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Activision's popular Guitar Hero rhythm games are breaking the law, charges legendary guitar maker Gibson. The company has publicly accused Activision of infringing on a patent from 1999, which involves technology simulating a musical performance; in Guitar Hero, one or two players strum along on a simplified guitar, in time to on-screen notes. Reuters notes that Activision denies any wrongdoing, and is in fact asking the US District Court for Central California to render Gibson's patent invalid.
As promised, Acer on Wednesday launched a radical overhaul of its Aspire notebook line targeted at the high-end notebook market normally occupied by companies such as Apple and Sony. Nicknamed the Gemstone Blue, the new design centers around a deluxe media console known as the CineDash: the touch-sensitive control lets users navigate music, videos, and menus without having to resort to the trackpad. Each system also sports a unique "weave" finish and an advanced speaker system that generates virtual Dolby 5.1-channel surround, including a 10-watt subwoofer.
Through a presentation to a group of business clients, Intel has revealed a new computer design, called the NetTop. The system is designed to minimize the cost of a desktop as much as possible, jettisoning all unnecessary expenses; this carries down to normally standard hardware aspects, such as the inclusion of system fans, or even a CPU socket. Linux may be an option on some NetTops, instead of the more conventional choice of Windows; similarly, costs are cut by switching from hard drives to SSD storage.
Specifications for the successor to Canon's pro-level EOS-5D camera have been leaked, an undisclosed source claims. The Mk. II allegedly features a new, 15.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, one that may in fact be superior to those used in Canon's top-level 1D Mk. III series; this is due to an improved sensitivity, which may capture as much as two stops' worth of extra detail while simultaneously producing less noise. The 1D cameras may, in fact, only be superior in terms of buffer, autofocusing and framerate, though these are important to professionals. The 5D Mk. II is expected to shoot in a 6fps burst slowing to 3fps.
One of Archos' higher-end sixth-generation players is being restyled to compete against the iPod touch and provide some features not present on the current iPhone, according to a leak from sites in Archos' home country of France. The media player will most likely be called the 606 but should be more than just a minor generational increase: instead of devoting some space to navigation buttons on the side, all but the most basic controls will be pushed to the side in favor of a larger touchscreen, the sources say. A significant amount of the interface will change to match.
Nokia is already planning an American version of its just-introduced N78 smartphone, a new FCC filing shows. Initially announced with Europe in mind, the phone has gone through testing at the US government agency that should clear it for launch in the US. The inclusion of 3G Internet access for AT&T is uncertain; the stock N78 already supports calling on the needed 850MHz band, but none of the tests immediately point to the necessary HSDPA.
The Apple iPhone will be migrating from its current processor to something based on Intel's x86 architecture, information suggests. Multiple unnamed sources, including some who were correct about the switch of Macs to Intel technology, say that the iPhone will join Apple's computers within a year or two. More substantial evidence is said to have come out of last week's CeBIT expo in Hannover, Germany, in which an Intel slide presentation depicted the iPhone as a next-generation mobile Internet device (MID).
Use of Research in Motion's popular BlackBerry phones could effectively be barred in India by the end of the month, warns a local publication. The Business Standard cites anonymous sources, who say that government security agencies want RIM to share algorithms used to decrypt messages, under threat of the termination of BlackBerry services for non-compliance. Unlike most cellphones, BlackBerries operate on a proprietary e-mail network.
T-Mobile's tentative steps to enter the Canadian market for cellphones may have been confirmed, according to a detailed tip sent to BGR. The carrier has reportedly received government approval to start its service in 2009 and would run at least a trial service until 2010 that would offer all the normal calling, data, and roaming services expected of most providers. It would also bring many of the phones used by its American cousin, including HTC-made devices such as the Shadow as well as the SideKick line.
GE Global Research on Wednesday displayed the first ever Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) manufactured via a process similar to newspaper printing. Dubbed roll-to-roll in the manufacturing industry, the concept is not new, but with its demonstration, GE and its partners are the first to put it into practice. The new manufacturing process would allow dramatically reduced costs of high-volume organic electronics devices, which can expand to include solar cells, sensors, display banners and other light sources for the home or office.
Swedish electronics giant Ericsson today revealed that it will already be set with technology that will support new 700MHz Internet access when it becomes an option in the US and elsewhere by 2009. The company says it is already developing chipsets that will natively use the upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard for extremely quick 4G Internet access; the new technology should allow download speeds up to 326Mbps on the carrier's end (20Mbps for each user) while still providing the advantages that come with the 700MHz airwaves, such as longer range and better signals when indoors.
TiVo on Wednesday leapt into territory previously held only by the Apple TV by announcing YouTube access for its digital video recorders. The feature will let any user with a TiVo Series 3 or TiVo HD box, as well as a sufficiently fast Internet connecton, watch and search for YouTube videos directly from the hub itself. The approach will be controlled solely through the existing TiVo remote but will still allow most of the personalized features that come with a YouTube account, such as viewing preset YouTube channels or accessing playlists.
Having been preempted by the phone manufacturer itself, Alltel today quickly followed up by announcing official launch details for the LG Glimmer, its first media-focused touchscreen phone. The cell provider confirms the media-focused design, which is controlled primarily by its 2.8-inch display but slides out a keypad for dialing by hand. In addition to its media player and microSD slot, the Glimmer is also fast enough to drive 3D games and supports video capture as well as still photos from its 2-megapixel camera. Assisted GPS mapping is supported through a custom Alltel app.
Samsung today is launching a sweeping set of changes to its computer LCD lineup with the introduction of its 53-series LCDs for the desktop. The new range is said to bring the kind of color quality and design normally reserved for the company's HDTVs: every screen generates a high 8,000:1 contrast ratio thanks to dynamic lighting and color adjustment, and ships with a glossy black finish. The line starts at the 19-inch, 1440x900 953BW and expands to include the 20-inch, 1680x1050 2053BW and 253BW as well as the 22-inch 2253LW.
YouTube today announced that it has published the YouTube APIs, giving developers an opportunity to access parts of the application programming interface for the web video site that were previously available only to the company. The new flexibility allows programmers the opportunity to change the interface and not only allows different web front-ends (similar to Overlay.TV) but also entirely separate interfaces. Programmers can write dedicated applications for outside of the web or even special clients for other video-capable devices, YouTube suggests.
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