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Palm recently announced the availability of unlocked Treo 750 smartphones, shipping with Windows Mobile 6. Previously available only through AT&T, the unlocked smartphone can be used through any GSM service provider. The Treo 750 features a Palm handheld PDA in the same package as a five-band world phone. With Windows Mobile 6 built-in, the device can sync with Exchange Server 2007. Palm is selling the unlocked unit through its retail and online stores for $550.
Nokia today hosted its annual investor day, and announced that it is raising its operating margin forecasts, while seeking to gain market share in mobile devices. Shares dropped 3.3-percent on the NYSE, as investors deemed Nokia's 16- to 17-percent group operating margin too conservative, leaving the company to finish at $38.92 per share. CEO Olli Pekka Kallasvuo continue on to the mobile division, pointing out the potential operating margin at 20-percent within two years, and 10-percent for its Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture by the end of 2009.
The Department of Justice has come out in support of damages awarded to the RIAA, a brief from the government body suggests. Jammie Thomas, a single mother who was successfully sued by the RIAA for sharing music on Kazaa, and was initially fined $9,250 per song for a total of $220,000. As a part of her appeal though, she challenged the constitutionality of the judgment, noting that the Copyright Act only allows statutory damages between $750 and $150,000. This, Thomas claimed, meant her punishment violated the Due Process clause of the Constitution, particularly since record labels only earn an average of 70¢ on the dollar for each track.
Microsoft is deliberately feeding into the HD disc format wars to ensure that its own downloads succeed where physical copies fail, says movie director Michael Bay in a response to a question posed through his official forums. The producer contends that Microsoft is writing "$100 million dollar checks" to movie studios to ensure HD DVD exclusives that hurt the overall market regardless of the format's actual merit or its popularity, preventing any one format from gaining a clear upper hand. Bay's own Transformers is available on disc only in the less popular HD DVD format despite his stated preference for Blu-ray. To the director, this is primarily a stalling tactic while Microsoft refines its own online-only technology.
AT&T has announced the full acquisition of Edge Wireless, a carrier operating mainly in the Pacific northwest, with extended coverage in Idaho and Wyoming. Though AT&T already had a minority ownership in Edge, it has decided to buy the remaining 64.3 percent, giving it access to an existing subscriber base of approximately 172,000. If approved by the government the purchase will also let AT&T absorb Edge's GSM network, and open up new markets for handsets such as the iPhone.
Dell is about to update its budget notebook lines to capitalize on end-of-year sales, a pair of leaks from Les Delliens. The Intel-based Inspiron 1525 and its AMD equivalent, the 1526, are expected to provide minor speed upgrades to the current 1520 and 1521 models. Both 15.4-inch systems will be close in spirit to the existing design but are likely to reflect the introduction of new processors and storage options since the original release. HDMI output will still be an option for at least dedicated video chipsets.
V-MODA today released special colors for its earbud lines to add extra style to the iPhone and new iPods. The VIBE Duo now includes Gunmetal Rouge and polished chrome versions to satisfy iPhone users looking for an earbud and headset combo more conspicuously stylish than either the black Duos or Apple's stock headset. The standard VIBE receives a similar treatment with a Midnight Blue tint for iPhone and iPod owners who can go without an in-line microphone.
A lawsuit filed by the owners of the LimeWire file-sharing service has been thrown out of a New York court, writes the Associated Press. The Lime Group had earlier entered a case against a group of major record labels, charging that they were harming Lime through unfair business practices. Specifically, said Lime's lawyers, the labels were refusing to license out music, which Lime had hoped to implement into an above-board pay service. Instead the labels would only deal with Lime if it used an approved filtering system, or if it struck an agreement with the industry-sanctioned iMesh service.
Adobe today launched one of its most significant updates to its web tools for video creation and playback. Flash 9 Update 3 is the first public version of the player to support video in the H.264 format, significantly improving video quality. With a fast-enough connection, viewers can watch HD-quality clips in the same format used by many Blu-ray and HD DVD movies, Adobe boasts. Videos can also use the High Efficiency AAC standard to provide backing audio at higher quality without affecting bandwidth.
NEC on Tuesday rolled out Lui, a new platform that it believes can replace the conventional integration of a home theater PC. Rather than depend solely on a media extender hub, the new concept relies on remotely controlling a home Lui Server and streaming music and videos directly from its hard drive: remote control would be handled by a lightly-equipped computer or handheld that only needs enough power and storage to make the connection, NEC says. The server could use WiMAX to establish a connection between all the devices at ranges longer than for Wi-Fi.
As part of a mutual marketing push, Microsoft and the Seattle-based Goods clothing store have produced the first limited-edition Zunes of the second generation. Co-branded, gold-colored players are being made in quantities of just 10 each for the 8GB and 80GB sizes, and will be sold only in Seattle next Saturday. The gold is limited to the rear of the player, which also features screen-printed logos and patterning. No prices have been mentioned, but the players are liable to be expensive given their special production.
Bowing to pressure, Microsoft will soon remove an anti-piracy measure from Windows Vista that cripples the software, say Reuters and BBC News. Vista Service Pack 1, which should be available in the first quarter of 2008, will strip away software that renders Vista all but unusable if the Windows Genuine Advantage tool deems an OS illegal. The difficulty, Microsoft has admitted, is that it in numerous cases the tool has misreported copies of Vista, locking legitimate users out of their own purchases.
In tandem with the formal availability of the fall 2007 update for its Xbox 360 game system, Microsoft today announced that its Xbox Video Marketplace will open to users of the console outside of the US. Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK will now have access to rentals of full-length movies from major studios, including high-profile titles such as 300 and Ocean's 13. More will come in the next few months, Microsoft says. Country-specific studios will also be available, Microsoft says. Like the American store, videos will be available to rent either in standard-definition at DVD quality or at HD quality for HDTV sets.
In a partly unexpected move Cox Communications today revealed that it intends to bid in the FCC's upcoming auction for the 700MHz band, becoming the first company outside of Google confirmed as making an attempt at the valuable wireless frequency. The announcement will have the company place at least $4.6 billion for a portion of the network and is geared towards improving the "convergence and mobility" of Cox's services, according to the company. The phrasing points to Cox establishing a wireless network of its own, though whether this will include calling or just data is uncertain. Cox is best known for its cable Internet and TV services and may be seeking to offer a third business.Cox
Both Apple and Dell are already set to receive large quantities of small LCDs with LED backlights for imminent notebooks, according to a new report from Taiwan manufacturers. Local firms Kenmos and Nano-Op are said to be producing the thinner, more power-efficient backlights for LCD display makers AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei respectively that will be used for compact notebooks by both of the American notebook designers. Although details of Kenmos' production plans are unclear and may include existing systems such as the 15-inch MacBook Pro or the XPS M1330, AUO and Nano-Op are allegedly producing a 13.3-inch screen for Apple and a 12.1-inch screen for Dell, the report's industry sources claim.
Troll Touch today announced the immediate availability of its internally integrated touchscreen product for Apple's current "Aluminum" 20- and 24-inch iMac systems. Both systems feature the company's high resolution, analog resistive touchscreen technology which supports input via fingertip, gloved hand or stylus. The touchscreen is internally connected utilizing one of the machines USB ports. Troll Touch says its innovative component integration technique does not alter the machine's form factor in any way: To the casual observer, the system does not appear to have been modified."
Dell on Tuesday offered a late present to gamers with the XPS M1730 World of Warcraft Edition. The system is restyled to fit the theme of the online role-playing game while also providing many extras: the lid is given either Alliance or Horde artwork and is matched by a logo for the game on the inside. The 17-inch desktop replacement comes preloaded with the core game, the Burning Crusade expansion pack, and customized screen savers and background images; it also comes with the full Warcraft III and its expansion pack.
Verizon today made a surprise move today and joined the recently established Open Handset Alliance, Google's organization for promoting open software development for cellphones and other handhelds. The move will see Verizon use Google's Linux-based, open-source Android operating system on some phones. The software is an "enabler" that will let Verizon move towards an open platform, says company chief Lowell McAdam.
Nokia today kicked off its own Nokia World event with a controversial plan to offer free music to its phone owners. Known as Comes With Music, the service is based on Universal's proposed Total Music concept: buying a supporting device grants a year's worth of unlimited access to music from the Universal catalog subsidized by part of the phone's cost. Unlike pure subscription models, however, users can keep any of the music they have downloaded, Nokia says. The cellphone maker does not say when Comes With Music will be available but notes that talks are still under way to convince other labels to come onboard.
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