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Palm on Thursday announced its preliminary second quarter financial results for the 2008 fiscal year, which ended November 30th, falling short of previous forecasts based in part on a failed "mystery" product launch. Palm expects earnings to sit between $345 to $350 million, close to $30 million short of its October 1st projections for the first quarter. Palm expects gross margin to be within 29.3- to 29.8-percent on a GAAP basis. The gross margin reflects an as-of-yet unforeseen increase in warranty repairs over the course of the quarter, partly due to higher-than-expected shipments of Palm's new Centro smartphone, and a delay in product shipment.
Typhoon Touch Technologies is suing both Dell and Motion Computing for infringing on a number of the company's patents. Typhoon seeks both damages and an injunction barring either Dell or Motion from manufacturing or selling technology based on US patent numbers 5,379,057 and 5,675,362. The lawsuit will prevent the companies from distributing tablet PCs, slate PCs, PDAs, ultra mobile PCs, smartphones, or any other product that uses either of the offending technologies.
The number of Internet users regularly watching video online has finally risen above the halfway mark, suggests a new survey by the research group Horowitz Associates. Whereas 45 percent watched video weekly in 2006, and 71 percent watched monthly, these figures have jumped to 61 and 86 percent in 2007, respectively. 27 percent of Internet users are also said to have a cellphone or media player with video abilities, such as an iPod; of these though, only 35 percent watch video weekly, while 62 percent do so monthly.
Dell has unexpectedly run out of brown Zunes, a manager with the company explains. As part of a clearance coinciding with Black Friday and the release of Microsoft's latest Zunes, Dell last month hosted a deal on the original 30GB player. Shoppers could buy it for an extremely low $99, only $20 more than the 1GB iPod shuffle by Apple; this triggered a flood of buyers, many of whom chose the brown color, most likely because it is rarely offered on any other media player.
IBM has asked for an import ban on some computers built by ASUS, Reuters reports. The former today filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission, alleging that select machines sold under the ASUS name -- and also under third party names, possibly including Apple and Dell -- violate several patents, including ones relating to cooling, clustering, and power supplies. Though no individual computers have been singled out, IBM will say that notebooks, servers, routers and some other components are at stake.
Toyota today said it would be one of the first companies to introduce helper robots into the home and began by revealing early forms of robots it expects to ultimately serve users. Known only as the partner robot, the humanoid model (shown at left) will ultimately help with tasks where the user is too busy or else incapable of performing themselves. Each limb has 17 separate joints that allow it to handle fine motor skills such as playing the violin. Future versions with more joints will not just help out with daily chores and entertainment but take care of the sick and even help the infirm move across significant distances, the car manufacturer says.
BlackBerry creator Research in Motion this afternoon announced a partnership with Yahoo to offer free Wi-Fi on JetBlue flights. The deal will provide custom Yahoo IM and mail services on both RIM's smartphones as well as on notebook PCs and will allow any device to use the service for general Internet access, including the BlackBerry's 'push' e-mail feature. Using the service will be free with a JetBlue ticket for a supporting flight; the first airplanes to deploy the short-range wireless in their cabins will run commercial flights from December 11th in trials with a full launch in several months if succesful, the airline says.
Samsung has released one of its first cellphones using AMOLED technology, a special edition of the SPH-W2400. AMOLED is an improvement on the still-infrequent OLED display, providing better contrast and response, as well as wider viewing angles and a longer battery life. The phone is otherwise unchanged: its primary highlight is a twisting display, which makes it easier to watch DMB TV or local video clips, while still keeping the form factor slim.
Sharp ventured outside the movie-centric sphere of TVs on Thursday by upgrading its AQUOS TVs with the LC-32GP3U, the second iteration of the company's uniquely gaming-oriented HDTV range. The 32-inch screen has optimizations meant just for consoles with a Vyper Drive processing mode that focuses on cutting the screen's lag time for action games. A game mode button on the remote not only activates the faster response times but optionally switches to a specific video input for a favorite game system.
Looking to provide an alternative to especially sensitive parents, ClearPlay today shipped out its Content-Filtering DVD Player. The movie reader is one of the few to allow parents to scrub movies of content they find objectionable without affecting the disc itself: a USB port for a USB flash drive lets adults automatically apply filters downloaded from the Internet that blot out audio or visuals thought inappropriate for children. A subscription model keeps the USB drive updated as movies are released to DVD, ensuring that parents can gradually wean children on to more mature movies at their own pace.
AT&T today announced that it will transition more of Dobson's Cellular One stores to its own AT&T name, and will make Apple's iPhone available at those retail locations. The move will greatly increase the availability of iPhones to customers who were previously unable to obtain the device locally in more than 200 stores in 16 states, and will allow Alaskan residents living in or around Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau to purchase Apple's cellular phone.
Apple's widely rumored subnotebook is close enough to release that the company has priced it, CNBC show host Jim Goldman has said in a financial TV report broadcast today and observed by AppleInsider. The presenter refers to alleged sources close to Apple's manufacturing plants in southeast Asia who have seen the 12-inch notebook and appear to confirm earlier details of the computer, which include a design half as thin as today's systems and the use of slimmer, more efficient flash memory for storage. The device is scheduled for an announcement at Macworld San Francisco in January and will be priced at $1,500, matching the cost of the top-end 13-inch MacBook, according to Goldman. [updated]
Samsung is developing two storage technologies that should greatly improve the capacity and size of future handheld devices, the company has revealed in advance of the Consumer Electronics Show next month. In its update, the electronics giant notes that it will soon produce 32 gigabit (4 gigabyte) NAND flash chips. These do more than double the density of the 16 gigabit products first introduced last year: advancements in the controlling hardware make them twice as fast in transfers as earlier memory, Samsung explains.
Hypersonic PC, recently bought out by RAM provider OCZ, says it will soon start selling pre-assembled, high-end notebooks from physical and online retailers. The move is significant in that Hypersonic has traditionally focused on custom online sales, while OCZ has never before had its own line of computers. It may also put the company in direct competition with Dell, whose Alienware division makes similarly-focused computers.
The Sidekick Slide is now back on sale from T-Mobile. The company's prominent messaging phone was pulled from shelves around the middle of November, due to sudden rebooting caused by sliding the screen; this later turned out to be caused by poor battery contacts, and prompted the company to ask owners to return or replace their Slides while the problem was being fixed. The product is now back in production and can be had for a $300 list price, or $200 after various discounts.
IBM's Silicon Photonics research group today published news of what it believes is a major breakthrough in increasing processor performance with multi-core processors. Instead of relying on typical copper wire connections between cores, the New York state-based firm has developed a unit it refers to as an electro-optic modulator. The device uses nanotechnology and a small laser to convert electrical signals into pulses of directed light that mimic the binary code of a processor. This hardware is 100 to 1,000 times smaller than the links used to join multiple cores today and could all but eliminate the large gaps between cores that limit their overall size, according to IBM.
Wired Inc. has begun shipping its MasonIP network-attached video player and DVD decoder/proofer. The device is designed to deliver flexibility and high image quality for the most demanding playback options, decoding nearly every type of SD and HD video with the ability to output to virtually any professional monitor or consumer TV. The device includes an array of outputs that range from composite analog to HD-SDI digital, and includes a unique browser-based configuration to ease the setup process. The MasonIP is available for $3,500.
Slacker's self-titled Portable Player has seen its release pushed back to January 31st, according to a small notice on the company's website. The player, which is intended to automatically load itself with "channels" of music over USB and Wi-Fi rather than purchases, was originally scheduled to ship by December 13th. The delay is necessary to "deliver the best possible player," Slacker claims, hinting that last-minute issues with the jukebox have stalled out the release.
Not content with just the release of the upgraded Chocolate, LG's home cellphone brand CYON today unveiled the LB3300. Nicknamed the Rhapsody in Music, the slider is built for quick music access and includes a circular scroll wheel for navigating menus and song lists much like that of the original iPod. Unlike its American sibling, the Rhapsody already includes 1GB of built-in memory to store music as well as a microSD slot for more. In Korea, the device also carries a DMB tuner that picks up over-the-air digital TV broadcasts.
Dell on Thursday revealed that it will begin selling its computers at Best Buy stores in the US, marking one of the company's most significant ventures into retail. The Texas PC builder will offer both desktops and notebooks from its Inspiron and XPS lines; this includes the iMac-like XPS One, according to the company. Outside of the all-in-one computer, the focus of the initial release will be on more affordable systems and should top out at the XPS 13.3-inch XPS M1330 in white; the 14-inch Inspiron 1420 will be available with a black lid while the AMD-based, 15.4-inch Inspiron 1521 will ship in black or blue hues. The Inspiron 530/531 tower and its 531s slimline version will also be carried at the stores, Dell notes.
Apple may be preparing a significant update for the iPhone as early as this weekend that will have some heavily requested features, according to a claim from CNET France. The site points to multiple reports that a 1.1.3 upgrade for the iPhone will appear by Saturday which adds both a disk mode for storing general data on the device and a voice recording mode for capturing lectures or voice memos. The disk feature behaves like the equivalent for iPods and will still block users from simply dragging and dropping content to load the phone with playable music, CNET says. Enabling disk mode should still allow knowledgeable users to browse the content on the phone, though this is not expected to be of any use to the hacking community, which has already gained access to the phone's software.
Microsoft's Unlimited Potential group will test the One Laptop Per Child project's XO system with Windows XP, the company has announced. As part of a program to establish the guidelines for using the OS with budget notebooks with flash storage, including Intel's Classmate and the ASUS Eee PC, the software developer says it will run a field trial to see whether it can provide a "high-quality" implementation of Windows on the system, which runs an ultra low-power AMD Geode processor and typically runs a version of Linux to reduce costs and performance overhead.
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