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Following in the spirit of Radiohead's "pay-what-you-want" offer, EMI is flat out giving away music tracks to subscribers of the New York Daily News. CNET writes that the voucher is good for three song downloads from the labels collection of over 120,000 tracks, including an unreleased track, "It's Love", by Ringo Starr. EMI's promotion will run on this coming Sunday, as well as the one that follows.
Sprint is offering an over-the-air software upgrade for the Rumor by LG that reportedly resolves an issue where the phone's firmware can be erased during startup if certain keys are pressed. Spring says the update also provides important updates to text messaging and "enhances the user experience." There are two ways to obtain the software update: on the phone, go to main menu>settings/tools>tools>update firmware. Alternatively, you can go to a Sprint retail location for assistance in updating the phone software. Company officials said "While we have confidence in the quality of this device, we do encourage Rumor users to take advantage of this simple over-the-air upgrade to ensure that your Rumor by LG is performing at its best."
People are still paying too much for roaming data use in other countries, says Ofcom, the official regulator of media and telecommunications in the UK. The group is pressuring cellular carriers to reduce their charges within the European Union, which can sometimes be prohibitively expensive; Ofcom chief Ed Richards notes that last summer, the average roaming price for 1MB of data was £4.11. "It could cost tens of pounds to download a single PowerPoint presentation," Richards has told the Financial Times.
After missing its original launch date, Everex today let hopeful buyers of its CloudBook micro-notebook know that it would delay the launch of the system from January 25th to February 15th, more than two weeks later than expected. The company has not explained the delay but has not changed the specifications for the miniature portable, which is based around a 7-inch screen, a 1.2GHz Via C7-M processor, and the gOS Linux variant that supplies quick links to web services as well as free productivity apps such as OpenOffice.
Internet service providers should be the focus of blame for continuing music piracy, says the manager for the internationally famous rock band U2. Paul McGuinness, speaking at the current MIDEM conference in Cannes, France, has argued that ISPs should be disconnecting those who download tracks illegally. ISPs have "been at our trough for too long," McGuinness says, and a part of the "shoddy, careless and downright dishonest way" in which artists have been treated in the era of digital music.
Dell has upgraded its XPS M1730 desktop replacement notebook to include two of NVIDIA's GeForce 8800M GTX graphics chipsets in SLI. The custom-order option eclipses the dual 8700M GT that was previously Dell's fastest option and makes a top-spec XPS M1730 one of the fastest portables available for gaming. The Texas PC maker boasts that a top-spec XPS rivals the 3D performance of even high-end desktops and is 49 percent faster than the next-best option for synthetic tests such as 3DMark06.
Both Sprint and Clearwire are back to discussing a previously-ended deal that would see a shared WiMAX effort, according to people speaking with the Wall Street Journal. In spite of ending talks just last year after failing to come to an agreement, both companies are reportedly once again prepared to explore a deal that would let customers of either Clearwire or Sprint roam on each other's WiMAX networks, saving both companies from having to build out an entire national network themselves. The new strategy would see Sprint's WiMAX service, named Xohm, spun off as a separate entity and merged with Clearwire to create a single, unified service.
As a pan-European policy, telecom companies have no obligation to hand over the personal information of those accused of illegal downloading, the European Court of Justice has ruled. The decision is a response to a Spanish court, which requested guidance in a case involving Telefonica SA and Promusicae, a trade organization for film and music producers. The Associated Press writes that Promusicae had asked for the names and addresses of suspected file sharers, but as the ECJ is now arguing, there is no EU law requiring this information to be handed over for civil cases.
Continental Airlines today joined a previous approach by JetBlue and said it would begin offering Wi-Fi onboard some of its aircraft. As with details revealed shortly after news of the earlier offering, the new LiveTV-backed service will provide travelers with comparatively low-bandwidth Internet features through most of a given flight. Notebooks, smartphones, and other portable devices that support e-mail and instant messaging services through RIM's BlackBerry network or Yahoo's services will be able to communicate with others on the ground.
Individual bids in the 700MHz FCC auction are nearing the amount needed to claim the key airwaves needed for mobile data, according to the communications body's's latest auction results. With almost $7.4 billion of total bids across the entire spectrum as of the end of the 10th round of auctions, the largest bid so far for the key nationwide "C block" license is now approaching $3.4 billion after less than a week of bidding, ensuring that at least one bidder is likely to meet the $4.6 billion mark needed to ensure open access for any device and software on a potential future wireless network. Bids for the just-begun 11th round will have to reach at least the $3.9 billion mark, the FCC says.
Electronics giant Panasonic today announced a collection of new cameras under its Lumix brand. Among these is the 10.1-megapixel FX35 (right), what the company describes as its first camera with an "ultra-wide" 25mm lens. The lens also features 4x optical zoom, and a maximum aperture of f/2.8, permitting better exposure without necessarily boosting ISO settings. Image quality is likewise improved through a fourth-generation Venus processor, red-eye correction through pre-flashes, and automatic exposure adjustments. The camera should be out in March for $350.
Mustek today signaled its contribution to this week's PMA photography expo. Officially titled the AF-A950PS, the new digital photo frame is designed as much for rooms where music and videos are important as the photos themselves. By using NXT-made flat-panel speakers built into the frame, the A950PS can play MP3 audio at relatively high quality without disrupting the look or the size of the device. The 9.5-inch, 800x480 screen also has enough performance behind it to play AVI, Motion JPEG, and XviD videos at full speed.
Japanese carriers KDDI and Softbank are adding a unique Hitachi phone to their lineups, according to multiple reports. The W61H uses a regular, 2.7-inch LCD on the inside of its clamshell design, but this is mirrored by a similarly-sized e-ink display on the back, where most phones would place an OLED screen. This screen is not intended to be practical, however, but instead display one of 95 decorative patterns, matched to the available black, silver or cyan colors.
Motorola may be looking to fold its cellphone business after years of struggling to restore the business to profit, says an investor note from Nomura analyst Richard Windsor. After a damaging quarter that saw Motorola's cellphone sales suffer a 38 percent drop, the company is said to be considering closing the division entirely to stem losses. This would leave the remaining divisions to focus chiefly on government and large-scale business sales, Windsor says. Notably, Motorola would still appear in the mainstream market through its technologies, which include WiMAX handheld chipsets and mobile TV devices.
The UK branch of European cellular provider Orange hopes to have music rental services on its handsets without copy protection in as little as half a year, the company's music product director Brenda O'Connell says. Speaking at the MIDEM mobile conference, O'Connell explains that the digital rights management (DRM) that locks down tracks varies widely between computers and cellphones, making it all but impractical to have a unified but device-independent music service without removing DRM entirely.
Despite its reputation as one of the most prolific smartphone manufacturers on the market, HTC is shedding marketshare to more narrowly focused companies such as Motorola and Samsung, says internal info leaked from Microsoft. While the maker of phones such as the Touch and Tilt accounted for exactly half of all Windows Mobile smartphones during Microsoft's fiscal 2007, in recent months this has dipped as low as 30 percent; the company is now on roughly equal footing with Motorola and Samsung who both own between 20 and 30 percent on average, the leak claims.
AT&T will soon add one of Motorola's first 3G-capable budget phones to its lineup, according to an FCC filing. The W760r is a spiritual successor to Motorola's older, rugged V-series phones but will add dual-band 3G Internet access over HSDPA, allowing it to stream live video (including over Video Share calls) and download from music stores at relatively quick speeds. The clamshell will also be one of Motorola's first W-series phones with a 2-megapixel camera and should hold microSD cards up to 4GB in size.
PC builder MSI today outlined many of its goals for designing notebooks in 2008, many of which provide immediate clues as to its upcoming models. Following Warner's choice to drop HD DVD, MSI is likely to do the same with its own HD-capable systems, choosing Blu-ray instead. This will be helped by a slight boost in the average size of a notebook screen to 15.6 inches as well as a switch to LED backlighting on some models, which should improve image quality while helping battery life at the same time.
Saving one of its key announcements for the aftermath of the CES expo, JVC this morning revealed two high-end camcorders in its Everio lineup for its home territory of Japan. Both the GZ-HD5 and its premium cousin the HD6 are about 40 percent smaller than the HD7 they replace but output at higher quality than before. The HD6 in particular is one of the first to generate a full-quality HD image: while capturing internally at 1920x1080 interlaced, new hardware allows it to upscale to 1080p on the flywhile maintaining the 60Hz frame rate needed for fast action on a modern HDTV. With HDMI output, videographers can see this image quality without authoring the video on a computer, JVC says.
(Updated with pricing) Nikon tonight has been quick to end speculation and has introduced the D60, the successor to both the D40x and D50 starter digital SLR cameras. True to leaks, the camera uses the same 10.2-megapixel resolution as its ancestors but draws on the same EXPEED image processor as the top-end D300 and D3 to improve color balance as well as speed; in JPEG mode, the camera can shoot as many as 100 frames at three frames per second until the memory buffer runs dry. The D60 also comes with both passive (airflow channeling) and active (sensor shake) dust removal systems to keep the image clean despite constant use.
In addition to its D60 SLR, Nikon tonight has also taken the wraps from six new COOLPIX cameras. At the top, the P60 (shown) straddles the line between regular compacts and more advanced cameras such as Nikon's P5100. Though stopped at 8.1 megapixels and lacking the flash hot-shoe, it improves on the P5100 with both a longer-range 5X optical zoom as well as hardware image stabilization. Using the newer EXPEED image processor also boosts light sensitivity to ISO 2000 while reducing overall noise. The P60 ships in March for $230.
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