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Verizon appears to be preparing to launch the LG 9600 Versa, Nokia 7205 Intrigue, HTC Touch Diamond and a CDMA version of the BlackBerry Pearl Flip, according to a leaked presentation caught by Engadget. An earlier report suggested the Versa initially would launch at Best Buy Mobile on February 22nd, with a Verizon Wireless release expected around the same time. The handset can be used as a clamshell with a full QWERTY keyboard and a small external display, or the keyboard can be detached to use the device as a touchscreen phone only.
iBuyPower has launched two gaming PCs featuring AMD's Dragon platform, the Gamer HAF 91B and Gamer Fire. Both computers integrate AMD Phenom II processors, the AMD 790GX chipset and ATI Radeon 4000-series graphics cards. The HAF 91B is geared toward entry-level gamers and provides an X4 920 processor, 4GB of DDR2 RAM and an ATI Radeon 4850 graphics card. The system also offers a 16X DVD reader, 20X DVD burner and a 500GB hard drive. A 600W speaker system is included and the computer supports 7.1-channel surround sound.
Microsoft on Thursday announced the appointment of David Porter as vice president of Retail Stores, confirming earlier reports that the company is planning a foray into the realm of brick-and-mortar establishments. Porter's first task will be to determine the timing, locations and specific details of the stores. He brings experience from 25 years at Walmart where he served as the vice president and general merchandise manager of Entertainment.
Cable and telephone provider Charter Communications has announced that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, after reaching an agreement with a debt holders committee that outlined the conditions of a financial restructuring. The company could see a reduction of approximately $8 billion in debt, with a formal filing to occur on or before April 1st. Charter currently has roughly $800 million in cash on hand to help with the restructuring and operations through the transition.
ASUS CEO Jerry Shen confirmed there will be slight price increases for its notebook and netbook products beginning in March, but not close to the 20 percent bump previously rumored, the CEO said in a Tuesday conference call attended by CrunchGear. Shen says the price increases for its netbook products will mostly be a function of the growth in the average size for its Eee PC netbooks from 9 inches to 10.
Japanese-based Princeton has launched a 21.5-inch LCD monitor, the PTFBGF-22RW. The screen is one of the smallest capable of a native 1080p resolution and has a 16:9 native aspect ratio as well as 300cd/m2 brightness. Its 1,000:1 static contrast ratio that can be boosted to a 10,000:1 dynamic ratio.
Korea's LG has recently announced its latest series of high-end notebooks, the 15.4-inch Xnote P510, which features a rubberized keyboard and haptic touch feedback from the power button along with a lit-up touchpad. There are three versions of the portable PC available, with the P510-UP98K featuring a 2.98GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor along with 4GB of RAM and both a 500GB hard drive and 64GB solid-state drive. For graphics processing, there is a GeForce GT 130M GPU from NVIDIA with a dedicated 512MB of RAM. The LCD screen is LED back-lit and offers 1440x900 resolution in all three models.
Samsung has recently released photos of its latest entry-level portable digital music player, the U5 or DoReMi. It replaces the U4 launched last summer and has the same USB key form factor. Track and status information is displayed on a four-line OLED display and there is a built-in FM radio tuner. Users will be able to use the player as a voice recorder or FM recorder. The player will come in 2GB, 4GB or 8GB capacities and its battery life is rated at 18 hours.
GigaByte is getting ready to announce its new GSmart line of smartphones at next week's Mobile World Congress in Spain, which will be some of the first products to ship with the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5. At the show, the company will launch what it claims is the first smartphone with a DVB-T tuner that allows for the wireless transmission of digital audio, video and other data with the t600 handset. At the same time, the MS808 handset will be the first to bring together a DVB-T tuner, GPS functionality and 3G data network access into a smartphone.
Samsung today unveiled one of the first touchscreen phones consciously designed to be eco-friendly. Apparently styled after a pebble, the Blue Earth handset is made from recycled plastic from water bottles and has a built-in solar charger on its back panel. Samsung also says the handset and its wall charger don't include brominated flame retardants, beryllium and phthalates that could affect either the users or seep toxins once the phone is tossed away.
Despite recent rumors about a possible split between Sony and Ericsson in its joint cellphone venture, Sony Ericsson's senior marketing manager, Richard Dorman, is countering the claims. "The relationship between Sony and Ericsson is a strong as it ever has been, and neither plan to walk away," he says in a Wednesday TechRadar report. Recently, Sony was believed distancing itself from the partnership by allegedly refusing to let Ericsson have a hand in developing a PlayStation-branded handset.
YouTube this afternoon said it would start testing purchasable downloads of videos from its website. The company has previously offered free downloads of videos from a handful of providers but is now experimenting with a system that would let companies put a price on permanent copies. While every payment would go through Google Checkout, video owners would have say over the prices and could have licenses varying from a strictly private-only license to Creative Commons rights for modification and sharing as well as a completely open public domain option.
Ultrasone has debuted the Edition 8, the latest addition to its series of headphones geared for audiophiles. The closed headphones feature a 40mm titanium-plated driver and a neodymium magnet that provide a frequency range of 6 Hz to 42 kHz and a sound pressure level of 96 dB. The interior ear-cups are lined with Ethiopian sheepskin, while the outer cups are plated in Ruthenium. Both the standard 1.2m cord and the 4m extension are built with oxygen-free copper cable and gold plated plugs.
T-Mobile's next-gen Sidekick is now being claimed as real and has received additional details. Now referred to as just the Sidekick 2009, the messaging phone is described by an anonymous source for Hiptop3 as having a "more grown up," upscale feel and should have a new version 5.0 of Danger's Sidekick operating system. A set of lights along the top edge of the display contribute to the phone's effect, while the keys are closer to being flush and are flat rather than curved.
A leak on Thursday suggests Apple may be producing a newer iPhone with at least cosmetic differences. A source for Mac Observer has snapped a photo of an iPhone with the model number A1303, which isn't believed to have appeared on existing iPhone 3G models; a 16GB iPhone 3G owned by Electronista, for example, carries the number A1241. The device also has a matte black finish instead of the glossy black used on the existing model, but also retains the FCC markings and other text which would be covered up in a treatment by ColorWare or other custom-paint firms.
Nokia may have inadvertently tipped its hand regarding the high-end, touchscreen-only Ivalo smartphone in a video posted recently by the company. Officially discussing the origins of the N97, a shot at the 19-second mark shows a device which is cosmetically similar to the N97 but lacks the slide-out QWERTY keyboard, rendering it much thinner. The shot hints at the Ivalo being in a prototype stage in a similar timeframe to the N97 and may show additional devices.
Spelling them out in a draft document sent to OEMs builders, Microsoft has laid out tentative plans for cheaper Windows 7 upgrades. The plans are collectively known as the Windows 7 Upgrade Program, and mirror an earlier scheme which allowed people buying Windows XP computers to receive a low-cost upgrade to Vista once the OS was released. As before, only individuals and small businesses will be eligible.
GPS hardware and software maker TeleNav on Thursday announced it will begin offering its Telenav GPS Navigator service to owners of the Android-based T-Mobile G1. The service, available on numerous other handsets in the industry and carriers that include AT&T and Sprint, will be launched on February 24th for the G1, and will allow users to receive turn-by-turn driving directions, traffic alerts with re-routing and more than 10 million searchable business listings. In addition, users will be able to access nearby gas prices, weather updates and restaurant reviews.
A company that focused on developing a wireless HDMI technology and standard, TZero, is out of business, a Thursday EETimes post notes. The company has been developing wireless HDMI technology using ultra-wideband (UWB) but has been forced to close prematurely by the poor market conditions that began last year. TZero joins Intel and others that have stopped their own in-house development of UWB.
Netflix on Thursday passed a symbolic milestone and said it obtained its 10 millionth subscriber overnight. The number was achieved after adding about 600,000 new users in the month and a half since the start of 2009 and is growing faster than already seen in the large fall leap, when the movie rental firm added about 718,000 new regular users over the space of the last three months of 2008. The company expects to add between 100,000 and 300,000 more by the end of March.
Mac component specialist FastMac has begun selling three new Blu-ray drives, all external Blu-ray models connected through USB. The APP-6907 is a 1x DVD±RW/BD model, only capable of reading Blu-ray discs rather than writing to them. The APP-6963 also operates at 1x speeds, but additionally supports writing to blank BD-R discs. The top-end APP-6964 mirrors the 6963 but accelerates to 4x spin.
Samsung this morning said it would introduce its first Long Term Evolution (LTE) chipset for 4G phones at Mobile World Congress. The hardware is also suited to computer networking adapters and will let supporting devices connect at LTE's full speeds, which reach 100Mbps or higher in peak conditions. The bandwidth is enough that Samsung will show a video on demand service and VoIP calling running from a prototype at next week's event.
Acer's smartphone plans at Mobile World Congress will involve at least two handsets, if a pair of leaks are accurate. The DX650 would be a unique dual-sided phone which, like the Samsung UpStage, puts a dedicated number pad and small screen (here an OLED) on the back to make calls easier. The Acer offering is a true smartphone with a 2.8-inch touchscreen and Windows Mobile 6.1 providing full app support on the phone's front.
Korea's Pantech on Thursday announced the upcoming introduction of what it claims to be a pair of nearly identical cellphones with a Wind Recognition feature, the SKT IM-S410 and KTF IM-S410K. Equipped with a Nintendo DS-like sensor that can gauge the amount of forced air or wind moving through it, the feature is tied into various functions of the handset that, among other things, allows users to blow an emoticon kiss during a video call. The feature can also be used in the phones' photo galleries, gaming and video applications.
Nokia today bolstered the Symbian Foundation with the addition of multiple key new members. HP, MySpace and SanDisk lead the new sign-ons and each have their own different reasons for joining the open-source mobile OS project. HP hopes to improve its support for managing Symbian; MySpace hopes to further refine its MySpace app for the phone throuhg the open code; SanDisk hopes to improve the use of storage for multimedia apps. None of the three has given clues as to how soon products will appear that take advantage of Foundation membership.
Epson and Infineon today published first details of a new chip they hope will make GPS more commonplace in phones. The XPOSYS is one of the smallest single-chip GPS processors ever and measures just 26mm square (0.04in square) thanks to being built on a 65 nanometer manufacturing process. Shrinking the design not only lets GPS fit into smaller devices but cuts power use by about half versus earlier mobile GPS chips and thus prevents the heavy battery drain common to most cellphone-level GPS.
Samsung today admitted to the Guardian that its first phone based on Google's Android platform has been delayed. Originally due in spring, the unnamed device now isn't scheduled to appear until the second half of 2009. Company mobile marketing chief Younghee Lee also notes that there won't be an Android phone on display at next week's Mobile World Congress in Spain.
Micron this morning said it has started shipping the first production samples of 34 nanometer, 16GB NAND flash memory. The advancement uses the smaller manufacturing process to stack eight multi-level cell storage chips in a single package that holds the record amount without swelling the chip size. Micron sees the component as a way of giving smartphones and other handheld devices a large amount of built-in flash storage while the devices slim.
Confirming rumors, Pioneer today said it would exit TVs altogether in a bid to recover its business from an approximately $1.44 billon loss in the past year. The move will see the company quickly shut down its Castleford, UK and Pomona, California factories that make TVs and eventually phase out TVs altogether by March 2010. The departure is directly pinned on the US economic crisis and its impact on demand for TVs.
Mobile partnership Garmin-ASUS on Thursday staked its claim at Mobile World Congress with the nuvifone M20, the second phone in the fledgling GPS navigator phone line. Unlike the G60, the M20 is based on Windows Mobile 6.1 and uses a heavily customized interface to provide turn-by-turn voiced navigation like stand-alone nuvi GPS units. It also uses the positioning for social networking through Ciao! and geotagging photos from the 3-megapixel camera.
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