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locr Uploader plugin
Locr has launched the locr Uploader, an iPhoto plug-in that helps users upload images directly from iPhoto to locr. Users can add single photos, complete albums, descriptions, titles and keywords to the site. The plug-in also recognizes manually-geotagged photos and provides controls for the privacy level and image size of exported files. After a picture is successfully uploaded to locr, the new URL is copied into the iPhoto description for future reference.
rubiTrack 1.5 update
Toolsfactory has released an update to its GPS-enabled activity-tracking application for the Mac, rubiTrack 1.5. The program is designed to help log and organize outdoor activities, while enabling users to store information that can be displayed in detailed maps. The update offers several new features such as power charts, time-driven diagrams and direct sync with WinTec WBT201. Users can now import TCX files, heart rate information, cadence and power data from compatible devices.
Sony iPod speaker system
Sony has expanded its line of audio devices with the CMT-LX30iR, an entry-level speaker system that offers a dock for iPhones or iPods and a USB connection. A slot-load MP3 player is also provided, with support for MP3 playback, along with an AM/FM tuner and line in. The speakers each offer 5W of output, and users can select from several EQ presets including rock, pop, jazz and flat.
LaCie USB keys
LaCie has introduced several new storage products designed by 5.5 Designers, including the iamaKey, itsaKey and PassKey. The iamaKey and itsaKey are both key-shaped USB flash drives, featuring metal construction and capacities up to 8GB. The gold-plated connectors are claimed to be water- and scratch-resistant, with transfer rates of up to 30MB per second via USB 2.0.
Intuit Online Payroll
Intuit has announced plans to extend its web-based Online Payroll service to Mac users, with support for Safari and integration with QuickBooks for Mac. Earnings, payroll taxes and deductions are all automatically calculated after entering an employee's hours, with options to either print paychecks from a local printer or pay via Direct Deposit.
Nokia denies Verizon rumor
Nokia has denied rumors claiming it had established a deal with Verizon to introduce a 4G touchscreen device, according to Engadget. Anonymous sources suggested the two companies were collaborating on a device that would provide 4G Internet access via Verizon's upcoming LTE network. The service is scheduled to begin operation sometime early in 2010, with current speeds reaching 60Mbps.
U2 partners with RIM
U2 appears to have taken a step away from its relationship with Apple, as the band has chosen Research In Motion to sponsor the upcoming U2 360 Degrees tour. Apple in 2004 joined with U2 and Universal Music Group (UMG) to "create innovative products together for the new digital music era." Bono and The Edge stood with Steve Jobs to announce the new generation of iPods, including an iPod U2 Special Edition that included custom engravings of the band members' signatures.
Verizon Touch Diamond
Specs and photos of the upcoming HTC Touch Diamond for use on Verizon's network were leaked over the weekend. The pre-production handset is indicative of the final model and similar to the reference Diamond design, as it runs on a 528MHz Qualcomm CPU and 128MB of RAM. The 2.8-inch touchscreen has a resolution of 480x640, while a built-in accelerometer will rotate the display as necessary whenever the device's orientation calls for it.
Amazon HD testing on TiVo
According to several unnamed and unofficial sources, Amazon will soon add HD content via their Video On Demand store, though it seems that this will be offered on TiVo set-top boxes only. The unofficial sources also say the progressive downloads include surround sound information for a Blu-ray HD movie-like viewing experience. Last week, Amazon began offering its VOD library via the Roku Player, though no HD content is available. Mention of HD Amazon videos on TiVo has been kicking around since last year, when unused shortcuts to HD content in the TiVo menu were discovered.
AMBER Alert delays
Approval delays for the iTunes App Store have become out of hand, claims the developer of the AMBER Alert iPhone application. Jonathan Zdziarski is publicizing an open letter directed at Apple CEO Steve Jobs, complaining that while the app was originally submitted to the App Store on February 14th, its approval status is still listed as "In Review." The problem is that the delay of the app may be having real-world consequences, according to Zdziarski.
GrandTotal 1.2 ($65) is an invoicing application for Mac OS X that is designed for freelancers and small to mid sized companies. GrandTotal features a built-in editor that allows users to adjust their layout to fit a companies corporate design. Version 1.2 has added the ability to create Gross-Invoices, support for the iPhone, a status banner and the option to place mailed documents on a backdrop. The update has also improved integration with the Address Book and fixed several bugs. [Download - 9.6MB]
Nokia event on Wednesday
Nokia is teasing the public with an advertisement for an event this Wednesday, March 11th, that would possibly see the release of a music phone, with many thinking it could be yet another handset compatible with the company's Comes With Music service. If so, this would be the third such phone, adding to the current 5800 XpressMusic and 5630 XpressMusic, the latter launched less than a month ago. The event will likely consist of a product announcement, followed by two question and answer sessions, happening in the morning and evening online at Nokia Events. No other details are known, including whether this is indeed a new product announcement or a change to the service itself. Many are hoping it will be a long-awaited announcement that the service is finally coming to North America.
NiceMac scraps StarPlayr
NiceMac has announced that since its StarPlayr Sirius radio app has failed to receive approval at Apple's App Store, it will be scrapping the entire StarPlayr project. Back in January, NiceMac submitted the iPhone app for approval and waited roughly a month before receiving a statement that they could not be approved at the time. Gizmodo notes that a potential factor blocking the app from being approved could be that a first-party app from Sirius may be in development, though it remains unconfirmed.
Thanko MP3 player
Japan's Thanko on Monday released its latest Sport MP3 digital audio player that weighs just 1.5 ounces (42 grams). The wraparound neckband is made of highly flexible plastic that resists breakage, and the earbuds are highly adjustable to help users find the right fit. The Sport MP3 has 2GB of integrated memory, supports MP3s, WMAs, and WAVs, and its integrated lithium-ion battery's life is rated at up to five hours.
Nokia Intrigue spotted
Over the weekend, photos of the Nokia Intrigue 7205 handset coming to Verizon were published, revealing the handset will be available in two color options. First revealed as coming to Verizon in February, the Intrigue will be offered in an all-black body with a square navigational D-pad as well as in black and pink with a flower-shaped pad. The handset's horizontally oriented external display shows basic information such as time, signal and incoming call information.
Mental Blocks, Wake!Gently
Inspiration ($1) is an application that can display random motivational quotes at the touch of a button. Each quote can be emailed or users can find out additional information on the author through a Wikipedia link. Inspiration includes a large database of quotes that come from a range of different authors.
Needham on App Str. rivals
The emergence of unofficial app stores as an alternative to iTunes does not pose a serious threat to Apple's bottom line, according to Needham analyst Charlie Wolf. Services such as the Cydia Store could in theory deprive Apple of its 30 percent commission made via the App Store, but Wolf proposes that the alternatives will be unable to sell sanctioned titles, which already number over 25,000. Instead, third parties may be limited to potentially offensive or poor-quality apps.
Motorola intros MC55 EDAs
Motorola on Monday announced the upcoming North American release of its MC55 Enterprise Digital Assistants (EDAs). The devices act as cellphones, two-way radios, bar code scanners, digital cameras, and mobile computers in the same device and are meant to alleviate the need for more than one device. The pair feature 3.5-inch, 320x240 resolution displays and are differentiated by the inclusion of wide-area wireless data in the MC5574 while the MC5590 makes do with an Ethernet port and a Wi-Fi connection for accessing the Internet on local networks.
MSI GT628 Notebook
In the wake of CeBIT, MSI today revamped its GT series notebooks with the GT628. The 15.4-inch notebook is one of the first US-bound systems to carry NVIDIA's new GeForce GTS 160M and, combined with 1GB of video memory, is potentially 50 percent faster than older systems in graphics-heavy games. The chipset also reduces the strain of playing 1080p video.
Android and iPhone Study
Google's decision to launch an open-source mobile platform may be key to Android phone sales overtaking the iPhone's by 2012, according to estimates by Informa. Researcher Gavin Byrne predicts that phones like the T-Mobile G1 will eventually outrun Apple as a new focus on software over hardware will reportedly favor Android's open development system versus closed systems like Apple's. Other open-source platforms like LiMo and the eventual Symbian update should also benefit, Byrne says.
SocketHead Studios has released myTuneSync 1.2, an update to its iTunes synchronization utility that allows content to be transferred between computers. The latest version adds support for additional metadata attributes, along with the ability to sync playlists. A new function can be used to search and select groups of tracks while the program is running a sync.
Hulu blocks Boxee RSS
TV streaming service Hulu is once again attempting to block access from the Boxee media browsing client, the latter company claims. After Boxee was initially forced to remove a dedicated Hulu component, the company developed a workaround in the form of an RSS reader that tapped into publicly-accessible feeds. Even this access is now being blocked, despite continued Hulu RSS compatibility with ordinary web browsers.
Mimi Switch reads faces
A Japanese device called the Mimi Switch or Ear Switch has the ability to read a wearer's facial expression, including a blink of an eye, smile or raised eyebrow. It can accomplish this via its infrared sensors in the ear, the inside of which moves according to the facial expressions, and translate those movements into controls for attached personal electronics devices such as iPods. Invented and developed by Kazuhiro Taniguchi of the Engineering Science Graduate School at Osaka University, the device is connected to a computer which interprets the signals to control connected devices.
Sony OLED Walkman
Sony has finally posted up a product page for its NWZ-X1000 series Walkman MP3 player, albeit in Hong Kong, revealing it will sport a 3-inch OLED display that plays video at 320x240 even though the hardware supports a larger 432x240 resolution. On that energy efficient screen, users will be able of watching MPEG-4, H.264 and WMV format videos or browse the Internet and watch YouTube videos thanks to the Walkman's already recognized Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, videos are only playable up to 2GB in size.
New ASUS Eee Tops
ASUS has used CeBIT 2009 to premiere more advanced versions of its all-in-one Eee Top PCs, an Italian publication notes. New to the company's line are the ET2003 and ET2203, larger 20- and 22-inch sizes to complement existing 15.6-inch systems. The new computers have also been made cosmetically similar to Apple's modern iMacs, using the combination of a gray outer frame and a black display frame hidden behind glossy protection.
LG Viewty 2 Details
LG today was revealed to have provided early details of its likely update to the Viewty in a largely unnoticed booth area at last week's CeBIT show. In addition to specifcations, Phone Arena has obtained photos that effectively confirm the GC900 will replace its camera-centric predecessor: the device will have an upgraded 8-megapixel sensor with a Schneider-Kreuznach lens and Xenon flash. It should also have a much sharper 800x480, 3-inch touchscreen useful for the phone's DivX video and Dolby Mobile sound support.
Final Cut on Mar. 24th?
Apple continues to have special plans for March 24th, a German website claims. Although rumors had pointed to an update of Mac desktops on that date, Apple surprised analysts and the public by releasing the systems on March 3rd instead. Some form of announcement is believed to remain scheduled for the 24th however, specifically relating to the company's professional video software.
ASUS Eee Box B208
ASUS has added a new headlining model to its nettops in the Eee Box B208. The new version is much more of a home theater replacement and comes with a 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4350 that gives it true, hardware-accelerated HD video playback. It also provides HDMI output for its likely home theater role and acceleration for Windows Vista Business, which itself is rare in nettops.
Apple ditches plastic bags
Apple has put a formal end to the use of plastic bags in its retail stores, say reports. Instead of giving bags to customers for taking products home, the company is now said to be offering help to carry large collections of goods to a person's car. As an alternative, people can ask Apple clerks to hold on to various items while they continue shopping at other outlets in a mall.
Win Mobile Market Slip
Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile may be no more than a website, a new discovery seemingly confirms. A placeholder page shows a cellphone-sized teaser promising that the Windows Mobile software store is "coming soon" to that location. The posting suggests that Microsoft's promised accessibility through the desktop web and pre-6.5 versions of Windows Mobile will be accomplished by requiring that every user access a website instead of a native app.
Universal wins iTunes case
Universal Music has defeated the production company behind rapper Eminem in a case centered around iTunes royalties, Bloomberg writes. FBT Productions has argued that Eminem is entitled to half of the royalties collected by Universal from sales of his tracks at the iTunes Store; Apple receives a small commission beforehand. At the heart of the dispute has been whether Eminem's arrangement constitutes a licensing agreement, or simply another distribution deal. Universal has argued for the latter, rejecting suggestions that the special restrictions on iTunes downloads create a licensing agreement by default.
Seagate shows 6GBps HDD
Seagate on Monday at the Everything Channel Xchange Conference in New Orleans has shown off a hard drive with a SATA 3 interface that allows it to transfer files at burst speeds up to 6 gigabits per second, or a real-world 600 megabytes per second. This is double the theoretical maximum of 3Gbps of the current SATA 2 interface and quadruple that of SATA drives, which peak at 1.5Gbps. The drive, developed in partnership with chipmaker AMD, will be backwards compatible with the existing SATA and SATA 2 interfaces, using the same cables.
Palm Resell Stock
Palm this morning took action to keep itself afloat and chose to put 18.5 million shares of its stock back on the market. The move gives the early smartphone pioneer at least $49 million in cash and would simultaneously give Palm's primary investor, Elevation Partners, that same money to use in buying back stock at Palm's higher price. How many of these shares will be bought isn't specified, though buying all 18.5 million shares would equal roughly $113.8 million, or more than double their original value.
Cisco May Buy Pure
Multiple claimed sources have said network device firm Cisco has or will buy Pure Digital. The value of the deal is estimated by TechCrunch to be over $500 million and would give Cisco control over the Flip line of pocket video cameras, such as the Flip Mino HD. Buying the still small, young Pure is believed part of a larger strategy to encourage heavy Internet use that would justify its network equipment.
AMD ATI FirePro 2450
AMD on Monday catered to multi-display power users by launching the FirePro 2450. The board is one of the few small, slim video cards to support four displays and can attach as many as four DVI or VGA displays at once, even at 1920x1200 resolution. AMD considers it an option for stock market trackers and others who need as many screens as possible without the space or cost requirements of multiple video cards.
Apple Touch Netbook Rumor
Apple is gearing up suppliers to build a touchscreen netbook that would ship in the summer of this year, according to Taiwan's Commercial Times. Following a confirmation by local display maker Wintek that it's developing touchscreens for new Apple products, the Times said that at least some of these panels are destined for a netbook that would ship sometime during the summer. A regular supplier of Apple, Quanta, would manufacture the netbook itself.
Asus has expanded its line of G-series gaming notebooks with the G71Gx. The device is based on Intel's Centrino 2 platform and features the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M GPU with 1GB of DDR3 VRAM, doubling the graphics memory of the previous G71. The company also integrated three SODIMM slots, allowing configurations with up to 12GB of RAM, while a 17-inch display offers a resolution of 1920 by 1200 pixels.
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