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News Archive for 08/05/12

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Dell to phase out XPS gaming PCs to push Alienware

05/12, 11:35pm

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.

First Look: Logitech ClearChat Wireless headset

05/12, 11:25pm

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.

New Google Reader optimized for iPhone, other devices

05/12, 10:30pm

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 images, adds RAW, DNG support

05/12, 10:10pm

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 offers remote Mac access from iPhone

05/12, 8:30pm

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 offers quick 3D effects, resizing

05/12, 8:20pm

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 offers 1m color combos for iPhone case

05/12, 5:50pm

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.

MS launching "LIps" voice gadget for Xbox tomorrow?

05/12, 5:20pm

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.

Magnavox, Sylvania crack $300 mark for Blu-ray

05/12, 5:00pm

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 Eve's design in Wall-E

05/12, 4:50pm

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 Telecom denies Helio to snap up Virgin, hints more

05/12, 4:35pm

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 debuts low-power quad Opterons

05/12, 4:05pm

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 with Apple employee's notebook

05/12, 3:50pm

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 Ericsson patenting geotagged songs

05/12, 3:30pm

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 to use WWDC to announce iPhone?

05/12, 2:55pm

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 brings 5.1 sound to USB

05/12, 2:40pm

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.

First Look: Samsung BlackJack II, smartphone

05/12, 2:20pm

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 rolls Xeon-based quad-core notebook

05/12, 2:10pm

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.

Microsoft sets limits on low-cost Windows PCs

05/12, 1:55pm

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's Vidnik uploads videos to YouTube

05/12, 1:10pm

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, Kenwood announce merger plans

05/12, 12:55pm

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 goes on sale

05/12, 12:15pm

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 shows coming to iTunes Store?

05/12, 12:10pm

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 Radio: Q1 'last quarter' before Sirius tie-up

05/12, 11:45am

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 online store leaks black iPhone? [U]

05/12, 11:40am

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: Stock may go higher based on iPhone deals

05/12, 11:15am

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 expects 3G iPhone mid-June

05/12, 11:05am

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 intros iPod-ready, luxury R4 radio

05/12, 11:00am

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.

AT&T confirms getting BlackBerry Bold first

05/12, 10:30am

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 set to open first Boston store on Thursday

05/12, 10:10am

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 to be 3rd Australian iPhone carrier

05/12, 10:10am

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 unwraps bright portable projectors

05/12, 9:55am

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: Italian deal means 3G iPhone, and soon

05/12, 9:20am

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 intros Wi-Fi SD cards with geotags

05/12, 9:15am

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 to get Windows Live IM, mail

05/12, 8:35am

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 loses 1m cell subscribers

05/12, 7:55am

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 coming to SingTel, Optus, more

05/12, 7:20am

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."

M-Player for Mac: Fretlight guitar companion software

05/12, 1:20am

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 intros BlackBerry Fund to rival Apple's iFund

05/12, 12:40am

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.

Apple threatens European iPhone knockoff reseller

05/12, 12:30am

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.

BlackBerry Bold official, beats iPhone to 3G

05/12, 12:00am

BlackBerry Bold

Research in Motion tonight revealed the BlackBerry Bold, the next generation of its full-size smartphones. The black-and-chrome device is RIM's first to support 3G on GSM networks with HSDPA access, and is also the first to build in a higher-resolution display: at 480x320, the screen is as sharp as today's iPhone. The Bold's interface undergoes an overhaul to match and comes with a new high-contrast "strip" interface as well as a much more powerful web browser, which adds CSS and Javascript for more complex sites as well as built-in streaming video support.

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