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Resellers in the US today began stocking the PSP Headset Kit for Skype, the earpiece and remote combo designed to take advantage of the VoIP service on the handheld console. Sony's American release follows just days after the Japanese launch and mirrors its functionality, with both street-style earphones, an adjustable boom mic, and a remote control for managing volume without reaching for the PSP itself.
Microsoft has put the final nail in the coffin in terms of the Yahoo merger, as the proposed proxy board received notice from the software giant Thursday morning, dismissing any responsibilities the board would have had in the event of a hostile takeover. The Wall Street Journal writes that Microsoft's law firm Sullivan & Cromwell sent out the notice, indicating that company is firmly rooted in its decision to not make a hostile bid for Yahoo.
Regardless of the movement towards permanent unprotected downloads in online music, digital rights management (DRM) is likely to persist and may also thrive in the near future, the Recording Industry Association of America said today at a Los Angeles media conference. The music organization's technology head David Hughes observes that nearly all strategies for offering paid music still require some form of copy protection to enforce the license agreements, which are often dependent on set times or play counts.
MySpace today introduced a new initiative that will see its users' data shared outside of the social network. The Data Availability framework will let any member of the MySpace service opt in to share profile info, friend networks, photos and videos to sites that will support the approach on their networks: MySpace users will have the option of posting their biography and latest blog updates to their Twitter profiles, for example, or bring images to Photobucket. eBay and Yahoo will also allow portability, with Yahoo's new Open Strategy allowing users to automatically fill in a profile that is viewable across much of the site's network.
German audio maker Sonoro says that it has begun exporting its Cubo line of luxury clock radios to the US. Aside from receiving AM/FM radio, the Cubos have a built-in CD player, and an auxiliary input for sources such as iPods and notebooks; output can in turn be redirected through a stereo output. Special features include wooden casing, 20 programming presets, and a 10-seconds-per-track intro option.
SK Telecom may create a new, large carrier in the US by folding Virgin Mobile and Helio together, according to an alleged source for mocoNews. Earthlink's withdrawal from Helio is said to have pushed Helio's Korean parent, SK Telecom, towards a buyout of Helio's larger competitor Virgin Mobile to ensure it has a larger presence in the US. Such a takeover would give SK Telecom enough clout to merge both Helio and Virgin together.
British gear maker Gear4 today unveiled the DUO iPod speaker dock. Its design is built uniquely to double both as a portable system and as a higher-quality bookshelf stereo. While normally a full 2.1-channel system with a 20-watt subwoofer, the front satellite panel (18 watts) detaches completely from the bass unit to operate independently as a thinner, portable speaker unit with swivel-out stand. Gear4 also does away with the typical reliance on disposable batteries in favor of a lithium-ion pack that recharges whenever the front is reattached. The iPod cradle itself also folds into the center for carrying in a bag.
Panasonic on Thursday unveiled its latest home-theatre-in-a-box, which features a built-in Blu-ray player. Gearlog writes that the SC-BT100 also features an iPod dock that allows users to play both video and audio content through to the system, while displaying menus on the TV screen, and the included remote can be used to control the iPod. Panasonic will ship the SC-BT100 in the spring for $1000.
Verizon has released a second phone today with the final launch of the Moto Q 9c. Like the version already making its way to Sprint and Telus, the 9c is more business-oriented than the Q 9m already in service at Verizon and uses the standard Windows Mobile 6 front end rather than a custom media layer. The switch gives the device DocumentsToGo for editing most Office documents on the road.
Microsoft today discussed some of the details of a project it estimates could help address a lack of computing in developing countries. A plan so far known as Fone+ would give users a basic or mid-range smartphone with a dock or similar connection to a TV, giving them a potentially higher-resolution screen and a more comfortable distance to use the device as a budget computer. Doing so not only provides a relatively low cost PC but also a cellphone at the same time; this gives even farmers a way to compute without taking away phones they often use, Microsoft says.
Movie studios are the latest group to launch a legal assault on Swedish BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay, filings indicate. The Motion Picture Association, an international extension of the MPAA, has filed a 93kr million ($15.4 million) lawsuit against Pirate Bay, which it accuses of hosting illegal torrent trackers for movies such as The Pink Panther and Syriana, as well as 13 episodes of the TV show Prison Break. Damages are said to amount to between 222 and 261kr ($37 and $43) per movie, and 415kr ($68) for each Prison Break episode.
An improved Xbox 360 platform should arrive late this year, according to a Taiwanese publication. Industry news source CENS says that Microsoft has already begun contracting out the production of 65nm chips, which should form a part of the console's Jasper revision, said to be due in August. The timing is also said to be related to the depletion of chips for the current 360 design, dubbed Falcon. The Falcon's main processor uses 65nm technology, but most other components -- notably the graphics processor -- are built using 90nm manufacturing. A still superior design called the Valhalla is expected in fall of 2009.
Dell's next design change for its Inspiron lineup will involve a radical overhaul meant to lure customers from fashion-conscious brands, according to a leak published today by Engadget. The 14-inch Inspiron 1435, 15.4-inch 1535, and 17-inch 1735 will all take their visual cues from the tapered, more upscale XPS line and will be the first to have a unique, edge-to-edge LCD that eliminates the thick side bezels that often surround notebooks. The computers will also be the mainstream notebooks from Dell to use slot-load optical drives.
Sprint is ready to deploy the BlackBerry Curve 8330 on Friday, May 9th, a flyer reveals, setting the no-contract price for the device at $600. BGR notes that the advertisement also reveals that the versatile handset is also available for $180, pending a two-year contract, $170 instant rebate, with a $100 mail-in rebate, discounting the unit by $420. The page also lists several accessories for the device, such as a swivel belt clip kit, headsets, and more.
Offering its own take on low-cost desktops, MSI has released the Titan, its early answer to ASUS' E-DT system. At 9.4 by 7.3 inches, the system is larger than some of its planned rivals but also includes a 250GB hard drive in its frame; size is kept down by using a 2GHz Via C7-M mobile processor at the Titan's heart and by using a notebook-sized DVD burner and hard disk. These also keep it quiet and greener than full desktops, MSI says. The system is also software-indepedent: rather than ship with Linux or Windows, the Titan comes as-is for users comfortable installing their own choice of operating system.
T-Mobile's US division today reported a milestone first quarter of 2008. The communications company says that its first results of the new year added 981,000 wireless subscribers to its overall pool, giving the company more than 30 million subscribers for the first time. Churn, or the number of customers lost during the period, was flat year-over-year and dropped slightly for customers on contracts from 1.9 percent in early 2007 to 1.7 percent in the same time span this year.
Verizon on Thursday responded to Google's filing, allegedly spinning the situation that Google - not Verizon - is trying to "change the rules" of the now-closed auction. The response comes to a filing with the FCC, where Google claims Verizon is not going to live up to the terms of a truly open network. It fears that, if left unchecked, open devices such as Google's Android platform would be deadlocked with Verizon, despite the open nature of the portion of the 700MHz spectrum Verizon won.
Microsoft chair Bill Gates today noted at a European news conference that sales of Windows Vista have reached 140 million copies worldwide. The update is the first since the company crossed the 100 million mark at the start of the new year, although Gates doesn't clarify when the company reached the newer threshold. This demonstrates that Vista continues to sell at a "very rapid" rate, according to the Microsoft co-founder.
Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse on Thursday announced that they would create a new, jointly-run company to exploit each other's strengths. The total investment will equate to $4.2 billion and will see both the American electronics retailer and the British phone reseller take 50 percent stakes in the new venture, including both a financial stake as well as equal share in the 2,400 stores that make up the combined effort. Carphone Warehouse will continue to keep its landline businesses, while Best Buy will continue to own just under a three percent direct stake in its European counterpart.
Verizon this morning unveiled its anticipated release of the Samsung Glyde. The carrier's CDMA adaptation of the European, GSM-based F700 scales the camera down to 2 megapixels (with autofocus and flash) but otherwise aims at providing an iPhone-like experience while also mending some perceived gaps from its US rival; like the LG Voyager, the Glyde includes 3G Internet over EVDO, a full HTML browser and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Samsung, however, drops the digital over-the-air TV tuner in favor of built-in GPS navigation.
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