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Ballmer blasts Apple
Steve Ballmer, speaking at a The McGraw-Hill Companies' 2009 Media Summit in New York, blasted Apple when asked about the momentum that Macs have been gaining in the computer market, according to TechFlash. Ballmer reacted quickly and claimed that the opposite is true. "Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction," he said.
ASUS prices Shell for UK
Styled like the MacBook Air, the ASUS Eee PC 1008HA that debuted at CeBIT early in March was given pricing information on Friday for the UK market. The 10-inch netbook will cost the equivalent of about $518 including applicable taxes when it launches in the market at an unspecified date in April. The ultra-thin netbook, dubbed Seashell for its shape, weighs just 2.4lbs and is just one inch thick at its edges.
SanDisk slotRadio player
The Sansa slotRadio MP3 player from SanDisk that was first introduced at CES has been given an official release date on Friday, with the company announcing it will make the $100 player available then. Buyers will get a microSD card with the player preloaded with 1,000 popular songs from every common genre on the Billboard charts. While these files will be DRM-protected and only play on the Sansa slotRadio, users can plug in their own tracks on separate microSD cards.
Rivet MacBook sleeves
Rivet has expanded its line of protection accessories with several new sleeves for 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks, along with the iPhone 3G and iPod touch. The Horizontal and Vertical notebook sleeves are produced from fabric and vintage leather to provide extra protection for the devices when placed in a briefcase, bag or backpack.
Prosopagnosia, MLB Sched
WaterThumber 2.1 ($20) is a tool that allows users to resize images for online publication in one batch process. The software can create high-quality thumbnails and smaller versions of images or add custom watermarks. Brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness adjustments can also be made to each image and all the EXIF data, including brand-specific camera information and GPS coordinates are preserved. Version 2.1 includes three new watermark placement options and a new bug reporting system. The update also includes a few graphical changes and fixes for several miscellaneous bugs. [Download - 3.3MB]
Deals from DealNN today showcase a variety of products from MacBooks to iPod docking stations. OnSale.com has reduced the price on the white Logitech Pure-Fi anywhere compact speakers for iPod from $127.99 to $75.99. This docking station is compatible with most dockable iPods and includes a travel case and wireless remote.
Apple refurbs: iPods
Apple's online store is offering a wide range of refurbished products including unibody MacBooks, current-generation iPods and more. For a limited time get the previous-generation 2GB iPod shuffle for $39. Other Shuffle selections include the 1GB model in current-generation green, pink, and blue is also $39, while the 2GB version is $59 and is available in the same color options. The 8GB iPod nano is priced at $129 and comes in orange, green, purple, blue, pink, silver, yellow, and black. Unibody MacBook models start at $1099 for the 2.0GHz model with 2GB of memory and 160GB hard drive and go up to $1899 for the 2.4GHz model with 2GB of memory and a 128GB solid state drive.
Acer recalls Predator PC
Two reported cases of melting internal components and external cases due to a short circuit in the Predator gaming PC have prompted its manufacturer, Acer, to issue a voluntary recall on Thursday. As many as approximately 215 examples of the PC, launched in the US this past fall, are potentially affected, and they were produced between May and December of 2008. There were no reported injuries in either of the overheating cases, Acer says.
Stealth intros fanless PC
Stealth Computer on Friday released its latest product, a small form factor desktop computer, the LPC-625F. The computer is meant for use in tight spaces, such as in cars or other applications where space is at a premium thanks to its fanless design. The cooling fans on the extruded aluminum chassis dissipate heat instead and the PC is nearly noise-free when operating. Processing power comes from a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, though a faster 2.53GHz chip can be ordered. There is support for up to 4GB of RAM, with 1GB as standard fare.
iFun app for Wii
Use of iFun has been demonstrated at the recent iGames Summit. The app enables an iPhone or iPod touch to be treated as a virtual remote for Nintendo's Wii console. Accelerometer and touchscreen controls are forwarded over local Wi-Fi, or else via a 3G network. By using a Facebook account and logging into the Social Gaming Network, the technology is also able to relay players' swings, shakes and steering to games played on a computer.
Thomson launches MP3HD
Thomson announced on Thursday the release of a newly developed, backwards-compatible, lossless MP3HD format. Thomson had a hand in developing the digital MP3 audio format, but unlike MP3, the MP3HD format is lossless, meaning none of the audio information is lost though the files will naturally be slightly larger in size. The MP3HD format is backwards compatible with the original MP3 format, which is compatible with lossless audio codecs including FLAC, HD-AAC and Windows Media lossless.
Commander EaW update
Freeverse on Thursday released Commander: Europe at War 1.0.6, an update to the turn-based World War II strategy game developed by Firepower Entertainment and Slitherine Software. Changes include cross-platform multiplayer play, improved load times and framerates, and a series of fixes to the game's multiplayer, sound, experience and fog of war aspects. Freeverse is selling the game for $50.
Xbox 360 tops PS3, NPD
With the recent release of the NPD market research group's sales numbers for gaming consoles and associated game titles for the month of February, Microsoft product management director Aaron Greenberg boasted about the superior performance of the Xbox 360. In the Friday Gamasutra report, Greenberg points out Microsoft's 53 percent annual sales boost for the Xbox 360, saying it exceeded expectations. He also has something to say about rival Sony's year-to-year declines, which showed two consecutive months of declines, blaming it largely on a price of entry for the PS3 that hasn't budged despite the tough economic conditions.
World of Blackjack ships
Candywriter has newly published World of Blackjack, a new gambling title for the Mac. The game is themed around visiting famous gambling destinations, specifically Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City, Macao and Monte Carlo. Each area has a unique set of rules, such as face-down dealing in downtown Las Vegas; players can also create custom casinos with their own rulesets and strategy cards.
Sprint handset dates leak
A Friday Engadget report has an apparent image of a Sprint inventory sheet that reveals ship dates and prices for a few previously spotted Sprint handsets. The screen capture reveals the Samsung M810, expected to be called the Dash when it reaches stores, will be available in Graphite and Bronze colors on April 15th at Sprint partner Brightpoint and the 19th at Sprint, with a contract-free price tag of $450.
NJ iPhone speed lawsuit
Apple and AT&T are the subjects of another lawsuit involving speeds on the iPhone 3G, reports say. A case on behalf of Damone Dickerson has been filed in the US District Court for New Jersey, accusing Apple of misrepresenting the speed and quality possible with AT&T's networking and the iPhone. In practice, Dickerson's documents claim, 3G access has only been available to him for a fraction of the time, and is neither full nor continuous; in many cases 3G is not even an option, the filings read.
IE8 Launch Stats
The release of Internet Explorer 8 hasn't had any significant impact on Firefox or any other competing browser, data collected by StatsCounter shows. While the final release of IE8 increased its market share slightly on launch day to 1.39 percent, Firefox 3.0 grew more quickly and reached 25.38 percent. The most significant losses were for Internet Explorer 7: the outgoing browser lost 0.4 percent of the total share.
Sony Ericsson Warns Q1 09
Sony Ericsson concluded its week with a warning on Friday that it will likely record a loss of between $461 million and $529 million for its current financial quarter, which ends at the conclusion of the month. The cellphone designer directly blames the shortfall on "weak consumer demand" and in clearing stock for its existing supply and sales chain. It also expects to ship just 14 million phones with a typical asking price of about $163.
Verizon home automation
FCC documents indicate that Verizon may be readying a home automation and control system based on technology from 4Home, according to CEPro. The configuration would provide a Home Monitoring Gateway and Home Monitor Service, based on a Westell device called Control Point. Integrated Z-Wave wireless technology would provide connectivity with components such as thermostats, motion sensors, lights, door locks and garage door openers, among others.
SpiralFrog music site dies
New York-based SpiralFrog, an advertising supported music service website went down on Thursday afternoon without any fanfare, with sources in a Friday CNET report saying the company has ceased operations and its assets were handed over to creditors. The company was in financial trouble last year, having issued secured notes in order to borrow a minimum of $9 million from hedge funds and other sources. The site's business strategy revolved around offering free digital music downloads to the public and charging companies to advertise on its site.
Sudoku Grab ($1) is capable of turning a picture of a sudoku puzzle from a newspaper or magazine into playable puzzle for the iPhone. The application can instantly solve any imported puzzles and also includes a collection of over 1000 predefined puzzles. Sudoku Grab also allows users to add tags and difficulty ratings to the captured puzzles.
Messenger dropping PowerPC
The next version of Microsoft's Messenger for Mac will be an Intel-only application, a source tells MacNN. The latest beta builds of Messenger 8 are said to have dropped all references to PowerPC architecture, making the app unusable by even G5-based Mac desktops. Exact reasons are unknown, but Intel hardware may be necessary to exploit the app's audio and video chat capabilities.
Nintendo vs. Apple
Nintendo may indeed putting pressure on its stable of game developers to compete with the iPhone, the iPod touch and the App Store, according to industry sources. Attendees at this week's Nintendo Developer Conference in London are said to have been told that the company wants a variety of smaller titles for its DS Shop and DSi Ware services, set to accompany Nintendo's DSi handheld when it launches in the US on April 5th. Unusually, Nintendo also wants a number of non-gaming apps available, the sources claim.
Faster 3G on Next iPhone
Apple's next iPhone should have improved Internet access, SAI claims. A "plugged-in" tipster in the cellular business has told the publication that a "significantly faster" connection will be part of the update without mentioning other details. It's not known whether the unnamed insider is alluding to the cellular access or to Wi-Fi, either of which is potentially upgradeable with the update.
Juice Pack for Touch 2G
Mophie has announced that a version of the Juice Pack is now available for the iPod touch 2G. Designed as both a soft grip case and a charger, the Juice Pack features a rechargeable lithium battery, a USB charge and sync cable, and a passthrough headphone jack for listening while an iPod is still in the case. On a full charge, the case offers up to 42 hours of audio playback, and a maximum 7 hours of video.
Man steals 9,000 Shuffles
A Michigan repairman has been charged with fraud and money laundering perpetrated against Apple, writes the San Francisco Chronicle. Nicholas Woodhams is said to have fraudulently stolen over 9,000 iPod shuffles, of which "thousands" were then sold for $49 apiece. Filings at a federal court in Grand Rapids suggest that Woodhams took advantage of Apple's website, which lets users ask for a replacement Shuffle if they have a valid serial number under warranty.
LG Arena at FCC with US 3G
The FCC has tipped LG's hand by publishing a filing which confirms a version of the KM900 Arena is coming to the US with native 3G support. Without showing the phone itself, the documents clearly show its model number as well as the mention of both 850MHz and 1,900MHz WCDMA support, the combination of which would let the Arena tap into AT&T's HSPA-based 3G network.
Metal Gear Solid Touch
Konami has launched its long-awaited Metal Gear Solid Touch for the iPhone and iPod touch. Though following the same story as Metal Gear Solid 4 on the PlayStation 3, the game omits stealth action in favor of shooting. Players aim by dragging their finger, and shoot by tapping. By pinching gamers can zoom in on a target, while taking cover simply requires taking fingers off-screen.
Dell Reworking Smartphone
Dell hasn't shelved its planned smartphone but has taken to a significant redesign to salvage its effort, Kaufman Bros. senior analyst Shaw Wu said in a research note on Friday. While he and other sources were originally thought to have been mistaken when a predicted smartphone didn't show at Mobile World Congress last month, it's now believed that Dell was forced to redo the project as a "lack of carrier interest" and few offers of deep discounts made it risky to sell the proposed device. Prototypes had already been created with both Android and Windows Mobile as the operating system.
iPhone 3.0 tethering hack
Tethering an American iPhone should be as equally viable as tethering an Irish one, a developer tells MacNN. While AT&T has not officially opened up tethering in the US, local owners of an iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3.0 beta firmware should be able to hack their phones to use the technology. The process begins by navigating to the "~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Carrier Support" folder, where users must rename an IPCC file as a ZIP document after creating a backup of the original.
AT&T Nokia E71x photos
The Nokia E71x smartphone that is due to arrive at AT&T next week on March 24th has been spotted in droves, as it has began arriving at the provider's stores. The E71x differs from the existing E71 with the inclusion of certain AT&T-specific applications and perhaps some hardware changes, but the specifics are still unknown. The S60-based handset will have the full QWERTY keyboard, a 3.2-megapixel camera, GPS sensor and integrated Wi-Fi.
Dell and HP CULV in Summer
Intel's Consumer Ultra Low-Voltage (CULV) initiative will be led by two of the largest PC makers, sources have said. Industry contacts have told DigiTimes that both Dell and HP will have very small notebooks with screens between 11 and 13 inches that should ship sometime during the summer. The launch is predicted to hurt Taiwanese companies like Acer and ASUS that have depended more heavily on ultraportable PCs until now.
O2 iPhones discounted
Adding substance to recent rumors, UK carrier O2 has announced expanded availability for free iPhones. Beginning on April 3rd instead of the hinted May, O2 says it will offer an 8GB phone for free alongside a £35 monthly plan, and a 16GB phone for free with a £45 plan. In either case, a two-year subscription will be required.
Intel 2GHz Atom in April
Intel is gearing up to launch two new Atom variants next month that will alternately raise performance and lower power consumption compared to existing chips, a late leak indicates. The Z550 will boost the maximum clock speed for the ultra-mobile chip from 1.86GHz to 2GHz without affecting the peak thermal power ceiling of 2.4W, letting it run in the same environments as the older chip. It should likewise keep the same 533MHz bus and 512K of Level 2 cache.
MS Win Mo 6 5 UI Tweaks
Microsoft at the MIX09 conference revealed that it has already made significant alterations to the Windows Mobile 6.5 interface in the month since introducing it at Mobile World Congress. The mobile group's Senior Technical Product Manager Loke Uei Tan cited initial feedback from Microsoft employees that reacted negatively to the original version of the interface, which included small icons and a conspicuous "honeycomb" to indicate the available touch zones. Microsoft has since dissolved the lines entirely and enlarged the icons to make them easier to identify.
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