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Beat Production Machine
MOTU has announced its Beat Production Machine (BPM), a rhythm production tool which combines drum machine-style operation with virtual instrument technology. The BPM allows users to combine drum kits, sliced loops, sequenced patterns, and instrument sounds to create a variety of different beats. With a 15GB integrated library, users receive over 10,000 individual samples and over 1,000 new drum and percussion loops -- all recorded at 24-bit 96 kHz resolution. BMP also includes importing and exporting capabilities, music recording abilities, a graphic mixer, and a live performance mode.
5-bay RAID system
Sans Digital has announced an update that redesigns its 5-bay external TowerRAID TR5M1 storage system into the TR5M-B and TR5M. Both models are based off the same features as their predecessors, offering up to 7.5TB of storage capacity and are fully compatible with the latest 1.5TB hard drives. Each storage device comes in a cable-less backplane design with a built-in ventilation protective-screen front panel. Hard drive trays are also installed to simplify the inserting and removal of hard drives.
Samsung first ever loss
Samsung has joined the group of companies that have been hit particularly hard by the current state of economic strife, with its Q4 financial disclosure indicating an operating loss of 940 billion won (~$680 million USD). Quarterly net income totaled a loss of 20 billion won (~$14 million USD) and marks a first ever for the South Korean company. Contributing factors likely include lowered demand for TVs, computers, handsets and a variety of other electronics.
60GHz RF technology
The Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology has announced a CMOS chip that is capable of transmitting 60GHz RF signals. The technology is claimed to be capable of wireless data-transfer speeds in the multi-gigabit range. Potential applications include high-speed short-range communication between desktop computers, data centers, wireless home audio or video systems, or moving gigabytes of photos and video to and from mobile devices.
Next Win Mobile hints
The upcoming version of Windows Mobile will integrate a variety of new features that synchronize data through the cloud. Andrew Lee, vice president of Microsoft's cellphone software, provided details to the New York Times about the software that will be revealed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. The next-generation platform will offer features for personal and entertainment use, such as photos, music, instant messaging, text messaging and social networking. The shift marks a change from the business-centric features of the current versions of Windows Mobile.
E-on Software Vue 7 PLE
E-on Software has announced Vue 7 PLE, a free Personal Learning Edition of its Vue 7 xStream and Vue 7 Infinite software. The programs are designed to create, animate, render and integrate realistic and natural environments in 3ds Max, Maya, LightWave, Cinema 4D and XSI. With the Vue 7 PLE, users will receive fully-functional versions of both software's which enables them to create projects, to render either stills or animations with no size or length limit, and the exporting of their finished work to other applications.
Interealm has released JourneyMaker, an application that enables the creation of interactive content -- complete with custom images, text, and audio. The program comes equipped with 22 filters for image customization and a comic-style speech balloon editor that can be used to create an interactive journey. Built into the application are register flags, inventories, and a scoring system for writing pop-quizzes, trivia games, or choose-your-own-adventures.
Android offers few apps
Although the Android Market has been open for just three months, the number of available apps still remains dwarfed by the plethora of titles offered by the App Store. iPhone owners can now choose from over 15,000 apps, a number that has leaped upward from 10,000 listings in December, while Google has yet to reach the 1,000 mark. Apple clearly has an advantage, starting the race an entire year earlier and distributing over 15 million handsets.
Seagate drive firmware fix
Seagate has released a firmware revision that addresses continued issues with certain Barracuda and DiamondMax hard drives that have failed for a large number of customers. The problems began with reports of a bug that caused the drives to lock during normal boot procedures. The company on January 16th released firmware that was intended to address the problem, but apparently caused compatibility issues for some users. Seagate claims that any affected drives will still retain the written data despite the temporary inaccessibility.
VUDU Movie Catalog
VUDU, makers of the 1080p high definition movie player, has launched a movie catalog application for the iPhone/iPod touch, VUDU Movie Catalog. Allowing users to search and browse through VUDU's catalog from anywhere an internet connection is available, users will be able to rent or purchase any movies and shows through their VUDU account. All media chosen will be automatically downloaded to the VUDU box for available use.
AMD reports Q4 loss
Chip-maker AMD today disclosed its Q4 financial information, reporting a net loss of $1.42 billion and a revenue drop of 33 percent compared to last year's quarter. The $1.16 billion revenue even fell below the warning announced in December that anticipated $1.2 billion, which already included a 25 percent drop from the forecast made in the previous quarter. The company isn't alone in its struggles through the economic strife, with Intel last week indicating a similar loss of $1.1 billion through the same period.
PlayFirst, in collaboration with Big Splash Games, has announced its third instalment in the Chocolatier game series, Chocolatier: Decadence by Design. In the new Chocolatier, players can travel the world to search for flavourful and exotic ingredients, in order to create the best chocolate recipe and earn spaces in the official recipe book. To receive the spaces in the recipe book, users have to properly describe and market their products to make beneficial changes in the simulated economy.
GSM Plam Pre at MWC?
A teaser webpage suggests the forthcoming GSM version of the yet unreleased Palm Pre smartphone is expected to be announced at Mobile World Congress in Spain in mid-February. A carrier for the new version of the handset is also expected to be named at the show, and Palm is already preparing for the widespread release of its announcements with a dedicated MWC webpage, which was accidentally opened up to the public before being locked down again.
Dell Mini 10 specs leaked
The recently introduced Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook has shown up in UK retailer Tesco's online store, shedding some light on its previously unknown specs. Like the majority of its competitors, the Mini 10 has a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive preloaded with Windows XP. Less common specs include its distinctive multi-touch keypad, an integrated GPS sensor and the option of a wireless data network radio.
Jays intros s-JAYS earbuds
Swedish headphone and portable media player accessories maker Jays on Thursday introduced its latest product, the s-JAYS in-ear headphones. The headphones are the company's first to use SIREN armature technology, which is said to offer a wider acoustic range than before, with precise highs, more pronounced mids and deeper bass. In addition to the new design, the headphones sport the company's sound isolating system to provide clear sound at any volume level.
Samsung Loche phone coming
The previously leaked S8300 handset from Samsung will come to market bearing the name Loches, according to a Thursday report. The earlier specs also seem to be confirmed with this latest update, and the handset will be the flagship offering from the Korean electronics maker. It will sport a 12.8mm duralumin casing with a 2.8-inch, WQVGA resolution AMOLED touchscreen and 12-key number pad as the combined user interface.
Option intros GlobeSurfer
Option on Thursday announced the release of its new 3G wireless router that is capable of creating a Wi-Fi hotspot with a fast HSPA broadband connection in a networked home or small office. The device has a USB interface that allows users to connect external hard drives to back up data or share their content over the Wi-Fi link. A connected printer can also be hooked up and shared by all who have access to the network.
CDMA Pearl Flip Rumor
RIM's BlackBerry Pearl Flip could be available in a version for CDMA networks as early as next month. Alleged sources of BlackBerrySync today claim the previously GSM-only clamshell will be launched on CDMA as the Pearl Flip 8230 and would debut first on Canadian provider Telus as early as February with a "very reasonable" price as well as the same black and pink colors as the phone only available through Rogers in Canada and T-Mobile in the US.
Spore Galactic Adventures
Electronic Arts has announced Spore Galactic Adventures, a customizable expansion pack that adds new content and features to the space game in Spore. Gamers can choose from dozens of Maxis-created adventures, with a variety of mysteries to solve and battles to fight. Space creatures can be upgraded with 32 new accessories, including the Plasma Pulser, Energy Blade, Stunning Charm, Jump Jet and Hypnomelder. Users can play as a Warrior for battling enemies, a Bard for dabbling with friends, or choose from a number of other roles.
Segon Turbo Flash Drive
Brando is selling a USB flash stick meant to resemble a RAM module, the Segon Turbo Flash Drive. The drive is also equipped with a portable set of software applications, including a security folder along with boot, mail, bookmark, locking and partition and security managers. Windows Vista owners can use the stick as a ReadyBoost device.
Toshiba Vardia DVRs
Toshiba recently introduced two new Vardia-series DVRs, including the 500GB-capacity RD-G503 and the 300GB RD-E303. Both sport also sport a DVD burner and are capable of recording video in MPEG-2 TS and in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC formats. A secondary remote is included with each DVR, offering a limited number of buttons to perform simple tasks, allowing owners to put away the full-function remote.
Designers Hoang Nguyen, Poom Puttorngul and Anh Nguyen have presented a wireless lightbulb speaker concept called the SoundBulb. The re-designed bulb consists of multiple LED units and a special lens, and relies on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi receivers to stream music. To adjust volume, owners are asked to turn the bottom of a bulb. A potential problem with the SoundBulb is said to be ensuring heat does not damage the speakers; in case of damage, though, all parts of the SoundBulb are replaceable.
HP posts Mini 1100 specs
HP is expected to officially announce its range of Mini 1100-series netbooks in the near future as it has already posted specs on the four new models on its website. The 1133CL, 1135NR, 1140NR and 1141NR all share a 10.1-inch display with 1024x576 resolution, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive and a three-cell battery. The new netbooks allegedly show an ExpressCard/54 slot, while the 1135NR and 1140NR both have a Bluetooth connection.
Today 1.6 update
Second Gear has launched Today 1.6, an update to its calendar information and organization tool for the Mac. Today shows users all of the events and tasks for a day stored in iCal, and presents within a small window. Users can further create or filter events and tasks, and navigate from day to day. Within the latest version of the app users can expect improved compatibility with Spaces when running in menu-bar mode, support for natural date entry when creating items, and several small fixes and performance enhancements.
Huawei Android phone
Chinese network provider and cellphone manufacturer Huawei has recently announced it would show off a rumored handset based on the open-source Android platform from Google at the Mobile World Congress in Spain on February 16th. The company has not revealed any other details on the handset, saying only it will be the first mobile phone based on a single UMTS chipset.
Apricorn DVR Xpander 1 5TB
Apricorn today ramped up its DVR Xpander to include a new 1.5TB model. The practical capacity is about 50 percent more than before and lets owners of recorders with active eSATA or USB 2 ports store as much as 843 hours of additional standard definition TV or 187.5 hours of typical HDTV programming. The company vows a quiet drive but also uses active fan cooling to keep the hard drive inside cool even in tight areas where passive cooling isn't enough.
Acer to replace Aspire
Computer and peripherals maker Acer is reportedly thinking of stopping shipments of its 8.9-inch Aspire netbook to make room for the soon-to-be-released 10.1-inch Aspire One 103 model. The 103 is due out in February, and while the timing of the 8.9-inch netbook's phase-out was not definitively announced, it is due to happen sometime in the second quarter of the year.
Thunder Pro A/V Drive
External hard disks are inexpensive enough that ideally, everyone would have one to backup their data. At the low-end it's possible to just cram a hard drive into an external enclosure, but if you prefer a more sophisticated solution, you'll probably be happier with a dedicated drive. One such device -- marketed towards audio and video professionals, but usable by anyone -- is EZQuest's Thunder Pro Drive.
The Source Stores for Sale
The collapse of Circuit City in the US may not only cast doubt on the future of its Canadian retail chain The Source but could shift many stores towards Best Buy. Circuit City's Canadian subsidiary InterTAN says all 765 The Source stores are being put up for auction this week and that buyers could pick up some or all of the stores for their own purposes. Proposals from buyers are due as early as Friday and could result in a decision shortly afterwards.
Uniea's launches Haptique
Universal Electronic Accessories (Uniea) launched the Haptique for the unibody MacBook, a new hardshell case with a soft-touch coating. The case is made of ABS plastic and offers hard-case protection for the MacBook, but has a leather-like soft-case feel. It also has a soft interior surface for further scratch-protection, has ventilation ports to keep the MacBook cool and offers full access to all the MacBook's inputs and outputs.
Terrible app climbs ranks
A software developer's admittedly "terrible" iPhone app has climbed the download ranks, adding evidence to the notion that the App Store is conducive to simple projects with limited functionality, according to AppleInsider. The 22-year-old created Sound Grenade, a free app which plays a loud, high-pitch noise while displaying an image. The project objective was to create and submit an app in under an hour, a goal that he actually exceeded. The app took 20 minutes of work, including all 10 lines of code.
Dell Adamo Photos
A collection of photos from Brian Solis has surfaced for the Dell Adamo notebook that not only more clearly reveals the design but shows that the system's designer focus will include both black and white colors. Only briefly teased at CES, the system will achieve its goal of being thinner overall than the MacBook Air by moving most of the expansion to the back: Ethernet, two USB ports, DisplayPort and other connectors are placed in a spine section that lets Dell slim down the system as a whole.
Limit Point Software promo
In brief: SmartSound has announced that it will now begin to bundle its software with video editing programs from Adobe, Roxio and Serif. David Pogue, a tech columnist for the New York Times has released a new book that is supposed to help photographers learn the basics of digital photography. The book covers topics that range from what to look for when purchasing a new digital camera to basic editing functions. Limit Point Software has announced that they will be offering a software bundle that will give users the ability to buy Mailings and iForm together at a 60% reduced price.
KavaServices updated to v3
KavaSoft has launched KavaServices 3.0, an upgrade to its utility for the Mac's services menu. Version 3.0 adds commands for sorting lines, converting between uppercase, lowercase and title case, converting to ASCII and encoding URLs. The software runs in the services menu, available under the current application menu in the Mac toolbar. It offers services such as translating text between languages, encoding special characters into HTML or URL links, can calculate mathematical expressions and convert currencies and other units. It can also execute terminal commands.
MS Win 7 App Store Survey
Microsoft has issued a survey to Windows 7 beta users that suggests the software developer may create a central repository for downloading and updating apps besides its own, Ars Technica notes. The questionnaire asks users to rank the importance of various features for a single location for "finding and managing updates" for programs, including the option of downloading, installing and updating non-Microsoft software.
Rivet 2.0 released
Cynical Peak has released the second major edition of Rivet, its Mac-based media streaming software. The software feeds movies, photos and music to networked game consoles, primarily the Xbox 360; music is delivered by way of a user's iTunes library, while photos can be sourced from Aperture, iPhoto or custom folder selections. Due to copy protection, video can be streamed only from folders chosen by a user.
Car Spotter, Sensi Dial
ArtCamera ($2) allows users to turn photos on their iPhone or iPod touch into works of art in the style of artists like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. The application includes 15 different filters that include effects like pencil paint, grayscale, old photo, and mosaic.
RIM execs face record fine
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is urging the top two executives at BlackBerry handset maker Research In Motion (RIM) to pay a penalty because of their involvement in a stock option accounting scandal that dates back to 1996, according to a Thursday report. The fine could be as high as a record $100 million for the Canadian firm's co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. The OSC is reportedly in talks with the RIM CEOs' lawyers on a settlement after launching its investigation back in 2006.
Boxee hardware coming?
Some form of dedicated hardware support may be coming for Boxee's self-titled media streaming software, a member of the company suggests. Avner Ronen observes that in order to run Boxee on a TV, users must currently connect a computer, or hack an Apple TV; the latter option prevents Netflix streaming from working. Dedicated hardware would simplify the use of Boxee, and possibly at a lower cost, says Ronen.
Apple Adaptive Mic Patent
The US Patent Office today published an Apple patent filing that reveals the company having developed a system to auto-tune sound volumes. Citing the problems with having to constantly adjust the volume of a cellphone's ringer or a notebook's speakers to adapt to noisier or quieter environments, Apple suggests that a sound sensor like a mic can be used to determine the ambient noise level on startup or over time and change the base volume to be audible based on nearby conditions.
Analyst Q1 verdicts
Apple did better than expected in its Q109 results, but there are definite causes for concern, claim analysts with Kaufman and UBS. Kaufman staffer Shaw Wu observes that the 34.7 percent gross margin achieved was substantially better than guidance of 30 to 31 percent, and even the optimistic Kaufman forecast of 31.7 percent. iPods also did extremely well, beating predictions of 18 to 20 million by reaching 22.7. MacBook sales were up 34 percent year-over-year.
Dell UltraSharp 2209WA
Dell has quickly lived up to leaks on Thursday by formally releasing the UltraSharp 2209WA. The display is one of the few 22-inch LCDs to be truly color-accurate. While not providing specs, Dell points to a technology known as TrueColor that it says delivers better and more uniform color. The 2209WA's 178-degree viewing angle also reveals the use of a higher-quality LCD panel than the TN (twisted nematic) panels that often result in poor 6-bit color along with 160-degree angles.
Trojan linked with iWork
A new Trojan attack has been linked with illegal copies of iWork '09, says Intego. The security firm notes that in some copies of iWork found on BitTorrent sites -- and other pirating venues -- a Trojan dubbed OSX.Trojan.iServices.A is attached, masquerading in the form of a package file called iWorkServices. When the iWork installer is launched, iWorkServices is launched as well; while this may be halted by a request for an administrator password, Intego warns that Mac OS X 10.5.1 and earlier will install the Trojan without further prompting.
Microsoft Q4 2008 Results
Microsoft today reported quarterly results that included a rare loss in its staple Windows and Office businesses. Although its revenue climbed slightly year-over-year to $16.63 billion this fall, the company's client group revenue dropped 8 percent in the same period along with an 11 percent drop in its net income, which sits at $4.17 billion. The company cites the poor world economy as a factor but specifically blames netbooks for the shortfall as buyers opted for the low-cost PCs, which often carry less expensive Windows XP Home licenses instead of Vista.
Prospects 1.2 ($30) is a personal finance application that allows users to manage their finances with features such as account monitoring and budgeting. This version adds scheduled transactions and reminders, account reconciling, automatic learning of rules for payees and categories, interface enhancements, the ability to navigate and edit transactions using only the keyboard, transaction filtering, and also fixes numerous bugs. [Download - 5MB]
Apple Q109 roundup
Apple reported what it calls its best quarter ever on Wednesday, noting that it cracked over $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time during fiscal Q109. Net profit was $1.61 billion, and gross margin was 34.7 percent, perhaps unexpectedly high given guidance calling for margins closer to the 30 percent mark. These and other figures are somewhat skewed, however, as Apple is still deferring recognition of most iPhone and Apple TV revenue.
HTC Touch Cruise 2009
HTC today added one last phone to its current touchscreen line in the form of a reworked Touch Cruise. The new model is much slimmer and more compact than the old model while keeping the signature scroll wheel that lets users flip through documents more quickly than with the 2.8-inch touchscreen or the directional pad. It also brings the modern TouchFLO interface and a new postcard feature that lets users send text, sound clips, and geotagged photos that provide the location where the shot was taken.
Nokia Q4 2008 Results
Nokia today reported fall 2008 financial results that point to a major contraction in its performance, especially in smartphones. The Finnish company's operating profit tumbled from the equivalent of $3.25 billion in late 2007 to just $641.96 million for the last quarter in 2008, or a drop of about 80.3 percent; its net sales have also dropped 19.4 percent to $16.52 billion and reflect a continued drop in the number of phones it sells, which fell about 15 percent year-over-year to 113.4 million devices and 4 percent versus the summer.
Palm Treo Pro at Sprint
Sprint early Thursday became the first US carrier to officially pick up the Palm Treo Pro. The provider-locked version is also the first switch from GSM to CDMA and uses Sprint's EVDO network for its 3G data but is otherwise close to the major overhaul of the company's Windows Mobile 6.1 flagship, which includes both GPS and Wi-Fi as well as a 2-megapixel camera and microSDHC card storage up to at least 8GB. The Treo Pro is Palm's slimmest device until the Pre but continues to include both a touchscreen and a full QWERTY keyboard.
Sony Warns of Loss
Sony today warned (reg. required) that it will post its first loss for the past 14 years. The company confirmed rumors with expectations that its fiscal year, which finishes at the end of March, will see it lose the equivalent of a net $1.65 billion due both to a major drop in spending thanks to the poor world economy as well as an excessively strong Japanese yen that hurts the profit of sales outside of Japan. The move contrasts sharply with predictions made as recently as October of a similar amount in profit.
Intel to close factories
In the latest sign of trouble amongst tech companies, Intel has announced that it will halt production at five of its current facilities. The company will restructure its production and testing operations, with plans to close two assembly test locations in Penang, Malaysia and one in Cavite, Philippines. Production will cease at Fab 20, an older 200 mm wafer fabrication site in Hillsboro, Oregon, along with a wafer production operation at the D2 facility in Santa Clara, California.
Ozone 4 update
iZotope has announced Ozone 4, the latest update to its professional audio mastering tools that enables the tweaking of effects such as balance and tone. When it ships later this month, Ozone 4 will offer several changes, including the update and expansion of processing algorithms for better use in low-latency DAW environments, a new loudness maximizer mode, and a redesigned interface. The new preset manager also offers over a hundred presets and a floating window for simplified editing and visual feedback.
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