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In brief: MV Pro Audio has release a new software bundle that includes three of its Amp Room applications for $160 less than purchasing them separately. The three applications allow users to replicate famous amp sounds that helped define rock and metal music. Crap, I Missed it! has announced that its new iTunes-library web-tool is now operational. The web tool can analyze a users music collection and then provides e-mail or RSS notifications when their favorite artists are touring in the area or about to release a new album. Meanwhile, MacPractice and Soredex are collaborating to create a drive that will allow the OpTime x-ray system to work with a MacPractice DSS.
Apple executives have disclosed several strategies aimed at expanding the company's market share with the iPhone and Mac products. In comments made to Oppenheimer analysts, company officials noted the potential for significant growth of the Mac brand in international markets, which have shown a five-percent revenue growth in Europe while domestic shipments slid by eight percent.
Meizu's planned sequel to the M8, its at times controversial shadow to the iPhone, is now said by company chief J. Wong to be a significant but more evolutionary upgrade. In place of a complete overhaul, the Chinese executive says the phone will support both China-native 3G through the TD-SCDMA standard as well as GPS. A camera upgrade is also due with a 5-megapixel sensor and an LED flash.
Samsung Electronics is in the process of developing a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) shutter for mobile applications such as cellphones, according to Tech-On. The technology could be used with sensors capable of high pixel counts. A shutter could overcome the problems associated with quickly transferring the image data, which can lead to long frames or distortion when capturing moving objects.
Digipower has announced a new line of universal battery chargers, led by its flagship product, the Jumpstart Sport. A variety of chargers should eventually emerge under the label, featuring different battery types and sizes.
A leak likely from within Verizon has suggested a major change in policy at the carrier towards Wi-Fi on its smartphones. One new source for BGR says that every Verizon BlackBerry after the BlackBerry Tour will have Wi-Fi, reversing the company's long-held resistance to the extra wireless. The carrier is often believed to have forced the standard out of the Storm and other devices to have customers depend more on paid services through its 3G network.
case-mate has released the Fuel, a new protective phone case. Models exist for both the iPhone 3G and the BlackBerry Bold. A soft-grip holster design is used, built around a rechargeable lithium polymer battery.
Intel and Nokia have been discovered as teaming on a new, Linux-based operating system for mobile phones. Labeled as the oFono project, the effort is separate from both companies' usual Linux projects and is meant to provide an open-source alternative in the same vein as Android. The foundation would be minimal but heavily extensible, letting companies add their own network stacks and other features rather than requiring oFono to supply most on its own.
Not one but two models of iPod should gain cameras in their next major update, claims the English edition of MacBidouille. A anonymous source for the website insists that both the Touch and the Nano will gain cameras, though aspects such as megapixel ratings or support for autofocus and flash remain uncertain. If identical to one strongly rumored for the next iPhone, the cameras could be rated at 3.2 megapixels.
Touch Karma ($3) can be used to track the good and bad deeds performed by friends and family members. The application includes two different sections, one is more specifically for tracking chores that kids complete. Parents can set up a goal for their kids to reach and all the chores they do will add points towards this goal and a reward can be provided at the end. The friend mode can be used to evaluate how helpful friends have been by logging their actions with points.
AT&T is allegedly preparing to begin consumer trials that integrate Ruckus Wireless equipment with U-verse services, according to Light Reading. Unnamed sources suggest the company aims to reduce installation times by eliminating the need to run coaxial cable as the primary distribution method across a home. Instead, 802.11n wireless signals will carry HD IPTV streams to various equipment.
Sprint's retail outlets on Friday were reported as having already started receiving Palm Pre units for an unusual approach to selling the device. Rather than simply offer in-store demos, the carrier is designating one employee per store as a "Palm Pre Advocate" and giving them special training as that location's expert on the smartphone. The effort noted by PreCentral mirrors the strategy used for some non-retail Sprint staff who had been given Pres of their own to use to become familiar with them ahead of public events.
Password Repository 2.9 ($30) allows users to save and manage all of their passwords inside an encrypted document. The information is all stored within a table that can be sorted. Passwords can also be labeled with custom sets of colors to help users sort related items. Version 2.9 includes an update interface which includes a new bottom bar that acts as a shortcut bar for common tasks. The update also includes several new explanatory labels to help users better understand the functions of each button. [Download - 1.2MB]
Urbs has announced Modelur, an add-on for Google's SketchUp that is focused on parametric urban design. While typical CAD software starts with a building's exterior dimensions, Modelur allows users to define a set of final parameters such as build area, gross floor area or the number of stories. If any of the basic parameters is changed, the entire building is automatically adjusted and the urban control values are recalculated.
The conversion of Bell and Telus to HSPA networks is likely to have started earlier than expected based on sources. An engineer within Telus tells BGR that both Bell and Telus will informally launch their networks in the fall, with Telus' at a minimum being ready for September 2nd. The initial rollout will focus on southern British Columbia and is meant to have the network ready by the time the Vancouver Olympics begin in February 2010.
SharedPlan has launched a new version of its project management tool, SharedPlan Pro 5.4. The software handles a variety of tasks, going beyond project coordination and analysis and report generation to include project sketching, inspection, RSS publishing and risk identification. The v5.4 update brings improved cost and resource management, enhanced performance in large projects, and compatibility with an iPhone app currently under development.
A new version of Acer's Aspire One netbook has emerged, according to reports. Dubbed the 571, the machine is said to be based on the chassis of a D150 or D250, also using most of the same internal specifications. Its 10.1-inch display is said to have been upgraded to support 1280x720, though, in a 16:9 widescreen ratio. Aiding the encoding and decoding of HD and H.264 video is a Quartics coprocessor.
Toshiba has announced that it has filed suit against several companies, including Imation, over DVD patents. The accusations surround DVD format specifications and standards accepted by the DVD Forum. Toshiba claims the companies infringed on patents by manufacturing or distributing recordable media without first establishing licensing agreements.
Japanese developer FreeBit has released an English version of ServersMan, a free application which converts iPhones and iPod touches into web servers. The software operates over both 3G and Wi-Fi connections, and allows people to connect via WebDAV or a regular web browser. Files hosted on a server can be accessed remotely, but are protected using SSL encryption.
Sony's upcoming entry Alphas have received full details through a product leak that briefly appeared on Sony's German page. The trio appears to be a minor optimization of the A200, A300 and A350. The 14-megapixel A380 headlines the efforts and promises a quicker autofocus in the live view on the swiveling LCD, dynamic range optimization to prevent lost detail in highlights or shadows and HDMI video output.
Albatron is readying a lightweight netbook with a 10.2-inch display, according to netbooknews.de. The ultra-thin design weighs less than 1kg, with a 1.6GHz Intel N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a choice between a 80GB hard drive, 8GB SSD or 16GB SSD. Status lights indicate the device should integrate either 3G or WiMAX connectivity. A six-cell, 3600mAh battery provides the power, although the typical charge life has not been disclosed.
Pentax today brought out an update to its most basic cameras in the Optio E75. The compact maintains the 10-megapixel sensor and 3X optical zoom of the E70 but grows the preview LCD from 2.4 to 2.7 inches. It continues to carry more recent software-driven features such as a full-auto scene mode, face detection with a face priority mode as well as smile detection.
Microsoft has drawn criticism over the timing of a new security patch, targeting the company's PowerPoint presentation software. Windows users can now download update MS09-017, which addresses a zero-day vulnerability known to have been used in real-world attacks. The patch is moreover said to reduce the vulnerability of Office and PowerPoint in general, by removing a mostly irrelevant PowerPoint 4 converter. The creation of PowerPoint 4 files has not been supported since Office XP.
MSI chose the end of the week to launch its newest flagship gaming notebook, the GX723. The 17-inch desktop replacement centers on a 512MB GeForce GT 130M graphics chipset good enough to run modern games smoothly as well as MSI's characteristic Turbo Mode, which lets owners overclock the Core 2 Duo processor inside as long as the system is on AC power. The PC creator also manages to tuck five speakers into the limited space to produce Dolby sound without an external setup.
Activision today teased that one of its central non-music games at E3, Tony Hawk Ride, will have its own controller. The game will center on a skateboard-shaped foot controller that, much like a Wii Balance Board, will have players lean as they would on a real board for at least basic control. Although the full controls haven't been explained, a set of side buttons will ease navigating through regular menus and may ultimately be used on combination with balancing to perform tricks.
ASUS' Eee PC 1005HA-M has both been confirmed today through a set of photos as well as news of a second model. As promised, the 1005HA is a close relative of the 1008HA and has the same "seashell" design, albeit here with a black option and slightly thicker; it uses a full-size VGA port instead of the mini port used on the 1008. The replaceable battery and most other ergonomic traits will remain intact.
Leopard owners upgrading to Mac OS X 10.5.7 have been experiencing critical errors, discussions on Apple's support forums show. At times problems have begun as early as installation, with digital signatures being registered as invalid despite multiple download attempts. Other users have reported subsequent looping errors, which may require powering down a system and rebooting one or more times before control can be regained.
Apple's next-generation iPhone may already be in Best Buy's inventory system under a codename, a view of the retailer's management system shows. A photo indicates three devices attributed to AT&T that show only as Charlie 1, 2 and 3, and all are given a "Project Charlie" description rather than the usual phone details. The entries are said by a source of Phone Arena's to likely be placeholders for the iPhone until Apple makes them public.
Microsoft's Zune HD will have a much stronger emphasis on games and could be the start of a new, unified online store for the company if a detailed rumor is accurate. Referring to tips reportedly corroborated by multiple sources and dating between August of last year and January this year, TeamXbox says the device will make the Xbox platform an important focus and will let users play certain Xbox Live Arcade games both on an Xbox 360 and on the Zune HD. It should also have a variant of the New Xbox Experience (NXE) interface given to Xbox 360s late last year, but will use touch for its input.
AirTran Airways in collaboration with Gogo has announced it will be the first airline to provide Wi-Fi access on all its airplanes. By registering with Gogo, users can purchase a session of internet time that enables them to use most non-voice Internet features on a given trip. Prices for the in-flight internet sessions are based on what type of device the user brings with them, and for how long they will be on the flight.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
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