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Dell is planning to lay off 10 percent of its workforce -- approximately 7,000 people -- despite having just stated Q1 2007 profits of $947 million, earning stockholders $0.34 per share. The employees will be cut over the course of the next year, and in numerous regions and roles, though there is no indication of whether any managers will lose jobs or pay. The primary reason cited for the layoffs is "competitiveness," which the BBC News reports is related to the increasing sales of Hewlett-Packard. Dell recently signed a pact with Wal-Mart, but it has had numerous other troubles in the past year, most recently a fraud lawsuit filed by New York's Attorney General.
Two of Nokia's premier phones, the N75 and N76, are now being sold throughout the US in unlocked form, free of carrier obligations. An important fact is that while the N75 was already on offer from AT&T, the N76 is only just arriving in North America, having previously launched in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It has a 2.4-inch screen and a two-megapixel camera; its most interesting feature however is its exterior music controls, which function similarly to those on the N75. The phone appears to have had its 3G capabilities stripped, though this is not confirmed. The N75 costs $430 while the N76 is $500.
The highly-anticipated Motorola Q9h is making its way into the hands of news sites, illustrating its features. Perhaps most notable is the keyboard, which has been improved from the original Q with larger, rectangular buttons. Boy Genius claims that speaker volume is equal to or better than other Windows Mobile 6 phones, and that call quality through AT&T (a likely carrier) is clear. A minor but important change is the camera software, which is now full-screen for easier viewing. A larger phone image can be viewed below. [via Boy Genius Report]
Verizon today announced that it would pick up the G'zOne Type-S, a new version of the rugged clamshell from Casio. Like the Type-V, the new phone is designed to survive especially harsh, military-grade conditions. The new model can withstand a near 5-foot drop from any angle; it can also survive heavy rainfall and splashing and is sealed against desert dust. The Type-S differentiates itself from the Type-V through its choice of hardware, Verizon says. Its camera is scaled back to a VGA-resolution 0.3 megapixels versus the 2-megapixel sensor of the V, but is exchanged in favor of Bluetooth and a more pocketable, streamlined shape.
Real Networks today revealed RealPlayer 11, the next major version of its media player software. The jukebox is the first to focus attention on capturing web-based video instead of simply offering tools to play it back. A unique extension to the player's web plugin can automatically detect videos that are recordable from the web and saves multiple clips at one time; this works for both live video events as well as prerecorded shows, Real says. The software is intelligent enough to also recognize copy protection on certain streams and will refuse downloads when DRM appears. Any video can be linked to a friend through a sharing feature to save the trouble of recreating the link.
Microsoft today launched the Zune 1.4 update, a new fix for the Washington-based company's first media player. The firmware patch is said to bring more random music lists when the shuffle option is chosen more than once, fixing a problem where the list became increasingly predictable the more often it was used. The host software remains the same, Microsoft says.
Although considered an important upgrade, the isolation of the change has already triggered a string of complaints from existing owners, many of whom are increasingly seeing the lack of feature upgrades or more widespread fixes as a sign that the current Zune will be abandoned when its sequels arrive this fall.
VivoMetrics this afternoon unveiled its new VivoChampionTrainer, a new system designed for both individual and team athletes who need to keep track of their health during a run. The new version draws on the company's original technology but converts it from a full and potentially bulky shirt into a lightweight chest strap that lets runners and other high-impact competitors relay their condition without generating extra heat or slowing them down, even while they compete in real-world events. The system is also unique for its inclusion of "consequential" breathing, the company says; while other systems can track the breathing rate when it goes up, the VCT's system can tell when breaths are the result of other factors at work. This can help paint a better overall picture of how well an athlete is faring when combined with heart rate and other information, according to VivoMetrics.
YouTube and EMI on Thursday announced a deal that will see the music label's content legally available on the web video site. Visitors to the page would have the option of watching officially-sanctioned music videos, but would also have permission to clip segments of videos to blend them as part of their own unofficial projects. The agreement includes higher-profile artists such as Coldplay and represents the first time that all four major music labels have explitictly given approval to using their material online, according to YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley.
LaCie has announced an upgrade to its Ethernet Big Disk, doubling capacity from the present 1TB to a substantial 2TB. The drive is intended for homes and small businesses; aside from functioning as a standard network server, it can be expanded through two USB ports, one of which can be connected to a computer directly. Music, movies and photos can be shared with anyone linked to a router, and the Disk specifically supports UPnP-compatible AV adapters attached to TVs and stereos. The 1TB drive is currently on sale for $320, while the 2TB model should ship in mid-June for $1,100.
TiVo is working on a lightweight version of the Series 3 recorder, the company revealed in its most recent earnings report. Company CEO Tom Rogers noted that TiVo has been suffering from the lack of a more affordable alternative to the $800 premium device, which has led many with HDTV service to the pre-supplied boxes rented or sold by cable and satellite providers. A new device was already in development to solve this problem, Rogers said.
Google has used its 2007 Developer Day event to provide developers with Gears, an open-source means of bringing web applications offline. Programs created with it operate as a browser extension, but store resources locally, enabling weblike functions such as e-mail and photo editing. Applications also treat their content as a relational database, meaning that users can search for material much as they would at Google.com. The company's first example of the technology is Reader, which now allows users to read as many as 2,000 news items away from the website.
Nokia today made a surprising mid-day announcement of three new phones bolstered by 3G Internet access. The 6500 series is completely new and offers a choice of styles while providing the extra speed of an HSDPA modem: the 6500 classic (pictured) is a traditional bar phone and one of the company's thinnest to date at 9.5mm (0.37 inches). It also holds some of the most storage of any phone in its range with 1GB of built-in flash to store AAC/MP3 songs as well as photos and videos captured with a 2-megapixel camera. The classic further marks the use of a relatively new micro-USB format, Nokia says: a single cable can now deliver audio, data, and power, allowing the phone to charge while it syncs with a PC or stream audio in a dock.
Samsung continued its drive towards slimmer phones on Thursday morning with the C220. Nicknamed the "miniskirt" in part for the hint of the sliding keypad underneath, the handset is one of the Korean designer's slimmer fashion phones at 10.9mm (0.43 inches) thick in an iPod-like white color. Form is also backed up by function, Samsung claims. Incorporating a 2-megapixel camera and MP3 playback, the C220 also shares features often left out of its class, such as GPS navigation and a dictionary. Bluetooth with A2DP audio and mobile broadband access are also part of the package.
Only having entered the market late last year, harman/kardon today released its second Guide+Play GPS device. The GPS-300 is a streamlined edition of the earlier GPS-500 that brings the core features to a lower price. Like its ancestor, the 300 is consciously designed for both mapping and music playback with a 4-inch wide touchscreen and 2GB of built-in flash for storing maps as well as MP3 and WMA tracks. A miniSD slot similarly provides room for up to 4GB of total maps and music. Battery life is also the same at five hours, as is support for loading information from Macs and Windows PCs.
Following its preview of the performance-minded Phenom earlier in the month, AMD today revealed new chip technology that could bring 64-bit code to the very smallest computers, including those built for the developing world. The Sempron 2100+ (PDF) includes the same architecture as the Athlon 64, including an integrated memory controller and HyperTransport for shuttling data quickly to other parts of the system; a 1GHz clock speed and optimizations, however, drop the peak power of the chip down to 9W. The drop is drastic enough that the CPU can run completely fanless while saving battery life for those handhelds and other portables. It also sits in a shockproof socket to prevent damage from bumps.
Apple has developed a way to keep the iPhone and any other future wireless handhelds free of interference, according to a newly granted US patent. The filing, originally made just weeks before the iPhone's announcement at Macworld San Francisco, is meant to address the potentially dangerous problem of interference from peripherals brought near or attached to the device. A detector chip placed inside the hardware could be trained to recognize certain classes of add-ons or individual models and warn the user if a device (familiar or otherwise) could disrupt the main signal; this could occur through either an audio or a visual cue, Apple writes. Synchronizing the main device could provide an updated list of accessories to prevent false alarms.
Turbolinux on Thursday announced the upcoming international launch of the Wizpy, its unique approach to digital media players. The device will bring an English version of the previously Japan-only Linux-driven player and will keep all the device's inherent features. AAC/MP3/OGG audio playback is standard alongside DivX video, JPEG photos, and an FM radio; the device also serves as a personalized home folder that can store portable software as well as e-mail, passwords, and preferences. The Wizpy's open-ended software also lets skilled programmers extend the features themselves, Turbolinux says.
Garmin this morning revamped its eTrex line of mapping handhelds with five new models. Elaborating on details from an online flyer, the company has given each unit a new, higher-sensitivity GPS receiver to better fix the user's actual position. Also new to the field is an improved geocaching technique, Garmin says. Rather than add coordinates manually for past caches, owners can download the information directly to an eTrex handheld (as well as some other units) to track others' travels.
Lenovo has introduced three new models based around the Intel Santa Rosa X61 platform: the ThinkPad X61, ThinkPad X61s and X61 tablet PC. The Tablet PC will feature Core 2 Duo processors ranging from 1.4GHz L7300 and a 12.1-inch display available in either XGA or SXGA+ display. It's also configurable with up to 160GB of hard drive space and can handle 4GB of RAM. Other features include gigabit ethernet, cellular WWAN access, a 34 mm ExpressCard slot, and SD reader, three USB 2.0 and a purported 8-hour battery life. The laptops (ThinkPad X61 and ThinkPad X61s) sport generally the same specs, though the X61 will offer a 2GHz T7300 Core 2 Duo. All the systems are powered by the Intel X3100. Base configuration prices will be $1,484, $1,474, and $1,779 for the ThinkPad X61, X61s, and X61 tablet PC respectively. The units are expeected to ship in June.
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