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Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch, is planning on creating his own affordable tablet PC, as he feels the market is lacking one. To this end, he launched the Techcrunch Web Tablet Project. To keep prices "dirt cheap," Arrington suggests the PC would ideally run a Firefox interface disguising a Linux kernel. Arrington is calling for any interested parties to help out with the open-source programming of the interface, offering an example of the tablet once it's completed as a reward.
Yahoo this afternoon reported mixed results for its spring quarter that it blames in part on Microsoft's attempts to buy out the search engine firm. Although its pure revenue climbed six percent to approximately $1.79 billion between April and June with profits climbing slightly to $1.03 billion, the company says its actual operating income dropped a significant 45 percent to $101 million; nearly one quarter of this, or $22 million, was associated with the legal costs both with Microsoft's initial takeover and the recently-ended proxy takeover threat from billionaire Carl Icahn, who had boosted his stake in the company to nearly five percent in an attempt to help vote out Yahoo's board of directors.
A request to the FCC by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to waive previously set rules and thus allow it to send video content to select TVs and entertainment devices is being contested by seven public interest and consumer groups. Led by consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, the request was made on Monday, after the MPAA's May 9th request to be exempt from the rules which were set in 2003. Such exemption would allow studios to deny access to material, or postpone it, to owners of specific brands of TVs, for example, argue the public interest groups.
Sky, a UK-based TV, Internet and phone provider, is reported to soon start offering a subscription-based music download service in collaboration with Universal Music. Unlike other similar services, the downloaded music will be DRM-free, meaning users can freely copy it, share it, burn CDs and play it on all their devices. Sky's service, which the company claims will be the world's first, will initially offer access to hundreds of thousands of songs.
TiVo on Tuesday announced it has teamed up with Amazon to offer buyers the opportunity to buy items associated with the shows they're watching via their TiVo remote. The new Product Purchase feature gives television advertisers to promote products sold on Amazon.com via in-show pop-ups that are related to mainstream TV shows. The feature would not only allow the possibility of viewers purchasing products featured on shows, such as a new album or book of a guest on a talk show such as Oprah.
The Canadian auction for the 2GHz wireless spectrum has ended and confirmed the creation of a new carrier for the country, Industry Canada announced on Monday. The end of bidding will see Globalive, which operates Yak Mobile in Canada but is primarily supported by foreign investments, pay $442 million for a license that gives it licenses to cover all of the country's provinces with services except for Quebec, where it lost out to competing firms such as cable and media powerhouse Quebecor.
A final approval or rejection of the proposed merger between satellite radio providers Sirius and XM now hinges on a single vote at the Federal Communications Commission, one official tells the Wall Street Journal. With the decision by Commissioner Michael Copps to vote against the merger and fellow official Jonathan Adelstein still ambivalent and demanding certain conditions, just Commissioner Deborah Tate remains undecided. Her approval would be enough to guarantee a merger but could potentialy shoot down the merger as-is if Adelstein isn't swayed in favor of the deal.
Increasingly flash-focused drive maker Super Talent has given its MasterDrive MX solid-state drives a speed upgrade in a bid to compete against larger rivals. While read-back speeds remain the same at a peak of about 120MB per second, the MX drives now see faster recording speeds depending on the capacity of the drive. Both the 15GB and 30GB versions now write as quickly as 60MB per second. Larger-still 60GB and 120GB drives now approach fast desktop drives at 80MB per second.
Windows Vista's architecture is actively hindering SanDisk's ability to roll out its next generation of solid-state drives, says company chief Eli Harari. In statements made just after his company produced disappointing quarterly results, the executive says that Vista is "not optimized" for using flash memory as its main storage and that the hardware managing data traffic needs to be redesigned to generate the expected performance; a patch for Vista itself would be ineffective.
A new image is said to have leaked for the next version of the S60 cellphone interface, created by Nokia. The 5th Edition of the operating system will be touch-capable, although some older design elements should remain for phones with keypads; this is evidenced by items lined up by the base of the screen. In any case however, the need for a dedicated application key is said to have been eliminated.
Garmin on Tuesday kicked off the launch of a new line of nuvi GPS units that are some of its first tailored to be used both for driving and for the outdoors. Both the US-only nuvi 500 and the North America-wide nuvi 550 have the same 3.5-inch design as many road-going nuvis and provide full street maps but also have a waterproofed touchscreen and topology maps for use either on hikes or on rivers. The interface has also been changed to add a quick toggle for the map type as well as a compass option.
Monster Cable today said it will soon ship its Beats headphones. The over-the-ear audio equipment is developed in tandem with rap artist Dr. Dre and Interscope head Jimmy Iovine, and is said to be tuned for accuracy at both the high end, the mid-range, and in bass response, even with relatively low-power portable audio devices. The headset also provides active noise reduction that cancels out background sounds and purportedly mimics the experience of studio monitors.
Sony is nearing production of its rumored netbook and has already chosen a parts supplier, according to a report by the Taiwan-area newspaper Economic Daily News. Well-known electronics assembler Foxconn is said to have been tapped for making individual components in a very small Sony system being built now that the company and other Japanese manufacturers are less worried that the category will cannibalize their regular notebook sales.
Canon gave Americans an early preview of the updated VIXIA line on Tuesday with the Japanese launch of two new versions of the HD video cameras. The HF11 is unusual among camcorders for building in a large amount of flash-based memory: it incorporates 32GB of the motionless storage and gives videographers as much as 12 hours of HD shooting in the AVCHD (H.264) format without skipping or adding the bulk of a full hard drive. Full-quality 1920x1080 nets about two hours and 55 minutes, but an SDHC card slot allows recording time to potentially double.
Microsoft has begun the early phase of its new ad campaign designed to counter Apple's control of Vista's image, according to ZDNet. The first fruit of the ad is a web ad campaign that aims to combat what Microsoft believes are misconceptions about its most recent version of Windows, suggesting that those who believe Vista fundamentally flawed are those who would also have believed the world was flat. The campaign is so far subtle and makes no direct references to challengers.
Verizon today gave a sneak preview of its spring results and said it now has 68.7 million subscribers. The figure is a net increase of about 1.5 million users after factoring in turnover and allegedly gives Verizon a cellular brand lead. More customers are attached to the Verizon Wireless label than for any other in the US, the carrier claims. It also claims to have the least amount of "churn" (losing customers for new ones) and the largest 3G network.
Sony is allegedly readying a third iteration of the PlayStation Portable that would reflect changes to the PSP itself as well as its relationship with the PlayStation 3, if a set of leaked shots from China prove accurate. The device known so far as the PSP-3000 would incorporate a built-in microphone below the screen that would make it more immediately useful for Skype calls as well as in-game chat; it would also have redesigned buttons, including a home button relabeled with the PS logo to bring it into line with the PS3.
Sony Ericsson's announcements today wrapped up with a new entry Walkman phone and a trio of speakers. The W302 is labeled the most affordable Walkman phone to date but still comes with a 2-megapixel camera, a 512MB Memory Stick Micro, Bluetooth with stereo sound, and FM radio. It's also relatively slim at about 0.4 inches thick and better-built than some phones in the category with an aluminum front. The phone supports GSM calls and EDGE data and will be ready by the fall.
Sony Ericsson this morning launched a major upgrade to its Walkman series, starting with two higher-end models. The W902 (shown) promises to improve on other music phones with an enhanced stereo field and bass response; the bar phone also comes with premium earphones and an 8GB Memory Stick Micro that lets it hold as much as many portable media players. It also touts a 5-megapixel camera unusually sharp for the class with 16X digital zoom and basic on-phone image editing.
After a recent bout of bad press - alleged mass product defects, competitive price cuts, and legal problems - two of Nvidia's largest partners have supposedly jumped ship to pursue alternate ventures with an unnamed company. The news follows the loss of Gainward, a company now fabricating ATI-based boards. While details of the supposed deal are scarce, it is known that the two companies, XFX and EVGA, are not defecting to rival GPU manufacturer ATI.
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