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Despite some expectations, Microsoft has no plans to introduce a Zune-branded phone at the Consumer Electronics Show next month, the company's Zune Group Manager Brian Seitz tells Gizmodo. The statement comes in part as a response to claims of a major Zune refresh that would represent or precede an actual phone; in either situation, the device was to be codenamed "Pink" and was widely expected to use a touchscreen and a fast image processor.
Portable electronics maker iRiver is set to release a new digital multimedia player, to be called the E50. With very similar if not identical features and file support to the company's E100 player, the main difference between the two seems to be the E50's sturdier brushed aluminum body. The E50 will be available in 2GB, 4GB or 8GB capacities and features a 1.8-inch, 262K color screen with a 176x220 resolution.
A DirecTV spokesperson recently announced the company has discontinued any and all development work on the HDPC-20 tuner that promised to link DirecTV's high-definition content with Windows Media Center. The HDPC-20 was first introduced at CES in 2006, or nearly three years ago. The decision to end the project was reportedly made after DirecTV missed the August 2008 update for Windows Media Center software and timing of the next release.
Sony Ericsson's C905 handset is nearly ready to go on sale in the US, as it has recently passed through the FCC testing procedures. The sliding handset, due to be called the C905a and include the 850 and 1900MHz 3G data network bands used in North America, was first introduced this summer. Its most eye-catching feature is an 8.1-megapixel camera with a CMOS sensor. As such, it rivals the recently spotted Samsung handset due to ship in the near future to T-Mobile.
Headphone manufacturer Jays has launched the c-JAYS, its first external headphones with numerous adapters to make them compatible with a variety of popular consumer electronics. The headphones can otherwise be customized to users' tastes with three, differently-sized included foam ear cushions. The headphones feature an Elastic Multi Layer (EML), 1.6-inch (40mm) speaker diaphragm for good sound isolation with a Neodymium magnet at their core. The c-JAYS' sensitivity is rated at 99 dB at 1kHz, while frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz.
Dell on Tuesday released specifications of its smallest commercial desktop PC, the OptiPlex 160, which was first introduced as part of a wider Optiplex release back at the end of October. Meant for offices where space is at a premium, basic OptiPlex 160s weigh less than 5lbs and can be mounted on the back of LCD monitors, for example, while being energy-efficient thanks to an advanced, 87-percent efficiency power supply and the use of Intel's Atom processor, the single-core, 1.6GHz N270. A dual-core Atom with the same clock speed is due early in 2009.
Bell today quickly followed on the heels of Telus by shipping its version of the BlackBerry Storm. Like its closer rival, the Bell version has the same 3.2-megapixel camera, 1GB of internal storage and dual-mode networking; it similarly carries an 8GB microSDHC card, but drops the preloaded music in favor of built-in access to Bell's streaming radio and video channels, including some Sirius stations. Pricing is a match at $250 on a three-year contract with voice and data worth $45 or more.
Japan's Buffalo Technology on Wednesday announced the upcoming release of its 240GB portable solid state drive, the LS-WSS240GL/R1. The unusual dual-drive RAID can be connected directly to computers via a USB port or networked via its Ethernet connection for sharing. Buffalo has included a web access function to the drive, allowing iPhone 3G and iPod touch users to access content on the networked LS-WSS240GL/R1 via the devices' web browsers. It's not made clear if other Internet-enabled handsets or computers are capable of accessing the drive, though this is expected.
The US Federal Trade Commission today approved Verizon's buyout of Alltel and put the resulting company at the top of the US cellular market. The ratification follows earlier clearance by the FCC and Justice Department and finds no antitrust concerns over monopoly status following earlier conditions that required Verizon trade off a small portion of its cellular network to smaller carriers. Verizon hasn't said when it expects to formally roll Alltel into its lineup.
Retailer Office Depot today said it will close 126 of its North American stores in a bid to remain healthy. The company plans to make 112 closures of these within the next three months and the remainder throughout the rest of 2009 as their leases come to a close. New store openings will also be cut in half to 20 next year. The move, which drops about 10.8 percent of the company's total stores, will have a total cost of between $270 million to $300 million for Office Depot but should save about $75 million in day-to-day expenses throughout 2009 while also boosting earnings from $70 million to $90 million.
Dell today quitely began offering its budget 17-inch E1709W and 19-inch UltraSharp 1908FP LCD monitors. The former is one of Dell's most basic units with a widescreen 1440x900 resolution and VGA-only input in a relatively business-focused shell. Other specs include a 600:1 contrast ratio and 8ms response time, along with a 250cd/mē brightness.
MSI will be demonstrating new touchscreen-enabled notebooks during January's Consumer Electronics Show, says the company's US sales director. Andy Tung notes that 10- and 16-inch touchscreen portables will be on display, the former of which should be a Wind netbook. It is uncertain if it will become a commercial product, says Tung, as a 10-inch screen may be considered too small for tablet functionality; it is confirmed however that MSI's touch-based Wind desktops will be coming to the US in 17-, 19- and 22-inch sizes.
Telus today officially became the first Canadian carrier to start selling the BlackBerry Storm. The carrier notes that "limited" numbers of the touchscreen smartphone should be in its stores today and will sell for the promised $250 on a three-year plan and $600 when contract-free. Telus' version clings to the reference version's 3.2-megapixel camera, hybrid CDMA/GSM with matching 3G, and 1GB of internal memory. Telus' version is more conspicuously pitched against the iPhone and comes with an 8GB microSDHC card preloaded with music from the Arts & Crafts label.
Google's Chrome web browser is soon to exit beta thanks partly to a plan to expand its reach, company VP Marissa Miller has told TechCrunch at this year's Le Web conference in Paris. The WebKit-based browser has been relatively slow to gain share since its debut in September but will be marked as a finished product on an upcoming release to let PC makers bundle an officially completed version with their systems.
HP will claim an edge in notebooks with a new battery technology licensed from Boston-Power, the latter company has confirmed today. A new lithium-ion pack, nicknamed the Enviro battery, will last for up to three years of daily use without losing its maximum performance. The performance is about three times better than ordinary batteries and potentially lasts as much as four years for notebooks only used during regular weekdays.
Neonode today said that its core phone making division has filed for bankruptcy in its home country of Sweden. Best known for its N2 touchscreen phone, the company says it still has "great belief" in its technology but that the move is necessary to prevent the company from running out of money before it has time to grow. The parent company isn't directly affected but focuses only on developing and licensing the touchscreen technology at the root of its phones.
Logitech on Wednesday announced the upcoming release of its G13 Advanced Gameboard, a gaming keyboard meant to be used in conjunction with a user's existing keyboard and mouse. The G13 features three game modes, 25 programmable keys and a programmable analog stick set into a contoured design meant to provide a natural fit for users' hands. A GamePanel LCD with 160x43-pixel resolution displays live game statistics, system information and messages from other gamers.
Verizon provided surprise news late Tuesday when company chief technical officer Dick Lynch revealed at Cisco's C-Scape Conference that the company's 4G-level Long Term Evolution cellular service should be available in some form before the end of 2009. The carrier until now has only publicly promised active 4G service by 2010 but should have at least some form of deployed service "somewhere here in the US" within a year's time, according to the official. The move also steps up Verizon's wider expansion of the service, which will ultimately replace both CDMA calling and EVDO data.
The South Korean government today said it would remove a legal requirement that has restricted the use of foreign phones in the country. Called the Wireless Internet Platform for Interoperability (WIPI), the standard for data access was meant to create a common, simple platform for mobile software and websites but is now being lifted after the Korea Communications Commission determined that the rule artificially limited competition and boosted prices. A full 90 percent of cellphones in South Korea are made by either LG or Samsung and so effectively lets either company dictate features and pricing.
Sony on Wednesday quickly followed up its earlier confirmation of a PlayStation Home launch this year with word that it will launch an open beta of the virtual world on Thursday, December 11th. The now publicly accessible PS3 community will not only include spaces for individuals and for like-minded groups (considered "clubs") but should launch with public spaces themed around specific flagship PS3 games, including SOCOM and Uncharted.
Intel today said it has completed its development work on 32 nanometer manufacturing for its processors. The method introduces a second-generation high-k metal gate as well as new approaches to making patterning layers and transistors, all of which result in a more energy-efficient and thus cooler technology than for Intel's current 45nm chips. Shrinking the process keeps the company on schedule for introducing a new, smaller manufacturing technique each year.
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