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Verizon sells 400k Tours
Analysts estimate that Verizon may have sold between 275,000 and 300,000 BlackBerry Tour handsets within the first 24 hours of availability, according to TheStreet.com. Although Apple's recent 3GS launch netted over one million subscribers in the first weekend, the Tour introduction compares to the first-generation iPhone release in 2007.
Chinese factory conditions
Poor factory conditions in a number of Chinese manufacturing facilities, including those that make the iPhone and iPods, may be reflecting poorly on Apple, according to a Bloomberg report. Despite new laws designed to protect the workers, many of the employers are ignoring or circumventing the regulations.
Ottawa Apple Store opening
A new Apple Store in Ottawa, Canada will be having its grand opening this Saturday, July 18th at 9:30 a.m.. As indicated by construction photographs, the Rideau Center location has very similar elements to the company's other retail establishments, such as the Genius Bar and wall displays. Compared to other stores, the single-story outlet is larger than average. This should not come as much of a surprise, considering the store will be the first of its kind in Ottawa, the nation's capitol, and only the ninth so far in all of Canada.
DigitMan, Battery Level
yadaBlackBook ($4) is a contact list that can only be opened through voice recognition. The first time the application is opened users are prompted to provide three recordings which are then used to create a unique voice lock. Users can then add new contacts into the application or import contacts from the devices default Contacts app. yadaBlackBook also includes the ability to export contacts from its database to the Contacts app.
RouteBuddy for iPhone
RouteBuddy has released its offline mapping iPhone application, RouteBuddy Atlas. The software uses the iPhone's GPS and compass to display the user's current location and which direction they are moving. Users can also access maps without data charges and without any phone reception. Following trips, users can export newly discovered routes to both Mac and PC platforms for use with the RouteBuddy desktop application or Google Earth.
Web Browser Comparison
With the latest versions of Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox recently released, it became time for a browser comparison to test whether or not improvements in standards and raw speed have made a difference. This is especially true given the rapid shift in market share from Internet Explorer's one-time dominance: according to Statcounter, Internet Explorer currently commands just 61 percent of the browser market, while Firefox has climbed to second place with 30 percent market share and the last 9 percent shared between Chrome, Opera, Safari and smaller rivals. Click through for our full browser tests to see whether those slices of the market are deserved.
Smasher 1.7 released
Insider Software has released v1.7 of Smasher. The program eliminates corruption from font caches, and other temporary files, aiming to prevent font-related problems. The update brings support for Creative Suite 2, 3 and 4, as well as QuarkXPress 6, 6.5, 7 and 8, and lastly Office X, 2005 and 2008. CUPS print spool support is also present.
Newton Mogo Talk headset
Newton Peripherals on Tuesday released its MoGo Talk Bluetooth headset for notebooks. The ultra-thin headset comes with a frame that lets it slide into a notebook's ExpressCard slot for storage and charging. The headset itself uses a flexible thin-rubber eartip that conforms to a wearer's ear for comfort, instead of the more common earbud or earloop, while multiple eartip sizes are included for a custom fit.
Rock intros new notebooks
UK-based gaming notebook manufacturer Rock on Tuesday announced the addition of two new models to its Xtreme line, including the 17-inch 790 and 18.4-inch 840, with either good for 1920x1080 resolution. Both sport options for NVIDIA's new 1GB GeForce GTX 280M graphics card, a Blu-ray drive and as much as 6GB of RAM. The Xtreme 840 can even be equipped with two GTX 280M cards. Users can opt for three 500GB drives that can be set up in a RAID configuration for 1.5TB of storage.
Comcast adds 17 networks
Comcast on Tuesday announced that its recently-launched On Demand Online streaming video service trial will offer content from 17 more cable networks, thanks to a series of agreements. The new partners include Rainbow Media, Scripps, AETN, MGM Impact and the BBC. The service, accessible via Comcast.net and Fancast.com, should not add any cost for Comcast cable subscribers.
Geographic Imager 2.5
Avenza has announced an update to Geographic Imager, a Photoshop extension which handles geospatial content from sources such as satellites. Images can be imported, edited and exported using Photoshop, with special options for tasks like automatically tiling images, or geo-referencing them with ground control points. Version 2.5 adds support for DEM formats including USGS/CDED ASCII, and a collection of other standards including ECW, JPEG 2000 and military elevation data.
HP DreamScreen photo frame
A new digital photo frame from HP, the DreamScreen, is expected to arrive soon, as it was recently spotted passing FCC tests. The frame will be available with a 10.2-inch or 13.3-inch screen and respective resolutions of 800x480 and 1280x800. The unique feature is the device's ability to access photos from Facebook and Snapfish, while simultaneously streaming music from Pandora over its Wi-Fi or wired Internet connection.
Ballmer Shrugs at ChromeOS
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer at the Windows Partners Conference today downplayed a possible threat to Windows from Google's Chrome OS. The executive admitted that the web app-focused platform was "highly interesting" to him but questioned its true role and said it could invoke unnecessary confusion given possible overlap with Android, which in a few cases may target the same ultra mobile notebook space.
Raon Digital closes doors
Raon Digital, the hardware manufacturer behind the Everun, 7-inch Everun Note and Vega UMPCs, has quietly closed its doors for business and shut down its website, according to a Tuesday UMPCportal report. There was no official reason cited for the closure, and Raon did not respond to e-mail queries, though no further products from the company are expected.
Multi-touch pad patent
Apple has been granted a critical patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office, covering the company's wide-ratio multi-touch trackpad. The first real-world example of the pad emerged in the beginning of 2008, when it appeared in the MacBook Air. It has since migrated to MacBooks and MacBook Pros, and should remain standard on Apple notebooks for some time.
TiVo seeks $1 billion
Despite recently being awarded some $190 million in the long-standing legal battle against DISH Network and EchoStar over patents in DVRs, TiVo is seeking nearly $1 billion in contempt sanctions, according to a filing disclosed by TiVo with a US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. While EchoStar was ordered by the federal judge in Texas to disable the functions on the majority of its recorders in subscribers' hands, EchoStar instead claims it built a "design-around" that avoids the patents in question.
PC Biz to Drop in 2009
Sales of computers are poised to drop for the first time since the original technology crash of 2001, iSuppli said in a study today. The research team had originally thought shipments would grow a very slight 0.7 percent in spite of the economic crash but are now set to drop 4 percent year-over-year to 287.3 million computers in 2009. The decline isn't as severe as the 2001 drop, which shrank the market by 5.1 percent, but is seen as more significant as it doesn't come on the back of "inflated" spending, as it did eight years earlier.
SmartSwipe now in the US
NetSecure Technologies recently announced that it has brought its SmartSwipe secure credit card reader to the US. The device plugs into a PC's USB port and lets users encrypt credit card data before it reaches the computer, keeping it safe from online attacks that might look for keyboard input. Paying for products and services purchased online is also potentially faster with the SmartSwipe, as users don't need to manually enter in their credit card information.
BBerry 9550 Spec and Dummy
RIM's BlackBerry Storm sequel has gained further details with a combination of new hardware details and its presence in the retail system. A slip now titles it the BlackBerry 9550 and confirms many of the technical details to BGR, which involve the same dual-mode CDMA and GSM world roaming support but which adds Wi-Fi to the 3G option on both. A 3.2-megapixel camera, a 480x360 touchscreen and BlackBerry OS 5.0 should all reach the device.
SharewarePublisher 1.1 ($56) allows developers to easily submit their applications to different software listing sites and repositories. The application comes with a list of almost 200 pre-configured shareware sites, about 100 of which list Mac software. Users can track how many sites they have submitted their application too and how many have listed the software. The latest release includes a new feature which can automatically copy a product's category from a submission form and store it in the softwares database. The update also fixes a problem where a created site was not displayed in the Sites drawer and a drag and drop issue present in Snow Leopard. [Download - 3.4MB]
iDataCenter not confirmed
Apple is still refusing to confirm that Maiden, NC, will be the site for the companies new 5000,000-square foot iDataCenter, says Data Center Knowledge . The report notes that the land in Maiden is still being acquired, as The Catawba County Economic Development Corp. is purchasing the land that will be resold to Apple for the same price. The land is being purchased from Don Beaver, the owner of two baseball teams, for market value and will be flipped to Apple once the land is officially annexed into Maiden.
Olympus E-P1 ships
The Olympus E-P1 is now shipping to the US through Amazon. The camera avoids the common SLR profile and instead has a more retro look that resembles the former Olympus PEN cameras. Although the camera is visibly smaller than an SLR, the E-P1 features a large DSLR sensor and removable lenses. The 12-megapixel camera is the first Olympus to incorporate the Micro Four Thirds system and, unlike Panasonic's cameras using the system, does not include a electronic viewfinder above the 3-inch LCD. However, an optical add-on viewer is available.
Guitar Hero 5 controller
This new guitar controller for the latest in the popular series will be bundled with Guitar Hero 5. The changes compared to current guitars range from subtle visual ones such as a red faceplate and white pick guard to fake chrome on the tuning pegs, to more substantial and functional ones that can't be seen, such as a new digital touch pad. Compared to the slider of the guitar that shipped with Guitar Hero World Tour, the new one sends digital versus analog values for better accuracy and quicker response.
Upcoming Core i7, i5 chips
Intel has allegedly slipped information on three new processors, currently in development. Two of these fall under the existing Core i7 line, but also under a new 800 sub-series: the 2.8GHz 860, and the 2.93GHz 870. The chips use Lynnfield architecture, in this case built around four cores and eight threads.
RingtoneStudio 2.0 ships
PocketMac has released RingtoneStudio 2.0 for the iPhone. The application is used to create custom ringtones, avoiding Apple's 99 cent surcharge. The new version includes visual waveform editing, with zoom up to 16x for more precise adjusments. Also present is volume control, and the option to insert fade-ins and fade-outs.
ASUS T1 series LCD TVs
ASUS on Monday announced unveiled its T1 series range of HDTVs that double as LCD monitors for computer use. Available in 22-, 24- and 27-inch sizes, each has a built-in TV tuner, letting viewers access digital DVB-T and analog PAL/SECAM programs in European markets. All have a 1080p resolution and sport two 7-watt speakers, with the signal arriving either through one of two HDMI ports, one of two SCART connections, and optical or RCA for audio. Regular video connections include one each of component, S-Video, RCA and VGA.
Samsung SyncMaster LCDs
Samsung on Tuesday in Korea announced the upcoming release of two SyncMaster 80 Series LCD monitors, with the 20-inch F2080 and 23-inch F2380. Each sports what Samsung claims is the world's highest dynamic contrast ratio for a conventionally-lit computer display, at 150,000:1. Otherwise, they share the same 3,000:1 contrast ratio, 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles and 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color space, rendering them ideal for certain image editing work.
In-Ear Headphones update
Apple has made a minor but significant update to its In-Ear Headphones, which improve over stock earbuds supplied with iPhones and iPods by isolating sound, and using separate tweeter and woofer drivers. The casing around the jack plug is now made of hard plastic, instead of a light rubber. It was previously possible to tear or separate the older casing after extended use.
Sony Walkman E440 and B140
Sony on Tuesday upgraded its Walkman players with a Europe-first launch of one model and expansion of a second model into the continent. The E440 series is a significant update to Sony's core Walkman player with a larger, easier-to-reach button layout and a new Clear Audio engine that both improves stereo separation and bass response. An FM tuner with radio recording and a long 30-hour battery life carry over from earlier models.
Win Mobile Subs Open Soon
Microsoft at its Windows Partners Conference said it would start taking app submissions for Windows Marketplace for Mobile on the 27th of this month. The initial submissions will first allow developers from 29 countries that include North America, most of Europe as well as southeast Asian contributors from Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. The company also noted that the Marketplace will now be open to all Windows Mobile 6 devices, not just the upcoming 6.5, and expects the store to be open in the fall with about 600 apps ready.
Digital 45s at iTunes
Apple has introduced a new type of sales grouping at the iTunes Store, the Digital 45. Meant to echo the record single releases popular at the beginning of rock and roll, the format groups together two related songs together for less than their standard cost. Prices can still vary, from $1.29 to $1.98 for a pair.
Over 1.5B app downloads
Over 1.5 billion downloads have been made since last year's launch of the App Store, Apple says. The service launched roughly concurrently with the iPhone 3G on July 11th 2008, though some users were able to access it in advance. It can now be viewed in 77 countries, and the number of apps is said to exceed 65,000.
Blockbuster, Samsung deal
Blockbuster and Samsung on Tuesday announced they have entered into a partnership that would see Blockbuster's online movie library available for users of Internet connected Samsung Blu-ray players, HDTVs and home theater systems. The Blockbuster OnDemand service, with Blockbuster titles getting preferred positioning on the virtual storefront. At the same time, Blockbuster will carry the compatible Samsung devices in its stores.
Samsung SMX-K40 and K45
Wrapping up its camera introductions today, Samsung today unveiled two particularly high-end standard-definition camcorders. The 32GB SMX-K45 and SDHC-only SMX-K40 both shoot 480p but are highlighted through their 52X stabilized zoom lenses, which by themselves can capture very distant subjects. They also have a digital zoom feature that pushes the zoom slightly further to 65X.
Samsung HMX U10 Pocket Cam
Samsung as part of its camera launches today jumped into the pocket camcorder realm normally dominated by Pure Digital. The HMX-U10 has a much higher resolution sensor and shoots 1080i widescreen video in H.264 as well as 10-megapixel still images. It also has direct YouTube uploading support and the option of recording time-lapse videos through a succession of stills.
iPhone 3GS in Hong Kong
Unlocked versions of the iPhone 3GS are now on sale from Apple's Hong Kong online store. In contrast with many regions, including a number with multiple iPhone carriers, Hong Kong only requires that shoppers have the proper SIM card inserted to use a 3GS with any GSM network. 16GB phones are being sold online for $5,388 HK ($692 US), while 32GB models cost $6,288 HK ($808 US).
eMachines EZ1601 in US
eMachines this morning formalized its first real all-in-one nettop for the US. The portrait-style EZ1601 is pitched as a den or kitchen PC and mates an 18.5-inch display with familiar nettop hardware in the form of a 1.6GHz Atom, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Unlike some, it has its own DVD burner for optical storage. It depends on Wi-Fi for networking but, unlike some all-in-ones, omits a built-in webcam to keep the price down.
Fonera 2n Router
FON today significantly improved its core wireless router by launching the Fonera 2.0n. The device appropriately has 802.11n Wi-Fi for faster speeds and longer ranges than the older 11g model. More importantly, though, it adds USB and dedicated clients for multiple services directly on the router. Owners can download from BitTorrent, Megaupload or Rapidshare to USB storage without turning on a computer; they can also upload photos or videos to Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or YouTube from an attached camera.
Logitech Z523 and Z323
Logitech this morning put out four computer speaker sets that all promise truly wide-area sound. The 2.1-channel Z523 and Z323, as well as the 2.0-only Z520 and Z320 (links active soon), all have drivers that face both the front and back and fill a room with sound more effectively. The change creates a significantly larger sweet spot and lets listeners leave the computer seat without as much of a drop-off in performance.
Samsung PL70 and PL55
(Updated with US info at bottom) Samsung on Tuesday launched a pair of PL series compact cameras intended for longer-range shooting. Both the PL70 and PL55 have 12.2-megapixel sensors and 5X optical zoom lenses that aid in composing more distant shots. The PL70 is the most advanced and includes a 28mm wide-angle lens, 720p video recording and optical image stabilization; the PL55 makes do with a more common 35mm lens, standard definition video and software-based stabilization.
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