Samsung late on Thursday released a trio of computer LCDs to bring the designer 70 series into the mainstream. The 20-inch P2070 as well as the 23-inch P2370 and P2370HD all have the same wine glass look of Samsung's newer TVs, including with hidden touch-sensitive controls, but are built to be relatively vivid with 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios while still using a regular cold-cathode fluorescent backlight versus the LED of the P2370L. The first two screens are also some of the thinnest available and have cabinets that measure just under 1.2 inches deep.
According to first quarter reports, Vizio has surged into the leading position in the North American LCD-TV market. This is likely due to consumers with dwindling disposable incomes buying the company's price competitive models. Vizio has surpassed even Samsung and Sony, with unit shipment shares rising 21.6 percent since the end of the third quarter last year. iSuppli has suggested the economic downturn has caused people to look for more inexpensive brands of LCD-TV's with relatively good quality, and as such has turned to Vizio.
220 Software has launched NASCAR Ultimate for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app features the latest schedules, standings, and race results from all three NASCAR series: Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks. A context-sensitive search function works with YouTube, and allows people to view race previews, reviews from other fans, and pre- and post-race commentary from professional broadcasters or the drivers themselves.
USBfever is shipping two additions to its line of iPod shuffle 3G accessories: a dual-pack of silicone cases, and a triple-pack of metal cases. The silicone package includes "frost white" and "smoke black" options, which guard Shuffles against bumps and scratches, along with moisture and dust. Access remains open to a player's ports and buttons.
Despite a rumored Acer Android-powered handset coming this fall and the release of a number of Tempo smartphones in other markets, Acer will not bring any of these portable devices to the US market in 2009. Instead, Acer spokespeople say the company will introduce smartphones in 2010, according to a Thursday GearLog report.
EA Games has released new screenshots from its upcoming iPhone adaptation of The Sims 3, due out in June. The title lets players create simulated people and control their lives, for better or worse. Features of the game include new 3D visuals and open-world gameplay. Touch and accelerometer controls, meanwhile, should accommodate the iPhone's limited screen space.
Dell has recently began offering its 4310WX DLP projector, which offers a native 1280x800 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio. Meant for business or school presentations, the 4310WX has a 3,500 lumens brightness and 2,000:1 contrast ratio. It ships with a remote control that has an integrated laser pointer and lets users select video inputs, adjust the vertical keystone and scroll through pages in a presentation.
Dexim has added the DWP005 MHub Dock Station to its lineup of iPod and iPhone accessories. The DWP005 is meant to reduce desktop clutter, providing a main dock, three USB ports and an SDHC-compatible card reader. The unit is able to sync with all iPods and iPhones, as well as BlackBerry, G1 and HTC phones by way of included micro- and mini-USB cables. Dexim is selling the DWP005 for $70.
Internet provider Qwest on Thursday announced it has started offering subscribers to its high-speed Internet service no-charge access to about 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the US. What is being touted as the country's largest Wi-Fi network, the hotspots are powered by AT&T, and Qwest subscribers can check for all the locations and log-in info at a dedicated Qwest website.
Apple has reversed course on the approval of the NIN Access 1.0.3 update, says Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor. Initially rejected, the revised iPhone app is now freely available through the iTunes Store. Users gain streamlined access to content from the NIN homepage, including music, images, video and the site's forums.
A recent FCC filing revealed wireless provider AT&T will soon get the Nokia 6750 flip-phone added to its range of offerings. Also known as the Mural, the dual-band 3G handset has a mirrored shell that hides the display unless it's turned on. The exterior of the handset has dedicated music keys for navigating the library stored on a memory card. Bluetooth is supported, and there is an integrated camera, though details on either are not yet known.
Shinoda Plasma Corporation has recently unveiled its largest prototype Plasma Tube Array (PTA) display to date, with this curved 145-inch unit. The array is comprised of six 1m by 1m (39.4 inches squared) PTA displays arranged in a three-by-two orientation. Resolution is a rather low 960x720 pixels, but the display itself weighs just shy of 16lbs. The size trumps that of the last such display shown last year, the 125-inch PTA display.
RIM's BlackBerry Tour has received a more definitive launch window courtesy of multiple leaks. Even as sources for BGR have the smartphone shipping the week of July 13th, Verizon insider Kevin Byrne says that the Tour will be ready on July 13th itself. Prices are still believed to sit at $199 with a two-year plan.
A "strong possibility" exists that AT&T will lower the cost of its base-level iPhone plan, according to Cote Collaborative's Michael Cote. The analyst cites evidence such as disappointing iPhone 3G sales through Walmart, which typically markets to poor or middle-class demographics that may not be able to justify the $69 monthly minimum for an iPhone, on top of a one-time $197 hardware cost. Once completed, the two-year AT&T contract alone costs approximately $1,880.
Apple is building in support for internal 3G hardware into Mac OS X Snow Leopard, a leak suggests. While it's typical for Apple to have drivers for certain 3rd-party 3G adapters with the OS, AppleInsider shows a WWAN (wireless wide-area network) entry in System Profiler, which typically shows only the hardware that Apple includes with systems itself. The move implies that Apple plans to make 3G a factory option, likely internally, for one or more of its computers.
Hulu today acknowleged that it's in talks to expand its Internet TV streaming service to other countries beyond the US. The NBC/Fox/Disney joint venture's senior VP of content acquisition, Andy Forssell, tells FT that negotiations are underway to bring Hulu to the "top six to eight markets" for TV and that deals have already been struck to bring shows from UK producer Endemol to the US. How soon either would arrive isn't mentioned.
Live images of two handsets due to arrive at wireless provider Verizon, the Motorola Rival a445 and Samsung Alias 2 U750, have been leaked recently. Not much is known about the former, a side-sliding handset other than it's a dual-band CDMA/EVDO phone with a face that slides open to reveal a QWERTY keyboard that also includes shortcut buttons for emoticons and other dedicated chat keys. The handset is also likely to include a 1.3- or 2-megapixel camera, have Bluetooth 2.1 support and a microSDHC memory card slot.
Palm has potentially tipped its hand as to the Pre's launch date through a company memo. The note shown to BGR has multiple meetings scheduled on the 3rd through the 5th that include launch meetings on both the start and end dates of the schedule as well as other meetings that hint at final-stage preparations, such as talk of pricing and availability as well as a meet-up with Sprint. Having multiple similar meetings throughout the day is rare and would hint that the launch would follow almost immediately after the meetings are completed.
Taiwanese notebook manufacturers are developing touchscreen notebooks for use with Windows 7, which natively supports touch inputs, DigiTimes reported on Thursday, citing market sources. Working together with touchscreen panel makers, Wistron and Quanta are planning on releasing notebooks that use infrared optical touch screens, while ASUS and Acer are rumored to get projective capacitive touch and resistive touch panels.
The BlackBerry 8520 at last has an American carrier and a release date, according to a report. The phone should debut for T-Mobile in the fourth quarter of 2009, where it is expected serve as a cheaper alternative to phones like the Curve 8900. No detailed pricing has so far been confirmed, but this is not unusual for a phone with a distant release date.
Video game publisher Activision announced on Thursday it will launch three new music games, with the turntable controller pictured designed to work with DJ Hero. That title, along with Guitar Hero and Band Hero, are due for a release sometime this fall. DJ Hero will include hip-hop, R&B, Motown, electronica and dance music genres and, as Activision calls it, feature some of the "world's most exciting artists and DJs." It's not clear whether the DJ controller will allow scratching in addition to its button controls.
Bare Bones has posted the v9.2 update to BBEdit, its text-editing suite. Special emphasis in the software is placed on coding, through project support features and the recognition of common syntax structures. New to v9.2 is a Sleep option, which remembers the exact state of the application from when it was last used. After a patch or a system reboot, users should thus be able to resume work exactly where they left off.
AT&T on Thursday picked Jasper Wireless to help its push into non-phone devices on the company's 3G and later networks. The firm will help streamline the hardware design, software and remote management needed to get the devices recognized on the network. Both companies expect the feature to let handhelds like game consoles and mobile Internet devices (MIDs) reach AT&T sooner along with e-book readers, GPS devices and others that could use a wide-area wireless connection.
inTouch ($3) is a tool that allows users to categorize their contacts by time zone and create custom timelines of a contacts availability. Users can enter a contacts information including name, phone number, address, etc. and also add information on the contacts time zone and hours of availability. Contacts will then be tagged with icons that indicate if the contact is available (green), about to become unavailable (yellow), or unavailable (red). This allows users to quickly see which of their contacts are currently available based on their daily schedule.
Verizon today officially became the first US carrier to offer a version of Novatel's MiFi hotspot. The 2200 model offered takes up to an EVDO Revision A 3G connection and shares it across its own 802.11g Wi-Fi network, turning it into an impromptu Internet access point for more than one device. It can run on an internal battery for up to four hours before being plugged in.
iPod and iPhone owners may eventually be able to fill up their players using dedicated iTunes kiosks, a recent patent application hints. A traditional problem with Apple handhelds has been the limited means of loading new media; even following the advent of the mobile iTunes Store, the main method of adding music and video remains syncing at home. Using a kiosk, Apple notes, people could rapidly load players without a conventional network connection, in places such as airports, malls or hotels, or even within trains and jets.
Sony is now known to be preparing not one but three entry-level Alpha digital SLRs for a launch in the near future. In addition to a drop-down menu on the company's UK support page that reveals the A330 and two lenses (50mm and 18-55mm) when choosing from cameras, an analyst's Twitter update has also revealed the existence of the A230 and the A380. No details are provided about the cameras themselves in either circumstance.
BurnAgain FS 1.3 ($22) is a multi-session CD/DVD burning utility. BurnAgain FS treats CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs like hard drives, mounting them as a volume on the desktop for adding files, changing disc titles and "erasing" files by making them inaccessible. The 1.3 update adds the option to erase RW media and improves the integration with Mac OS X by always displaying an opened disk in the sidebar and on the desktop. The update also include several minor bug fixes. [Download - 6.7MB]
AMD late Wednesday announced intentions to move to a new operating model, in an effort to refocus resources on its struggling businesses. The announcement follows several other shifts in AMD's focus, specifically trying to improve integration between microprocessor and graphic processor development. The announced operating model organizes AMD into four operating teams: products, technology, marketing, and customers.
Dell today inadvertently confirmed a recent roadmap leak by posting a flyer for the Mini 10v (PDF). Known earlier under its "Bear" codename, the system is a budget alternative to the regular Mini 10 and should drop the price to $299 by using a standard 1.6GHz Atom N280 instead of the newer 1.33GHz Atom Z520 used today. Its features also appear to have been upgraded from the roadmap at that price with 1GB of RAM and Windows XP as the baseline.
PC maker ASUS has recently announced the upcoming release of its latest Eee PC netbook, the 1002HAE. The Taiwanese company's 10.1-inch, 1024x600 resolution netbook sports an aluminum body, like the exotic Eee PC 1008HA Seashell, and weighs 2.6lbs. Otherwise, the 1002HAE's specs are nearly identical to the rest of the newer Eee PC range, and include a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive containing Windows XP Home Edition. Users also get 10GB of online storage from ASUS.
Apple's Cupertino headquarters was impacted by a short-lived terrorist scare on Wednesday, a local newspaper reports. Mercury News writes that while in the Building 4 cafeteria, one Apple worker discovered a "suspicious" envelope containing a white powder. Though the powder did not have an affect on the worker or anyone else, the incident was enough to prompt a call to emergency services.
Sony Ericsson chief Hideki Komiyama today said that his company had made several key mistakes that have contributed to the company's rapid decline in market share. Speaking to FT, the executive now says that the XPERIA X1, once intended as a flagship that would rival the iPhone, is one of these. The full touchscreen Windows Mobile phone was "a kind of experiment" and is no longer expected to carry Sony Ericsson's high-end phone business.
Garmin on Thursday announced the upcoming release of the Oregon 550 and Oregon 550t touchscreen handheld GPS devices, unique in that they offer a 3.2-megapixel camera, complete with geotagging capabilities. The autofocus camera has a 4x digital zoom and stores images on the device's 850MB of built-in storage space, Other common features include a 3-inch touchscreen viewable in direct sunlight, a 3-axis compass and a waterproof design.
A fifth beta of the iPhone 3.0 firmware has already been made available to developers, reports reveal. The deployment represents an extremely rapid turnaround, as beta 4 was only put into distribution in the middle of last week. An acceleration in the release schedule could suggest that Apple wants the software ready in advance of WWDC, scheduled to begin June 8th. Traditionally, however, Apple has paired major iterations with the availability of new hardware, which has only ever appeared weeks after a WWDC announcement.
Rogers today bolstered its smartphone efforts by confirming that it would bring Android phones to Canada. The initial launch lineup will include not only the HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1 in the US, but also the just-launched HTC Magic. The carrier doesn't say whether the phones will be functionally different from their counterparts elsewhere but is teasing a launch for at least one of the devices on June 2nd.
Bell on Thursday said it had bought up the remaining stakes in Virgin Mobile Canada, taking complete control of the prepay-heavy carrier. The takeover is mutual and is labeled by Bell as part of its attempt to take the lead in the Canadian cellphone market. The Virgin label will continue to exist separate from Bell but will reportedly have streamlined operations, including a shared network and the ability to get the same phones as Bell.
Mozilla and Opera on Thursday criticized Microsoft over settings in the Windows 7 release candidate that they claim are designed to be anti-competitive. The two web browser developers point out to FT that users who opt to upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista rather than install fresh are given an "express" option that automatically reverts the default browser to Internet Explorer even if Firefox, Opera or another browser was set as the default before. Although the "custom" choice lets users maintain this setting, Mozilla and Opera argue that Microsoft is hoping most users won't be aware of this or that it will be considered too much extra work.
Philips on Wednesday evening unveiled its stylish new FlatTV 6000 and 7000 series that feature an ultra-thin bezel surrounded by a rounded acrylic edge. The new televisions are available in sizes between 32- and 52-inches, and deliver 1080p resolutions using a 120Hz ClearLCD panel. Philips boasts what it says is the "fastest refresh rate on the market" on its LCD panels at 2ms for improved viewing during high-motion content as well as improved shadow detail and black levels in dark scenes.
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Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
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