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A Sony gaming handleld burst into flames earlier this week, injuring a 12-year-old child, a Detroit TV station reports. At approximately 9AM on Wednesday, a fire in Harold Clay's PSP caused enough damage to not only create a hole in his pants, but inflict second-degree burns to his skin. Unusually, the PSP was not on, nor was the increase in heat gradual, say Harold's parents, speaking on his behalf. As a coincidence, the game in the system was a part of the Burnout racing series.
National phone carrier Sprint is the focus of a new class action lawsuit, according to reports. The company is accused of defrauding customers by extending contracts without "adequate notice," or else by doing so without "obtaining meaningful consent." The plaintiffs are specifically upset at having contracts extended by up to two years because of minor changes, such as adding extra minutes, or buying a new phone. One accusation suggests that the company may be actively tricking people into longer contracts, tying them to "courtesy discounts."
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) today filed a lawsuit against Intel, charging the company with violating a key patent for its Core 2 Duo processor design. WARF claims that the Core 2's code prediction technology infringes on a similar 1998 invention from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. By using the technology to increase the amount of parallel work accomplished by its processors, Intel is effectively stealing the University's intellectual property, according to the complaint.
Big-box retailer Best Buy will soon join a special discount plan, meant to help push Americans over from analog TV to digital. Beginning February 17th, the company will start selling selling an Insignia-branded digital-to-analog converter box, eligible for a coupon program initiated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). This will cut the price of the converter by $40, making it a more reasonable $20.
Microsoft is discussing the possiblity of Nokia releasing smartphones with Windows Mobile installed, the former company's mobile marketing director John Starkweather says. Without committing to any definite plans, the executive notes that the move is an attempt to have Nokia's support for Microsoft technologies "extend completely" to include the mobile OS itself, rather than just supporting key features. Starkweather refers to hooks for Microsoft's ActiveSync feature that provides live Exchange contact and calendar updates as well as compatibility with PlaysForSure, the foundation of protected Windows Media used across a number of major online music stores.
AT&T's widely reported mobile TV service has suffered a major delay, claim sources with access to the company's latest pricing roadmap. While the schedule reveals unannounced phones such as a GSM-based American version of the Palm Centro, no mention is made of the LG Vu touchscreen phone considered the linchpin of the mobile TV launch. A second phone intended for the launch, the Samsung Access, is also absent from the list and would leave AT&T without any TV-capable phones for the service, which was originally due to launch on February 5th.
Everex is planning to release a home-oriented, touchscreen version of its CloudBook low-cost notebook that may be helped by Apple's upcoming iPhone as a reference point, Everex marketing director Paul Kim says in a new interview with LAPTOP. While a version of the system known as the DevBook is already due for hobbyists this spring, a version for home users is currently projected to arrive in the summer. To help develop applications for the new interface to the Linux-based gOS software at the heart of the computer, Everex is not ruling out using the iPhone's software developer kit (SDK) as an assist, Kim suggests,
The BlackBerry 8820, one of Research in Motion's most recent smartphones, may soon be at national GSM carrier T-Mobile. No pricing has been mentioned as of yet, but an anonymous source indicates that the phone will come on March 5th, and should be functionally identical to the AT&T version with the obvious exception of carrier-specific services. Among T-Mobile's options is said to be support for HotSpot@Home, a service that lets users call through a Wi-Fi VoIP connection to avoid eating into subscription minutes. This does, however, cost a minimum of $10 extra per month.
Mobile processor manufacturer ARM may be the first company to show off a working device based on Google's Android mobile operating system as of next week, according to a tip given to the news media. The claim would have ARM run a prototype using one of its own processors at its booth for the Mobile World Congress expo next week in Barcelona. Although it has been briefly spotted outside of Google's campus, the Linux-based platform has never been officially been demonstrated on hardware beyond the company's walls, making the appearance extremely rare.
Toshiba has announced updates to two of its Gigabeat media players, in the T and V series. The T802 is an upgrade to the T401, and beyond doubling memory from 4 to 8GB, also introduces 802.11b/g wireless, which like Apple's iPod touch can be used to download content. People can not only browse the YouTube-like GyaO service however, but download movies and podcasts, something even the Touch is not currently capable of. The player should be available in Japan on February 15th, at an average cost of 29,800 yen ($279).
The upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard should make HD video a real possibility on cellular networks for the first time, Motorola intends to prove in a demo at next week's Mobile World Congress. The company says it will show examples of HD video moving in both directions during the event, including HD "blogging:" LTE will be used to stream live HD video to a set-top box that viewers at home could use to follow footage from a cellphone in real-time. In the the reverse direction, LTE will also be shown in a Slingbox-like experience where users stream an HDTV feed from home directly to a handheld device, saving the trouble of reducing video quality to make the signal viewable outside the home.
ZTE took its first fledgling steps into the world of US cellphones this morning with the release of the C88 on the MetroPCS network. The China-made clamshell is simpler than the D90 available through TELUS in Canada but is designed to offer more than just the basics: Bluetooth, a VGA camera, and Internet support for e-mail, IM, and the web are part of the core design. The C88 also holds 60MB of internal memory and comes preloaded with a variant of Sudoku to get the user started with mobile games.
Qualcomm today said it would be the first company to produce chipsets capable of supporting multiple 4G Internet standards. Three of its chipsets will now not only support the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard that will be used many larger world carriers but also competing and bridging standards: the top two chipsets, the MDM9600 and MDM 9800, will support the upcoming EVDO Rev. B and Ultra-Mobile Broadband (UMB) standards for CDMA networks even as they support LTE networks once they appear. Each will be powerful enough to handle downloads as quick as 50Mbps and uploads as fast as 25Mbps, Qualcomm says.
Motorola today geared up for the Mobile World Congress show by unveiling its latest generation of devices for bridging computers to wireless networks. The company's 8000 series femtocells are the first from the company to provide a connection between a 3G cellular connection and a home network to supply data even when traditional landline Internet access fails. The 8000 Femtocell Access Point is built for basic use with an Ethernet bridge to plug into an existing network device as backup, such as a cable modem or a Wi-Fi network; the 8100 Femtocell Ethernet Gateway serves double duty as a 4-port Ethernet and 802.11g Wi-Fi router, with special ports for VoIP calls as well as connecting USB devices. Both should be available in the second half of 2008 as equipment from cellular carriers and Internet providers.
Dell on Thursday quietly upgraded its 13.3-inch XPS M1330 notebook, making it the first system from the Texas company to include Intel's new Penryn 45 nanometer notebook processors in the US. Although it starts with older 65nm chips in base trim, the gaming-oriented system now has the option of a 2.4GHz, 2.5GHz, or 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo with the extra Level 2 cache (up to 6MB), lower power draw, and generally higher performance of the new Intel hardware.
Hoping to steal the thunder from larger firms, newcomer modu has announced what it says is the first genuinely modular cellphone. Although the core device itself can work as a handset, the device is designed to be extendable and integrate with other devices. External shells, dubbed modu jackets, can change the control layout and features on the fly; owners can easily add cameras, different control interfaces, and other components without having to replace the phone itself. The feature also allows music labels such as Universal to offer artist-specific jackets that change the entire control scheme as well as the looks.
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