DRO Concept has released a new line of iPhone 3G protective cases, the Tortoise Skin series. The cases are constructed from Silicon Hybrid Polymer (SHP), offering protection against bumps and scratches while preventing the case itself from tearing and stretching. In addition to protecting the device, the polymer material provides a soft tactile feel and improved grip. The Tortoise Skin is claimed to leave all ports and controls uninhibited.
Samsung has expanded its line of peripherals to include the SE-S084B series of external DVD-writers, with a variety of color options. The tray-load drives support 8cm or 12cm media and feature burn speeds up to 8X for DVD+R or 24X with CD-R. Buffer underrun protection is provided by 2MB of memory and the discs are stabilized using an automatic ball-balancing system, while tilt actuator compensation is designed to correct for disc irregularities. Users can mount the drive horizontally or vertically.
Maintain has released Cocktail 4.3 Leopard Edition, the latest update to its Mac maintenance software. The new version allows users to clear potentially harmful files including common trojans such as PokerStealer, iServices.A and iServices.B. It also adds the ability to clear CrashReporter and HungReporter logs, while fixing compatibility issues with QuickTime7.6.
ToThePoint Software has released an update to its time tracking application for projects and clients, TaskTime4 version 4.5.7. The software is designed to automatically calculate the total amount of time spent on projects, while offering tools to create, save or print invoices. The update features improvements to the manager window, including a new project-merging menu and enhanced project-file checking when loading the manager window project list. When e-mailing invoices, the company’s name and project name are now included in the subject line.
Vudu, Inc. has permanently slashed the price of its media box, now offering the devices for $150. The company has progressively lowered the cost of its basic set-top box, dropping from $400 to $295 a year ago. A holiday promotion initially halved the price to $150, undercutting the Apple TV by $80. The basic Vudu Box also offers 250GB of storage, exceeding the 160GB capacity of the top-level Apple TV which costs more than twice as much.
Kingston has unveiled its latest memory device, the 32GB CF Elite Pro. The card offers double the capacity of the company's previous CompactFlash modules, while maintaining minimum read speeds of 25MB per second and write speeds of 20MB per second. The Elite Pro is geared for professional photographers using high-end cameras that support the 133X transfer speeds. An autosleep mode can help prevent the card from unnecessarily draining a device's batteries.
Apple's recent iPhone carrier settings update appears to contain files for AT&T's upcoming 3G MicroCell technology. MobileCrunch claims that the update includes two M-Cell icon files that will be displayed on the menu bar when the handset is connected to the local signals. Along with the icons, TUAW readers have noted that company has added carrier information for the Mobily network in Saudi Arabia and etisalat in the United Arab Emirates. Both countries could see an iPhone 3G launch as early as next week.
Samsung on Monday introduced what it claims to be the world's first digital camera with a wide angle, 24mm lens and a 10x optical zoom with the 10.2-megapixel WB500. The camera also has both hardware and software image stabilization to help eliminate blurry images. It is capable of recording H.264-format video at up to 720p high-definition resolution.
Two Samsung handsets, the Eltz S7220 and Marcel spotted ahead of release Two more handsets from Samsung have been spotted ahead of an official launch, expected to come at the Mobile World Congress being held this upcoming weekend in Spain. The Eltz S7220 is a candybar handset, while the Marcel sports a slider design. The former is a mid-range offering, with specs that are expected to include a 2.4-inch AMOLED display along with an assisted GPS sensor.
Green Volcano has released Flickit for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app is an uploading and organizational tool, which lets users send photos to Flickr and then add or edit text. All files stored on Flickr can be organized using either pre-made or custom tags, and allow for the customization of titles, descriptions and privacy settings.
An image that surfaced last week reveals the approximate release dates and pricing information for several handsets that are coming to Canadian wireless provider Fido, a subsidiary of Rogers. The Samsung F266 is due for a February 10th release, priced at $150 CAD contract-free, or $25 on a two-year term. Little is known about this handset, which would make its debut at Fido in North America. It has a camera, music playback capabilities, Bluetooth and an LCD screen with 176x240 resolution.
The LiMo Foundation on Monday announced six new wireless providers have committed to release LiMo Platform based handsets in 2009. The Linux OS-based phones will become available from Verizon Wireless, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefonica and Vodafone sometime in 2009. The open-source Linux operating system in the devices will be based on the latest version of the LiMo Platform.
Zevrix Solutions has released the latest version of its data backup software, Instant Backup 1.5. The update adds the ability to back up a selected file or folder directly from the system-wide Instant Backup menu. A number of bugs have also been fixed, including a problem that would cause a menu to disappear and another issue regarding duplicate default backups.
Apple has broken through the $100-per-share barrier, as analysts appear to be reconsidering the importance of CEO Steve Jobs in Apple's future. FTN Equity Capital Markets analyst Bill Fearnley, Jr. has upgraded Apple's stock rating from Neutral to Buy with a target of $140, on the notion that Jobs might not be as crucial to the company’s future as some people suggest. Says Fearnley, "We have re-evaluated our thesis and now believe any potential product disruptions from the CEO’s leave will be smaller than we previously thought. We also believe investors are more prepared for the potential for a change in the role of the CEO."
Westinghouse has recently introduced a 31.5-inch LCD HDTV that provides 720p resolution while keeping the price of entry low. The W3223's other key specs include a 2,000:1 contrast ratio and 6.5ms response time, and the set has a built-in ATSC/NTSC/ClearQAM tuner along with two HDMI ports. Westinghouse rates the horizontal and vertical viewing angle at 176 degrees and says the set's integrated DayBright technology allows for a high contrast ratio that makes the TV easily viewable in bright sunlight.
Sprint's prematurely revealed CDMA Palm Treo Pro has now been shelved for the near future, an internal company memo shows. After already being pushed back to February 15th, the Windows Mobile smartphone has now been delayed again with a "TBD" (to be decided) timeframe even though some of the marketing material has already been delivered to stores. No reason has been given for the last-minute change.
Developer Postbox says it has opened up beta testing of its self-named e-mail software, which can now be downloaded by the public. The app said to differ from most e-mail clients by cataloging all content within a user's e-mail, including links and attachments. This enables a user to not only search for general keywords but filter by categories, such as imagery or documents.
NEC on Monday announced the introduction of two new portable short throw projectors, the NP500WS and NP600S, meant for use in classrooms and conference rooms. The identical-looking projectors share the same 600:1 contrast ratio and are rated to operate for 4,000 hours in ECO Mode. The NP500WS is a wide aspect ratio projector, offering a 1280x800 native resolution at 2,100 lumens of brightness, while the NP600S has a 1024x768 resolution at 2,600 lumens. Either has closed captioning capabilities and network control connectivity while being capable of projecting images up to 77 inches in size onto screens from less than four feet away.
Hynix has joined in launches at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference with what's billed as the world's first 1-gigabit DDR3 RAM chip. The storage is equivalent to about 128MB and was achieved by using a new 44-nanometer manufacturing process that Hynix notes is about 50 percent more efficient than the old 54nm technique it replaces. Power consumption should also go down with the advancement in storage.
Passport Photo Studio 1.3 ($9) allows users to create their own passport photos at home. It allows a user to choose a photo, then scale and position it based on passport standards. Currently the application features support for creating both US and UK passport photos. Version 1.3 has improved the way images are saved and now embeds the proper resolution within the JPEG file. The update also includes several bug fixes and has updated the copyright date to 2009. [Download - 4.3MB]
What looks to be the official spec sheet for the previously spotted 12.1-inch Dell XT2 tablet PC has been leaked as of this weekend. The chart confirms some earlier specs while others are new, including the support of up to 5GB of RAM. Processors will include the ultra low voltage Intel Core 2 Duo at 1.2GHz or 1.4GHz. The weight of the notebook is now rated at about 3.6lbs with the four-cell battery and 3.8lbs with the optional 6-cell, making it nearly identical as its XT predecessor and not significantly lighter, like previously reported.
Mark/Space has launched version 2.0 of The Missing Sync for BlackBerry, adding wireless sync over Bluetooth, automated syncing by proximity and other improvements. The automated sync function, called Proximity Sync, launches whenever the BlackBerry comes within range of a Mac's Bluetooth receiver. The v2.0 release has also been given improved iTunes playlist support, two-way video transfer, and the ability to archive text messages and call histories on a Mac.
Sony Ericsson's phone introductions at Mobile World Congress are likely to be headlined by a high-end but conventional Walkman phone, according to a leak. A slider codenamed the "Hikaru" is said by SEMC to have a true metal shell and should come with an 8-megapixel camera, a relatively large 2.6-inch screen as well as 8GB of internal storage for its media. A music focus will supposedly be evident in dedicated side music controls, a full-size headphone jack and stereo speakers.
iShred ($5) is an electric guitar application fro the iPhone and iPod touch that includes an amp simulator and eight effects pedals. Users can choose up to four effects at a time to customize their guitars tone and then save the settings as presets to be used again later. After customizing their tone players can begin creating a song using the onscreen fretboard and the applications recording capabilities.
Google this afternoon revamped Google Sync to include beta two-way support for iPhone, iPod touch and Windows Mobile devices. These and any SyncML devices can make updates to calendars and contacts that get sent to Google's cloud with changes elsewhere sent back to the devices. The feature works through a new license Google has obtained that uses Microsoft's Exchange to push the information in near real-time.
Archos on Monday leapt into the cellphone business with word that it will release a version of its Internet Media Tablets as a smartphone based on Google's Android operating system. The handset will be based closely on the Archos 5 with the same 5-inch touchscreen but a new, faster ARM Cortex processor from TI that the company believes will supply "PC-like" performance: the tablet will not only support full-screen Flash-based video in the browser but play back HD video offline.
Mark's Recording Studio has launched iRock 1.0, an app for the iPhone that converts it into a guitar amplifier. The app includes six amplifier simulations combined with five cabinet emulators. It has hi, low and mid tone controls along with gain and drive control. iRock supports recording performances and can playback the recording. It also contains a file server for downloading recorded performances.
Mozilla is throwing its support behind a European Commission ruling on bundling Microsoft's Internet Explorer with Windows, according to the company's CEO. Microsoft received a Statement of Objection from the Commission last month, accusing it of violating European competition laws. The action was initially sparked by a complaint from Opera, which produces third-party web browsers. Mozilla itself develops the Firefox browser.
Optical drive maker Lite-On on Monday announced the upcoming release of the industry's fastest internal DVD writers, capable of recording compatible blank DVDs at up to 24X speeds. Lite-On will release three versions of the fast drives, all with different additional capabilities, including Lite-On's LabelTag and SmartErase technologies that allow users to label data they are recording or erase data on CDs and DVDs, respectively.
Apple is headed in the direction of producing a genuine TV, claims Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Though the company already produces the Apple TV set-top, which has in fact been enjoying brisker sales, it is thought that the company may be interested traveling further in the direction of consumer electronics, spurred on by the success of the iPod and the iPhone. A true Apple TV could let the company merge existing functions with live broadcasts and extra Internet services, Munster suggests, and make Apple synonymous with the world of electronics and "lifestyle" accessories.
Toshiba has started the week by launching what it says is the densest and potentially fastest RAM with the ability to keep data permanently even when power is shut off. A new 128-megabit (16MB) ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM) chip holds about four times as much data as Toshiba's previous best and also behaves much more like traditional memory, with about 1.6GB per second of bandwidth versus 200MB from before. The improvements come through a new architecture that prevents the signal to memory cells from degrading as the amount of total storage gets larger.
The Austrian division of Orange has dropped pricing on the iPhone 3G, new listings show. The 8GB model of the phone can now be bought for €1, though this must also be accompanied by a €35 general monthly subscription, and a €14 monthly iPhone pack. The latter bundles 3GB of data transfer and 100 SMS messages.
Amazon this morning confirmed the launch of the Kindle 2, the second generation of its e-book reader. The new model has a much more iPod-like aesthetic with an aluminum back, rounded curves and a much thinner (0.36in) design. It also has a 20 percent faster e-paper screen, 25 percent longer battery life (up to 14 days with wireless off) and 2GB of built-in storage. It also has a new text-to-speech feature that reads books aloud through built-in stereo speakers. A new 5-way directional pad replaces the earlier side strip for controls.
Vodafone and cellular provider 3's parent label Hutchison today said they would combine their operations in Australia, creating a much larger carrier. The move gives the entity about 6 million cellular customers on the island nation and is being made to compete against incumbents Optus and Telstra, both of which have outpaced Vodafone's Australian wing. A combined Vodafone and Hutchison will have about $4 billion Australian dollars in revenue per year and match Optus in size.
Distribution of apps has led to another breakdown in talks between Apple and China Mobile, according to Interfax China. A source for the news agency claims that China Mobile president Wang Jianzhou recently visited the company's Research Institute, and explained in detail how talks with Apple have stalled not only recently but three times over the course of 18 months. China Mobile wants considerably more control than Apple is willing to give, the source suggests.
Samsung on Monday catered to a very specific audience for external displays with its LapFit line. Recognizing that most desktop LCDs sit higher than notebook screens, the company's new designs sit roughly at the same level as a portable's LCD and make for a more contiguous extended desktop. They also attach through USB and so don't need to occupy any existing video output.
Acer announced on Monday that its 10.1-inch Aspire One AOD150 netbook is now available to US customers, with prices starting at $350. The netbook will be sold alongside the existing 8.9-inch Aspire One, which has recently been discounted to $329 and is expected to be phased out sometime in the second quarter of the year. Specs of the newly-released PC include a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive preloaded with Windows XP Home.
Check Point this morning unwrapped a new version of the ZoneAlarm Z100G, a Wi-Fi router designed for an extra level of security. The new version gives greater control over the hardware, ZoneAlarm-inspired firewall and includes a monitor to track intrusion attempts as well as the ability to visually add and change policy rules to allow certain apps. It further brings a built-in DNS server for secure outside connections, anti-spam filtering and Xbox Live support for gamers that want to play without compromising the rest of the network.
Samsung this morning got an early start on Mobile World Congress with a new, flagship touchscreen phone. The S8300 UltraTOUCH revolves around a 2.8-inch active matrix OLED (AMOLED) touchscreen that eliminates most of the weaknesses of these displays. In addition to much better color accuracy than an LCD, the new panel is also scratch-resistant and even has measures to reduce the smudging common to finger-driven touch displays. Samsung has also improved its TouchWiz on-screen interface to let users easily drag widgets in and out, and gives the phone a slide-out number pad for quicker phone dialing.
AMD this morning added to its just recently launched Phenom II processors with several new models geared towards undercutting Intel's mainstream line. Two of these, the Phenom II X4 910 and 810, both clock in slightly lower at 2.6GHz but also consume much less power at 95W. The 910 comes with the same 6MB of Level 3 cache while the 810 scales back to 4MB to further reduce its price. Both are also some of the first to use AMD's new AM3 socket and support higher-bandwidth DDR3 memory.
RIM's 3G adaptation of the BlackBerry Curve 8900 will represent more than a minor change if a leak through BGR is authentic. Nicknamed Gemini, the Curve 9300 would reportedly be stylistically similar to the 8900 but come with a larger screen with a higher resolution than the 480x360 used today. It would also have a faster processor and is likely to keep both the GPS and Wi-Fi in addition to tri-band 3G for access on AT&T, Rogers and many world carriers.
Despite a previous dismissal of Psystar's counterclaims against Apple, District Judge William Alsup has decided to allow the clone-maker to submit an amended version of its arguments. The court is likely to hear most of the copyright misuse accusations aimed at Apple, including allegations that the company over-extended the breadth of the Mac OS End User License Agreement (EULA). The first dismissal rejected any antitrust claims under the Clayton and Sherman Acts, while the recent decision trimmed away the unfair competition accusations.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl