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Peer-to-peer music service Qtrax may be more than three months late, but new reports have the company finally signing a deal with Universal Music Group. Back in January, the new company announced it would work with the four major labels to bring users free music, with ads as the sole source of revenue. The labels, comprised of EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner, promptly denied the claims.
AMD on Wednesday unveiled definitive plans for 6- and 12-core Opteron processors, made with a 45nm fabrication process, which will be available most likely during 2009. TG Daily writes that the company will continue to support the Socket F (1207) platform through to its 6-core, single-die Istanbul, but will make a departure from the standard in 2010, when AMD unveils its Maranello platform. Production samples of the 45nm chips have already been made available to vendors.
Tivoli on Wednesday announced that the NetWorks - the company's mono digital music player - will ship within a few weeks. The unit is capable of streaming internet radio over WiFi or Ethernet, and also includes a USB port and audio input port for connecting to a number of different portable music devices. The player is expandable, with options for stereo output, CDs, a subwoofer, or surround sound setup. The Tivoli NetWorks starts at $600 for the monaural unit.
Verizon Wireless on Wednesday announced its fourth and newest version of the VZ NavigatorSM navigation software for mobile phones is available in select phones. The new software promises to give users in 75 cities across the US information on traffic, movie times and events, weather forecasts and gasoline prices at close-by stations. In addition, the maps can now be viewed in a 3D perspective, as seen from behind the windshield of a car.
(Updated with Microsoft comment) NBC Universal today revealed in a discussion with the New York Times that Microsoft is working to implement an anti-piracy filter into its Zune media players. While not outlining the amount of progress, the studio's digital chief J. B. Perrette says that Microsoft has agreed to work on a "cop" that would check the legitimacy of videos loaded on the device; those deemed illegal would refuse to play. The implementation would function similarly to automatic blocks being tried at YouTube and other sites, which are claimed to stop easy bootlegging by checking such data as the title or basic track information.
On Tuesday, Clarion unveiled two new personal navigation units, the MAP680 and MAP780. The 4.3-inch touchscreen devices offer more than just 2D and 3D navigation, as a photo viewer, video and MP3 player and RDS-TMC traffic tuner are integrated. A 400MHz CPU is common to both units, as is Bluetooth capability that enables hands-free calling, sending SMS messages and A2DP audio streaming. The MAP680 has less built-in memory than its bigger brother, at 1GB versus 2, and can only be had in one of four versions with pre-loaded regional maps of Europe. The MAP780 includes mapping software for 43 European countries.
Complementing its TP HD home theater PC, Sony on Wednesday rolled out a new home server. The 1TB HS1 and its 1.5TB HS1S counterpart are some of the first VAIO extenders offered by Sony and are built expressly to share content automatically: PCs with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compatible software, as well as devices such as the PlayStation 3, can automatically find content from the HS1 and stream it over a gigabit Ethernet link.
Iomega on Wednesday announced a new addition to its eGo Portable Hard Drive line with the 250GB Camo eGo Hi-Speed USB 2.0 model. The camouflage-patterned drive contains a 250GB 2.5-inch HDD and is solely powered by the USB 2.0 connection. The notebook drive's tough looks are backed up by Iomega's DropGuard technology and Power Grip band that allows it to withstand drops from up to 60 inches.
iRex today sought to compete against some of its more frugal rivals and introduced the iLiad Book Edition. The updated version drops the Wi-Fi used for downloading content and fixes but as a result is less expensive; its €499 ($768) price is €150 below that of the original. The lack of native e-book content that sometimes plagues these readers is also purportedly solved with 50 vintage books already preloaded on the iLiad's built-in 256MB of memory, saving the user from having to buy more online.
Although it won't be available until Friday on Verizon and is still absent from Sprint's shipping roster, the BlackBerry Curve 8330 has landed at Electronista in a near-identical Telus form and is being put through its paces. Much of the design will seem familiar to those already aware of the Curve, but there are important additions to this first CDMA version of RIM's QWERTY smartphone that are likely to factor heavily into our full review.
Microsoft has been exploring the possibility of buying out Facebook, journalist Kara Swisher claims. Her report cites sources who allege that Microsoft is delivering "subtle signals" to the social network via bankers to gauge if the company is interested in a takeover. No talks have been reported between the two, though some at the companies believe Facebook is likely to remain on its current track to becoming a publicly traded company rather than accepting a private deal.
Nikon may be in the middle of developing a new camera series, rumors suggest. These are based on the release of the MB-D10 battery grip for the D300, an add-on that lets users both insert extra batteries and shoot with special portrait-ratio controls. Nikon grips have traditionally used a naming tied to a principal camera; the D200, for instance, must use the MB-D200. The MB-D10 may thus be foreshadowing a namesake camera, which would likely be announced ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August -- a critical event for both amateur photographers and photojournalists -- or at Photokina in September, one of the industry's largest tradeshows.
Dutch electronics giant Philips is working on its own attempted competitor to the iPhone, leaked information suggests. A Chinese site, CCID, says it has obtained preliminary information on a new Xenium phone, called the X800. Like the iPhone the X800 is designed as a mostly touchscreen-controlled device, with any physical buttons relegated to essential commands; its physical differences consist mostly of a black backing and a more slender profile.
As part of its home theater product launch on Wednesday, Pioneer USA introduced four new A/V receivers to its Elite line. The SC-07, SC-05, VSX-03TXH and VSX-01TXH feature 7.1-channel surround sound connections and support DTS HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus lossless audio formats. The SC-07 and SC-05 benefit from the same Direct Energy HD amplifier with ICEpower analog class D technology Pioneer uses in its flagship SC-09TX receiver.
Samsung on Wednesday announced the release of its newest bar-style smartphone, the i200. The tri-band GSM phone is aimed at business professionals with its use of the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS with Office Mobile. For wireless data transfer or Internet capability, the i200 supports HSDPA and EDGE data networks.
Pioneer USA on Wednesday announced the Elite BDP-05FD and Pioneer BDP-51FD BonusView Blu-ray Disc players have been added to its line-up. Both receivers are said to offer the next generation in Blu-ray playback quality, with HDMI 1.3 technology, four Wolfson Professional Audio 12-bit digital-to-analog converters, and 1080p / True 24fps output. The players are designed to complement Pioneer's other home theater products, including the KURO line of plasma HDTVs and Elite receivers, to bring users a movie-theater like entertainment experience.
BT on Wednesday formally rolled out Total Broadband Anywhere, its own approach to merging Internet and phone service. The plan gives users both an 8Mbps DSL connection from the British carrier but also two phone offerings that promise to avoid the need for traditional cellphone or landline service. A home router known as the BT Home Hub provides the basic connection and creates a Wi-Fi connection in addition to including a cordless voice-over-Internet phone for making calls when at home; the feature allows much less expensive calling, particularly over long distances.
Matching internal leaks published in March, Fido today kicked off the launch of its UNO calling service. The feature closely mirrors T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home in the US and lets users save on cellular plan minutes and improve indoor reception by calling when within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Fido's implementation is likewise based on UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) and automatically bridges to or from the regular GSM phone network to keep calls active as the phone user roams into or out of coverage.
Pioneer this morning overhauled its KURO and Signature Series lines of plasma HDTVs as well as introducing a new 1080p projector. While not going into specifics, the Elite line now has better contrast ratios to produce deeper black levels as well as improved colors; the new models are also much more customizable and also pack an Optimum mode that automatically checks both the environment and the content itself to adjust both the image and audio quality on the fly, saving viewers from having to make manual adjustments at different times of the day or as they switch channels or movies.
Comcast is evaluating a capping system that it hopes will pay for the cost of very heavy users without affecting most reasonable use, according to a tip sent to BBR. In the proposed plan, the provider would implement a clear 250GB monthly data transfer cap and charge users $15 extra per month for every 10GB increment past the limit. The effort would target the top 0.1 percent of users, or about 14,000 subscribers, who download well in excess of others but would still provide enough bandwidth for frequent use, such as video downloads.
Hitachi this morning bolstered its drive lineup through the addition of the Travelstar 7K320. Launching shortly after a similar effort by Fujitsu, the hard disk purports to have both large storage and fast transfers with 320GB for holding data and a 7,200RPM disk speed. Despite the speed boost, the drive reportedly consumes no more power than a 5,400RPM equivalent. It also boasts one of the most resilient designs in the category, according to Hitachi: the 7K320 can absorb 400Gs of shock even while in full use.
If you've always wanted an iPhone but couldn't afford the minimum $399 price, consider the LG Vu for AT&T for $299. This iPhone lookalike offers the same mix of a largely touchscreen-driven interface, media playback, and a camera along with the unique ability to watch TV shows thanks to a built-in MediaFLO TV tuner. Included with the phone is a recharging cable as well as earbuds for listening to music on your LG Vu in private.
Sprint and Clearwire today announced the unification of their two WiMAX Internet services into a single company that they hope will drive the 4G wireless standard. Simply titled Clearwire, the business will share the services of both the old Clearwire and Sprint's Xohm network in a single national WiMAX provider and is said to help promote the concept of an open wireless standard that allows any device and software to run; the combined build-out of the two should cover between 120 and 140 million Americans by the end of 2010, the involved companies say.
An inside source at Palm has revealed that the company is working on two as of yet unknown devices, codenamed Zeppelin and Skywriter. While little has been unveiled as to the devices' nature, Palm estimates the devices would launch in the third quarter of 2008, according to TamsPPC. Palm is also seeking developers for the platform, setting a deadline of May 30th, with the potential of having the applications comarketed by the PDA manufacturer.
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