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Roland at NAMM
Roland has introduced a wide variety of digital music products at the NAMM show. For keyboard players, the company displayed several devices including an upright grand, two digital pianos, a few entry-level products and a 320-watt stereo amplifier. The TD-4S offers drummers a compact package with new sounds, while the DT-HD1 software teaches basic drum patterns and technique. A new 80-watt guitar amp and bass processor have also been unveiled, along with new synthesizers, an expansion board and a system update for the V-Synth GT.
Infineon SMARTi LU Chip
Infineon yesterday quietly introduced a new transceiver chip that may dictate the future of the iPhone and other handsets. The SMARTi LU is touted as the first single-chip radio to include the new Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard for 4G Internet access and does so through a smaller, 65 nanometer assembly process that keeps the design small. It also includes the advanced HSPA+ standard for 3G as well as legacy support for 2G-era EDGE data and GSM calling.
Intel Q4 profit dives
Intel is the latest company to acknowledge a dismal financial report for the fourth quarter of 2008. The weak economy has driven the company's net profit down 90 percent compared to the same quarter in 2007, although profits were down 24 percent for the entire year. Aside from production demand, Intel's net loss from equity investments totaled $1.1 billion, primarily due to investments in Clearwire. The $300 million revenue from its Atom processors marked an increase of 50 percent, although clearly not enough to counter the other negative factors.
MacVector 10.5 update
MacVector has released the latest update to its DNA and protein-sequence analysis, manipulation, and documentation application, MacVector 10.5. The program integrates a variety of industry-standard analysis and data mining algorithms and enables the manipulation or creation of DNA molecules. With the newest version, an "align to reference" tool has been added to allow alignment of cDNA to genomic sequences, in order to help identify splice sites and introns.
Apple without Mr Jobs
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Steve Jobs' announcement that he will be taking a six-month medical leave of absence, many analysts are still confident that the company will persevere while the company's COO, Tim Cook, holds the reins. The number-two executive is not unfamiliar with covering for the iconic CEO, having lead the company while Jobs underwent his initial surgery in 2004 that treated a rare form of pancreatic cancer.
Jobs' potential surgery
Shortly after the announcement of Steve Jobs' decision to take a six-month medical leave of absence, speculation indicates that he may require further surgery to remove his pancreas, according to a doctor's comments to Bloomberg. Jobs in 2004 underwent an operation similar to to a Whipple procedure which typically involves removing part of the pancreas, bile duct and small intestine, in an effort to battle a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Robert Thomas, head of surgery at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, noted that one of the possible side effects of the process can lead to a condition that requires the removal of the organ to prevent a pancreatic leak.
Laser hard drives coming
A new technology, still in its infancy, could revolutionize data storage devices, merging optical and magnetic technologies. A discovery made in 2006 by Dr. Daniel Stanciu and Dr. Frederick Hansteen that uses light to change the polarity of a magnet is being researched and worked on by physicists around the world. Called all-optical magnetization reversal, it could be applied to storage drives that are more reliable than current devices yet are thousands of times faster. The idea involves using a short laser pulse of about 40 femtoseconds in order to switch a magnet's polarity and therefore write data.
CardStar for iPhone/iPod
Mesa Dynamics and CardStar have announced CardStar for the iPhone/iPod touch, its latest mobile application for personal card management. The program allows users to digitally upload their customer-reward and club cards, enabling cashiers to scan the barcode displayed on the touchscreen, instead of having to bring the card with them. CardStar contains a merchant list of over 100 companies, with six different categories, and supports barcode formats for most commonly used cards including code 39, code 128, EAN 13, and UPCA.
TeliaSonera first with 4G
TeliaSonera announced on Thursday it expects to become the first wireless provider in the world to offer the next-generation 4G mobile broadband network to its customers. The company is on course to launch the service in Stockholm and Oslo in 2010, partnering with hardware maker Ericsson for the initial 4G city network in Stockholm and Huawei in Oslo. Talks with suppliers for 4G-ready devices in other Nordic and Baltic countries are currently in progress, TeliaSonera's Senior Vice President and CTO, Lars Klasson, adds.
iPod vendors look to CES
The effort to put on Macworld 2010 may have taken a hit today, as an editorial claims that the vast majority of iPod- and iPhone-related companies in contact with iLounge are looking to move to the Consumer Electronics Show instead. The move would be a serious blow not only to Macworld, but to organizer IDG and other vendors dependent on traffic.
Line 6 intros pro products
Line 6 recently announced two new products, with the POD Studio KB37, a USB audio keyboard that allows for up to 24-bit, 96kHz recording along with a 37-key MIDI controller, and the X2 XDR955 handheld and wireless microphone system with rack-mountable receiver. The former offers the ability to conduct professional-level recordings with near-zero latency thanks to Line 6 ToneDirect monitoring and the lowest noise ratio for recording guitar riffs.
Boost unlimited $50 plan
The Sprint sub-brand, Boost Mobile, announced on Thursday a $50 Monthly Unlimited plan for its iDEN-based offerings that includes unlimited monthly calling minutes, text messaging, wireless Web access and push-to-talk services. The pre-paid plan will offered starting on January 22nd, and Boost is expecting it will attract many customers currently on subscription plans, with the majority expected to switch over from T-Mobile's own subscription services.
Hitachi Maxell batteries
Japan's Hitachi Maxell has introduced an alkaline battery line that is guaranteed against leakage from overcharging and other forms of misuse. The company found the majority of alkaline battery leakage happens as a result of a hydrogen release to prevent them from blowing up. The hydrogen is created by undischarged zinc, and to help prevent this build-up, Hitachi Maxell has developed a new zinc alloy it calls Microzinc α.
LG intros UP3 Touch player
LG has recently introduced the UP3 Touch portable digital audio player in its home market of Korea. The simple player is available in 2GB or 4GB capacities and is capable of playing back MP3, OGG and WMA format files. There is also a built-in FM tuner and a voice recorder. Battery life is claimed at 15 hours.
Mac mini NVIDIA Ion Rumor
Apple's Mac mini desktop will switch to NVIDIA's Ion platform and Intel's Atom chip as a result, an alleged confirmation by an NVIDIA partner asserts. The Cupertino company is believed to be using the combination graphics and system chipset in an updated computer that would also use the 1.6GHz, dual-core Atom 330. While slower in processing power than the existing Core 2 Duo, the mini system would have video performance close to if not exactly like the GeForce 9400M currently found in all aluminum MacBooks.
BOSS at NAMM '09
Demoing at this year's NAMM show in Anaheim, BOSS has announced several new products, beginning with the ME-70 guitar processor. The device is a floor model related to the ME-50, and is said to feature a new Preamp section, a fourth footswitch, and a COSM engine based on the GT-10 processor. The 70 additionally sports an EZ Tone feature for simpler editing, and a 38-second Phrase Loop option within the Delay section.
CryptoVault, Moon Lighter
ThumStruck ($3) is a rhythm-based music game that features ten songs, each with three levels of difficulty. Players time "thumstrucks" with the music, exploding elemental orbs as they pass the bar of the corresponding color (Blue = Ice; Yellow = Fire; Red = Lightning). The game also includes an in-game tutorial, animation feedback on hits and misses, and score multipliers for successive hits.
Canvastic, SlotZ Racer
In brief: Future Sonics has announced that new models of the Atrio earphones are shipping and that visitors to its booth at NAMM will be able to receive free ear impressions. Canvastic has announced that it will be continuing to search for technology leaders among school districts and those that meet a list of criteria will receive licenses for Canvastic 3.5. Freeverse has submitted a new racing game to the App Store and in anticipation of its launch a tutorial for using the included track editor has been posted.
EastWest launches Silk
EastWest/Quantum Leap has launched Silk, a virtual software instrument that features a collection of historic string and woodwind instruments from China, Persia and India. The instruments are mutli-sampled, with interval sampling and alternate sampling, phrases and articulations available. Instruments from China include the erhu, zhonghu, pipa and others, with Persian instruments including a 30 piece string collection, an electric cello and a kemenche, among others. Indian instruments in the package are the dilruba, sarod, tanpura and bansuri.
Martin to Leave FCC
FCC chairman Kevin Martin this afternoon said he would leave the organization on January 20th, the same day as President-elect Obama's administration takes office. The regulatory head plans to join the communications think tank Aspen Institute immediately afterwards and is departing ahead of the formal end of his term, which doesn't expire until 2011 and would have let him continue as a regular commissioner.
Mathematica Player Pro 7
Mathematica developer Wolfram Research says it has released Player Pro 7, its upper-tier companion to the basic Player 7. Unlike Player, Player Pro does not require any conversion before deploying a compatible app; it can also import and export data dynamically, and save notebooks in a variety of formats such as PDF. Apps can further utilize text fields and encrypted source code.
YouTube for Television
YouTube today extended its features with the launch of YouTube for Television. The site is specifically reengineered for media hubs and other web-capable TV devices with an interface designed to be viewable at living room distances and controlled through a remote rather than a mouse. The portal is available right away in 22 regions and is initially confirmed to work with the PlayStation 3 and Wii.
AMD Dual Core Neo Soon
AMD is on track to release a dual-core version of its Athlon Neo budget ultraportable processor in just a few months, company spokesman John Taylor has said at a CES press conference. Having just launched the single-core version and its initial platform, the semiconductor firm says it fully expects to launch dual-core Athlon Neo and Sempron editions, codenamed Congo, that will be significantly faster in most cases than the single-core model. They shouldn't cost more or generate more heat than the simpler design, AMD says.
AmpliTube Fender debuts
Following an imposed media blackout, IK Multimedia has announced AmpliTube Fender, its newest audio gear simulator for guitar players. The software reproduces some 45 pieces of Fender hardware, including 12 amps, 12 cabinets, nine microphones, six stomp and six rack effects. Users can assemble two different rigs with up to 32 simultaneous effects, and operate the app solo or as an AU, VST or RTAS plug-in.
MSI shows dua-core NetTop
Taiwan-area computer maker MSI has shown off a dual-core version of its small Wind Wind Nettop desktop PC, the D130. The new PC is powered by Intel's 1.6GHz Atom 330 dual-core CPU and 2GB of RAM. The desktop uses a power-saving design that uses up to 35W at its peak, which MSI estimates is 90 percent more efficient than the power consumption of a traditional ATX desktop that uses between 250W and 300W.
FCC OKs emerg. analog
The Federal Communications Commission has approved using over-the-air analog TV for critical broadcasts, if only on a temporary basis, Reuters reports. After the general transition to digital, people without digital converter boxes will still be able to see a notice in English and Spanish, directing them to a phone number with more information. Additionally, emergency information such as weather alerts will remain available over analog for 30 days after the transition date.
Balmuda Floater T3, Lift
Balmuda design has released two of its latest stands, the Floater T3 and the Lift. Floater T3 is a vertical stand for MacBook Pro 15-inch, 17-inch, and Apple MacBook, and is designed to offer more workspace for people who connect the notebook to a screen and keyboard. The main body of the stand is made from aluminium and features thin sheets of silicone on the inside of the panels to protect the computer. For adjustment reasons, 2mm of room has been left where the panels join to give users the desired fit.
Filemailer 2.1 ($15) is a utility that helps users share files between computers. Content can be dragged to the desired recipients name and the software will then automatically compress the file, enter its information in the subject line, insert a pre-composed message into the body, and send the file. Version 2.1 now offers support for drag and drop over the application icon and includes a new feature to simplify the creation of SMTP accounts. [Download - 4.2MB]
PDF2ID 2.0 released
As promised early last month, Recosoft has released both the Standard and Professional versions of PDF2ID 2.0. The tool is used to convert PDF files into InDesign documents, while maintaining formatting and appearance. The primary upgrade of v2.0 is support for InDesign CS4, in addition to CS2 and CS3. The software is also able to remember font substitution assignments in a Typeface library, and apply properties such as drop caps, drop shadows and paragraphs within table cells.
Philips Cinema 21 9 HDTV
Taking advantage of the calm after CES, Philips today kicked off the launch of its Cinema 21:9 HDTV line. The LCD series will be the first to use the extra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio of many theatrical releases and thus fit many movie adaptations to the screen without any of the borders that come from a non-native size. It should still handle 16:9 content and will "fill" the screen, according to Philips, though whether this involves any cropping or stretching of the picture isn't clear.
Bug Labs five new modules
At CES, user-programmable electronics hardware maker BUGLabs introduced five new BUGmodules to expand on its hardware offerings and allow users to create more applications. Each of the new modules, including the BUGprojector, BUGsound, BUG3g GSM, BUGwifi and BUGbee, can snap onto the four-port BUGbase that is a programmable Linux-based computer. The BUGprojector is a DLP Pico projector good for 480x320 resolution and rated at a brightness of 9 lumens. It has stereo sound playback capabilities and is the first BUGmodule to be created in conjunction with a major electronics company, in this case Texas Instruments.
Vodafone HSPA Plus Trial
Cellular carrier Vodafone on Thursday said that it has successfully run a field test of HSPA+ on its network to pave the way for deploying the 3.5G service. A trial conducted in Spain has managed 16Mbps downstream speeds in peak but real-world conditions, or more than double the theoretical-only 7.2Mbps peak for regular HSPA. The test comes despite using a single-antenna reception setup that limits the potential bandwidth on the network.
UBS, Kaufman on Q1
Apple will still beat guidance for its fiscal first quarter, even if it may not do as well as previously hoped for, analysts with UBS and Kaufman Bros. suggest. The latter is expecting $9.76 billion in revenue, with an EPS beating Apple 's guidance of $1.06 to $1.35. The consensus view is $9.85 billion and $1.39 however, and Kaufman had once called for figures of $10 billion and $1.44.
NI Announces Maschine
Native Instruments had announced Maschine, its latest groove production studio that enables users to create and arrange their preferred music beats. The system combines a software sequencer and sampler with an integrated performance controller containing 16 illuminated pressure-sensitive drum pads, 11 rotary encoders, transport controls, and two high-resolution displays. Equipped with over 5GB of sounds and patterns, Maschine also brings over 20 effects such as dynamic processors, beat-mashers, and mastering tools. All effects can be tweaked in real time via the hardware controller.
Buffalo Wi-Fi USB dongle
Japan's Buffalo has introduced what it calls the world's smallest USB dongle that provides an 802.1nn Wi-Fi wireless connection to attached computers, the WLI-UC-GN. Sized at 33mm by 16mm (about 1.3 by 0.6 inches) Buffalo's adapter is small enough to attach to smaller devices or to remain attached in a notebook bag. The product will allow users to connect to the Internet from wireless devices such as Sony's PSP, Nintendo DS and many smartphones, reportedly including the iPhone.
Palm Pre Best Buy Leak
Sprint may give Best Buy the lone exclusive for the Palm Pre outside of the carrier's own stores, a slip to webOS Arena claims. A "credible source" states that Best Buy Mobile stores will be the only retailer outside of Sprint itself to carry the smartphone for its first 60 days on sale, temporarily curbing availability during an expected initial rush. The move is unconfirmed but would echo a similar approach for the Samsung Instinct, which was Sprint's fastest-selling phone ever on launch in June.
Canon PowerShot A480
In an unusual between-shows update, Canon today launched the PowerShot A480. The replacement for the A470 has a much smaller (about 25 percent) footprint and a new, highly simplified control scheme that scraps the mode dial for easier buttons and a reportedly streamlined software front end. Its optical zoom shrinks slightly to 3.3X but is compensated for by a much sharper 10-megapixel sensor.
Analysts on Jobs' absence
Steve Jobs' unexpected leave of absence from CEO duties at Apple may have a serious impact on stock, says Needham & Co.'s Charlie Wolf. The analyst notes that some investors have been rough on the company during the past six months, despite only hearing rumors of Jobs' illness. In part because of concerns that Apple has been deliberately vague about Jobs' problems, it is worried that investors may adopt a pessimistic view, including the belief that Jobs may never resume full-time work as CEO.
Dell Inspiron 15 Online
Dell today quickly acted on an earlier promise by launching its in-house version of the Inspiron 15. Unlike the fixed configuration shipping through Best Buy, Dell's own model can be optioned up to a modern 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo along with choices for a 1.3-megapixel webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, a Blu-ray combo drive and Bluetooth. Buyers can also pick from blue and red lids in addition to Best Buy's simple black.
Eizo S2232W and S2242W
Eizo this morning sought to fill a gap in displays with two 22-inch displays that overcome normal color limits. Both the 1680x1050 FlexScan S2232W-E and the 1920x1200 S2242W-H have new, wide color gamut panels that cover 95 percent of the Adobe RGB color space and 92 percent of the NTSC space, suiting them to editing still and moving images versus the low-color panels that often define 22-inch displays. They also have high static contrast ratios of 1,200:1 and are quick with true black-to-white pixel response times of 12ms (gray-to-gray 6ms).
OCZ Apex SSDs
OCZ is rebalancing its solid-state lineup with the new launch of the Apex Series. The new 2.5-inch examples slot in between the economy Solid models and the faster Vertex line and are meant to give nearly the full speed of flash-based storage while keeping prices under control. Although based on denser but slower multi-level cell storage, the SATA II-based SSDs use an internal RAID stripe and a new controller to pump read speeds up to 230MB per second and writes up to 160MB per second.
Microsoft Job Cut Rumor 2
Microsoft is considering job cuts after all, according to alleged sources for the Wall Street Journal. While unlikely to be nearly as severe as previously rumored, the cuts would take place across multiple divisions and may occur as early as next week, when the company is already scheduled to deliver its latest quarterly results and may reveal financial conditions that prompt the move.
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