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Microsoft today expanded its virtual machine rules for Windows Vista in a way that will match similar competition from Linux and Mac OS X, based on changes to its end-user agreement. While having previously allowed only Vista Business or Ultimate software to run within a virtual environment, the update allows a "licensed device" to run both Vista Home Basic and Home Premium versions inside of such code, regardless of the actual operating system. The license bars the use of Microsoft-made digital rights management (DRM) such as protected Windows Media inside the environment but is otherwise unrestricted.
The move by Warner Bros. to produce only Blu-ray movies is already beginning to push HD DVD out of stores, says a report from Video Business. Several retail chain owners, including Trans World Entertainment and Video Buyers Group, have revealed that they will either emphasize or introduce Blu-ray in their stores in response to the larger library of movies that will be available for the format. Video Buyers Group in particular notes the lack of confusion makes it "safe" to bring an HD movie format to as many as 800 of its roughly 1,600 stores for the first time, according to chain president Ted Engen.
Polymer Vision this afternoon revealed that it has begun producing the Readius, a device billed as the world's first phone with a foldable display. Even more advanced than Amazon's Kindle, the device uses a 5-inch e-paper display that not only replicates the sharpness of ink but tucks into the main body, creating a much smaller profile than any e-book reader. It also serves as a full-fledged phone: thanks to tri-band HSDPA, the Readius can make calls and connect to the Internet in the US and most other 3G-capable areas of the world. This allows live RSS reading as well as e-mail and other real-time information.
Instead of focusing on the high end of mobile storage, Seagate today unveiled the Momenuts 5400.4 250GB. The Serial ATA II drive is built to make relatively large hard disks available outside of pro notebooks and as a low-cost upgrade for systems with easily swappable drives. Despite holding 125GB of data across a relatively small two platters, the drive is said to be more power-efficient and tolerant of shocks (up to 325 Gs when active) than earlier generations. An 8MB cache is standard.
HP today hoped to lead the crowd of gaming PCs with a new top-end version of its Blackbird 002 gaming PC. Called just the Blackbird Alpha, the tower is based around Intel's newer Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad-core processor running at 3GHz, offering both the faster speed and a cooler 45 nanometer design in the process. The system also brings the faster components of the Blackbird series with an Ageia PhysX physics accelerator card and two of AMD's ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT video cards with 1GB of RAM each.
The MacBook Pro will receive the multi-touch trackpad features of the MacBook Air in the near future as well as new processors, according to an alleged source supplying information to AppleInsider. The systems should receive new, extra-large trackpads that will allow the same pinch, rotate, and swipe gestures as the ultraportable; a release was planned in the general timeframe of Macworld but was delayed due to a need to switch resources to the MacBook Air, the insider claims.
Ahead of the PMA photography expo, Panasonic today has quietly revealed the Lumix DMC-LS80. The company's latest point-and-shoot is said to be a significant reworking of earlier designs with an upgrade to a sharper 8.1-megapixel sensor and changes both to the inside and outside to make the camera easier to use. Unlike most budget cameras, the LS80 provides optical image stabilization as well as an auto-ISO boost mode that increases sensitivity up to ISO 6400 for fast movement in the dark. An auto macro mode also properly refocuses the camera when a subject is too close for normal shots.
Music-capable cellphones are helping to fuel the consumption of digital music as a whole, suggests a study from the research firm M:Metrics. The company now says that "sideloading" of music -- copying it from an existing device to a phone -- represents 83 percent of mobile music use in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Unfortunately for cellular companies and other digital music vendors however, most users are not downloading tracks from them, but instead tapping into shared music -- the market exceptions being Spain and the US.
The newest carrier to support the BlackJack II, and the first in Canada, is national GSM provider Rogers Wireless. There the Samsung phone is simply known as the Jack, and is marketed as an "all-in-one" device with support for Rogers' HSPA broadband network. As it lacks a front-facing video camera, the main purpose of this is faster MMS messaging or downloads of video and MP3/AAC files. Prices for the Jack can be as low as $200 CAD, but can be as much as $400.
HBO on Monday said it would take tentative steps into online video with HBO on Broadband, a new service designed to help timeshift the company's TV programming. The feature will only be available for Time Warner Cable customers subscribed to the premium channel but will allow them to watch away from a TV without resorting to illegal copies or waiting for DVD releases. Users will both be able to download and watch roughly 400 hours' worth of HBO's monthly content for up to four weeks after the download takes place. In a unique approach, however, the service will stream shows live for those who want to catch a series as it appears.
AT&T today quietly began offering a SIM card option to its collection. The new choice provides buyers of the US-edition N95 8GB and other unlocked phones the option of joining AT&T's network without first choosing a device, potentially reducing the cost of entry. Each SIM card supports most any feature supported by existing devices and will connect to AT&T's 3G service as well as supply either prepaid or subscription access depending on the user's needs.
Rogers Wireless has begun expanding its historically restrictive data limits, according to a price sheet (PDF) for its services. While primarily affecting PC Cards, the plans are the first to allow multi-gigabyte usage per month for the Canadian provider depending on the level of service. A base $65 monthly plan provides just 1GB of data transfer over the course of one month but adapts automatically depending on usage: crossing the 1GB limit raises the fee to $75 but doubles the bandwidth to 2GB, Rogers says. Theis continues up to a $100 monthly plan that offers 5GB with each megabyte afterwards costing an additional 3 cents.
T-Mobile today used a quiet Monday to formally introduce the Samsung t819 to its lineup. The slider drops the safer blacks and grays of most phones in favor of a copper brown. It also provides a newer control pad design with shortcut buttons that are as usable at the main selection and calling buttons. The handset occupies T-Mobile's mid-range with a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth with stereo audio, and a media player that uses the microSD card slot for the bulk of its storage.
NBC Universal may be making conciliatory gestures to Apple as part of an effort to revitalize its business, according to a new report by the Financial Times (free trial or paid subscription required). In addition to cutting back on pilot TV shows and other practices that hurt the studio's costs, the network is said to have "patched up relations" with its momentary rival, which it accused of delivering pennies per sale for iTunes video sales, providing just $15 million over the last 12 months of NBC's time on the Apple-run store.
Kyocera today said it had settled on terms to pick up Sanyo's cellphone business. Confirming earlier moves, the former will acquire all of Sanyo's cellphone and cellular technology assets. However, the deal will initially see virtually unchanged business: not only will none of Sanyo's related jobs be cut, but Sanyo-branded phones will continue to exist "for the foreseeable future," Kyocera says. The deal itself is estimated to be worth about $375 million after factoring in associated costs.
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