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AOL has split AIM 2.0 for the iPhone into an ad-supported free download, known as AIM Free, and a paid version, AIM Paid. Both variants offer several new features including SMS notifications, location-aware services and support for multiple accounts. Users can access contacts from within AIM, with a choice to send an IM or an SMS message to a phone number. An account can stay logged-in for up to 24 hours, even while the program isn't running.
Google has changed the terms of its Android Market to prevent owners of unlocked G1 handsets from downloading paid applications, according to Macworld. The unlocked phones are now unable to download copy-protected programs, which includes the paid content. The transition was completed relatively quietly, although acknowledged on a help site by a Google employee. "If you're using an unlocked, developer phone, you'll be unable to view any copy protected application," the response read. "This is a chance that was made recently."
Apple's board members at the annual shareholders meeting tried to boost investor confidence in the company despite Steve Jobs' absence. "I'm confident in the future of the company," said COO Tim Cook, the executive filling in for the CEO during his leave of absence. Cook also reminded the audience that Jobs still plans on returning to company after June.
SmartBackup 2.3 ($22) is a tool for creating various types of backups, such as small daily data backups on network drives or full bootable clones of Mac OS X on a second hard drive. The update includes a new option that can automatically purge archived files after a defined time. It also includes several bugfixes and general improvements. [Download - 0.95MB]
The iPhone 3G will now be coming to a second provider in France, SFR, following government orders that asked Apple to expand distribution beyond the exclusive deal with Orange. The handsets will cost 100 euros (~$125 USD) for the 8GB version or 200 euros (~$250 USD) for the 16GB variant. Prices for 24-month contracts with unlimited messaging, data and Wi-Fi range from 42 euros (~$54 USD) per month to 68 euros (~$87 USD) per month depending on the number of minutes.
Microsoft on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against TomTom, accusing the navigation company of infringing on a number of patents. The dispute involves eight individual patents, with three relating to the use of a Linux kernel. Microsoft claims to have engaged the Dutch company for more than a year, attempting to negotiate a licensing agreement for the technology that has "been licensed by many others."
Gateway this afternoon swung its attention to its desktops with a trio of mid-range tower systems. The FX series gets a new balance between the budget and high-end systems with two new models. The FX6800-11 at $1,300 improves on the entry 01e version with twice the memory, at 6GB, and unspecified faster graphics than the 01e's Radeon HD 4850; the FX6800-09 has few details but at $1,650 is a further improvement that Gateway sees as sitting exactly in between the 01e and the flagship 05 system. Both use Core i7 processors.
The Omni Group has released OmniOutliner 3.8, along with freeware versions of several existing applications including OmniWeb, OmniDazzle, OmniDiskSweeper and OmniObjectMeter. The OmniOutliner update adds a quick-look preview of files that are attached or linked to documents. The preview can be accessed by clicking on the attachment and pushing the space bar. Support for Keynote files has been improved, now allowing users to import Keynote '09 files. A few bugs relating to the HTML exporters have also been fixed.
MyWeather ($10) is a weather application that features an interactive heads up radar display, animated satellite imagery, and radar data caching. The application allows users to control terrain settings (road or aerial), animated overlay (radar or satellite with radar), opacity, and play/pause loop. Users can also choose between inches or millibars of pressure as well as Celsius or Fahrenheit temperature.
(Update with response from Boxee) Apple has quietly released a software update for the Apple TV, its media-streaming set-top box. A list of changes made in the v2.3.1 update is currently unavailable, but it is known that the code breaks Boxee, a popular third-party software client which provides functions such as better format support, access to online streaming services and various social networking options. Earlier updates have also broken Boxee, though this is not believed to be intentional.
A version of the W90 notebook from ASUS introduced at this year's CES is now shipping. The W90Vp-X1 sports an 18.4-inch screen with 1920x1200 resolution thanks in part to the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4870 X2 dual video card with 1GB of dedicated memory. Processing power comes courtesy of a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 6GB of RAM. The mainboard is based on Intel's X38, which is made for desktops. A Turbo Gear function will let users overclock the CPU by 25 percent.
Pioneer Europe on Wednesday announced it is shipping its BDR-203BK Blu-ray disc writer that is capable of recording single- and dual-layer BD-R discs at up to 8X speeds. The burner can also record to BD-RE discs at 2X speeds, as well as DVD-Rs at 16X speeds. Dual-layer DVD-Rs can be written at 8X speeds, with CD-Rs at 32X. Pioneer integrated a few of its technologies into the burner, including Ultra DRA vibration-suppressing tech borrowed from the company's DVD burners.
Mac-Chi has released Googaby 1.0, an app meant to sync Google Contacts and Address Book. The program features a drag-and-drop workflow, and uses a layout similar to iTunes. Among other features is WhoPaste, a tool which captures bulk contact data from third-party applications and breaks it down into Address Book-friendly code. New contacts can be added to Address Book, Google Contacts or both, and subsequently routed into specified groups.
Nokia on Wednesday announced it will launch its Comes With Music service, along with the compatible Nokia 5800 XpressMusic handset, in Australia on March 20th. The handset, Nokia's first touchscreen device, will have access to a library that has more than 4 million tracks. As in other countries, the service will give users the option to download an unlimited amount music to their PC or the 5800 handset for one year and keep what they download, unlike other time-limited or pay-per track services.
Fujitsu on Wednesday announced the upcoming release of its LifeBook A1120 notebook PC which is due to replace the current LifeBook A1110. Like the predecessor, the new notebook has swappable lids that lets users customize the look of the computer, but the notebook has upgraded hardware that increases system performance. Processing power comes from a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, while RAM can be upgraded up to 4GB. Storage can be optioned up to 250GB on a 5,400RPM SATA hard drive.
tagtraum has announced beaTunes 2.0, an update of its iTunes library management utility with music key detection, better memory efficiency, and the ability to work with very large libraries. beaTunes analyzes libraries, fixing missing or existing information in order to generate better playlists; the app can also locate artist and title data for tracks without clear identifiers.
In spite of a major redesign effort, Amazon isn't likely to experience the iPod-like growth curve in Kindle 2 sales that some expect, a research note from JPMorgan says today. Analyst Imran Khan expects the retailer to sell only 500,000 of the e-book readers this year and thus that the company will grow relatively little from its sales of the first-generation Kindle in 2008. Amazon has been hesitant to provide definitive numbers for the original reader despite frequent sellouts.
Choosing at an annual meeting, Apple shareholders have voted to re-elect all members of the company's current board of directors. These include Al Gore, Intuit CEO Bill Campbell, J. Crew CEO Millard Drexler, Avon CEO Andrea Jung, Genentech head Arthur Levinson, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Harwinton Capital leader Jerome York. Most critical may be the re-election of Apple's own CEO, Steve Jobs, who together with the rest of the board will serve for at least one more year.
This Friday at the FC Expo 2009 in Tokyo, Sony will show off a number of hybrid fuel cells, with the most notable being the pictured devices. They combine a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a methanol fuel cell and are capable of using one or both at the same time if conditions call for it. Power made by the methanol fuel cell that is not used is stored in the battery pack. A USB port lets users plug in and charge their portable electronics.
SoftBank has announced a promotion that will allow customers in Japan to receive free 3G iPhones when signing up for a two-year contract. The 8GB version is available for free with a basic, premium or student plan. The 16GB variant costs ¥11,520 (~$120), but customers pay an additional ¥480 (~$5USD) per month on, across a two-year plan, instead of providing the lump sum up front.
If accurate, a new leak has NVIDIA releasing an updated version of its Ion platform with support for more than just netbook processors. As part of a presentation obtained by Fudzilla that responds to Intel criticism of Ion, NVIDIA has acknowledged that it will launch a second-generation version that supports not only the Atom and VIA Nano but also regular Celeron, Pentium and Core 2 chips. The update would allow full-speed notebooks to use the smaller footprint.
Nokia on Wednesday began selling a North American version 5800 XpressMusic in the US, marking the first time a Nokia touchscreen phone is available in a North America-native version. The new version adds support for 3G data over 850MHz HSPA and lets subscribers to AT&T connect at up to the full 3.6Mbps downstream speed of its network. As an unlocked model, it can also be used with Rogers' 3G service in Canada and supports regular EDGE data on T-Mobile.
Tao Effect has launched Espionage 2.0, providing five new features and a variety of fixes for the folder encryption software. Version 2.0 introduces application associations, which removes the previous requirement of unlocking a folder before using it with a third-party app; the upgraded Espionage simply requires a password to open a folder, which is locked automatically once a program has been shut down. Templates for 18 different applications are included, allowing users to associate a password with each one.
Amazon has posted Sony's NWZ-X1000-series Walkman multimedia players on its UK webstore, revealing their prices and approximate dates of availability. The two devices, each equipped with a 3-inch OLED touchscreen display with 432x240 resolution, are aimed squarely at the iPod Touch and Samsung P3. The NWZ-X1050B has a built-in 16GB drive and is priced at the equivalent of $305 while the larger 32GB NWZ-X1060B version costs about $403. The site promises either should ship to customers in two to five weeks.
Wireless provider AT&T on Wednesday announced it will add the Pantech Breeze C520 flip phone in black to its offering later this week. The two-tone phone features an all-black exterior along with a silver-painted interior and has the same features as the current all-silver Breeze, including a VGA camera with video capture capabilities, access to e-mail and a WAP web browser. Instant messaging via mobile clients for AOL, Yahoo and Windows Live Messenger is also supported, all via the EDGE network.
AT&T is warning customers to be especially careful in charging its Quickfire messaging phone, a circulating letter shared with Electronista reveals. Some owners of the Quickfire GTX75 are said to be connecting the AC charger upside-down, an action which requires forcing the connector into the phone. The result can be "significant overheating," according to AT&T, which has in turn led to the letter, explaining how to properly charge a Quickfire.
Adobe has patched multiple exploit holes present within recent versions of Flash, a company security bulletin informs. The vulnerabilities primarily affect Mac and Windows editions of Flash software at or below v10.0.12.36, as well as the Linux Flash Player starting with v10.0.15.3; the principal exploit involves luring people into loading a malicious SWF file, which exposes a computer to hacking. Two fixes have been made to deter "clickjacking," triggered by clicking on a particular space on a webpage.
Microsoft could have Windows 7 on shipping PCs by September, Compal president Ray Chen said today at an investor's conference. The PC contractor executive understands from plans that the software should be available in either late September or early October. The news would corroborate word of an April release candidate that would let Microsoft finish, manufacture and deliver Windows 7 well ahead of the holidays.
Developer PopCap says it has released a Mac port of Peggle Nights, its puzzle game sequel. Similar to the classic Breakout, players attempt to clear bricks out of a series of screens using a bouncing metal ball, which must avoid obstacles and be shot precisely to maximize combos. Nights switches Peggle into a "dreamtime" theme, with characters taking on alter egos.
A research note from Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey today claims that Sony is likely on the verge of a price drop for the PlayStation 3. The researcher cites channel investigations that hint at a cut within the "next couple of days," though how deep the cuts would run and whether they would apply to both 80GB and 160GB models isn't known. Sony introduced these models just last year but hasn't lowered prices since the $399, 40GB PS3 shipped in 2007.
FileMaker has announced the 2009 FileMaker Developer Conference, scheduled to be held at the Hilton San Francisco between August 13th and the 16th. The conference is a gathering of FileMaker database developers, trainers and users, and this year should feature over 60 workshops and sessions. Some topics will include a "deep dive" into Script Triggers, a new feature in FileMaker Pro 10 that helps automate tasks, and the use of FileMaker Server in a virtualized environment.
AMD Business Development head John Fruehe late yesterday confirmed plans for his company's first 6-core processor. Nicknamed "Istanbul," a variant of the company's current 45 nanometer Opteron processors is due in the second half of this year and should provide significantly more simultaneous computing power without hurting power use. Fruehe claims tests show the same levels of energy and heat as for existing quad-core Opterons.
Nintendo on Wednesday announced its recently-announced DSi portable gaming device will soon be available in pink, green and metallic green in addition to the traditional white and black. In its home market of Japan, the new colors of the DSi will be available on March 20th, while previously mentioned black and blue versions of the system will come to North America on April 5th. Black and white DSis will ship in Europe on April 3rd and Australia on April 2nd. Nintendo has not mentioned when the new colors will launch in these regions, however. The black and white DSis are currently available in Japan.
Panasonic, Philips and Sony today published plans to create a single licensing firm for Blu-ray discs. The new, unnamed company will let companies visit just one place to get rights to make Blu-ray burners, movie players and discs and as a result should lower the costs of the licenses themselves. The group estimates that the cost of a license should drop "at least" 40 percent versus today's approach, which requires talking to each of the three partner companies individually.
Having only launched a beta Mac version of the technology in October, GarageGames' InstantAction online gaming service is now in final release for both Mac and Windows systems. Visitors to the site are able to play games through their web browser, with the key difference that while most game portals are dedicated to single-player Flash puzzles, InstantAction provides full-fledged 3D action titles, several of which are multiplayer.
Intel reportedly plans to release a pair of significantly faster ultra low-voltage processors for ultraportable notebooks within the space of a month. Sources at PC builders tell Digitimes that the company will introduce a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, the SU9600, that represents a significant boost in performance over the older 1.4GHz chip but should still consume just 10W of power. It should also be accompanied by a similar jump with a Core 2 Solo SU3500 chip that upgrades the single-core chip speed from 1.2GHz to 1.4GHz.
Dell this morning revealed more ambitious plans for its desktops with an early launch for the Studio XPS 435. Unlike the original, the new version has its own, much sleeker case design with better airflow and more room for expansion: the new system has room for up to 24GB of memory (up from 12GB), holds as much as 4.5TB of storage and carries a 475W power supply that can handle significantly more expansion than most pre-made PCs.
Vestalife has released the Butterfly, an iPod speaker dock that allows users to listen to their music while charging the device. The Butterfly consists of two speakers at the top, an iPod docking station in the middle which holds most iPod models, LED volume indicators, and an auxiliary-in jack that allows users to connect non-docking iPods, CD players, or other MP3 devices. Also included in the Butterfly is a USB port that enables synchronizing with a computer.
Apple's Steve Jobs has been nominated for the Prince of Asturias 2009 award in the Scientific and Technical Research category. Mundo Mac is reporting the nomination Tuesday, coincidentally on Jobs' birthday, by the Graphic Arts of Asturias and supported by the Spanish Federation of Printing Industry (FEIGRAF). The Prince of Asturias Awards are annual prizes given by the Fundación Príncipe de Asturias in Spain, in eight categories, including arts, communications, literature and sports, among others.
Adobe on Wednesday released the latest update to its photo editing software, Photoshop CS4 11.0.1. The new version of CS4 deals with several issues that resulted in slow performance of the program, the pen barrel rotation with Wacom tablets not working properly, and problems with the program crashing when either pasting formatted text or dealing with corrupt font. In addition to the fixes, the update also enables Photoshop to correctly recognize 3D textures that have been edited by a plug-in, and improvements in quality to the results of the Auto-Blend Layers function.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k