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The Federal Trade Commission has initiated an investigation surrounding ties between board members at Apple and Google, according to the New York Times. Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson hold positions as simultaneous board members of both companies. Unnamed sources familiar with the matter claim Apple and Google have been notified by the commission that an antitrust inquiry has begun.
Following a leak on Monday, a new report confirms that Amazon.com unveil a new larger-screen version of its Kindle e-book reader with an improved web-browser later this week at an abruptly announced press conference for May 6th, while Engadget has posted new alleged photos and specs of the new device, claiming that it has an 9.7-inch display -- compared with the current 6-inch screen -- along with a built-in PDF reader the ability to add annotations in addition to notes and highlights.
A recent Consumer Reports issue compared a variety of computer systems, giving high ranks to Apple in several categories. MacBooks received top honors in the 13-inch category, the 14-inch to 16-inch range and the 17-inch lineup. The 15-inch MacBook Pro established the highest score, with 75 out of 100, while the Toshiba Satellite was given a score of 64. Dell and HP devices also established a number of the higher ranks.
Today's featured DealNN deals include cameras, routers, iMacs and more. Most noteworthy today is the refurbished 20-inch 2.0GHz iMac from Apple's online store. It is regularly priced at $1099, but has been reduced by $300 to $799. This iMac has a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. Features include AirPort Extreme wireless, Bluetooth, iSight webcam, microphone and 8x SuperDrive.
Samsung recently announced some specs of what looks like the 8-series plasma HDTV first shown at CES. The 50-inch 850 PAVV is just 1.14 inches (29mm) thick and houses the tuner. Samsung says it's also 40 percent more energy efficient and, at about 57lbs, 20 percent lighter than the corresponding previous-generation model.
Lenovo today inadvertently confirmed plans to rework its 10-inch S10 netbook through a user guide (PDF) for the new model. Currently known as the IdeaPad S10-2, it would have a friendlier design with rounded corners and a new display hinge but, importantly, would come with a 3G modem and a user-accessible SIM card slot behind the battery. In exchange, the ExpressCard/34 slot would be removed.
RunCore recently announced it will soon begin shipping its RunCore Pro IV 2.5-inch solid state drives. The SATA II disks are unusual in their bundling a drive case, allowing users to backup their existing data or otherwise use the disks externally before removing their traditional hard drive. The SATA case can then be used together with the old hard drive as an external storage device.
A leaked series of images reveals the line-up of handsets T-Mobile will soon carry and some specifics regarding them, such as official names and color choices. Chief among the revelations is that the successor to the original Android phone, the HTC-built T-Mobile G1, will most likely be called the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G, and not the previously expected G2. The phone is already known in the UK under its regular HTC name, Magic. While pricing and ship dates for the handset are still unknown, what appears to be the inventory screen does reveal the device will be offered in black, white and merlot hues.
AT&T is about to expand its netbook tie-ins to include the 10-inch Acer Aspire One, according to a leaked memo. A source passing on the note to BGR says that at least Costco will be selling a version of the portable with 3G ready to be used with AT&T's network. Other details are unclear, but the systems are likely to have some of their cost subsidized and also to sell at AT&T stores.
MSI late last week confirmed its plans for larger X-Slim notebooks through a quiet release at a Japanese event. In addition to the 13.4-inch X340, the company also says its larger 14- and 15.6-inch versions will be labeled the X400 and X600, each of which arrives in the "near future." Their specifications are still unknown but should include other variants of Intel's CULV ultraportable processors and display resolutions of 1366x768 or higher.
Confirming his company's technology path, Research in Motion co-chief Jim Balsillie on Monday told those at the company's Capital Markets Day keynote that more touchscreen phones in the vein of the BlackBerry Storm are in development. While not willing to enter into specifics, the executive says there are "next-generation devices" in the pipeline and that Storm-like devices would be needed to push deeper into the mainstream, where touchscreens are more popular than in the keyboard-centric work market.
Samsung today said it would start shipping a new wave of its phase change RAM (PRAM) in June. The technology now comes in a 512MB chip and combines the advantages of both NAND and NOR flash memory: it has the random access speed of NOR memory but can keep data permanently like NAND, letting it serve as storage. Samsung estimates that it can process data as much as 30 times faster than a combination using typical RAM and storage.
Cincinnati Bell Wireless on Monday announced it is the first US carrier to offer the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic smartphone in the US. Before today, those who wanted the handset in the country had to pay $400 for an unlocked but also unsubsidized device. Otherwise, the smartphone includes its stock 3.2-inch, 360x640 touchscreen, a web browser with Adobe Flash support, an integrated GPS sensor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.
A date has been set for Microsoft to defend itself against European antitrust charges, Reuters reports. Between June 3rd and the 5th, representatives for Microsoft are expected to testify in a closed hearing before the European Commission, elaborating on the outlines of a written response submitted on April 28th. The company was originally ordered to reply by March 12th, but was granted two extensions, first to April 21st and then the 28th.
Samsung is likely preparing to bring the Android-based i7500 to T-Mobile USA later this year, a roadmap slipped out today shows. The calendar shows TmoToday a device nicknamed the Houdini shipping sometime in the fall as well as a small image of its visual design, which appears reminiscent of the i7500's candybar touchscreen that was just announced last week. Its pricing, as well as a large portion of the roadmap, remain blacked out and likely tentative.
AT&T today began shipping its promised Nokia E71x to its stores. The Symbian S60 smartphone is a close cousin of the reference version already reviewed here but adds AT&T Navigator, Quickoffice for on-phone editing of Microsoft Office files, and can access AT&T's music and video download and streaming services. The carrier also sees it as an advanced messaging device for those who want e-mail, IM and SMS on a real smartphone platform.
NAVIGON today said it would quit its GPS device business in North America but may offer its software on the iPhone and other platforms in return. The company doesn't tell GPS Business News how quickly it expects to leave but says the decision stems from too-stiff competition at the low end of the GPS business. Where its business had been comfortable as long as large rivals like Garmin and TomTom kept their navigator prices higher, the push down to as low as $99 (for a TomTom ONE) has left NAVIGON with little way to differentiate itself.
DirecTV this morning said it would merge with the eventual spinoff of Liberty Entertainment from Liberty Media. The deal is meant to simplify Liberty Media's own structure but puts the satellite TV provider together with TV channels themselves, including the Game Show Network and 3 local sports stations. Executives at DirecTV will keep their positions, though the move will still have Liberty Media founder John Malone and trusts have about a 24 percent stake in the new venture.
PC builder MSI on Monday announced the upcoming release of a pair of gaming-oriented notebook PCs, the 15.4-inch GX623 and GX633. The GX623 uses an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and ATI's Radeon HD 4670 3D graphics processor with 512MB of video RAM, while the GX633 runs on AMD's Turion X2 dual-core CPU paired with NVIDIA's GeForce GT 130M with its own 512MB of video RAM. Either uses MSI's power management feature that switches between five modes suitable for different tasks by pressing a button.
AT&T on Monday revealed that it will finally pick up the BlackBerry Curve 8900 in early summer. The smartphone is a major update to the outgoing 8300 series with a much sharper 480x360 display as well as a 3.2-megapixel camera, the latest BlackBerry OS and both GPS as well as Wi-Fi in a single device. AT&T's version will have support for its AT&T Navigator mapping service as well as streaming music through XM Radio Mobile and phone searches through a Yellow Pages app.
BlackBerries nearly dominated iPhones in US smartphone sales for the start of 2009, the NPD Group said today in a new study. The market researchers note that the top-selling phone line from the quarter ended in March was the BlackBerry Curve 8300 series, which edged out the iPhone 3G at second place. Of the top 5 phones, 3 were BlackBerries and included the touchscreen Storm in third place and the non-flip Pearl in fourth. The lone Android phone in the US, T-Mobile's G1, occupied the fifth spot.
A new, upcoming 11.6-inch Eee PC netbook from ASUS, due to be released later in May, is estimated to account for nearly a third of all PC sales from the company, ASUS president Jerry Shen said on Monday. According to a report, ASUS expects half of all sales to come from its 10-inch Eee PC model range in 2009. Shen added that ASUS is also planning on launching 14-inch models later this year.
RIM this morning said it had launched a new push API (application programming interface) for third-party BlackBerry apps using Java. Previously only available through the enterprise server, the feature will let software get real-time alerts for news, games and other information without having to keep the program active. It can use either the cellular network or Wi-Fi and lets apps jump directly to the newest information when they open.
Amazon today quickly followed up on rumors of a larger Kindle reader today by announcing a press event for Wednesday the 6th at 10:30AM. The online retailer doesn't say what the event will include but is consistent reports of a new device being ready as early as this week and is holding it at Pace University, the original location for the New York Times' head offices and a likely indication of a deal with the newspaper for a new Kindle device.
Sprint today reported a first quarter that showed the company's losses at once expanding and stabilizing. The company's net losses grew from $505 million a year ago to $594 million in early 2009, a steep 18 percent drop. It also reported continued, but softened, subscriber losses from quarter to quarter as it dropped 182,000 total users, falling to 49.1 million customers. The number was helped by a large influx of customers drawn to Sprint's $50 unlimited plan on Boost Mobile but masks a sharp drop in users in its core business, where 531,000 CDMA users and 719,000 iDEN push-to-talk users left the service.
Amazon could be on the verge of launching a large-screen Kindle that would be key to saving large newspapers, a possibly last-minute leak has said on Monday. The online retailer is purported by the New York Times to be introducing a larger e-book reader ideally sized for magazines, newspapers and other large-format text. Its suitability is such that the Times itself is rumored to be a key part of the introduction, though a newspaper spokeswoman declines to comment despite the Times being the origin of the rumor itself.
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