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Security company BlackLine GPS has introduced the Seeker, a GPS-based vehicle tracking device designed to help recover a vehicle if it is stolen. The device constantly monitors the vehicle's location relative to a GPS security perimeter. If a thief moves the vehicle outside of the perimeter, the owner receives a SMS alert message while the company's Recovery Service works with the police to help find the vehicle.
The US Department of Justice on Thursday approved Verizon Wireless' acquisition of Alltel Communications, bringing through a deal that weighs in at $28 billion. RCR Wireless News reports that the deal, which was first officially acknowledged in early June, will provide Verizon with wireless assets in 100 markets, spread over 22 states, including North and South Dakota, Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming, among others.
Digital device company Aiptek has unveiled the Pocket Cinema V10, a compact projector featuring an integrated media player. The V10 can be used as a stand-alone player or connected to an iPod, DV, DSC, game console, or mobile phone with an AV-out connection. Users can project a screen size of up to 50 inches, with a range of focal distances from 21cm to 180cm. The device supports a resolution of 640 by 380 pixels, using a white LED light source and 3M technology in a housing that measures 125mm by 55mm by 23mm.
Digital Foci has launched the Pocket Album Deluxe OLED 2.8 photo viewer with a 4000-image capacity and playback on an OLED screen. The viewer's screen offers a brighter picture, with more contrast and wider viewing angles, than conventional LED screens. The screen is an active matrix, 2.8-inch display rated at a resolution of 320x240 and a contrast ratio of 10,000-1. It offers five hours of playback and can recharge via an included AC adapter or USB power.
At the currently ongoing PDC show in LA, Microsoft is holding demonstrations of its Surface PC for members of the industry and developers. At the same time, Microsoft showed off a notable new version of the Surface PC developed by the software giant's engineers from Cambridge, England. Called SecondLight, it allows the table to project different images than those projected on its screen on a translucent surface such as tracing paper held above the surface. The images are projected through the table itself, with Microsoft describing the technology as a magic lens.
Philips has updated its GoGear SA2925/97 portable audio players with the GoGear SA2940, which adds a 1.5-inch OLED color display. The display can show album art other status information such as track progress and battery status, but the specs are otherwise identical to the outgoing model's, and include 4GB of internal memory, 30 hours of battery life, a bult-in equalizer, and support for MP3, WAV and WMA audio files.
The Motorola RAZR2 V9x handset, which started shipping earlier this month, is now available for purchase on AT&T's website, ahead of any official announcements. Compared to previous RAZRs, the handset features a GPS sensor to take advantage of AT&T's Navigator service, in addition to being slimmer. This includes a 2-megapixel camera with 8x zoom, video playback capabilities and music playback functionality.
At the FPD International show currently being held in Japan, Samsung's display division demonstrated its 63-inch plasma display panel with a resolution of 4096x2160 pixels, more commonly referred to as 4K in the industry. The company was able to accomplish this feat by shrinking the size of each pixel, now at 0.339mmx0.363mm (0.13x0.14 inches), by slimming down the barrier rib structure and revising the transparent electrode and bus electrode. These pixels are less than half the size of a typical pixel found in a modern 63-inch, 1920x1080 HDTV.
The N96 smartphone from Nokia is now available for purchase at Best Buy Mobile, priced at a high $800. While the lofty price tag was expected for the company's flagship handset, it's nevertheless more than four times the price of an iPhone or T-Mobile G1, though the N96's price is contract-free. The online Best Buy listing for the Finnish-made smartphone is $100 dearer, at nearly $900. It is, however, back-ordered. Certain Best Buy Mobile stores will have working demonstration models of the handset on-hand for potential customers to play with.
Apple's third quarter sales for its only cellphone, the iPhone, have vaulted the company into a top ten list of phone suppliers, ousting BlackBerry maker RIM in the process, research group Strategy Analytics says. A Thursday report said Apple's increase to 6.9 million handsets shipments found Apple, along with Samsung and Sony Ericsson, as one of the only major phone makers on the list to increase its market share during the third quarter of 2008.
HP is strongly considering linking netbooks like the Mini 1000 to cellular data plans, the company's consumer notebook head Kevin Frost tells the Wall Street Journal. Similar to deals in Asia and Europe, HP would offer a heavily discounted mini-computer in return for signing a contract for data access through a carrier and thus give users both a less expensive netbook as well as 3G or greater access.
Other World Computing has announced new SuperDrive upgrades for current and legacy Macs. The new drives feature DVD burn speeds up to 20X for desktop tower replacements and 8x speeds for notebooks, iMacs, Mac Minis and G4 Cubes. Dual-Layer DVD burning is supported across the entire line and OWC is offering options for Blu-ray support, LightScribe labeling and DVD-RAM support.
Breaking relatively new ground for Japanese cellphone makers, Sharp on Thursday launched the FULLTOUCH 931SH for Softbank. The AQUOS-branded phone is one of the few full-touchscreen cellphones from the country but is also record-setting through a new, landmark display: the 3.8-inch touch LCD carries a 1024x480 resolution that rivals smaller notebooks and provides an extremely sharp view for browsing and videos, including live TV from its 1Seg tuner. The phone supports two-finger input for zooming into website views and even uses touch to focus its built-in 5.2-megapixel camera.
Magellan on Thursday announced the release of its newest portable GPS navigation device, the Maestro 4350, with the company's new OneTouch interface meant to reduce driver distraction by allowing users to find the nearest favorite store or other point of interest with a single press of a virtual button. The 4.3-inch, 800x480 touchscreen device also uses Magellan's pedestrian mode, which helps users get to their destination on foot after having parked their car.
Carrier AT&T and PC builder Lenovo say they have collaborated on a project meant to drive down the cost of 3G broadband on notebooks. Buyers of Lenovo notebooks in the ThinkPad T, X and SL series will get a free 30 days of AT&T's DataConnect service, if they sign up for a two-year contract; more critically, models with the necessary Ericsson module will not cost any more than a regular version, which the companies claim will save as much as $150 per computer. The arrangement is being targeted mainly at small- to medium-sized businesses.
The Beatles today confirmed that the first computer-focused release of their music will come through a deal with Rock Band maker Harmonix as well as its partner MTV. The unnamed title, now said to be separate from the Rock Band series in contrast to earlier claims by others, will be devoted solely to the Beatles and should represent a progression through their music. Both of the surviving Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, have contributed input to the project along with widows Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono Lennon.
Nokia is planning the launch of a North America Model (NAM) version of the N85, if a newly posted FCC filing proves accurate. The US agency has been testing a version of the slider smartphone with WCDMA on the 850MHz band, which would let it connect to HSDPA-based 3G with AT&T in the US and Rogers in Canada. Nokia's official announcement of the N85 has only included support for 850MHz using EDGE data and GSM calls.
Acer has brought back its eMachines notebook line-up when it announced the launch of a 14.1-inch widescreen notebook, the eMachines eMD620-5777, on Thursday. The new notebook sports a 1.6GHz AMD Athlon CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard-drive for a price usually associated with much smaller netbooks. Other features of the notebook include a full-size keyboard, integrated b/g Wi-Fi module, a DVD-R/RW drive and an ATI Radeon X1200 graphics chipset that can pull up to nearly 2GB of system memory for its own ends.
Alltel on Thursday became the last major US carrier to take its turn at a full touchscreen cellphone with the Samsung Delve. The handset has some of the styling cues of the Instinct for Sprint but uses non-touch call and menu buttons. Importantly, it also stands as the first American phone to carry Samsung's TouchWiz interface, which lets users add software widgets to the phone's home screen for quicker access to apps or surface-level information. The Delve goes without a smartphone operating system like other high-end devices such as the Omnia, however.
Dell today upped the stakes for all-in-one PCs with the launch of the XPS One 24. The system ups the size of the PC to 24 inches and gives it a new, edge-to-edge 1080p (1920x1080) display with a 16:9 ratio that should make it ideal for watching Blu-ray movies at native resolution. The update also brings a major speed update with a 2.33GHz Core 2 Quad as well as the option of a GeForce 9600M GT for video that makes it a better fit as a gaming system or for heavy-duty HD video decoding.
Western Digital released a new My Passport Studio portable drive with a high-speed FireWire 800 interface. The drive ships pre-formatted with HFS+ and includes high-speed turbo drivers for use with Mac computers, and is capable of working directly with the recently introduced Apple MacBook Pro as well as desktops equipped with the faster port. Other connection options include FireWire 400 and USB for owners connecting to legacy machines.
Motorola today saw its problems mount with news of its summer quarterly results. The company swung from a $60 million profit at the same point in 2007 to a $397 million loss this year due almost exclusively to poor performance from the Mobile Devices group and its cellphone business. Phone shipments plunged a sharp 32 percent year-over-year to 25.4 million handsets and also the company's gross margin on phones dip from 28.4 percent to 24.1 percent as the mix shifted towards lower-cost devices.
TiVo today revealed the surprise addition of Netflix for TiVo (link active soon), its own adaptation of Netflix's Watch Instantly feature. The update will give TiVo's DVRs access to streaming versions of the roughly 12,000 movies available online and will include both the standard-definition versions as well as the recently unveiled HD versions of some titles that will first be available on the Xbox 360. Like earlier implementations, users must manage their online movie queues from a web browser but can play movies or TV shows in any order from TiVo units.
Japanese cell carrier Softbank on Thursday catered to local tastes with the introduction of an official 1Seg TV tuner add-on for the iPhone 3G. Through a custom App Store download, the adapter gives access to the country's over-the-air digital TV broadcast network over a local Wi-Fi link, allowing residents to watch live shows from the iPhone while leaving the tuner in a bag or pocket. The tuner carries its own battery and can either power the tuner for three hours of TV or serve as a USB battery pack for the iPhone.
The Beatles are allegedly making their first stride into digital licensing, according to inside information obtained by The Wall Street Journal, which says Apple Corps is considering releasing tracks for Rock Band. Apple Corps has been notorious for keeping the prized, history-making albums away from digital formats, most famously in response to repeated conflicts with Apple Inc, over the usage of the iconic fruit logos both companies use.
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