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Corona 3 update
Designers Domain has released an update to its general ledger and payroll accounting software, Corona 3. The company has integrated a new data engine that is claimed to offer performance improvements. The interface has also been updated, including a new sidebar for journal, descriptions, and queries. The auto-complete feature now works with the description, account and title fields, while users can also take advantage of a drag-and-drop function to carry data from the price list to invoices and purchases.
No Zune Phone at CES
Despite some expectations, Microsoft has no plans to introduce a Zune-branded phone at the Consumer Electronics Show next month, the company's Zune Group Manager Brian Seitz tells Gizmodo. The statement comes in part as a response to claims of a major Zune refresh that would represent or precede an actual phone; in either situation, the device was to be codenamed "Pink" and was widely expected to use a touchscreen and a fast image processor.
ProteMac Meter update 2.0
ProteMac has announced ProteMac Meter 2.0, the latest version of its network-traffic logging software that allows users to monitor all Internet and network activity. The update offers a new engine, improved stability, enhanced data-cleanup interface, additional preferences for the application monitoring lists, and several bug fixes. ProteMac allows users to simultaneously keep track of all incoming and outgoing traffic on multiple network-connection interfaces.
myPower iPhone battery
Tekkon has debuted the myPower leather sleeve for the iPhone and iPhone 3G. The case features a built-in rechargeable lithium-polymer battery that is claimed to double the battery life of the iPhone while ensuring that the external battery drains before the phone draws from its internal power. An integrated power-level indicator displays the charge status of the battery. Users can recharge both the case and iPhone simultaneously, using an outlet power adapter or a USB cable connected to a computer.
Apple has released firmware updates for the most recent MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air models. An EFI update is available for each notebook, offering improved stability and bug fixes, although the exact reasons for the release remain unclear. Users can also download an SMC update which is claimed to improve the sensing and accuracy of the MagSafe adapter indicator light on all models, along with the battery charge indicator lights on the MacBook and MacBook Pro.
SRS iWOW for iPod iTunes
SRS has unveiled several new audio products, the iWOW Adapter device for the iPod, and iWOW Premium software for iTunes. The company claims that the adapter expands the perceived soundstage when used with headphones or earphones, while also providing more natural sound with improved depth and clarity. The device attaches to any iPod with a 30-pin dock connector, including the iPod touch, Classic, Nano and more.
Board Games for iPhone
Handmark has launched Astraware Board Games, an app for the iPhone and iPod touch that features eight board-games including chess, backgammon, ludo, checkers, reversi, Nine Men's Morris, snakes and ladders, and tic-tac-toe. Pieces can be moved by sliding a finger across the touchscreen, while shaking the device will roll dice. The game offers several options for playing against computerized characters or competing with friends, using a local Wi-Fi connection for multiple devices or a "hot seat" function on one handset.
Uncomplex has launched Mailplane 2.0, an update to its Gmail client for Mac. The latest version includes new add-ons, key shortcuts, advanced account notifications, a "do not disturb" mode and a simpler way to add attachments. The update also allows switching from multiple accounts without having to sign-in and sign-out repeatedly, and adds a Mailplane URL function that can be used to access searches and conversations from applications.
iRiver to release E50 PMP
Portable electronics maker iRiver is set to release a new digital multimedia player, to be called the E50. With very similar if not identical features and file support to the company's E100 player, the main difference between the two seems to be the E50's sturdier brushed aluminum body. The E50 will be available in 2GB, 4GB or 8GB capacities and features a 1.8-inch, 262K color screen with a 176x220 resolution.
First Look: iAntiVirus
Many Mac anti-virus programs waste their time scanning for Windows contaminants. While this may be fine if you need to share files with Windows users, you may not want a program that gobbles up excess memory and processing time just to protect against malware that can never even hurt your own hardware. If you'd rather have an anti-virus app that focuses solely on keeping Macs virus-free, one option is PC Tool's iAntiVirus.
DirecTV cancels HDPC-20
A DirecTV spokesperson recently announced the company has discontinued any and all development work on the HDPC-20 tuner that promised to link DirecTV's high-definition content with Windows Media Center. The HDPC-20 was first introduced at CES in 2006, or nearly three years ago. The decision to end the project was reportedly made after DirecTV missed the August 2008 update for Windows Media Center software and timing of the next release.
8MP C905 passes FCC
Sony Ericsson's C905 handset is nearly ready to go on sale in the US, as it has recently passed through the FCC testing procedures. The sliding handset, due to be called the C905a and include the 850 and 1900MHz 3G data network bands used in North America, was first introduced this summer. Its most eye-catching feature is an 8.1-megapixel camera with a CMOS sensor. As such, it rivals the recently spotted Samsung handset due to ship in the near future to T-Mobile.
Jays launches c-JAYS
Headphone manufacturer Jays has launched the c-JAYS, its first external headphones with numerous adapters to make them compatible with a variety of popular consumer electronics. The headphones can otherwise be customized to users' tastes with three, differently-sized included foam ear cushions. The headphones feature an Elastic Multi Layer (EML), 1.6-inch (40mm) speaker diaphragm for good sound isolation with a Neodymium magnet at their core. The c-JAYS' sensitivity is rated at 99 dB at 1kHz, while frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz.
Dell OptiPlex 160 specs
Dell on Tuesday released specifications of its smallest commercial desktop PC, the OptiPlex 160, which was first introduced as part of a wider Optiplex release back at the end of October. Meant for offices where space is at a premium, basic OptiPlex 160s weigh less than 5lbs and can be mounted on the back of LCD monitors, for example, while being energy-efficient thanks to an advanced, 87-percent efficiency power supply and the use of Intel's Atom processor, the single-core, 1.6GHz N270. A dual-core Atom with the same clock speed is due early in 2009.
Bell BBerry Storm Ships
Bell today quickly followed on the heels of Telus by shipping its version of the BlackBerry Storm. Like its closer rival, the Bell version has the same 3.2-megapixel camera, 1GB of internal storage and dual-mode networking; it similarly carries an 8GB microSDHC card, but drops the preloaded music in favor of built-in access to Bell's streaming radio and video channels, including some Sirius stations. Pricing is a match at $250 on a three-year contract with voice and data worth $45 or more.
Firefox 3.1 B2 adds touch
A newer beta version of Firefox adds multi-touch support, Mozilla has announced. For owners of MacBooks with multi-touch trackpads -- new and old -- Firefox 3.1 beta 2 includes a variety of supported gestures, mainly swipes. Swiping left and right with three fingers will move forward and backward through a browser's history, while swiping up and down will jump to the beginning or end of a page.
Buffalo external 240GB SSD
Japan's Buffalo Technology on Wednesday announced the upcoming release of its 240GB portable solid state drive, the LS-WSS240GL/R1. The unusual dual-drive RAID can be connected directly to computers via a USB port or networked via its Ethernet connection for sharing. Buffalo has included a web access function to the drive, allowing iPhone 3G and iPod touch users to access content on the networked LS-WSS240GL/R1 via the devices' web browsers. It's not made clear if other Internet-enabled handsets or computers are capable of accessing the drive, though this is expected.
Truphone has added several new features to its VoIP application for the iPhone, including Truphone Anywhere functionality that allows users to make international phone calls across the internet, even while outside of Wi-Fi service. If an international number is dialed when an Internet connection is unavailable, the app will ask the user if the call should be routed through the Truphone service. Inbound calling is now supported, in any domestic or international Wi-Fi location.
Psystar drops antitrust
Psystar has submitted a modified counterclaim in its legal dispute with Apple, reports say. Filing in response to a tentative dismissal motion, Psystar has dropped any antitrust allegations under the Clayton and Sherman Acts, saying that while it "respectfully disagrees" with the court over definitions of monopoly, it will abide by them for the time being. It is nevertheless continuing a pursuit of Apple for copyright violations, referring to the legal concept of a "misuse doctrine."
Verizon Alltel Clears FTC
The US Federal Trade Commission today approved Verizon's buyout of Alltel and put the resulting company at the top of the US cellular market. The ratification follows earlier clearance by the FCC and Justice Department and finds no antitrust concerns over monopoly status following earlier conditions that required Verizon trade off a small portion of its cellular network to smaller carriers. Verizon hasn't said when it expects to formally roll Alltel into its lineup.
Office Depot Closes Stores
Retailer Office Depot today said it will close 126 of its North American stores in a bid to remain healthy. The company plans to make 112 closures of these within the next three months and the remainder throughout the rest of 2009 as their leases come to a close. New store openings will also be cut in half to 20 next year. The move, which drops about 10.8 percent of the company's total stores, will have a total cost of between $270 million to $300 million for Office Depot but should save about $75 million in day-to-day expenses throughout 2009 while also boosting earnings from $70 million to $90 million.
Dell ships budget LCDs
Dell today quitely began offering its budget 17-inch E1709W and 19-inch UltraSharp 1908FP LCD monitors. The former is one of Dell's most basic units with a widescreen 1440x900 resolution and VGA-only input in a relatively business-focused shell. Other specs include a 600:1 contrast ratio and 8ms response time, along with a 250cd/mē brightness.
Touchscreen Wind at CES
MSI will be demonstrating new touchscreen-enabled notebooks during January's Consumer Electronics Show, says the company's US sales director. Andy Tung notes that 10- and 16-inch touchscreen portables will be on display, the former of which should be a Wind netbook. It is uncertain if it will become a commercial product, says Tung, as a 10-inch screen may be considered too small for tablet functionality; it is confirmed however that MSI's touch-based Wind desktops will be coming to the US in 17-, 19- and 22-inch sizes.
Telus BBerry Storm Ships
Telus today officially became the first Canadian carrier to start selling the BlackBerry Storm. The carrier notes that "limited" numbers of the touchscreen smartphone should be in its stores today and will sell for the promised $250 on a three-year plan and $600 when contract-free. Telus' version clings to the reference version's 3.2-megapixel camera, hybrid CDMA/GSM with matching 3G, and 1GB of internal memory. Telus' version is more conspicuously pitched against the iPhone and comes with an 8GB microSDHC card preloaded with music from the Arts & Crafts label.
CoLocalizer Pro 2.5 update
CoLocalization Research Software has published CoLocalizer Pro 2.5, the latest update to the company's professional scientific application. CoLocalizer Pro is designed to characterize colocalization objectively to determine the overlap of signals emitted by various molecules. Changes to the software offer an improved Check for Updates functionality, and more available viewing options to rotate left and right or flip horizontally and vertically. Purchased licenses are now personalized.
Google Chrome Leaving Beta
Google's Chrome web browser is soon to exit beta thanks partly to a plan to expand its reach, company VP Marissa Miller has told TechCrunch at this year's Le Web conference in Paris. The WebKit-based browser has been relatively slow to gain share since its debut in September but will be marked as a finished product on an upcoming release to let PC makers bundle an officially completed version with their systems.
MyPublisher 3.0 update
MyPublisher has released the latest update of its photobook software for Macs, MyPublisher 3.0. New features include multiple fonts and styles within the same text box, more keyboard editing shortcuts, and enhancements to the performance and efficiency of the program. With MyPublisher users can create greeting cards, postcards, calendars, and a variety of sized images from pictures taken and uploaded into the publisher.
Free Mathematica Player 7
Wolfram Research has launched a free file-viewing tool, Mathematica Player 7. The software is used to enhance documents and applets with the Mathematica engine, eliminating the need for predetermined outcomes by developing data as a program is being used. Features of the Mathematica Player include point-and-click interactions, and being able to rotate, scale and zoom 3D representations in real-time.
HP Enviro Battery
HP will claim an edge in notebooks with a new battery technology licensed from Boston-Power, the latter company has confirmed today. A new lithium-ion pack, nicknamed the Enviro battery, will last for up to three years of daily use without losing its maximum performance. The performance is about three times better than ordinary batteries and potentially lasts as much as four years for notebooks only used during regular weekdays.
Kaufman on iPhone demand
Demand for the iPhone remains fairly good, according to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. Probing of distribution and supply chain checks is said to show that iPhone demand is "healthy" in Europe, the US and most of the Asia-Pacific region, although Japan's market is believed to have mixed trends. Wu expects that Apple will ship approximately 6 million phones in the December quarter, a figure close to 10 percent below estimated build numbers. Investors are generally predicting shipments anywhere between 5 and 7 million, though the majority are said to be leaning towards 6 to 6.5 million.
Neonode today said that its core phone making division has filed for bankruptcy in its home country of Sweden. Best known for its N2 touchscreen phone, the company says it still has "great belief" in its technology but that the move is necessary to prevent the company from running out of money before it has time to grow. The parent company isn't directly affected but focuses only on developing and licensing the touchscreen technology at the root of its phones.
Logitech G13 gameboard
Logitech on Wednesday announced the upcoming release of its G13 Advanced Gameboard, a gaming keyboard meant to be used in conjunction with a user's existing keyboard and mouse. The G13 features three game modes, 25 programmable keys and a programmable analog stick set into a contoured design meant to provide a natural fit for users' hands. A GamePanel LCD with 160x43-pixel resolution displays live game statistics, system information and messages from other gamers.
Verizon 4G Due Early
Verizon provided surprise news late Tuesday when company chief technical officer Dick Lynch revealed at Cisco's C-Scape Conference that the company's 4G-level Long Term Evolution cellular service should be available in some form before the end of 2009. The carrier until now has only publicly promised active 4G service by 2010 but should have at least some form of deployed service "somewhere here in the US" within a year's time, according to the official. The move also steps up Verizon's wider expansion of the service, which will ultimately replace both CDMA calling and EVDO data.
App Store pricing squeeze
The current pricing schemes at the iTunes App Store are making it difficult for developers to operate, claims Iconfactory engineer Craig Hockenberry. Involved with the creation of apps such as Frenzic and Twitterific, Hockenberry has published an open letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, complaining that the current structure of the App Store leads to a plethora of what he terms "ringtone apps," designed to be cheap instead of functional or well-made. The vast majority of titles are free or just 99 cents, to the extent that a rapid dropoff begins at the $1.99 pricepoint.
Korea to Lift WIPI
The South Korean government today said it would remove a legal requirement that has restricted the use of foreign phones in the country. Called the Wireless Internet Platform for Interoperability (WIPI), the standard for data access was meant to create a common, simple platform for mobile software and websites but is now being lifted after the Korea Communications Commission determined that the rule artificially limited competition and boosted prices. A full 90 percent of cellphones in South Korea are made by either LG or Samsung and so effectively lets either company dictate features and pricing.
PS Home Open Beta Thursday
Sony on Wednesday quickly followed up its earlier confirmation of a PlayStation Home launch this year with word that it will launch an open beta of the virtual world on Thursday, December 11th. The now publicly accessible PS3 community will not only include spaces for individuals and for like-minded groups (considered "clubs") but should launch with public spaces themed around specific flagship PS3 games, including SOCOM and Uncharted.
Intel Wraps 32nm Process
Intel today said it has completed its development work on 32 nanometer manufacturing for its processors. The method introduces a second-generation high-k metal gate as well as new approaches to making patterning layers and transistors, all of which result in a more energy-efficient and thus cooler technology than for Intel's current 45nm chips. Shrinking the process keeps the company on schedule for introducing a new, smaller manufacturing technique each year.
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