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In what seems to be an enormous shift in the race for a 4G wireless standard, China Mobile on Wednesday is expected to show its support for the LTE, or Long Term Evolution, 4G wireless technology. Should this prove to be true, LTE will have accrued support from China Mobile, Vodafone, Verizon, and, peripherally, AT&T, according to Yahoo News. Arun Sarin, CEO for Vodafone, expects that WiMax - one of LTE's competing standards - will be rolled in to the LTE standard, as the UK-based company deploys its 4G networks in 2010.
Microsoft was aware during Windows Vista's development that its "Vista Capable" certification and logo would mislead customers into buying inadequate computers, say new documents revealed as evidence in bringing an upcoming class-action lawsuit against the software producer. Internal e-mail obtained by the plaintiffs in the complaint reveal that workers at Microsoft had doubts about the specifications needed to receive the "Vista Capable" logo, which the plaintiffs themselves say were made deceptively low to encourage purchases that would otherwise have waited until Vista's release or never taken place at all. Many of these messages were exchanged while the logo promotion was underway and affected senior staffers, a courtroom hearing has shown.
LG will be the first cellphone maker to offer a phone pre-authorized for unlimited music, partner Omnifone has announced. Under the latter's MusicStation Max program, phones such as LG's will allow owners to begin downloading, playing and even sharing music immediately after subscribing, at no extra cost per track. The key is that buyers will have to pay for a special MusicStation-oriented cellular plan, which will initially run 12 to 18 months. Only at the end of this timeframe will people be able to migrate to another phone, which will also have to be a MusicStation device if they intend to keep using the service. Tracks will not be deleted if a person keeps to their original phone.
Netflix may consider extending its Watch Instantly movie streaming feature to game consoles, says one customer presented with a survey by the company. Polling its subscriber base, the rental outlet asks households if they would like to watch both movies and TV shows through either the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360 and suggests a custom software implementation that would allow the feature. Xbox owners would be able to use their Xbox Live account to obtain an upgrade for free that allows Internet streaming; without a paid, unified Internet service, the PlayStation 3 would need a CD to install an update that enables the feature.
WiMAX mobile broadband may have even greater reach than expected, an announcement by the standard's organizers indicates. While devices are currently being certified only for the 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5GHz wireless frequencies, the WiMAX Forum says it will be eventually begin testing products on the 700MHz band, formerly the home of over-the-air analog TV, now the subject of an FCC auction. The 700MHz spectrum as a whole offers great advantages to any wireless technology, since it not only penetrates through walls, it has a greater reach that makes networks more cost-effective.
AMD today rolled out a set of upgrades to its Imageon graphics and processor chips that it says should help drive newer handhelds, especially advanced devices such as smartphones or personal navigators. The company's new Z460 is one of the few phone-sized graphics chipsets to include the same kind of visual technology as the Xbox 360; the device is capable of handling custom visual shaders and should produce graphics more closely resembling what has been seen on game consoles in the past, AMD touts. A simpler chipset, the Z180, will also be available for 2D video and the vector graphics often found in GPS systems.
NVIDIA's GeForce 9800 GX2 has had its launch pushed back by weeks, according to a message allegedly sent by the company to partners producing video cards. While originally poised to launch later this month, the new dual-GPU card is now set to launch on March 11th and is believed to be caught in a late pre-production stage, with both final clock speeds as well as functioning models still out of partners' hands. Initial plans have pointed to a 650MHz clock speed for each core and an effective 1.8GHz for memory.
Microsoft's acquisition of Danger is worth approximately a half billion dollars, according to a source speaking with Om Malik about the deal. While Microsoft has remained secretive about the financial terms of the buyout, the company is now believed to have spent as much as $500 million to purchase the designer behind the Sidekick and its software. The tipster does not explain why Microsoft had been willing to make the high offer, which is unusual for acquiring a firm that does not manufacture its own hardware.
Panasonic has announced the first 32GB SDHC card in its Pro High Speed series, currently consisting of memory ranging from 1 to 16GB. Though the company inaccurately claims to have the "world's first" 32GB Class 6 (6MB/s) card -- SanDisk having announced a new Ultra II in late January -- it is faster than most known to be in development, beating the Ultra II with a 20MB/s transfer rate versus 15MB/s.
T-Mobile's long-delayed 3G broadband network will finally arrive by summer 2008, says CEO Hamid Akhavan. T-Mobile is currently the only US carrier without a high-speed data network, a fact that is likely hurting the company's finances. Speaking at a conference staged for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Akhavan explained that the problem has mainly been with spectrum, and simply took longer than expected to resolve. Government approval issues have also posed a dilemma, adds T-Mobile USA's Peter Dobrow.
The market for mobile operating systems must shrink if the cellphone industry is going to expand, Vodafone chief Arun Sarin said today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The carrier head notes that the sheer number of operating systems available for phones is preventing many developers from creating programs that would genuinely help users. Many teams are forced to choose just a handful of operating systems to write for when there are as many as 30 to 40 different platforms to choose from. A much smaller market of between three to five operating systems "would be better" and help focus efforts, according to Sarin.
Album sales have declined rapidly in recent years, and Apple bears a large responsibility, NBC claims. The TV network notes that although R&B singer Alicia Keys debuted her new album at the top of the Billboard album charts last week, this amounted to only 61,000 or so discs, nearly the lowest amount for a number-one album in Billboard history. Album sales fell 15 percent as a whole in 2007, the sixth annual decrease since 2000; artists who were once able to sell 10 to 15 million copies of an album may now be fortunate to reach 1 million.
European Commission officials announced today that they had launched unannounced raids on Intel and multiple major resellers of the company's systems. Both the semiconductor firm's Munich, Germany office as well as those of UK-based DSG International (which runs the Dixons and Currys chains) and Germany's Media Markt-Saturn were given the surprise visits this morning to collect information about possible antitrust violations committed by Intel and its partners. The raids have been acknowledged by Intel, which is "cooperating" with the Commission, according to spokesman Chuck Mulloy.
Yahoo today used Mobile World Congress as the platform for the release of oneConnect, a new service both for its mobile website and for its Yahoo Go 3.0 mobile portal. The front-end is designed to eliminate the isolation that often exists between most forms of communication on cellphones and online services: a widget interface provides access to multiple common webmail services such as Gmail or Yahoo's own service, while both instant messaging and SMS text messaging across multiple networks can be merged into a single, iChat-like interface that boasts threaded conversations.
Research in Motion is developing HSDPA-based 3G BlackBerries and may be developing a touchscreen model, company chief Jim Balsillie said today at the Mobile World Congress show. While stopping short of product details, the official explained that versions of the smartphone with the faster cellular Internet connection should be available in the "near term," giving GSM networks such as AT&T in the US or Rogers Wireless in Canada an opportunity to offer 3G BlackBerries for the first time. Previous 3G versions have been limited to CDMA phone services such as Verizon or Bell Canada, which use the EVDO standard for their 3G access.
Cellphone designer i-mate today included itself in the round of announcements at Mobile World Congress by finally launching its two highest-end Ultimate smartphones. Originally announced for the end of last year, the range-topping Ultimate 9502 is now set to launch with HSUPA Internet access rather than the original HSDPA; on supporting networks, the new technology will allow it to upload videos and other data much faster than possible with the older format. The Windows Mobile 6 phone is dominated by its touchscreen and continues to support GPS navigation, Wi-Fi, and a rare video-out feature for presentations or other large-screen functions.
Finnish cellphone maker Nokia this morning added to its announcements for Barcelona's Mobile World Congress by revealing that it has improved its relationship with Google by adding Google search to its phones. Previously only found on Internet tablets such as the N810, the Google component of Nokia's Mobile Search app lets users find web results as quickly as they would find content from the device itself or through local web searches. The experience will also be familiar to those used to searching from a computer desktop, Google claims.
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