Softbank this week revealed plans to give its iPhone 1Seg TV tuner an official iPhone app. The upcoming TV Mobile app will let those with an iPhone 3G or 3GS watch over-the-air TV from the tuner without having to keep the peripheral near the Apple device as they do today. Rather than create a short-range connection over Wi-Fi, the app can be set to stream TV from the tuner over the Internet to a distant iPhone, using a local Wi-Fi router to give the 1Seg add-on its connection.
Acer on the last day of 2009 acted quickly to hush rumors by confirming details of its first Aspire One netbook to use Intel's Pine Trail platform for the Atom chip. The 532h gets the slightly faster 1.66GHz N450 but is most notable for its increase in battery life: the more efficient Atom and a more efficient 10-inch LED-lit display should net it up to 10 hours of usefulness on a high-end 6-cell battery and 8 hours on a regular 6-cell pack. The keyboard and trackpad have also grown in size versus the 531h, with the former now equivalent to 93 percent of a full-size keyboard and the trackpad having a larger area to better suit its multi-touch input.
SmartQ has launched its V5 mobile Internet device (MID) in China recently. The V5 has a 4.3-inch resistive touchscreen with 800x480 resolution and can play back 3D graphics and video thanks to its hardware acceleration, though exactly what type isn't being specified. The company does reveal, however, that the device is powered by a 600MHz ARM11 CPU which can be overclocked to 800MHz thanks to a firmware update. Most interestingly, the V5 ships with Android, Ubuntu Linux and Windows CE 6.0 preloaded.
Apple has maintained a level of secrecy surrounding its tablet project not seen since the iPhone about three years ago, John Gruber says. Referencing sources at Apple, the historically accurate technology writer reiterates that a Get Smart-like "cone of silence" exists surrounding those developing the tablet and virtually no information comes from those directly involved. Many of those involved are the same who developed apps like Calendar, Mail and Safari for the iPhone and underwent a similar routine in late 2006.
Foxconn has responded to a Wednesday rumor by filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange to deny that it has received orders for manufacturing Android-powered handsets from UK wireless provider Orange. The company said it does not intend to compete directly with its existing clients. The unnamed sources of the rumors are maintaining their story, saying the Foxconn and Orange deal was done through a third sales party.
An unofficial port of Doom for the Palm Pre has further indicated that the handset and the Pixi will soon get hardware accelerated graphics. The game requires that users update their handsets to the recently-released webOS 1.3.5 and confirms that OpenGL is built-in. The functionality is now known to come thanks to Simple Directmedia Layer (SDL), a cross-platform software library that allows for low-level hardware access and is also included in the new webOS build.
In an attempt to help users get a better night's sleep, a company called WakeMate has introduced a product that will pair with the iPhone and other Bluetooth handsets to detect a user's sleep patterns and wake them up within a 20 minute window that is said to be the most efficient and healthy for the body. The wrist band is an actigraph and will infer the wearer's sleep pattern and circadian rhythms based on motions.
Orange UK today said it would be one of the first carriers to upgrade its call quality with plans to launch "high definition" calls. The HD Voice service will use a new speech transmission format known as Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate (WB-AMR) that allocates multiple times more bandwidth to a call than normal 3G voice without increasing the amount of data used. Orange expects calls to sound as good as if the other caller was "actually in the same room" if both are using the same technology.
LG today provided full details of its first Mobile DTV device for the US after this week's previous teaser. The DP570MH behaves superficially like a portable DVD player and can play these movies from its 7-inch, 480x234 screen but has a tuner for the new mobile digital TV standard to pick up live TV, even when traveling at speeds that would thwart regular digital TV signals. It can alternately load JPEG photos and WMA audio from a USB port.
Most of Apple's networking peripherals sold only adequately during 2009, according to data from the NPD Group. The firm notes that Apple TV sales were up less than 10 percent in 2009, continuing a lethargic trend that emerged in 2008. The product has not been helped materially by the release of the Apple TV 3.0 firmware -- adding features like Internet radio -- or a price cut down to $229.
To close out 2009, Apple's online store has cut prices on a variety of refurbished Mac models starting at $899 for the 2.0GHz aluminum MacBook with 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. For $100 more upgrade to the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.26GHz processor 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. If it is an iMac you are after, the 21.5-inch iMac with a 3.06GHz processor 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive is available for only $999.
Samsung has unveiled a new handset for its China market and only its third Android phone, the i899. The device is being made especially for China Telecom, the country's third biggest carrier and will support CDMA/EVDO networks. Like the Galaxy, it centers on a 3.2-inch AMOLED display but uses an older, less costly resistive touchscreen instead of the capacitive found on the Galaxy and Behold II.
Acer's first netbook based on Intel's Pine Trail platform, the Aspire One 532h, has finally been spotted in photos ahead of a likely release next week. The 10-inch system should be visually similar to its existing predecessors on the outside but is at once subtler and more stylized, having dropped the chrome-like accents on the side but gaining the newer keyboard of more recent Aspires as well as a larger trackpad.
Despite shutting down its traditional ultraportable line worldwide in favor of netbooks like the VAIO P, W and X, Sony today quietly resurrected the VAIO TT in its home country. The new model reflects the modern reality and uses significantly less expensive Intel CULV-based processors across most of the line. Customers can go to as basic a chip as the 1.2GHz Celeron as well as 1.4GHz and 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo models.
A newly-published patent application may suggest that Apple has been seriously contemplating a major upgrade of the Apple TV. Originally submitted on May 1st of last year, the filing depicts a remote specifically interacting with an updated Apple TV interface. The interface would support commands from a new remote, capable of recognizing motion gestures in addition to regular button presses.
Motorola may be developing an even higher end Android phone if a Chinese leak today translates to reality. Nicknamed either the Mirage or the Shadow, it would graduate from the Droid's 3.7-inch screen to a larger still 4.3 inches, albeit at the same 854x480 resolution. Performance, however, would be the greatest jump as the phone is rumored to support 1080p video and would have native HDMI output.
Owners of the Palm Pre and Pixi discovered on Thursday that the Palm App Catalog is nearing the 1,000 app mark. As of the morning, the portal had 946 titles and is likely to cross 1,000 by or shortly after the smartphone creator's CES keynote. Some apps may also be unlisted as some apps are device-specific and may only work for the Pre or Pixi.
ASUS is considering closing the groups that produce its Eee Stick Wii-like controller as well as its desktop and TV LCDs, a rumor insists today. Industry contacts for DigiTimes allege that ASUS isn't satisfied with either the shipment numbers or the profits associated with any of the three divisions and that the Eee Stick group is particularly hard hit, having lost 80 percent of its staff to include just 20 workers. The LCD groups still have orders but are facing tough outside competition.
Now AAPL Stock: 96.43 ( + 1.21 )
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