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After more than year of waiting, the official global release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard is occurring virtually all day Friday and users are expecting the next-generation operating system to bring several advancements and refined user interface. Earlier today we posted our first impressions of Leopard as well as roundup of news, insights, and tidbits (other application specific updates can be tracked using our search, while virtualization developers Parallels said its software is Leopard-ready, while VMware has offered a v1.1 release candidate for Leopard.) We have a screenshot gallery of some of the new features.
The FCC has just given its seal of approval to the XRoad V4050, a GPS navigator being imported by Capoint. The device was originally released abroad as the Takara GP43, and is notable mainly for its 4.3-inch touchscreen, which has a 480x272 resolution with an unusually high 16.5 million colors. It runs on a 400MHz processor, and supports playback of JPG images, MP3 audio, and MPEG-4 video.
Internal storage has not been mentioned, but most data should be transferrable via SD card or Mini-USB, with Bluetooth support allowing unknown device functions. No prices or dates have been cited for the 4050 either, but the GP43 is on sale in Europe for approximately €500 ($715). [via NaviGadget]
SanDisk has begun shipping its 8GB microSDHC and M2 flash memory cards. The company is aiming the new cards squarely at users with mobile phones that accept memory, and launching a "Wake Up Your Phone" campaign to increase awareness of the sometimes overlooked capability. As part of the campaign, SanDisk has teamed up with festival and event producers Guerilla Union (Rock the Bells, Paid Dues) for the "Sunset Strip Block Party," an event incorporating exclusive headline performances from various artists on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, Calif today, Friday the 26. Performances include Linkin Park, Common, The Crystal Method, Cut Chemist (visual performance) and Z-Trip. The 8GB microSDHC an M2 cards are now available in major retail outlets worldwide with suggested retail prices of $140 and $150 respectively.
Rumors of an Xbox 360 console with HD DVD built in remain a possibility, Toshiba has allowed. The primary backer of the HD DVD format is said to be collaborating with Microsoft, hoping to provide an alternative to Sony's PlayStation 3, which has Blu-Ray built-in and is thus one of the cheapest means of acquiring an HD movie player. Stuff recently reported however that Toshiba was denying the rumor, saying in fact that "It's got nothing to do with us. But we know Microsoft doesn't want to include the HD DVD drive so as not to limit the user's experience."
Comcast may still be seeking to buy a major cellular company despite past denials, reports suggest. CEO Brian Roberts has told a the participants of a financial conference call that, acknowledging escalating rumors, "it is something we [Comcast] are constantly assessing," even if "there is no new news" regarding a purchase. A year prior, ex-CFO John Alchin flat-out denied any purchase plans, suggesting that they were not even being contemplated.
Sprint has settled a class action lawsuit whose result may force it and other phone carriers to relent and allow phone unlocking, according to an update by Ars Technica. The complaint, filed by California residents Linda and William Mackenzie as well as Gerasimo Molfetas and Katherine Zill, argues that Sprint has broken the state's Unfair Competition Law and related laws by refusing to unlock phones for customers who wanted to switch providers. As part of the settlement, Sprint will be required to give customers an unlock code for their phone when they choose to switch carriers. The policy change will be retroactive to 1999 and will require that both new agreements and customer service agents publicize the details, according to the terms.
Mozilla today announced the first version of Prism, the company's new platform for bringing web applications to the desktop. Similar to Adobe's AIR or Microsoft's Silverlight, the technology is designed to provide users with a clutter-free, dedicated environment to run a web-based program while still having access to the inherent advantages of web standards and a constant connection to the Internet when needed. Unlike the Adobe or Microsoft offerings, however, Mozilla's solution would not necessarily require specialized code to be written for each new program. In many cases, Prism can split apps away from a website and run them as separate software, complete with the same task switching or Expose interaction as a full-blown program, the company says.
Sound specialist Boynq has announced a new iPod clock stereo with an unusual design. The speakers of the WakeUp actually rest on a corner, the main anchorage of the clock being a three-panel "wall," with each panel containing an LCD displaying time, input channels or the FM radio station in a white tint. The clock can be adjusted through buttons on the side of each panel, or else through an included remote control; bass and treble equalizers are built in, and the satellites put out 10W of RMS power per speaker. iPods are docked on top of one of the panels, which fits Minis, standard 4G, 5G and Classic iPods, all generations of the Nano, and the iPhone as well as the iPod touch.
In spite of having promised its introduction by the end of the year, AT&T now says that its version of MediaFlo will not be ready until the "very early part" of 2008, according to a company spokesman, speaking with Reuters. AT&T's Mark Siegel explains that more time is needed to optimize and eliminate flaws from the service, which should provide digital broadcast TV to cellphones with rapid channel change, and no buffering. MediaFlo is owned by Qualcomm and is currently already providing service to Verizon in the US, and Vodafone abroad.
The US Senate has approved legislation to extend a ban of state taxes on Internet access, just days before it was set to expire, Reuters reports. Earlier in the month, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a four-year extension of the ban, designed to keep the costs of Internet access low, thereby supporting related businesses while encouraging infrastructure growth. Some ISPs claim that with taxes restored, costs could rise by as much as 17 percent. Unaltered, however, the approved Senate version of the ban would actually better its House counterpart, and forestall Internet access taxes for another seven years.
Gateway will launch a reworking of its notebook line early next year as one of the first major changes in direction following the buyout by Acer, the latter company's president Gianfranco Lanci said at an investors' conference today. The chief executive said that the newly acquired company would see a "complete" upgrade to its notebooks as soon as the first quarter of 2008 as part of an effort to revitalize Gateway's name. The label has lost some of its impact in recent years by focusing on the wrong model lines while the market moved elsewhere, Lanci said.
In a statement issued Friday morning, OCZ Technology says it has acquired system-builder Hypersonic PC. Hypersonic specializes in custom-configured gaming and workstation computers, such as the Fusion or the Aviator; OCZ sells performance-enhancing components, mainly RAM expansions and power supplies. The purchase of Hypersonic means that OCZ will gain its first whole computers for sale, while guaranteeing an outlet for its parts, which will find their way into future Hypersonic systems. Hypersonic systems should now be available to a larger audience as well; the company previously restricted sales to US customers only, but OCZ says it can now sell systems worldwide.
Both Electronista and MacNN received our copies of the latest version of Mac OS X yesterday and are putting it through its paces in advance of the official release at 6PM tonight. Since then, we've been using the OS as part of our daily workflows and are ready to hand out our first takes on the new functionality and performance of the software for those users not yet bent on making the upgrade. Our experience so far has been upbeat -- though not without its share of (minor) flaws.
Nokia's expected but so far only hinted-at N82 smartphone has been spotted in prototype form with improvements since its first appearance, according to a report from a Russian source. Unlike the gaming- and music-oriented N81, the new device is once again confirmed to be closer to a candybar adaptation of the popular N95 slider: the handset should still carry a 5-megapixel camera, a true GPS receiver for mapping, and Wi-Fi for short-range wireless Internet. The update additionally suggests that the N82 will have 3G data access for North America through HSDPA and legacy support for EDGE.
The sales rate of Microsoft's Windows Vista is gradually slowing down as the operating system reaches the one-year anniversary of its release to businesses, according to the company's latest financial results. The Redmond, Washington-based company shipped approximately 28 million copies of Vista in the latest quarter ended September, or 9.3 million copies per month. Though the Windows developer pointed to 27 percent growth in business licenses and noted that many home users were buying the more lucrative Vista Home Premium or Ultimate editions, the rate represents a decline from the 10 million per month reported early in summer. Shipments of the OS peaked in the first three months after its January release, when the company sold an average of 20 million copies per month thanks to a wave of early adopters and users waiting for Vista to replace older systems. Over 88 million copies of Vista have been shipped to date, Microsoft says.
The forthcoming Zune Marketplace software update will include a feature dubbed "1-Click Podcast Subscription" that will allow podcast creators to place a small graphic on their Web sites that can be clicked to automatically generate a podcast subscription. Clicking the button will launch the new Zune Marketplace software and place the podcast subscription in a user's collection. A posting to Microsoft's Zune Insider site says that the process will work best if the Zune user already has the new Zune Marketplace software loaded on a Windows PC. If the new version is not yet installed, users will be prompted to download it. The podcast feed does not need to be in the Zune Marketplace for the link to work.
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