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Iridium 9555 sat phone
Iridium Satellite has unveiled its latest satellite phone, the 9555, which offers smaller dimensions and a form factor that is closer to traditional cell phones than its predecessor, the 9505A. The antenna is mostly internally stowed, allowing full extension only when the phone is being used. A speakerphone function, brighter screen, and mini-USB data port have been added, along with improved SMS and E-mail functionality.
BatchOutput Server release
Zevrix Solutions has released BatchOutput Server, an automation program for Adobe InDesign. The software is configurable to automatically print or export to PDF and PostScript, by using network "hotfolders" to hold InDesign files for processing. Users copy content to the hotfolders that are watched by the program, and the actions are executed according to the necessary workflow settings. The program checks for basic problems during processing and skips any files that are missing links or fonts, set with an invalid page range, or contain other errors.
Plank game for iPhone
Freeverse and Strange Flavour have released Plank, a game for the iPhone and iPod touch that features tilt-based puzzles. The control input primarily uses the device's accelerometer, which allows a virtual steam powered hydraulic plank to tilt, catching colored marbles that must be rolled together in sets of matching colors as they fall. When three marbles of the same color are aligned, they will disappear and points are scored. If too much weight is added to the plank it will explode and end the game.
HP Touch Phone Slips
HP has already tipped its hand as to its upcoming smartphone plans through a pair of leaks to its own website. Confirming longstanding rumors, the iPAQ Data Messenger will be HP's first full touchscreen phone but will hide a slide-out QWERTY keyboard underneath its 2.8-inch display. It should also stand as HP's most advanced phone yet with 7.2Mbps HSDPA-based 3G, albeit only on non-American bands in the current model, and will also support HSUPA for faster uploads on those networks that support it. A 3.1-megapixel camera, assisted GPS and Wi-Fi are also planned for the phone, which expectedly runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.
MacBook hardware decoding
Some owners of the new MacBooks have experienced a significantly reduced CPU load while playing H.264 encoded video files, suggesting that Apple may have chosen to use GPU decoding in the latest devices, according to several forum posts on MacRumors. After enabling the hardware monitor while playing HD videos through Quicktime, a number of users reported CPU usage of around 20 percent, compared to 100 percent on the previous generation of notebooks, even the MacBook Pro.
Dfx 2 updated for CS4
Tiffen has released the latest version of its filter plugin, Dfx 2.0, for Adobe Photoshop CS4. Over a thousand new filters and effects have been added to the update, including Ambient Light, Close Up Lens, Dot, Eye Light, Flag, Gobo, HFX star, Haze, High Contrast, Ice Halos, Rainbows, Sepia, Sky, Soft Contrast, Soft Light, Warm Center Spot, Warm Polarizer, Water Droplets, Wide Angle Lens, and 812 Warming. New language support has been added for French, Spanish, German, and Japanese.
MacSpeeck Dictate update
MacSpeech has introduced an update to its speech recognition software, MacSpeech Dictate 1.2. The latest version includes a spelling mode that allows users to dictate any specific word by verbalizing each letter to spell it out. The new Phase Training feature helps increase the accuracy of the program over time as it is used. As soon as a mistake is noticed in the dictation, the user can instantly train the application to correctly recognize the word or phrase.
Suitcase Fusion 2
Extensis has released the latest version of its font management utility, Suitcase Fusion 2. The update features a redesigned user interface and code base, with SQLite support claimed to improve speed and reliability. The new program is built around the Leopard operating system, with exact font matching and auto-activation plugin support for Adobe Illustrator CS4 and QuarkXpress 8. Multiple font previews adjust in size while working for faster selection and comparison, while the new Glyph View Palette allows previews of multiple glyphs within one type face.
AppLoop iPhone app creator
AppLoop has launched App Generator, a service for blog publishers that will create an iPhone app from any RSS feed, according to TechCrunch. The company will code, maintain, and submit the app for approval. The appearance of the application will include the blog logos and color schemes. An analytics library is provided, which provides real-time usage data, popular content, and platform distribution information.
iPhone 3G shrinks margins
Apple's iPhone is currently squeezing profit margins for US wireless carriers, with analysts expecting a drop in third quarter financial results in the coming weeks. Reuters reports that AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are all expected to unveil lower-than-expected results, thanks in part to a larger subsidy on the iPhone 3G, and users reducing the total cost of their services in today's depressed economy.
Briefcase app for iPhone
Hey Mac Software has released Breifcase, a file transfer application for the iPhone or iPod touch. Users can download any type of file or directory onto their mobile device, without the need for cables, client software, or switching between the phone and Mac. Bonjour technology is used to detect any computers or devices that are accessible on a network, and then allows the files and directories to be viewed, even from machines that are connected to remote networks.
ASUS intros four HD LCDs
Last week, ASUS introduced four high-definition LCD monitors meant to enhance viewing movies and playing video games, with a pair of 25.5-inch displays, along with two 24-inch 1080p HD LCDs. The larger VK266H and VW266H feature a 16:10 aspect ratio and support 1920x1200 resolution, while the VK246H and VW246H have the more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920x1080 resolution. All four sport an HDMI input and specs that include 300cd/㎡ brightness, a 20,000:1 contrast ratio and a 2ms gray-to-gray response time. The foursome also has ASUS' Splendid Video Intelligence technology, which changes parameters to match the type of content being played.
iPhone boosting devs, ads
The iPhone appears to be providing a significant boost to related mobile industries, involved parties claim. Andrew Fisher -- CEO of the company behind Shazam, an app which lets users identify songs through an iPhone's microphone -- notes that although his outfit is over four years old, prior to the iPhone 3G, people would only use earlier versions of Shazam three to five times per phone. The iPhone version of Shazam has been downloaded over 1.5 million times in 10 weeks, and has made over 20 million requests from Shazam's servers, equivalent to two or three song look-ups per person, per week.
Sprint overtakes rivals
The latest customer satisfaction survey with wireless providers has surprisingly concluded that Sprint has overtaken rivals Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile in customer satisfaction, going from last place to first. Conducted by Pali Research, the sixth survey measured how long the major wireless companies keep their customers on hold. According to the results, Sprint Nextel answered 91 percent of the Pali calls in 30 seconds or less, meeting the company's previously set goal of achieving 80 percent of calls under the time frame.
Lexmark intros printers
Lexmark on Monday introduced new series of monochrome and color laser printers as well as color laser multifunction products (MFPs), meant for businesses of all sizes. The C540 series of color laser printers and X540 of color laser MFPs are capable of double-sided printing, low power consumption and ability to print on recycled paper, in addition to having 802.11n wireless connectivity modules built-in. At the same time, the company introduced a comprehensive line of 11 monochrome laser X650 series MFPs and nine T650 series monochrome laser printers. Meant for departmental office use, the monochrome products can perform finishing tasks such as stapling and mailbox options.
Rogers gets Touch Diamond
A scan of a few pages from a brochure Rogers sends out to its subscribers reveals that the Canadian wireless provider will be getting its own GSM version of the new handset, thanks to a Monday report. With a unique design that takes cues from the original Touch Diamond, including the edgy styling on the rear panel of the phone, which differs from the straight back of the CDMA Sprint/Telus version. The Rogers handset also has HSPA data network support as opposed to the EVDO network.
Boxee adds Hulu, CBS
Developers of Boxee have added access to Hulu and CBS.com to the media player software, which can be installed on an Apple TV. The final alpha version released Monday brings Hulu's entire catalog, including The Daily Show, Heroes and The Office. Social networking features allow users to share videos and recommendations.
Fliq social app for iPhone
Mark/Space has launched Fliq, a social networking app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Users can send photos and contacts to one another in real-time, without using e-mail, SMS or instant messaging configurations. Content can also be shared with anyone on the same Wi-Fi network. Users select the image or they want to send, pick the person that they want to send it to, and use a flick gesture to transfer the material.
Pac Crest on BlackBerry
Shares of Research in Motion plummeted Monday after a Pacific Crest report cautioned that the company's BlackBerry's sales would likely prove underwhelming. Calling the cellphone producer's likely results "slightly disappointing," the analyst group cautions that the Pearl Flip's sales have been at most average. The estimates if accurate are particularly damaging for RIM, which depends on the Pearl series for a large portion of its non-business sales.
Maildash for iPhone
PureBlend Software has released a new app designed for people who need to send e-mail or SMS messages via an iPhone, but prefer to avoid typing. Maildash allows users to quickly reply to messages by selecting a message template and hitting the send button. Maildash includes a series of common replies, and allows the customization of these templates or new ones as desired. E-mails are further personalized through smart substitutions, which replace placeholder phrases in templates with names, dates, times and greetings.
Touch Hockey for iPhone
FlipSide5 has released a new game in the App Store, Touch Hockey. The title is an air hockey simulation for the iPhone and iPod touch, supporting both local and Wi-Fi-based multiplayer options. The game also features nine different levels of difficulty, which allows the player to find an option that suits their skill level. Other components include instant replays and topping support, the latter giving players the ability to lift up their paddle and then catch the puck underneath.
Toshiba buys SanDisk share
Toshiba on Monday announced it has acquired 30 percent of SanDisk's NAND flash memory production capacity for $1 billion. Toshiba has been previously interested in purchasing SanDisk entirely, after Samsung made a similar bid for the flash memory maker. Toshiba's purchase will allow it to boost its NAND memory capacity quicker and for less money than investing in its own operations. The two companies already have joint NAND operations that produce 300mm wafers, and the purchase represents a reshuffling of those assets between the companies.
On October 14, 2008, Apple released two new MacBook models that stand as its first major overhaul of the 13-inch system since its introduction in May 2006. Apple as always claims a dramatic overhaul; but the real question is whether this is the giant leap promised by the company, a minor step forward in a new disguise, or something in between. Click through for our full 13-inch MacBook review for our answer.
Sprint gets Samsung phones
Sprint recently announced a pair of Samsung handsets introduced earlier, the Rant and Highnote, are now shipping through the wireless network provider. The Rant has the distinction of being Sprint's lowest-cost handset with the capability of accessing Sprint's 3G network, which can be taken advantage of thanks to the phone's sliding design that reveals a full QWERTY keyboard. The Highnote's sliding design reveals either a pair of stereo speakers or a dialing pad depending on the slide direction.
Nokia Map Loader beta
Cellphone maker Nokia has announced a beta release of Map Loader for Mac, bringing parity with a similar app available for Windows. Map Loader allows people with compatible phones to upload maps to their devices from their computer, rather than through a cellular connection; this should not only be faster but save on the high data fees imposed by carriers. Maps are used mainly for GPS navigation, whether by car or on foot.
EeePC sales, Win 7 support
ASUS' Eee PC -- frequently cited as the original netbook -- is still doing extremely well, claims the company's CEO. Jerry Shen says that over 4 million Eees have been sold since the product's debut last year, and the company hopes to reach 5 million before the end of 2008. The Eee line has extended to include several netbooks, and an all-in-one desktop computer, the EeeTop. It is facing increasing competition however, from companies such as Acer, Dell and MSI.
MSI Wind coming earlier
There are new specs to report regarding the MSI Wind U120, introduced earlier this month. The netbook will include a built-in 3G module and sport a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU coupled to 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive with Windows XP. The newest report, published on Monday, maintains the netbook will be available in November and not, as previously believed, December. MSI has teamed up with Vibo Telecom in its home market of Taiwan for supplying its 8.9-inch Wind U90 netbook with wireless data services, and the computer maker is in talks with European providers for similar deals.
More Snow Leopard changes
Several major changes in Apple's next operating system have been revealed, sources claim. Mac OS X Snow Leopard is, according to AppleInsider, expected to completely jettison the Carbon-based version of Finder, in favor of a one written entirely in Cocoa. Apple has said that 64-bit support for Carbon will not be provided, and it may thus make sense to migrate as much code over as possible for maximum performance. Finder is currently one of oldest Carbon components in Mac OS X.
BBerry 9220 and 9900 Slips
RIM has already outlined most if not all of its phone release plans for next year, a leak of a Rogers Wireless roadmap to BGR says. In addition to getting the Curve 8900 (Javelin) in the first quarter of the year, the Canadian provider will also allegedly receive two devices briefly mentioned in the past. Codenamed the Magnum, the BlackBerry 9220 should appear in the summer and add HSPA-based 3G to the Curve 8900 to bring it up to par with the Bold. RIM's rumored hybrid touch/keyboard device is also slated as the BlackBerry 9900, or Pluto, and would ship next fall.
Fujitsu LifeBook P8020
Fujitsu has quietly launched a substantial upgrade to its LifeBooks through the P8020. The ultraportable carries over the unique bezel-free 12-inch LCD of the P8010 but adds a newer, faster Centrino 2-era platform as well as one of the company's few multi-touch trackpads. Owners can perform gestures with one or two fingers, including an Apple-like pinch motion to zoom in or out as well a circular motion for uninterrupted scrolling, much as with iPods.
Piper Q4 predictions
Macs are likely to be the "key" to a high-performing fourth financial quarter from Apple, says Piper Jaffray. Previewing tomorrow's results call, the firm suggests that Apple will announce shipments of 2.8 million Macs, as evidenced by sales growth of 32 percent year-over-year for the combined months of July and August. Piper notes that this is further based on estimates of 23 percent growth year-over-year for September, which would only be a continuation of Apple's patterns, rather than a surpassing of expectations. Apple is said to have been helped by its Back-to-School promotion, which lured shoppers with free iPod touches and nanos.
HP w2558hc and a6600 SEs
HP this morning marked the low-key introduction of a large yet mainstream w-series display as well as a pair of eco-friendly desktops. The w2558hc (pictured) is said to have rich color output but is pitched primarily as an all-in-one companion to a desktop or notebook. The 25.5-inch LCD has a two megapixel camera, stereo speakers and secondary HDMI inputs that turn it both into an all-in-one video conferencing device as well as an HDTV alternative for some devices.
Samsung i7110 smartphone
Samsung on Monday announced the introduction of its i7110 bar-style handset, which will be shown to the public at London's Symbian Smartphone Show over the next two days. The handset notably features a 2.6-inch OLED screen with 240x320 resolution, which helps contribute to the smartphone's approximate half-inch thickness and also produces much richer colors than most LCDs. The use of Symbian's S60 operating system also gives it access to true smartphone-level apps.
Apple targets Vista ads
Apple has released new "Get a Mac" TV ads in an attempt to counter recent Microsoft efforts at boosting the public image of Windows. In the first of the ads, which are now available online, PC (John Hodgman) is shown setting aside a large portion of money for advertising, and a tiny portion on fixing Windows Vista. When Mac (Justin Long) points out that the Vista money is not enough, PC admits this and shifts it all over to the advertising pile.
Moto Android Detail Leak
Motorola's social networking Android phone will promise to more directly compete against the iPhone and T-Mobile's imminent G1, a leak to BusinessWeek suggests. Although it will share the G1's use of a slide-out keyboard, the handset should have a significantly larger screen closer to the size of the iPhone's 3.5-inch display and will have styling cues somewhat like those of the Krave, positioning it as a more luxuriant alternative to HTC's phone.
BucksMe, Small Canvas
iZen Garden 1.6 ($2) puts a virtual zen garden in a users pocket, which allows people to place stones, fossils and other elements and then rake the sand into distinct patterns with their fingers. The application features 75 unique types of stones, seashells, fossils and leaves, which have been photographed and rendered to be aesthetically pleasing. The objects also now feature shadows to make them look even more realistic.
Gateway MC7801 Notebook
After an early introduction, Gateway today finalized details of the MC series, its first 16:9 aspect ratio notebook. The system is movie-friendly with a 16-inch, 1366x768 LCD that displays 720p video with much less wasted space than on a 16:10 display. It also takes Gateway's look somewhat upscale with either burgundy or black colors as well as the use of artificial leather and brushed metal surfaces. All models also have a backlit keyboard.
Intel Demos Moorestown
Intel today at the start of its fall Developer Forum showed off a working example of a Moorestown-based device, putting the chipset on track for its 2009-2010 launch window. The chipmaker has yet to describe the device but reiterates that the technology should be much more effective for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and ultra-mobile PCs. Through a 45 nanometer process as well as a redesign of the processor itself, the idle power alone will represent just a tenth that of an Atom system today, Intel claims.
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