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Apple has closed the gap with RIM in the smartphone market and leads in initial consumer satisfaction, according to a recent ChangeWave survey. The iPhone has steadily increased its market share, growing from just 11 percent in June to 23 percent in the December survey. Momentum continued well after the 3G launch, with a gain of six points from September to December. BlackBerry devices have held a fairly level dominance, with a slight drop of one point to 41 percent in the same period.
Apple has released an update to its Mail app that addresses several stability issues. The problems revolved around the recent change to Mac OS X 10.5.6 which had caused Mail to unexpectedly quit for many users. The release should be installed if the OS update did not properly install the "3.5 (930.3)" version of Mail.app. Users can check the exact build by opening Mail and choosing "About Mail" from the menu.
Angeion has announced iNewLeaf, an app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to monitor fitness routines. The program is based on results from personal metabolic evaluations that can be administered at select health clubs. The 10-15 minute test is designed to calculate the body's response to exercise by measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in each breath. Analyzed results are then used to create optimized workout plans that include heart rate, cycling speed, power and cadence. Users can view the actual calories and fat calories burned after each session.
HP's Compaq brand has launched a 10.2-inch netbook in Europe, the Compaq Mini 700, which boasts a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU along with integrated GMA950 graphics processor and 1GB of RAM. The Mini 700 also sports a 1024x600 resolution display and a keyboard sized at 92 percent of a full-size computer's in a package that is just under one inch thick. Options include a Wi-Fi module, Bluetooth capabilities and HSDPA network access. The netbook's 1.8-inch, 60GB, 4,200RPM hard disk drive comes pre-loaded with Windows XP home.
Matrox Graphics has introduced PowerDesk, an application that works with Graphics eXpansion Modules (GXMs) and allows users to manage multiple applications on a multi-display configuration. Window behaviors and arrangements can be controlled with customizable keyboard shortcuts, allowing windows to be moved between monitors or applications enlarged to fill one display. Users can also place the Dock on the bottom left, center, or right side of the main screen.
BUGLabs has recently announced it will be introducing its BUGvonHippel breakout board module for Java/BUG software developers which includes a female USB 2.0 port. Named after MIT Professor Eric Von Hippel who authored Democratizing Innovation, the device has a female breakout board and direct connections to the circuit board for standard size wires. Users can connect power, DAC, serial and grounds as well as others to the BUGvonHippel module.
Nokia has announced yet another variation of its 8800 slider phone, the Gold Arte. As the name implies, the handset is plated in 18K gold with white leather covering it where the gold plating isn't. The tri-band GSM handset has support for the WCDMA 2,100MHz band for 3G data. Users can browse the web using Opera Mini on the 2.0-inch OLED display with 240x320 resolution.
Feral Interactive has announced the upcoming release Black & White 2, a port of the Lionhead game to the Mac. Players assume the role of a god, and must rule over the land of Eden, bringing its people together through either good or evil. Miracles in a player's arsenal include the likes of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the ability to command armies as well as a creature in the form of a giant ape, cow, lion, tiger or wolf.
Research in Motion is unlikely to sustain its early sales success for the BlackBerry Storm past the holidays, analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham Research estimates. The financial expert acknowledges that the Storm had a particularly strong launch but believes that the first touchscreen BlackBerry's sales will drop in early 2009 as a number of poor reviews damage its reputation beyond early adopters and holiday buyers. Other competitors have had also had more favorable reactions and are thought to stand a better chance of maintaining momentum and of avoiding early price drops.
ManHour 1.1 ($10) helps track time while a user is working and can automatically select from multiple hourly rates and calculate fees due. Manhour can be setup with different hourly rates that can be applied to different time intervals. Allowing the application to automatically start charging overtime rates after normal hours have been exceeded. Manhour also allows a user to choose their own billing blocks allowing them to bill per half hour, or even every three seconds. New in version 1.1 is a Log Editor for editing recorded time, flexible log viewing options and new log export functionality. [Download - 1.1MB]
AT&T announced on Monday that its mobile division has finalized the swap of wireless assets with Verizon Wireless, as the agreement was approved by the FCC and Department of Justice. Under the deal, AT&T Mobility has acquired former Rural Cellular Corporation properties that were bought by Verizon Wireless. The deal includes licenses, network assets and subscribers in metropolitan and rural service areas (RSAs) in Burlington, VT, RSA-2 in New York, RSA-1 and RSA-2 in Vermont, RSA-2 and RSA-3 in Washington and portions of Kentucky's RSA-6. The deal gives AT&T its first presence in the state of Vermont.
Computer monitor and PC maker NEC announced it will soon launch a new notebook series in Japan, with the LaVie L series. The fashion-focused notebook features a 15.4-inch LCD, offering 1280x800 resolution and will sport a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip along with 4GB of RAM. The 320GB hard disk drive will come pre-loaded with Windows Vista. The notebook's touchpad has a feature that allows it recognize handwriting gestures by users' fingers or scroll across web pages.
USA Today is joining other publications in producing its own dedicated iPhone app, the national newspaper has announced. The app attempts to replicate the look of the paper, and provides access to stories, photos, weather forecasts and reader polls. Stories are divided into News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech and Travel categories; articles can be shared with other people via e-mail, Twitter or text messaging.
Roku announced on Monday that its Netflix Player will now be capable of streaming high-definition content from Netflix. All new Roku players sold will include the update, while existing players will be automatically updated with the software that includes support for advanced compression codecs for no fee over the next few weeks.
HTC on Monday told the Economic Daily News that the company is already developing its third phone based on Google's Android platform. The smartphone producer's president Peter Chou provides little extra information about the phone itself but reveals the company is well into its efforts on Android phones, with the second model due as soon as April. Both should lead to the open-source OS being a "growth driver" for HTC next year compared to the company's usual stable of Windows Mobile phones, he says.
Weather forecaster AccuWeather has released its first, self-named application for the iPhone. As with most weather apps the software concentrates on providing a five-day forecast, with highs and lows as well as cloud conditions. The AccuWeather app is tied into the iPhone's GPS receiver however, and uses this to automatically determine which forecasts to show.
Garmin announced on Monday that it is disputing the sales figures and product rollout schedules published in a DigiTimes report from the same day. In the report, it was said Garmin will ship 18 million GPS units in 2008, citing the company's Asia Pacific marketing director, Tony An, as the source for the information. The story also had Garmin's Android-powered and GPS-enabled nuvifone be released into the Taiwanese market in the second quarter of 2009, with Android-based handsets coming as early as the second half of 2009. Garmin did not dispute that Android-based handsets are indeed in the pipeline.
danholt4mac has posted Get BackUp 2, an updated version of its key backup utility. The software is able to both save and restore data, and can be set to run backup creation automatically. The second major release introduces file and folder synchronization, which keeps a variety of content consistent between multiple computers, such as contacts and e-mail messages.
The four major music labels are in the midst of negotiations that could result in a new, company-indendent service for music videos, an alleged source tipping Alley Insider says. EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner are said considering a joint venture that would put all their music videos in a central location. The effort would let them tighten their control over ads and potentially generate more revenue than YouTube as well as separate its content from amateur videos that happen to share similar music.
Music videos from popular artists under the Warner Music label are disappearing from YouTube as talks regarding new licensing terms between the two companies have come to a halt, according to a Sunday New York Times report. Before the dispute, Warner Music had posted thousands of music videos from its artists on the Google-owned YouTube site, which accounted for billions of hits on the most popular video-sharing website. YouTube has informed its visitors on Friday via a blog post that the Warner Music videos, including user-generated videos with Warner music in the background, would begin disappearing.
Computer maker Lenovo will unveil a new, unique notebook at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January in the form of the ThinkPad W700ds. The dual screen PC sports a 17-inch main display and an attached 10.6-inch secondary display that comes out from the right side. Aimed at photographers, graphic artists, application developers, and those who work in CAD fields, the W700ds also differs from the standard, single-screen W700 in that it offers a less costly 2.26GHz Core 2 Quad processor as well as the 2.53GHz Core 2 Extreme chip that serves as the main CPU in the standard notebook.
LG has released a new midrange cellphone, the LU1400. The phone's primary feature is its 2.8-inch LCD, which supports resolutions up to 800x480, and can rotate to a horizontal layout for tasks such as e-mail and instant messaging. Like a number of devices from South Korea the 1400 also supports the T-DMB standard, which provides mobile TV and it is better viewed in the widescreen ratio used by phones like the 1400.
Intel today said that it has started shipping a 160GB version of its X25-M solid-state drive for the mainstream. The new drive holds twice as much storage as the previous best but maintains the same speeds as other M-series drives, reading data well above hard drive speeds at 250MB per second and writing at a still-fast 70MB per second. Without moving parts, the storage has a lag time of just 85 microseconds versus the several milliseconds for rotating drives and consumes 150 milliwatts of power in typical use.
Feral Interactive says it has published a demo for the Mac port of LEGO Indiana Jones, a 3D action-adventure originally released for the PC and consoles. Players of the full game guide Indy through the plots of the first three movies, taking time outside of jumping and fighting to solve various LEGO-based puzzles. The demo is 707MB, and follows Indy and Satipo during the prologue sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
A leak from a reported Microsoft insider and published Sunday may point to rare but substantial layoffs at the Windows developer. The company's alleged job cuts are described as "substantial" and are said to involve many feedback meetings that are actually attempts to screen out underperforming employees or those with relatively little usefulness. As much as 10 percent of Microsoft's finance department may be cut outright.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has placed near the top in a list of most-liked bosses, according to the user review site Glassdoor. In compiling its first annual CEO rankings, the site lists Jobs in second place with a 90 percent approval rating; to qualify for the list a company must have at least 50 reviews, and Apple presently has over 290. Number one in the rankings -- at 93 percent -- is Art Levinson of the biotechnology firm Genentech, who also sits on Apple's board of directors.
Samsung is planning to upsize its netbook line with a second model early next year, a leak suggests. The simply-titled NC20 would move from the 10-inch display of the NC10 to a 12-inch (likely 1280x800) panel and would importantly switch from Intel's common 1.6GHz Atom chip to a 1.3GHz VIA Nano, potentially improving its performance despite the lower clock speed. It should also carry the features of the high-end NC10 model, including its 1GB of memory, 160GB drive and 1.3-megapixel webcam.
LG Display announced on Monday it has introduced a prototype 14.1-inch LCD screen that reduces power consumption by as much as 75 percent when used outdoors on a sunny day. Users will have to manually switch between the conventional backlight unit mode and the new outdoor reflective mode by pressing a button. LG says visibility outdoors has also been addressed, as the new LCD has a 9:1 outdoor contrast ratio instead of the 2:1 or 3:1 usually found on conventional notebooks when they are placed outdoors.
BravoBug has published the first version of IconBurglar, a media extraction utility for Macs. The app is in particular used to retrieve media from other applications, with an emphasis on icons; users can search for an app, preview its icon at any available resolution, and then export the results to PNG, JPG, TIFF or ICNS format. Images are scaled to the appropriate resolution and retain transparency.
Palm on Monday said it has struck a deal with its recent investor Elevation Partners to receive an additional $100 million in equity. The deal involves a stock purchase at about a 31 percent value over Palm's actual stock price and lets the smartphone maker optionally sell the equivalent of $49 million in shares to outsiders at similar or better value before the end of March.
Readdle has launched Take A Note, its latest software for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app allows users to create notes as text, recorded audio, drawings, and/or photos with comments. Notes can be transferred back and forth from an iPhone to a PC or Mac; other options include categorizing notes, sharing them with friends, and searching for a note by name. The app also supports editing in landscape mode.
Sony late this weekend ratcheted up claims for its CES plans by introducing a teaser page for new VAIO notebook line. The page contains little information but vows to supply a "revolutionary" new model and promises to "change the way you look at laptops," suggesting a radical rethinking of Sony's existing lineup and of notebooks in general. The countdown is set to expire on January 9th local time and points to an unveiling on the 8th in the US.
The unofficial iPhone Dev Team has released a video demonstrating its upcoming software unlock for the iPhone 3G. Dubbed "yellowsn0w," the hack is said to be relatively simple and quick to run; after substituting an iPhone-specific SIM card for one from an unofficial carrier, users launch the appropriate app or root code, which checks for baseband vulnerability before making necessary changes. When a phone is ready, the carrier identifier in the upper-left corner should switch over.
Garmin Asia Pacific marketing director Tony An today revealed that the company's nuvifone will just be the first device in a series of phones. Where the original touchscreen, GPS-focused phone is now said to be due in the spring, An adds that the firm will develop multiple phones based on Google's Android platform to ship sometime in the second half of 2009. Details of the phones themselves are unavailable but should likely focus heavily on GPS navigation and will be helped by the built-in presence of Google Maps.
Microsoft will let PC makers continue to receive copies of Windows XP as late as May 30th, the company tells CRN. Although Microsoft's official deadline for PC builders to order the system remains intact and will make companies submit orders by the original January 31st deadline, the software developer now plans to continue shipping copies until nearly mid-year and will let them take delivery on an as-needed basis, letting manufacturers keep a reserve of copies to continue offering systems with XP up to the later deadline.
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Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes Power Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ