News Archive for 07/08/03

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Google to offer free ad-based phone service?

08/03, 4:45pm

Google Free Phone Rumor

Google's reported self-branded phone may be only part of what the company has planned for phone service in the US, says a report from the Wall Street Journal. The company is now purportedly not just designing a phone in a Boston studio to be made by HTC but also has long-term plans for a service of its own; the service would be funded by targeted ads and could offer subscriptions for free, the tip claims.

TiVo HD suffering from teething CableCARD glitches

08/03, 4:15pm

TiVo HD Launch Trouble

TiVo's just launched TiVo HD DVR may have shipped with a chronic defect, according to various reports from TiVo users. The CableCARD slots in particular are said to be generating pixelization with digital broadcasts; slot 2 produces enough visual artifacts as to be virtually unusable, one user said. In some cases, many of the subscribed digital channels also fail to register on the second slot. The cards are known to work with previous DVR units and on strong TV signals.

Japanese PS3 sales rocket, Nintendo slows

08/03, 4:15pm

PS3 sales up in Japan

The research group Media Create is reporting that sales of the Sony PlayStation 3 more than doubled in Japan last week, while Nintendo's own hardware sales fell slightly. Whereas the PS3 sold just 12,000 units in the week ending July 22nd, that number shot up to 28,829 by July 29th, a badly-needed morale boost for a company which recently declared losses of $245 million in large part due to poor sales of the console. Some 710,000 PS3s were sold worldwide in the last quarter, a number dwarfed by units from rivals Nintendo and Microsoft.

Pioneer offers up 4X Blu-Ray burner

08/03, 3:40pm

Pioneer BDR-202 BD Burner

Pioneer today revealed details of the BDR-202, the new leader in the company's Blu-Ray PC drives. The full-height burner creates write-once Blu-Ray discs at 4X and supports 2X burning for rewritable discs. It also packs extra measures for stable reads and writes for the new format, Pioneer says. Ultra DRA cancels out drive shaking during the recording process and is equaled by corrections to the laser beam itself and a liquid equalizer during playback. Legacy support writes DVDs up to 12X and CDs at 24X.

BlackBerry Pearl 2 coming to AT&T first?

08/03, 3:15pm

Pearl 2 Coming to ATT Soon

The BlackBerry Pearl 2 (nicknamed the Comet) will represent one of AT&T's most aggressive product launches ever, claims an insider close to RIM's products. In addition to being the primary carrier of the 3.2-megapixel, Wi-Fi-equipped smartphone for the US and potentially North America, the company will offer offer eight different colors upon launch, including blue and gold. This would create one of the widest-ever selections available for an. T-Mobile will also pick up the phone but will have to wait until after AT&T's launch and may only see some of the color options. The initial release is reportedly penned in for early September.

Dell Latitude XT tablet specs, photo revealed

08/03, 2:45pm

Dell Latitude XT Specs

Dell's first move into tablet PCs will be aggressive, according to freshly leaked information. The convertible system will depend on a 12-inch touchscreen similar to Lenovo's ThinkPad X61 and other ultraportables but will have two distinct display options: an LED-backlit display should be thinner and provide more even, color-rich output, while an outdoor option will cut much of the glare that impacts visibility on brighter days. Dell also promises support for both finger input and a stylus, features not always seen with rival machines.

PlayStation 3 receives third-party SDK

08/03, 2:25pm

Third-party PS3 SDK

A company called Mercury Computer Systems has released the MultiCore Plus SDK for PS3, remarkable for being one of the few third-party development kits available for game consoles. Mercury is not interested in games though, but rather commercial and military interests, since the PlayStation's Cell processor is extremely powerful while remaining a relatively cheap and open platform. It can for instance load Linux, which Mercury is pairing with its SDK to allow tasks such as running a node in a computing cluster. The SDK is not being priced for amateurs: a single-seat license is now available for $399.

Puretracks opens to Macs, MP3s

08/03, 2:20pm

Puretracks MP3 Store

Online music store Puretracks today announced a major expansion of its MP3 store, taking advantage of EMI's recent decision to offer protection-free music to Canadians. As with options available from Amazon and Apple, the new store allows buyers to optionally download DRM-free versions of any song available from the label, allowing them to be loaded on to the iPod and any device that supports MP3s. The universal format also allows Mac users to buy any content from the web-based store.

Systemax rolls low-cost green desktop PCs

08/03, 1:55pm

Systemax Venture VE55

Systemax finished its week with the release of the Venture VE55. The PC house joins the increasing shift towards eco-friendly PCs and markets the mini tower as one of the most power-efficient desktops yet. A new Via mainboard and 1.5GHz C7-D desktop processor let the computer stay under 20W of consumption even at peak load, the company says. Choosing the Via hardware also results in an almost completely carbon-free with only a small, quiet fan setup to keep the system cool.

iSkin ships Cerulean X1 in-ear buds

08/03, 1:15pm

iSkin Ships Cerulean X1

iSkin today officially launched its Cerulean X1 earbuds geared towards audiophiles. Their in-canal design offers passive noise cancellation with three sizes of silicone ear tips to ensure a solid fit. Inside, the earphones are built with an emphasis on balanced audio rather than bass; the 9mm neodymium drivers are each housed in a bass-enhancing chamber to amplify the power of portable media players but are otherwise neutral enough to deliver clear high frequencies and a detailed mid-range, iSkin claims.

Canon EOS-40D photos, features leaked

08/03, 12:50pm

Canon EOS-40D Leak

Details and photos have leaked today regarding the EOS-40D, the widely expected sequel to Canon's 30D entry pro DSLR camera. In spite of likely costing much less than the $3,999 flagship EOS-1D Mark III, the 40D will include a full three auto-exposure priority modes (aperture, depth-of-field, and shutter) as well as the 1D's quarter-resolution sRAW mode which captures uncompressed photos at a faster rate and without the larger file size. Earlier reports also claim the camera will have a similar 10-megapixel sensor with a dust removal system, a three-inch LCD with live previews, and a sustained shooting speed of at least five and potentially over six frames per second.

Navilock produces GPS-enabled Bluetooth mouse

08/03, 12:40pm

Navilock GPS mouse

The Germany company Navilock has released the BT-451, a Bluetooth 2.0 mouse with the unusual element of a GPS receiver. The mouse pairs with phones and computers, and once connected, supplies location data to devices that are otherwise merely GPS-ready. To ensure that both the mouse and the device retain power, however, the 451 will only retrieve GPS data when it is immediately necessary. Navilock claims that the receiver used is strong enough to provide accurate tracking indoors as well as outdoors. The 451 should currently be on sale throughout Europe for €79 ($108).

Lenovo to sell PC to China's rural poor

08/03, 12:05pm

Lenovo's $199 Chinese PC

Lenovo, the current maker of the popular ThinkPad laptop, has announced its intentions to market a new computer towards China's rural poor. The system will just bundle a keyboard and use an owner's television as the monitor, with costs ranging between 1,499 and 2,999 yuan ($199-$399). The Associated Press observes that this pricepoint is critical for pushing sales onto China, as while the cities are increasingly rich, the average income in rural areas is just 4,200 yuan ($560) annually.

Sirius offers Stiletto 2 teaser

08/03, 11:30am

Sirius Stiletto 2 teaser

Speaking during an earnings call, Jim Meyer, Sirius' president of operations and sales, has revealed the development of the Stiletto 2, a successor to the company's current Stiletto 100 portable radio (right). The 100 has 2GB of flash memory, and can record approximately six hours of programming or 10 hours of individual tracks; songs flagged during a show can later be bought through Yahoo! Music and kept as permanent copies.

Samsung power cut may trigger flash crisis

08/03, 11:20am

Samsung Power Cut

Samsung may face a major supply issue with flash memory in the wake of an accidental power cut, the company told the press on Friday. An interruption in power near one of the company's Seoul, Korea plants has forced the company to halt production at six of the factories that produce the NAND flash used by cellphones, portable media players, and other devices. The company estimates that its losses could tally over $54 million, while the immediate (non-contract) price of a standard chip has already climbed 9 percent as a result of the event.

Toshiba readies Portégé M600, Tecra S5

08/03, 10:35am

Toshiba M600 and S5 Soon

Toshiba is readying a pair of notebook designs for both frequent travelers and professionals, the system builder has revealed at a press gathering. The Portégé M600 (pictured) should bridge the differences between the company's larger home systems and its ultraportables, bringing the familiar white and black shape of the Satellite series to a 13.3-inch compact system. The PC also promises distinctly home-friendly features such as a 1.3-megapixel webcam and Vista Home Premium

Microsoft slashes Vista price for China

08/03, 9:45am

MS Vista Chinese Price Cut

Microsoft will officially cut the price of Windows Vista in China to combat piracy in the area, the company announced on Friday. The developer says it will cut the prices of the full Home Basic edition from the equivalent of $201 to about $66 -- a third of the original price, the company notes. Home Premium will drop by about half from $238 to $119 while OEM and upgrade editions should also see price cuts. The move is said to be an essential one for Microsoft, which has struggled with sales in China as its prices are virtually the same as for the US despite far lower average incomes.

Nokia readying N81, more for the 29th?

08/03, 9:10am

Nokia N81 on Aug 29 Teaser

Nokia could be planning a major music-themed phone launch on August 29th, according to a mysterious teaser site. The site is deliberately vague on details but makes a clear reference to an August 29th date and forms the silhouette of what appears to be the N81 smartphone (pictured at left), a reportedly music-oriented phone with 8GB of built-in flash and a full size headphone jack. The 29th may also mark the launch of Nokia's long in development online music store and is supported by fast-forward icons and other music imagery floating in the teaser page.

8Gb flash troubles cause Apple supply switch?

08/03, 8:40am

Apple and Hynix Flash

Manufacturing problems with flash memory for iPods and iPhones may have triggered an emergency switch in suppliers from Hynix to Samsung to help cover supplies for the holiday season, say sources from memory producers in southeast Asia. Hynix is said to have encountered problems producing its latest multi-level cell (MLC) flash storage due to the combination of the denser, more complex memory format and a very small 60 nanometer process, forcing Apple to consider Samsung as an alternative. The problems began in June and could persist until September, the sources claimed.

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