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After several years of Xbox 360 owners having to remain signed into Live to access purchased content on exchanged or repaired consoles, Microsoft on Thursday finally unveiled a DRM Transfer Tool allowing users to play content without a Live connection. Gamerscore writes that the tool provides users with the ability to re-register their games and downloaded content once per year to a new console. The process will not work on movie files, since Microsoft does not consider the content to be "owned' by the user.
Palm today reported a loss in the last quarter of its financial year that suggests a continued downturn at the company despite recent efforts to improve the company's lineup. The smartphone maker reported a year-over-year change from a $15.4 million net gain in spring 2007 to a $43.4 million loss in the latest quarter, while the company posted a significant $110.9 million loss for the past 12 months. Roughly a third of the loss could be attributed to restructuring charges as well as stocks and patents.
Thursday's reports see the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum closing down and becoming part of the LiMo Foundation starting next month. LiPS is one of the longest-running Linux groups, but its membership has declined this year. The decision is seen as a positive one for the growth of the open operating system, as fragmentation of the Linux market has slowed it down, critics say.
Activist investor Carl Icahn today filed a proxy statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that still insists Yahoo offer itself to Microsoft for a takeover. The filing appears to ignore recent statements by Microsoft that it's now uninterested in a full deal and asks that Yahoo shareholders vote on August 1st for Icahn's takeover-friendly board of directors, who would remove Yahoo head Jerry Yang from his CEO position and directly offer the search engine firm to Microsoft.
Leaked photos on the Internet show the upcoming Motorola V950 will soon be available on the Sprint EVDO Rev. A high-speed network. The clamshell phone features a rubberized design that should enable it to withstand a fair bit of punishment in addition to making it waterproof. The carrier's recent QChat Push-to-Talk functionality will also be integrated into the handset.
A Tohoku University research team at the Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials claim to have developed a DVD that is capable of holding 42GB of data, or nearly 9 times as much as a standard DVD. The Japanese researchers achieved this feat by using V-shaped as opposed to flat pits on the DVD's recording surface, which allows for more data-recording space. The same method can be applied to CDs as well.
AVerMedia today announced the launch of its EB1704HB WiFi-4 NVR instant network video recorder, meant for use in homes and small businesses. The package includes the Network Video Recorder main unit, a wireless router and four wireless IP cameras that are ready to set-up, with no configuration needed. Because there are no wires, apart from the power cords, AverMedia claims a 10-minute set up time. The system features motion-detecting sensors that trigger recording to make efficient use of hard drive space.
Cell phone network provider Alltel today announced it teamed up with Wi-Fi network hotspot provider Boingo to expand Wi-Fi access to over 25,000 hotspots in stores, coffee shops and hotels across the US. Plans will be offered to existing Alltel subscribers, or anyone else on a daily or monthly basis without a contract. The company is also offering a Premium service for frequent travelers, which expands those hotspots to include hundreds of airports in the US and thousands more hotspots in Canada, Mexico and Europe.
Comcast's cable TV network will be all digital in the space of three years, according to claims by an unnamed senior executive at a communications company. The service provider is allegedly buying up as many six million digital-to-analog devices from Motorola and others this year as well as 12 million in 2009, all of which will be handed out to subscribers whose TVs don't support digital tuning. The move will let Comcast shut off analog cable entirely in favor of purely digital networks; the process should have all of Comcast's cable base on digital channels by 2011.
Other World Computing says it has set a newer record with the launch of the Mercury On-the-Go 320GB 7200RPM drive. The disk uses a newer 2.5-inch Hitachi TravelStar drive that makes it the largest-capacity portable drive to spin at the same 7,200RPM speed as desktop models; the 320GB of space is 60 percent more than current 200GB disks at the same physical size. The translucent drive also has multiple interface options that can include external SATA and FireWire 800, either of which ensures the port is never a bottleneck.
Seagate through its Maxtor label late Wednesday launched the Central Axis as its entry into network-attached storage for home use. The 1TB device serves as both group storage space for Mac OS X and Windows systems on the same local network but also as a remote storage server over the web. It also serves as an automatic media server for certain devices: any DLNA- or UPnP-based device, including the PS3, Xbox 360, and some Nokia Nseries phones will automatically find the Central Axis and can stream content directly from its hard drive.
Chrysler through its Mopar parts division today made official its uconnect web service. The feature briefly previewed yesterday provides a 3G cellular Internet connection to any Wi-Fi equipped device in a car and effectively gives constant, rolling Internet access to notebooks and handhelds. The network runs over EVDO and gives users downloads between 400Kbps to 800Kbps and uploads at roughly 400Kbps. The speed is enough to allow live streaming video and online gaming, Mopar claims.
Newertech has announced its Guardian MAXimus RAID-1 Mirror triple interface model. The FireWire 800/400+USB 2.0 drive has two 300GB 10,000RPM drives in a RAID-1 (mirror) for redundant, high-speed storage. The company claims data rates up to 100MB per second and utilizes Western Digital VelociRaptor SATA drives. The MAXimus is ready for Time Machine and geared toward Audio/Video and photo editing, as well as 3D rendering projects. The drive is available immediately for $900 and is compatible with Mac OS X 10.1 and later (as well as legacy Macs on OS 8.6-9.2), requiring Mac OS X 10.2 and later for FireWire 800 and USB 2.0.
There have not been any delays in the development of the BlackBerry Bold, a Research in Motion representative claims. At a Wednesday press event, Erik Van Drunen criticized what he called "rumors from bloggers" pointing to some form of postponement. Reports from some sources have suggested that RIM and AT&T (the Bold's first carrier) are experiencing technical problems, namely overheating; this has allegedly moved the Bold's release date back by at least a month.
Sony has announced three new AV receivers under its "Elevated Standard" line, the STR-DA2400ES, 3400ES and 4400ES. All of them are capable of 1080/24p output, and decoding several audio codecs, including Dolby TrueHD, DTS High Resolution and DTS HD Master Audio. A built-in Faroudja DCDi Cinema chip upscales all video to 1080p when streamed via HDMI. The 4400ES is the top-end model, and has a 120W amplifier that services 7.1 channels. Six HDMI inputs are supplied, and streams can be directed to multiple zones simultaneously, including two video and three audio zones. It should ship in August for $1,500.
Microsoft today said it had bought MobiComp, a firm that specializes in both uploading photos and updates to social networking sites as well as backing up mobile information. The acquisition is intended to bolster Microsoft's cellphone business and will see some of Portugal-base MobiComp's technology integrated into future versions of Windows Mobile as well as Windows Live. Microsoft doesn't outline its plans but implies that future devices could upload directly to Windows Live Spaces or other services without needing separate software.
Apple is preparing significant changes to the iPod nano as it prepares a dramatic ramp-up in iPhone 3G shipments, according to a report by FBR Research analyst Craig Berger. The investment expert now anticipates an updated, lower-priced iPod nano in the near future on top of refreshes for both the iPod classic and iPod touch. Further details are unavailble, though Apple has traditionally increased capacities of the iPod in August or September as flash memory and hard drive technology improves; the company took the unusual step this year of doubling iPod touch capacity to 32GB just a few months after the product was introduced.
Sony will expand its PlayStation 3 system with a video download service in the summer, the company has confirmed both through an official document on its company strategy as well as statements made by Sony Computer Enteraintment chief Kaz Hirai. The electronics giant's PlayStation Network will be one of its first services to start offering downloadable video and should start with a US-based service for the PS3 in the summer; the PSP will also have access to a service available later this year.
Taiwan display maker Innolux has landed new orders for touchscreens from Apple, say claims from those inside the industry. While few details are available, the company is expected to start shipments soon; the company itself declines to either confirm or deny orders from Apple but says it will soon ship a production run of touch panels using capacitive input like that of Apple's handhelds.
Sprint today boasted that the Samsung Instinct is its fastest-selling device ever for the company's 3G network. The company notes that the touchscreen device is "breaking records" for first-week sales and touts that Samsung has had to step up production of the phone to meet a surge in demand; there are ongoing but allegedly temporary shortages of the Instinct at various locations in the US, according to Sprint.
AMD finished off its latest round of graphics updates on Thursday with the introduction of the All-in-Wonder HD. The card blends both a modern (though unspecified) Radeon HD video card with a Theater 650 Pro tuner that lets it both play modern 3D games and other titles while also picking up HDTV through either over-the-air antenna and cable signals. Both software from AMD itself and Microsoft's Windows Media Center automatically recognize the tuner and can use it to play live shows and record them, turning the PC into a makeshift DVR; the AMD software can also convert captured videos into formats usable by iPods and other handhelds.
T-Mobile on Thursday set the 7th of July as the launch date of its version of Motorola's ROKR E8 music phone. First seen at the 2008 CES show at the start of the year, the bar phone is unique in its dynamic touch-sensitive interface: different controls light up depending on the immediate context, with phone controls switching to camera or music controls as those programs become available. A similarly touch-sensitive wheel active in most apps helps users scroll through tracks quickly. Most controls are also haptic and vibrate to simulate a button press.
Yahoo CEO Jerry Wang and Chairman Roy Bostock on Wednesday sent a letter to shareholders explaining the June 12th deal with Google, as well as clarifying its negotiations with Microsoft, who recently made a bid for the search and advertising giant. Yahoo writes that the "carefully structured" agreement with Google will add $250 to $450 million in incremental operating cash flow for the company during its first year of operation.
Dell on Thursday officially took the wraps from the Studio. The line borrows design cues from the XPS but is priced and styled more closely to the budget Inspiron line and is pursuing the same mid-range, design-conscious audience as Apple and Sony. It comes in a relatively wide array of designer colors: users can pick a gray model with one of four colors for the trim or else have the entire lid given colors as bright as orange or purple. The portables also have more upscale features out of the box, such as HDMI video out, external SATA on some models, and faster overall processors and video chipsets.
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