News Archive for 07/11/02

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Review: Leopard Dashboard/code, Front Row

11/02, 6:35pm

leopard review part four

Dashboard has not seen many changes in and of itself in Leopard, with only three listed on Apple's New Features page. However, what changes exist may be very significant to some users: Web Clip in particular may redefine the very concept of the Dashboard even for novice users, while their more experienced and even professional counterparts can turn to Dashcode. Merge this with an improved Front Row interface for media playback, and Apple's extra-layer services -- that is, those which exit the familiar desktop -- are a large step forward for Mac OS X. Click ahead for the fourth portion of our Leopard review.

Google phone plans to be announced Monday

11/02, 4:30pm

Google announcement Monday

The long-awaited announcement of Google's phone plans will occur earlier than expected, and not in the form previously laid out, says the Wall Street Journal. While it had been suggested that an announcement would come November 13th at the earliest, the Journal's sources say that it will mostly likely happen Monday, November 5th, and with different carriers. T-Mobile is still involved, but the other main party is said to be Sprint. Foreign carriers may be included, but have not been mentioned.

Microsoft format to become JPEG successor

11/02, 3:50pm

Microsoft behind JPEG XR

The multinational Joint Photographic Experts Group, responsible for the JPEG standard used in virtually all mainstream imaging, has announced that the next iteration of its standard will be based on Microsoft's HD Photo format. HD Photo is built into Windows Vista, and was originally dubbed Windows Media Photo, hoped to offer some degree of proprietary control for the company; in its new incarnation however it will be called JPEG XR, and remain neutral as with the current JPEG technology. Prior to today Microsoft had already partly opened up HD Photo, providing the SDK for free to interested developers.

Wii lead over PS3 shrinks in Japan

11/02, 2:50pm

Wii lead shrinks vs. PS3

Nintendo's Wii continues to outsell Sony's PlayStation 3 in the consoles' native country of Japan, but that lead is diminishing, Reuters reports. In the four weeks leading up to October 28th, 110,415 Wiis were sold, versus 47,183 PS3s. Though this is still a ratio of more than two to one, the figures mark the fourth month in a row that the ratio has shrunk, it having been six-to-one as recently as June.

Reasons for increasing PS3 sales are attributed mainly to a better or at least broader software lineup, and several price cuts, bringing the console down from its original peak of $599 for a 60GB model. Sony today launched the US 40GB PS3, dropping the price to $399, $100 lower even than that of the discontinued 20GB PS3.

Blockbuster Video near death due to online rentals?

11/02, 2:10pm

Blockbuster Near Death

The large video store chain Blockbuster may be on the verge of financial collapse, the company's latest quarterly results show. The company posted a net loss of $35 million during the summer and will be engaged in a defensive effort to protect its "core rental business," company chief Jim Keyes says. This involves both ramping down Blockbuster's promotions for its online Total Access rental service and emphasizing new developments in its brick-and-mortar stores. Jobs and duplicate resources will be cut both online and for retail shops, Blockbuster says.

Sony planning ultra-compact PS2 for 2008?

11/02, 1:55pm

Sony Compact PS2 in 2008

Sony is developing its third redesign of the PlayStation 2 to appeal to budget-conscious gamers, according to an as-yet unverified claim from British gaming site MCV. The publication alleges that the system will be even smaller than the slimline model introduced in 2004 and will incorporate the power supply into the device itself rather than in a separate brick. It would both be easier to carry around and less expensive to make, the site says. The improved profile would permit selling the PS2 for $99 US in early 2008, a significant drop from the current $129 price.

Kmart to drop Blu-Ray players for holidays

11/02, 1:20pm

Kmart to drop Blu-Ray

Retail bargain chain Kmart has decided to temporarily drop Blu-Ray players from its stores, say reports. The absence is only temporary, set to last throughout the holiday season, but may be a significant blow to Sony's Blu-Ray format, which otherwise continues to dominate retail sales. The HD DVD Promotions Group claims that unlike Target's Blu-Ray exclusivity -- which turned out to be based on a financial deal -- Kmart has made its decision based on demographics, given that the price of Blu-Ray players is on average higher than that for HD DVD, and tailored mainly for wealthy home theater enthusiasts.

Nokia music stumbles after Warner pullout

11/02, 1:15pm

Nokia Music Stumbles

Nokia's newly-opened Music Store is already suffering from conflicts over licensing issues, according to new reports. The cellphone designer has been forced to open its new direct-download store for cellphones and PCs without access to music from major label Warner Music, which has pulled out from the store over complaints that Nokia's MOSH service is undermining the store through its file-sharing feature; Nokia wants to offer Warner's catalog legally on one hand but is doing little to stop pirated copies of that catalog from trading hands on the other, Warner claims. Nokia has publicly refuted the claim, noting that MOSH uses fingerprinting to recognize and block copyrighted material.

Samsung Katalyst to hit T-Mobile in December

11/02, 12:20pm

Samsung Katalyst on T-Mob

A Samsung phone, known as the Katalyst, will go on sale with T-Mobile in December, a leak indicates. The phone is notable mainly as the first slider to be tied to T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home service, which (after $20 extra per month) gives users access to unlimited national calls via any available Wi-Fi point. Features are otherwise mid-range, consisting of Bluetooth, a 1.3-megapixel camera and music playback. Other standard T-Mobile options such instant messaging and myFaves will continue to apply. No prices have so far been mentioned. [via Boy Genius Report]

Facebook considering joining Google OpenSocial

11/02, 11:30am

Facebook Mulls OpenSocial

Facebook is not opposed to the idea of joining Google's OpenSocial web app platform for social networking sites, company board member Jim Breyer told Silicon Alley Insider today. The director hoped to shake off notions that Facebook was omitted from the recent announcements because it opposed the idea of an open platform and wanted to fence users in. Members would invariably want to port information from MySpace and other social networks when they switch to Facebook, and should not be restricted from carrying those web apps over to other services if they want to leave, Breyer said.

Sprint considering spinning off WiMAX service

11/02, 11:00am

Sprint May Spin Off WiMAX

Sprint has yet to launch its Xohm WiMAX service but is alread considering spinning it out as its own company to help the financial bottom line, according to alleged sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal. The cellular carrier is reportedly under fire from critical investors who consider the 4G Internet access a diversion from cellular profits, pointing to poor results in the latest quarter as evidence; the company may end up merging Xohm with Clearwire and taking the company public to raise money, the report claims.

Sony OLED TV could land in US in 2007

11/02, 10:25am

Sony OLED TV for US Soon

Sony's XEL-1 OLED TV could be available in the US before 2008 depending on how well it fares in Japan, company electronics president Stan Glasgow has told journalists at a press gathering. While the 11-inch set is only officially slated to launch in Japan on December 1st, a relatively modest reception in the country or a favorable supply of OLED panels could lead to an early US release, possibly reaching stores by the holidays.

Everex notebook to spur 'Jobs effect' for Linux

11/02, 9:45am

Everex $300 Linux Notebook

Everex will have brand-new notebooks that popularize Linux by making it accessible and widespread in the same way Steve Jobs generated success for the Mac, the company revealed today. Like the company's new $199 gPC desktop, the portables would achieve an extremely low baseline price of $300 or less by running a custom Linux distribution known as GOS; the variant on Ubuntu Linux is designed to be more accessible to newcomers but retains the open-source design and typically free licensing. This could be essential for Linux adoption in the general market, where difficult software can easily scare away users; Apple has recognized this, according to GOS Linux founder David Liu.

Wi-Fi suit targets Apple, Intel, 20 others

11/02, 9:15am

Wi-Fi suit targets Apple

An Ottawa, Canada-based company, Wi-LAN, has filed lawsuits against 22 technology companies over patent infringement. Two related actions were filed through a court in the Eastern District of Texas, and accuse companies of violating patents connected to Wi-Fi technology, as well as power consumption in DSL hardware. Notable is the prominence of the companies targeted: defendants include everyone from Apple, which builds wireless into its computers, iPhones, iPods and routers, to Best Buy, Dell, Intel, Sony, Texas Instruments and Toshiba.

Toshiba launches 3840x2400 22-inch LCD

11/02, 8:30am

Toshiba WQUXGA LCD

Toshiba's Solutions division today unveiled one of the few truly high-resolution computer LCDs available. The unnamed screen measures 22 inches diagonally but is capable of a 3840x2400 resolution -- four times as sharp as typically larger 1920x1200 displays and even sharper than the 1680x1050 images often generated by LCDs at the same size. This gives it a 200DPI density closer to that of photo paper with a full 16.7 million colors, Toshiba says. Though not the first display to achieve the feat as it follows an obsolete IBM display, the screen makes fewer sacrifices by maintaining a 235cd/m2 brightness level and a 300:1 contrast ratio.

Fujitsu reveals ultra-slim bezel S6510 notebook

11/02, 8:20am

Fujitsu LifeBook S6510

Fujitsu finished its week with a potential breakthrough in its LifeBook S-series. The S6510 (pictured) incorporates a design technique that can significantly increase the display area without expanding the notebook itself: called SlimEdge, the process cuts down most of the side bezels and allows a 14-inch screen to fit in the space that would normally be limited to a 13.3-inch screen. Users can sit further back from the notebook while still having the advantage of a compact notebook, Fujitsu claims. The S6510 is further one of the few 14-inch notebooks with an LED backlight, which simultaneously slims down the notebook while boosting brightness to 300 cd/m2 and improving color accuracy.

MySpace joins Google's OpenSocial

11/02, 3:05am

MySpace joins OpenSocial

Challenging the alliance formed by Microsoft's recent purchase of just over one percent of Facebook, Google has announced that MySpace -- the other giant social network -- has joined the OpenSocial platform, which allows developers to write programs using one set of tools that can work across a number of social sites, eliminating the need for companies to customize their programs for each site. Chris DeWolfe, chief executive and co-founder of MySpace, told Reuters. "OpenSocial is going to become the de facto standard (for developers) instantly out of the gates. It is going to have a reach of 200 million users, which is way bigger than anything else out there." The system was unveiled earlier this week, and allows users to rank their friends, recommend music and more. Social networks such as LinkedIn and Friendster have already joined the program. Google shares passed $713 yesterday before closing at $703.

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