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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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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