Mark/Space on Thursday launched both the Mac and PC version of The Missing Sync for Android. The app utilizes Wi-Fi to sync contacts between a computer and Android-based handsets such as the myTouch 3G, HTC Hero or Motorola Cliq. It works with popular applications such as Microsoft Outlook or Address Book, and can automatically sync whenever the computer comes within range of the handset.
Verizon tonight cut deep by launching a new ad (seen below) for the Motorola Droid. The new spot directly attacks the iPhone and calls Apple's handset a "digitally clueless pageant queen," making fun of its focus on style and even mocking the glass case Apple used to display the phone at its launch in 2007. It meanwhile thrives on the Droid's powerful, masculine image and, among other things, suggests that the smartphone is "racehorse duct-taped to a Scud missile fast."
Uxsight has released a new mobile speaker system, complete with an SD card slot and support for USB drives. The device works with any audio player that has a 3.5mm audio jack, such as MP3 players or a PC, as well as any mobile phone with a 2.5mm connector. The player features standard controls for volume and track playback. Power is provided by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which can take anywhere from three to five hours to charge.
Google has confirmed plans to release an Android update, v2.0.1, sometime later this month. The new version could be the rumored v2.1 update claimed to be ready for launch after December 11th. The company claims v2.0.1 will contain a number of bug fixes and behavior changes. Developers will be able to take advantage of a 'Sync Tester' for testing third-party sync adapters.
Custom Solutions has introduced a new e-book utility, eBook Reader. The software can download free e-books and save them to a bookshelf folder kept in a user's Documents folder. While eBook Reader allows users to read the books directly from the software interface, it also provides an option to automatically convert text to speech. The reader can be expanded to fill the screen and supports fonts between 10-24 point sizes. It also bookmarks each location where the reader stops between sessions.
Booq has launched a new notebook bag, the Taipan shadow. It is a messenger-style carrying case geared toward maintaining a professional look. It can handle magazines, business cards, keys and notebook accessories, with a densely padded laptop compartment with a soft interior. The design also accommodates luggage trolley pass-through for easier transportation at airports.
WinMagic has released an update to its disk encryption software, SecureDoc v4.9 for Mac OS X. The software features always-on 256-bit AES full-disk encryption that integrates with Windows Active Directory, allowing it to be deployed across a mixed-OS enterprise network.
Nokia's E72 smartphone has finally landed in the US market, following initial availability in Europe for the past few weeks. The device serves as a replacement for the E71, the company's popular business handset. Upgrades include an optical trackpad and redesigned interface, while the e-mail client has been taken from the E75.
Sony on Thursday said it would be the first to capture FIFA's World Cup finals using 3D cameras. Depending on the tournament results, as many as 25 of the matches will be recorded in the format using Sony's pro-level cameras. The electronics giant hasn't said how soon the 3D footage will be made public or in what formats, though it has already promised 3D Blu-ray players, TVs and the PS3 for 2010.
Acer has officially leapfrogged Dell to become the world's second-largest PC builder, iSuppli confirmed in a new study. The Taiwan firm's computer shipments jumped 16.6 percent year-over-year in the summer to nearly 10.74 million PCs, or a 13.4 percent share of the entire market. Meanwhile, Dell actually dropped 5.9 percent to ship 10.34 million PCs, or 12.9 percent of the whole group.
STOIK Imaging has launched a Mac beta of its PanoramaMaker software. The software claims the unique ability to handle moving objects without allowing blur to ruin the stitched images. It also features lens and geometrical compensation, while allowing users to manually match images. Tools are provided for correcting uneven brightness, double-edge defects and curves in the final output.
Recosoft has announced PDF2Office Professional v5.0 for the Mac. The PDF converter tool can recreate PDF documents in Microsoft's Word as well as PowerPoint and RTF, retaining the construction and layout of the original. It retains paragraphs, applies styles and regroups graphic elements. It also extracts images and creates tables. All the formatting conversion is done automatically, requiring nothing of the user.
Rokland Technologies has introduced BearExtender n3, a wireless adapter designed for Apple computers. The device pairs a 700 mW Wi-Fi radio with an external antenna claimed to increase wireless range by up to four times the typical distance experienced with a 32mW AirPort card. It features plug-and-play compatibility, connecting via USB, and supports 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n networks.
The very recently spotted HTC Touch.B handset will not run on the open-source Android operating system after all. Previously known by the Rome codename, the latest MobiFrance report reveals it will instead rely on the conventionally-oriented Brew MP operating system rather than HTC's usual smartphone platforms. The Qualcomm OS is still in its Alpha build, though it resembles HTC's own TouchFLO interface.
RIM hoped to fuel its BlackBerry holiday sales with a major sales promo at AT&T. The deal cuts the price of virtually all BlackBerry handsets in half, even including newer models like the Bold 9700 and Curve 8520. As a result, the smartphones will cost as little as $100 and $50 respectively after both a rebate and a two-year contract.
Handset maker HTC to update or release 19 handsets with Android 2.1 in the near future, according to a leaked ROM for the OS. While some of these phones are versions of the same handset with different network support or are already out, the news still paints a picture of HTC's upcoming Android releases. The already existing handsets include the Hero, Halo and near-twin Droid Eris (codenamed as the DesireC in the ROM).
(Updated with Leopard patch info) Apple has released a first official Java update for Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Little information is available, but the patch does push Java SE 6 to v1.60_17, and include various "reliability, security and compatibility" fixes. Downloaders must be running Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later.
Sega has released Super Monkey Ball 2, a sequel to its earlier game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Players rely on touch and accelerometer controls to roll a monkey through an obstacle course, collecting bananas along the way. The game offers four monkeys to choose from, and 115 different levels.
Yamaha on Thursday introduced the latest addition to its Digital Sound Projector range with the YSP-5100. Compared to the YSP-4100 on which it's based, the YSP-5100 is 6.7 inches wider and packs two more tweeters into this extra outside space for better sound dispersion for a better virtual surround sound experience. It otherwise has the same HD decoding abilities that include Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, the same 55W power output and the same audio connections.
The Wireless Power Consortium on Thursday announced it has added BlackBerry maker RIM and battery maker Energizer, furthering the organization's mission of developing a wireless charging standard it is calling Qi. There are now 21 members in the Consortium, and the opportunity was also taken to announce the second round of prototype testing has been successfully completed.
Future Canon DSLRs could be some of the first to switch to touchscreens for much of their input, a newly unearthed patent filing shows. The application shows an interchangeable lens camera that would use both a touchscreen and an optical viewfinder but which would implement a unique system to avoid accidental input on the touch display immediately below. By setting a determining which eye would use the viewfinder, the system could partly disable the touchscreen to prevent accidental input while still maintaining some level of control.
Hard Candy Cases and Timbuk2 have each added to their lines of notebook accessories. The Bubble Shell, by Hard Candy, is a polycarbonate cover for 13-inch unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros. It uses a molded-in bubble design, and is available in six different color schemes including black, blue, red, pink, white and clear. The case snaps into place, maintaining access to batteries and ports.
Amuse has released an update to its video desktop and screensaver utility, My Living Desktop 4.5. The app replaces standard desktop content with moving images. The latest version provides over 40 built-in videos for users to choose from, with nature-themed sound effects, and an option to import personal movies.
Google and Microsoft have simultaneously joined the Camera Phone Image Quality Initiative in a bid to drive up the quality of handsets. Along with existing partners, the two are helping to create a rating system that will judge cameras on phones through factors beyond just resolution, such as the actual sharpness of the picture, the amount of visible noise, color reproduction and lens artifacts like distortion or chromatic effects ("purple fringing").
Apple's online store today has a wide selection of refurbished iPods at reduced prices. The previous-generation 1GB iPod shuffle, in pink is available for $39, the 2GB model is available for $20 more. Previous-generation 8GB iPod nanos are also available in orange, green, purple, pink, silver, yellow, and black for only $99. The 16GB Nano is also featured for $129 in all of the same colors. The second generation iPod touch is available in three configurations; 8GB for $149, 16GB for $199, or 32GB for $249. Last on the list is the 120GB iPod classic which is available in both black or silver for $189.
The second unofficial Motorola handset has been spotted in photos in as many days, this one also running on the Android operating system. The photos were posted from a reader of the story on the originally leaked handset, a touch-only Sholes. All that is known about the new device is that it has a 3.8-inch touchscreen along with an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash.
Acer is reportedly planning to replace the Aspire 8935 with a new flagship that would be one of the first to use AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 5850. The 18.4-inch Aspire 8942 would effectively become the first notebook with DirectX 11-capable graphics and has other specs that reveal it as a gaming notebook: it should hold a four-core 1.6GHz Core i7, 8GB of RAM, and two 640GB hard drives.
Nokia told those in an Internet broadcast that it plans to produce half as many smartphones in 2010 as it did this year. The company is scaling back the number of models to avoid "unnecessary differentiation" and ship multiple phones with only small changes between them. Those models that are left should get more attention as a result.
An official China Unicom online auction has so far yielded extremely poor iPhone sales, according to IDG News. The carrier recently opened an iPhone storefront at Taobao.com, a site described as a Chinese equivalent of eBay. Within its first two weeks the storefront is noted to have sold just five iPhones, including two 8GB 3G models and three 16GB 3GS editions.
Samsung on Thursday sued Sharp for allegedly infringing on its rights related to LCD devices. The filing was made with the US International Trade Commission, but little other details are known. Sharp hasn't made any comments on the matter, as it maintains it hasn't yet received any bill of complaints from the ITC.
LG Display on Thursday introduced the first LCD panel that combines both 3D capabilities and 1080p resolution. The 23-inch LM230WF4 monitor will ship with shutter glasses and promises to bring with it ultra-sharp images. Other specs include a 400cd/m2 brightness, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio and a 3ms response time.
NNG has released a major update of iGO My way, its turn-by-turn navigation app for the iPhone. The software is mainly distinguished by 3D junctions and landmarks, as well as an emphasis on simple icons and large buttons. The v1.1 update includes new maps for Europe or North America, depending on the edition of the software. People with the full European app gain access to maps for Albania and Macedonia.
Hulu won't undergo a shakeup following the Comcast buyout of NBC, the cable provider said during a conference call to discuss the merger. Comcast chief operating officer Stephen Burke called Hulu's existing business model "smart and appropriate" and said there weren't any plans to change the way the streaming video site works. He points out that the split already works in Comcast's favor, as much of Hulu's content comes from basic cable and leaves out the premium channels that Comcast would want to reserve for On Demand Online.
Motorola signaled the seriousness of its commitment to touchscreen phones this morning by investing in Sensitive Object, a developer for handheld touch devices. The deal gives Motorola access to Anywhere MultiTouch, which uses sound rather than finger electricity, pressure or optics to detect input. By detecting the waves emanating from a touch, the technique can recognize touch beyond just the screen or a dedicated trackpad.
Ilium has launched eWallet 7.0, an update to its password management software. The program stores passwords, PIN numbers, bank accounts and credit card info for quick retrieval, with 256-bit AES encryption. The update works on iPhones, iPod touches, BlackBerries and several Windows platforms; a preview is included for an upcoming Mac OS X release.
Micron recently introduced one of the fastest solid state drives on the market with its RealSSD C300. It sports a native SATA 6GBps interface, which Micron claims is a first for the industry. Based on 34nm MLC (multi-level cell) flash memory, the range supports the high-speed ONFI 2.1 standard and is rated at 355MBps read speeds and 215MBps write speeds when at its peak.
Fujitsu on Thursday unveiled what could be the most technically advanced UMPC to date. The LifeBook UH900 has just a 5.6-inch screen but uses a capacitive multi-touch display that takes finger input; appropriately, it comes with Windows 7 Home Premium and gets touch support out of the box. A small thumb trackpad and dedicated buttons for common tasks help simplify tasks that don't always work well with pure touch.
Mac sales will likely grow 26 percent in 2010, says Caris & Company analyst Robert Cihra. The figure contrasts with the computer market as a whole, which is expected to grow only 16 percent. Macs would thus be moving roughly 1.6 times faster, though during the past three years, Macs have shown an average growth rate 1.8 times higher.
Computer maker Dell has addressed the recently publicized issue with its Latitude E6400- and E6500-series notebook computers through a pair of updates (E6400, E6500). These PCs inexplicably throttled their CPU clock speeds to 1,000MHz, or less than half of their rated 2.2GHz speeds whenever their temperatures raised slightly or the CPU was asked to perform intensive tasks. The fix comes in the form of a BIOS update.
Analysts at IDC today made a sweeping set of predictions for the tech industry in 2010 that highlighted Apple. Researchers expect a major push into mobile apps as the future of computing and expect iPhone apps to lead the pack, with the app count almost tripling to 300,000 by the end of next year. Android will also swell rapidly and reach between 50,000 and 70,000 apps.
Apple is considering making its new iPod touch-based EasyPay checkout system commercially available, a report claims. The company recently switched to the Touch from older Windows CE technology, pairing it with custom software and a case that doubles as a card reader and barcode scanner. Sources say that Apple has since been approached by a number of parties looking to license the technology, ranging from small businesses up to major retail chains and system integrators.
Epson on Thursday launched a compact photo printer market that doubles as a digital photo printer. The PictureMate Show PM 300 can print out full-color 4x6-inch prints and has a seven-inch display with 800x480 pixel resolution. There are 12 different slideshow formats, and users get a remote control for full control of the photos displayed on the screen. The printer, meanwhile, has the highest resolution in its class, at 5760x1440, and can produce a print in as little as 37 seconds.
Nokia as part of its Capital Markets Day earlier this week showed a presentation that provided a brief glimpse of the future of Symbian on its phones. The Finnish phone maker expects the next release of the OS, Symbian^3, to ship in the first half of 2010 and to bring features overdue for the platform, including multi-touch input with flick scrolling, pinch-to-zoom and other gestures. The company also expects the interface to become about three times faster and to greatly simplify steps that have normally been overly complex on Symbian: it hopes for users to setup an e-mail account or get to a favorite song in two steps versus the several in Symbian today.
Comcast today confirmed late rumors and bought a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal that gives it control of the studio. The deal sees GE maintain a 49 percent stake and receive about $6.5 billion from Comcast; NBC Universal in turn is borrowing $9.1 billion to pay GE. While the new combined company doesn't yet have a name, but Comcast has created a second division known as the Comcast Entertainment Group that will handle the content aspects of the venture.
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Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ
Spotify deploys new $15 family plan
Spotify has today launched a new family program. Up to six family members can have individual accounts for $15 per month for the group. All current "Premium for Family" members will be migrated to the new program. The new plan is available today globally, minus Canada. http://spoti.fi/1OSJrCK
Speck CandyShell Clear with Glitter case
Speck today announced CandyShell Clear with Glitter. Thousands of tiny pieces of glitter are embedded within the case, with what the company calls "military-grade drop protection in a slim profile." CandyShell Clear with Glitter is available now on Speck's website for $40 and up. http://bit.ly/1OSHIgM
Three UK nudges MMS users toward apps
British carrier Three has suggested its users take advantage of messaging apps, as part of an announcement regarding multimedia messaging (MMS) price rises. While the price of a message will increase on June 13 from 17.4p ($0.25) to 40p ($0.58) per MMS, Three notes that customers can avoid the hefty fees by using Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other services. http://bit.ly/1Rk0TKM
Belight Soft launches Art Text 3
Belight Soft has launched the latest version of its graphic design software, Art Text 3. The new version sticks with the goals of the previous iterations in developing a creative art text tool that is easy to use for beginners, but produces powerful results that will also appeal to pros. Among its key features are over 70 customizable templates to assist with logo design, word art, web elements and picture captions. Users can customize 3D materials using over 200 textures, over 140 bump map surfaces and over 80 environment map textures. Users of either of the two previous versions can upgrade to the new version for $30, a $20 savings. New users can also enjoy the $30 price as an introductory offer through the Mac App Store until May 31. http://bit.ly/1U6jFqu
KnowRoaming network now extends to 86 countries
KnowRoaming customers can now use its global SIM sticker to take advantage of its unlimited data plans when travelling in 86 countries. The SIM sticker is, as its name suggests, a special sticker that is applied to the back of an existing SIM card for use outside the US in supported countries. It works in conjunction with the KnowRoaming smartphone app. The latest expansion of its network came with the addition of 12 Latin American countries where travelers can now also enjoy its unlimited data plans, which are available for $8 per day. http://bit.ly/27KkXli
BMW to start supporting CarPlay this fall
BMW will add CarPlay support as one of the entertainment add-on for its X5M and X6M models, the first BWM models to do so, starting from this summer. A German-language catalog for the manufacturer spotted by Bimmerpost advises the option will arrive in August. It is unclear if the support will only be included in European versions of the car, or for further afield. The display in the vehicles will be among the largest thus far seen for CarPlay, at 10.25 inches, and hinted at possible wireless CarPlay support. The X5M currently sells for €96,470 (US$108, 275), while the X6M retails for €99,327 ($111, 453). http://bit.ly/1XnZ4DJ