of Windows over Linux on devices like the Eee PC, vendors are being asked to limit screen size to 10.2 inches, and hard drives to 80GB. Furthermore, no qualifying ULPCs with XP will be allowed to have a touchscreen, more than 1GB of RAM, or anything better than a single-core processor running at 1GHz, except for certain chips like Intel's Atom N270.
Google Vidnik for YouTube
Google on Thursday unveiled Vidnik, a new application designed to allow Mac users to create and upload YouTube videos using a built-in iSight, Firewire or USB camera. Vidnik is a free, open source application that can record, edit, and label videos, and then directly upload them to a YouTube account for public viewing. Use of the app is reportedly quite simple, offering all interface control in a single window, with large, familiar buttons and controls.
JVC and Kenwood to merge
Japanese electronics giants JVC and Kenwood have announced plans to merge, Reuters reports. The two companies will come together under a holding company on October 1st, in what they say is an attempt to fight price competition, as well as increasing costs in development. Even together the companies' sales for the financial year ending March 31st would only have been 823.7 billion yen ($8 billion), less than a tenth of those for Panasonic owner Matsushita, which made approximately 9 trillion yen (over $87 billion).
Eee PC 900 On Sale
As promised, ASUS' Eee PC 900 micro notebook today went on sale in the US. The 8.9-inch computer's specifications remain the same and take the Eee slightly further upscale with a sharper 1024x600 resolution, a basic multi-touch trackpad, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. Versions hold either 12GB of flash storage on Windows XP models or else 20GB on versions with the less expensive Linux operating system, though either can accept SD and SDHC cards. Launch models continue to use a 900MHz Celeron M processor rather than the Intel Atom planned for later editions.
HBO coming to iTunes?
Apple is on the verge of selling movies and TV shows from HBO, according to Portfolio. The publication cites HBO employees "involved in executing the agreement," who say that sales will be announced and launched at the same time, probably within one to two weeks. HBO is famous for a number of high-profile TV series, such as Deadwood, Flight of the Conchords and The Sopranos, as well as a number of first-run original films.
XM Sees Sirius Merger Soon
XM expects its proposed merger with Sirius to be approved by the summer, the satellite radio provider said today during a conference call discussing its latest quarterly results. President and chief executive Nate Davis now claims that the winter 2008 quarter is XM's last "as a standalone company" and goes so far as to drop its financial guidance for the upcoming quarter, saying the prediction won't apply to a unified company. Recent government steps to greenlight the deal are signs approval is close, according to Davis.
AT&T leaks black iPhone
Further adding credence to the next generation iPhone having a black color option were enforced on Monday, as AT&T lists a selectable choice on its website. AppleInsider reveals that the company's online store features a model selection list, of which users have an option of choosing between iPhone and iPhone Black. While the menu adds a degree of authenticity to the rumor, the page still shows the current model iPhone.
AmTech on iPhone deals
Apple's stock is likely to go higher than expected based on a spate of iPhone agreements the company has forged, says analyst Shaw Wu of American Technology Research. In recent weeks deals have been confirmed with Telecom Italia, Vodafone and several other carriers, offering the potential of a dramatically increased iPhone subscriber base. Wu in fact suggests that the potential market could "more than triple" in 2008, from 150 million people to approximately 470 million.
Piper Jaffray on 3G iPhone
Investment firm Piper Jaffray on Monday released a note saying it expects a 3G iPhone by mid-June, based on an almost complete drought of current generation iPhone stock. The note mentions that out of 11 US stores, only six had stock of the iPhone, five of which had more than five units. The lack of stock is also reflected in the UK, with O2 saying the device is unavailable, while the US Apple Store changed availability to "Currently Unavailable".
Vita Audio R4 Digi Radio
Vita Audio this morning revealed plans to take iPod stereos upscale through the R4. Where most tabletop units stand out, the R4 is said to blend in as a piece of high-end audio equipment and offers the sound to match with 2.1-channel, 80-watt speaker system that adds bass lacking in most such audio systems. Its iPod dock is its central feature, but the device also serves as a DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radio that catches digital stations in the UK and pulls RDS data from analog FM channels. A CD player supports both raw audio and MP3 or WMA tracks.
BBerry Bold at ATT First
AT&T will be the first to carry the BlackBerry Bold when it goes on sale this summer, the company confirmed today. Company official John Kampfe says the provider will be the "only" one in the US to offer the phone and will carry the Bold in the summer. As it's the only model to support WCDMA, it will also be the only BlackBerry to roam properly in Japan, Korea, and other countries that don't support either regular CDMA or GSM phone calls.
Apple Boston store
Apple has confirmed that its first retail store in Boston will finally be opening this Thursday, May 15th. The store is located at 815 Boylston Street, and will throw open its doors at 6PM Eastern. As a promotional tool, some of the first customers to arrive will receive special-edition T-shirts and "other surprises." The first workshops are not scheduled until May 17th.
Telstra 3rd iPhone carrier
Telstra on Thursday announced it would be the third Australian iPhone carrier, and that the company's expected June launch date could indicate that it will carry the 3G iPhone. CNET reports that the carrier joins Optus and Vodafone, and will allegedly offer a multi-frequency HSDPA-compatible device, allowing it to work on both competitors' networks and its own Next G network. Telstra declined to comment on the arrangement, but it would potentially be announced before the end of the month.
Sanyo XC50 and XC55
Sanyo on Monday bolstered its projector lineup with two X series portable LCD projectors. Both the XC50 and XC55 are built to be bright with 2,600 and 3,100 lumens of brightness respectively, giving them enough clarity to be useful without a dark room. Either is also built to be easy to run and lock down; an active maintenance filter lets owners easily swap in a new filter without dismantling the projector, while a security bar permits anyone to easily tie the unit to a table with a cable lock.
TIM exec on 3G iPhone
The first iPhones available to Italians will indeed be 3G models, an executive for carrier Telecom Italia is said to have confirmed. Although the company announced that it would carry the iPhone last week, at the time it would only say that it had "signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone in Italy within the year." Executive VP Luigi Licciardi revealed the existence of the 3G phone between sessions at the International Electronics Forum in Dubai.
Eye-Fi Home and Explore
Eye-Fi this morning rolled out two new SD camera cards that alternately expand and curb the limit of their wireless technology. The Eye-Fi Explore builds in support for map positioning using Skyhook's triangulation of Wi-Fi hotspots and will automatically geotag photos saved to the camera wherever the card can identify its location; it also gets free access for one year with Wayport-owned wireless access points, including all McDonald's restaurants. The 2GB card works with any SD-compatible camera and ships on June 6th for $129.
BlackBerry Windows Live
Research in Motion today continued a string of announcements for its Wireless Enterprise Symposium with word that it will start offering Microsoft's key Windows Live services on its smartphones. Both Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger will be available from the software and will only require a single sign-in to access both services when they sign in. The BlackBerry's trademark "push" technology will apply to Hotmail and will deliver mail almost in real-time to the phone, complete with full HTML and an optional separate inbox; Live Messenger in turn will have the same multi-chat and emoticon options as with other clients.
Sprint Q1 2008 Results
Sprint this morning reported its results for the first quarter of 2008 and has revealed continued severe losses in its cellular business. The carrier says its net revenue declined nine percent year-over-year to $9.3 billion and that it lost a total 1.09 million wireless customers in the most recent period. The company says the poor results were "expected" but that it's continuing to rework its strategy, including more focused advertising, cost reductions, and larger strategic decisions. Its news last week of a team-up with Clearwire for nationwide WiMAX also points to a turnaround, according to the company.
iPhone With SingTel
International carrier SingTel today revealed itself as the next iPhone provider. The carrier will offer the device in the company's native Singapore and will also supply the phone through three of its international providers, including Bharti Airtel for India, Globe in the Philippines, and Optus in Australia. As with other recent announcements, SingTel declines to provide details and says only that it will sell the iPhone "later this year."
Optek ships M-Player Mac
Optek Music Systems on Monday announced M-Player for the Mac, its Fretlight guitar companion software title. Developed to work in conjunction with a Mac and a Fretlight 400 Series guitar, M-Player enables beginner- and advanced-level guitar players to shave weeks off the time it historically takes to learn to play a new song. Described as the world's first real computer-powered teaching guitar, the company says the software is ideal for Guitar Hero or Rock Band video gamers who want to learn to play their favorite songs on a real guitar. M-Player for Mac works by lighting up the chords and scales on the Fretlight guitar, showing correct finger placement.
RIM BlackBerry Fund
Research in Motion early Monday confirmed rumors with the launch of the BlackBerry Partners Fund, a venture capital pool meant to rival the iFund for the iPhone. The $150 million pool eclipses the $100 million for the Apple device but shares the same goal of spurring growth in app development: promising young companies at any stage of development for their BlackBerry software can apply for capital to help their apps reach completion.
iPhone knockoff threatened
Apple is going after the sellers of at least one iPhone knockoff, delivering a cease & desist to a HiPhone reseller in Europe. Apple Europe's legal counsel Bird & Bird has contacted the seller who sold the HiPhone knockoff on eBay and through his online shop, asking him to destroy the HiPhones currently in his inventory as well as provide a wealth of information related to the manufacturing, distribution, sales, and marketing of the HiPhone. Apple's letter threatens penalties of 25,000€ per HiPhone sold, if the seller does not comply.
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