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Microsoft is considering subsidizing future versions of its Zune player, the company's Zune marketing lead Jason Reindorp has said. The executive observed that the Zune Pass unlimited subscription service, which is a key difference between it and the a-la-carte downloads of iTunes, could give Microsoft a means of undercutting the pricing of the iPod. Buyers who attach a long-term contract to the player could see some if not all of the price eliminated, much as cellphone carriers do today.
Suggestions that the iPhone will release on Rogers Wireless in Canada are only speculative, the cell provider said today. Contradicting an earlier e-mail the company reportedly sent early this year, Rogers corporate communications head Odette Coleman told journalists that no announcements had been made, and that most of what had been heard was conjecture.
"Everything in the media has been speculations to this point," Colemain said. "The only fact is that we are the only GSM carrier in Canada. That's the only fact."
Clevo has showcased an all-in-one PC it hopes can replace TVs as well as its fellow competitors. The LV220C resembles a Sony's seemingly floating VAIO L-series but ramps up size and performance. A larger 22-inch LCD and the desktop version of the Core 2 Duo processor help the Clevo interpretation handle HD video as well as the increased demands of Windows Vista. The system is also ready for other media with a front webcam, dual TV tuners, and an iMac-like DVD drive hidden on the side of the display.
Mozilla is developing a new social networking component for its Firefox browser titled The Coop that could streamline the way people share info, the organization announced today. The add-on will borrow the concept of a chicken coop for organizing a user's friends: each friend portrait will serve as the gateway to an RSS news feed of everything a person chooses to publish, flashing when a friend updates a blog, Flickr photo gallery, or favorite YouTube videos. The aim would be to unify as many social networking tools as possible under one umbrella, Mozilla says.
Some interest has been aroused in a concept phone imagined by a 15-year-old Korean studying in Canada. Called the Butterfly, the phone would have a compact white "brick" shape with an elongated touchscreen on the front, enabling access to functions like music, the camera, and receiving calls. Of particular note however is a larger, 3.5-inch AMOLED screen, which would slide out from under the phone to a 30-degree angle. This would allow access to a variety of functions, including dialing, web browsing and videos. Due partly to the minimal interface and the ability to forego a stylus, the Butterfly has been compared to the Apple iPhone. More images can be found below.
Sony should soon bring one of its most advanced GPS units to the US. A recent FCC approval has shown that the company will bring its previously Europe-only NV-U81T to the country, offering features rarely seen in the NAV-U line or other GPS devices. A 4GB hard drive offers more space than an SD card for maps and points of interest, while the U81T also brings gesture-based shortcuts to common searches and acceleration/pressure sensors to better locate the car on a trip.
The 4.3-inch touchscreen device wasn't confirmed for a release date in the FCC papers, but has now had the path cleared for an introduction later in the year. Pricing will likely rise above the current U70. [via NaviGadget]
Based at Darmstadt University in Germany, three researchers are suggesting that WEP is no longer a reliable security standard for wireless, InfoWorld reports. Their findings have been published in an official paper, which describes how a 104-bit WEP key can be extracted in approximately three seconds, with the necessary data being captured in less than a minute.
More importantly, perhaps, this can done with a 1.7GHz Pentium M processor -- substantially less power than has been needed in the past. While WEP vulnerabilities were first exposed in 2001, an attack required the accumulation of four million data packets, which took a substantial amount of processing to crack. Subsequent analysis reduced the packets needed, but only now has WEP become critically exposed. The Darmstadt group is recommending the use of two countermeasures: the first is an intrusion detection system, while the second is a cloak of "dummy" WEP keys, which hampers any predictive methods in an attack.
Microsoft is the target of a new class-action lawsuit, this time over its marketing of Windows Vista. Started by a PC buyer from Washington state, Dianne Kelley, the suit alleges that Microsoft knowingly deceived computer shoppers with its "Windows Vista Capable" stickers, designed to keep sales steady in advance of Vista's release. PCs bearing the sticker can indeed run Vista; the problem, according to Kelley's lawyer, is that Microsoft was not clear in saying that the sticker only guarantees compatibility with Vista Home Basic, and not the more heavily-promoted Premium versions. Only Home Premium, Business and Ultimate support features such as Media Center and Flip3D window-switching.
Intel this morning added the Centrino Pro to its mix of mobile platforms. The design calls for not only 802.11n wireless as standard but for the use of the company's Active Management technology for portables, giving IT managers a built-in way to control the network without being tied to a desktop. Owners of any Centrino Pro-based notebook can administrate other powered systems on the network while on Wi-Fi; systems physically attached to the network can even be checked while turned off.
The formal rollout of Centrino Pro is due to take place at the same time as Intel's "Santa Rosa" general Centrino platform is made public, which should take place within the next few weeks.
Lenovo is preparing a performance upgrade to its X60 tablet, according to detais that were briefly revealed on the system builder's website. The convertible will soon have an option for a 1.5GHz low-voltage Core 2 Duo, running faster than the 1.66GHz Core Duo from before while keeping the low power and heat needed for the extra-slim chassis. Other components should be the same with a base model claiming 1GB of RAM, 60GB hard drive, and Windows Vista Business.
The speed will add $75 to the $1,994 base price when other features remain he same. A formal introduction wasn't specified in the leak, but should take place soon after company's current $300 discount ends on April 16th. [via GottaBeMobile]
BLU:SENS stepped up the abilities of its media players with the G40. Like the earlier G14, the new handheld has Bluetooth for wireless headphones and Wi-Fi for sharing tracks between players and PCs without the DRM restrictions of Microsoft's Zune. New in the G40 is a 1.3-megapixel camera for snapping JPEG photos as well as a larger, 2.5-inch LCD for viewing DivX, MPEG-4, or XviD videos. Audio is provided in MP3 or OGG. Up to 4GB of storage is built inside but can be supplemented with an SD card.
The Spanish firm sells the G40 in 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB models in its home country, but hasn't released its pricing or an official ship date. Launches in Europe and other areas are also a mystery. [via Ubergizmo]
The VESA group has ratified a new standard which may end up replacing many video ports. Called DisplayPort, the technology supports twice the bandwidth of a DVI cable, but yet uses a much smaller connector piece, making it easier to use with portable devices such as laptops. It will further remain compatible with the HDCP standard, which allows a variety of electronics to pass DRM safeguards imposed on HD optical discs.
DisplayPort is likely to affect the computer industry the most, gradually replacing both DVI and VGA ports over the next few years. While it could in theory be used to replace HDMI on televisions, the entrenchment of HDMI and the longer timescales of TV ownership are likely to make DisplayPort an accompaniment rather than a new standard in that realm.
Singapore-based GAJAH has shown a new, screenless media player for runners. Dubbed the Snafu, the flash jukebox borrows the same overall principle as the iPod shuffle and is shaped like a clip, allowing its owner to hook the device to a pocket or a shirt collar. A pair of new features make the player more accommodating, GAJAH adds. Built-in Bluetooth links the player with a cellphone and pauses playback for incoming calls; the device also responds with voice feedback to give a status update without having to glance at the device itself.
Precise features weren't revealed, but should include MP3 and WMA music support as well as syncing with a PC through a mini-USB-to-USB cable. The Snafu should be available soon in southeast Asia, though North American availbility is unknown. [via AVING]
Following the introduction of its eight-core Mac Pro, Apple has also lowered the price of its Cinema Display LCD line. The greatest price decrease affects the 30-inch Cinema HD display, which drops from $1,999 to a more affordable $1,799. The computer company has also lowered the price of entry for the 20-inch Cinema from $699 to $599 and has applied a similar change to the mid-range 23-inch Cinema HD, dropping its price from $999 to $899.
All three displays maintain their current designs, including dual FireWire 400 and dual USB ports, and ship today from the online Apple Store.
Creative aimed squarely at music fans with the introduction of its Aurvana DJ headphones. The Singaporean company claims that the design is a perfect match to its X-Fi sound cards or its Zen music players with a pair of tuned, 40mm neodymium drivers as well as copper-sheathed aluminum wires that it says more accurately represent audio sources. Leatherette pads help make listening more comfortable. Good looks are also important, Creative says, with a brushed-metal design on the outside.
The headphones are already reaching Singapore stores at a price equal to $111. US launch details haven't been released but should follow shortly with relatively similar pricing.
Apple on Wednesday added a new eight-core option to the Mac Pro. Buyers of the new professional workstation can now choose two of Intel's 3GHz quad-core Xeons, nicknamed "Clovertown," alongside the 2GHz, 2.66GHz, and 3GHz dual-core "Woodcrest" processors currently offered by Apple in its systems. Other features of the desktop are unchanged and include a base 1GB of memory expandable to 16GB, 250GB of storage (up to 3TB), and a choice of video cards ranging from a 256MB GeForce 7300 GT to the 512MB Quadro FX 4500 for professional 3D modeling and stereo imaging.
Customizing the Mac Pro with the 3GHz eight-core option adds $1,498 to the base $2,499 price and ships within three to five days from the online Apple Store.
Samsung this morning launched the SpinPoint S166, its newest upgrade to its quiet hard disks. The drive emphasizes noise reduction over capacity: although storing at most 160GB of data, the drive's newer seeking method and hardware cuts the peak noise by as much as 15 percent, topping out at a sub-whisper 27.5 decibels at full speed. The near silence makes the drive an ideal fit for a home theater or office computer where intrusive noise is a real problem, the company says.
The drive's price and availability vary by region, according to Samsung, but include both the flagship 160GB model and a simplified 80GB version for less demanding users.
D-Link on Wednesday grew its Xtreme-N line of Wi-Fi cards by two. The DWA-643 is built for owners of newer notebooks with ExpressCard slots, giving draft 802.11n speeds in an ExpressCard 34 adapter that works both with its native card slot or the wider 54 slots found on some portables. Also available is the DWA-556 for desktops: plugging into a PCI Express X1 slot, the adapter not only provides the speed but includes three antennas to capture signals from further away. The quality lets Wi-Fi work for gaming, D-Link says.
Both cards currently require Windows and are shipping today at prices of $120 for the notebook-bound DWA-643 and $150 for the DWA-556.
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