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Universal's bid to try DRM-free music may simply be a way of testing how well the music label can survive in digital sales without relying on iTunes, according to a new report. Though Universal has now explained that the omission of the Apple store from the trial is to use it as a scientific control, Gizmodo's Matt Buchanan notes that Universal has omitted multiple larger music stores that could serve as better evidence of what selling unlocked songs might accomplish.
A purported sales flyer for the North American N95 reveals some apparent design changes. It will for instance drop the 2100MHz frequency from HSDPA, relying exclusively on the 850 and 1900MHz bands. The battery however has been upped in power to 1,200mAh, and the bundled memory will be a 1GB microSD card, rather than the 512MB one common to Europe. RAM is being increased to 128MB, and the back of the phone is black, with an absent shutter slider in order to clear space for the new battery. The flyer does not mention final prices or release schedules. [via Symbian-Guru]
Finnish phone maker Nokia has begun a semi-public beta of a social networking site, InfoWorld reports. Called Mosh, it is used by mobile subscribers to upload and download items such as images, videos and ringtones, which can then be tagged for search or kept in a personal collection. In spite of its association with Nokia, Mosh is open to anyone with an approved e-mail address; the only advantage of a Nokia phone is the ability to download a client that provides faster access.
File sizes can be as large as 100MB, but Nokia recommends downloading from a PC, since items can then be transferred directly to a phone without incurring data fees. No date for the complete opening of Mosh has been set.
Nokia could be releasing its high-speed 6500 classic phone in the US, according to hints found in an FCC filing. Although no product shots or names are included, the device in testing includes both HSDPA Internet access and Nokia's recently added micro-USB connector for rapidly transferring files, features which so far have only surfaced in the 6500 line. Bluetooth is also confirmed.
BenQ has just unveiled a completely new series of computer LCDs it promises will blend style as well as performance. The E-series abandons the display maker's utilitarian roots with a deep black casing, stealth-mounted 2W chin speakers on most models, and ambient LED lighting for dark rooms. Every display is fast enough for movies with a 5ms pixel response time and relies on BenQ's custom Senseye image processing technique to automatically balance colors either for absolute accuracy in an sRGB mode or boosted colors in movie and photo modes.
Joining Verizon and Motorola itself, Sprint has issued photos and release plans for its version of the RAZR2. The company will, of course, use the CDMA-based V9m; sales should start online and by phone on August 22nd, while retail outlets will get the phone on September 4th. Through the EVDO-based Power Vision network, the phone will have access to several services, among them Sprint TV, which includes 50 channels split between live and on-demand programming. Complementing this will be Power View and NFL Mobile, the latter adding live information updates to its broadcasts.
Dell is about to release one of its most powerful notebooks to date as a mobile workstation, according to French enthusiasts who have leaked its details and photos. The Precision M6300 will directly take over from today's M90 and should represent multiple firsts for most any notebook maker, including the option of a full 8GB of memory on systems running 64-bit editions of Windows. Processor options will also venture beyond what Dell ships today at up to a 2.6GHz Core 2 Extreme. A 256MB Quadro FX 1600M is certain to provide fast 3D but will scale up as high as a 512MB FX 2600M or 3600M with future upgrades, according to the claims.
Quickly following the Verizon announcement, Motorola today revealed that the RAZR2 will be available for every major cell network in the US, letting users keep to their existing carrier rather than switch to take advantage of the new device. The GSM-based V8 will be available at T-Mobile, while the 3G-capable, red-tinted V9 will be available at AT&T. Subscribers to CDMA networks will receive the V9m and will include Alltel, Sprint, US Cellular, and Verizon. Aside from network support, all versions will be identical in hardware features and should only change in terms of software.
Samsung was revealed today to be on the verge of releasing two phones for American CDMA cell providers. The A513 (pictured at right) is said to be a close cousin of the GSM-based A717 but upgrades the camera from 2 to 3 megapixels in addition to the changeover to EVDO mobile Internet access. Whether the camera will swivel for self-portraits and video calls is unknown, but the device will take a strong media focus when it arrives at Helio in the near future, according to the report.
Toshiba and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission have asked for a recall of some 1,400 Sony batteries, used in Toshiba laptops. Though no injuries or deaths have been reported, the defective batteries are in danger of overheating, to the point that they may actually ignite nearby materials. The recall is limited to specific model numbers of its Tecra A7 and Satellite A100/A105 systems, and only those built between January 1st and April 30th of 2006. Affected owners should contact Toshiba for a free replacement battery.
Presenting at this week's LinuxWorld conference, Palm has revealed more details about its Foleo smartphone companion, which should be the company's first product to use its new Linux-based operating system. It uses a 416MHz Intel/Marvell processor, and also has a dedicated graphics processor, the Marathon 2700G. This should improve the speed of the graphical interface. In terms of wireless support, the Foleo handles WEP, WPA and 802.1x Enterprise security configurations, but does not have software for Bluetooth file transfers, instead turning over the responsibility to third parties.
Fujitsu has announced the RakuRaku IV, the latest in its line of phones aimed at Japanese seniors, as well as those who just want extreme ease-of-use. In simple terms, this involves features such large buttons and a 2.6-inch LCD, which in turn uses large fonts; it also uses noise reduction to enhance the user's voice, and sound leveling to improve reception quality. Unlike similarly-themed North American phones however, the IV boasts a camera, a GPS receiver and mapping software, complete with navigational alerts.
Samsung's recent power outage at six of its flash memory factories may have been remedied relatively quickly but is causing problems for companies producing microSD cards for cellphones and other handhelds, say people familiar with the region's memory chip business. At least some of the factories involved were producing the extra-small chips said to be needed for microSD cards made by Taiwanese companies, and the sudden drop in stock has forced multiple manufacturers to let their factories sit completely idle while they wait for fresh supplies.
Adding to the ranks of high-end iPod audio, Onkyo today unveiled its CBX-Z10 and CBX-Z20 speaker docks. Either merges both a CD player and an iPod cradle so listeners have the choice of new and old formats from the same device. Although driven by modest 10-watt stereo speakers, the company's in-house AERO system uses passive acoustics inside the cabinet to enhance bass response while also bringing out more detail in vocals and other higher ranges. The Z20 in particular also has a larger cabinet design that further amplifies the sound and includes an extra damper to cut down on vibration.
Verizon on Friday officially became the first North American carrier to release the RAZR2. The CDMA-based V9m that Verizon will use lets the provider offer multiple 3G Internet features, ranging from downloads for the V CAST music store to assisted GPS through the carrier's VZ Navigator service. Verizon also promises to allow instant messaging and video streaming but has not provided full details.
Microsoft today rolled out its new Windows Live SkyDrive service, a major reworking of the company's Live Folders online storage. The revamped site is likened to an Internet hard drive and is meant to remove the complexity associated with these services in the past; users can drag and drop as much as 500MB of files to a SkyDrive web page as though it were part of their own system, Microsoft says. Images now also display thumbnails that eliminate the guesswork in downloads, and any user has access to a list of recently visited public SkyDrives.
Universal Music Group announced late yesterday that it will sell at least some of its music catalog online without copy protection over the course of the next few months. Considered an experiment by the major music label, the project will run between August and January and will gauge the effect that removing digital rights management (DRM) has on both sales and on piracy. There are no immediate conditions applied to the success of the test, but the company has implied that it will extend the test or make the DRM-free option permanent if the results prove worthwhile. The latter decision would likely make a significant impact on the music industry, as Universal is the largest global music label and could create a ripple effect for smaller labels.
Onkyo USA has has launched its first HD-DVD player, the DV-HD805, which takes advantage of high-bit-rate audio streaming via an HDMI version 1.3a connection that matches Onkyo's line of A/V receivers. HDMI version 1.3a enables "Deep Color" technology, which is purported to improve color tones and achieve finer color gradation. Other features include support of variable frame rates, including playback at 24 frames per second, which is the native frame rate of original sources for most HD content. There's also an Ethernet port that allows access to HD-DVD spec network capabilities and the ability to download any future firmware updates.
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