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(Update with official response) AT&T subscribers in San Francisco and the Bay Area have been reporting major service issues affecting their phones on Friday. The outages have triggered an above-average number of failed calls but appear to have rendered data completely inoperable for most customers. While the errors depend on the device, some have encountered errors trying to "activate" the data network in the region.
Sprint today in a brief Twitter update confirmed that its versions of the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment will both be updated to Android 2.0. While the company doesn't have an exact release window, it plans for both to be upgraded within the first half of 2010. Both currently run Android 1.5.
Danish design company Threads has launched its first line of designer notebook bags, with designs focused on simplicity and a maintaining a positive economic impact. The bags are produced in small-scale factories located in South Korea, with hand-stitching completed in Vietnam. The new products include the Journalcase, Shouldercase, Grannybag and Natural.
T-Mobile is considering the possibility of dropping part of its special HotSpot@Home calling service, a source said today. The carrier is supposedly disappointed with its fixed service, which uses two SIM cards to create a local network for phones, and may drop the feature "soon." T-Mobile's reversal is said by the BGR contact to be the result of T-Mobile's new chief operational officer determining that the plan isn't profitable.
Fire Core has released an update to its Apple TV enhancement software, aTV Flash. Version 4.0.3 integrates an improved Couch Surfer Pro interface, featuring a new layout and additional navigation options, along with full support for Apple's Remote app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Users can navigate the Internet from Apple TV using the mobile device as a touchpad and keyboard.
Fusion Garage chief Chandrasekhar Rathakrishnan in an interview published today has provided details of how the Joojoo tablet's performance as well as its future plans. The company lead confirms that the Atom-based tablet carries 1GB of RAM but also has a dedicated graphics processor instrumental to its 1080p Flash playback as well as better 3D. Rathakrishnan claims to Engadget that the Joojoo has enough 3D performance to support 'at least iPhone level' games.
Verizon's chief executive on Friday dispelled rumors about the telecommunications company's interest in buying satellite TV provider DirecTV. Ivan Seidenberg believes his company has no need for DirecTV as Verizon already offers its own HDTV service, FiOS TV.
SwimMan has launched a new waterproofed iPod shuffle, and is offering a combo deal for the holidays. The Shuffle is a 2GB, third-generation model waterproofed from the inside out, and so does not require special external casing. It can be submerged to 25 feet, although the waterproofing process does disable the on-off and shuffle buttons, which can be substituted for with the headset and the center-wheel button. The other buttons remain functional, but tend to be stiffer.
Western Digital says it has developed a technique that provides more usable space out of a given hard drive capacity. Known as Advanced Format, it reduces the amount of overhead for each data sector by pooling together information. Instead of requiring a single Sync/DAM header and ECC (error correction) block for each sector, it would create much larger 4KB sectors that use one set of each header.
Logic3 and USBfever have each launched new speaker systems for notebooks and MP3 players: the ScreenBeat USB and the Sonar Speaker. The aluminum, cylinder-shaped ScreenBeat speaker produces 3W of RMS output. While specifically designed for notebooks, the speaker is capable of working with any media device with a USB port, and is powered by the device it is plugged into. A compact design is meant to sit close to the front or sides of a computer.
The ODROID gaming console is now shipping in a worldwide developer edition. The device has a touchscreen and an HDMI output and can indeed support HD resolutions on TV sets, as seen in the video, below. The Korean device uses an 833MHz Samsung ARM Cortex processor and 512MB of RAM. There is also an accelerometer for certain motion-control games.
HarperCollins is the latest publishing house to announce it will delay the release of new electronic books in order to give their hardcover counterparts more time on the shelves and to ensure the longevity of the book industry in general. The chief executive of HarperCollins, Brian Murray, said the delays will start in January or February and involve the delay of five to 10 new hardcover titles each month. Depending on the book, the delay could range from four weeks to six months.
The iPhone is effectively stealing control of subscribers away from AT&T, says iSuppli. The research group notes that as cellphone carriers have grown, they have been able to depend less and less on money from voice. As a result they have increasingly turned towards data, selling not only bandwidth but services such as games, ringtones and video.
A recent TMoNews article maintains that two T-Mobile handsets, the Touch Pro2 and Dash 3G, will soon get a software update to Windows Mobile 6.5. The two T-Mobile handsets currently use Windows Mobile 6.1, and the update is expected to bring easier navigating through the menus, with tasks and checking information done much quicker and easier than before. The web browsing experience is also much improved.
UK retailer eXpansys today revealed that the Motorola Milestone's UK debut sold out in less than three hours. The exclusive sales outlet for the phone in the country said it listed the phone at 10AM on Thursday but had to label it as out of stock just 2.5 hours later. The rate is an all-time company record and even outpaced Apple's iPhone.
ASUS earlier this week said it plans to contract out its manufacturing operations by spinning off a new company, tentatively called Pegatron Investment Holdings Company, in order to reduce its capital by 85 percent. The new company will sell new shares, with 25 percent retained by ASUS while the other 75 percent will be offered to shareholders, according to an ASUS filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
Dell may be having trouble fulfilling orders due to inherent problems with its delivery system, according to multiple anecdotal reports. Those who've ordered say their orders have been delayed as many as four times and in many cases have been pushed back to January. When asked, Dell regularly claims that it's waiting on one or more parts before it can finish building the system and claims that there are a lot of orders due to the holidays.
Seagate's promised 7mm notebook hard drive will be relatively limited in capacity if leaked details prove accurate. To be called the Momentus Thin, the line will purportedly top out at 250GB and have just one step down, a 160GB model, for those concerned about cost. The disks should nonetheless still spin at the same 5,400RPM as typical notebook drives measuring 9.5mm or 12mm tall.
Apple may be ready to buy VoIP business iCall, claims a source in contact with Silicon Alley Insider. In addition to featuring a Windows client, iCall also provides VoIP services through an iPhone app and a limited web client. Apple and iCall are allegedly already in talks, working on a deal estimated to be worth $50 to $60 million.
An unnamed source claims to have seen someone using an AT&T-branded Palm Pixi handset on San Francisco's mass transit system. The early look is just an indication and there is no official word from neither AT&T nor Palm about whether the Pixi is actually coming to the provider. Thus far, the Pixi is only available with a Sprint connection.
A driver download page on Acer's website reveals a new, as-yet-unreleased netbook model, the Aspire One 532. Available in a couple of models, the AO532H-xx, will be Acer's first netbook based on Intel's Pine Trail platform. That means the AO532H will be powered by the 1.66GHz N450 Intel Atom CPU, which is confirmed by several retailer sites that are already listing the netbook for sale.
Microsoft is not banning Apple products from its press events, a company spokesperson says. At a recent Windows Mobile 6.5 event in Munich, Germany, one Microsoft representative is alleged to have criticized journalists for talking about owning an iPhone. The one incident led to reports that Microsoft had banned the use or mention of Apple products at official events.
Microsoft ought to cut its losses and drop Windows Mobile and Zune, Strategic News Service analyst and founder Mark Anderson said late Friday. He argues that, apart from the Xbox 360, the Windows developer's consumer electronics businesses have largely flopped and that it lacks a fundamental understanding of how these work. Apple, Google and most Asian companies have a far better understanding and are likely to still dominate the field.
Acer's first smartphone powered by the Android operating system, the Liquid A1, has recently gone through testing at the FCC, with the documents revealing that it will support AT&T's 850/1,900MHz 3G network. Despite this, there is still no official indication from either from AT&T or Acer about when the Liquid A1 is expected to ship for North American consumption. The FCC filing also reveals the phone will carry the S100 designation as part of its full name.
Apple has finally announced an effort towards fixing problems with iTunes 9 sync, a British website reports. "We are aware of the issue and are investigating," an Apple spokesman is quoted as saying. The company has otherwise had no comment on the matter since early September, when iTunes 9 was released.
The Canadian government today cleared Globalive to run what should be the country's fourth national carrier. After initially letting the CRTC reject Globalive's WIND service due to concerns about foreign ownership, Industry Minister Tony Clement now says the results have been overturned as it's been decided that the foreign investment in the company doesn't constitute "in fact" control that would violate Canadian ownership laws. The decision takes effect immediately and clears WIND to run as soon as it's ready.
Apple may be adopting a more tolerant approach to flaws in submitted iPhone apps, one developer's experience suggests. Vimov notes that it recently submitted an update for iSimulate, an app which makes multi-touch and accelerometer commands possible within the Mac iPhone simulator. Despite the fact that the update makes a call to a private API, Apple has temporarily approved it, only asking that the next update remove the offending code.
(Updated with details inside the suit) Apple today responded to Nokia's lawsuit by filing a countersuit of its own. The new complaint accuses Nokia of violating 13 Apple-held patents. Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell also alleges that Nokia is exploiting work on products like the iPhone to maintain its status in the industry.
Palm may have fared better than expected in its crucial fall quarter, according to an investment note from Kaufman Brothers. Senior analyst Shaw Wu points to checks in the industry that suggest the company should have shipped about 670,000 Pre and Pixi phones between September and November. Although down from the summer peak of 823,000 phones, the tally is higher than expected and should skew towards the more lucrative Pre.
Namco has released an iPhone port of Pac-Man Championship Edition, originally developed for the Xbox Live Arcade. The title replicates the original Pac-Man gameplay, but expands on it with multiple modes. The signature Championship Mode asks players to get the highest possible score within three to five minutes, while Mission Mode has gamers try for a series of tasks, each completed in roughly a minute.
Nokia on Friday introduced a new handset, the 5235 Comes With Music, which serves as an effective upgrade to the existing 5230 phone. The new model brings Comes With Music ready to go and can take unlimited downloads for as long as 1.5 years, all of which can be kept after the subscription ends. The 5235 has a 3.2-inch touchscreen and the battery life to play back 33 hours of music, which can be stored on a 16GB microSDHC memory card.
Apple has published the iTunes Holiday Sampler, a free album available through the iTunes Store. The compilation includes a number of traditional and non-traditional Christmas songs, from artists like Toby Keith, Weezer, Stephen Colbert and Aretha Franklin. It primarily directs listeners to albums the tracks are taken from, which come at a cost. The album also serves to promote Apple's iTunes LP format, which offers DVD-like extras such as lyrics and photos.
As promised early last week, TechCrunch today revealed a lawsuit against its one-time collaborator Fusion Garage in a Northern District of California court. The complaint accuses the CrunchPad (now JooJoo) developer of fraud, misappropriation of business ideas and other claims for allegedly "stealing" the project away from the tech website without consent.
Nokia's Ovi Store for mobile apps has been trounced by Apple's App Store, the former's media group product lead George Linardos admitted on Thursday. Created as rival to the iPhone's portal, Ovi is now acknowledged as having been 'outpaced' by the App Store as its tendency to crash, its slow speed and its lack of features to match Apple's have left it behind. The executive noted that the current Ovi incarnation was primarily meant to integrate Nokia's disparate services and wasn't ready for the iPhone's approach.
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Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded Hermés face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir