The fourth-generation iPod nano will carry on the click wheel design but bear a passing resemblance to Microsoft's Zune to fit Apple's design goals, if a purported leak from iLounge is substantiated. Apple allegedly wants a screen larger than the two-inch LCD for the existing model but doesn't believe it could do so without compromising the size of the nano, which is already much wider than the first two generations of the player. The aspect ratio would be the same as for the iPod touch and would resemble a larger-screened version of second-generation flash-based Zunes, with a click wheel replacing the touchpad of Microsoft's device.
Dell is planning to return to the MP3 player market it left, company executives tell the Wall Street Journal. Though not willing to disclose much about its strategy, the Texas-based company is designing a small-screen, small-control music player that would use Wi-Fi to reach online music services. The device would cost less than $100 even with wireless in place, Dell says. Unlike Dell's past attempts, the device would support multiple online music stores rather than a lone, proprietary store like the now-defunct MusicMatch.
Nokia on Tuesday announced its highly-anticipated E71 smartphone is now available for purchase in the US with support for the country's GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and HSDPA 850/1900 voice networks as well as the crucial 850MHz HSDPA band for US 3G data access. The phone is billed as the thinnest equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard, at nearly 0.4 inches. The phone is able to quickly switch between business and personal modes, which switches the look and featured application set.
Microsoft on Tuesday released an open Application Programming Interface (API) for its MSN Direct Send to GPS feature for personal navigation devices. With the new software, Microsoft allows users to any website to send street addresses, latitude and longitude coordinates, business listings, phone numbers, and other information to their GPS devices, without the need to copy the location and input it into the compatible device.
AT&T on Tuesday unveiled details for its Text Accessibility Plan for disabled iPhone 3G customers, offering unlimited text messaging, web browsing, and email access for $50 per month. TAP is designed to allow users to communicate through the device's touchscreen interface, with the option of pay-per-use voice at 40¢ per minute. Interested users must apply through a special form, which is currently available from AT&T's website.
Internet radio provider Pandora and personal peripheral maker Logitech on Tuesday announced a partnership that will give owners of Logitech's wireless music systems, including the Squeezebox and Squeezebox Duet, as well as the Transporter, free access to Pandora's service. The arrangement is the first to offer the Internet service at no charge, but later this fall will expose users to advertising that will essentially pay for the subscriptions.
Sony today reported that its profit had dropped approximately 47 percent in the spring quarter versus the same quarter a year ago, representing one of the company's steeper drops in recent history. The Japanese company chiefly attributes the company-controlled aspects of the shortfall to poor Sony Ericsson results, which saw the company's cellphone sales virtually flatten as customers turned away from its mid-range and high-end phones, which target the same camera and music fields as devices like Apple's iPhone, LG's Viewty, and Nokia's Nseries.
Sprint became the potential center of a legal precedent today in a ruling in a California court that would have the carrier pay $73 million in refunds. The decision follows a case in which former customers argued that Sprint had unfairly charged some customers early termination fees (ETF) for ending their service before the end of their respective contracts. The plaintiff's lawyers argue that their win is a blow against ETFs as well as against carriers' hopes to protect them through a proposed FCC deal, which would override state lawsuits in exchange for moderate concessions on the fees.
T-Mobile's Sidekick 2008 has already been unpacked just a day before its official release and had its pricing revealed through a leak at the TmoNews forums. The images confirm all the details slipped out previously, including the 2-megapixel camera, extra-wide LCD, and replaceable backplates that involve both art patterns as well as sports logos. Video recording is also known to be built-in.
Alienware this afternoon turned its m15x gaming notebook into a 3D modeling workstation with the introduction of an option for NVIDIA's top-end Quadro FX 3600M chipset. The portable is the first 15.4-inch notebook anywhere to hold the graphics chip and uses the extra headroom for much faster work rendering 3D effects, CAD, or other projects in DirectX 10 or OpenGL 2.1 without having to resort to a 17-inch desktop replacement or else a slower graphics chipset.
NVIDIA took on the lower end of graphics today by introducing the GeForce 9500 GT. The single-slot PCI Express design is the first GeForce 9 series model to dip below the $100 price mark but uses a combination of manufacturing process improvements and other refinements to push performance as much as three times higher than an 8500 series chip. The company reduces the price of the 9500 GT by dropping the number of effects processors to 32 while keeping the 550MHz core and 800MHz actual memory speeds of the more expensive 9600 GSO.
ASUS intends to have at least 23 different versions of its popular Eee PC by the time it moves on to another product, new information indicates. An image from a company slide presentation shows a variety of systems, many of which are already known, and generally slotted under a low-end "Smart Casual" category. This includes systems like the 900 and the original 700 models.
The BlackBerry Thunder now has a specific release date and over-the-air music downloads, if a leak is found to be accurate. Research in Motion's first-ever touch BlackBerry is now purportedly due to launch with Verizon on October 8th and will have access to Verizon's version of RealNetworks' Rhapsody service. The feature may supply a technical advantage over the iPhone, which is both prevented from downloading whole songs outside of Wi-Fi and must pay per track rather than getting a flat rate for songs.
Palm this morning revealed that its budget Centro smartphone has cracked two million sales since it became available in the fall of 2007. The figure suggested an increased pace and comes less than four months after the company reached the one million mark at the end of March. The phone was helped by a launch on Verizon in the US and other world carriers over the spring but has also been given a last-minute boost by a price drop to $70 through AT&T, discounting the already inexpensive $100 device.
Sales of other phones on Rogers Wireless' network virtually ground to a halt the day of the iPhone 3G announcement in late April, company president Nadir Mohammed said today during a call discussing the company's latest quarterly results. Although the cellular business helped drive Rogers' year-over-year quarterly revenue increase of 11 percent to $2.8 billion without the iPhone on sale, the company executive notes that demand for other devices "slammed on the brakes" the same day as Rogers announced it would launch the Apple device during the summer.
Verizon today quickly followed up Casio's news of the g'zOne Boulder with its own official launch information. The ruggedized device will ship in black and orange models and is now known to support Verizon's Rhapsody access for unlimited subscription music as well as VZ Navigator for the phone's GPS mapping feature. Verizon also confirms that the phone's signature push-to-talk feature uses faster EVDO Revision A data and can be added to any phone that technically supports such a feature.
Sirius and XM today formalized their FCC-approved merger, ending an approximately 16-month wait since the union was first proposed early last year. The combined entity will now be called Sirius XM Radio and has about 18.5 million total subscribers, turning it into the second-largest radio outlet in the US. The company says it will quickly live up to its promises announced at the start of the merger and will let subscribers to either Sirius or XM service subscribe a la carte, hand-picking channels rather than requiring a set block of stations.
Lenovo this morning unusually let its Malaysian branch be the first to introduce the 3000 G Series notebook. Previously leaked with few details, the finished 14-inch notebook is aimed at the budget-conscious with a 1.86GHz Pentium dual-core at its root along with 2GB of RAM, a 160GB hard disk, and a DVD burner. In an unusual move, the Malaysian version comes preloaded with MS-DOS and lets users install Linux, Windows, or another choice of operating system.
Microsoft today provided a promised demo of Sphere, its next-generation multi-touch device. The device expands on the lessons learned from the Surface table and shows how future electronics could apply complex finger input to curved surfaces. In addition to altering the picture to ensure it displays properly on the ball-shaped screen, Microsoft has also switched to an infrared sensor system at the center that registers multiple fingers and palms regardless of their position on the sphere.
iRiver today officially unveiled its turn at a touchscreen device with the Korean appearance of the SPINN. The machined aluminum player earns its name through a dial that allows quick scrolling through a radio-like interface, tuning built-in FM radio or DMB mobile TV, and scrubbing through video. However, it also hands over control in many areas to a more advanced, 3.3-inch active matrix OLED (or AMOLED) touchscreen that produces more colors and better blacks than an LCD.
Dell tonight is continuing a string of major PC updates with both a new Inspiron notebook as well as a desktop. The Inspiron 13 promises to challenge the MacBook and other 13-inch portables by pushing the cost well below others while also providing dimensions and features that aren't always carried over into budget notebooks. The system weighs a relatively light 4.5 pounds but still finds room for a slot-load DVD drive, touch-sensitive media controls, and a sturdier, one-piece "barrel" hinge versus the two-hinge design of larger Inspirons.
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