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Pioneer May Exit TVs
Japan's Nikkei paper today warned (subscription required) that Pioneer is likely to exit the TV business. While the company has already said it would end plasma production and enter into LCDs, the new report has the electronics giant ending its TV efforts entirely and entering into a joint venture with Sharp for its DVD movie player business. Pioneer has been suffering losses despite the critical success of its Kuro plasma TVs and is also at least indirectly threatened by the current world economic crisis.
Amazon Kindle 2 Photos
A leak tonight has confirmed Amazon's plans to use its February 9th event to launch the second-generation Kindle. Focusing on several leaked photos, the slip confirms that the new model is smoother, rounder and much thinner than the original and has a brushed metal back reminiscent of iPods. It likewise shows a switch to a slightly more conventional control scheme with smaller paddles for page turns and a directional pad in place of the old model's distinctive side strip.
iWeb Backup, Seize the ARD
Involver 1.0 ($20) is a invoice building application that features support for multiple companies and clients. The software allows users to manage past an present invoices, search through an archive of your invoices and track which clients are up to date with their payments. Users will also find features such as pre-formatted invoice printing, PDF export, customizable invoices and universal currency support. [Download - 2.4MB]
In brief: danholt4mac and MacTech have both announced discounts on some of their products. danholt4mac is offering its Calories software at a discount of 40% off regular price. MacTech is now offering its customers a bundle that includes a two year subscription to its magazine along with their DVD Archive that contains the complete collection of issues from the magazines 24 year history. On a separate note, one MacNN employee recently dropped their MacBook Pro and broke the display. Looking for a low cost solution they tested out the service provided by iResQ. They found that the repair was completed in a very timely fashion and resulted in no additional damage and a display comparable to the original.
Time Warner data caps
In response to complaints from unhappy customers, Time Warner plans to introduce broadband packages with data caps above the current 40GB limit that was applied to Beaumont, TX customers as part of a pilot program, according to the Associated Press. Although the company plans to expand the program to other cities, spokesman Alex Dudley acknowledged that a "small but vocal percentage" of customers were dissatisfied with the 40GB cap. Future trials will include a range of packages, with higher priced plans that have a larger data "bucket" along with lower priced options for casual users.
TuneBand iPhone 3G case
Grantwood Technology has announced its TuneBand for the iPhone 3G, now available in six different colors. The gear is an armband case used to keep an iPhone strapped to a person's arm, whether during exercise or general use. Made from the same silicone skin used in the original iPhone, the case also uses stretching velcro straps to keep a phone fastened. While secured, users continue to have access to ports and the camera.
LG Arena Confirmed
LG finished the week by validating rumors regarding the KM900 Arena on the company's official UK blog. The teaser both confirms the name of the device through the file name and that the phone will use a new 3D interface with iPhone-like icons that flips between the home screen and other levels of the operating system. LG also acknowledges that the phone will have its formal debut at Mobile World Congress in mid-month.
ATT Staff May Strike
The Communications Workers of America union in a vote on Friday approved a strike for 20,000 AT&T Mobility workers in the event the group is unable to come to a last-minute deal with AT&T before a contract expires at midnight tonight. The two parties have been engaged in talks over terms for compensation, jobs and working conditions and differ sharply on the proximity of an agreement, with the CWA saying "very little progress" has been made while AT&T spokesman Walt Sharp calls the approval a normal part of negotiations and hopes for an agreement by the end of the day.
ShareTool 1.2.6 for Mac
Yazsoft has released ShareTool 1.2.6, an update to its Bonjour connection tool. The new version displays a warning whenever multiple copies of the app are on the same network, and allows configuration of the program to improve VPN connections. In addition to previous e-mail changes, any e-mails sent out now include both external and local IP addresses. Changes have also been made to increase info displayed in the Dock menu, and add an option to resize the main window whenever a service is added.
Apple refurbs: iPods
Apple's online store is currently offering a wide variety of refurbished iPod models from the iPod shuffle to the first generation iPod touch. One gigabyte (up to 240 songs) iPod shuffles are available starting at $39 and come in purple, silver, green, and blue. Two gigabyte (up to 500 songs) models are also available for $59 and come in the same colors as the first as well as current-generation blue, pink, and green. Previous-generation 8GB iPod nanos are priced at $99 and hold up to 2,000 songs. Current-generation 16GB iPod nanos in yellow, pink, green, purple and orange are priced at $169 and can hold up to 4,000 songs. First-generation iPod touch models come in three storage capacities: 8GB (up to 1,750 songs) for $179, 16GB (up to 3,500 songs) for $219, and 32GB (up to 7,000 songs) for $299.
Apple on Facebook ban
There is no universal policy in place against Facebook access in Apple Stores, investigation is said to show. Reports began to circulate on Friday that Apple was imposing a complete ban on Facebook, as a means of deterring people from loitering for the sole purpose of Internet access. Although bans on Facebook (as well as MySpace) have been put into place in Richmond and Los Angeles stores, Palo Alto and Washington DC locations continue to allow social networking sites.
Samsung has used the interval between CES and the PMA photography show to add the ES10 to its cameras. The 8.1-megapixel device is pitched chiefly to first-time users and has a handful of automatic features that remove the need for control, such as face detection and a self portrait mode that waits until it detects that another face, the photographer's, is in the scene. A slideshow mode also lets users display photo collections with music and transitions without sending photos to the camera.
DealNN: LaCie 1TB drive
Today at DealNN there is a wide selection of great deals on electronics from external hard drives to iPod docking stations. First up is the 1TB LaCie external hard drive, designed by Neil Poulton, priced at $99.95 at MacConnection.com. TigerDirect.com has reduced the price on the TRENDnet wireless N networking kit to $69.99, and for a limited time take advantage of a mail in rebate offer that drops the price to $49.99. The HP DeskJet D4360 InkJet printer is priced at $49.99 at J&R.com. The Cables Unlimited optical wireless mouse is available for $19.99 at Buy.com after mail in rebate. Lastly is the Harman Kardon Go + Play portable speaker system for $209.99 at Amazon.com.
MSI NetOn AP1900
MSI has formally announced the Wind NetOn AP1900, the company's first all-in-one to hit the market following the unveiling of the lineup at CES in January. The device features an 18.5-inch WXGA display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, with all components contained in a housing that measures just 35 mm thick. Users can adjust the viewing angle or mount the computer to a wall. The design features a gloss-black bezel around the display along with polished silver trim and accents.
NVIDIA x86 Rumor
NVIDIA may be stepping into the production of its own x86 processors if a rumor circulated by the Inquirer proves authentic. The video chipset producer has reportedly been hiring large numbers of engineers familiar with how to design for the foundations used in most Intel chips and has a virtually complete team. The company allegedly lacks a license for x86, however, and would likely face legal action from Intel as a result.
Red Alert 3 on pre-order
Gamers can now pre-order a Mac conversion of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, according to the port's developer. Originally released late last year for Windows, the game is a real-time strategy title set in an alternate history of Earth, in which Hitler is assassinated by Albert Einstein before World War II and the Allies battle against the Soviet Union instead. Einstein is subsequently assassinated by the Soviets, which accidentally allows the Empire of the Rising Sun to threaten Soviet dominance.
Microsoft My Phone Leak
Microsoft today inadvertently tipped its hand for Mobile World Congress by posting an introductory page for its My Phone mobile sync service (since pulled). The feature is the formal version of SkyBox and appears a close parallel to Apple's MobileMe meant for Windows Mobile 6 devices. It lets users sync up to 200MB of documents and media with a secure online space and lets owners published synced calendars, contacts and photos to the web.
Keeper ($1) allows users to store sensitive passwords, notes, lists and other personal information in a safe and secure location. Users can search, index and protect their sensitive information with 128-bit AES multi-layer encryption. The application also backs up information to iTunes and features a Self Destruct option that can help ensure privacy even if the device is stolen.
Screen guards for Touch
SwitchEasy has introduced several new protective screen membranes for the iPod touch 2G, including the PureProtect, PureReflect, and PureAntiReflect. The PureProtect screen guard is designed to offer the highest level of clarity, while protecting the screen with a scratch-resistant layer. The PureReflect features the same protection but with a reflective surface that resembles a mirror. The PureAntiReflect provides a smudge-proof matte finish that is intended to reduce glare from background light sources.
Gamer Dragon Series
CyberPower has released its Gamer Dragon series, a set of three custom-built high definition towers based on AMD's newer Phenom II X4 CPU. The complete group consists of a Gamer Dragon 8000 and 9000, and the Gamer Dragon CrossFire X Ultimate. Basic features of all three Gamer Dragon models include SATA II hard drives, an ATI Radeon HD video graphic card, a dual Blu-Ray and DVD drive setup for both the 9000 and CrossFire X series, or DVD drives alone for the 8000.
HTC January 2009 Results
HTC confirmed its sensitivity to the poor world economy on Friday with word that it has taken a substantial blow to its sales in January. Although it had a healthy end of 2008 where its revenues were up 21.4 percent compared to holiday 2007, the company warns that its results in January are well off the same month a year before and dropped about 16.8 percent versus the same month a year earlier. HTC claims the drop is due to a slightly earlier Lunar New Year that stopped some of its phone sales in countries that observe the Chinese holiday.
Gravity Applications Tags
Gravity Applications has launched its Tags software for the Mac. Tags make it possible for users to create keywords for files, and use these keywords to group files that have something in common, to help with organization. When applying tags, users are able to place as many different tags as they want to one file, or to apply one tag to multiple files, Tags can also be setup to launch with specific keyboard shortcuts. For more organization support, users can create smart folders and smart mailboxes.
Ottawa store before fall
Apple's planned Ottawa retail store should open its doors by the end of August, a reliable source tells MacNN. The store -- Apple's ninth in Canada and the first for the country's capital -- is at least expected to open before the end of 2009, one of only 25 new outlets scheduled worldwide this year. The reduced construction comes in the wake of a global economic recession.
Intel Atom N280 ships
Intel has begun shipping a enhanced version of its ultra-compact Atom processor, according to an announcement. The N280 is technically a single-core processor, but is being paired with a GN40 chipset, whose notebook-level GMA4000 graphics help to decode HD video at resolutions up to 720p. HD typically places a high burden on miniature processors, which are often saddled with low clock speeds and inadequate graphics hardware.
AMD Radeon HD 5870 X2 Leak
A Dutch reseller listing and additional leaks suggest that AMD is not only planning a new 4900 series but that one of its Radeon 5-series cards may be a dual-chipset card. Showing as the ATI Radeon HD 5870 X2, the card appears to be a higher-clocked version of the 4870 X2 with each individual core speed climbing from 750MHz to 800MHz while the memory makes the biggest leap from 3.6GHz to 4.8GHz while keeping to GDDR5 RAM. The example also has built-in HDMI, though this has been an option for most recent AMD video cards.
Apple in fastest-growers
Apple has joined a Forbes list of the 25 fastest-growing US technology corporations. The magazine notes that Apple is one of 13 new companies on its list, which for the third time in a row has seen over half of its constituents replaced. The placement is believed to be particularly remarkable as while the company has reached $32 billion in annual revenue, its growth is said to be closer to that of a start-up, measured at 40 percent annualized over the course of the last five years.
Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Leak
The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 shown at CES will be more flexible than originally suggested, a leaked presentation slide on Photobucket reportedly shows. The 10-inch netbook now appears to have options equal to and above the Mini 12 with the same choices of 1.33GHz and 1.6GHz Atom processors but with both a conventional 1024x576 LCD and a Dell's previously-mentioned HD display, which is now believed to output at 1366x768. Storage should also be much higher with a minimum 120GB hard drive versus the 80GB maximum of the Mini 12.
Georgetown store rejected
A revised design proposal for a Georgetown Apple Store in DC has been rejected, writes the Washington Post. In spite of hints that final approval was imminent, the three members of the Old Georgetown Board are said to have ruled against Apple's latest redesign, which was altered to conform the proposed store to the aesthetics of the neighborhood. Instead of its typical full-sized glass storefront, Apple is said to have scaled down to a first-floor pane of glass, measuring some 35 feet long with double doors in the center.
Ebooks on mobile phones
Google and Amazon have both taken steps to widen the availability of e-books, bringing a large number of titles onto mobile phones, according to the New York Times. iPhone and G1 owners will now have free access to the 1.5 million public domain books that Google has scanned so far for its desktop Book Search, although the mobile version is limited to just text. The current content only includes books with expired copyrights, but the company also plans to add out-of-print books or newer material after obtaining permission from publishing companies.
Zune Phone Spec Leak
Microsoft's rumored in-house smartphone is actually a reference design for Zune-themed phones, say sources of reporter Mary Jo Foley. Rather than stand as Microsoft's own products, multiple reference Zune phones are being made that third parties can use as the inspiration for their own models. The company hopes to play cellphone makers against each other to produce one or more particularly strong Zune-capable devices.
HP iPAQ 910 at Rogers
Rogers today became the first North American carrier to offer the HP iPAQ 910. The full QWERTY keyboard smartphone closely follows the reference design and supports up to 7.2Mbps downstream on the Canadian provider's HSPA-based 3G network. It supports both touchscreen and keyboard input but is most notable for its voice recognition, which lets users give the phone spoken instructions to navigate Windows Mobile 6.1 as well as reply to e-mail messages without typing. A back 3-megapixel camera, GPS and Wi-Fi also put it at the high end of Rogers' lineup.
NEC CE143 Phone Chip
NEC today unveiled a new processor it says should significantly bolster the media capabilities of cellphones. The CE143 can process photos at 12 megapixels but also supports decoding 1080p video, letting any equipped device play full HD without needing a more advanced graphics chipset. The still photo mode also has features normally reserved for still cameras, such as fast face detection for portraits, image stabilization and a "super resolution" technique that can reduce the blur and pixelation when using digital zoom.
G4, Xserve support dies
Apple is ending most or all of its support for a host of older Macs, according to a memo issued to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week. Headlining the bulletin is a range of "obsolete" products, which Apple classifies as hardware that was discontinued over seven years ago; these include the PowerBook G4, and digital audio or Quicksilver models of the PowerMac G4 and Macintosh Server G4. As of March 17th, no support of any kind will be available for the obsolete systems, including replacement parts.
MS Windows Phone Branding
Microsoft will drop its Windows Mobile public branding when it introduces Windows Mobile 6.5 this month, if claims from market insiders speaking to Digitimes are accurate. Instead, the software company will simply pitch the phones as "Windows" devices and omit their version number. Why Microsoft is making the move is unknown, though Microsoft has recently been promoting a holistic Windows ecosystem where the experience is independent of any one device or platform.
Moto i365IS at Sprint
Sprint this morning held a low-key launch for the Motorola i365IS. The special variant of the push-to-talk iDEN phone earns its suffix for its modified, "intrinsically safe" design: the walkie-talkie shaped phone has a battery and protection that reduce the chemical and electrical output enough to prevent either from sparking a fire in an environment with flammable gas or other dangerous materials. It also has an emergency group call mode that not only speaks to the whole push-to-talk group but puts out a tone to signal the urgent nature of the call.
Roku's Amazon VOD beta
After previous announcements of Amazon collaborating with Roku to provide Video On Demand video service via the Roku Digital Video Player, the service has now entered a private beta, according to a statement by Roku itself. Expected to show in a 2.0 update, no confirmation has been given in regards to if the update will also include YouTube access, or if the VOD will also be offered in HD. Already streaming video from Netflix, Roku is continuing to expand its media and will offer more than 40,000 movies and TV shows through Amazon.
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