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Super Talent has announced its SATA II UltraDrive SSDs are now shipping with Firmware version 1370. The new firmware offers improved performance when used with Microsoft Windows 7 and increases the maximum read and write speed of both the UltraDrive ME and UltraDrive LE. Each UltraDrive is designed for notebook computers or devices supporting 2.5-inch drives; it features shock and vibrations resistance as well as high tolerance to extreme temperatures.
The first of Research in Motion's next-wave touchscreen BlackBerries has been spotted tonight in photos from a reliable source. The images from CrackBerry show a device similar to the BlackBerry Storm but in a noticeably sleeker profile and with styling cues on the back and sides not unlike the Driftwood (also known as the Onyx). They also reveal that the camera will remain at the same 3.2 megapixels as before, however, implying a conservative upgrade.
ASUS is set to launch its keyboard PC, the Eee Keyboard, sometime by the end of June, according to Engadget. The device offers an embedded PC driven by an Atom N270 processor, with an 800 by 480 pixel touchscreen display that doubles as a trackpad. The all-in-one runs on Windows XP and is said to include a 32GB SSD, stereo speakers, a microphone and 802.11n or Bluetooth connectivity. An HDMI output can be used to connect an external display.
HP today issued a US-wide recall through the Consumer Product Safety Commission for 70,000 notebook batteries. The recall affects most Compaq and HP home models sold from August 2007 through March 2008 and is prompted by HP's fears that the lithium-ion pack could overheat, catching fire and potentially burning owners. It cites two incidents in which the battery burst due to internal pressure and caused minor area damage but no injuries.
Intel at the opening of Saarland University's Visual Computing Institute on Wednesday gave clues as to its plans for its many-core Larrabee graphics processor. In a presentation to guests, the semiconductor firm showed that the design uses 32 processor cores and mates each of these with its own vector math unit, allowing each core to process very specialized tasks very efficiently. They also have a pool of cache memory and a memory interface on their edges.
Vodafone UK has announced a new promotion, Vodafone Passport, that will allow customers to make calls or send text and picture messages without paying roaming charges as they travel across 35 countries in Europe this summer. The carrier will also reduce prices for international calls. The changes apply to pay-as-you-go or monthly subscribers, beginning June 1st and running until the end of August.
The US Federal Trade Commission today dropped its antitrust case against memory producer Rambus. The company had previously been found guilty of abusing its monopoly power but successfully won an appeal in 2008; the FTC's decision to quit follows after its own appeal was rejected in February and the government body considered its options. Officials say the departure comes after they decide it would "not be in the public interest" to pursue Rambus further.
Nokia's recently rumored entry into multi-touch phones may come relatively quickly if a slip through Taiwan circuit designers is accurate. They reportedly tell DigiTimes that Nokia has finally settled on Synaptics to provide the circuitry driving at least one phone's touchscreen and "does not rule out" the possibility of the phone supporting multi-touch input, a first for Nokia's handsets. The product would be launched in the summer, though whether it ships at that time or is simply announced isn't apparent.
Telus at midday took a more aggressive step into mobile data by picking up the Sierra Wireless USB 598 as its 3G modem of choice. The stick gives Mac OS X and Windows computers access to the Canadian carrier's EVDO network and, like most newer modems, has its own internal memory that contains the drivers needed to install the adapter without turning to a CD. A microSDHC slot also gives it room for general data storage up to 32GB.
Sigma on Thursday acted on its word and launched the long-delayed DP2 in the UK. The 14-megapixel camera is a cross between regular compacts and digital SLRs and continues to hinge on its FOVEON sensor, which is significantly larger than in point-and-shoots and helps produce more professional images, particularly in RAW mode. It also gets full manual controls and, since it was first shown last year, now has light sensitivity up to ISO 3,200 as well as a quick-access button for some of the more common camera settings.
ASUS today gave the Eee PC 1008HA launch information for the US. The slimmer, MacBook Air-influenced netbook should be ready for pre-orders on May 18th and will command a slight premium over the 1000HE, costing $429. Specifications are familiar with a 1.66GHz Atom N280, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive but earns its Seashell nickname through a tapered design that renders the battery non-removable in return for a thickness below 1 inch and a weight of 2.4 pounds.
YUBZ has released the MAGNUM, a two-in-one portable music player and mobile speaker phone. The Bluetooth device both puts out audio over A2DP and interrupts music to let users take incoming phone calls. To answer a phone call, the power button then functions as an answer key for the speakerphone. The power button then functions as a end call key and the speaker will resume playing music.
Sony today reported its first annual loss in some 14 years, according to the New York Times. During its most recent fiscal year, the company is said to have lost 98.9 billion yen; for the fiscal year ending in March 2010, the company is expecting to record a net loss of 120 billion yen, or $1.26 billion US. The company is only expected to avoid a 150 billion yen loss in part because of newly-favorable Japanese taxes.
Book publishers have started exploiting the text-to-speech kill switch feature enabled by Amazon for Kindle books, reports show. At least 40 e-books from Random House, including major titles from Toni Morrison and Stephen King, can no longer use the Kindle 2's TTS feature to read the books aloud. Random House hasn't officially announced the move on its own.
Other World Computing on Thursday released the Express USB 2.0, a compact enclosure for 2.5-inch SATA I/II hard drives with heights up to 9.5mm. The device is bus powered, eliminating the need for an AC adapter. Both Windows and Mac systems are supported and the package includes a USB connecting cable and carrying sleeve.
The HDMI Licensing group today provided further details of the HDMI 1.4 spec that will have data become a core feature of the video standard. The technology will add a new pipe known as the HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) that can supply up to a 100Mbps Ethernet connection between the device host and others that recognize the format. The approach will let two compatible devices share information without requiring a separate cable and is suggested both as a way of networking close-by devices as well as sharing content across multiple rooms.
Dell has quietly launched several new eco-friendly monitors, including the P2210, E190S and E170S. The P2210 22-inch display supports resolutions up to 1680 by 1050 pixels, with a variety of viewing-angle adjustments. Users can connect to a computer via VGA, DVI-D with HDCP, or DisplayPort connections. The device also provides four USB 2.0 connectors to work as a hub. The company claims to have utilized halogen-reduced materials to minimize environmental impact, while the monitor also meets EPEAT Gold and Energy Star standards.
Verizon as part of a conference call late Wednesday altered its plans for its 4G cellular network. Initially slated for early 2010, the Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is now said by wireless chief Lowell McAdam to be fully commercial for the second half of that year in 20 to 30 markets. Although he doesn'tsay whether there would be any changes to the late 2009 test rollout, McAdam explains that the network won't reach national coverage until 2013 and won't be completely finished until 2015.
Rumors of a slimmed-down PlayStation 3 have gained fuel today through a series of Chinese photos that appear to show the console itself. The shots show a much thinner design that, despite its dimensions, nonetheless manages to fit two USB reports and, significantly, a 120GB hard drive. They also show product packaging and a a change away from Sony's heavily used Spiderman font in favor of one closer to the PS2.
AT&T today said it had picked up the spiritual successor to the BlackJack and BlackJack II. Now simply called the Jack, the new QWERTY smartphone upgrades to a 3.2-megapixel camera and carries a significantly larger 256MB of RAM to better juggle tasks. It runs Windows Mobile 6.1 out of the box and, like most modern smartphones, has 3G, assisted GPS and Wi-Fi as standard features. A microSDHC slot supports up to 16GB of storage.
RealNetworks today fought back against Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) claims that it was aiding piracy by filing counterclaims against both six studios in the MPAA and the DVD Copy Control Association. Sent through a Northern District of California court, the complaints accuse both groups of violating antitrust law by colluding together on trying to block legal alternatives to fair use copying of DVDs. Rather than grant copyrights through individual studios, permission is offered solely through a joint agreement between all of the studios and the DVD CCA, effectively letting them exclude anyone they decide offers competition to their own methods.
Toshiba on Thursday introduced the dynabook SS RX2/WAJ, its latest notebook that features a 512GB SSD. The drive utilizes 2-bit-per-cell multi-level NAND flash memory to quadruple the density compared to the company's previous 128GB offerings, while a new controller is claimed to increase read speeds by 230-percent to 230MB/s. Write speeds have also been boosted by 450-percent to 180MB/s.
AT&T's decision to disallow 3G for the iPhone edition of SlingPlayer may have been motivated as much by desires to quash a competitor as it is to avoid congestion, a claim suggests. Although AT&T's official explanation is that streaming TV consumes too much bandwidth, a tip from Gizmodo purports that the carrier has the ulterior motive of crippling SlingPlayer to protect a future U-verse app. Supposedly called i-Verse, it would let subscribers to AT&T's IPTV service either stream live TV over the 3G network or else play shows already recorded on the DVR.
Verizon has announced it will be getting into the subsidized netbook business with its release of the HP Mini 1151NR, shipping the model May 17th. The netbook is similar to the reference version with a 10-inch LED display, a 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM and an 80GB hard drive loaded with Windows XP. New, however, is built-in 3G for Verizon's EVDO network that lets it reach the Internet when its Wi-Fi falls short.
MSI this morning claimed a further foothold in ultraportable PCs by providing early details of two larger X-Slim notebooks. The 14-inch X400 and 15-inch X600 are meant to improve not only on the 13-inch X340 but to offer a still-larger alternative to systems like the MacBook Air; despite their sizes, both are less than an inch thick and weigh far less than other systems in their class at 3.3 pounds for the X400 and 4.6 pounds for the X600. Both also use Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) processors to provide better performance than a netbook but with less cost and battery use (as well as less performance) than the Core 2 Duo S used in Apple's system.
Radius Products has launched its TruTune Fine Color Series, a new set of colourful earphones that match Apple's iPod nano 4G. The TruTune earphones are made from lightweight aluminum and feature a gold-plated stereo mini-plug. Each earphone offers small, medium or large silicone caps to help ensure they fit in the user's ear. Colors which are currently available are designed to match the nine iPod nano 4G colors and include silver, black, violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red and pink.
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