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Cover Stream 2.5 ($15) is an iTunes controller that extends iTunes Cover Flow to the desktop. With the software a user can control their iTunes library without needing to open up the iTunes window. Users can set up key commands for controlling playback options and view all of their media in a customizable window that can be viewed as lists or Cover Flow. The new version eliminates the need to sync with iTunes, adds a track list sidebar, a new Core Animation fullscreen menu, and several other new features and bug fixes. [Download - 1.9MB]
Next gen Mac mini video
In response to skeptics of the recent Mac mini image leak, MacRumors member 'monthy' has provided a video of the yet-unannounced device. The clip shows the same features as the image, notably a new port layout. The updated device offers a Mini DVI and Mini Displayport connection instead of the full-size DVI connector, while the FireWire 400 port has been upgraded to a FireWire 800 jack. A fifth USB port has also been added.
Best Buy iPhone sale
Best Buy may be planning to offer sizable discounts on iPhones as a promotion for Reward Zone Members, according to phoneArena.com. A tipster claims that the retailer will take $100 off the handsets for Reward Zone Premier members, bringing the price down to $100 for a new 8GB unit and $200 for the 16GB variant. The promotion would match the respective $100 and $200 offers from AT&T, but customers would receive new phones instead of refurbished devices.
Intel SSDs found slow
An independent test by PC Perspective on the long-term performance of Intel's mainstream solid state drives concluded the chipmaker's drives are significantly slower after prolonged use. Intel itself is trying to duplicate the report's results, but so far has been unable to do so. The test results say a used Intel X25-M solid state drive loses performance due to internal fragmentation compared to a new one. The report said the drives' performance drops "to significantly below" official specs.
Verizon PTT handset coming
A Friday BGR report reveals Verizon will soon begin offering the CDM 8795 handset with Push-to-Talk (PTT) functionality. The device is not being advertised on the carrier's website but the photos reveal dedicated music controls sandwiched between its small auxiliary display and external speaker. There is also a 2.5mm audio jack for hooking up headphones or headsets.
iTunes blipvert pushes U2
A recent ad deployed through the United Kingdom's Absolute Radio -- formerly known as Virgin Radio -- has generated some controversy, writes The Guardian. The ad promotes the new U2 single "Get On Your Boots," urging listeners to buy it through iTunes. The spot is only 10 seconds long though, and required approval from the UK's Ofcom regulatory body due to worries about issues such as subliminal advertising.
3DFusion intros 3D display
3DFusion announced on Thursday that it will debut its 3DFMax stereoscopic 3D display at next week's Digital Signage Exposition 2009. The display does not require glasses to show three-dimensional-like images. No other specs are available on the 3DFusion TV set, including contrast, brightness, resolution or even size, though the set is capable of displaying conventional 2D images. At the core, the display uses Philips' WOWvx 3D technology and 2D Plus Depth format.
Official Moto ZN300 photos
Official photos of the Motorola ZN300 first spotted earlier this month have surfaced on Thursday, thanks to Russian site MobileReview. While official specs are still not confirmed, it is believed the multimedia-oriented slider, which could go by the name of MotoZine ZN300, sports a 240x320 display and a 3-megapixel camera.
Philips intros Net TV
Philips has recently announced its 8000-, and 9000-series HDTVs, along with the Cinema 21:9 set announced last month, will have built-in access to the Internet. The service will be called Net TV and will allow users to browse the Internet using their remote control. Philips has partnered up with numerous websites to offer services custom-tailored to be viewable through the TVs.
DealNN: Navigon GPS
Today at DealNN there is a wide selection of electronics from GPS units to Bluetooth headsets at discounted prices. Most notable today is the refurbished Navigon 2100 GPS navigator from eCost.com. This GPS unit is priced at $59 and features a 3.5-inch color touchscreen display with pre-loaded coast-to-coast maps of the lower 48 states in both 2D and 3D modes.
ASUS Android Netbook
ASUS on Friday said it has been developing a netbook based on Google's Android platform. The company's Eee PC division lead, Samson Hu, informs Bloomberg that engineers have been tasked with readying one of the mini notebooks for a tentative end-of-year release window. While specifications aren't known, the smartphone-oriented operating system demands less resources than Windows XP and is usually optimized for ARM processors and touchscreen displays.
MGS Touch details, screens
Publisher Konami has revealed more details for Metal Gear Solid Touch, an upcoming iPhone title based on Hideo Kojima's famous console games. Touch is specifically based on the plot of Metal Gear Solid 4, but unlike the PlayStation 3 title, does not feature any stealth aspects. Players instead make their way through a series of static setpieces, shooting at targets as they appear.
Telenor iPhone deal
Norway's Telenor has signed a deal with Apple that will allow the carrier to distribute the iPhone in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The agreement will bring new competition with TeliaSonera, the only company that offered the handsets in Scandinavia until now. Apple was expected to offer the iPhone solely through TeliaSonera in the area, although both carriers initially expressed interest in the phone and the agreement with Telenor was under consideration last year.
Comcast TWC Online TV
Two US cable providers are looking to put their TV programming online in a bid to preserve their business, sources have reportedly told the Wall Street Journal. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are believed to have been in ongoing talks with content providers, such as NBC and Viacom, for a deal that would let subscribers to cable TV packages stream "much" of their available shows online on the web. The selection would be "well beyond" what free online services like Hulu offer.
Reader, Acrobat security
Several versions of Adobe's Reader and Acrobat utilities are presently exposed to a "critical" security vulnerability, the company writes. In a special alert, Adobe notes that the vulnerability -- the details of which are not being made public -- could be used to cause one of its applications to crash, and in turn gain control of a targeted computer. Some hackers may already be exploiting the flaw, Adobe says.
Philips Tapster BT headset
Philips has recently unveiled its latest Bluetooth headset, the SHB 7110, also appropriately named the Tapster. It uses touch sensitivity to operate its functions, including for adjusting volume and answering and ending phone calls. Phones that support voice dialing can also be made to ring up contacts without ever touching the handset. It works with all HSP- or HFP-rated Bluetooth handsets and is also Bluetooth A2DP compliant, allowing it to receive stereo music from supporting portable devices like cellphones and computers.
vCarder ($1) selects any number of contacts from a users Address Book and sends them to business partners or friends. Users can select which information they want to send for each contact but the original contact card is never modified. vCarder sends the information through an email or through Apple's Bonjour service if two compatible devices are on the same wireless network.
Absynth Spectral Expansion
Native Instruments has expanded its line of KORE Soundpack libraries to include the Absynth Spectral Expansion. The collection includes a variety of sounds based on Absynth's synthesizer engine. Users can choose from 200 unique samples with 1,600 variations, including categories for bass, keys, pads and bells, among others. The expansion pack focuses on organic sounds, utilizing Absynth 4's Wave Morphing feature.
Stream-only Netflix plans
Netflix will offer a streaming-only subscription option by 2010, according to CEO Reed Hastings. Though the company was founded on the concept of mail-order DVD rental, which still forms the bulk of its business, Hastings notes that "millions" of its 10 million subscribers are taking advantage of streaming through computers or set-top boxes. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is said to be a particularly popular medium, with over 1 million Netflix users.
App Store market tactics
Analysis of trends reveals the dynamics of how and why iPhone applications sell, claims Pinch Media. The advertising firm notes for instance that popularity feeds popularity, as appearing in a top 100 list increases new users by 2.3 times, on average. The jump is said to be even more dramatic once in the top 10 or 25 apps of a particular category, though Pinch warns that the App Store is structured for rapid turnover.
Paid Android Apps Show
After promises last week, readers at BGR and elsewhere have found paid apps starting to appear on the Android Market for phones like the T-Mobile G1. The initial lineup is small and primarily involves small 99-cent utilities and classic games, though in some cases apps are paid versions of previously ad-subsidized apps.
RBC on 2009 iPhone Rivals
A slew of new full touchscreen cellphones introduced at this week's Mobile World Congress could significantly impact Apple's competitiveness this year, a research note from RBC Capital Markets says today. Analyst Mike Abramsky notes that the sudden and relative abundance of devices in the iPhone's category will give Apple a more difficult environment than it has encountered in the past. While not necessarily expecting damage to iPhone sales, the researcher warns that there could be either "downshifts" in sales to challengers or else damage to profit margins if Apple feels compelled to more aggressively price any future iPhones.
Vuzix iWear AV310 viewer
Vuzix on Thursday announced that its iWear AV310 Widescreen personal media viewer is now available. The device is worn by users like a set of eyeglasses and includes two tiny screens, one for each eye, which provide a 16:9 aspect ratio and have the ability to display 3D images. Each screen also has independent focal adjustments to accommodate different eyesight. The AV310 Widescreen plugs into iPhones, iPods, cameras, DVD players, video game consoles and other devices that have a composite video output for either NTSC or PAL.
Inherent Mac vulnerability
Macs are exposed to a dangerous vulnerability inherent to the structure of the Mac OS, claims a presenter from this week's Black Hat DC security conference. Vincenzo Iozzo, a student from Italy's Politecnico di Milano, says he has pinpointed an attack based on the way Macs allocate memory. In dissecting the Mach-O file format, Iozzo notes that he has been able to learn where application processes will appear in a Mac's memory. A skilled hacker could use the knowledge to insert malicious code into the same space as an active process, like Safari, and force a Mac to run malware.
HTC 80pc of Win Mo Phones
Microsoft's claims of a diverse Windows Mobile ecosystem may have been undermined by one of its own partners if statements made at the company's Mobile World Congress presentation are accurate. Following remarks by Microsoft Mobile Communications Senior VP Andy Lees that a total of over 50 million Windows Mobile devices have been sold spread across 50 partners and the software's entire history, HTC chief Peter Chou has mentioned that about 40 million HTC-made Windows Mobile phones have sold since the company was founded, leaving about 80 percent of all Windows Mobile phones as HTC-made.
LG 12MP Cameraphone Coming
LG at Mobile World Congress said it plans to release a phone with a 12-megapixel camera. While not detailing the device, UK marketing chief Jeremy Newing says LG is "very much" set to introduce a device and will likely have the phone available sometime this year. He portrays the effort as part of a larger race for sensor depth that LG has to pursue if it wants to remain competitive with rivals, even if it creates problems with uploading photos over the mobile network.
AAPL slides 4 percent
Apple shares fell approximately 4 percent in Thursday trading as a result of a report originally released on Tuesday, observes Needham analyst Charlie Wolf. The report noted that retail Mac sales in the US fell 6 percent in January, at the same time as iPod sales dropped 14 percent. The situation is not nearly as bad as investors appear to have decided though, according to Wolf.
Eee PC 1000HE at Amazon
Amazon today is offering a roughly $25 discount on the fairly new Eee PC 1000HE netbook, which is now shipping to those who bought them in advance. Fulfilling ASUS' promises both for its shipping window as well as for an early-order discount on the 10-inch netbook, the online retailer is offering the stock version of the system in at least black and blue color options for $374. Those who order today will see their own orders shipped within 2-3 weeks.
Acer Phones Free in US
Acer's second wave of smartphones will use cost as a key strategy to infiltrating the US, the company tells PCMag. Although considered high-end in features, at least some of the company's Windows Mobile devices should be heavily subsidized and will land on either AT&T or T-Mobile free with an appropriate service plan. The discount is said possible by Acer smartphone head Aymar de Lencquesaing both through the company's size as well as its previous deal for subsidized netbooks through AT&T, which gives it familiarity with carriers.
Nikon D5000 Rumor
Nikon may be readying a new entry-level digital SLR that either complements or replaces the D60. A source that was originally investingating Olympus information now claims that a camera known as the D5000 may be unveiled at the PMA photography expo next month and that its imaging performance will roughly be on par with the considerably higher-end D90. Among the improvements would be a long-requested increase on the number of autofocusing points from just three on the D40 and D60.
Pixel Qi Ships LCDs
Pixel Qi on Friday said it's closer to shipping LCD displays that should significantly extend the battery life of notebooks. The technology reduces the dependence on a backlight and instead draws on nearby light from both human-made and natural sources to create the illumination itself, potentially extending a portable's run time by letting the backlight stay off in a brightly-lit environment. Pixel Qi estimates that a notebook with three hours of battery life today would get about 4.5 hours on one of its displays, or about a 50 percent boost, without compromising on display quality.
NVIDIA Ion for VIA Coming
NVIDIA chief Jen-Sun Huang has said that NVIDIA is well into development of a version of its Ion platform for VIA's Nano processors. Speaking to Digitimes, Huang says the companies had already demonstrated an early example of it in 2008 but are now committed to releasing a production version sometime this year. Details of any differences between this and the Intel Atom reference version haven't been mentioned, though VIA regularly produces reference netbook platforms like OpenBook based on its most recent hardware.
Art Files, SneakPeek Pro
Code Line has announced its Art Files and SneakPeek Pro now compatible with Adobe Creative Suite 4. Art Files is a stand-alone application that helps users gather and package Illustrator documents, linked images, and fonts for graphics files, which in turn can be archived, shared, or printed off. The software is designed for production artists who work with graphics files, and features the ability to collect several documents at once to help minimize the time spent organizing.
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