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Warner Music Group has revealed that it's in the midst of developing an organization that it hopes will turn around mounting losses at traditional music labels. Headed by former Geffen label head Jim Griffin, the unnamed effort would take the concepts behind Universal's Total Music to a more label-independent format. Rather than send music to one label, customers of the service would see a fee for unlimited music downloads bundled into the cost of the Internet service that would be used for a general money pool; the money would then be distributed across all labels to compensate both themselves and the artists as they see fit.
HD DVD has ceased to exist in every formal capacity, an official announcement explains. The HD DVD Promotion Group, a body put together to represent the various companies which once produced HD DVD movies and players, has announced that as of March 28th, it has put a halt to all operations. Its website has been closed, leaving behind a message redirecting companies to the official bodies for the regular DVD format.
Vivitar today provided early details of a new pocket video camera that will represent the company's first real move into HD. The DVR565HD will record video at a native 720p and encode the resulting video directly to H.264 that allows it to fit a large amount of footage to a small amount of space. Like Sanyo's Xacti line and standard-definition Vivitars, the 565HD will store movies on SD cards (up to 4GB) rather than bulkier DV tape or DVDs. An HDMI output will let the camera play back content at up to 1080i without having to first upload video to a computer.
Massive Internet retailer Amazon.com is deliberately strong-arming some of its publishing competition, reports say. Amazon bought print-on-demand (POD) publisher BookSurge in 2005, but has for some time also sold books from other POD outfits, namely the largest such company, Lightning Source. Representatives for Amazon are said to be approaching Lightning Source customers however, and insisting that they either switch to BookSurge, or have the "Buy" buttons on their Amazon pages shut off. This forces customers to turn to a reseller, where they are also ineligible for free shipping.
Intel's already inexpensive Atom processor could cost just a fraction of its actual price to build, information sent to TG Daily reveals. While official pricing leaked online suggested that the price to computer makers would cost a still-low $29 for a basic 1.6GHz model, the actual cost to make and ship a given processor is said by a purportedly reliable source to be just $6, or a fifth of the actual price. The cost is said to exclude the actual mainboard chipset and doesn't include higher-end models, such as the 1.87GHz dual-core version.
XM and Sirius are putting pressure on the Federal Communications Commission for a quick merger approval, legal documents show. A filing submitted to the FCC by an XM lawyer shows that counsel for both XM and Sirius visited the FCC on Wednesday, and discussed matters not only with chairman Kevin Martin, but his chief of staff and senior legal advisor. The filing was required by FCC regulations, and is likely meant to ensure that all lobbying efforts are above-board.
T-Mobile USA may get its first LG touchscreen phone without some of the features seen on others, if a new FCC filing proves accurate. Spotted as the KE990, the device bears initial similarity to the Viewty in its original KU990 form but makes unusual tradeoffs that suggest a release for the specific American carrier: while it supports US calling frequencies, 3G access has been removed entirely in favor of slower EDGE, which is T-Mobile's only option until its 1,700MHz access becomes active later this year.
The first photos of an active BlackBerry 9000 have surfaced via Engadget and reveal both a major revamp of the phone's software in addition to its new hardware design. Instead of the vertical, Windows-like interface seen on current models, the 9000 will have a highly stylized strip interface that resembles a cross between the initial Google Android interface and Sony's Cross Media Bar. Transitions and other animations will also be sleeker than on RIM's earlier phones.
What appears to be a leaked slide from a Sprint presentation reveals an intended launch date for the Palm 800W along with some preliminary specs that include Sprint's latest and fastest 3G EVDO Rev A network as well as integrated Wi-Fi and GPS functions. As previously suggested, the 800w will replace Palm's current 700w in the Sprint range when it arrives, as indicated by the image, sometime in July.
Apple's planned second-generation iPhone, equipped with 3G broadband, will likely ship in June, according to an analyst from the Bank of America. "Our latest channel checks point to a significant production build of a 3G iPhone beginning in the month of June after a initial small build in May," says Scott Craig. Carrier partner AT&T has previously announced that a 3G iPhone will arrive in 2008, Reuters notes, but has otherwise remained quiet on when it might ship.
Apple has decided on the long-term manufacturer for a new version of the iPhone, according to claims made today by stock market owners Dow Jones. The company's newswire agency said it had confirmed reports by Taiwan's Commercial Times newspaper that Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, had been selected by Apple to produce a "more advanced" iteration of the cellphone. The contract will be exclusive, according to the anonymous Foxconn official cited as an authority, though the manufacturing of individual parts is expected to be the responsibility of partner firms.
The European Commission has begun a serious investigation into Nokia's planned purchase of NAVTEQ, Reuters says. The inquiry has an initial deadline of 90 days, with a possible extension to 125; in question is whether or not the deal violates any monopoly concerns. The Commission observes that NAVTEQ is only one of two major producers of digital maps for GPS services, which could give Nokia an unfair advantage in its cellphone business.
Motorola's upcoming Z9 could make its debut on AT&T next week and pack a surprise feature in the process, says a tip handed to BGR. The 2-megapixel slider equivalent to the RAZR2 is reportedly set for a launch on April 1st and will bring assisted GPS navigation through TeleNav; the third-party service will be rebranded to AT&T Navigator as part of the Z9's launch, according to the scoop.
Technology that allows users to get information on products and businesses on their mobile by simply taking a photo is being tested in San Francisco, CA, starting on Friday. Developed by Scanbuy, the free ScanLife software deciphers captured Quick Response (QR) bar codes. It then instructs the cell phone to perform a related function such as sending users to a specific web page or even download music or videos as well as place calls or send text messages. The San Francisco pilot isn't that advanced, as it links to online restaurant reviews and audio links for the city's attractions meant for tourists.
Cuba will start offering cellphone access to normal citizens, the country's state-run company ETECSA said today. Previously limited to certain government workers as well as outsiders roaming on the network, the cellular service should now be available to all Cubans within a few days. Exact pricing and the phones on offer are unknown, though the service is unlikely to include American companies such as Motorola or Palm due to trade sanctions.
An expansion to New Zealand's cellular networks may open the way for the iPhone, a research firm observes. TeleGeography says it has learned from Telecom New Zealand's director of mobile operations, Martin Butler, that it is a "good inference" that the company will bring over the iPhone. It is in the middle of building a new, $300 million NZD ($241.2 million US) GSM/EDGE network, which should support the 850MHz frequency of the iPhone. Commercial rollout of the network is expected sometime in November, and should reach 97 percent of New Zealand's population.
China Mobile on Friday said it had started testing the country's own 3G network, offering its first native high-speed cellular access. A limited but public trial will see about 20,000 cellphones and 5,000 PC adapter cards in use that will prove the feasibility of TD-SCDMA, a new standard developed inside China meant to serve as an alternative to HSPA and other Western-made (and thus more costly to license) formats. The trial will start in Beijing and several other major Chinese cities, but has no fixed end date.
Living up to an earlier promise, Dell started the weekend by introducing what it says is the first notebook below the $1,000 mark to come with a Blu-ray drive. The 15.4-inch Inspiron 1525 now has the option of either a Blu-ray combo drive limited to burning DVDs and CDs or else a full Blu-ray burner; with the former option, the system price can dip as low as $879 while still supporting HD movies at 720p, Dell says.
Telus late yesterday became the first North American provider outside of Verizon to offer the LG Venus. Called the Touch Venus by the Canadian provider, the slider remains unique in its replacement of the traditional directional pad in favor of a small touchscreen: while the main display is view-only, the input allows context-sensitive controls that reduce the need for a large number of single-purpose buttons. The phone is also more media-capable than most LG models with a microSDHC slot that holds up to 8GB and a 2-megapixel camera.
Canada will hear first findings about whether Apple can use the iPhone trademark in the country nearly one year after the handset's US debut, according to an updated filing with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Having begun an investigation into the validity of the trademark in late February, the government body now expects an examiner's initial report on the validity of the trademark to appear by June 26th, or three days before the phone's first full year on the market in the US.
AT&T today unveiled plans for AT&T Mobile TV, a wireless television broadcast system provided by MediaFLO USA, and also mentioned the addition of the LG Vu and Samsung Access handsets in light of the announcement. AT&T Mobile TV will include two as-of-yet unnamed exclusive channels, in addition to Comedy Central, MTV, NBC 2GO and News2Go, and Nickelodeon, among others. AT&T did not specify when the service would be available.
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