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.
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French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l