Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang today sent a letter to the company's stockholders in an attempt to reassure investors of its stance on the Microsoft deal. Yang claims that Yahoo is positioned to increase its value by around 60-percent by 2010, by emphasizing on its current business model. Citing the company's Panama search marketing system, Right Media buyer/seller meet-up service, and Blue Lithium marketing system, Yahoo is poised to grow its $2 billion in cash reserves to the double-digits by 2009.
AT&T will reportedly offer an iPhone tethering plan to users, according to an informant for The Boy Genius Report. The alleged tethering plan is mentioned in what appears to be a message meant for customer service representatives or technicians. The report claims that iPhone customers will be required to sign a new two-year contract, but the date will roll back to the original purchase date within 48 hours, echoing issues that surfaced from users upgrading to the 16GB iPhone.
Harman Kardon today announced its support for the Blu-ray video standard, and confirmed this by hinting at a standalone player, which will cost approximately £500 (~$980). While details were scarce about the Blu-ray player, a spokesman for the company adds that it will release additional players, including all-in-one AV systems, according to What Hi-Fi?. In addition, the forthcoming DVC 600 combination Blu-ray/HDD recorder will be able to record up to eight channels of standard or high-definition TV to a 1 Terabyte hard drive.
Google today surprised developers by issuing a major overhaul of its Android SDK, the developers' kit for its new mobile operating system. Though referred to just as the m5-rc14 release, the software reveals a major change to the user interface that significantly scales back similarities to Apple technology in its look and feel. The Mac OS X-like dock at the bottom has been replaced with a tray of buttons that bring users directly to the features they like. Other elements such as the full-page web browser and Google Maps are also now more complete and share less of a direct similarity, screenshots show.
Yahoo has added News Corporation to the list of potential partners that could save it from purchase by Microsoft, says The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper -- which itself has been purchased by News Corp. -- cites anonymous sources, who say that in exchange for a cash infusion, Yahoo would have to surrender a stake worth as much as 20 percent or more, thereby granting News influence over many websites and the world of online advertising. News already owns MySpace, IGN and Rotten Tomatoes.
Samsung today said it had developed a new technology that could effectively wipe out the need for a keyboard to provide real Internet access for TVs. Nicknamed See'N'Search, the technique not only finds metadata from the closed captioning found in many TV shows but also uses its own algorithm to study the picture itself for text and other information that reveals the content. It then automatically scours the Internet for videos and websites that relate to that content; users can simply use a remote to pick items from a list that appears automatically instead of typing out information.
Toshiba has released a new firmware update for several of its HD DVD players. These include the A3, D3, A30 and A35 (not pictured), which have migrated from v1.3 to 2.0. The A30 and A35 should now be capable of 1080p/24 video; other changes are mostly fixes, such as improvements to network connectivity and HDMI/DVI handshakes. The update also addresses a unique playback error which affected a portion of discs.
MadCatz on Wednesday afternoon provided what it says is relief for owners of a generation of Xbox 360 game systems. The Xbox 360 HDMI Conversion Kit is designed to supply all of the consoles released before Microsoft's upgrade to the line between the summer and fall. Plugging into the standard output jack, the adapter provides the same 1080p output as systems with HDMI built-in and even supports HDMI 1.3 on supporting HDTVs. Surround sound still carries through in Dolby Digital and DTS, and can be routed through a secondary optical output for home theaters that use a receiver for audio instead of HDMI's built-in support.
T-Mobile will be the next carrier to sell Motorola's ROKR E8, reports say. Though the information was initially rumored, it is now claimed to have been confirmed by an official source, even if no prices or release dates have been mentioned. The phone features a dynamically-lit keypad, which changes how buttons are lit as users move from calling to music. Also present are 2GB of built-in memory, a microSD expansion slot, and the ability to sync directly with Windows Media Player 11 via USB. [via Phone Scoop]
Archos will be one of the first to provide a dedicated portable media player with cellular Internet access, the company has revealed during this week's Mobile World Congress show. While short on information, the news indicates that at least one device in Archos' next generation of players will include 3G or better services that allows it to connect to the Internet anywhere it can receive an appropriate signal from a cell tower. The feature should provide extended access to the web through the Opera web browser included with the company's higher-end players.
A recent Danish court decision against an ISP violates EU law, a Swedish judge has declared. Cecilia Renfors, a government investigator being asked to propose new file-sharing legislation, says that Denmark was in error when it told Tele2 to prevent customers from reaching The Pirate Bay, a site well-known for aiding piracy through hosting BitTorrent trackers. The site's owners are in fact facing copyright infringement accusations from a group including Fox, EMI, Sony BMG and Universal.
Buddy Beacon's creator uLocate today said its service was expanding to include several carriers and web services. Previously limited to Helio phones with a GPS device, the service willl soon let Alltel, Boost Mobile, MetroPCS, and Sprint users both update their positions and their current activities. The service should now also be available through the web: users can add an iPhone application as well as a Facebook tool for updating information across the popular social network.
Acer is expanding its line to include budget ultraportable computers, Acer president J.T. Wang said today. The company chief refrained from providing details but stated that multiple devices would be released to tackle both price and size throughout the spring and summer of this year. However, previous leaks have pointed to likely direct challengers to ASUS' popular Eee PC line. Both 8- and 9-inch systems are expected with the same 800x480 resolution as the ASUS system, though whether these are the only products or are still in place for the mid-year launch is unclear.
A new law backing net neutrality has been proposed by a member of the US House of Representatives, the Associated Press writes. The bill was introduced by Democrat Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, who is also the chairman of a House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet. Called the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, it would require the FCC to determine whether Internet providers are "blocking, thwarting or unreasonably interfering" with rights to send or access data.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 is real and should have distinct advantages over the MacBook Air, Walt Mossberg says in a preview of the portable. Like its Apple cousin, the X300 will include a 13.3-inch screen and a full-sized keyboard but in a far thinner shape compared to other notebooks in the class through the use of a 1.8-inch hard drive; online store leaks and reports have also suggested the computer will share the MacBook Air's CPU design, albeit at a slower 1.2GHz clock speed.
Google may be losing interest in protecting Yahoo from a hostile buyout by Microsoft, says the Wall Street Journal. Sources "familiar with the matter" tell the publication that Google -- long rumored to be involved -- may be concerned about attracting attention from regulators, given that both companies already control vast amounts of web search and advertising. A Google/Yahoo partnership might theoretically constitute a violation of US antitrust law.
Research in Motion's Remote Stereo Gateway music hub has been exposed, courtesy of a premature listing for the device through Tessco. The online store largely confirms details and notes that the Gateway is designed not just for BlackBerries but other devices as well. Any device that supports Bluetooth's A2DP stereo audio profile, including computers and rival phones, can use the device to pipe music through to a home stereo. It also functions in reverse and supplies audio from a conventional device to a set of Bluetooth headphones.
Research in Motion and its partners have used the Mobile World Congress show to unwrap a pair of key updates for its BlackBerry smartphones, including its first "push" e-mail service for the home. Known as a Unite Server, the feature turns an always-on computer at home into a conduit for RIM's signature e-mail service. Instead of connecting directly to RIM's master servers, a phone speaks to the user's own computer. Running the service can potentially improve access to mail for personal users and serves as a drop-off point for important e-mail besides the phone itself. The Unite Server also helps manage music, photos, and videos transferred to the BlackBerry, RIM says.
Most teenagers pirate music, software, or videos only because they are unaware of the law, Microsoft claims through the results of a new study published today. The Zune maker observes that nearly half of younger teens, or 49 percent, are not aware of copyright laws online, while less than 10 percent feel they know the laws well. This knowledge has a major impact on whether or not they consider bootleg downloads worthy of punishment, Microsoft claims: while 57 percent said illegal downloading demanded punishment, this number climbed dramatically to 82 percent when they were more clearly aware of the laws.
Mobile entertainment firm Jamba (known as Jamster in the US) today claimed it would be the first company of its kind to offer cellphone music without digital rights management (DRM) in Europe. The firm says it has signed a deal with music label EMI that allows the company to be one of the few to sell music without copy protection both for computers and for many cellphones, and has developed a unique dual-format delivery system. On computers, the service supplies larger but more universal MP3 files; cellphones are sent more tightly compressed AAC+ files that more readily fit on their limited storage without losing as much quality as other formats.
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