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Dell recently announced that it is shipping systems loaded with Ubuntu Linux v7.10 and feature DVD playback. Currently loaded in the Inspiron Desktop 530 N, and the Inspiron Notebook 1420 N systems in the US - with English, French, and German models being offered later this week - these machines represent a first, but large, step by the computer manufacturer, as it seeks to eventually offer Ubuntu with its entire product lineup as an alternative to Windows. After a lengthly portion of time between the Ubuntu release and its implementation in Dell's computers, users have access to the stability of Linux, with a few Dell-added bonuses as well.
The iPowerRush brings 10 to 15 hours of additional playtime to iPods and iPhones by using six AAA batteries, and provides an extra 120 hours of standby time for iPhone users. The unit features a slip design, measured at 2-inches by 3 5/8-inches by 0.5-inch, making it very compact, with a push-button that shows remaining battery power, and also features a built-in voltage limiter that prevents it from over-charging the iPod's battery. The iPowerRush is currently available for $30 from iPowerRush.com.
Social newscasting site Pownce today unveiled Pownce Mobile, a handheld-oriented version of its service normally available only for visually rich browsers or Adobe's AIR platform. The new site allows both live posting of text updates similar to sites such as Twitter while also exposing most or all of the unique features from Pownce's own service. Every device can also post group events and links as well as track and post replies; phones with built-in file management can also upload images or media directly from the handset, the Pownce team says.
Revealed just yesterday through FCC filings, Toshiba's upcoming G920 phone has been confirmed for the first quarter of 2008 through a company roadmap presentation. It is presumed that this date is linked to Russia, as that is where the presentation was held; this could also be a global target, however, something supported by the existence of FCC documents. Likewise, the G910 is absent from the roadmap, but may simply be a regional variation.
The iPhone has managed to outperform long-term competitors in the smartphone market, says a new study in the January 2008 issue of Consumer Reports. The magazine gives the Apple device an overall score of 64 versus 61 for RIM's BlackBerry Curve, pointing primarily to Apple's longer 8.25 hours of call time in testing versus the Curve's 6.25 hours and its improvements in ease of use and synchronization with computers. The BlackBerry's common advantage of its real-time "push" e-mail is beaten by Apple's inclusion of a stronger e-mail client, the publication claims.
In a first for the US, MVNO carrier Helio has released the Helio Player, a piece of Windows software dedicated solely to its own phones. The app was developed by RealNetworks, and is meant to simplify the process of shuttling media between phones and PCs. It is divided into three tabs, one each for Music, Pictures and Video; the highlight is Music, which not only lets users copy MP3, M3A and WMA files to a phone, but import anything bought on Helio's 3G service, or export tracks bought at a reduced rate from within Player.
Toshiba today revealed that it will assist IBM's 32-nanometer processor development. The Japanese electronics maker will join AMD, Samsung, and other technology firms in the IBM Semiconductor Alliance in producing CPUs and other chips based on the smaller manufacturing process, likely leading to faster components to be shared between some or all of the firms, such as IBM's Cell processor used in the PlayStation 3 and future AMD Phenom cores.
IOGEAR today ended its year with a pair of Bluetooth devices made just for phones. The Hands Free Car Kit clips to the overhead visor on most cars and provides any phone that fits the Bluetooth hands-free profile with a speakerphone to place and answer calls without reaching for the device itself. The kit likewise pairs with Bluetooth-capable computers to serve as a breakaway speakerphone for Skype and other VoIP servics. It comes with echo and noise as well as an 8-hour battery life, and ships today for $70.
Continuing with a series of releases, Dell on Tuesday released the Vostro 1200 first to a Japanese audience. Bucking the trend created by the AMD-based Vostro 1000, the 1200 switches to Intel-based processors and uses Intel's GMA X3100 integrated video in place of the Radeon X1250 dictated by the AMD platform in the original. The new 12.1-inch Vostro also packs an unusually large 160GB hard drive as standard and comes with full-size ExpressCard and 3-in-1 memory card readers.
Motorola will not only update its MING touchscreen phones with the A1600 but with a budget model, the company's Taiwan chief Bill Chen has confirmed to the press. While the company's current A1200 phone (pictured) has always been targeted at upscale Chinese and others who need touch input to handwrite their local languages, a second phone will be aimed at a wider range. It remains too early to reveal the specifications, Chen says, but both devices will support at least "2.5G" Internet speeds over supporting cellular networks and run the Linux-based MOTOMAGX interface.
Dell has taken the unusual step of defending the cost of its new Latitude XT tablet. In a post to Dell's official PR blog, the senior manager for the Commercial Products Team, Glenn Keels, says that the $2,500-plus pricetag for the computer may be extremely high next to similar systems from competitors, but that it is worth it for certain feature enhancements, as well as Dell's three-year warranty.
Dell today began taking orders for its long-delayed Latitude XT convertible tablet PC, putting the system within closer reach. The Texas PC builder distinguishes the system with a more advanced capacitive touchscreen that is both more precise than most such displays while also offering a comparatively bright, thin LED-backlit screen with the standard model. In a departure from most of the company's lineup, however, Windows XP Tablet Edition is installed by default; using Microsoft's newer but more demanding Vista Business is free but remains an option.
As promised last week, Sony has released the 3.80 update (UK page) for its PSP handheld. Owners of the gaming system can now listen to various Internet radio streams, which are indexed by Shoutcast and accessed by going to the Network panel in the main menu. The PSP can now also import OPML feeds, and view photo streams through an option listed under RSS Channel.
Microsoft may have readily eclipsed Apple in reducing the number of high-risk security vulnerabilities over the course of 2007, according to a list of Secunia notices compiled by ZDNet. While the security firm reported a lower number of security holes for Windows Vista than its XP predecessor, dropping the number of reported flaws from 32 to 20, all versions of Mac OS X produced a total of 243 flaws -- all but two of which are "highly critical" gaps that could significantly compromise a system if successfully exploited, according to Secunia.
Fujitsu this morning became the first computer maker to announce a notebook based on Intel's upcoming mobile Penryn processor architecture. The 12.1-inch LOOX R70 will use a consciously unnamed Core 2 Duo processor that will both improve speed and help optimize battery life to extreme levels: a stock battery will let the system run for as much as 9.7 hours, by Fujitsu's reckoning. The use of a thin, LED-backlit screen will also reduce its weight to 2.8 pounds despite the inclusion of a DVD burner.
Mio today released its anticipated C620 GPS navigator, bringing with it features not often seen in most GPS units. The 4.3-inch touchscreen device is the first from Mio to ship with the company's 2008 GPS software and adds an advanced level of 3D compared to most GPS units. In bird's-eye view mode, the C620 provides full, 3D representations of major landmarks and also provides elevation for bridges and significant inclines; drivers no longer have to be caught by surprise by changes in the road or their relative positions. The software is also clearer in pointing out signs ahead and is faster to get its bearings than on old models.
The prototype phone Google has been using to demonstrate its Android mobile operating system has been spotted and reveals positive early developments for the Linux-based OS, according to a leak sent to Gizmodo. Virtually identical to the photo shown in official videos outside of its dark gray color, the full-keyboard smartphone's version of the OS is reportedly very quick due to its light, Linux-based code; Windows Mobile by contrast is overly complex, the report says.
Apple is already in negotiations to release the iPhone in Japan, reports indicate. Sources say that Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently met with Masao Nakamura, the president of Japan's largest wireless carrier, NTT DoCoMo. Jobs has also supposedly met with people from Japan's third-largest carrier, Softbank, and executives from both carriers are said to have flown multiple times to Apple's Cupertino headquarters. Notably excluded from reports is Japan's second-rated carrier, KDDI.
As promised, Sony today posted the 2.1 update for its PlayStation 3 game system. The new version is the first to natively support most videos in the popular DivX format without relying on third-party transcoding software and is also the first major Blu-ray player to receive a software update to Final Standard Profile 1.1, allowing it to use advanced features in newer Blu-ray movies such as Internet use or picture-in-picture overlays. Previously, the feature has only been available preloaded with dedicated movie players such as the Panasonic DMP-BD30K.
Sprint today ended its months-long search for a chief executive by announcing that it has chosen Dan Hesse as the carrier's president and CEO. The senior staffer has recently been the head of Embarq, an Internet and phone service provider spun off from Sprint in 2006. He previously headed AT&T Wireless before its rebranding as Cingular and is widely credited with spurring the company's growth during that time. This skill will be needed as Sprint hopes to turn around its losses and move up from its third-place standing among US telecom companies, according to Sprint.
V7 began Tuesday by introducing a 24-inch screen it believes will push large LCDs to a lower cost: the D24W33 brings the 1920x1200 resolution of similar LCDs but also specifications V7 claims are reserved for premium LCDs. The display maker claims a quick, 2-millisecond average pixel response time and also makes a unique exchange for the sake of cost: instead of including a DVI input, the D24W33 uses HDMI and so lets both computers (with an adapter) and HD-capable devices connect to the screen in digital form. VGA is also available. A four-watt speaker system provides audio across either HDMI or minijack inputs.
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