Lenovo has launched a new touchscreen handset, the X1, featuring a 3.2-inch WQVGA display and a slide-out keypad. The company appears to have taken inspiration from several competitors, labeling the user interface "Touch Dream." The X1 reference is also used for the Sony-Ericsson XPERIA X1 handset. The Sony-branded device offers an arc-slider QWERTY keyboard, however, and a different interface based on Windows Mobile.
Targus has launched its first netbook accessory kit designed for mobile users. The kit includes the Slipskin Peel Mini-Netbook Case, the Ultra Mini Retractable Optical Mouse and the Targus Ultra-Mini USB 2.0 4-Port Hub. The Slipskin Peel Case provides a neoprene skin that shields a netbook from scratches and dust. The case can be used alone or inside of another bag.
Brethren Software has released two new applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, i-Laugh and iApplaud. i-Laugh provides 20 unique digital laugh sounds, each with a different length of time play. A scrolling interface allows users to search through the list and pick from a series of sounds such as straight laughter, short and long laughter, and up to roaring laughter.
Video recording capabilities are coming in the next iPhone hardware revision, an allegedly reliable source has told AppleInsider. The details are limited, but there is no suggestion of current hardware being able to support video recording, only an upgraded iPhone with a new built-in camera should support the feature. The revision is expected between late spring and early fall this year, with video support and improved gaming hardware via multi-core PowerVR chips as the headlining features. A screen capture from the forthcoming iPhone Software 3.0 on Engadget's website shows a MobileMe panel for uploading images titled "Upload Video," lending further credence to the rumor.
Microsoft has announced plans to launch a mapping service, GeoSynth, that will take on Googleís Street View mapping feature, according to Pocket-lint. The new service will use Photosynth technology to merge high-definition photos taken and submitted by the general public, and then relate the content according to geographic data. The program could also be connected to Virtual Earth, potentially enabling users to browse street-level views of almost any location worldwide.
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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
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX