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Comcast hotspot tests
Internet provider Comcast is performing Wi-Fi hot spot trials near NJ Transit rail stations in the state to grant subscribers access to the Internet on their mobile devices, according to a Friday DSLReports post. The service in these Wi-Fi Hot Zones requires subscribers to sign in using their existing Comcast.net usernames and passwords. The company has confirmed the trials, saying it is gauging user interest and may offer it as an added-value service to its high-speed Internet customers.
Windows Vista SP2 release
The Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista is being released this week in a candidate escrow build after Microsoft has moved up its release schedule for the software, according to a recent TechArp report. The initial wave of the software is now expected to be released a little sooner than previously expected, now at sometime late in April or early in May in its Release to Manufacturing version if no further delays are incurred. In-between, the final release candidate build is now due to be distributed on February 16th.
iSkin solo FX cases
iSkin has released the solo FX, the newest design in the company's line of iPhone 3G protector cases. Modeled after the basic solo cases, the FX series adds designer patterns to a high-gloss finish, along with a new mirror film used for screen protection. The film protects against scrapes or scratches, and offers a reflective feature that turns the screen of an iPhone into a mirror when the phone is asleep. Each solo FX case is said to come with integrated volume and power button coverage, while still allowing access to all ports and controls.
iTunes Plus upgrade issues
A number of customers attempting to upgrade existing iTunes albums to the new DRM-free Plus format have reportedly run into problems, according to Macworld. Some people were charged the full price for an album, instead of the discounted price which is typically only 30 percent of the retail cost. A customer's notification to Apple received a response that acknowledged the problem and claimed that a refund would be issued after the initial order was processed, while offering five song credits for the inconvenience.
Samsung S3500 introduced
Samsung is expected to bring out an entry-level sliding handset under its Anycall brand in Asian and European markets with the S3500. The quad-band GSM phone sports a 320x240 resolution screen and a couple of other basic features such as a 2-megapixel camera, built-in FM tuner and digital audio playback capabilities. Users will be able to transfer music files to the built-in 35MB of memory via a USB connection, but more can be added to the handset via a microSD memory card. The handset will also include a built-in browser and e-mail client.
Take A Note ($5) is a note taking application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that supports voice, drawing and photo memos in addition to the text notes. The application can also users to connect to the iPhone as a shared network drive allowing them to browse notes, sound and image files, and copy these files to the computer. Users can also copy whole folders with text, sound or image files to their devices and each file will be converted into a note.
Denon delays DVD-A1UD
Denon on Friday announced it will delay the release of its DVD-A1UD Blu-ray player by about two months, without giving any reasons for the delay. The company now claims the reader is now due out late in March as production is behind the original schedule. Denon's flagship is billed as the first universal disc player for its ability to play back Blu-ray, DVD video and audio, SACDs as well as standard CDs, in addition to having a slot for SDHC memory cards. It also handles pure DivX 6, JPEG, MP3 and WMA files.
Marantz Blu-ray player
Home entertainment electronics maker Marantz has recently unveiled its first Blu-ray player, the BD8002, which is capable of 1080p video playback at 24 frames per second and will upconvert standard DVDs to near high-definition quality. What Marantz is touting as a reference-grade video player, the BD8002 sports a 12-bit/297MHz video chipset along with a 10-bit Silicon Optix Realta processor with HQV system for upconverting standard DVDs.
Checkout 2.3.2 update
A v2.3.2 update is now available for Checkout, Werck's Mac-only point-of-sale software. The app handles a variety of cashier tasks, such as sales, receipts and invoices. The software can also be used to manage inventory stocks however, and generate reports on several forms of connected information.
Toshiba, NEC chip merger?
Toshiba is said to be in negotiations with the semiconductor unit of NEC to merge part of its chip operations as it struggles with dropping demand, according to a Friday report for the International Herald Tribune. The source remains unnamed as the talks weren't made public by either company, and Toshiba wouldn't comment on the rumors. The majority, some 65 percent, of NEC is owned by Toshiba, and the parent company has gone on record to say Japanese chipmakers need to consolidate operations in order to be profitable worldwide.
Garmin intros FR60 watch
GPS maker Garmin has recently introduced the FR60 fitness watch that can connect wirelessly to compatible ANT+ fitness sensors such as heart rate monitors and foot pods. Meant for hardcore fitness aficionados, the FR60 is also compatible with select fitness equipment at gyms or homes and allows users to upload data to their PCs or Macs to keep detailed track of their workouts and fitness progress. The computer sync is done with the help of a wireless ANT Stick that attaches to the PC over USB.
Sony on PS3 Price Drop
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe chief David Reeves in Eurogamer interview published today has defended the absence of PlayStation 3 price cuts during the holidays as a necessary measure to protect Sony's business. The executive acknowledges that price cuts will likely be needed to spur sales but that the goal has been to turn the PlayStation group profitable and that economic conditions will likely force Sony to be defensive with pricing in the future.
SEC targeting Jobs leave?
The focus of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the health of Steve Jobs is likely to concentrate on his sudden leave of absence, a source tells Bloomberg. The departure of the Apple CEO is viewed as sudden, having come just nine days after he admitted to a "hormonal imbalance" with simple if prolonged treatment. SEC efforts are being directed from a San Francisco office, the source says, and will also concentrate on the development of Jobs' diagnoses.
Verizon Hub Ships Early
Verizon today preempted its own schedule by shipping its Hub to stores early. Originally slated for Sunday, the device is available today and is Verizon's attempt to revitalize the declining home field. The hardware uses an Ethernet VoIP connection to make calls and shares unified calendars, contacts and messaging with four cellphones along with Internet-based Verizon services like GPS mapping and V CAST news data. A touchscreen makes all the information visual, including voicemail, news widgets and a digital photo frame mode.
Apple Cutting iMac Stock
Apple is reducing shipments of iMacs in what's likely a move to clear inventory ahead of an update, alleged sources tell AppleInsider. The contacts claim that Apple has notified third parties that the bulk of the line will see "limited availability" in the next few weeks and that the 3.06GHz model is likely to be entirely unavailable, both characteristic signs Apple has given in the past that it's clearing inventory to make room for newer models.
Flyboys at Macgamestore
Macgamestore.com has announced that Flyboys Squadron is now available for digital download. The game replicates World War I fighter-plane action, following a group of history's first fighter pilots. All 12 single-player missions are based on the movie, while each of the 10 airplanes is modeled after the actual aircraft used in the war. Special dynamic missions are also available online, with special events and regular updates. Pilots can earn ranks and medals to unlock new features, or complete bonus "easter egg" missions.
Light app for iPhone
Digital Film Tools has launched Light for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app attempts to add realistic light or shadowing effects to pictures, using digital versions of the pattern library created by Gamproducts. Patterns can be applied to a whole picture or a designated area, and are divided into five different categories: breakups, foliage, lights, sky and windows.
A Vampire Story for Mac
Virtual Programming has released A Vampire Story, a new adventure game for the Mac. A Vampire Story follows a young opera singer named Mona De Lafitte that's been captured by a vampire named Baron Shrowdy von Kiefer. Turned into a vampire herself and kept locked in Shrowdy's castle in Draxsylvania, players take control of Mona on a night where her Vampire keeper has not returned, so she decides to follow her dreams and make her way back to Paris to sing at the Paris Opera. Players must travel through the land of Draxsylvania, interacting with different people and overcoming challenges in order to make their way home.
India's $10 notebook
The Indian government is indeed laying plans for the sale of a $10 notebook, according to a regional newspaper. Although the government is at one point said to have retracted the pricetag, adding a zero to the end, DNA writes that a prototype of a $10 (500 rupee) notebook will go on display in Tirupati on February 3rd. The computer was jointly developed by the Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institute of Technology, and is a part of a plan dubbed the National Mission on Education.
ABI on Netbook as Main PC
Only about a tenth of computer buyers would consider using netbooks as their main systems, ABI Research says in a new study. About 11 percent of Americans asked about the devices say they would use one of the small but low-cost portables as their only or primary computer while majority at 79 percent only consider a netbook a companion device to either a main desktop or regular notebook. The more difficult controls and lower performance are seen as sufficiently high-enough barriers that they preclude many from considering netbooks as more than occasional PCs.
Leaders in gaming phones
The Apple iPhone and RIM BlackBerry Curve have taken the place of cheaper devices as the most popular mediums for downloading cellphone games, according to a new comScore study. The iPhone in particular is said to have accounted for 14 percent of all game downloads in November, helping to displace Motorola's RAZR -- and other low- to mid-range devices -- as a primary platform. Some 32.4 percent of iPhone users are said to have downloaded a game in the month, compared to an industry average of just 3.8 percent.
Nintendo DSi launch leak
A Friday leak seems to confirm earlier rumors that Nintendo's DSi handheld gaming console is coming by the spring or summer of this year to both Europe and North America. The confirmation comes by way of a supposed company document from a product briefing document on the video game maker's website. The DSi was already launched in its home market of Japan in November.
T-Mo New Android in 2009
T-Mobile USA in a new interview has revealed that it will expand its Android phone line to include more than just the G1. Senior engineering VP Neville Ray tells FierceWireless that there will be "more G series phones" in the year and thus backs HTC's claims of a second model in April and potentially the known plans for a third phone as well.
Twittelator Pro, Lite upd.
Stone Design has posted updates for its two dedicated Twitter clients for the iPhone and iPod touch, Twittelator Lite and Twittelator Pro. Both attempt to simplify tweeting from an Apple handheld, which might otherwise require awkward browsing. The Pro software includes features such as subgroups, multiple accounts and extra themes.
Dell MePhone Rumor
Dell's increasingly rumored first smartphone may hinge on borrowing the philosophy behind its computers if a new, alleged leak to Alley Insider late Thursday proves accurate. The tip alludes to the device tentatively being called the MePhone in a clear attempt to play on the iPhone name and would appropriately center on customization, though whether this would simply include shell colors and other cosmetic touches or else would focus on more open software isn't known.
Google GDrive Leak
PocketPhonics for iPhone
Apps in my Pocket has released PocketPhonics, an iPhone and iPod touch application designed to help children aged three to seven with their spelling and pronunciation. The program includes the alphabet and over 50 letter sounds, used to teach writing and pronouncing each letter individually. The app also teaches kids how to blend specific letter sounds together, in order to sound words out. In total PocketPhonics provides over 170 words that children can learn to speak or write.
Senate OKs TV delay bill
Just days after Congress rejected a bill that would delay the switch to digital over-the-air TV from analog, the US Senate on Thursday has passed a slightly revised bill to delay the transition. Like the original bill, the new one aims to move the switchover date into June, as there is concern from President Obama and his supporters that some 20 million poor, elderly citizens as well as those in rural households are not technically ready for the changeover.
Fujitsu Built for Android
Fujitsu has revealed that it plans to push Google's Android platform deep into home electronics with a new initiative known as Services Built for Android. The program will see the Japanese company offer its consulting, engineering and other expertise to help run the open-source mobile OS on embedded hardware. This could include media devices like portable media players as well as cellphones, GPS devices, set-top boxes and even thin-client PCs, according to Fujitsu.
iPhone firmware problems
Several reports have pointed to problems with iTunes crashing after installing the v2.2.1 firmware update on the iPhone. After running the update, a number of users have claimed that iPhones will no longer sync with iTunes. In some cases iPhones may sync for a short period of time, but eventually crash when attempting to delete songs.
17-inch unibody MBP ships
The new unibody version of the 17-inch MacBook Pro has started shipping, its Apple Store product page reveals. Shipping information has quietly switched over from pre-order status, to an estimated delivery time of seven to 10 business days. The timeframe is still significantly longer than that for other MacBook Pros, which are shipping within 24 hours.
Xbox 360 Best of Halo Ed
Microsoft on Friday hoped to jumpstart Xbox 360 sales in Europe with a special edition console pack timed for the release of Halo Wars. The Best of Halo edition will include a stock 60GB Pro console but also a copy of Halo Wars as well as Halo 3, letting gamers interested in the newer real-time strategy game also improve their knowledge of the game's history with last year's title. It also gives buyers a month's worth of Xbox Live Gold to try either game in multiplayer as an incentive to subscribe later.
Hitachi Wooo H001
Hitachi is joining KDDI's spring phone launches with the Wooo H001. The swiveling clamshell has the same 854x480 resolution as most other phones in the lineup but adds a unique toggle that lets owners switch to a 3D parallax view. The effect not only pops in automatically for 1Seg digital TV and other video that includes 3D but can convert existing 2D images and photos to 3D, customize the perceived depth, and works either in portrait or the phone's notebook-like landscape mode.
i2i Folding Speakers
Aerielle has released a new audio accessory, the i2i Folding Portable Speakers. The device consists of two speakers and a base station in the middle, which allows the speakers to either be leaned up or folded beside the base station when being transported. A 3.5mm headphone jack comes in the back of one speaker that can be used to plug into any iPod, MP3 player, i2i Stream, or other portable audio device. The portable speakers manage roughly five hours of play time and require four AAA batteries.
EVONthink public beta 2
DEVONtechnologies has released the second public beta of DEVONthink 2.0 and DEVONnote 2.0. DEVONthink now allows PDF and text files to be split and merged, while PDF pages can be copied and pasted between documents. For both programs, the use of multi-threading is claimed to make RSS updates work much faster, and new options allow customization of how feeds are handled. Documents can be e-mailed from directly within the application and the smart group editor. The company has also improved support for files that contain PDF or HTML previews.
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