Sony's Centrino 2 notebook refresh tonight adds the VAIO BZ. It keeps the same 15.4-inch display as the outgoing VAIO BX but in a slim, magnesium shell the company says is tough enough to resist shocks while keeping the weight under six pounds. The display is now LED-backlit on some models for a more accurate (and power-efficient) image, while the keyboard has been designed to resist spills.
Sony on Monday evening unveiled its new Centrino 2-powered line of ultra-portable VAIO Z Series notebooks, with options for Blu-ray, a flash-memory SSD drive, Sprint broadband, and more. Weighing just over 3 pounds, the VAIO Z model offers speeds up to 2.53GHz, incorporates the first ever 13.1-inch widescreen 16:9 display with Sony's XBRITE-DuraView LCD technology for what its claims is "scratch-resistant durability and 100 percent color saturation." All models feature a better-spaced MacBook-line keyboard layout, while the high-end models feature 1600 X 900 resolution for up to 40 percent wider workspace than a standard display (in the same "footprint").
As part of a sweeping update of its notebook line to Intel's new Centrino 2 mobile platform, Sony tonight unveiled what it says is the first media-centric notebook with a 16.4-inch, 16:9 ratio display. The VAIO FW replaces the FZ and uses its extra-wide 1600x900 resolution not just to play Blu-ray movies and other widescreen content without black bars but also to offer an ideal size mix: the image is closer to a 16:10 ratio 17-inch display but has the depth of a 15.4-inch notebook, rendering it easier to carry. It also more easily fits two documents side-by-side, the company argues.
Intel tonight formally introduced its Centrino 2 notebook platform Monday as well as a new 45nm, 3.06GHz Core 2 Extreme mobile processor, calling it the "highest performing" chip of its kind in the world. The company has additionally rounded out its announcement saying it will release eight new processors over the next 90 days, including the first quad-core mobile processors, and second-generation support for "ultra-thin" notebooks such as the MacBook Air.
After receiving "thousands of calls and e-mails from Mac users," Posit Science Corp. says its bringing its Brain FItness Classic program to the Mac. Developed by a team of more than 50 neuroscientists, Posit claims on average, users memory improves to that of a person 10 years younger. The software is also designed to promote "faster thinking" and "sharper focus."
Known for its comic-book and animation software, Toon Boom says it has designed a comic book application for children. Comic Boomincludes unlimited drawing placement, allowing kids to quickly design four-panel comic strips to post on blogs, websites or saved as PDF or JPG files. The company says the product features an easy-to use interface, and built-in clip art.
Phantom Fish on Monday debuted its Byline, an RSS reader and offline brower allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to easily save web pages and read them later. "For the first time," the company says, readers can save virtually any web page -- not just items from news feeds -- for later use. Byline supports feeds from Google Reader displaying summaries of unread items for users to browse.
Artlandia has released the third in a line of productivity plug-ins for Adobe creative software. The company says LivePresets works with two basic classes of static Adobe Illustrator objects -- symbols and swatches -- and makes them editable dynamically. The plug-in allows users to interactively edit multiple art objects from a single source.
Mac OS X 10.5 users can choose from 50 new stationery templates for Leopard's built-in Mail application. Jumsoft has released its Mail Stationery pack including "designs for "every occasion". Grouped by themes such as "invitations," "seasons," "family," and "congratulations," the professionally-designed templates add the personal touch that sems to have disappeared with the switch from paper to electronic mail.
While Apple CEO Steve Jobs' concerns about 3G's impact on the iPhone's battery life were valid, the iPhone 3G still maintains a longer-running battery life than other popular competing mobile devices, including the new Samsung Instinct. PC World investigated several 3G smartphone handsets, showing that the iPhone 3G bests the Instinct, the HTC Touch Dual, and the LG EnV with 5h 38m, the only three others which featured over five hours of talk time.
Apple has explanations for the lack of certain features on the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 2.0 firmware, says Apple product head Greg Joswiak. Cited in a new report, Joswiak says that the absence of cut and paste functions, for instance, was omitted only because it was considered a low priority in Apple's ongoing feature wishlist. Other features were simply judged more important for the 3G launch.
Recently, the US Patent and Trademark Office published several of Apple's patents regarding a user programmable switch, and real-world gestures, with one patent showing a sliding tablet design concept. The first, entitled User Programmable Switch, relates to methods which would allow portable device users to change a button to serve a number of different purposes on the fly. The button could be configured to switch between different profiles, with certain ring tones, volume settings, screen brightness levels, and more.
Taiwan's TUL Corporation today launched its PowerColor PCS HD4850 2GB graphics card, becoming the first company to offer home users a video card with as much memory. Part of the HD4800 series launched late last month, the PowerColor PCS HD4850's RV770 core chip is rated at 663MHz. The HD4850 card is also available in 512MB and 1GB GDDR3 memory sizes but it's the 2GB version that will allow the most room for textures and improve performance at higher resolutions, resulting in smooth, fast-moving graphics. The flagship card features a maximum memory bandwidth of 57.6GBps, further enhancing performance. All three cards will support 7.1-channel surround audio via a built-in HDMI port and are PCI Express 2.0 compatible.
Security firm Sophos has published a new list of 10 recommendations, specifically on the topic of safeguarding MacBook data. The company notes that while Windows systems are more prone to attack as the more popular format, Macs are still vulnerable, particularly when mobile ones are brought out in public. In this regard the company notes that the best protection is to simply leave data or a computer at home, unless it is absolutely necessary. When browsing at a cafe, for instance, data can be stolen simply by reading over someone's shoulder.
About two weeks later than originally promised, Sony and Sky have today launched the Go!View video-on-demand service for the PlayStation Portable gaming system. The Go!View service will allow users to transfer content downloaded via PC TV to their PSPs. Subscribers will be able to download TV shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives and Top Gear, among others, as well as FA Premier League soccer and full-length movies.
Phase One today announced the future release of its flagship P65+ medium format digital back camera system, which is the first in the industry to offer a 60.5-megapixel sensor. This number translates to images sized at 8984x6732 pixels, with each taking up 180MB of memory as 8-bit RGB files. The professional-grade systems will spend their lives in studios, where its 40.4 by 53.9mm sensor offers about one-fifth more area than competing products and allows photographers to fully utilize 645 film-format wide angle lenses.
Dell this afternoon revealed that it will give its Latitude XT convertible tablet multi-touch support as of Tuesday. The software patch from the company's support site will let the XT's capacitive touchscreen work with several programs in Windows XP and Vista. Owners can zoom in and out using a pinch motion in most web browsers, Windows' built-in photo viewing utilities, Google Earth, and Microsoft Office; a two-finger scroll will also permit scrolling without having to use the mouse.
Microsoft today responded to Yahoo accusations that it made an 24-hour offer by rejecting many details of the story, asserting that Yahoo has distorted many of the terms discussed during the weekend. The Windows developer argues that the deal, which would see Microsoft buy out Yahoo's search business, was actually requested by Yahoo chair Roy Bostock and that Microsoft had been told Yahoo might accept a deal if Microsoft raised its bid on certain terms.
Music-based social networking site Last.fm has introduced a native application for iPhones and iPod touches. The program presents a simplified way of listening to personal, recommended and other radio streams on the site, as well as keeping tabs on items such as friends, charts and upcoming concerts. Items with a red dot indicate that they can be streamed; when tracks are playing, album art is displayed in the background.
Microsoft today preceded E3 by announcing two major deals for movie viewing on the Xbox 360. The company has struck an anticipated deal with Netflix that will let subscribers to an Xbox Live Gold membership watch movies online for free, effectively giving them a movie subscription service along with the gaming that already comes with Live. Microsoft expects the Netflix feature to come along with a major redesign of the Xbox 360 interface (shown) and notes that the interface's new Community channel will let parties, or gatherings of friends, share their Netflix queues with each other.
Trekstor today took the wraps from the i.Beat move. The media player is unusual in coming in three distinct physical sizes without changing the same basic design; screen sizes go up while the controls and the capacity can remain the same. Besides support for MP3/WAV/WMA music and AVI videos, all of the players also take microSD cards to expand past their original storage and have FM radios with up to 25 presets.
Sony's PlayStation 3, long third in the wave of current-generation game consoles, is finally beginning to accumulate substantial sales, statistics show. Bloomberg reports that during the first five months of 2008 the PS3 sold more units than Microsoft's Xbox 360, which has normally held second place under Nintendo's Wii. The surge is attributed mainly to high-profile exclusives like Metal Gear Solid 4, and the demise of HD DVD, boosting the appeal of Sony's extensible, built-in Blu-ray drive.
Nintendo on Monday afternoon made an early start to its E3 game expo plans with the unveiling of the Wii MotionPlus. The add-on to the normal Wii Remote changes the device from its normal, acceleration sensor tracking to true 3D spatial tracking. This lets the Wii register the exact position, angle, and movement of the controller and translate it to a game, the console maker explains.
Several days after its launch, MobileMe still remains only partially functional, Apple admits. On the service's status page, Apple notes that the me.com login page remains non-functional, along with groups. A MobileMe update for Mac OS X, spotted through Software Update early during the launch process, has also been withdrawn.
Features of the new Apple TV 2.1 firmware are wider than previously expected, testing has revealed. Aside from MobileMe galleries and security updates, the major new feature is the Wish List, which lets users identify titles for later buying or renting. Once a movie is added to the list from its splash page, an option also appears on the main menu next to the Top Movies and Rented Movies selections.
Samsung's cellular phone division is today claimed to be working on a smartphone sporting an 8.0-megapixel camera. It would be among the first, if not the first, handsets available to the public with such a high pixel count. Thus far believed to come to market bearing the i8510 name, the phone's camera would feature autofocus and a xenon flash. It would also allow video recording at 120fps.
Hackers have managed to penetrate to one of the deepest levels in the iPhone 3G's software, according to claims. The makers of the PwnageTool say that in working on v2.0 of their software, they have managed to crack "iBoot," the command line used to communicate with the 3G's equivalent of a BIOS. iBoot is said to be present because iTunes requires a lever for restoring a phone; normally, however, iBoot is said to be "heavily restricted," permitting only Apple code. The only access layer deeper than iBoot is said to be in ROM, and so any further anti-unlocking efforts could force hardware changes.
HP today said that the second generation of its TouchSmart PC should now be at retail stores across much of the US. The 22-inch all-in-one desktop should be available both in the base IQ504 model ($1,299) with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of memory, and 320GB hard drive as well as a deluxe IQ506 model ($1,499) with a 2.16GHz processor, a TV tuner, dedicated GeForce 9300M GS video, and a 500GB hard disk for extra space.
Today's deals at DealNN include a collection of memory card readers for under $5 from Amazon.com. Also, take advantage of a $150 mail in rebate that drops the price on the15.4-inch MacBook pro with 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 200 GB hard drive from $1,940 to $1,790. Bestbuy.com has iSkin three packs for only $4.99 in a range of colors. Other deals include the Maxtor One Touch4 mini 160GB external hard drive for $70 and the refurbished Wacom Graphire4 graphics tablet for $40 with three FREE software titles.
Japanese interest in the iPhone 3G surged to where more than one in seven Japanese phone customers has been considering an iPhone, according to a survey published today by iSHARE and conducted at the end of June. The researchers note that while a pre-announcement study showed just 8.9 percent of buyers considering an iPhone, that number has since climbed to 14.5 percent, a jump of about 63 percent in just a few weeks. Existing subscribers with official iPhone carrier SoftBank are disproportionately more likely to want the device, with exactly one in five (20 percent) likely to buy while just 10 percent of those with other providers mulling a switch of carriers to get the device.
Over 10 million downloads have been made from the newly-launched iTunes App Store, according to Apple. The company also notes that the amount of software has already increased since the store's Thursday debut, from approximately 500 apps to over 800. Of these, some 90 percent are said to be less than $10, including 200 free ones like AIM and Remote. The company has not so far identified how many downloads to date have been of free software, or what categories are the most popular.
Over 1 million iPhone 3Gs have already been sold, Apple claims. The figure is based on data from all 21 countries in which the 3G launched on Friday, including countries like the US, Canada, Japan and England. The millionth phone is said to have been sold sometime on Sunday. "iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend," reads a PR statement from Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "It took 74 days to sell the first one million original iPhones, so the new iPhone 3G is clearly off to a great start around the world."
Kodak has quietly added three more EasyShare cameras beyond those introduced last week with one C series and two M series point-and-shoot models. Both the M1063 and the M1073 IS (not yet linked) run at the same 10 megapixels as the just-announced M1093 IS but trim costs by capping light sensitivity to ISO 1,000 and shedding dynamic scene adjustment; the M1073 IS includes the sensor-shift stabilization of the higher-end model. Pricing for the M1073 IS isn't available, but the M1063 is shipping now for $180.
Creative this morning set US launch information for the ZEN X-Fi, its first Wi-Fi media player. The local launch quickly follows the Singapore announcement and prices the full wireless versions well below the iPod touch and also with more features than Microsoft's flash-based and similarly wireless Zunes, putting a 16GB version of the player at $200 and a 32GB player at $300. An 8GB player without wireless will sell for $150. All three should be available in early August.
(Updated with US launch info) Casio on Monday unveiled the Exilim Zoom Z-150. Although relatively low resolution at 8.1 megapixels, the camera compensates for this with a 28mm, 4X zoom wide-angle lens that both shoots further and captures more of the subject. Image stabilization is onboard, as is Casio's frequent YouTube video mode that captures video that can easily be uploaded to the video website.
NVIDIA this morning confirmed its planned price cuts and today slashed the costs it dictates for GeForce GTX graphics cards. The top-end GeForce GTX 280 sees the steepest decline and drops from $649 to $499 for a typical 1GB card; the more mid-range GeForce GTX 260 also drops from its earlier $399 to $299 for an 896MB card. The prices should take effect almost immediately but may vary for non-standard cards from certain board makers.
Sprint has finally unveiled the Palm Treo 800w, more than a week ahead of schedule and after some stores began unofficially selling the device last Friday. The 5oz device, which appeared on Palm's online store on Sunday, includes Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Software as well as advanced GPS functions --with both autonomous and simultaneous GPS using Sprint Navigation for turn by turn directions along with points of interest searches. It supports outlook email with Microsoft Direct Push Technology and HTML support as well as the ability to receive email from multiple corporate and personal POP/IMAP email accounts and offers a central five-way navigation button for easy access to menus and one-handed operation. The phone is on-sale for $600 with a $250 instant savings offer and $100 mail-in rebate, bringing the final price to $250 with a 2-year contract.
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Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu