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on Friday announced the purchase of SureWest Communications, which includes the latter's wireless spectrum licenses, network, and operational assets in the greater Sacramento area. The licenses cover a population of 3.8 million people, and currently overlap Verizon's existing network coverage. Verizon will transfer approximately 50,000 SureWest Wireless customers, after the former finishes converting the latter's accounting system into its own.
Facebook is preparing to launch Facebook Connect within the next few weeks, a service designed to compete with MySpace Data Availability. According to TechCrunch, this is Facebook's first attempt at creating a new version of its API for third party websites, allowing users to link to their Facebook profile, friends, and privacy to a website. The website can also use features from the Facebook Platform to enhance functionality and personalization.
E Ink finished the week with news that it has launched a new generation of e-paper cells. Normally used for devices such as the Amazon Kindle or basic displays on flash drives, the new cells are as much as 40 percent thinner and can be cut into either unusual 2D shapes or bent into regular forms, such as curves. They also survive harsher temperatures, the designer says, allowing the extremely power-efficient designs to stand more exposure outside.
Although it has just launched new Atom and Zinc phones today, MWg plans multiple devices in the next several months that include major changes both to the hardware and Windows Mobile underneath, according to a roadmap leak at MoDaCo. The Asian smartphone maker claims it will have a Windows Mobile 7 device as early as the end of the year in the form of the Flame II, a heavily touch-driven device with a 3.5-inch screen and extra media playback features. A 3.2-megapixel camera and GPS mapping will also reportedly be standard.
Rounding out its week, Dell today has slipped in additional processor picks for its mid-sized XPS 420 tower. The system for the first time has Intel's recent 45 nanometer, Penryn-based Core 2 Quad chips and use either a 2.5GHz or 2.66GHz model as an upgrade to the 2.4GHz, 65 nanometer chip that starts out the line. The choices are the first four-core chips based on the cooler, faster architecture since the 3GHz Core 2 Extreme was introduced to the desktop.
Online store eXpansys today put up pre-orders for the Wind, MSI's rival to the ASUS Eee PC. Elaborating on early specs published last month for the system, the store confirms that the launch edition of the 10-inch notebook will run on a comparatively quick 1.6GHz Atom and features that aren't often present in smaller notebooks, such as a physically larger 80GB hard drive, a 1.3-megapixel webcam built into the lid, and Bluetooth.
Rogers Wireless has quietly launched the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic on its network, becoming the first North American carrier to pick up the device. The bar phone sits in the mid range of Nokia's media phones and includes a column of dedicated music controls as well as a media player that supports AAC, MP3, and WMA; an FM radio tuner is also onboard, as is a microSD slot that holds up to 4GB of storage.
Microsoft today said it would appeal the nearly $1.4 billion fine levied against it by the European Commission earlier this year. The company has not explained its specific motivations behind the objection, but says the move is an effort to "seek clarity" from the Commission's court and that Microsoft's opposition with the appeal is to the fine itself rather than the ultimate verdict.
Google is interested in pursuing closer ties with Yahoo, according to the former company's founders. Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt made the observation before Google's annual general meeting on Thursday, in response to questions on whether they would move beyond a two-week trial of Google advertising on Yahoo's network. "We have been talking to Yahoo and we are very excited to be working with them," says Brin. He calls the trial program "successful," and suggests that it is a "good basis to talk to Yahoo some more."
Toshiba has announced plans to launch two new commercial products based on Sony's PlayStation 3 technology, according to a Japanese news site. Tech-On! writes that a forthcoming TV will use the PS3's core Cell processor, in order to enable some high-end features; among these are real-time upscaling of SD signals into HD resolution, and the ability to play and record multiple TV shows at the same time. Unusual is the description of another option, "displaying video as if it is being viewed through opera glasses." This may simply refer to a zoom function.
HTC's Touch Diamond smartphone has already appeared at the FCC through a filing published today. Though the phone was only announced as shipping for the second half of 2008 in North America, the device has already been passed through the US agency for approval in the US, including its operating frequencies and placement of an FCC label.
A federal judge has reinstated one of two dismissed patent disputes against Microsoft and Dell from French-American telecommunications partnership Alcatel-Lucent. CNN Money writes that the San Diego district court made an error when deciding the definition of a "terminal device", so the case is being presented again to the federal court system. The dispute is situated over a communication protocol that allows a computer and a device to exchange information.
As part of its recent Zune update, Microsoft has revealed that it has sold two million of the music players since their launch in November 2006, revealing relatively flat growth for the device lineup. Although the company originally promised and slightly exceeded a target for its first million sales between the original launch date and June 2007, the company has largely remained silent on its data for its players in nearly a year.
Circuit City today sent mixed responses to Blockbuster's proposed takeover of the company. The suffering electronics retailer now says it will let both Blockbuster and its backing investor Carl Icahn conduct due diligence, effectively letting the movie rental house explore Circuit City's finances to judge whether the buyout would be practical. Circuit City warns, however, that the agreement isn't a sign that it has finished investigating Blockbuster's bid and that the company believes it can succeed without help from an outside buyer.
The House of Representatives on Friday approved the controversial Pro-IP Act, a bill which is designed to protect intellectual property by imposing more rigid punishment in the case of copyright infringement. Ars Technica writes that the bill passed with a vote of 410 to 10, but has yet to be voted on by the Senate. Among the details of the bill, one segment states that law enforcement agents would be able to seize property from those charched with copyright infringement.
Sprint today lived up to a late leak and began offering the BlackBerry Curve 8330 online. The carrier's version of the smartphone is unique to the US in its titanium gray color and also includes relatively unique software support, including access to the Sprint Music Store for downloads and Sprint's streaming Internet TV. Pitched as a media phone, the device also includes a 1GB microSD card for handling music and videos.
Relative newcomer MWg on Friday officially launched two new high-end Windows Mobile smartphones as part of its first releases outside of Asia. The Atom V (shown) is one of MWg's first truly self-created designs and incorporates both an unusual directional pad as well as an interface known as Quick Menu; similar to HTC's TouchFLO, the design encourages finger input on the 2.8-inch touchscreen rather than using just the stylus. Also new is faster, 7.2Mbps HSDPA that doubles the download speed of the phone's 3G access in peak conditions when on supporting networks, such as parts of Vodafone in Europe.
RIM will finally unveil the BlackBerry 9000 next week, BGR claims. The Canadian phone maker is reportedly "confirmed" to be launching its first GSM-based 3G BlackBerry at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium and may do so at a press gathering on May 12th, a day ahead of the full event. Company co-founder Mike Lazaridis will personally introduce the device, while demo units will be available, according to the report.
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