TomTom has decided to fight back against Microsoft with a countersuit claiming infringement on several of its own patents, according to PC World. The company accuses Microsoft of infringing on four patents relating to Microsoft Streets and Trips, a mapping software that can be used in conjunction with a GPS receiver attached to a laptop. Triple damages are sought due to willful infringement, as TomTom claims to have previously alerted Microsoft to the issues.
iLuv has launched its latest media player accessory, the iEP505 earphones featuring a sound-isolating design. The earphones provide an in-line volume control, which the company plans to upgrade with support for navigation controls on the latest iPod shuffle. The company claims the drivers are engineered for improved audio reproduction and frequency range.
Palm on Thursday reported its third-quarter financial results, indicating smartphone shipments of just 482,000 units, down 42 percent year-over-year. Smartphone revenue was also hit hard, down 72 percent and contributing to the company's net loss of $98 million. "We're proceeding through a challenging transitional period, however our current results shouldn't overshadow the tremendous progress we've made against our strategic goals," said Ed Colligan, CEO and president. "We're poised to usher in a new era at Palm."
Nimbuzz has updated the Nimbuzz social networking app for the iPhone, adding the ability to make VoIP calls to landlines and mobile phones via Skype-Out. The software supports multiple VoIP technologies and allows iPhone users to communicate over Wi-Fi, 3G, EDGE, GPRS and now via dial-up VoIP. Nimbuzz supports free calls to messenger friends over Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger (MSN) and Google Talk.
Mobis Technology has launched its Just Mobile Cooling Bar, adding lift for comfortable typing and additional passive cooling for Mac notebooks. The Just Mobile is crafted from solid aluminum and features a diamond-cut design that matches the style of a MacBook. It also provides a cable management system and grip rings for to protect notebooks from scratches while anchoring the bar in place.
In brief: LaCie has formed a strategic partnership with an online storage provider, while The X Lab has announced a new troubleshooting book and Parallels has opened preregistration to next year's summit. Caleido AG, creators of the online storage solution Wuala have announced that it has merged with LaCie, a manufacturer of external storage devices. Dominik Grolimund, co-founder and CEO of Caledio AG is excited about the new partnership and believes that together the two companies will be able to "build a reliable and secure cloud storage by integrating millions of devices around the world." LaCie believes the collaboration will allow the company to transform into a comprehensive digital storage provider. Philippe Spruch, LaCie's CEO, is looking forward to providing customers with new storage methods.
Apple has established itself on Twitter, as "itunestrailers," in an attempt to market the iTunes Movie Trailers website. Followers receive notifications regarding the latest movie previews, along with info related to Apple TV and the iPhone or iPod touch. A few of the current trailers include "Enlighten Up," "500 Days of Summer," "Surveillance," "Merry Gentleman" and "Management."
Following the release of iTunes 8.1, Apple has announced that it will allow customers to download HD-quality movies. The content will be available to download or rent within 30 days after release. Users can view the movies on Mac or PC systems, televisions, Apple TV and in standard-definition on the iPhone or iPods with video support.
AT&T has confirmed earlier rumors of a contract-free iPhone, says the Associated Press. Under the new scheme -- set to begin on Thursday, March 26th -- an 8GB iPhone 3G will cost $599, while a 16GB model will cost $699. The prices are a full $400 more than the $199 and $299 options, which should remain available under the limits of a two-year contract.
Added specifications and approximate release dates of three new handsets due to ship to Verizon have been leaked, PhoneArena reported on Thursday. The Nokia Intrigue 7205 will be an Energy Star compliant device that will urge users to unplug it from the wall socket once the phone is fully charged to avoid phantom power draw. It will also be packaged in a small, environmentally-friendly box and the menus and screensavers on the 2.2-inch, 240x320 internal display and external 176x32 PMOLED screen will also have a green theme.
Sony Europe on Thursday unveiled its RHT-G series of TV stands that feature integrated surround sound speaker systems. All share three HDMI inputs and are compatible with BRAVIA Sync for one-remote control of both the TV and the stand. The three models in the range accommodate Sony or third-party TVs of various sizes, with the entry-level RHT-G550 meant for TVs sized at between 32 and 40 inches. This 3.1-channel model contains three midrange speakers and a subwoofer which combine to produce 330W of power.
Featured DealNN deals for today include peripherals, storage, hard drives and more. First up is the Kensington SlimBlade wireless media mouse for $29.99. That's $27 off the original price of $56.99 and the lowest price we could find on this mouse by about $14. Features include a unique scroll ball that provides intuitive 260 scrolling, multifunction navigation pad that allows you to control digital media from anywhere in the room, automatic sleep function, and battery indicator light.
Bang & Olufsen has announced on Thursday it will release its giant 103-inch plasma HDTV this summer. The set is called the BeoVision 4-103 and together with its motorized stand, weighs in at 1,100lbs. The stand will motor up to reveal a center channel speaker that is also motorized and comes out to sit flush with the screen. Users can also adjust the angle and rotate the display to face them squarely via the remote control. The plasma panel comes from a same-size Panasonic display.
On the first day of the Pwn2Own contest at the CanSecWest conference, hackers successfully compromised fully-patched copies of Internet Explorer 8, Safari and Firefox, according to ZDNet. A MacBook running Safari was hacked in seconds by Charlie Miller, winning him the notebook and a $10,000 purse. His previous performance was also impressive, requiring just minutes to take control of a MacBook Air.
PlayFirst has released a new role-playing game, Wandering Willows. Described as a "casual" title, players are stranded in a foreign land after a balloon crash, and forced to engage in a series of quests to return home. Over 150 quests are present in total, asking players to help a variety of characters such as rocketship commanders.
Elgato on Thursday announced it has added 1080p compatibility to its original Turbo.264 USB video conversion dongle, resulting in the Turbo.264 HD. The new product is now much faster than its predecessor, and still allows users to convert videos into the H.264 format that is compatible with portable electronics such as iPods, iPhones, the Apple TV and Sony's PSP and similar devices. Besides resolution, it also adds support for HD camcorder formats such as AVCHD as well as MPEG-2- and MPEG-4-encoded HD content. The Turbo.264 HD automatically detects AVCHD camcorders and moves the recordings in standard- or high-definition to selected source devices.
RIM's BlackBerry 9630, nicknamed the Niagara, could be ready for Verizon soon, according to a rumor. Citing unnamed analysts, TheStreet claims the CDMA carrier will get the phone as early as May and should use it to replace the Curve 8330 that has handled mainstream QWERTY BlackBerry duties on Verizon for about a year. Pricing and other details remain vague, though the existing 8330 sells for $170 before special discounts.
The state of New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs has filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Verizon for allegedly using "deceptive and misleading" marketing practices for its high-performance fiber-optic FiOS television, telephone and Internet services. The lawsuit states Verizon broke the state's Consumer Fraud Act by misrepresenting and omitting material facts in its promotion of the FiOS service.
Thought Out has released its Form iPhone and iPod touch holder, able to adjust to any case or skin a handheld may be enclosed in. The holder is made of high-grade steel with a protective finish, and is claimed to tolerate being reshaped for customized fitting. It is intended to be used with multiple Thought Out stands, including the PED3, PED3-Auto and NAJA King, which elevate a Touch or iPhone off of other surfaces.
A cross-party bill has been submitted in the US Congress this week that would at least temporarily ban additional taxes on cellphones or their service. The Cellphone Tax Fairness Act, sponsored by California Democrat representative Zoe Lofgren and Arizona Republican Trent Franks, would prevent any form of "discriminatory" state tax being applied to the technology for five years after the bill is passed. It wouldn't affect existing state taxes or new federal taxes.
Exiting a beta phase, Graphic Remedy says it will launch the completed version of gDEBugger Mac at this year's Game Developers Conference, scheduled for March 23rd to the 27th in San Francisco. The software is used to debug OpenGL code, used mainly in the rendering of graphics for games and other 3D applications. Tools help identify bottlenecks, memory leaks and redundancies.
What is believed to be the very first device with support for the 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) data standard has been approved by the FCC for use in North America on Tuesday, according to the US regulator's documents. No photos were included in the FCC documents, as LG requested them to be kept confidential, at least for the short-term. Other information is scarce as well, with the only real hard piece of specifications being that the device, which is not guaranteed to be a phone but perhaps a data device only, will operate using only on the 1,700MHz AWS frequency.
WinMagic has begun deploying SecureDoc 4.6, an updated version of its encryption platform. The software is used to deploy full-disk encryption to a company's computers, in the form of 256-bit AES; delivery can be handled through standalone code or via the SecureDoc Enterprise Server. New to the platform is support for Mac and 64-bit Windows systems, in addition to existing Linux and 32-bit versions of Windows.
Joanna Rutkowska of Invisible Things Lab today posted details of a security exploit that could compromise many systems using Intel processors. The techinque involves "poisoning" a given chip's cache memory and forcing access to System Management Mode (SMM), which addresses errors, power management and other features outside of normal processor use. A successful attack would let the attacker either dump the contents of RAM used for SMM so that it can be more easily compromised or else to run arbitrary code from the memory.
Lounge 1.2 ($10) allows users to have their screensaver display information on what is currently playing in iTunes. The screensaver displays information such as the album artwork, play time, artist, and album. It also defaults to a backup screensaver when a playlist by displaying a collage of album artwork. The update has improved compatibility with iTunes 8.1 and allows mosaic art to work while iTunes is closed. [Download - 0.3MB]
Following the beta release of the iPhone OS 3.0, an observer has noted that Apple included code for several new product designations, according to the Boy Genius Report. In addition to the iPhone2,1 hardware ID that was noticed in January, the upcoming OS allegedly includes a second model, iPhone 3,1, which could indicate yet another handset in the product pipeline.
Samsung established a record today by becoming the first to ship 16GB registered DDR3 memory. The feat was accomplished by combining its recent 2-gigabit (512MB) memory chips and would let servers hold very large amounts of total memory. The 1,066Mbps of bandwidth alotted by the combined memory would let as much as 192GB of memory fit in a single computer with 12 memory slots.
Packing List ($2) is a tool that can be used to help simplify the task of packing for trips and vacations. Users can select from one of the built-in packing list templates or create their own. Items can be broken down into different categories and each individual item can be tagged with additional information such as values or descriptions. When the list has been finalized users can send the list to an email account to be accessed on other devices.
NVIDIA announced on Thursday that it will provide its PhysX software development kit (SDK) for registered Nintendo Wii software developers. The announcement comes just two days after a similar release that has the graphics software and chipmaker also making an SDK available for Sony PlayStation 3 developers. Using NVIDIA's PhysX engine, developers can bring more realistic game environments to the game consoles, the company says, especially taking advantage of the PS3's powerful Cell processor that will allow for animating realistic persistent debris such as shattered glass and weapons ammunition, trees that bend in the wind and flowing water.
GM-owned car maker Cadillac has announced an April introduction for its first in-car Internet service. Dubbed Cadillac WiFi, the service is actually based around a device from Autonet Mobile, which is portable between vehicles and should allow computers and similar devices to access the Internet via a local network connection. The first car to come with the option will be the CTS sport sedan; the Autonet device will sell for $499, while maintaining service should cost $29 per month.
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer in an interview Thursday revealed the company's current approach to competing with rivals, particularly Apple. The executive noted he believes that Apple may have difficulties as smartphones gain market share as the iPhone is relatively expensive to make. Where Ballmer estimated that an iPhone costs about $500 before factoring in carrier subsidies, he saw the "sweet spot" as being phones that have a pure cost between $150 and $200, which are more likely to include Windows Mobile.
Cellphone carrier China Mobile remains in talks with Apple, the company's CEO claims. "We have been discussing with Apple, but until now no agreement has been reached," Wang Jianzhou explained to reporters following an annual results announcement. The executive went on to insist that the company is entirely open to outsiders, so long as there is profit to be made, according to Agence France Presse.
Hoping to compete against iTunes and other multi-device movie services, Samsung on Thursday opened a beta version of Samsung Movies. The store lets owners of supporting devices buy or rent movies as well as buy TV shows. Any title comes both in a full, DVD-resolution version for the desktop in Windows Media format as well as in a separate mobile format. About 500 titles are available immediately from major studios but should double by the end of March and top 2,000 by July.
Kedisoft has introduced the first version of MacSnapper, a utility meant to aid the in the creation of notes, manuals, tutorials and kiosk presentations. Images can either be imported into the app, or captured from separate programs; in both cases files are ordered sequentially. Users can then crop images as necessary, and add needed annotation and diagrams to fill out a guide.
For the first time in company history, Sony will freeze the wages of its workers in Japan in an effort to cut operating losses and keep a lid on costs, according to a Financial Times report on Thursday. At the same time, the company will cut average bonuses, with factory workers getting a 53 percent smaller bonuses, down from the equivalent of about $23,400, that in itself is expected to save Sony about $105 million in 2009 compared to last year. The move would let Sony take active steps to keep costs in check without cutting more permanent jobs in its home country.
Bell should be the first Canadian provider to pick up the Samsung Omnia if a leak today from BGR comes to fruition. The touchscreen, Windows Mobile smartphone has been available for months through Verizon in the US but should arrive on its northern counterpart between April 9th and April 12th depending on timing. Whether or not features will change isn't known, though Bell may incorporate its custom interface with more touch-ready shortcuts and features. It's not certain how this would merge with Samsung's TouchWiz, however.
Orientmaple.com has released Guitar Player Classic, an application said to turn an iPhone or iPod touch into a virtual guitar. Different from the companyís first Guitar Player, the new one is designed to provide more of a professional play. The app supplies 16-bit sounds, realistic actions, and the ability to record music for later playback. Users are also able to store all of their recordings in one list, in order to maintain song organization.
Earlier this week, Freecom released its new 2.5-inch ToughDrive Sport external hard drive that is claimed to be capable of withstanding adverse conditions. Available in 250GB, 320GB and 500GB capacities, the drive can withstand a drop onto a flat surface from up to 6.6 feet and can soak up to 300G of force when in operation or 1,000G when turned off. Data is also protected against more human threats through 256-bit encryption.
A new roadmap of upcoming Intel chip upgrades has Intel ramping up clock speeds for its range-topping Core i7 chip as well as adding newer speed grades for its Core 2 line, including the Core 2 Quad S. On May 31st, the chip designer is understood to be introducing a 3.33GHz Core i7 quad-core part, tbe i7-975, that will effectively replace the 3.2GHz model. A 3.06GHz version (i7-950) will also supplant the 2.93GHz model at the same time. The two should be priced at $999 and $562 respectively in large batches.
WebIS has launched its Pocket Informant application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Initially presented at the Macworld Expo, and previously available only for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices, the iPhone app brings users a calendar with task and search functions, plus sync support for Google Calendar and ToodleDo. The program provides several calendar views, such as agenda, month, week and today.
Two unexpected features are in place within the iPhone 3.0 beta firmware, separate sources have uncovered. In uploading a custom carrier settings file, an Irish programmer has discovered that tethering -- using an phone as a computer's cellular modem -- is already functional in the developer seed of iPhone 3.0. The feature was announced during Apple's Tuesday press event, but at the time was claimed to require carrier participation for support.
Cisco on Thursday said it would buy Pure Digital for $590 million in stock. The deal puts the camera maker into the same Consumer Business division as Linksys and gives the larger company control over Pure's lineup, which includes the Flip Mino HD and other Flip devices. Cisco describes the buyout as a way of branching into "visual networking" and that it will "quickly expand" the Flip line as a result.
Cricket today claimed a US first by adding the Nokia 3606 to its stable. The phone has the same "seamless" clamshell design as some more recent flip phones and is distinctly music focused with external, touch-sensitive music controls, the requisite media player, and a microSDHC slot that supports cards up to 8GB. It also has a 1.3-megapixel camera and Bluetooth with stereo audio support.
Sony today launched an aggressive move with its readers by noting its eBook Store would get access to Google's free book library and by cutting the price of its third-generation Sony Reader. The Google catalog of 500,000 titles centers on public domain books such as those from Kate Chopin or Mark Twain and is formatted with both the current Reader and its earlier, non-touch equivalent in mind. The addition immediately boosts the total number of books in Sony's store to 600,000.
Samsung's first Android phone could be ready to launch as early as the summer if tips from within the mobile industry are accurate. DigiTimes both claims the handset will release during the period and also appears to confirm details that had slipped out earlier this week, including a design that resembles the HTC Magic and advanced 3G. Little else is mentioned, though recent leaks point to a finger-friendly capacitive touchscreen and at least a 3.2-megapixel camera.
Microsoft on Thursday said it would launch Internet Explorer 8 at 12PM Eastern. The app is the company's first significant web browser release since 2006 and is partly meant to address gaps in its feature set compared to other, newer browsers: a new rendering engine makes it more compatible with true W3C web standards while still having support for IE-specific pages. It also has shortcuts to perform context-sensitive tasks through specific websites (such as a Facebook search), visual search suggestions, and a WebClip-like feature known as Web Slices that lets users bookmark specific sections of websites and see them at a glance.
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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,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†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