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A marketing campaign has leaked tonight through Engadget that appears to confirm the existence of the first touchscreen Zune. Titled Zune HD, little is known about the device other than that it appears to embrace the same philosophy as the iPod touch, with just one button on the front. Its name implies at least high-resolution video playback, though true HD-resolution displays don't typically exist in handheld size.
Apple will take advantage of the support for external hardware in iPhone OS 3.0 to finally replace the Windows Mobile-based EasyPay transaction handhelds at retail stores with iPod touch devices, sources speaking to AppleInsider claim. Once the new firmware is available, the company will reportedly give store staff iPod touch units loaded with custom point-of-sale apps as well as card readers to process the payments. They would also handle the store's Concierge, ordering and other store operations without requiring separate hardware.
Lensbaby, makers of unusual optics add-ons for DSLRs, continues to evolve the product, as seen with the recently introduced Composer. We've taken a quick look at the system to see how it works as well as to provide some anecdotes from our experience using it in practice. We've also taken a look at the Optic Swap System that lets you tailor the visual effects of the Composer.
T-Mobile UK on Friday sent an invitation to a London event on April 22nd that may involve new BlackBerry devices or features. While terse, the note given to Pocket-lint tells the media to expect the launch that evening of an "exciting new BlackBerry collaboration" between the carrier and Research in Motion. T-Mobile hasn't provided clues as to the nature of what will show at the event.
The institution of variable song prices on iTunes has directly translated to a decrease in the popularity of the more expensive songs, Billboard finds in a short-term study of the immediate wake of the change. Those songs that were boosted to a $1.29 price typically fell 5.3 places on iTunes' Top 100 charts on Wednesday and another 2 places on Thursday. In exchange, those songs that kept their 99-cent pricing rose an average of 2.5 spots on Wednesday and 1.7 on Thursday.
German antitrust regulatory officials today fined Microsoft 9 million Euros, or the equivalent of $11.8 million, for alleged price fixing on its Office suite. The American software developer was found responsible for unfairly setting the price of Office 2007 Home and Student illegally by talking to Microsoft about the price before promptly promoting the software together. An official commentary defends the verdict by noting that it was Microsoft's particular approach to the deal and not the act of agreeing to a price itself that broke the law.
An upcoming Casio cameraphone for Verizon has been teased through a pair of videos [since pulled] posted to YouTube and promoted by PR reps. The Exilim C721 should be one of Verizon's first phones from Casio that isn't designed solely for ruggedness and, matching the Exilim camera name, would have a 5.1-megapixel sensor. Little else is known, though the clamshell design has a semi-hidden external display for calls.
Asus has announced that several of its business-oriented P-series notebooks are now equipped with Intel's new anti-theft technology. The system uses an embedded security chip that allows users to remotely send a "poison pill" to the device, completely disabling the system. After the notebook has been recovered, the user can then enter a local passphrase or recovery token to restore functionality.
The European Commission is considering a measure to force acceptance of VoIP by cellphone carriers, reports say. The EU's telecoms commissioner, Viviane Reding, has called for the EU to undo arbitrary obstacles to "innovative services" on cellphones; a draft of the VoIP measure is thought to already be completed, but still unfinished due to a lack of precise wording. Current rules permit each country to decide what is blocked on the Internet.
AT&T in a low-key addition on Friday added the Samsung A657 to its mix of push-to-talk phones. The candybar has a rubberized shell and is hardened to US military-spec standards for shock, moisture, temperature and other factors. It also has its own built-in flashlight as a backup for those working in dark conditions.
In spite of its version number, BlackBerry OS 5.0 appears to primarily be a cosmetic change that modernizes certain parts of the OS, a report on leaked firmware shows. A BGR exploration of a beta release on a BlackBerry Bold shows that most of the changes involve extending the Precision Zen interface to areas that have often had plain text, such as messaging. Google Gears support for offline apps is new but hindered by the web browser, which as of the beta is the same as in older releases.
HTC has announced that the Touch Diamond 2 is set to launch in Taiwan later this month. The touchscreen handset will carry a price of NT$21,900 (~$650 USD) and will ship with an 8GB memory card. HTC improved the specs from the last model, with an expanded screen size of 3.2-inches and 480 by 800 pixel resolution. The device also sports a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and a new touch-sensitive zoom strip underneath the display.
Following its bankruptcy and sale to Systemax, CompUSA has quietly been reopening new stores with a very different policy on Internet access. In a talk with Wired, Systemax's Technology Products chief Gilbert Fiorentino has confirmed both that there are now 30 new CompUSA stores but that the new shops have a largely open Internet policy that puts every computer in the store on an Internet connection. Shoppers are reportedly encouraged to use demo units to check prices and reviews, and are unrestricted from ordinary tasks like checking Facebook.
Yahoo's new CEO Carol Bartz has resumed talks with Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer about possible deals for ads, search or more, according to sources of journalist Kara Swisher. Those close to Yahoo reportedly say that Bartz, Ballmer and other officials have been investigating deals that could not only involve web ad or search partnerships but also future, broader business relationships. One example plan would have Yahoo take over display and "premium" ads while Microsoft runs search ads.
An unintentional leak late Thursday has shown a major revision to TechCrunch's CrunchPad touchscreen tablet. Aside from being much thinner than older prototypes, the new version has switched from a VIA Nano processor to an Intel Atom and now has a wider, capacitive 12-inch touchscreen that should be easier to use. It also has a much more efficient software base that uses a custom Linux variant and WebKit-based browser that use just 100MB of space.
Time Warner Cable's expanded trials of metered Internet service will include significantly higher average caps and a pseudo-unlimited option, the company's COO Landel Hobbs said in an online statement. After facing criticism for offering a maximum cap of just 40GB per month in Texas trials with unlimited overage fees, the provider is now boosting its original 5GB-40GB range for Road Runner service to 10GB-60GB and is adding a 100GB tier for $75 per month. It will also limit the overage charges themselves to a maximum of $75 extra per month and, practically, restore unlimited Internet access at a price of $150 per month.
An internal Sprint e-mail leak on Friday has likely confirmed that Sprint is set to begin training staff on the Palm Pre. PreThinking's memo says to "expect training to start in April" for Sprint staff and that they should start receiving regular updates on the phone. While room exists for change in the schedule, the e-mail references an article just a week old and hints that both Palm and Sprint's plans may have firmed up in recent weeks.
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