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The US Senate tonight said it had cleared a bill to move the digital TV transition from its original February 17th date to June 12th. The tentative delay follows concerns by senators and the new Obama administration that there wasn't enough time for the new presidency to manage the process and for more end viewers to be ready for the switch, which cuts off analog, over-the-air TV broadcasts in favor of digital and full HD equivalents.
Netflix this afternoon bucked expectations by revealing a major leap in the number of subscribers to its movie rental service this past fall. The company says its subscriber base surged 26 percent versus a year ago to 9.39 million and that its net income has climbed even faster, jumping nearly 44.6 percent to $22.7 million. Both improvements are "near record" statistics, according to Netflix chief Reed Hastings.
Klipsch Audio has recently announced the upcoming launch of three new, entry-level 5.1-channel surround-sound speaker systems. The HD Theater 1000 is the headliner, sporting five identical speakers for its five channels. Each houses two 2.5-inch fiber composite drivers and a 0.75-inch aluminum dome tweeter with a MicroTractrix Horn. The bass is reproduced by a 10-inch subwoofer with a fiber composite cone. All speakers are driven by a hybrid class D amplifier.
Intel has given the public a small sneak peek at an upcoming Core 2 Duo processor, the E8700, with a 3.5GHz clock speed, by posting specs of it on its knowledge database. While the page is no longer active, TechReport has learned that the CPU will also sport 6MB of cache, a 1333MHz front-side bus and a 65W thermal envelope. The chip shares the same Wolfdale design as the existing E8600 processor, leading many to believe it could be a faster version of that CPU.
Comcast's systematic DOCSIS 3.0 release is quietly expanding, as it was reportedly launched last week in more Chicago suburbs and it is believed the service will become available in San Francisco's Bay Area before week's end. Comcast met its target of bringing 20 percent coverage to its markets by the end of 2008, and is now on its way to update all of its technology to the faster Internet access by the end of 2010. The provider's fast Internet service promises to bring download speeds as fast as 50Mbps to subscribers under its Extreme 50 service plan.
Sony Japan will release the PlayStation Portable gaming system in four carnival-themed colors, adding to the currently available black, white and silver editions of the system. The red, blue, green and yellow PSPs will be offered as standalone, with the console itself, an AC adapter and a 1,200mAh battery pack, or in a value pack, which adds a 4GB Memory Stick, a 2,200mAh battery and a color-matching carrying case.
Apple has again failed to make a list of the best American companies to work for, according to Fortune. In its 2009 compilation, the top company is named as brokerage firm Edward Jones, which has managed to avoid any ties to the credit crisis and during 2008 hired 698 new financial advisors in the first 10 months. In the upcoming year, the firm is said to be building a headquarters expansion for 500 more people.
Philips Electronics said it will cut its global workforce to the tune of 6,000 because it posted the first quarterly loss in about six years, according to a Monday report. At the same time, the company stopped the buy-back program of its shares. The 1.47 billion Euro ($1.9 billion) loss in the fourth quarter of 2008 is partly due to a write-down of Philips' Lumildes diode light business as well as the downgrading of its shares in NXP Semiconductors and LG Display. Net losses for 2008 amounted to 186 million Euros (nearly $242 million).
The recently leaked VX9600 Versa from LG will be making its way to Best Buy Mobile, thanks to a leaked inventory screen capture. If it holds true, the modular phone should be available at the retailer on February 22nd, with a release at Verizon Wireless expected around the same time. The handset introduces a new form factor, as it sports a detachable QWERTY keyboard that also has a small external display from the main, touchscreen section. When the two halves are joined, a cutout in the keyboard portion lets the camera in the touchscreen half take photos.
MSI this afternoon expanded on its CES news by detailing its new mid-size G-series notebook. The GT627 has a typical 15.4-inch display size but carries a GeForce 9800M GS with 1GB of memory to give it video performance more characteristic of desktop replacement notebooks. It also draws on MSI's now-familiar Turbo Drive to overclock the Core 2 Duo chip when on AC power and comes in an aluminum body that weighs just over 6 pounds.
Samsung is getting ready to release three new handsets, one of which will include the yet-unreleased Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, according to a recent blog entry by online retailer Expansys. The code-named Samsung Pivot will replace the i780 and will reportedly run on the as yet unannounced Windows Mobile 6.5. The candybar handset will have a QWERTY keyboard, along with a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, assisted GPS capabilities, Bluetooth and a Wi-Fi radio.
HTC tells Electronista that its 2009 remake of the Touch Cruise smartphone will ship to the US in the first half of the year. The company doesn't provide a release date or pricing, though the phone currently doesn't support native 850MHz 3G on AT&T or T-Mobile and is likely to appear as an unlocked-only device with EDGE and Wi-Fi as its picks for data on either carrier; Best Buy and other online stores have typically carried these models.
A leak of an updated Windows 7 beta build suggests Microsoft plans to closely follow Vista's approach of several feature-limited operating system versions. Although the publicly available beta has always suggested multiple versions by listing the software as Windows 7 Ultimate, the 7025 build gives users extra options for Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium and Business editions.
The replacement for Dell's XT tablet PC is forthcoming, and the computer maker has posted the specs and service manual for the convertible notebook recently. Major changes include switching to an integrated Intel GMA X4500 graphics chipsets from the original computer's ATI video hardware, and there will now be a 1.8-inch SATA hard drive. The ExpressCard slot will now take smaller 34mm cards instead of the original's 54mm slot. The XT2 will support up to 5GB of memory, a useful bump from the original's 3GB capacity.
Acer is looking to build its own mobile Internet device, patent applications are believed to show. The MID concept was developed by Intel, and typically describes a small handheld device used mainly for web browsing and e-mail; Acer's device would feature a display dominating the front surface, mostly likely a touchscreen, in a manner similar to many GPS units. Media playback would also likely be an important feature, as reflected by the presence of a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Verizon today revealed subscribers can now set up an extended cellular network in their home with the launch of the Network Extender. The Samsung femtocell connects to users' existing home broadband connections to supply a CDMA phone network coverage range of about 5,000 feet while maintaining the same call quality. Unlike AT&T's just-introduced 3G MicroCell, however, the Extender doesn't support either 3G (here via EVDO) or GPS.
Acer's Aspire One 10-inch netbook lineup will come soon will be kept simple, a French leak shows. The PC builder plans just three core models and will start off with a basic D150-0B model that comes with a current 1.6GHz Atom, 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive and a 3-cell battery; it will ship to France in February for €329 ($427).
The South Florida Business Journal has supported doubts regarding the fate of Windows Mobile at Motorola by revealing that that cellphone designer is cutting 77 positions at its office in Plantation, near Fort Lauderdale. The move is described as very specific for Motorola and will put an end to developing Windows Mobile phones at the Florida location. The particular cuts are slated to take place by March 27th.
Apple is nearing the release of its redesigned iMac but may not stick with the quad-core processors rumored for the system, Kaufman Bros. senior analyst Shaw Wu says. Investigations within the supply chain suggest that Apple is "almost ready" to launch updated iMacs but is still determining whether it will use the low-power Core 2 Quads introduced just last week or else will use faster Core 2 Duos with extra cache, though it's not known whether these last chips would be desktop or mobile parts.
Sprint this morning took drastic action to maintain its performance and said it would cut 8,000 jobs, most of which will be eliminated quickly and disappear by the end of March. The carrier describes the layoffs as reducing labor costs in a difficult economy and estimates it will save $1.2 billion per year from the efforts. Just over 10 percent of the jobs are those from a voluntary exit program started last year.
AMD early Monday upped its claims to performance with a new set of Opteron HE quad-core processors. The new chips are the company's first of the type built on the current 45 nanometer "Shanghai" architecture and use just 55W of average power while also reportedly consuming about 20 percent less power than an equivalent Xeon when idle. The semiconductor firm touts the technology as ideal for servers but also makes it available for workstations.
The BlackBerry Storm's initially buggy software was not only the product of being rushed for Verizon but should have been expected, Research in Motion co-chief Jim Balsillie tells the Wall Street Journal. He acknowledges that the phone was shipped "by the skin of our teeth" to meet the Black Friday deadline and help Verizon's sales but defends the decision by saying the need to patch the phone's code later is part of a "new reality" of shipping large amounts of smartphones.
AT&T ahead of any official announcement has revealed the 3G MicroCell, the company's own approach to in-home cellular hubs. Similar to the Samsung AIRAVE for Sprint, the Cisco-made device serves as a cell tower for homes where coverage is poor and puts the data through an existing broadband Internet connection. Unlike the Sprint device, however, the MicroCell requires 3G and also supports GPS to provide location services.
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