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Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin has reportedly established talks with DirecTV Group and Liberty Media, in what is viewed as a last ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy or a loss of control, according to Reuters. The satellite-radio provider has held preliminary talks with Liberty Media, while another report suggests the executives asked DirecTV to purchase the company. Liberty Entertainment, a division of Liberty Media, holds a controlling interest in DirecTV Group.
Speakal has released its latest iPod accessory, the iBoo dock featuring a 'spooky' design. The two eyes serve as mid- and high-range speakers, while the smiling mouth offers an infrared sensor for remote control input. Along with the two smaller speakers, the housing also contains a nine-watt subwoofer that brings the total output power to 15 watts. A variety of iPod cradles are included, along with a 3.5mm input jack for connecting other devices.
Ericsson on Wednesday announced it will perform the first demonstration of the second implementation of its HSPA+ multi-carrier technology that allows for maximum download rates of 42Mbps at the Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona, Spain. The multi-carrier technology lets users receive data on two frequency channels at the same time, thereby doubling the user data rate in HSPA network coverage areas. Australia's Telstra, Ericsson's partner, uses an early HSPA+ network that allows for up to 21Mbps downloads.
Mozilla's Firefox Mobile browser, Fennec, has been released on Tuesday for the HTC Touch Pro handset, albeit in an as yet unfinished Milestone Release, or pre-alpha build, says a Wednesday WMExperts report. The limited release of the software is lacking certain features, chief among them the automatic updates. Also, the HTC Touch Pro's virtual keyboard will not be usable with the browser, as there is no soft keyboard support in this version. Users will have to use the device's QWERTY keyboard to enter data. Plug-in support is also disabled in this version.
NVIDIA on Wednesday announced that Intel has licensed and will make SLI graphics technology available on its DX58SO mainboard for Core i7 processor. Combinations of NVIDIA's GeForce GPUs, including quad SLI, can now be equipped on X58-based mainboards with Core i7 CPUs. At the same time, NVIDIA SLI technology will also be made available for Intel's Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo processors as well as AMD's Phenom II CPU.
England's Bluetooth chip group CSR on Tuesday announced it is buying California-based GPS chip specialistSiRF for $136 million. The deal is expected to complete in the second quarter, after approval by SiRF and CSR shareholders as well as government approval. The buy-out sum represents a 91-percent premium on SiRF's shares after Monday's markets closed.
VIZIO today said that it would phase out plasma TVs entirely. Speaking to the New York Times, company executive Laynie Newsome justifies the move by noting that LCDs sell much more quickly than plasma. The difference is attributed to the perceived quality in-store: although plasmas often have deeper blacks, the brighter store lights tend to favor the lower-contrast LCD sets. In exchange, VIZIO plans to improve the features of the LCDs themselves, which lately have gained the same 240Hz and LED backlights as on high-end rivals.
Electronics maker Mitsubishi has temporarily halted production of its flagship line of LaserVue HDTVs, a Wednesday Engadget report maintains. Mitsubishi says the delay is due to a problem with the manufacturing equipment used in the build of the HDTVs, though does not give any additional details. The company is, however, making all the efforts to resume production of the high-end TVs and is taking steps to ensure quality of the products and their reliability are not negatively affected.
A proposed Italian law may block user access to websites such as Facebook if they incite or justify criminal behavior, Bloomberg reports on Wednesday. The law is under consideration after Facebook groups dedicated to convicted Sicilian Mafia heads Bernardo Provenzano and Salvatore Riina were suspected of sending coded messages to the mobsters.
The Meitai keyboard factory in Dongguan City in China that produces peripherals for HP, Microsoft, Lenovo and others has been found to offer ghastly working conditions, with employees facing firings for missing three days of work, among other restrictions. The country's National Labor Council found that other alleged infractions can leave employees charged with fines that equal 1.5 days' worth of wages (the equivalent of about $7.20) include being more than an hour late, riding the elevator without permission and chatting at their workstations during work hours, among others.
Bell Canada may be one of the first North American carriers outside of Sprint to pick up the Palm Pre, a roadmap leaked to Mobile Syrup shows. The first webOS smartphone is reportedly scheduled to arrive on the carrier in late spring or early summer and would arrive just slightly after the likely Sprint release in June. Whether there will be any software differences between versions of the multi-touch phone isn't known.
Novatel Wireless on Wednesday introduced three new products, including the Ovation MC995D USB modem as well as the Expedite E970D and E960D embedded mini card modules meant for OEM devices such as notebooks. All three devices have integrated GPS capabilities and access to high-speed HSPA networks, allowing them to reach 7.2Mbps download rates and up to 5.7Mbps upload speeds, with the MC995D and E970D made to work with Europe's, the Middle East's and Asia's 900MHz, 1,900MHz and 2,100MHz bands.
A leak from an Austrian online reseller today reveals Intel is about to launch a new, mid-grade version of its fastest solid-state drives. A 64GB version of the X-25E will use the same single-level cell (SLC) flash storage as other Extreme models and should have the same fast performance as the 32GB and 80GB versions. Read speeds are more than twice as fast as most rotating hard drives at 250MB per second and are much faster in writes than most SSDs at 170MB per second.
i-mate today said it will release one of its first hardened devices. The i-mate 810-F is named after the US military specification, MIL-810-F, which the handset meets. The company has tested the phone to withstand temperature extremes ranging from 14°F to 140°F, as well as being able to withstand various levels of exposure to water, dust, humidity and shock resistance. It also includes a QWERTY keyboard and an impact-resistant touchscreen.
modu, the Israel-based maker of the first modular cellphone, is getting ready to launch some of its first true products at next week's Mobile World Congress in Spain. On Wednesday, the company followed up last year's teaser with formal details of the core phone and the modular shells for it, called "jackets," that imbue the phone with different abilities. The phone by itself has a seven-button keypad allowing it to perform basic functions and is a standalone music player with 2GB of onboard memory.
As promised late last month, the BlackBerry Curve 8900 smartphone is now available for purchase at T-Mobile. With a two-year contract and a $100 mail-in rebate, the handset is priced at $199, with T-Mobile giving users the option to buy itcontract-free for $499. Unofficial reports say T-Mobile stores are only receiving five examples of the new handset per location, making them scarce initially, though more handsets are due to ship to stores later this week.
Circulating tips suggest that Canon will announce a ruggedized compact camera at next month's PMA expo in Las Vegas. Canon is not typically associated with rugged gear, as even its professional-level DSLRs (such as the EOS-1D Mk. III) are at most weather-resistant. The unnamed compact is expected to be waterproof to a depth of 26 feet however, and shock-resistant to drops as far as six feet. It would face competition chiefly from rivals such as the Olympus 1030 SW.
Palm doesn't expect there to be any disputes with Apple over patents for multi-touch technology in webOS or the Pre smartphone, company chief Ed Colligan said today at the Thomas Weisel Technology & Telecom Conference. The executive believes there are "no issues with Apple" iPhone patents and says that Palm is "very respectful" of other companies' intellectual property, preferring to dodge around conflicts altogether rather than setting itself up for a challenge. Palm has about 1,500 patents that Colligan is confident gives his company a safe foundation.
Sierra Wireless today claimed a spot as the first company ever to release USB modems that support the new HSPA+ standard for 3G. The USB 306 and 307 both download at up to 21Mbps, or about three times the speed of regular HSPA; they also upload as quickly as the best HSPA devices, or about 5.8Mbps. The extra speed gives notebooks a wide-area wireless speed closer to a landline connection and is deemed especially useful for music and video streaming.
Nokia on Wednesday warned that it would significantly scale back its cellphone manufacturing to reflect reduced demand for its phones. The company says it will implement a rotating layoff system that will temporarily drop between 20 and 30 percent of workers at its Salo, Finland plant and thus mirror "reduced market demand" without interrupting production. In a more drastic step, Nokia also plans to gradually scale back and close its research and development office in Jyväskylä by the end of the year. The move will drop about 320 jobs and will shift R&D to existing Finnish locations.
JVC today rolled out a pro-grade HD camcorder designed explicitly for videographers using Apple's Final Cut Pro editing suite. The GY-HM700 is the only 1080p camera to capture directly in the MOV format used by QuickTime and so lets producers send raw footage directly to Final Cut without the software having to first transcode or otherwise alter the material before it enters the pipeline. Editors can even trim video while it's stored on the camera, JVC notes.
Samsung today said it has developed a System-On-Chip that should bring Wireless USB to cellphones, MP3 players and other devices for the first time. A newer CMOS process has let the company build an ARM processor (not pictured) with both the ultra-wideband technology, a wired USB interface, and a memory controller that can transfer data wirelessly roughly as fast as a physical connection. Samsung estimates that a 700MB mobile-sized movie could transfer in one minute.
NVIDIA at a press conference in Taiwan today provided early details of launch plans for the first systems based on its Ion platform. The company's mainboard chipset manager Drew Henry says the first system based on the architecture, which integrates the GeForce 9400M with Atom processors, will ship in spring but will be a "very small, affordable" desktop instead of a netbook or other portable. NVIDIA declines to say which company is making the system but says won't have any relation to the black, generic concept desktop used to showcase the design.
Research in Motion on Wednesday provided a positive surprise with word that it expects its BlackBerry subscriber additions for its financial fourth quarter, which finishes at the end of February, to jump more than 20 percent higher than its originally predicted 2.9 million users. The revision gives RIM at least 3.5 million new BlackBerry users and doesn't include those simply buying the phones without the intention of using RIM's push e-mail, suggesting that the company's sales will ultimately have increased over the past three months despite the ongoing economic crisis.
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