LG at an evening event Thursday opted to unveil a major reworking of its LCD HDTVs first in the US. The SL80 and SL90 together have a near-seamless look that tries to hide the separation between the bezel, the LCD and the speakers. Of the two, the SL90 is also LG's technology leader and has an LED backlight that ramps the dynamic contrast ratio up to a company-best 3,000,000:1. Appropriately, it also gets a 240Hz refresh rate, an ambient light sensor and audio tuning that adjusts the volume for spoken dialogue without touching most anything else in a movie or TV show. It becomes one of LG's thinnest at 1.15 inches deep.
LG tonight at last confirmed some details of the first-ever touchscreen phone in its Chocolate line. Now known to be the BL40, the device revolves around a one-off 4-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio display with an 800x345 resolution that makes it ideal for watching movies without cropping or losing interface elements. While narrower than some 800x480 phones, the ratio permits an unusual twin view option that can show two types of content simultaneously.
Guinness World Records and Warner Brothers Digital Distribution has announced that the player with the most points achieved in the new Guinness World Records app "Video Game Score" challenge will be awarded a Guinness World Record. The winner will also be added to the shortlist to be included in the Guinness World Records 2010 Gamer's Edition. Users must be registered with GameSpy in order to remotely submit their scores in the competition.
Prosoft Engineering has released v2.2 of its flagship application, Drive Genius. The software is used to optimize hard drives to make them run faster and work more efficiently overall. The latest version supports Mac OS Snow Leopard and works with non-HFS volumes where possible. The update newly displays defragment, scan, and volume shift progress bars and provides information about any bad blocks found during scans.
Wondershare has released its newest application, Video Converter Pro for Mac. The software is used to convert a large variety of video types or rip media from non-commercial DVDs. The application supports AVCHD video and can extract audio as an MP3, AAC, WMA or AIFF file. Videos can be converted into formats compatible with devices such as iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, PSPs, and BlackBerrys.
Eltima has introduced Recover PDF Password, an application used to retrieve misplaced PDF file passwords. If only the owner or user password is known, the application can duplicate the document with all printing, editing and copying restrictions removed. Files are dragged and dropping into the application, which then prompts users with a "Decrypt" button. The application supports Unicode passwords, Acrobat 9.x files and 256-bit encrypted files.
iPhoneAppQuotes' analysis shows new trends in iPhone development, with a focus on medical, business and book apps. The developer network is also reporting that there has been a 30 percent increase in new members over the past three months, during which time the number of available titles on the iTunes App Store has increased to 65,000.
Star Walk ($5) is a realistic stargazing guide for the iPhone and iPod touch. The application helps users recognize objects in the night sky by locating them on an interactive star map. After selecting a specific item users can then view additional facts, such as celestial coordinates. Star Walk also features a "time machine" that lets users see expected skies from the past or future. The latest update also features a new Star Spotter function which uses the digital compass in the iPhone 3GS to display a live representation of the sky.
Sonic on Wednesday announced CineVision Adaptive HD, a codec developed specifically for streaming HD video content to Internet-connected devices. The technology combines the CineVision HD encoding process, claimed to be used for Blu-ray production, with Widevine's adaptive streaming system.
40 percent of Citrix System employees purchased a Mac when given $2100 towards a new computer for the company's Bring Your Own Computer to Work program. The strategy was an attempt to cut costs incurred in the IT department and aimed to increase employee satisfaction. Workers were allowed to chose whichever computer they wished to use for both work and personal use. Of the 400 employees that participated in the program, 54 percent believed productivity increased while 17 percent of managers believed job satisfaction increased.
AudioMicro says it has licensed over 55,000 sound effects from The Hollywood Edge to add to its Online Stock Music and Sound Effects Library. The effects come from Soundelux, a studio with numerous films to its credit, such as Braveheart and Kill Bill. Public and professional access is charged on a by-the-minute basis or via subscription; effects can be acquired individually or in bulk.
WaterThumber 2.2 ($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. The latest release allows users to import iPhoto albums and includes several interface modifications. The update has also fixed several bugs and typos. [Download - 5.3MB]
Game maker THQ's chief Brian Farrell recently corroborated last week's report that Microsoft's Project Natal body controller for the Xbox 360 will be out late in 2010. Speaking in a conference call regarding THQ's earnings report, Farrell said Natal from Microsoft is a "platform addition, coming late next year," when asked about market changes in the upcoming cycle.
PocketMac has released RingtoneStudio 2.0 for BlackBerry, a upgraded version of its tool for generating and editing ringtones. The software supports unprotected music formats, or QuickTime-compatible video types. Files can be dragged and dropped in to the app, where users can then select specific portions of a track.
A leaked internal document from Verizon indicates that a couple of new handsets will be made available at the wireless provider. According to the document, the previously spotted Samsung Rogue U960 will replace the Glyde on August 15th, while a device known as the Verizon Razzle will replace the Blitz on August 31st. The Razzle is due to get a swiveling bottom section that reveals a QWERTY keyboard, a 1.3-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth support and will include a 1GB memory card.
Onkyo has recently announced the upcoming release of two 7.1-channel home theater systems with advanced audio processing, including support for all current audio formats, including the vertical dimensions added by ProLogic IIz. The HT-S7200 and HT-S6200 surround sound systems are rated at the same 130 watts per channel, with a speaker system that includes an active 230W subwoofer. Onkyo's U-Port iPod dock is included with each system.
GPS maker Mio has announced it will soon offer two new portable navigation devices, the Moov M300 and M400. The identical devices are called Navman M300 and Navman M400 over on Mio's English website, with the former offering a 3.5-inch screen that has a 320x240 resolution, and the latter sporting a 4.3-inch LCD with 480x272 resolution. The Moov M300 will come with a map of France pre-loaded, while the Navman M300 will have a map of the UK and Ireland loaded onto its storage space. The M400s get mapping data for 23 European countries. Either way, users get speed radar locations, and free updates for one year.
Smartphones from Apple and others should help the number of GPS-aware smartphones surge this year, according to a Strategy Analytics study. Shipments of the devices should spike a large 34 percent to 77 million phones and are chiefly credited to rapidly growing sales of devices like the iPhone, Nokia N97 or BlackBerry Tour. Many often have stronger mapping tools like BlackBerry Maps, Google Maps and Nokia Maps built-in, encouraging GPS use right away.
Deals from DealNN today include a variety of items from MacBooks to digital cameras. Most notable is a price drop on the 13.3-inch unibody MacBook from MacMall.com, it is now priced at $924.99 after mail-in-rebate. The unibody MacBook features a 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive as well as a glass multi-touch trackpad, built-in iSight webcam and microphone.
Nimbuzz has launched an update to its instant messaging and dialing app for the iPhone, as well as a new Mac version. With Nimbuzz 1.3 users receive photo, music and video sharing features, a re-designed buddy list layout, and push notification that provides alerts for incoming calls and chats. Also included in the new version is a location-sharing function, which displays whereabouts on a map.
Rumors of an N97 Mini gained traction on Wednesday with images that may represent the device. The smartphone seen by Engadget almost exactly mirrors the larger Nokia phone but removes the directional pad and moves buttons to shrink the overall size, including the screen. The rear camera has also lost the protective cover present on the full N97 and many other Nokia smartphones.
Apple has yet to fix a key iPhone vulnerability the day before it is publicly exposed, notes security researcher Charlie Miller. At the beginning of July, Miller announced the preliminary details of an SMS exploit which could theoretically be used to assume control over a remote iPhone. That exploit has now been brought to fruition, the researcher says, and will be detailed in full -- as planned -- at this Thursday's Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.
Onkyo has announced it will soon begin offering its newest Blu-ray player, the DV-BD507, in the US. The device supports BD Live 2.0 content, enabling it to access bonus online content of compatible Blu-ray movies. The HDMI 1.3a connection delivers both high resolution mulit-channel audio and 1080p video to connected home theater systems and HDTVs, respectively. There is an SDHC memory card slot for playing back multimedia content stored on the storage cards, with support for AVCHD formats commonly used in HD camcorders.
HP's netbook line should get a larger 11.6-inch model if a source today proves true. Computer industry contacts for DigiTimes say Quanta is about to mass-produce such a system next month. Other details aren't published, but the larger size likely means a 1366x768 screen resolution instead of the more common 1024x600. One of HP's 10-inch netbooks should also get a revision and is purportedly slated by its manufacturer, Inventec, to be mass-produced in September.
Apple has at last released the MobileMe iDisk app for the iPhone. First promised in June, the software lets MobileMe users view files stored in their online iDisk folders. Users tap a file to load it, or a nearby Share icon to compose an e-mail with a download link.
Following the recent disclosure of Apple's Q3 financial data, analyst Turley Muller has taken a closer look at the company's margins. In his blog Financial Alchemist, Muller suggests the iPhone's gross margins have continued to increase and now sit just shy of 60 percent.
Joby this afternoon shifted the GorillaPod past its original camera focus and launched the GorillaMobile. The tripod can attach to the back of many devices, particularly pocketable devices like the iPhone or a Flip camera, and relies on the company's signature adjustable ball joint legs to give it a stable surface regardless of where it's placed. It works as a conventional stand but can be bent to grab on to surfaces such as a bicycle handle.
Two separate slips have confirmed a pair of new BlackBerries in development for the new future. The first confirms that a CDMA version of the Curve 8520 is in development. It should be fundamentally similar, but according to BGR will be one of the first devices to reflect Verizon's acceptance of Wi-Fi and will come with both the short-range networking as well as EVDO-based 3G and GPS. The lower resolution 320x240 screen, 2-megapixel camera and optical trackpad will still carry over, but it's now expected to be one of the first phones loaded with BlackBerry OS 5.0.
Kodak on Wednesday announced it has updated its Theatre HD Player, equipping it with the ability to view YouTube HD content, browse the web and read RSS news feeds. For this, the Theatre HD requires an Internet connection via networks over a Wi-Fi or wired link, though local photos and videos can also be played back. There is DivX, XviD, H.264 and WMV-9 video support. The updated system, Version 1.4, can now also play back 1080p videos, rather than the older setup's 720p playback.
People have already managed to crack Windows 7 Ultimate and distribute it online, accounts say. The pirated version is based on a Lenovo OEM release, from which an ISO file was created and posted on a Chinese forum. Hackers subsequently managed to extract the OEM-SLP key and the activation certificate, allowing users to bypass Microsoft's Genuine Advantage copy protection. The technology normally requires online validation.
BenQ on Wednesday announced the upcoming release of a new LCD TV, the 23.6-inch MK2442. The set is meant to act as a secondary unit or for dorms, where it can double as a computer display. The MK2442 outputs at 1080p (1920x1080) with the option of handling 24FPS movies without conversion. For all sources, it has a 5ms average pixel response time as well as a dynamic contrast ratio of 10,000:1. An HDMI 1.3 input feeds the set with both audio and video signals. Computer inputs aren't mentioned but should be available.
Activision today provided more details of its controller and bundle for the limited-run version of DJ Hero, now called the Renegade Edition. The special version will have a black turntable with special gold-effect sliders and other trim. A special hard case doubles as a stand for the turntable itself, bringing up the controller to standing height. CDs from Eminem and Jay-Z will also come with the bundle and offer some tracks that haven't been released before.
Electronics producer LG today said it has teamed up with Vudu to integrate the latter's on-demand movie and TV services into its HDTVs. This will allow the Internet-connected TVs to browse and view a full library of content, including in HD. Currently, Vudu offers set-top boxes that need to plugged into a TV and network connection, which adds to the clutter and complexity of a living room, as well as adding another remote control. With the partnership with LG, Vudu hopes to make its service more accessible to customers.
Microsoft's first retail stores will launch in two cities where Apple already has a major presence, the company confirmed today. The Windows developer has signed leases both in Mission Viejo, California as well as Scottsdale, Arizona and will be surrounded by Apple retail shops. The California store will be the only one to open in the same mall as its rival, launching in The Shops at Mission Viejo, but all of them will have five Apple stores within driving distance.
Users should soon be able to more accurately search for titles at the App Store, a new report claims. Sources in the article say that, when submitting apps through iTunes Connect, developers are now being asked to enter up to 255 characters' worth of keywords. "It is important to enter keywords for all applications as soon as possible so your application can continue to be successfully located on the App Store," a statement from Apple warns about existing titles.
Kodak on Wednesday announced it will soon add three new 12-megapixel digital cameras to its range, including the Z950, the M381 and M341. All also share Kodak's Smart Capture feature, which automatically adjusts focus, flash and exposure in any setting. The Z950 sports the biggest lens with 10X optical zoom and image stabilization. Framing shots is done via a 3-inch LCD, and Kodak has reduced the time between clicking the shutter button and the actual photo capture to under a third of a second. A face detection feature is built-in, and users can edit their photos and videos on the camera itself.
Logitech today overhauled nearly all of its webcams at once with seven new models, including two high-end models. The Webcam Pro 9000 is one of its first to capture in HD and supports 720p for those apps that recognize it. It has other similarly high-end features with a native 2-megapixel sensor, automatic light compensation and Carl Zeiss optics. Shipping begins in August for this and all other cameras mentioned today; the 9000 should sell for $100 and will be matched by the C905, an equivalent intended for notebooks.
Eye-Fi on Wednesday announced it will soon add a Geo wireless SD memory card to its lineup that will be capable of geotagging photos exclusively for Mac computers. The 2GB SD card automatically saves GPS mapping information for captured photos and videos before transferring them to a given computer. It's primarily intended for Mac users and fully supports Apple's iPhoto '08 and '09 as well as MobileMe. As with other Eye-Fi cards, the photos are wirelessly transferred to a pre-selected folder on a Mac over a user's Wi-Fi network.
Offering sanction to iPhone jailbreaking would open the door to "potentially catastrophic" network attacks, Apple suggests. The company recently submitted a filing to the US Copyright Office, contesting a motion by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to make jailbreaking legally accepted. Jailbreaking is already widely practiced around the world, but potentially at risk from the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which presently states that "no person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title."
T-Mobile today confirmed frequent rumors by launching its own version of the HTC Touch Pro2. The Windows Mobile 6.1 phone reaches the US carrier with 1,700MHz 3G native to T-Mobile's network and replaces the Wing in the company's phone roster. Its centerpiece is a 3.6-inch, 800x480 touchscreen that provides a much larger view, particularly for the web or for HTC's TouchFLO interface for contacts and music.
Among a number of camera launches, Kodak this morning unveiled one of the first pocket camcorders to record at 1080p. The Zi8 can capture at a full 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second, producing movies that show at the full resolution of a Blu-ray movie. It can also capture at 720p using a fast 60 frames per second and is unique in having a microphone jack to support more professional-sounding audio.
Microsoft and Yahoo today at last announced a partnership between the two companies for both ads and search. The 10-year deal will see Microsoft's Bing search engine replace Yahoo's own in most areas and will give the Windows developer a license to Yahoo's search technology to use for itself. In return, Yahoo will sell premium ads for both companies and will collect revenue from Microsoft for traffic sent its way during the first five years. Microsoft also vows to guarantee Yahoo's revenue for the first year and a half the new arrangements take effect in a given country. It should improve Yahoo's cash flow by about $275 million per year.
Sprint on Wednesday revealed spring quarter results that show the Palm Pre having relatively little impact on its health. The company's losses widened to $384 million compared to $341 million a year ago and it reported losing about 257,000 total customers, shrinking to 48.8 million users. While it gained 938,000 prepaid customers on Boost Mobile, this and other gains were offset by losses across the board, including 393,000 of its core CDMA phone network users.
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Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel
Verizon gives last offer, issues workers ultimatum
Verizon has offered striking workers its "last, best and final offer" following 10 months of protracted negotiations with union leaders. The latest offer comes on the back of 36,000 Verizon employees taking strike action two weeks ago. The proposal includes a 7.5 percent wage rise, better benefits and voluntary retirement incentive offers. The striking workers, mainly on from its fixed line operations, have claimed that Verizon has outsourced 5,000 jobs to workers overseas and that it has been deliberately hiring low-wage, non-union contractors. Verizon recently posted revenue of $32.2 billion for the March quarter. http://cnnmon.ie/26AmwSv
CarPlay comes to Porsche 718 Cayman
Porsche has revealed that its new 718 Cayman series will be the latest vehicles in its range equipped with support for Apple CarPlay. The new Porsche models joins the recently announced 718 Boxster, the 2017 Macans and the 2016 model of the 911 in offering support for Apple's iOS in the car interface. Both are fitted standard with an eight speaker sound system and the Porsche Communications Management (PCM) system. The entry-level Cayman starts at $53,9000, while the faster S variant starts from $66,300. Although already on sale, the won't reach US dealers until late November. http://prn.to/1Tj1EW7
Macphun offers free Photos filters
Image editing software maker Macphun are offering a free set of up to 30 photo filter effects to extend the range of filter options available to users of Apple's Photos app for OS X, which replaced the previous iPhoto program. The first 15 filters are available after installing the software, and includes filters such as "Ancient Canvas" and "Twilight," while users who sign up for the Macphun newsletter will unlock the other 15 effects. The extension integrates directly into Photos, and include sliders for finer control of the effects and a masking brush. http://bit.ly/1VEgQD6