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In response to Yahoo's open rejection of Microsoft's proposed buyout, Microsoft issued a statement countering Yahoo's claim that the offer was undervalued. The software giant said that shareholders on both sides would benefit greatly from the merger, and that a timely transaction would be "in the best interests of all parties". Microsoft also urged investors to consider the positive side of having a combined company, highlighting an "exciting set of solutions for customers," as well as a stronger online front.
BlackBerry devices on Monday saw a major service outage over the US and Canada, that spread across all service providers. According to Yahoo News, RIM did not comment on the outage, which Yahoo says is predictable behavior, based on a similar incident from April of last year. In the past, RIM has remained quiet on service outages for quite some time, then finally providing a cryptic answer. It is unknown how many users were affected during the outage; some users were able to access their device later that afternoon.
Large-scale retailer Best Buy this afternoon unsettled the HD video industry by announcing that it would promote Blu-ray over HD DVD. The chain had originally claimed to remain platform-neutral but now says Blu-ray will be its "preferred" format and will reflect this choice in its stores. Blu-ray movie players and titles will be given more prominent positions than HD DVD, while store staff are more likely to recommend the new format. The sudden shift is a reaction to customer demand, according to Best Buy president Brian Dunn.
Photos and details have leaked for the CDMA version of the BlackBerry Curve, the 8330. The most crucial revelation may be the confirmation of GPS functions, as found on the Pearl 8130; the hardware is listed in the 8330's options menu. The keyboard however is in keeping with other Curves, featuring a widely spaced QWERTY design backlit around areas such as the numberpad. A camera is located on the back, and while its sensor rating is unknown, it is likely to remain a consistent two megapixels. No prices, release dates or carriers have been announced. [via BB Geeks]
Dell today quietly slipped in one of the first widely available Wireless USB options into its portables. Both the Inspiron 1525 as well as the entire XPS gaming notebook line can now fit an internal adapter that supports the new standard. The technology uses ultra wideband to connect a system to a wireless USB hub or directly to the newest mix of external hard drives, printers, and other peripherals. The short-range technology is claimed to be as fast as wired USB 2.0.
Not content with its more style-oriented devices, Samsung has announced a host of other phones coming in the near future. Among these is the F400, which like the Serenata is based on Bang & Olufsen sound technology in the form of two stereo speakers, concealed within a dual-sliding design. Onboard is a FM radio, a three-megapixel camera with autofocus, and a microSD slot. The F400 should be out in late March, at a cost of €370-390 ($537-566).
Plantronics set out a new approach for its Explorer Bluetooth headsets today with the unveiling of one of the very few earpieces targeted at owners likely to use their phones in rough conditions. The Explorer 370 is guarded with rubber and sealed to meet military standards; the design is allegedly dust, shock, and water resistant in the same conditions experienced by US soldiers on the field. A virtual wind guard technique also filters out most of the background noise produced by these harsh environments.
Confirming earlier expectations, Texas Instruments and a handful of other chipset makers were the first to demonstrate working examples of Google's Android mobile operating system on functional hardware. Now confirmed to just be a test mule, the prototype device is said to prove the speed of the Linux-based software on even obsolete hardware. Despite its visual effects, Android is capable of running quickly on Texas Instruments ARM processors from two generations ago, according to tests by Pocket-lint.
SanDisk at Mobile World Congress is kickstarting its iNAND embedded flash drive with a new 16GB model. Designed primarily for smartphones, media players, and other very space-limited handhelds, the new drive doubles the storage of the earlier model without taking up extra space. As a result, even slim phones and other devices can carry the new capacity, SanDisk says. Currently, most handsets such as the iPhone rely on more traditional flash memory chips that often consume more space.
Among a host of new phones unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, Samsung has announced several fashion-oriented models. The preeminent one is likely to be the F480, which uses a 2.8-inch, QVGA touchscreen with tactile feedback for each button press. It additionally features 3G, an FM tuner, and 240MB of internal storage, complemented by microSD cards. The still camera meanwhile is a five-megapixel autofocus model, complete with LED flash. It should ship to Europe in April or May for €350-400 ($508-580).
Demonstrating at the GSMA World Congress in Barcelona, LG has revealed three new KF-series phones. The top of the line is the KF700, which combines both a three-inch touchscreen and a sliding keypad. The firmware, meanwhile, said to feature a "full" web browser, along with audio and video players. For faster control, a special "shortcut dial" on the back of the phone switches between applications.
The KF600 relies even more heavily on its touchscreen, omitting the keypad. The phone does however come with a three-megapixel camera and video recording, and is said to use an unusual trapezoidal design.
NVIDIA on Monday took the wraps from the APX 2500, a new chipset it describes as an application processor for smartphones and other handhelds. Though it has a GeForce graphics unit at its core that helps drive 3D games, the 2500 is said to excel at processing HD video: the hardware is the only mobile chipset capable of both decoding and capturing 720p HD video, NVIDIA claims. Moreover, power savings in the chipset reportedly make this a practical reality in real use, with as much as 10 hours of 720p playback or a full 100 hours of pure audio. This last figure is more than four times longer than for existing touchscreen phones, the company notes.
Starbucks today said it would begin offering free Wi-Fi access to AT&T subscribers as well as free two hours of Wi-Fi to those who make purchases at the world's largest coffee chain. The move marks a break from Starbucks' longstanding choice of T-Mobile and will see all of Starbucks' 7,000-plus existing Internet-capable coffee houses switch to AT&T for access. All customers of AT&T's DSL and U-verse Internet services will have free, unlimited access to the hotspots. AT&T's cellphone customers will also have the option in the near future, the coffee producers say. Starbucks Card holders will also have two hours of use per day on top of their existing benefits.
Yahoo is once again considering a merger with AOL in order to protect itself against a hostile bid from Microsoft, writes British newspaper The Times. Having formally rejected a bid worth nearly $45 billion, Yahoo is said to be in talks with advisers from Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, who have been helping the company search for a partnership that might block a Microsoft acquisition. One such partnership could be with the Time Warner-owned AOL, although Google -- which has a five-percent stake in AOL, and is Microsoft's main enemy -- has reportedly offered to support Yahoo.
Sierra Wireless has introduced two new HSPA mobile broadband modems -- the AirCard 885E ExpressCard and Compass 885 USB modem. Both devices boast a small form-factor and offer the latest high-speed mobile broadband technology for use worldwide. Both the AirCard 885E ExpressCard and the Compass 885 USB modem are slated for shipment in mid-2008, and are compatible with Mac as well as Windows systems.
Microsoft today revealed that it was acquiring Danger Inc., triggering a shift in the mobile phone business. The deal's terms have not been disclosed but will see the smaller firm, best known for the software powering Sidekick messaging phones, folded into the Entertainment and Services Division at Microsoft. The buyout will help Microsoft enter the "consumer space" for phones and will simultaneously let Danger expand its partnerships to other companies. Neither firm has said when they expect the deal to be approved by US officials.
Yahoo today publicly dismissed Microsoft's $44.6 billion takeover bid, setting the groundwork for a long conflict between the firms. The search firm's Board of Directors says it has unanimously rejected Microsoft's offer after believing that the deal "substantially undervalues" Yahoo's worth. The reputation associated with Yahoo's name, its user base, ad investments and finances are all worth more than what Microsoft has proposed, according to the statement.
Movie rental service Netflix this morning dealt an added blow to HD DVD by announcing that it would drop the format from its mail-based subscriptions, offering HD movies solely in Blu-ray. While the company will not immediately halt rentals of HD DVD tiles, it will no longer add HD DVD movies to its catalog and intends to phase out the format as discs finish their useful rental cycles. The move is claimed to end the confusion caused by dual formats and will let Netflix push HD video more clearly to its rental business, which is still dominated by DVDs.
HTC has taken its turn at Mobile World Congress to release one new phone and upgrade two of its crossover devices. Spotlighted in the show is the P3470; originally codenamed the Pharos, the touchscreen phone centers on GPS mapping and supports either TomTom or CoPilot software for its navigation. A navigation wheel also helps it navigate through large lists more quickly than possible with just a directional pad. HTC also delivers a 2-megapixel camera and microSD storage with the phone, which ships first to Europe later this month but will support quad-band GSM and EDGE data for a possible rollout in North America.
Novatel today upgraded its Ovation USB adapters with the MC930D. A variant on the MC950D, the new modem exchanges the tri-band HSDPA of the earlier model for full-fledged HSPA access in Europe: on advanced portions of networks from Vodafone and other carriers, the device can download at rates up to 7.2Mbps and upload at a far faster 2.1Mbps than usual. Its design is less than half an inch thick and is built to be pocketable when not plugged into a notebook.
Motorola's contribution to phone announcements on Monday involves an upgrade to one of its more ubiquitous sliders and two world phones. The Z6w adds Wi-Fi to the original design of the GSM-based Z6 for faster browsing at hotspots; it also offers Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) that allows it to start a call either through GSM or through VoIP (when on Wi-Fi) and to automatically switch from one format to the other if the phone's owner wanders out of range of one of the signals. Internet browsing between EDGE and Wi-Fi is also gapless, Motorola says. The Z6w continues to include a 2-megapixel camera and use Motorola's Linux-based MOTOMAGX OS. The phone ships in the spring and may see service through T-Mobile USA's HotSpot@Home.
Nokia at its press conference for the Mobile World Congress expo set a timeframe for unveiling the company's first-ever touchscreen phone as well as clarified its operating system plans. Although few details have been released for the device itself, Nokia now intends to release a touchscreen phone in the second half of 2008. The handset will use an enhanced version of the Symbian Series 60 OS dubbed S60 Touch and is likely to sport many of the iPhone-like features showcased a year ago, including a natural-gesture photo browser and music playback controls.
Nokia this morning launched a pair of 6-series phones built alternately for mapping and photography. The 6210 Navigator (shown) replaces the 6110 and is the first phone from Nokia to sport its new Maps 2.0 software: using assisted GPS, the 6210 now has access to a Walk mode that plots routes while on foot in addition to a vehicle mode (Drive). It likewise improves on the earlier phone in hardware with an accelerometer that tracks speed and orientation as well as a compass that provides directions regardless of whether GPS is active. A 1GB microSD card is bundled with the phone that includes maps for use without needing Internet access or even a SIM card, Nokia says.
Nokia this morning made an aggressive start to its launch at Mobile World Congress through two key Nseries smartphones. The N96 (pictured) is Nokia's long-anticipated sequel to the N95 8GB and doubles its built-in storage to 16GB; with a microSDHC slot and an 8GB card (including a new card of Nokia's own), the device can hold up to 24GB data by itself. Several design changes also improve its handling of media playback: in addition to a built-in kickstand for long video playback, the N96 adds a native 3.5mm headphone jack, simulated 3D sound speakers, and a DVB-H tuner for receiving over-the-air digital TV in Europe. An electronic programming guide allows the handset to record up to 40 hours of video.
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