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Hollywood studios are taking a chance on the Vudu set-top box by granting the service the right to distribute the first of many major movies simultaneously with the official DVD release. The Bourne Ultimatum will be available Tuesday for rent or purchase, in standard and high definition. Universal Pictures is one of a few studios that have agreed to sell high definition content through the Vudu box, though there are not many titles currently available, in contrast to the 5000 standard definition titles that Vudu offers. Vudu sells the set-top box for $400, with rentals ranging from $1 to $5.
Canada's equivalent to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act has been suddenly shelved, according to a claim by fair rights advocate and legal expert Michael Geist. The unnamed revision to Canada's Copyright Act is said to have been at least temporarily postponed from a planned Tuesday presentation due to the "thousands" of messages and phone calls made to the office of the country's Industry Minister Jim Prentice. The planned law is regarded as more restrictive than the American law by restricting copying even for fair use or many educational purposes, which are typically seen as exempt from the DMCA. Staple features of US technology such as time-shifting for digital video recorders would be illegal, according to Geist's analysis.
A competing mobile Linux standard is moving ahead despite the threat posed by Google, InfoWorld reports. The Linux Phone Standards Forum, or LiPS, has released the first specification of a new cellular software platform. Like Google's Android, the LiPS software contains APIs for dialing, messaging, and various other user interfaces; it is not however a complete OS, instead being a means of ensuring that programs made for one phone will also work on another, even if certain key components are changed.
Budget PC maker Everex hopes to do with ultra-mobile PCs what it did with the gPC desktop, says a leak from the company. To be called the Cloudbook, it will target the recently launched ASUS Eee PC with a similar 7-inch screen and the use of its in-house gOS Linux software in place of a costlier and more demanding copy of Windows; a 1.3-megapixel webcam is also expected to be part of the design.
ASUS has revealed that its U6 luxury notebooks are at last coming to the US. The U6E (white) and U6S (brown) are distinguished at first by glossy exteriors, but inside are palmrests covered entirely in leather, and status-light bars designed in decorative metal. In practical terms the machines measure only 12.1 inches, but they do have a number of key accessories: these include HDMI ports, LED backlights, Super Multi DVD drives, and 8-in-1 card readers.
AMD's graphics brand ATI has quietly posted details of the Mobility Radeon HD 2700, a new upgrade to the mid-range HD 2600 graphics chip for notebooks. ATI's update is built around the smaller 65-nanometer manufacturing process as the desktop Radeon HD 3800 and runs both cooler and more efficiently than the 2600 it replaces. To run safely in thin-and-light notebooks, it will carry 120 shader processors versus the 320 of the desktop parts and a smaller 128-bit (versus 256-bit) bus. Clock speeds for the core and memory are likely to increase.
Garmin is about to release a new GPS line that will completely revamp the company's design for handheld marine mapping units, according to an online store's leak. The Colorado 400 BlueChart will be meant for fishing and other small boats but will include a relatively large, 240x400 color LCD that provides a clearer view of both the sea conditions and of the nearby shoreline. An iPod-like control nicknamed "Rock n Roller" will quickly scroll through some items while still offering fine-tuned control by tilting the wheel in one direction. The device will back up its efforts with a short-range ANT wireless link for sharing maps and geocache points.
Denver International Airport could be one of the first airports in the US to offer a public hotspot based on the 802.11n standard, the travel hub's telecoms chief Jim Winston has revealed today. Although the service quietly went live in November, the airport is now using a mixed-mode network that supports the extra speed and range of the draft 802.11n spec while still supporting legacy 11b and 11g users. The new standard also produces the side benefit of helping to spot unwanted networks that could be created by users hoping to compromise the security of nearby passengers.
Envision has launched a new widescreen monitor in its Professional Series, the E218c1. The 22-inch LCD is unique in that it not only incorporates embedded speakers, but also a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and an internal microphone with echo cancellation. These features are intended for businesses looking low-cost conferencing options; performance of the screen itself remains fairly high however, with a 5ms response time, and an above-average contrast ratio of 700:1.
Sony may be reawakening its long-dormant Aibo product, rumors from Stuff Magazine suggest. While the dog gained media attention as one of the first advanced robots on sale to the public, it was generally sold in low quantities, and went off the market for several years. In 2008 however the Aibo may be back as the "Aibo PS," taking advantage of modern consoles and wireless technology. It is primarily said to be controllable via Wi-Fi, using the Internet, a PSP or a PS3 controller.
Launching its device after a two-month delay, LG today shipped out its BH200 HD movie player. The new take on the Super Multi Blu reader is the first device capable of reading the full specs of both Blu-Ray and HD DVD titles; unlike the BH100 from last year, the new model can support picture-in-picture special features from Blu-ray's Final Standard Profile only just reaching the market. It also includes an Ethernet jack to support Internet features on HD DVD discs today and future Blu-Ray movies. It also adds HDMI 1.3 with deep color support for newer HDTVs and more advanced 7.1-channel surround systems.
Nokia describes Apple as the first credible newcomer to the cellular market in years, a new interview reveals. "It's very clear that Apple, Google and other players are bringing in a lot of new directions," says company CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Among these is an increasing union of device functions; while Nokia has long made smartphones that perform most of the tasks of the iPhone, such as the N95, Apple's product is a unique combination of this with the easy media playback of an iPod.
Toshiba on Monday has capitalized on last-minute holiday sales by announcing the Portégé M700. While a tablet like some earlier models, the new 12.1-inch system is built for a level of speed not often found in the class: a base system starts with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo with an 800MHz bus and optionally scales up to the latest 2.6GHz model. The M700 also distinguishes itself by including both active and passive input, allowing users to press both with their fingers or with a stylus on an anti-glare LED screen the PC builder says is much more useful in outdoor light.
Dell has quietly slipped in the option for a CableCard tuner into its XPS 420 desktop. The addition gives the option of single or dual ATI TV Wonder adapters that will tune HD cable broadcasts without requiring a provider's set-top box for its copy protection features. Either option can record shows, with the premium dual option allowing users to watch one program while recording another at the same time, Dell notes.
IBM began its week with news that it has developed a new 32-nanometer processor manufacturing technology that it says will not just improve performance but also make it more accessible. The process uses a variant on the same high-k/metal gate technique that replaces some of the silicon in transistors with more efficient, cooler materials to pack more components into a single chip and increase performance. An enhancement, known as "high-k/gate-first," not only includes a further shrink from the 45 nanometers of technology about to reach the market to 32 nanometers but is also easier to produce. By focusing on the most advanced components first, it lets partner companies design smaller, faster processors without having to increase the chip complexity from the outset.
Samsung today scored a minor coup by allowing sales of the BD-P1400 to drop below the $300 price level, achieving a low cost previously reserved only for some more inexpensive HD DVD players. Major deals at Amazon's store as well as similar offerings from Best Buy and Circuit City all place the Blu-ray reader at $299, at least $100 below its average selling price and $200 below its original mark. This makes it both one of the least expensive 1080p-capable HD movie players and also the first to support DTS-HD Master Audio to produce the same quality as raw audio in 7.1-channel surround while consuming only a fraction of the space available on the disc.
Social network imeem on Monday revealed that it has struck a deal with Universal Music Group that will see the music label's catalog reach the site. The agreement will let users stream both songs and music videos from imeem's pages for free by running ads alongside the content while also permitting users to upload tracks of their own. This marks the availability of all four major labels on the site and promises that users can join a social network based around music while knowing that the majority of content is legal. The solution ensures that artists are "fairly compensated" by tracking the number of plays, according to Universal chief Doug Morris.
T-Mobile today expanded the audience for its HotSpot@Home Wi-Fi calling service through the release of Samsung's Katalyst. Also called the t739, the Korean slider builds in Wi-Fi to make calls on an owner's home connection or some public access points (including T-Mobile's) without consuming valuable calling plan minutes. With Unlicensed Mobile Access, the Katalyst can bridge a call between the cell network and Wi-Fi if the user wanders out of the range of either connection. The phone's browsing and instant messaging are also helped by the transition, says T-Mobile.
Toshiba started its week with the introduction of its first solid-state disks in its 1.8-inch HDD range. Designed to replace conventional rotating storage, the drives are said to offer the storage of a multi-level cell flash device with the speed of simpler single-level cell technology: an advanced controller lets it read at 100MB per second, write at 40MB per second, and yet hold 128GB of storage in such a small size, the company says. In combination with a 56-nanometer manufacturing process, this helps the drive speed up response times and extend battery life while still providing the storage of a conventional disk.
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