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Barnes & Noble's first e-book reader should launch soon and could introduce a watershed feature for any reader, a contacts claim this evening. The bookstore supposedly has a "major event" scheduled for October 20th where it's likely to introduce the e-book reader it promised for the end of the year. The device is likely to be a grayscale reader but to use AT&T 3G for downloading books online.
Avenir Telecom has introduced a new line of audio and networking accessories, along with mobile phone cases for UK retailers and resellers. Its audio devices center on the Bluetooth Stereo Headphone, which gives personal listening to an iPhone, iPod touch or any other A2DP-aware device, and the Dual Air Bluetooth Streamer, which plugs into any iPhone or iPod touch and simultaneously transmits music to two pairs of wireless headphones. Also available is the Bluetooth Pocket Hands-Free Car Kit, which is approximately the size of a credit card and sticks directly onto a windshield or dashboard for taking voice calls.
Virtual Programming has launched X3: Terran Contact, a space exploration game in the X Universe series. Players can choose from a number of unique characters and plotlines. The virtual world, set in the year 2938, features multiple races of beings, wealth accumulation, spaceship building and solar system exploration.
Swoop Software has announced Kitty Spangles Sudoku, a new game for Mac OS X that adds a unique style to the standard Sudoku puzzle game. It features a variety of animated themes that users can switch through, four different difficulty settings to try, and an endless amount of different Sudoku puzzles. The game comes with a built-in puzzle editor which enables players to design and create their own Sudoku board, or to copy a puzzle into the game from either a newspaper, book or website.
Ecamm Network has launched a new accessory to go with its BT-1 Wireless Webcam, the BTX Bluetooth Range Extender. The device is claimed to improve the Macís Bluetooth signal, extending BT-1's range by up to 100 feet. The BTX extender also enables Bluetooth connectivity on systems lacking integrated components. Users can attach and power the BTX accessory simply by plugging it into an open USB port.
Power Technology has launched iDFX, a new app claimed to improve playback quality of MP3 and AAC files on an iPod or other mobile device. The software works as an iTunes accessory and recodes the user's music files in an attempt to recover the same quality that existed in the original CD recordings. In order to do this, the software re-synthesizes damaged or missing harmonics while improving the low frequency range of the track.
atebits has released Tweetie 2, an update to the company's Twitter client for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app is said to have been completely rewritten, and now features state caching. Users can not only read and compose tweets offline, but return to their last known position in the interface after quitting or receiving a phone call.
AT&T's Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega, speaking at a CTIA keynote this week, hinted about "managing" iPhone users' data accounts. The executive spoke broadly about a small portion of users that account for an extremely large percentage of overall bandwidth. Although Apple's device wasn't explicitly blamed as the core problem, iPhone owners are known to consume much more data than users of other platforms. Despite de la Vega's acknowledgment of the need for internal controls, he voiced opposition to government intervention.
Microsoft this week said that it would venture into free productivity apps with a Starter Edition of Office 2010 for Windows. The special version will be free to use but will have feature-reduced versions of Excel and Word as well as ads that run in a sidebar with the app window. It will only come with a new PC rather than come as a download, but it will have an option to download a more complete version such as Home & Student Edition.
HP this afternoon provided fuller details of its special-run Envy 15 Beats (link active soon) notebook. It expands on the reference version by bundling a pair of Beats over-ear headphones as well as bundling Traktor LE for live DJing. Cosmetically, the model comes in the same glossy black and red as most Beats earphones.
A third Android device, likely due out early next year, will be the first with the Google operating system that will be certified for Verizon's Open Development program, according to a Friday Unstrung report. This new device is unnamed but will join more than 30 wireless devices sold by independent vendors that can run on Verizon's CDMA network. Verizon's upcoming Android-based phones Desire and Droid, aren't part of that program and are locked to Verizon's network.
Although its companion hardware has yet to be released, Sirius XM has released a dedicated XM SkyDock app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Users are able to tune into various XM satellite radio stations, including artist-specific stations for the likes of Elvis Presley and the Metropolitan Opera. While listening, stock and sports tickers provide visual feedback.
The FCC today told Google that it will investigate the company's policies regarding its Google Voice calling service (registration required). Acting on requests by AT&T and politicians, the agency hopes to determine whether or not the company is violating must-connect rules by refusing to complete Google Voice calls made to certain numbers, particularly those in some rural areas as well as to 900 numbers and other lines that have expensive access rates.
The Mini 3G handset introduced by INQ earlier this summer is now being offered by wireless provider 3. The candybar handset is meant for younger owners heavily involved in social networking, as it can be customized with body covers in eight different colors and has shortcuts for access to Facebook, IM programs, Skype and Twitter.
Sony Ericsson announced it will return to the North American market with cellphone sales at the CTIA show which wraps up today. Sony Ericsson's head of developer and partner content and services, William Maggs, said in a Friday Gearlog report that the company is planning on coming back to the US market with its smartphone sales, and the XPERIA X2 is likely to lead that return. The new-gen Windows Mobile handset is being shown off at CTIA.
Kingston on Friday announced the release of its MobileLiteG2 flash card reader. The second generation of the ultra-portable USB 2.0 device supports SDHC, microSDHC, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and Memory Stick Micro (M2) memory cards. It has retractable covers over its USB connection and the memory card slot.
Adobe has launched Photoshop.com Mobile for iPhone, bringing a simplified version of its flagship software to the iPhone and iPod touch. The new app can crop, flip and rotate photos, or adjust exposure, saturation and tint, with option of converting to black-and-white. Two filters are included: Sketch renders a photo as a drawing, while Soft Focus simulates its namesake lens effect. Exposure and filter adjustments are generally made with swipe commands.
(Updated with talk of $50 unlimited plan) T-Mobile's mysterious Project Black may be a combination of the company's phones and a rapid expansion of its fastest 3G service, a quick follow-up source said Friday. Rather than center on a specific device or a plan, Black would on pushing T-Mobile's upcoming high-end phones, including the Behold II, Bold 2 and Cliq, and matching them with the quick deployment of its 21Mbps HSPA+ network throughout the US. The timetable and the specific plans are still unknown by BGR and others.
North American phone carriers are far too dependent on subsidies, argues the Yankee Group. The research firm uses the particular example of the iPhone, which is said to turn only a small profit for AT&T. The carrier is able to lock customers into two-year contracts, but only after knocking several hundred dollars off the price of each phone. After also taking into account the impact of high data usage, the company is only breaking even on iPhones roughly 17 months into each contract. Yankee suggests that if AT&T were to eliminate subsidies, it could break even in eight months, and generate a 33 percent return over the course of two years.
The Android-powered Archos 5 portable multimedia player is now being offered online through Amazon (links below). The device is equipped with a 5-inch screen that sports an 800x480 pixel resolution. Thanks to its ARM Cortex-A8 processor, the Archos 5 is capable of decoding 720p HD video smoothly and has an optional HDMI dock lets users output the video at its full resolution.
National 4G provider Clearwire is bound to keep using WiMAX for its network until at least 2011, an SEC filing discovered this week has found. The carrier is now known to have struck a deal with Intel that requires it use WiMAX for at least the next two years in exchange for marketing help from the chipmaker. Clearwire also has to share revenue whenever the subscriber's device is Intel-based as well as pay a limited number of activation fees.
O2 UK has reportedly begun telling customers to expect the HTC HD2 in just over a week. The carrier expects the phone to be available on October 19th, or significantly ahead of HTC's official end-of-month target for the phone. Other carriers have yet to describe their own plans, though T-Mobile is also believed to be picking up the Windows Mobile 6.5 phone in the near future.
Information on the iRiver N20 portable media player has been scarce until now, as the company has released nearly all details for the device. First teased this summer, the N20 is unique in using a four-line, 128x56-pixel grayscale passive matrix OLED (PMOLED) display for track info rather than an LCD. It's further now known to be available in either 2GB or 4GB capacities and will play back MP3, WMA, APE, FLAC, OGG, and WAV files.
Apple and several news organizations have been named as defendants in a new patent infringement lawsuit, brought by a California business called Online News Link. The company accuses the other parties in the suit of violating US patent 7,508,789, awarded in March of this year, which describes a system for the fast search and retrieval of broadcast information over the Internet. "The amount of information delivered is preferably sufficient to satisfy the needs of a large number of subscribers so they do not have to obtain additional information using the bi-directional channel," the patent reads, adding that "the broadcast information is stored on fast storage media located at subscriber sites."
Telus' imminent HSPA 3G network has received what should be a more definitive launch date as well as its initial phone lineup. Multiple reports from insiders in HowardForums have staffers training to be ready on or before November 3rd for the new network. The preparation window would have the HSPA deploy at its earliest opportunity and may give a specific timeframe for the announced November iPhone launch on the Canadian network.
The Mac version of Chrome should be released before Christmas this year, suggests Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The executive made the revelation at a New York press conference, in the middle of answering a question about the browser's overall marketshare. Chrome's share has been disparaged by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who recently called the browser "a rounding error." Microsoft's Internet Explorer remains the dominant web browser worldwide.
Nikon in the past day has all but confirmed plans to launch the D3s, or a similar high-profile camera, through multiple reports of press events. Formal gatherings in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden are all slated to take place on October 14th and provide information on an unnamed product presumed to be the pro camera. The news suggests Nikon will formally unveil that day or the day before and give the media hands-on time later on.
Nokia on Friday revealed early details of Maemo 6, its next-generation smartphone platform. The OS will be the first to natively support multi-touch and capacitive touchscreens and should finally put the Linux-based OS on par with modern platforms like iPhone or webOS. Until now, the software has depended on single-touch resistive (pressure-dependent) screens incapable of gestures or other more precise movements.
The Abvent Group has released Artlantis 3, a major update to the company's rendering software for architects, designers and planners. The suite uses a new layer structure, with scene, object, plant, lamp, animated object and billboard layers, as well as support for custom ones. Other new options include importing layers from ArchiCAD, or designating a layer as an automatic destination for a particular type of media.
Samsung on Friday revealed that its flagship Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone will be part of its Armani-themed fashion line. The device has a bronze-trimmed theme meant to appeal both to executives and other more style conscious users, but it's also one of the company's more functionally advanced devices. It centers on a 3.5-inch AMOLED display more vibrant than LCDs and has a sliding QWERTY design that, like the HTC Touch Pro2 or Nokia N97, tilts the screen at an angle for a more natural viewpoint when typing.
ASUS has recently announced pricing and a release date for its previously announced UnLimited (UL) series of notebooks for the UK. Two of the three models will ship to the country's retail electronics stores on October 22nd. This includes the 13.3-inch UL30 and two variations of the 15.6-inch UL50, the UL50AG and UL50VG. There is no word on the 14-inch UL80, however. All three use Intel's CULV processors and some are claimed to provide up to 12 hours of battery life.
Microsoft's Pink phone project may be on the verge of falling apart even before its first product ships, according to a controversial set of leaks supposedly confirmed today. Backing a scoop from earlier in the week, a source for AppleInsider says Microsoft has poorly managed the project and squandered the acquisition of Sidekick creator Danger from 2008. Rather than implement Danger's advice, the larger company has watched the majority of the team either fired or leave in frustration as the majority of their advice is ignored.
MapQuest has introduced a new iPhone application, which goes beyond the company's web service to provide narrated, turn-by-turn car navigation. Unlike most such apps, the MapQuest software itself is priced at only $1. The rest of the cost is in monthly and annual subscription fees, which cover updated maps and points of interest, as well route optimization based on traffic, accident and construction updates.
Both Greenpeace and the US Secretary of Energy are welcoming an Apple decision to abandon the US Chamber of Commerce. The former's toxics campaigner, Casey Harrell, on Thursday issued a statement which applauded Apple for confronting the Chamber over its opposition to mandatory limits on greenhouse gases. Apple is the first technology company to have removed itself from the Chamber over the issue, though it was preceded by shoe maker Nike, and several energy companies including Exelon, PNM Resources and Pacific Gas & Electric.
NVIDIA's Ion 2 chipset is still due to ship before the end of year and could provide a significant boost not just to netbooks but to notebooks using Intel's CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) processors as well, an update from the company has shown. In addition to supporting the timeframe, an executive heading chipset development has reportedly confirmed rumors that the next-generation Ion will support processors other than the Atom, including the Celeron, Core 2 and Pentium processors that make up CULV as well as VIA's competing Nano design.
The BlackBerry Bold 2 (known as the 9700) could ship for T-Mobile three weeks after it's unveiled, based on a new rumor. So far pegged for an October 21st unveiling alongside the AT&T model, the smartphone is described by a BGR tipster as actually shipping the device on November 11th, or exactly three weeks after it becomes public. It's still unknown whether or not the AT&T version will ship at the same time.
Barnes & Noble spokesman Daniel Joresson at CTIA appears to have confirmed a timeframe in a video (available below) for what's likely the first color e-book reader available in the US. The Plastic Logic device would be smaller than the 8.5x11-inch large model proposed early on and would have just a paperback-sized display. However, it would have its own direct access to Barnes & Noble's bookstore and would be ready by spring 2010, or considerably earlier than an Amazon Kindle with color or most other rivals.
Although Wilson Electronics has yet to formally announce its latest cellular amplifier, the company at CTIA previewed an upcoming device designed for vehicles, the U-Booster Sleek. Wilson's focus on quality and performance was highlighted in a recent review, although the high-end equipment typically carries a hefty price tag. The upcoming device retains the core functionality, but with a smaller form factor and a fraction of the cost.
Several videos have surfaced that claim a revised Palm Pre may be heading to Mexico's Telcel carrier, allegedly with the addition of a MicroSD card slot. The videos, originating from the Mexican site Matuk, contain a preview of the Pre sporting a Telcel icon. The person in the video makes a reference to a memory card slot.
STM has released two new laptop bags, the Sonic and Convoy, designed to handle most 15-inch screen sizes. Sonic is made from PVC-free vinyl fabric, with a padded section designed to help protect against shock. The bag offers a large internal space for storing books or folders, along with a built-in organizer pocket for holding accessories. Additional features include water resistant lining and an adjustable/removable shoulder strap.
Vantec Thermal Technologies has announced two new card-readers for its line of computer accessories, the Culore Multi-Card Reader and Multi-Card Reader & Hub. Both devices support 66 different types of memory cards including SD, Memory Stick, or Compact Flash, and include a built-in two-in-one USB 2.0 carrying-strap/cable. The Culore Multi-Card Reader features five dedicated slots, transfer rates of up to 480Mbps, and support for high speed cards. The device comes in three different colors including pink, blue or green.
Along with Nokia's Booklet 3G, Electronista at CTIA also had a chance to fondle the upcoming N900 smartphone. Despite criticisms of the predecessor, the N97, the N900 represents a fresh attempt for the company to edge ahead against its competitors in the smartphone arena.
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HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko